Batten’s Ultimate Rookie Formguide

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The JLT Community Series is over and with it came a bite-sized look at the potential cash cows populating our SuperCoach paddocks

There were standouts – namely wearing purple guernseys – but there were also popular rookie selections who didn’t fare so well.

The general trend for rookies sees midfielders score the best, defenders scoring surprisingly well and forwards stinking it up.

From the small sample size, 2018 doesn’t look to be a changing of the guard, with forwards noticeable the weakest rookie line. Consequently, I would strongly advise anyone planning to field three forward rookies to reconsider, as you are likely to cop a meagre total from at least 1 player each week.

The defensive cash cow options are plentiful and look to have a greater scoring capacity, so it is fair game to load up in the backline.

The mid department was not as promising as first thought in the two games, and as for rucks… Well, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Let’s get into it and size up the rookie options.


Throw away the key:

Tom Doedee | Adelaide | $123,900 | JLT Average: 70

Pronounce this guy’s surname however you like, he is a must-have option in defence. Doedee came from the clouds when he was selected late in the first round in the 2015 draft, but he looks to be worth the wait for the Crows. Earmarked as the Jake Lever replacement, Doedee averaged nine intercept possessions per game in the SANFL last season and his exceptional reading of the play was on display during the JLT. Don’t read too much into his score of 56 in his second game, as he got to this total kicking the Sherrin just twice.

Intercept defenders are gold in this game, and he looks like a reliable option.

Jeremy Finlayson | GWS | $123,900 | DEF/MID |  JLT Average: 75.5

The Giants were calling for a defender with foot skills to step up in Zac Williams’ absence, and one did. You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about this Giant, but he has been in the system since 2015. Despite being 196cm, Finlayson possesses one of the better kicks on the Giants’ list – and that is saying a hell of a lot – and he generally uses his powerful left peg to drive it long. This bodes well for his scoring, as it did in the pre-season where he averaged 75.5 points and went at an elite 88% disposal efficiency with a healthy kick to handball ratio of 2.25:1. At the age of 22, Finlayson is ready to step up to the plate. Also can be selected as a midfielder, which isn’t a bad move if you’re loading up on defence rookies.

Sam Murray | Collingwood | $123,900 | JLT Average: 102 (1 game)
We only got to see him in the one game during the JLT, but boy was it eye-catching. The Pies shocked just about everyone when they hunted for the Swans Category B rookie in last year’s trade period, but they clearly saw something they liked. The running defenders led all comers for metres gained last weekend, finishing with a scintillating 102 points from his 24 touches. His teammates looked to get it in his hands at all costs, with his pace and dash proving to be a valuable asset. Don’t expect this score every week, but that blistering performance should be enough to earn him a Round 1 spot. If it doesn’t, Buckley should be sacked then and there.

If they play:

Aaron Naughton | Western Bulldogs | $166,800 | JLT Average: 68.5

We mentioned Doedee’s intercepting ability, here is the 2017 Draft’s intercept king. With state league footy under his belt for Fremantle affiliate Peel Thunder, the 18-year-old looked unshaken matched up against the likes of Jarryd Roughead and superstar Mason Cox in his two matches. Returns of 63 and 74 are probably what to expect from Naughton going forward, as his intercept marking game should ensure his scoring remains solid. Wait for team’s, but Naughton is a likely Round 1 starter, especially with Marcus Adams’ recent setback.

Cam O’Shea | Carlton | $166,000 | JLT Average: 60

SuperCoachers were shocked to see O’Shea not named in the first JLT, but more surprising was his whopping 60 points from a half in his second encounter.  O’Shea received less than 25% game-time against the Hawks and finished with 10 touches and four tackles in their close win. While the last quarter, in particular, was impacted heavily by scaling, it was a promising sign with the former Port defender. He is by no means a certain starter but if he is in, lock him in. Averaged 73.4 points in a season at the Power in 2013.

Nick Coffield | St Kilda | $171,300 | DEF/MID | JLT Average: 55

The wraps have been rousing for Coffield ever since he walked in the door at St Kilda, with the youngster floated as a Round 1 starter. Coffield held his own defensively and with ball in hand in the JLT, averaging 55 points. The medium defender has a good shoe and composure beyond his years. I would be leaning towards O’Shea and/or Naughton over Coffield, but he shouldn’t let you down. DPP is an added bonus.

Lachie Murphy | Adelaide | $102,400 | JLT Average: 64

Overlooked in two drafts, Lachie Murphy was finally picked up by the Crows in last year’s rookie draft. The utility wasted no time in the JLT either, kicking 3 majors on his way to 75 points in his first match in Crows’ colours. He followed it up with a solid 52 in defence from just 59% game-time against the Power. At $102k, he should definitely be on your radar but he doesn’t boast the scoring power of the other defensive rookies.

POD Watch:

Ciaran Byrne | Carlton | $229,300 | JLT Average: 62

From the moment Sam Docherty did his ACL, I thought here is Ciaran Byrne’s time to shine. The Irishman returns after his own injury issues have kept him to just 14 games in the past two seasons. Byrne churned out a solid 76 in his first hit-out but his second JLT wasn’t too flash, posting a score of 48 against the Hawks. Still, he along with new recruit Aaron Mullett will be helping to fill the Docherty void across half-back. If he can replicate his 2016 average of 67 (14 games), he will be a great investment. With just 2% ownership, he is worth consideration.
My current arrangement

On field: O’Shea, Naughton, Finlayson,

Bench: Murray, Doedee


Throw away the key:

Andrew Brayshaw | Fremantle | $198,300 | JLT Average: 92

Brother of Melbourne’s Angus, Andrew Brayshaw’s efforts in the JLT showed why he was such a draft bolter last year. The #2 selection was among the Dockers highest scorers in both games, posting impressive totals of 87 and 97. Half of Brayshaw’s possessions were won contested, and he also laid 7.5 tackles per game – two elements that are crucial for this game. He comes at an elevated price but he is worth every cent, looming as the best rookie available in 2018.

And his family do one-hundred 100m sprints on Christmas Day. Now that’s commitment.

Tim Kelly | Geelong | $117,300 | JLT Average: 69

We say it every year that Geelong recruit with purpose, and this appears to be another example right here. Tim Kelly was a prolific scorer in the WAFL last season, averaging 118 points, and showed traits of that throughout the JLT. Kelly is explosive, winning the ball in tight and breaking away from stoppages. It will be hard for him to break into the Cats midfield but his impact rotating in there over the pre-season was noticeable, averaging 69 points from just 13 disposals per game – a sign of his impact. One who should be a reliable starter for our midfields.

Dom Barry | Port Adelaide | $117,300 | JLT Average: 78.5

As I said in the pre-JLT write-up, this is one guy with two first names you can actually trust. Dom burst onto the scene in JLT1 with a scintillating 99, scoring 61 points in the first half alone. He didn’t reach those heights in his second encounter with 58 points, but his run and dash were still there. His Power teammates look to get the ball in his hands as often as they can, and his deadly left peg should get a workout in season 2018. Should play Round 1.

If they play…

Bailey Banfield | Fremantle | $123,900 | JLT Average: 85.5

This guy had thousands of SuperCoaches googling his name a fortnight ago when he managed an imposing 96 point return from just 39% time-on-ground. The 20-year-old hails from the WAFL and looks ready to go. Ross the Boss said he is a good chance of making his debut in Round 1 and if he’s in, it’d be rude not to select him. Mature body is a huge plus.

Nick Holman | Gold Coast | $102,400 | JLT Average 78

You might remember this guy as the delisted Blue who averaged under 40 in his first nine games. That was the old Nick Holman. Two years of SANFL footy and Holman is a new man, averaging a whopping 127 points for Central Districts last season. His two key traits of ball winning and tackling were present in the JLT, averaging 10 contested possessions, 5 tackles and 78 points. Oh, did I mention he is $102k? If he is in Round 1, he is perhaps the biggest lock of them all.

Will Brodie | Gold Coast | $187,700 | JLT Average: 69
I am a bit bewildered as to why Will Brodie has an ownership of 9% despite having a far better average over the pre-season than other high-priced buys in Dow and Davies-Uniacke. The top 10 selection struggled when he featured in the Suns’ line-up last season, averaging 43 points from his three games. Another pre-season will do the world of good for Brodie, whose strength is winning contested footy. The Suns’ non-existent midfield should mean Brodie receives ample opportunity, and his JLT form was certainly promising.

To pick, or not to pick?

Luke Davies-Uniacke | North Melbourne | $189,300 | JLT Average: 45

LDU, or “Oodles’ as he known by his teammates was one of the most popular rookie selections pre-JLT. A month later and he is owned by just over a quarter of SuperCoaches, after averaging 45 across his two games. He didn’t look bad by any means and looks to be a likely Round 1 starter, but is he worth forking out the extra moolah for?

Paddy Dow | Carlton | $193,800 | JLT Average: 45

He was the man tipped by the majority of captains to receive the Rising Star at year’s end, but like LDU, Dow failed to impress overall on the SuperCoach front. His measly 26 point effort from 68% time-on-ground was a cause for concern, but we saw his SuperCoach friendly game in his impressive first encounter. Probably the favoured option for me over LDU, but the questions remain.

My Current Arrangement:

Field: Brayshaw, Brodie, Kelly

Bench: Barry, Banfield, Holman


Throw away the key:

Bailey Fritsch | Melbourne | $117,300 | JLT Average: 68.5

Plucked from the Demons’ VFL side, a Round 1 berth looms large for Bailey Fritsch. The medium forward plays both tall and small, with an eye for goal when the ball hits the ground and the ability to pluck a high contested mark in the air. He took his chance in the JLT, booting four goals and averaging 68.5 points across the two games – the highest average of any rookie forward. Fritsch appears to be the only reliable field option for our sides.

Liam Ryan | West Coast | $117,300 | JLT Average: 48

‘Flyin Ryan’ looks to have done enough to secure a spot in the Eagles side. Totals of 50 and 46 certainly didn’t set the SuperCoach world on fire, but in the forward line, we will have to take what we can get. In saying this, we may see Ryan finish games with more hangers attempted than disposals, so he certainly isn’t a reliable field option. Nonetheless, he will be one player we will love to cheer on in 2018.

If they play:

Jarrod Garlett | Carlton | $117,300 | JLT Average: 41

After calling time on his career at the end of 2016, Jarrod Garlett is back in the AFL system. It was just about the shock of the draft when Garlett was called with the very last pick, but there is no doubting the former first-round selection’s talent. Featured in the first JLT and came off early with a shoulder injury. Garlett is currently listed as a ‘test’ on Carlton’s injury list and is still in the frame for a Round 1 berth. Jarrod Pickett’s recent long-term injury will certainly help his chances. Averaged 56 points from eight games in 2016, and you’d take that return.

Lachie Keeffe | GWS | $123,900 | JLT Average: 51.5

Lachie Keeffe was thrown a lifeline by the Giants after being delisted by the Pies last year. He bided his time in the Collingwood magoos in his first year back from his drug ban and is now a chance to feature in the Giants backline. Key position players aren’t favoured in this game, but a season return of 61 (14 games) in 2015 would be just what the doctor ordered. His average of 51.5 over his two JLT matches may be around what we should expect, though.

Darcy Fogarty | Adelaide | $153,300 | JLT Average: 52

As soon as this kid got the number 32, the Ricciuto comparisons came thick and fast. They only multiplied after his second JLT game, finishing with 14 disposals, eight clunks, three majors and 87 points. This including two massive roosts from outside 50. While it was an impressive display, I am still rather tentative to pick Fog. He definitely has the talent, but he doesn’t have the job security or consistency of other forward rookies, while also coming at a more expensive price. In this section due to the lack of options at our disposal.

Zac Giles-Langdon | GWS | $117,300 | JLT Average: 49.5

A strong pre-season has seen WAFL product Zac Giles-Langdon staring down the barrel of a Round 1 debut. The Giants are looking for a pressure forward with goal nous, and ZGL showed this off in the pre-season in spades. While this isn’t a rewarding SuperCoach role, as I have said previously, we can’t be too picky in the forward line. Handy bench option if he gets a run.

Steer clear:

Cam Rayner | Brisbane | $202,800 | MID/FWD | JLT Average: 51.5

He has been dubbed Dusty 2.0 but it may be a few years yet till we see Cam Rayner reach SuperCoach heights. The big knock on Rayner last year was his tank, and he is likely to bide his time up forward as a result. Did score 71 points in his second JLT hit-out, but this included 10 tackles… Rayner’s owned by 32% of SuperCoaches, so starting a cheaper rookie looks to be a nice POD. When you’re paying over $200k for a rookie, you want certain bang for your buck, and there are question marks here.

Jaidyn Stephenson | Collingwood | $180,300 | MID/FWD| JLT Average: 50.5

Stephenson was arguably my favourite player in the draft pool last year, so it pains me to put a line through him. The concern for Stephenson is his light frame and the likelihood that he wins most of his footy on the outside early in his career. He has speed to burn, but I’d say he is the one receiving the handball receives, which isn’t fantastic for scoring. Not worth his hefty price-tag for mine.

My current arrangement:

Field: Fritsch, Keeffe

Bench: Giles-Langdon, Ryan.


Darcy Cameron | Sydney | $123,900

We meet again, Darcy. Last year Cameron teased us in the pre-season, but now he doesn’t have three men standing in his way. Sam Naismith being ruled out for the season means he is behind only Callum Sinclair in the pecking order. Sydney generally opts to play two rucks, and if they do, DCam slots in. Averaged around the 30 mark in his two JLT matches so if he does play, don’t expect any miracles.

Tony Olango | West Coast | $102,400

Strnadica 2.0. If you’re looking for a loophole option, here it is.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Carleton

    March 20, 2018 at 4:31 am

    Good article, but we’ve been over this a thousand times.

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