Category - Dan’s Draftees – 2010
I’m not going to lie. I have only seen Ben Nason play about 10 minutes of footy and it looked like he did his ACL in that time. That was four weeks ago in the first round of the NAB Cup when Richmond attempted to play against Hawthorn. I think that’s what they were trying to do that night…
This is easily the most uninformed article I have written, but at least I’m up front and honest, rather than pretending to be an expert on all things Nason.
What we do need though is a bloody live body in the back line. Not that Nason will spend any time in defence. Everything I’ve read about him this pre-season has suggested he has never gone anywhere near the backline.
In fact, a funny article I came across had quotes from him saying he didn’t understand why he was listed as a defender in Dream Team. Reading between the lines there, I like a player who is very aware of Dream Team. I think it bodes well for their desire to get the ball (slight tongue in cheek, but you have to wonder with some of them). Regardless, Nason is listed as a defender and I really wanted to cover a defender this week, considering my only other one was Brad Sheppard, who I don’t think will get early games (but will be a wonderful DT’er one day!)
I had a few different friends who made the trip to Morwell both as Essendon and Richmond fans and everyone seemed pretty impressed with his game. A score of 78 would indicate he was pretty good and Essendon were fielding a near full strength side.
When looking at his pre-season numbers, keep in mind that his 11 in the first game was when he went off with what looked to be a serious knee injury. He went off in the second quarter and it actually looked really bad – like ACL bad. Luckily it turned out to be not so serious and he was back a couple of weeks later.
He joins Richmond as a mature aged player at 20 years of age and he played most of last year with Central Districts reserves. It should be noted that it’s very tough for young players to break into Central’s league side (they have won 8 of the last 10 SANFL premierships, so who are we to question how they blood their players?!) but he did get a couple of league games last year, including a final and was named an emergency for the Grand Final.
His agility and endurance are weapons, however he didn’t test too well for speed at the South Australian State Screening last year (3.11 in the 20m). However, he is said to have a great work rate and creates good forward pressure. Honestly, I’d love to be able to help you out with first hand experience of having seen a bit more of him, but let’s face it – he’s in line for selection in Round 1, scored well in the last week of NAB Challenge and I’m getting the vibe that Hardwick is going to really give the kids a crack this year. Well, here’s hoping, because 3 of my 8 articles were on tiger cubs.
You’d be a hard person to impress if you haven’t taken to Lewis Jetta already. One thing is for sure, Paul Roos seems mighty impressed and it looks like Jetta is a good show for early games. It’s not unreasonable to think he might be able to play most of the season, so in that sense he’s a decent each way bet. If he does hang around you’ve got the option of leaving him there for midfield cover, or cashing him in later on.
Even though Jetta is getting a bit of press, I find his DT stocks to have been a bit underrated. It feels as though a lot of coaches out there were disappointed he wasn’t a forward option (he played on the wing all year for Swan Districts, don’t act surprised!) and kind of pushed him back in their minds. I was kind of hoping he’d be a forward option, just to spread the talent a bit. With so many quality midfield options he’s just another one in line.
I’ve got to admit, even until this week I hadn’t really considered him for this very reason, but I’m loving the look of him on my midfield bench. Even though he’ll play forward a lot for Sydney, I’m hoping he gets plenty of opportunity to push up the ground onto a wing and find plenty of outside ball. The threat here is that Sydney might need to push defenders up onto their wings (Malceski, Kennelly, Shaw, Mattner is a tad overkill for rebounding defenders), which could in turn limit Jetta’s midfield time.
If he does stay in the forward line he’s still going to be an effective enough scorer. I don’t think you’d be asking too much if you wanted 60′s from him. Due to the nature of his role his scores will probably fluctuate a bit, but he’ll be a consistent enough goal scorer that even in his quieter games he can still pad his stats with a nine point play or two.
For such a skinny lad he’s an exceptionally powerful kick. Where does he get that power from with no hips? His play reading skills are fantastic, so this usually translates into just knowing where to be.
I do have a tendency to bleat on about mature aged selections, but I’d be treating Jetta as a fairly inexperienced sort. Even though he’s 20 years old he’s not as well journeyed as other mature aged recruits, given that he’s only had one year at WAFL Senior level (he played in Bunbury in 2008 and before that had an average season with Swan Districts U/19). He does attribute his time in Bunbury as something that toughened him up a bit though, recognising that he probably wasn’t tough enough in his first stint at Swan Districts.
Not that it counts for much Dream Team wise, but some of the tapes I’ve seen of his WAFL games last year were freakish. His skills at ground level are something to behold and he looked like he fit right in playing his first NAB Cup game against Carlton the other week. He seems to be adapting well to AFL lifestyle so far and with the difficulty to resist Martin, Trengove and Barlow it might make Jetta a slightly more unique midfield back-up.
