Friday, January 27, 2023
HomeAFLRecruits most likely to debut straight away at every club, analysis, latest...

Recruits most likely to debut straight away at every club, analysis, latest news

- Advertisement -

Many recent draftees will be on the periphery of Round 1 selection in 2022, but some clubs will be keen – or have no choice but – to unleash their prized new recruits immediately.

Collingwood’s final pick could be an opening-round debutant, while the match committee teams at Essendon, West Coast and St Kilda could have early selection conundrums.

Foxfooty.com.au assesses every club’s draft haul and predicts the players most likely to debut in Round 1.

Watch Australia v West Indies. Every test match live and ad-break in play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

Davey brothers complete family fairytale | 04:31

ADELAIDE CROWS

All three Crows national draftees have the potential to play senior footy at some stage in 2023. But father-son gun Max Michalanney, who’s wasted no time getting to work on the training track at the Crows, could be in the mix for a Round 1 debut. A mobile yet disciplined defender with strong intercept ability, Michalanney played three SANFL league games for the Redlegs this year as a lockdown defender, while he also has rebound ability. Adelaide fans should also expect midfielders Billy Dowling and Hugh Bond to get AFL games in 2023, but more likely in the back-half of the year.

BRISBANE LIONS

Star midfielder Will Ashcroft will enter the AFL environment as ready-made as any player that’s been drafted before him. He dominated at every level he played at in 2022, including in the VFL where featured in a couple of games for the Lions. Ashcroft has been compared to Carlton star Sam Walsh, who played all 22 games and averaged 25.1 disposals in his first season to claim the Rising Star award – and don’t be surprised if Ashcroft has a similar output in 2023. Fellow father-son recruit Jaspa Fletcher will be eased into his Lions career, particularly after his back stress reaction that’ll hinder his pre-season.

Lions match Roos bid for Ashcroft | 01:29

CARLTON

The powerful two-way run that top pick Oliver Hollands provides might put him in the Round 1 frame at the Blues. Hollands has the ability to win on the inside, but is classy by hand and foot on the outside, while his composure in traffic means he doesn’t panic and makes every disposal count. Lachie Cowan is a powerful rebounding defender with a long kick and terrific dash, but probably sits behind Hollands in the early debutant rankings. Fellow outside runner Jaxon Binns should be given a good run in the VFL to start the year. South Australian key-position recruit Harry Lemmey can play at either end of the ground, but the Blues certainly won’t rush him and will monitor which arc he settles into at VFL level.

COLLINGWOOD

From country footy in 2022 to Collingwood’s Round 1 team in 2023 – that’s what many recruiters believe is on the cards for 23-year-old draft bolter Joe Richards. Despite being the Magpies’ final national draft selection, fairytale Wangaratta bolter Richards looms as a player that could slot into Collingwood’s top line-up straight away, most likely in a high half-back role. Jakob Ryan might get an AFL look-in during the first half of the season, but top draftee Ed Allan is a highly talented but project player. His senior opportunities will be determined by his development over the pre-season and ultimately what position the Pies see him playing. The sense is if Allan plays in the AFL next year, it’ll more likely be in the back-half of the season.

ESSENDON

The Bombers had a terrific draft, although it remains uncertain whether any of their draftees will be ‘Round 1 ready’. Top pick Elijah Tsatas will ultimately bring an exciting, explosive dynamic to Essendon’s midfield, but after an injury-interrupted 2022 campaign, most recruiters at this stage expect him to be unleashed during the middle to latter stages of the 2023. Gun key defender Lewis Hayes should start out in the VFL, but his height and intercept ability might lead to an early debut, depending on his development over summer. Of the Davey twins, Alwyn Davey might be a late-season chance, while Jayden Davey will continue his rehab from an ACL rupture during the pre-season.

Dodoro reveals cheeky Phillipou sledge | 01:43

FREMANTLE

Of the Dockers’ four national draft picks, two were mature-age players in Tom Emmett and Corey Wagner that could have an immediate impact, while the other two were talls in Hugh Davies and Max Knobel that’ll need ample time to develop. Emmett was the shock pick, but he’s a tough, physical and powerful forward who’s been likened to Sam Powell-Pepper. After playing 14 games at SANFL league level this year, the 21-year-old would be a chance to play early for the Dockers next year. Wagner already has 19 AFL games with the Kangaroos and Demons to his name, while his recent performances across half-back for Port Melbourne in the VFL suggest he could play AFL footy early in 2023 with a strong summer.

