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Rooks On The Radar – DPPs

The pre-season competition – the proving ground of AFL rookies – is yet to get underway, but that’s no excuse for not having got out the binoculars and taken in a spot of rookie watching yet. Chook has a look at which dual-position rookies have cropped up on his radar so far.

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The pre-season competition – the proving ground of AFL rookies – is yet to get underway, but that’s no excuse for not having got out the binoculars and taken in a spot of rookie watching yet. Chook has a look at which dual-position rookies have cropped up on his radar so far.

Last year, in a bid to make the most of dual-positioning, I used my midfield bench spots on Geelong mid-fwd Mitch Duncan and Richmond mid-def Mitch Farmer, dubbing the move “The Double Mitch Switch”. While Duncan proved a valuable pick-up, earning decent dollars and allowing me to sub Chapman into the midfield when required, Farmer proved far less useful (from memory, I think I used his dual-positioning once to allow Goddard to cover a late-season doughnut, but I’d have been much better off with a Bastinac type as Farmer’s low scoring crippled my ability to make any money out of that crucial midfield bench position). This year, of course, the introduction of a bye (and third bench spot) will make DP rookies far more valuable than in the past – and the good news is that there’s lots of choice in 2011. So who will scratch your DPP itch? Who will make us rich and who do we ditch?


Ben Jacobs (def-mid) put up some of the best DT numbers at the under-18 national championships and averaged over a 100 in the TAC Cup last year, but, at this stage, the posters on the Port Adelaide board at BigFooty can’t find room for him in the Power’s best 22. Hopefully a big NAB Cup has Primus thinking differently. Another DPP rookie who averaged more than 100 in the TAC Cup last year is Essendon’s Dyson Heppell (def-mid), the joint-winner of the competition’s Morrish Medal. He’s not the only bright DPP prospect at Essendon this year, though, with Michael Hibberd also earning def-mid status. A 21-year-old who plied his trade in the VFL last year, the most enticing thing that can be said about Hibberd is that he picked up the Fothergill-Round Medal in 2010 – the award for the most promising young player that Michael Barlow won in 2010. Whether either will get a go with the Bombers is up in the air given the new coaching panel at Essendon.

While DP alone might give these three the edge over some of the mid-or-def-only rookies, they also have the added benefit of playing for teams (Essendon, Richmond and Port Adelaide) that have their first bye in the middle of the season (well, rounds 10, 11 and 12, at least), meaning these cows will have a long, uninterrupted period in the paddock to fatten up.


In the mid-fwd bracket, Fremantle’s Tendai Mzungu looks likely to get a game from the start if he shows promise during the NAB Cup. He’s another mature-age recruit, having played in the WAFL for the past five years. The 25-year-old won Perth’s B&F last year and was third in the league in disposals. Another mid-fwd who’s a chance to debut in round one is Isaac Smith at Hawthorn, who’ve shaken things up in the off-season with 13 players (that includes rookies) leaving the club. While a few of the holes have been plugged by experienced players such as Cam Bruce, there are going to be opportunities for blokes like Smith, who started last season in the Ballarat Football League but ended up as a member of the VFL premiership-winning North Ballarat team. It’s a similar situation at Adelaide, who’ve had five retirements and two others depart to rival clubs. Crows coach Neil Craig has never been the best at giving kids an early chance, but he has to put 22 blokes on the park, so some rookies are going to get a chance. That’s music to the ears of mid-fwd Ian Callinan, although he’s not exactly young. A member of the Tassie Devils side that competed in the VFL a few years ago, Callinan, now 28, was last year best-on in Central Districts’ SANFL grand final win. He’ll be cheap and is a good chance of getting game time, though might not set the world alight with his scoring. Someone who might is Dion Prestia, a mid-fwd for Gold Coast who averaged 29 disposals a game in the TAC Cup last year. It’ll be hard to know whether the 18-year-old qualifies as best 22 given that we won’t see a Suns team sheet until round two, although hopefully coach Guy McKenna is pretty transparent with his selections in the pre-season tournaments.


