Article originally appeared on heraldsun.com.au on 19/12/18
In those early days of the Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants we stuffed our squads with cheap kids we knew would get game time, and mature-age recruits ready to make the most of a shot at the big time.
With the Suns embarking on an ambitious list overhaul and an apparent competition-wide search for the next Tim Kelly, 2019 playing lists present potential rookie riches not seen since those glory days.
Not only do they help you put a squad together under the $10 million salary cap, they help your SuperCoach team grow in overall price during the season, allowing you to upgrade starting players with low prices into premium players who pump out big scores every week.
Tim Kelly was the gun SuperCoach rookie of 2018. Picture: Mike Dugdale
The key is to find players who will get games early in the season, so role and opportunity play a big role in the search for a successful rookie SuperCoach pick.
Pre-season matches will provide an insight into how teams might look when the season kicks off, but if you can’t wait until then here is an early take on the cheapies who should be part of our SuperCoach plans.
Tom Williamson (Carlton) $189,500
Williamson’s 2018 season was ruined by injury, a major blow given he is very highly rated at the Blues. He’s a smooth-moving halfback and with Sam Docherty suffering another ACL tear, some believe Williamson will be the man to fill the void. He played 15 senior games in 2017 and averaged only 49.9 SuperCoach points but will another pre-season under his belt and time in the gym, he should be better equipped for senior footy. The Blues play a high-possession style, which could mean very good things. Watch him over the pre-season.
Connor Rozee (Port Adelaide) $189,300 def/fwd
The No.5 draft pick is lightly-framed but the Power are looking to inject more speed into the midfield following the loss of Jared Polec and Chad Wingard, and Rozee brings just that. He’s had experience playing against senior bodies in the SANFL, which will hold him in good stead as he pushes for a Round 1 debut. He’s also known for his tackling and aggression, two characteristics that should see him in the selection mix. Has played both midfield (157 SuperCoach-point average in 2016 under-16 championships and 104 points in 2017) and forward (74-point SuperCoach average at under-18 carnival), so watch his role over pre-season before making a decision. Still, if he can average 74 points at AFL level you’d take that as a nice cash cow injection.
Sam Collins (Gold Coast) $188,900
During his first stint in the AFL Collins put up some good scores for Fremantle in 2016-17 (including a 126 against Collingwood) before being delisted by the Dockers after just 14 matches. The 24-year-old gets another chance, this time at the Suns, after an outstanding season in the VFL where he led the league for total marks and contested marks. Should see plenty of action down back for Gold Coast.
Isaac Cumming (GWS Giants) $173,700
Cumming was on the radar at this time last year but managed just two AFL games in 2018 for modest SuperCoach returns. With another pre-season under his belt and senior players including Dylan Shiel, Tom Scully and Ryan Griffen departing, there are spots available in the Giants’ best 22. He averaged just over 20 disposals per game in the NEAFL, including one 33-disposal and two-goal game. Could he be 2019’s Jeremy Finlayson?
Oleg Markov (Richmond) $158,000
The Tigers have big raps on Markov but 2019 is surely a make or break year for him. It will be his fourth season at Richmond and given he’s still yet to cement his spot in the team, he needs a big pre-season to get himself in the mix. With the departures of depth players Sam Lloyd, Reece Conca, Corey Ellis and Anthony Miles, there is opportunity for Markov to put himself under coach Damien Hardwick’s nose. Bachar Houli has been a great servant but will the Tigers look to transition Markov into that role? Watch this space. Provides great dash from defence or on the wing and ignored interest from rivals at the end of the year to re-sign with Richmond. Track watchers have told us he’s put on some serious size.
Isaac Quaynor (Collingwood) $153,300
Collingwood’s first-round draft pick has been likened to Bulldog Jason Johannisen for his speed and ability to take the game on, and many believe he’s ready to step into the senior team should an opportunity arise. With an ASADA drug test hanging over Sam Murray, the Pies do need a small rebounding defender and Quaynor definitely fits the bill. He averaged 419m gained in the under-18 championships, ranked No.2 in the competition and was rated elite for contested possessions. Watch his pre-season form.
Jack Scrimshaw (Hawthorn) $149,800
A former No.7 draft pick, Scrimshaw was traded to Hawthorn from Gold Coast during the trade period after never really getting settled in Queensland. The Hawks have a history of turning players from rival clubs into stars and talent doesn’t disappear overnight, so Scrimshaw could be a diamond in the rough. We know coach Alastair Clarkson has given big roles to younger players in the past two years as he regenerates his list for another tilt at a premiership. Look out for him in the JLT Series to gauge whether he’s in the senior selection mix early.
Callum Wilkie (St Kilda) $124,900
Picked up by the Saints in the rookie draft from SANFL club North Adelaide, where he won the best-and-fairest this year as a playmaking defender. The 22-year-old averaged 26 disposals and nine marks a game and could have an immediate impact.
Jordan Clark (Geelong) $144,300
The Cats haven’t been afraid to throw their draftees into the AFL furnace early and Clark could be one to come in and have an immediate impact. The No.15 draft pick has a lot of upside still, after only recently focusing on footy, but has played against senior bodies in the WAFL already which holds him in good stead for a potential debut. He’s a very creative player who could come in and play across halfback to free up Zach Tuohy.
Chris Burgess (Gold Coast) $123,900 def/fwd
One of the Suns’ three priority mature-age access recruits, along with Sam Collins and forward Josh Corbett. The 22-year-old played as a swingman for West Adelaide this year and has been given dual-position status in SuperCoach. It also doubles his chances of selection after the departure of bookends Tom Lynch and Steven May.
Marty Hore (Melbourne) $117,300
Took the second-most marks in the VFL this year (behind Collins) and gets a chance at the Demons at age 22. He is likely to be a back-up for first-choice backmen Steven May and Jake Lever but the Dees chopped and changed their defence a fair bit last season and Lever has had some hiccups in his return from a knee injury. Ready if called upon.
Jez McLennan (Gold Coast) $117,300
The Suns are expected to give their kids plenty of game time next season and McLennan is one who could be given an opportunity. At 185cm and 81kg, he’s got a pretty solid body already and plays across halfback — a perfect position for a young player finding his way in the game. He reads the ball very well in flight and is known for his intercept marking, an area Gold Coast is lacking down back.
Harrison Wigg (Gold Coast) $102,400
Wigg was on plenty of SuperCoach radars 12 months ago after being traded to the Suns from Adelaide following a big season in the SANFL when he averaged 25 disposals, five tackles and 98 SuperCoach points a game. He never got a chance to show what he can do at AFL level in 2018 after breaking his ankle in an early pre-season training session, but if he’s fit for Round 1 he could be a great bottom-priced bench option.
Sam Walsh (Carlton) $207,300
Normally the No.1 draft pick is overlooked as a cash cow option because their price is steep for an untried AFL player, but Walsh is different. Champion Data described him as one of the most “reliable ball-winners ever seen” after averaging 29 disposals across 41 matches and at least 23 disposals in all 25 of his TAC Cup matches as both an under-age and top-age player. He will join Patrick Cripps in the Blues midfield and be given plenty of opportunities. Watch his scores in the JLT Series before locking him into your team but signs out of Carlton are good if you’re willing to invest over $200,000 of your cap in him.
Luke Davies-Uniacke (North Melbourne) $197,500
He was one of the must-have cash cows last season but things didn’t quite go to plan for the No.4 draft pick. Davies-Uniacke was in and out of the North Melbourne side and averaged only 40.4 SuperCoach points per game. With the addition of Jared Polec, Aaron Hall and Dom Tyson, it’s hard to see him playing a big role. Pass.
Bailey Smith (Western Bulldogs) $180,300
At 185cm and 83kg, Smith is ready for senior footy and he’s exactly the type of player the Bulldogs love — he’s a hard runner who is quick, wins plenty of the ball, uses it well and is clean with his hands in contested situations. He has battled a sore Achilles but is expected to be OK by January, which puts him in the frame to impress during the JLT Series. Was ranked behind only Sam Walsh for disposals in the under-18 carnival. Watch this space.
Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne) $175,800
The talented Tasmanian is exactly the type of X-factor player the Kangaroos are looking for but will he slot straight into their team for Round 1? He can play forward, midfield or down back but with his natural goal sense, he’ll surely get his opportunity inside forward 50, while also pushing up the ground. Unlikely to be a popular choice but that could change with a solid JLT Series campaign.
Harley Bennell (Fremantle) $167,700
We know he’s not a rookie but Benell is rookie priced, so that gets him on this list. If he can get his body right, the Docker would be the cash cow of the year given he has the potential to be an elite player. The only questions are — can he stay fit, and how much does he want it? If he plays in the JLT Series and he’s picked for Round 1, at just $167,700 he is absolutely worth the risk for such a low investment with seriously high scoring potential.
Jye Caldwell (GWS Giants) $162,300
After losing Dylan Shiel, Tom Scully and Ryan Griffen from the midfield, the Giants bolstered their onball brigade with Caldwell at pick No.11 in the draft. He has had some injury troubles but he’s got a strong body already and with good pre-season training and match form, could push himself into the mix for senior selection given there are spots available. He averaged 22 disposals, four clearances and five tackles in his two full TAC Cup games (before injury), which is a great sign.
Jackson Hately (GWS Giants) $148,800
Like Caldwell, Hately will see opportunities for a senior debut early in 2019 and has the added benefit of already having experience against bigger bodies in the SANFL. He averaged 91 SuperCoach points in the SANFL in 2017 and is an elite stoppage player who tackles hard. He can play almost anywhere because of his size, at 189cm and 80kg, and has been compared to West Coast star Elliot Yeo. He’s on the watch list.
Will Setterfield (Carlton) $144,900 mid/fwd
Former No.5 draft pick is a discount price after playing only two senior games due to injuries, but arrives at Carlton from GWS ready to step straight into the starting midfield at age 20. Showed what he is capable of when he averaged 25 disposals, five clearances and almost eight tackles a game in the NEAFL in 2017 before rupturing his ACL in a practice match early this year. Dual-position status makes him close to a must-have.
Liam Stocker (Carlton) $126,300
The Blues pulled off that risky trade with the Crows to secure Stocker, meaning they must see serious potential in him. He’s already strongly built, with a body that appears ready for AFL footy. He’s been touted as a potential replacement for co-captain Sam Docherty across halfback, while he’s also viewed as a long-term partner for Cripps and Walsh in the midfield. Stocker won the Morrish Medal as the best under-18 player in the TAC Cup, which ticks another box. Can see him being given opportunities to ply his trade early for Carlton. He’s definitely one to closely monitor.
Charlie Constable (Geelong) $123,900
Constable pushed hard for a senior debut in 2018 but despite his impressive VFL form didn’t get his opportunity. He finished top-10 in the Cats’ VFL best and fairest after averaging 24 disposals in his 15 matches, with his best a 34-disposal and one-goal game against eventual premiers Box Hill in Round 21. The tall midfielder will definitely be in the mix to play a role for the Cats in 2019 as they look for more midfield and half-forward options. He’s a must-watch during the JLT Series.
Joe Atley (Port Adelaide) $123,900
Another of the 2017 draftees to consider, Atley was close to senior selection for the Power in 2018 but didn’t break through for his debut, meaning he’s still a nice price for us. He did have an injury-interrupted season but proved his ball-winning ability by winning 20 or more disposals in most of his SANFL games, finishing with an average of 21.5 in his 10 games. Definitely one have on your list.
Matthew Ling (Sydney Swans) $123,900 mid/fwd
The second-year Swan has pace to burn and could be ready to add some excitement to a regenerating Sydney team. With Gary Rohan, Dan Hannebery and Nic Newman all departing during the trade period, John Longmire will need his younger players to step up and fill the void and Ling could be one of those. He was restricted to just six NEAFL games in 2018 but with a big pre-season can push himself into the frame for a debut. Sydney’s head of development, John Blakey told the club’s website: “We drafted him for a purpose — for his run and his talent he showed through his under-18s year. We get him back next year probably looking like a first-year player again because he hasn’t played much football at all. We’ll be really pleased to get him on the park.” Good signs.
Corey Wagner (Melbourne) $123,900
The ex-Kangaroo was signed by Melbourne under the new rookie rules — does that mean coach Simon Goodwin has a specific role in mind? The Demons have a history of plucking mature-age players (Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan) and turning them into significant role players. Is Wagner the next cab off the rank?
Brett Bewley (Fremantle) $117,300
Recruited from Williamstown, where he averaged 25 disposals a game in 2018 and led the league for effective long kicks. Has been likened to Tom Scully for his running ability. Ross Lyon had success with mature-age recruit Bailey Banfield last year and seems to have taken a liking to the concept.
Luke Valente (Fremantle) $117,300
The classic draft slider, Valente was tipped as a likely first-round selection on draft night but slipped to pick 32, where he was happily snapped up by the Dockers. The South Australian under-18 captain already has an AFL-ready body was ranked the 10th-best player in the draft by Champion Data and rated elite for intercept possessions and score involvements. Think Tiger Jack Graham.
Rhylee West (Western Bulldogs) $117,300
Calder Cannons coach Ross Smith says the son of Bulldogs champion Scott West is ready to play in his first season. “He’s a very mature 18-year-old,” Smith said of West, who averaged 19 disposals, six tackles and a goal in the TAC Cup this year. Smith likened tough onballer West to another hard nut Jack Viney — it’s worth noting he scored 117 SuperCoach points in his AFL debut.
Will Hayes (Western Bulldogs) $117,300
The Dogs have a long list of new faces so it’s hard to know what their starting 22 will look like but Hayes is ready to play if needed upon after winning Footscray’s best-and-fairest in the VFL this year. The 23-year-old midfielder averaged 26 disposals and 10 contested possessions a game and finished third in the comp for inside-50s.
Nick Hind (St Kilda) $117,300
Hind’s matchwinning multi-bounce run in the VFL semi-final gave Saints fans, and SuperCoach players, a glimpse of what to look forward to as he dashes off the halfback line in 2019. He averaged 22 disposals, four marks and 87 points a game for Essendon’s VFL side and ranked fourth in the comp for score assists.
Tom Atkins (Geelong) $112,900
Is the 23-year-old from the Cats’ VFL team the next mature-age success story off master recruiter Stephen Wells’ production line? Atkins, a tough ball-winner and dual VFL best-and-fairest winner, hopes to follow in the footsteps of Tim Kelly, Sam Menegola and Tom Stewart. Put him on the pre-season watch list to see if he can break into Geelong’s star-studded midfield.
Zac Clarke (Essendon) $142,600
Essendon desperately needed ruck depth and that gives Clarke another opportunity at AFL level after being delisted by Fremantle at the end of 2017. He’s never been a big SuperCoach scorer, aside from averaging 96.3 back in 2013, but does have a solid record that includes averages of 83.2, 74.0 and 75.9, all of which would be decent cash builders. The question is: How many games will he play? Can he take the No.1 ruck mantle off Tom Bellchambers?
Darcy Fort (Geelong) $117,300
The 205cm giant finally gets a chance at an AFL club six years after playing for the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup. Since then he has spent time in the VFL and the SANFL, where he dominated this year for Central District, averaging 123 SuperCoach points a game. The biggest issue for the 25-year-old will be getting a regular game but the Cats never settled on a starting ruckman last season, trying Rhys Stanley, Zac Smith and Ryan Abbott at various stages. Can Fort go past all of them? Keep a close eye on his pre-season.
Jordan Sweet (Western Bulldogs) $102,400
Another mature-age recruit, Sweet gets a chance at the Dogs at age 20 after a great season for North Adelaide in the SANFL. A versatile big man who can also play up forward, he’s a chance to get a game in a side with limited ruck options.
Shane McAdam (Adelaide) $123,900
The Crows thought enough of the livewire forward to trade Mitch McGovern to Carlton for access to him via AFL rules that allowed the Blues to snare mature-age players before the draft. The nephew of former Saint and Lions star Gilbert McAdam — and cousin of current Blue Sam Petrevski-Seton — stood out for Sturt this year with his tackling pressure, big leap and eye for goal.
Josh Corbett (Gold Coast) $123,900
The third of Gold Coast’s priority mature-age recruits kicked 22 goals for Werribee in the VFL this year before his season was cut short by a nasty eye injury. Before then the North Warrnambool product was averaging almost eight marks a game and was awarded the Fothergill-Round Medal as the VFL’s most promising young talent. Previous winners include Bayley Fritsch, Luke Ryan, Nic Newman and Kane Lambert — names very familiar to SuperCoach players.
Tyson Stengle (Adelaide) $123,900
A clever indigenous goalkicker who didn’t do much wrong in his two seasons on Richmond’s rookie list apart from being fourth or fifth in the queue for a role as a small forward. Kicked 33 goals in 19 games in the VFL and is set to learn under Eddie Betts.
Matt Parker (St Kilda) $117,300
An explosive forward who was digging holes for underground gas pipes to pay the bills while playing in the WAFL this year. Inspired to not give up on his AFL dream by Geelong star and SuperCoach sensation Tim Kelly, Parker kicked 27 goals — and laid 84 tackles — for South Fremantle this year. He was recruited with pick 47 in the national draft and Saints coach Alan Richardson believes his speed and power will suit Marvel Stadium.
Robbie Young (St Kilda) $117,300
The Saints went all-in on ready-to-play state league guns in this year’s draft, with North Adelaide goalkicker Young joining the club via pick 67 in the draft. Likely to push for selection as a high-pressure forward, he wasn’t a big disposal winner this season but can still have a big impact. A six-goal game against Norwood was a season highlight.
Ben Cavarra (Western Bulldogs) $117,300
One of the genuine feel-good stories of the draft after the Dogs called out his name at pick 45. The 22-year-old won a Morrish Medal in the VFL as a midfielder but switched to a small forward role for Werribee in the past two seasons, winning Williamstown’s goalkicking both years. Kicked 34 goals this year but has enough strings to his bow to still average 97 SuperCoach points a game.
Lachlan Schultz (Fremantle) $117,300
Flies west with Williamstown teammate Brett Bewley after joining the Dockers in the fourth round of the draft. The 20-year-old emerged as a classy small forward over the past three years in the VFL with stints in the midfield.
Tom Wilkinson (North Melbourne) $102,400
A small forward plucked from the Southport Sharks after stints with Williamstown and Sandringham (where he won a best-and-fairest) in the VFL. After being overlooked in four drafts, Wilkinson rated elite in the NEAFL in 2018 for goals, accuracy, forward-50 tackles, marks, score assists and contested marks. Can he break into the Kangaroos’ best 22?
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