I am looking at something a bit more risky this week, but considering we aren’t much closer to knowing much about forwards and backs it’s time for something a bit more speculative.
Troy Taylor is a super talented player from Northern Territory, who found his way to Richmond at the National Draft. Talent wise he’s worth a lot more than the Pick 51 they used on him, but let’s not pull any punches, there’s a decent chance that other clubs were a bit scared off by his juvie record.
It was about this time last year that Taylor was finishing his four month sentence for his part in a drunken brawl. Since getting drafted he has once again being charged with three counts of assault for an incident in Alice Springs. Definitely monitor what’s going on with his current charge, however the timing of his hearing is a bit unfortunate for DT coaches – five days after Richmond’s first game.
Let’s look past that though for just a second. Richmond are likely to be playing the youngsters heavily this year and Taylor is a fantastic talent, who should very much be in their immediate plans. Jon Ralph wrote an article on him for the Herald Sun yesterday (not actually the inspiration for me choosing Taylor, just convenient timing) that included the quote, “His cause is helped by the club’s new direction: force-feed the most talented juniors AFL games then sit back and see who flourishes.” I salivated.
Taylor’s talent was never really questioned in recruiting circles and to relate him directly to the above quote, I think he is one that can flourish on the AFL stage. He’ll provide the Richmond forward line with something a bit enigmatic and even if he doesn’t score well, he’s a good chance to do a couple of special things to keep getting selected.
You just want someone like Taylor to start the season and make a bit of early money. Job security at Richmond is going to be a lot safer than somewhere like Geelong. Admittedly, I have Podsiadly on my bench rather than Taylor at this stage and I was this close to writing about him, but I want to be more sure he’s not just back up. Pods scored well last week with Mooney, Hawkins and Stevie J all missing.
I know there’s such an immense risk with someone who already has a record and has charges hanging over his head. With such few options emerging in the forward line, Taylor looks like someone who could score well early on. Also, wouldn’t it be kind of novelty to blame your DT failure on a player actually getting locked up?! Sure beats the tired excuses of injury and club suspension from boozy nights out!
This whole story comes with a massive asterisk (it could be the Shannon Cox article that Toby bags me about all year). Please, do yourself a favour and follow his circumstances intently before selecting him. I’ll be very keen to get his talent in and just maybe he could be an interesting, unique selection – hopefully in a good way!
Michael Barlow put up great numbers in the VFL for Werribee last year. He would regularly rack up over 30 touches and was named in the best players in all but three of Werribee’s games.
He’s a very attractive DT option because of his ability to find space and get the ball. He’s just one of those blokes who knows where to be to get the ball. With great endurance and exceptional play reading it’s no surprise he’s been on the end of so much loose ball. In my view, this sort of style is going to be even more relevant at Subiaco. There’s so much space on that ground he won’t know what to do with himself!
The down side is that Barlow is on the rookie list, so he’ll need to earn a spot on the senior list. By my reckoning the Dockers have two free spots on their list – long term injuries to Dean Solomon (retired) and Tim Ruffles. Feel free to chip in if I’ve missed something though, because I only worked that out by checking out their senior list.
Oddly, Freo seem to have much better depth on their rookie list than their senior list. Barlow will be competing with Matt de Boer, Clancee Pearce, Alex Silvagni and as an outside chance Jay van Berlo for those two spots on the senior list. Frankly I think he’d be pretty stiff to miss out, but Pearce’s form looked great on the weekend, de Boer had some really good games last year and if a tall goes down Silvagni comes right into the picture.
My money would still be on Barlow to get a gig on the senior list to start the season, but it’s definitely a situation you’ll need to monitor.
The other thing I like about Barlow is that he’s a mature aged selection. Mature aged players tend to have greater success in their first season. Just from a quick look at the 2008 National Draft I can only see five mature aged selections – Ballantyne, Post, Robinson, L.Anthony, Bail (not counting recycled players). They all played AFL in their first year and apart from Bail all spent a bit of time in the seniors. Then you’ve got rookie list successes such as Greg Broughton, Robin Nahas and even though not a great DT’er yet, Liam Picken.
Barlow has already had a few years of senior experience that’ll hold him in good stead. His consistent performances got him onto Freo’s rookie list, but I bet there were stages last year while they were tracking his form that they wished they could just pick him to play for them! I must admit I missed Freo’s first NAB Cup game, but it sounds like he adjusted to the pace of playing against a side slightly above the level of the VFL sides he played against last year.
While not strictly a rookie, Tom Rockliff only played one game for Brisbane last year and is only priced at $100,100, so really he fits the criteria for these articles – a cheapie who can make you some cash.
I’ll kick off by saying that you’ll need to track Rockliff’s pre-season very closely. He was very good on the weekend against the Bulldogs in torrid conditions, but that was playing through a Lions midfield missing Power and Black. Job security has to be a concern in the back of your mind when you’re looking at Rockliff, but I’ve been a big fan of his for a few years now. I thought he’d get drafted in 2007 for sure, but he missed out and I couldn’t believe he made it all the way to the pre-season draft in 2008.
He’s forward eligible in DT this year, but he’ll be a candidate to play a lot through the middle. The big knock on him as a junior was his lack of endurance, but it’s something he appears to have worked very hard on. He’s also a very capable and opportunistic forward – back when he was playing TAC Cup he kicked five goals or more on eight occasions, not to mention four goals three weeks in a row in the 2008 finals. His 2008 TAC Cup Grand Final was only overshadowed by Steele Sidebottom’s 10 goal performance (Rocky had 30 touches and kicked four goals).
I like his versatility because it gives Michael Voss a couple of places to play him and when it comes down to selection that might be what gets him the nod ahead of another fringe player.
The specific reason I’ve written about Rockliff today is that I expect Brisbane to be a winning team this year and there’s definitely a correlation between winning and DT points. Obviously most of the rookies (or cheapies like Rockliff) get lots of games if they’re with poor teams, but I find it a big bonus if you can nail a couple of rookies who can contribute playing amongst quality players. It just makes their transition into AFL a bit easier and being surrounded by a higher quality of teammate generally means their team will keep a bit more of the ball, which can only be a good thing for your rookie.
Even though the conditions on the weekend were no way to judge a DT performance, I was pretty pleased to see Rockliff step up and be one of Brisbane’s best players. If he can keep that form up, it makes him too hard to ignore. I am quite confident about his ability to score well if he can stay in the team, so track his NAB Challenge performances closely if you can. There doesn’t seem to be a whole heap of forward bench options sticking out this year, so Rockliff could also be a slightly more unique rookie compared to a Trent Dennis-Lane, James Podsiadly or Phil Davis, who I’m tipping to feature prominently on DT benches come Round 1
Three weeks in and I’ll be having a look at another obvious option, but I guess a lot of the reason for this is that there hasn’t been any footy played for me to stick my neck out on guys who I can’t be sure will be getting games.
Barring injuries, Jack Trengove will surely be in Melbourne’s Round 1 team and he definitely has the skill to spend the year there. Before I get too far into it, I would like to point out that on SEN Melbourne Football Manager Chris Connolly said, “I will guarantee they (Trengove and Scully) will not play 22 games. Dean is very aware of the management issues, and we won’t be throwing them to the wolves.”
I find that comment interesting, but I don’t interpret them to mean that they’ll get a taste and then play the year out at Casey. I still think Trengove is good for 18+ games if he is handling the workload fine, but just be wary that it sounds like he could be a candidate for a rest during the year.
He’s already played a lot of footy against men in the SANFL and his 29 touch BOG performance in the Prelim for Sturt against Glenelg turned a lot of heads and had many believing that he, not Scully is the true #1 in the draft. Not that it mattered with Melbourne having both of the Top 2 picks…
Trengove’s versatility will be one of his strengths as a DT’er. He can play inside and outside, so he’s more than willing to go and get his own ball, but he’s great in space too. His football IQ is very high, so he combines these two aspects of his game really well and knows where to be positioned to get his hands on it.
Athletically he stacks up really well, with elite endurance that he’ll hopefully get the chance to use with plenty of game time, Mr.Bailey. I really like his disposal when he gets a bit of space and Melbourne could do a lot worse than working the ball out to release Trengove out wide. Obviously teams will try and work to get the ball into the hands of good kickers, and while he may have a bit of work to do on his kicking in traffic he’ll be very reliable outside.
As Daniel Rich showed us last year, rookies can come in and be a focal point of a midfield rotation and I really think that Trengove (and Dustin Martin at Richmond) are the best chances of being really important players in midfield rotations this year.
Once again, he’s an expensive rookie prospect given that he was the #2 pick overall. I was pretty glad of that though. Melbourne could’ve taken him #1, but I prefer Trengove to Scully as a DT’er (and don’t get me wrong, I love Scully) so it made him a few grand cheaper. He’s still $153,500 so you’d be unlikely to shelve him on your bench if you’re going to pick him.
A few weeks ago when I wrote about Martin I was only going with a one starting rookie strategy, but I’ve changed some things around because I just can’t pass up another rookie (Trengove) who I could see averaging 75+ and being a great money maker while pulling decent enough scores to get you by early in the season.
I swear, next week I’m going to start looking at cheaper options, I just had to get the mega guns out of the way…
At this early stage of the game it’s best to be intuitive. With no exposed form I’m going to take a look at the player from last year’s draft who I believe has the best DT game. Also, in good news, upon researching his pre-season I hear that he has been impressing down at the Eagles.
Brad Sheppard is a running defender with great play reading skills. He’s a very good athlete and ticks a lot of boxes as a player. He creates some great dash and is a fantastic kick of the ball. The way I saw him play his juniors reminds me a bit of what we saw from Andy Otten last year, except Sheppard will be a more damaging player.
One thing I’ll be valuing highly this year is players that play on winning teams – I’ve spoken before about the obvious correlation between winning games of footy and DT points. Over the coming weeks it’ll be tough to justify some of my articles with this in mind, because a lot of the kids that will get a chance are from struggling clubs, where there may be more opportunity for a kid to come in and get a regular game. I actually anticipate that the Eagles will improve to be a Top 8 team this year and that Sheppard is good enough to be a part of that.
I’m not calling him a lock for 22 games, but there’s a poise about the way he plays that should hold him in good stead for AFL football. In the short term I can see him playing off a half back flank in a rebounding role. His kicking skills wouldn’t be as good as Hurn’s, but Hurn will always attract more attention, so if it plays out this way the kid might be able to get some cheap stuff as opposition put plenty of time into Hurn.
Given his class he has the scope to move up the ground. His running game is very strong, so the prospect of him getting a bit of time on the wing on the massive Subiaco is a pretty attractive option if you ask me.
Being a first round pick he’s also a bit uppish in the price range for a rookie at $133,500, but you have the option of playing him as your 7th back. Personally, I’ve got him sitting on my bench at the moment but if I hear he’s playing Round 1 I’ll have to decide whether or not I restructure a little bit to push him onto the ground and use the extra cash elsewhere.
All reports from his pre-season have been fantastic (except apparently he was fairly average in the intra club) and there’s even a bit of talk about him forcing his way into the midfield rotation. At the end of the day, even if he’s not playing from Round 1 he’ll at least be a good one to have a look at bringing in later on. Track his NAB Cup form closely.
I know we all love reading about the cheap rookies, but the first one I’m looking at will be a bit on the pricey side…as far as the kids go anyway.
Richmond fans are extremely excited about Dustin Martin, and with good reason. There’s a lot to like about him and along with Jack Trengove, I believe he’s the rookie most likely to play 22 games, so it does give you flexibility to keep him as bench cover late in the season, or earn you enough cash to trade out for a keeper. Also, as a general philosophy this year I am valuing durability higher than most things this year (sorry Chappy).
One thing I will note, and this probably goes without saying, at his anticipated price point of about $150K you would only be looking to start him on the ground. I mean, personally I couldn’t justify spending that much on a bench player. But for that much money can we back this kid in to be this year’s Daniel Rich? The reason I’m writing about him is that there are few things about his game that bears a bit of resemblence to Rich.
Martin has a very strong and mature body – a good, typical country lad. His hardened body will assist greatly in his durability as the season goes on. Not only is he mature, but he’s tough as nails, so I’d expect him to play through injury more than most other young kids.
I hear you ask, “But Dan, what good is durability if he scores like Nathan J. Brown in 2008?” Never fear, because Martin wasn’t drafted at Pick 3 as a midfielder for no reason. He’s a fantastic kick of the pill, so Richmond will be looking to entrust him with the ball in his hands more than other rookies around the league…especially if Hardwick has average ball users like Edwards, King and Hislop in his 22. Along with his wonderful foot skills (keep kicking, Dusty, handballs are only worth two points) his hardness means he’ll win his own ball and pull down more tackles than most other rookies. Some players can play a little bit too inside for DT production (lack of marks, too many handballs – it’s been a knock on Joel Selwood’s scope to move to the elite level, for example) but at least early on when you don’t expect elite production from Martin you can look for him to be one of the highest scoring rookies. Long term (not that it matters for this year) I think Martin has a fine outside game too and will be OK in this regard.
I’ll make the call now, injury aside, I expect Martin to lead first year players in tackles this year. If he can replicate Selwood’s first year (minus the premiership) you’d be looking at about 16 points per game on tackles alone. Not that I want to put a kid in the same bracket as freaks like Rich and Selwood, but I can just draw a lot of comparisons between their styles, their bodies and the likelihood of getting a lot of responsibility early on.
He’s comfortably in Richmond’s best 22, not just in my opinion, but in the opinion of a lot of Richmond fans as well and I really think he will be an important part of their midfield this year. After a big wrap like that, I’m hoping like all hell this doesn’t become my Shannon Cox article that Toby would remind me about somewhere between once to four times per week, but luckily Dustin Martin isn’t a pea heart. All of my plans this year involve having Martin as my sixth midfielder, possibly fifth if I can trust another rookie to hold down a starting spot ala Rich and Otten last year.