It’s slim pickings in the def-fwd category again this year, with Adelaide’s first pick in the 2009 draft, Daniel Talia, being the only one to crop up on the radar at this early stage. As I said, Adelaide have some gaps to fill, but Talia doesn’t strike me as a high scorer. If your bullish about Sam Gilbert’s scoring potential and want to exploit his DP status, however, then Talia may be your man.


The fwd-ruck division is even worse, with Kurt Tippett’s younger brother Joel Tippett the only option. He played as a key defender for the Suns in the VFL last year, averaging a measly seven disposals, and is no guarantee to attract games in 2011, especially given that half of the experienced players the Suns poached from other clubs are defenders. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth wasting a bench spot on Tippett to give yourself the option of swinging Petrie through the ruck. That’s a maybe from me at this stage as, unlike those precious midfield bench spots, you’re unlikely to generate much cash from ruck rookies any how.

This ain’t an exhaustive list, so if there are any other DP rookies that are on your radar, then let us have it in the comments. Oh, and let me know in the comments whether you want me to track blokes like Andrew Krakouer (fwd-mid) this year – those that aren’t actual rookies, but are priced as such.

Tomorrow we’ll have a look at which back rookies are currently on the radar, followed by the rucks and forwards on Thursday, with the midfielders to come on Friday.



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    January 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Joel Tippett is no rookie though. He was on Brizzy’s list a few years back.

    But a very good right-up Chook. Thanks man :D

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      January 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      True, another that falls in that ain’t-a-rookie-but-is-priced-like-one category. I think it’ll just be easier if I worry about everyone under $160k, or whatever it’ll be that Dave Swallow checks in at. Except the Presti types… damned if I’m bothering with the Nathan Browns of the DT world.

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    January 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Great write up indeed Chook, the DPP is going to be more important than ever.

    Personally, I would love to see a write up about the guys like Krak who are priced as rookies. I think a lot of us will be looking closely at guys like him, even with the inflated price tag.

  3. Warnie


    January 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Great work Chook!

    Excited about this series… and all of the Chook posts this year! I think anyone who is rookie priced is worth the mention! Obviously excluding those Presti types! ;)

  4. Warnie


    January 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    “That’s music to the ears of mid-fwd Ian Callinan”… the music wouldn’t have to be too loud for him to hear it! His nickname is ‘Wingnut’.


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      Bruce Dual

      January 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      Could be this year’s Bertocchi – from all reports, he’s built the same

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    January 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Looks like another quality article boys.

    Cant wait to see Mzungu and Krakouer do through the NAB cup

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      January 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      Can’t wait for the NAB Cup. Sooo many rookies this year

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    January 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Ian Callinan has been in my team since he was drafted!, good write up chook.

    ohh and Chook im just wondering do you know anything about Tom McDonald from Melbourne, DPP R/F?

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      January 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm

      Just a forward unfortunately, Wraygun.

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    jim cowski

    January 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    he’s back

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    January 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Another potential DPs is Billie Smedts, DEF/FWD according to Monty’s FanPlanner. Cats’ #15 draft pick from last year – with a new coach and ageing list, hopefully the Cats will blood more rooks this year (although Christensen might be higher up in the queue than this dude)…

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      January 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Good call, Cesc. Still see it as a tough team to crack, but agree new coach changes things. Certainly hope he gets a gig, as rooks in high-possie teams is a recipe for loads of cash.

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    January 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Do you think you could do a list of previously good DT players that you think have peaked and we should stay away from? Like O’Keefe from Sydney, Black from Bris, Chad Cornes and maybe big Cox … blokes whose averages will be coming down. I’d like to know what you think.

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      January 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Its Chooks ROOKS! not Chooks Has beens!!!!!!