GEELONG CATS

Top pick Jhye Clark has all the attributes to play early next season, but whether he can slot into the reigning premiers’ Round 1 side might be a challenge. A consistent yet combative and well-balanced on-baller with a thirst for the contest and an excellent workrate, Clark is ready-made and could make an immediate impact at AFL level … if he can break into the best 22. Athletic 197cm recruit Phoenix Foster will need time to develop.

GOLD COAST SUNS

The Suns used just one pick at the national draft, pouncing on preferred prospect Bailey Humphrey, who could be in the Round 1 mix come March. A powerful forward-midfielder, Humphrey is a genuine impact player with a penetrating kick, terrific footy smarts and an excellent overhead mark for a player of his size. He’ll fit in well at the Suns and should, at least, play within the first couple of months with a full pre-season. Obviously Gold Coast’s two rookie selections – ex-Docker Connor Blakely and ex-Giant Jake Stein – will come into opening-round thinking for the club’s match committee.

GWS GIANTS

No. 1 pick Aaron Cadman no doubt has the frame to play many AFL games next year, but the Giants will likely ease him into the season, for clubs traditionally prefer not to rush and unleash key forwards too early. WA recruit Darcy Jones, who was selected with the final pick of the first round, might be the Giants recruit that plays first. A versatile 174cm prospect with speed, skill and great footy nous, Jones showed rapid growth at Swan Districts and played three WAFL league matches. First-round bolter Harry Rowston, who’s been likened to Tim Taranto, might sit between Jones and Cadman in the likely debutants order. Max Gruzewski and Toby McMullin will take time.

Cadman eyeing off Round One AFL debut | 01:13

HAWTHORN

Cam Mackenzie declared to foxfooty.com.au last month he wanted to “have an impact pretty early on” at AFL level. And considering he’s a well-rounded and balanced 188cm on-baller with neat disposal, a strong inside game and a great burst from stoppage, he’ll no doubt be in the Round 1 mix at Hawthorn. Fellow national draftees Josh Weddle and Henry Hustwaite are more unlikely for the opening round, with the Hawks set to investigate what part of the field will suit both versatile players. Weddle has impressed in defence but Sam Mitchell can see him developing into a flexible, Mark Blicavs-style role player, while Hustwaite could end up as a tall midfielder or third tall defender. Speedy recruit Bailey Macdonald will take time, but Jack O’Sullivan is an outside chance to play some AFL footy as a small forward at some point in 2023.

MELBOURNE

Don’t expect to see national draftees Matt Jefferson or Jed Adams in the selection fraje at the start of next season. Jefferson is a key forward with outstanding overhead marking ability and great forward craft. But he’ll almost certainly begin his AFL career developing in the VFL, as Ben Brown, Tom McDonald, Josh Schache and Jacob van Rooyen would all be ahead of him in the tall forward pecking order. Adams, too, would be competing with Harrison Petty, Jake Lever, Steven May, Joel Smith and Adam Tomlinson for a spot in the Demons’ backline. Perhaps the best early-season chance at the Dees would be, remarkably, rookie draft bolter Oliver Sestan – a powerful mid-sized forward with great goal sense. But it’s a hard side to crack into.

NORTH MELBOURNE

Of the Kangaroos’ first two picks, star small forward Harry Sheezel looms as the more likely Round 1 inclusion. Competitive, skilful and agile, Sheezel will cause so much damage for the Roos forward of centre, either kicking goals himself or setting teammates in a better position to score up. Fellow top-five pick George Wardlaw has the frame to play Round 1, but you sense the Roos will be ultra-cautious with the powerful inside midfielder after his injury-interrupted 2022 campaign. Wardlaw missed the entire back-half of the year due to several hamstring setbacks. He should be training with the main group from the early stages of the pre-season, but the Roos will take no risks at the selection table. Brayden George will sit out most of 2023 as he continues his rehab from an ACL rupture, while Cooper Harvey should spend most of the year building in the VFL. Rookie acquisition Daniel Howe, obviously, will be a Round 1 chance after 96 games for Hawthorn.

