Tbetta’s Rookie Radar: Pre-Combine

The AFL National Draft is only a month or so away, so it’s time to get to know the new crop who will be gracing our Dream Teams in 2012. I’ve spent the last few days researching a few of the players that are on my radar early in the off-season so far. The Combine is underway as we speak, so we will have much more data after the week’s physical and psychometric testing.

Firstly, let me get out of the way a few hype players that aren’t currently in my plans for 2012. I’ve listed their current physical characteristics what I predict their positional eligibility will look like.

Hype Draftees

Jonathon Patton  197cm  95kg  18yo  FWD

The Eastern Ranges’ Patton is considered a possible first pick in the AFL Draft – not that it matters, seeing as the top 3 will all be going to GWS, which he is certain to be part of. He is a hulking half-forward with a good turning circle and skills at ground-level. His main criticism has been his goal-kicking accuracy, but we have all seen how those types – ie Buddy Franklin – can still be valuable.

While he is a young Key Forward, which has never been a reliable DT option, you would think his strength and credentials will hold up in a young GWS forward line. The only drawback is whether it is worth picking up a rookie KPP who will be premium price for a rookie as per the draft pay scale.

STATS: Per game from 11 games: 11.5 kicks, 5.5 handballs, 7.5 marks, 2.8 goals

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1R2p4_2Ku4.

Hayden Crozier  184cm  68kg  17yo  FWD/MID

We all know Crozier as ‘that skinny kid who took that hanger for Vic Metro at the State Champs’. But there’s a little more to the Number 2 from the Eastern Ranges than one good mark, he’s an excitement machine. His physical characteristics paint him as a raw Nat Fyfe type – agile, great mark, long kick – who will benefit greatly from a year or two in the system to bulk up a little as Fyfe did.

He was touted as a top 15 pick after gaining some exposure from that mark, but his form has been shaky since, with his inconsistency his greatest vice. He’ll still go in the first two rounds, but as a DT pick, he’s probably a couple of years away from putting up any decent numbers.

STATS: Per game from 12 games: 13.3 kicks, 5.6 handballs, 5.2 marks, 1.0 goal

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5rbJrNJc_A

Chad Wingard  181cm  73kg  18yo  MID/FWD

Despite it being difficult to find any reliable vision or statistics on South Australian draft prospects, it’s obvious that Wingard will go top of the order. Pre-Combine, he is projected to be off the table by pick 7. The indigenous midfielder is not particulary strong in any particular physical category, so don’t expect to see much hype around him from the Combine testing.

What Wingard does have is a hunger and never-ending desire for the footy. His ferocious pressure and repeated efforts combined with his footy smarts make him perfect for clubs, but possibly not so much for Dream Team. He’ll be premium price, and from what I’ve seen he doesn’t generate enough of the footy to be worth the cash. Although, he will get plenty of opportunities to prove himself in his first year, and if someone could prove me wrong, it’s Wingard.

STATS: None available

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9kIzMh4-Ig

 

 

 Top 9 DT Prospects

With those big names out of the way, let’s look at some players who could be really fantasy relevant next season. These are my Top 9 DT prospects for the Draft prior to the Combine.

Dom Tyson  186cm  82kg  18yo  MID

After a fantastic year, Tyson finds himself firmly entrenched in the top 10 prospects going into the Combine, with being picked 4th-6th a distinct possibility. This means he’ll likely find himself at either GWS, GC, Port or the Lions – all with young and developing midfields, perfect for Tyson to be injected into right away.

He is being talked about as a tall midfielder in the Pendlebury mould – a smart accumulator with a nice left foot and a great release handball. At this stage he looks to be a great DT bet given his playing style and likely destination. Once again, the only worry here is whether he is worth the extra salary you pay for a first round rookie. Watch closely over the nab cup.

STATS: Per game from 10 games: 12.6 kicks 13.2 handballs, 4.7 tackles, 1.0 goal

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpy4mj2Zqhc.

Billy Longer  202cm  95kg  18yo  RUCK

Longer is being talked about as a top 10 pick, but as a ruckman his placing will all come down to what the individual teams think they need the most. Regardless, he’s guaranteed to be the first ruckman taken, probably cementing his selection as the 3rd ruck in most preliminary Dream Teams. He dominated the tap-outs at for the Northern Knights, while also being effective when resting in a pocket.