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    January 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Keep an eye on Pat Contin from the Tigers….

    Who’s burning: Rookie Pat Contin is tearing up the track; he has come back to training in better condition than ever before, having lost over five kilograms, and is running better as a result of losing the weight.

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      January 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      Will be giving Pat his 15 minutes when we get to the midfielders, Tigers. Saving the best ’til last.

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      January 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      SHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I had pat contin all pre season last year after his 105 in the nab cup. He idnt go that great in the seconds last year tho.

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      January 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      Tigers you are a machine. Thanks for the tip.

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    January 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Do you think it would be worth giving the second ruck spot to kurt tippet so that you could sub him through the forward line with petrie? Or is it just a waste of a position.. You have to find the balance between DPP and losing points through missing out on potential gun players that are one dimensional.

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    January 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Tom McDonald from Melbourne is R/F and will get games. He will be better then Tippett.
    Good write up Chook ;)

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      January 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      Yeah, pretty certain McDonald will be a forward only. Sucks, because the more fwd-ruck options the better. Not keen on riding the K-Tip rollercoaster again this year, or shelling out for David Hale, either.

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        January 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm

        On m0nty’s fanplanner he is still a R/F but yeah I will take your word for it.
        If you are right I will probably go with Joel Tippett just so I can have Petrie up forward :D

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          January 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm

          yea the prospectus has him fwd only

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            January 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm

            Oh well thats really disappointing :(

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      January 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      Even if he is a R/F I can’t see him getting a game in the ruck or in the forward line this year. Might
      Get a gig in the nab cup but that’s about all it will be

  13. feathertopDT


    January 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    not DPP but what about shaun atley, maverick weller, josh toy

    • Warnie


      January 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      Did you read the final sentence of the article?

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    January 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Warnie he probably did, he just wanted an excuse to say Maverick!

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      Bruce Dual

      January 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm


      Ooooh yeah, I see what you mean

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    January 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Great stuff, thanks Chook.
    Michael Ross from the Bombers?- my mate said he’s gonna be a gun.
    Brother Ben is at Nth, & his Granpda played too-59 games for Sth. Melb.- won their B&F in 1966.
    With his first bye in round 10, would be a great selection.
    So if you know anything, Please Do Tell! lol

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      January 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      Oh crap! Dpp rooks- ok, scratch that!

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        January 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm

        DT 2011- I’m sooo excited, & I just can’t hide it, I’m about to lose control & I think I like it…..

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          January 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm

          Ha, ha. Haven’t heard much about Ross, to be honest, eee, but you’re right about Essendon rookies being valuable due to the late bye. The other good ones in that regard are Port and Richmond.

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      January 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      Micheal freaking Ross hey? Hmmm, first I’ve heard, thanks eeepo!

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    January 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I dig Chook’s Rook’s. I’m onto most of the players you mentioned, especially Wingnut, Hibberd, Smith and Mungbeanz.

    You can’t go past fellas that have played with the big boys.

    Prestia is an interesting one. On one hand he sounds like a potential mid, on the other, a young small forward (always risky)

    And yes Chook, I am interested in any player priced as a rook and could make me $$$’s. If they bat for the other team and drink chai tea, I don’t care, just as long as they go up in price and don’t do that shit in front of me hahahahaha!

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      January 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      Mungbeanz! Love it.

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    January 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Ben Jakobi

    He is one to look out for…..

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    January 26, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Strange about Mzungu being MID/FWD because in the WAFL for Perth he plays as a backman and i thought he would get a game in the backline for freo to free up say a duffield to have a run in the midfield or even ibbotson.

    Just to add i think the likely replacement for rodger hayden at freo is Peter Faulks as a running breaking the line backman (not a dpp i know) but will certainly get game time and will be cheap.

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    January 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    good work chook

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    January 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Great write up Chook! ;)

    What about Cameron Pederson from North Melbourne? He is 73k on fanplanner…

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