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AFL Draft Wrap – Top 5 Rookies To Watch

Tom is back with a look at his top five rookies to watch from the 2016 Rookie AFL Draft.

Tom is back with a look at his top five rookies to watch from the 2016 Rookie AFL Draft.

Click here for the first round.
Click here for the second round.
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Click here for the fourth round.
Click here for the fifth and six round.

Rookie Pick 2. Brisbane – Jake Barrett 

Position: Inside Midfielder
Height: 182
Weight: 82
Club: GWS Giants
State: NSW/ACT

The Lions were crying out for midfield depth and they clearly went into the 2016 Drafts with that at the forefront of their minds. After selecting midfielders McCluggage, Berry, Cox, Allison and Lyons in the National Draft, the Lions picked arguably the best available midfielder in former-Giant Jake Barrett with the second pick in the Rookie Draft. Barrett was starved of chances at the talent-filled Giants but was a prolific Fantasy scorer in the NEAFL. Although he is on the rookie list, expect Barrett to be given chances next year.

Rookie Pick 26. Port Adelaide – Brett Eddy

Position: Key Forward
Height: 194
Weight: 89
Club: South Adelaide
State: SA

The Power have filled a need by selecting SANFL leading goal kicker Brett Eddy. Eddy, a 194cm key position forward kicked bags of goals for the Panthers in the SANFL having previously played with the Collingwood VFL team. It is expected that the Power’s first National draft selection Todd Marshall will be given plenty of time to develop and add size to his frame, therefore Eddy will likely be given a chance at AFL level from the get-go – particularly with Charlie Dixon under and injury cloud and Paddy Ryder returning from a year off. May not be a huge Fantasy scorer but will be a smart selection at F7 or F8.

Rookie Pick 46. Hawthorn – James Cousins

Position: Inside Midfielder
Height: 185
Weight: 80
Club: Murray Bushrangers
State: Vic Country

Although the Hawthorn midfield will be hard to break into with the likes of Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara replacing the old firm, Murray Bushrangers best and fairest winner James Cousins will be looking to see game time in 2017. A member of the TAC Cup All-Australian team, Cousins averaged 99 Fantasy points for the Bushies and was unlucky not to be picked for Vic Country. Cousins production, endurance and contested ball are standouts but his lack of speed is what prevented him from being picked in the National draft.

Rookie Pick 17. Sydney – Ben Ronke

Position: Inside Midfielder
Height: 181
Weight: 76
Club: Calder Cannons
State: Vic Metro

As will likely be the case with James Cousins, new-Swan Ben Ronke has landed at a club where he will find it tricky to nail down a best 22 position. Ronke is a Luke Shuey type of midfielder with speed and agility but can win plenty of contested ball as well. Also a solid overhead mark considering his smaller statue, Ronke averaged 89 Fantasy points in 14 TAC Cup games with the Cannons. Worth a place on the watchlist but I wouldn’t expect him to start in round one because of his rookie status.

Rookie Pick 6. Richmond – Tyson Stengle

Position: Small Forward
Height: 171
Weight: 69
Club: Woodville West-Torrens
State: SA

Exciting small forward Tyson Stengle makes my top five rookies to watch in 2017 mainly because of Richmond’s likeliness to blood their youngsters. Stengle has pin-point foot skills when in the forward line as well as evasiveness, agility and goal smarts crucial to the role he plays. I doubt he will be a huge scorer but he is one of my favourite players in the draft pool and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a game or two for the Tigers.


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Big Crows fan, AFL fantasy try-hard and writer of the Draft wraps and Versus articles.

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