Unfortunately he has tweaked a hamstring so we won’t see what he can do in terms of the physical testing at the combine. Obviously, he’ll be right for the nab cup, and I’m sure whoever picks him up will test him there, especially as he is being backed to hold a 2nd ruck spot in his first year.

STATS: Per game from 12 games: 8.0 kicks, 3.7 handballs, 28.9 hitouts, 1.25 goals.

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hf_JsG46ss

Will Hoskin-Elliot  190cm  76kg  18yo  MID

Hoskin-Elliot is another Victorian that is firming as a top 10 choice. He plays as a true wingman, a great user of the footy, which means he is a great chance at playing out most of his first year. He reminds me of Cale Morton in his hey-day (State Champs) – quick, great mark, and a precise kick. Unlike Morton though, Hoskin-Elliot is willing to do the hard things like smother and tackle.

In terms of Dream Team, he’s doing all the right things. Being a link-up player, he generates a large amount of +6’s and has a huge kick-to-handball ratio. His opportunity to make the senior side regularly depends on where he is drafted to and his nab cup form – so watch him over the off-season closely. My main concern is that he is a good candidate for the Green Vest, but again, we’ll only know by monitoring him at his new home.

STATS: Per game from 12 games: 14.8 kicks, 2.8 handballs, 5.0 marks, 1.0 goal

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jACUtEKO7U4

Toby Greene  180cm  78kg  18yo  MID

Toby Greene is the hungriest player I’ve seen so far from this crop of draft talent. The Oakleigh Chargers stoppage man was All-Australian at the Champs and was named Vic Metro’s MVP. He is probably best described as a Joel Selwood type – his attack on the ball is second to none, and he has an incredible knack of firing out highly effective handballs to teammates, no matter the situation.

For some reason he is not as highly rated as his high-profile Metro teammates, but this is a good thing for DTers. Hopefully he’ll fall a bit and we can pick up this accumulator for a little less cash than he probably deserves. The main concern with Greene is that, depending on which team he is drafted to, he may have to wait a while for a senior opportunity in a strong midfield.

STATS: Per game from 13 games: 13.4 kicks, 15.8 handballs, 3.4 tackles, 0.7 goals

VIDEO: http://bigpondvideo.com/AFL/390657

Matthew Buntine  188cm  83kg  17yo  DEF

Buntine will be one of the highest drafted defenders come Draft Day. The Dandenong product is a member of the AIS-AFL academy, winning their prestigious Ben Mitchell Medal this year. Previous winners include Josh Toy (Gold Coast), David Myers (Essendon), Jack Grimes (Melbourne) and Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne). At the moment Buntine is projected to go first round, but he shapes as a real wildcard. Depending on how things map out and what particular clubs think they need in terms of position, he could go as high as top 10 or slide down the order.

Buntine’s key characteristics are his impressive core strength and clean hands under pressure. He rarely gets beaten in a one-on-one, but it’s his pace that recruiters will be looking at closely over the combine. In terms of DT, I see him fulfilling a role similar to Duigan in his first year at AFL level.

STATS: Per game from 10 games: 13.7 kicks, 7.8 handballs, 4.2 marks

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYD6Rbdq2NA

Stephen Coniglio  182cm  76kg  17yo  MID/FWD

There is a reason why Coniglio is being touted as a number 1 pick, and that’s because he’s the best all round player to nominate for the draft. He has the polished skills, obvious smarts, blistering pace and impressive strength that make him a certainty to play out most of 2012. A knee injury has slowed him post-season, ruling him out of the physical testing at the Combine.

He should earn Mid-Forward eligibility given his highly publicised performance in the 2010 WAFL Grand Final, where he kicked 4 goals as a 16 year old. The obvious concern with Coniglio is the inflated price tag he will carry being a high draft pick, but if there’s anyone who can play all 22 games next year, it’s Stephen.

STATS: Per game from 6 games: 10.2 kicks, 8.5 handballs, 4.8 tackles, 0.33 goals

VIDEOhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soyT_qZEGgk

Brody Mihocek  191cm  83kg  18yo  DEF/FWD

I’ve included Mihocek here because I think he’ll earn Defender-Forward eligibility and he could come into calculations for a lot of teams in terms of structure. He’s expected to be the first drafted Tasmanian, but isn’t projected to make the first round. This means he should be at the standard rookie price.

He’s a great mark, but overall is a raw player who will benefit greatly from time and exposure to an AFL system. He may struggle to break into stronger sides, but if he ends up at one of the weaker clubs he could be a viable DT option.

STATS: None available

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n30V4fjW5k

Tom Mitchell  181cm  79kg  18yo  MID

Tom is the son of Sydney great Barry Mitchell, and is entitled to be picked by the Swans via the Father-Son rule. He reminds me of Scott Selwood – a tough, head-first midfielder who tackles and gives repeated efforts. He plays more attacking than Selwood however, and has put up large numbers on regular occasions for both WA and Claremont this year.

Sydney has a young and tough midfield already, with Jack and Hannebery both in the same mould. Coupled with Sydney’s reluctance to blood many youngsters in the recent past, he could struggle to get a game first-up.

STATS: Per game from 6 games: 12 kicks, 14.2 handballs, 7.2 tackles, 1.0 goal

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZl9tElTKOM

Sam Docherty  183cm  83kg  17yo  DEF

Docherty is probably the biggest bolter in draft calculations over the last year so far. The Gippsland product was only called up to Vic Country for the last two games of the State Champs, but performed well to boost his draft chances. He is a very speedy and accurate-kicking defender, think Nic Suban.

Because he is a bit of an unknown to a lot of recruiters, his Combine results will go a long way in determining where he sits in the Draft order. Early projections have him late first round, which means we won’t have to pay such an inflated price for this one.

STATS: Per game from 16 games: 13.3 kicks, 8.7 handballs, 4.9 marks.

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0unqzh5LRes

 

Others to Watch:

Clay Smith – Gippsland Power  180cm  78kg  FWD/MID

Brad McKenzie – Sturt  180cm  78kg  DEF

Myles Bolger – South Fremantle  199cm  80kg  RUCK

Liam Sumner – Sandringham Dragons  182cm  70kg  MID

Devon Smith – Geelong Falcons  175cm  73kg  MID/FWD

 

Obviously, there is plenty more potential in the draft, especially those who will be picked in the latter stages but find a home that works for them. Like I said earlier, there will be a lot more standardised data out of the Combine, and I’ll put up a post in the coming weeks with the ones who make a blip on the radar. It’s also important to note that this doesn’t include players that are already contracted to GWS like Dylan Shiel or mature-age prospects – this is purely the new young players eligible for this year’s National Draft.

Take a look through the videos above and let me know if I’ve included or missed anyone I haven’t!

 

Tbetta  – Catch me on twitter @tbetta9

 

20 Comments

  • I know I’m supposed to say something as I preceeded other posters but I forget.

    Hey champion good to see you’re pumped for 2012 already!

  • Tbetta will Conglio be priced above Sheil et. al.?

    I am thinking the established GWS players may be cheaper and better bets?

    • I would say most definitely. Like Gold Coast last year they should have a small premium attached to them, both number like the first few picks in the draft.

  • I think ill pass on Tom Mitchell – he’s a bit passed it at 80yo. Great read tbetta, thanks.

  • Great article tbetta!

  • Cheers Tbetta . Loving the early start to the preseason !

  • Does anyone rate Tony Armstrong? I don’t know much about him.

    • I think he is talented but not there mentally. Sydney want him in trade week to replace Kennelly as a running half back.

    • As an Adelaide supporter I can tell you he has explosive pace and good foot/hand skills. He has a fairly light frame though and has had disciplinary issues such as a DUI (where he blew very high .180) that lost him alot of respect from players. If he gets his head straight and remains injury free he would be a good pick up in my book. Crows hierarchy have always rated him.

    • Thanks lads, I heard Gilbee is being chased by Sydney as well for the half back role, Lake as well for FB. We have significant dead wood we need to get rid of as well, hopefully we can do a bit at the trade table as we have cash to burn with Bradshaw, Bolton and Kenelly off the books.

    • Shhhhh…. Tony Armstrong was going to be my smokie next year. I was already thinking about him until I heard he’s going to Sydney… Now he’s a lock for me in defence! The kid is a gun!

  • And a big LOL @ Jennifer Witham who wrote the 2011 “Season Review” for Collingwood on the AFL website….not only did she say they finished 2nd on the ladder but also had 22 wins??? C’mon AFL get some real journo’s that actually know their stuff…

    • Classic! I guess its just skeleton staff on at the website, while all the real journo’s are on their ” journo footy trip”

  • Any thoughts on Sam Blease for next year for a 7th mid?
    How much will he cost??

  • What are people’s ideas for Callinan in 2012? He only had one price rise in 2011 and averaged 62.7, not bad for only 3 games…