Mid-Season Rookie Research

With the back end of the season coming up and rookie pickings looking a bit slim, I thought I’d do a bit of research into how some of the popular preseason picks were coming along in their efforts to get into their respective AFL teams and our Dreamteams. It’s also a great way to procrastinate and not be doing physics practice exams!

By the way, I thought I’d leave off Tom Couch from these picks as I’m sure anyone who’s reading this has heard enough rants about Mark Neeld being a dickhead and not picking someone in such brilliant form when you have a spud like Cale Morton and the dirtiest mo in the AFL in Lynden Dunn in the team…

Anyway, let’s get into it!

Sam Docherty                   DEF/MID

Brisbane Lions                 $130,200

Sam was talked up for a lot of the preseason as a rebounding defender who was going to feature prominently throughout the year for the Lions and be a very solid mid/defence link who could be somewhat of a ball accumulator, not too unlike our mate Dyson Heppell last year over at the Dons. Then he was struck down with a hip injury and had to have some surgery which threw a spanner in the works.

The Lions had a bye this week in both the AFL and NEAFL so we didn’t get an indication of how he’s going right now. Last week, however, he played his fifth game for the Lions in the reserves and was “a standout across half-back” and “had a season best outing, amassing 28 touches and providing a lot of rebound from the backline”. That sounds fairly promising to me.

One of his only concerns is the amount of half-back options Brisbane have at the moment. Pearce Hanley, Jed Adcock, Mitch Golby and Josh Drummond are all solid options there and the Lions may not need another one in the side. But given the Lions need to blood some more of their youngsters to continue rebuilding their squad and Mr. Docherty here fits that description perfectly.

Despite his higher price, I’d say it’s well and truly worth it. If he gets selected in the coming weeks, I know that I’ll be jumping right on board even if he gets vested. Quality downgrade options are hard to come by in the backline and he could even be a useful link in the midfield for some floating premo bench cover in Carrazzo/Scotland when they return. A creative defender with clean foot skills and great scoring potential… Come on Vossy, bring him in!

Stephen Clifton                 MID

GWS Giants                         $121,800

This guy could be a lifesaver for anyone (like me) who still have a multitude of midfield rookies sitting on their bench almost completely fattened up and ready to cull. He’s an inside midfielder who is one of the strong-bodied Giants’ midfielders and as a bonus is still only 23. As soon as he’s back from injury he’ll be almost a certainty to help shoulder the midfield load every week against the strong bodies in the AFL. Could be a good time for Sheeds to rest a couple of the younger guys. He won’t be spectacular like Horsley or Coniglio, but he’s not going to let you down with 40s either which is always handy.

The Giants injury list says that he’s still two weeks off, but he’ll probably play his first game or two in the NEAFL so he probably won’t play til round 14 at least. Possible downgrade for a maxed out Jmac/Treloar? All I know is he’ll be very useful to help finish off those last upgrades!

Tom Mitchell                     MID

Sydney Swans                   $98,700

This kid will be a serious bargain if he can ever get a game. The endurance, poise and raw talent of a top 5 draft pick for the price of a standard draft pick! I bet Sydney couldn’t believe their luck when they picked him up at number 21 under the Father/Son rule. This guy has amazing scoring potential as shown by some recent games in the NEAFL with 26 disposals (19 of which were contested), four tackles and a goal for 105 points against the Suns and a massive 42 disposals for 133 two weeks before that. His SC points were boosted by about 30 per game above his DT. This shows the effectiveness of his disposals and overall quality of his game which means he’s a lot more likely to get selected and keep a spot.

He has a lot of obstacles in his way to being selected alongside Josh Kennedy however as Sydney’s midfield is a very solid unit with a lot of depth. Goodes is still to come back from injury and the Swans have even upgraded rookie youngster Harry Cunningham who impressed in the NAB Cup. This to me says that he’s a fair way back in the pecking order at the moment and don’t take this as gospel but I’ve heard a couple of people say he may not even get a game this year as the Swans want him to develop in the NEAFL for a while.

Pretty much what I’m saying here is don’t hold your breath for him to get a game, and certainly don’t rely on him getting one either. All we can do is pray and thank the DT gods for this one blessing if he does in fact get a game.

Elliott Kavanagh                 MID

Essendon                               $98,700

Another one of the bargain brigade, Kavanagh featured heavily in lots of Fanfooty’s Fanplanner teams until he managed to keep getting these niggling hamstring tightness/soreness injuries. Was part of the AIS/AFL Academy, has decent endurance and topped the clean hands test with 28/30 in the AFL Draft Combine. Taken at pick 19 by the Dons, he would’ve gone a lot earlier in round 1 if it hadn’t been for his past with those troublesome hammies.

Unfortunately, talent may not be enough for this combination of an inside and outside midfielder. His major problem is the same as Mr. Mitchell’s above. Essendon’s midfield has been absolutely tremendous this season and he’ll really struggle to get a gig without an LTI. Zaharakis’ quad tear may be an opportunity for him, but even if he does get in, he’s likely to just play 2 or 3 games then not play again until preseason 2013.

Unless he puts on a brilliant show in both of his first two games in a row and then is selected the following week, I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to bring myself to pick him. If he can get over this recurring hamstring injury then he’ll almost certainly be a mainstay in their midfield in the future. This season, however, I’m not so certain.

Anthony Morabito             MID

Fremantle Dockers           $168,000

A 20 year old former No. 4 pick in the AFL Draft, Morabito has some talent and pace in spades. He lit up the Freo team in 2010 and had a couple of great games during that finals campaign and when he’s not having knee reconstructions or battling hamstring injuries, he’s a walk-up starter. That’s the thing with him though, those multiple injury clouds hanging over his head. He has returned to the WAFL recently and in his three games he’s been solid if not unspectacular averaging 17 disposals, 4 marks and 3.5 tackles per game. On that form he’s not going to break into the first team but he’s also not going to go unnoticed as he’s apparently central to Ross Lyon’s plans for the future.

His past scoring has been erratic to say the least with highs of 98 against Geelong and 96 against Hawthorn in an elimination-final win to lows of 31 against the Bulldogs and 38 against West Coast in their wooden-spoon season. These performances and his 2010 average of 56.6 doesn’t inspire confidence as a player you’d like to put on your field, but given the stage of the season we’ll be at by his 3rd game when you bring him in, it’s highly unlikely that you’d be looking at starting him.

Look out for him in coming weeks as he regains match fitness and hopefully a bit more ball-winning ability.

And now I retreat back into my cave to contemplate the mysteries of physics, why they have to be examined and look at my horrible team.

Hope you all enjoyed this and found it helpful to gauge what’s happening with our potential bench options! Give me a follow on Twitter (@NickSjogren) if you want. I love a good chat about DT and footy A LOT. So yeah. That’s pretty much it!

Happy DTing and I hope your MBRs aren’t as painful as mine have been (ranked 200th overall – nek minnit 1307 points with 7 donuts L )

I just couldn’t resist…


Nick Sjogren, DT and Footy Tragic.


  • Thanks Nick!

    I’d like to add to that list Sam Gibson. Look out for him to be named this weekend after being upgraded off the rookie list. The mature age recruit will be a handy downgrade option over the next couple of weeks when people need some cash to make the most of their teams over these bye rounds!

    • The AFL artical regarding Sam Gibson said he will make his debut this week, so don’t be surprised if he is named.

      • he is making his debut this Saturday. It’s certain.

        • Will the reptile unleash on Gibson? Or since its GC Suns he will be given a full game to prove himself?

          Are people going Magner/Horsely to Gibson this week or waiting to see how he goes?

          • Definitely wait til he plays 2 games.

            I don’t understand the logic of bringing in a rook who hasn’t played yet. So many variables such as scoring potential, JS etc you need to analyse from his 2 games before trading him in. Not to mention he could be injured/suspended/dropped in his 1st or 2nd game.

          • nah he’s a gun. avg. 105 DT points. you can be conservative, I’m not

      • I won’t bring in Gibson yet because this week I’m bringing in Sam Shaw in defence (assuming he is named)

        I’ll bring in Gibson for Horsley assuming he does well in his first game.

        I can understand those that might bring him in before he plays purely for lack of options and if people need a midfield downgrade.

        Definately ideal to see him in action before trading him in though

    • Cheers for putting it up Warnie!

  • Great article buddy! Good read.

  • Nice article mate.

    Is there anywhere to find dreamteam stats for players who play in the reserves teams ??
    Was interested to see how Patton was going.

    Also I am looking this week to sell the Big O for a rookie to free up some cash.

    Possible options:

    1 – Majak Daw
    2 – Tom Campbell
    3 – Other ??

    Any ideas

    • Looking forward to seeing Majak Daw run a muck for North Melbourne but for some reason NicNat the 2nd is out of favour. I have heard that Tom Campbell from Doggies is a big key forward who could get a game…

      I was thinking of going Big O to TC this week myself

    • Surely you have a FWD, BACK or MID rookie much more worthy of culling than Orren?

      • I have rucks of mummy , the mullet and giles so dont need Big O.
        Also there are not so great downgrades going around and I will be doing other downgrades etc over the next two weeks.

        So I thought given the3 trades I will cash him in to help with upgrades.

    • i had to google their individual games in the NEAFL and WAFL and leagues such as that to find them haha champion data do actually do stats on them but i couldn’t find them published anywhere unfortunately! only found the tom mitchell ones cos of his twitter haha

  • interesting read

  • mitchell & morabito look like great options

    • Mitchell probably won’t play this year and Morabito has a gigantic price tag which will probably be larger than Gibson’s first two price rises.

      Good JS though.

  • Great article, very well written and researched. Nice info! Keep it up and you might be a regular haha

    • cheers mate! i’d just have to find something different to write about :p

  • I like the Y U NO Guy reference but Sam Gibson was a pretty big oversight.

    • yeah it was a bit! still trying to figure out how i forgot him… but i wrote this on sunday before my exam so my mind wasn’t completely on it… still a massive derp move though hahah
      ahh well, you guys will all know a lot about him and since there’s been so much chat about him this article raises another couple of names who haven’t been talked about for a while!

      • True.

        Did that Yeo guy from Brissy get a run yet?

        • he did debut against north
          im not sure if he has played since

        • he’s only had 1 game which was rd 9 against north and scored 54. decent first showing but zorko smashed out about 95 that game so would expect more against them and wasn’t selected for rd 10…
          not likely to be picked this week either but you never know! we’ll find out before partial lockout tomorrow anyway :)

      • He had more touches than Zorko but

  • What are peoples thoughts on these trades?

    Magner – Gibson
    Horsley – Mitchell
    H-Mac – Cox

    • dont do magner to gibson this week
      do it when he is on the bubble

    • bloody brilliant!
      could even save yourself about $60K on priddis instead of mitchell too if you felt like it.

  • The real question is who will come out for Gibson??
    He was picked up for his run and spread possibly from a halfback roll.
    Will that see a C.Delaney dropped?
    They are giving up an Average of 106 points a game against

    • Sounds like they were waiting for round 11 to upgrade him and would have done it earlier if allowed judging from what was said in the media today. I was lucky bringing in Zorko after his sub affected 26, might make another ballsy trade bringing Gibson in early.

      Now they have Scott on record talking about his elite endurance, for this reason I would be suprised if he was sub as they would want to utilise his strengths which is obviously running out a full game… just hoping… Magner to Gibson for me only to save a donut and only have one more premo spot in my mids which I’m reserving for Swanny – not interested in sideways trade for Barlow just yet when he is fit and pumping out 100s.

  • Risking it for the biscuit and downgrading Didak to Gibson. gives me $350k. Upgrade Treloar to Boyd/Jobe/Ablett once maxed out, and upgrade Morris to Carrots once bottomed out and my team is complete with Clarke as a d7 and porps/zorko for f7/8. Zorko will also be able to swap into the mids if required. Leaves 9 trades which is one less than I wanted but Didak ruined that.

    Gibson = gun = lock.

  • This week im going

    Tomlinson – Sam Shaw
    Magner – Boyd
    Horsley – Gibson

  • Thinking of bringing in Grffin for Sandilands.

    Bit of a gamble but he does well when solo ruck.

  • i wanna downgrade one of my defenders…..any options???

  • Are there any decent Ruck downgrades? Tom Campbell is the only one I’m considering atm, though might wait until next week.

  • Is it worth getting in Gibson this week to cover a donut if Horse doesnt play. If Horse does play he’ll go down in price a fair bit meaning this is the week you’ll make the most cash from a Horsely – Gibson trade.

  • Tom Mitchell is out for another 1-2 weeks as he continues to battle knee tendonitis. At this rate their is a fair chance they will put him on ice for the year and hope to get a full pre-season into him. With the Swans going so well there is no need to rush him.

  • Zaka —> Danger
    Horse —-> Priddis
    Magner —>Gibson (frees up cash and solves all my donut issues assuming he DOES play)

    Any thoughts?

  • Can anyone see another DEF rookie option aside from Docherty & Shaw?

    I need to shed Lee Spurr (biggest mistake of my season) and for all my looking these are the only two possible downgrades I can see. Just not convinced of Shaw’s JS.

    Look at the Crows list this week and try to add back Johncock & Vince and I can see Shaw being under the pump to hold his spot now that Mackay is back in the team….

    As mentioned above though the Lions have a real depth in the position Docherty is vying for so he will not be a shoe in either….

    Aargh… I don’t care about price I just want someone I can count on to play 90% of the time.

    Maybe Hargrave has to become M8 and I’ll upgrade Spurr……??

    • Youd probably need to go up 50k and look at Darley, Buntine or Moore if you need someone who is going to be active for the rest of the season