Roos excited to draft son of a gun | 00:35

PORT ADELAIDE

He won’t be in the Round 1 mix, but top draftee Tom McCallum should see some senior footy at some point next season. The 193cm tall back has been compared to the McCartin brothers for his size and intercept ability, but might have a bit more speed and rebound ability, which could put him in the senior selection frame late in 2023. Key-position recruits Tom Scully and Kyle Marshall will surely spend the year playing for the Magpies in the SANFL.

RICHMOND

The Tigers pounced on a couple of WA-based sliders – and one of them has capability to play a role in the senior team if called upon early. Agile 179cm midfielder Steely Green played eight WAFL league matches – often an excellent grounding for the AFL level. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be in the Round 1 mix, but don’t be surprised if he gets an opportunity as early as the middle part of the 2023 season. Kaleb Smith, a speedy small defender-midfielder who’s been compared to Adam Saad, will take a bit more time to develop. If the Tigers cop a few injuries to their top key defenders, rookie acquisition Tylar Young – a 196cm, 92kg backman plucked from Richmond’s VFL program – might be ready to go.

ST KILDA

Don’t be shocked if three of the Saints’ four national draftees are pushing for Round 1 selection come March. Top pick Mattaes Phillipou will no doubt be pushing hard for an early debut during the off-season. Injury curtailed the back-end of his 2022 campaign, but he tested well at the draft combine and has the confidence to make an early impression under Ross Lyon. James Van Es mightn’t be the best or most talented key back in this year’s draft class, but he could be the most Round 1-ready. He’s not only strong one-on-one and intercepting in the air, he’s also very athletic with a high leap. Then there’s one-touch, high-impact forward Olli Hotton, whose rapid rate of development in 2022 surprised recruiters. Should that growth momentum continue in his first Saints pre-season, he might be a Round 1 bolter. Isaac Keeler will spend most of the year in the VFL.

The 2 sides of the Rowston draft move | 01:23

SYDNEY SWANS

Despite the Swans’ success in 2022, the prospect of Jacob Konstanty getting a game within the first month is plausible. A lively small forward who brings ample defensive intensity yet possesses a deep trick bag, Konstanty looks to be a great fit for the Swans. Half-back Cooper Vickery, forward-midfielder Jaiden Magor and hard-running winger Caleb Mitchell, though, would likely be given a good run in the VFL before being considered for senior selection.

WEST COAST EAGLES

With strong pre-seasons, all of Reuben Ginbey, Elijah Hewett and Coby Burgiel could be pushing to represent the Eagles in the opening round. Hewett would be the No. 1 contender, with his explosive power and big frame almost certain to have him in the Round 1 selection frame. Ginbey, a 190cm big-bodied midfield, would also be a strong chance, especially after playing four WAFL league games for East Perth. Prolific ball-winning midfielder Burgiel has the speed, versatility and size to play AFL footy early too. Even goalsneak Noah Long, who was taken with the Eagles’ final national draft pick, would be a good chance to feature at AFL level in the mid to late-season. Harry Barnett is the best ruck in the draft class but will spend most of the 2023 season developing in the WAFL.

Hewett’s EPIC reaction to being drafted | 02:28

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Could Charlie Clarke line up next to Cody Weightman come Round 1 next season? Don’t rule it out. Renowned for his energy, competitiveness, goalsense and linking ability between the arcs, Clarke could slot straight in as a crumbing forward option. Harvey Gallagher is a 19-year-old recruit who might start as a rebounding defender, but could also work his way into the Dogs’ AFL side later due to his ability to become a rotation in the midfield. Top pick Jedd Busslinger isn’t expected to feature too much at the top level next year as he’ll not only spend the off-season easing back from shoulder surgery, he’ll be behind Sam Darcy, Liam Jones, Ryan Gardner, Alex Keath and possibly Aaron Naughton in the key defender pecking order. When he’s ready down the track though, the gun 195cm interceptor will be a beauty.

Story Credit: foxsports.com.au

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular