Rookie Research Part 2: Defenders

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Identifying the right rookies, to be picked on the right lines can be tough if you don’t have the statistics to give you a real insight into just how well these players could fair in 2013. Nobody can predict the future, but statistics go a long way to confirming, or totally throwing out a prospective player. Given SuperCoach is based off efficiency, and with rookies forming at least a third of your side in 2013, getting the right rookies from the start, will go a long way to ensuring your team gets off to a flyer in SuperCoach 2013.

In a new edition to our preseason research articles, we take a look at the most important part of our SuperCoach teams, the rookies. They form a third of our starting squad, and have the highest ceiling in terms of value, of which we can then cash them in later on down the line, to strengthen our team with more premiums. “Rookie Research” takes a look at the most promising rookies, from all positions so that you can gauge an idea of who is going to set the SuperCoach world on fire, to those who won’t.

Part two casts an eye over the defenders taken in the National, Preseason and Rookie Drafts of 2012.

If you missed last weeks edition of the mature age rookies, then don’t forget to have a read.

Lachie Plowman SuperCoach 2013

Price: $189,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: N/A – Plowman did not participate due to injury
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 93

Playing for Calder Cannon in the TAC Cup, Lachie Plowman was a dominate force as the leagues best defender, who showed the ability to out-muscle his direct opponent, to make a spoil, and was also confident enough to take a defensive, and contested mark deep in defence. An elbow injury ruled Plowman out of the National Carnival, however his efforts throughout the TAC Cup were enough to ensure he was taken as a top three pick.

Paige’s Thoughts:

Plowman’s elite kicking efficiency is almost off the scales. He registered a whopping 82.7% efficiency by foot, the second best efficiency player by foot throughout the TAC Cup. His ball use is his major strength, and unlike most key defenders who are stoppers, Plowman prefers to get into a dangerous positions so that he can pierce through traffic with a precise kick to a teammate. However, he will be groomed to be very much a stopper, with the Giants light on for tall defenders, with already a surplus of fleet footed ball users from the back half.

Final Word:

Won’t provide much in SuperCoach, so at this stage he shouldn’t be considered. As per Kevin Sheedy’s rotation policy, he will get a taste for senior football in 2013, but not enough to be considered as a defender in your team. Pass for me.

Nick Vlastuin SuperCoach 2013

Price: $159,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 97
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 105

A fantastic leader, Nick Vlastuin captained Vic Metro at the championships, and there is a lot of early Damian Hardwick in the way that Vlastuin goes about it. Playing predominately across half back, Vlastuin is very much a rudder who marshal’s the defence, and ranked in the elite category for intercept marks in defence. Vlastuin also is above average by foot in regards to efficiency for a defender, and tackles strongly, averaging 18 disposals, six tackles four clearances and three inside 50’s playing predominately as a midfielder for the Northern Knights .

Paige’s Thoughts:

Given that Dimma isn’t afraid of playing his elite youngsters early on, it would suggest that already Vlastuin is thereabouts for a round one debut. The word from Richmond is that he has been one of the best recruits for a very long time, already super vocal beyond his years in recent training simulations, and he isn’t afraid to tell others where to be, or what to do. Given how good Vlaustin is by foot, and his ability to roll into the midfield where he is tackle and clearance machine, it’s no wonder he scored so highly throughout the Carnival and TAC Cup.

Final Word:

Should he get the nod for round one, he’s in. However, with such a good emerging list at the Tigers, Vlastuin looks to be first in line to cop the sub vest throughout the season. He can quite easily fit into the team, but there are a few who play in a similar position, which means that he could find himself in and out of the team, with the vest in sight.

Jackson Thurlow SuperCoach 2013

Price: $158,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 118
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 69

An incredible showing at the National championships saw Thurlow taken by Geelong with their first selection in the draft back in Novemeber. He was a prolific uncontested player, who wasn’t afraid to create play coming off half back, as a rebounding type. Thurlow has already been exposed to senior football, playing for Launceston in the TSL, averaging 20 disposals,  seven marks, and two goals per game. Versatility is the hallmark of Thurlow’s game, as he’s able to play at either end of the ground very well, and could potentially become a midfielder/winger type, adding to list of talents.

Paige’s Thoughts:

Thurlow has been a huge surprise this preseason, dominating the recent match simulations that Brad and Chris Scott have organised  between their clubs. Rave reviews flowed out of the Cattery, when Thrulow was seen putting his body on the line, running back with the flight of the ball, and taking some very impressive intercept marks, and managing to operate at nearly 100% efficiency coming out of defence for the cats. It comes as no surprise, as Thurlow was ranked the number one defender in the Championships,  averaging a lovely 118 points.

Final Word:

At this stage, a few players will be ahead of him, and with Geelong opting not to ever rush their kids, he could be one we see only briefly in 2013, especially with a few new recruits making their way over during the offseason, and a few from the VFL expected to consolidate their positions this year. He’s shown plenty, and will play at some stage, but perhaps not as much as we’d need him to, to have him in our initial squad.

Nathan Wright SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 78
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 68

Throughout the National Championships, Nathan Wright played off the back flank, averaging 15 disposals, of which seven were contested, and also chipped in with four marks and three rebound 50’s in 2012. As a defender, he rates within the elite for contested possessions, spoils and intercept marks and possessions, but his disposal efficiency really stops him from becoming a super dangerous player.

Paige’s thoughts:

For all the great work that Nathan Wright does in the contested possession count, he lets himself down with his poor efficiency by foot. Wright recorded the seventh lowest kick rating of any defender in the the Nationals. Wright has never really been a prolific possession-getter, but will be groomed as a hard running rebounding defender, for many years to come.d

Final Word:

You can expect to see Wright play some senior football this year, but a bit like Steven Morris and Brandon Ellis in 2012, don’t expect them to give you some massive scores.

Tom Clurey SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 77
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 80

Tom Clurey’s endurance, is that of a first class midfielder, so it’s no wonder a lot of hype surrounded the defender. Clurey recorded the highest beep test result at the national combine. Clurey was a solid contributor for Vic Country, averaging 12 disposals as more of a lock down defender, but was above average in intercept marks, spoils, pressure acts and 1%ers.

Paige’s Thoughts:

Already Ken Hinkley has said that Clurey has been one of the standouts at training so far, and already is in calculations to play round one. With a kicking efficiency of  an elite 76% in the National’s, and averaging 6 contested possessions a game, he may find himself held to juts a key defensive role at Port Adelaide, rather than a rebounder.

Final Word:

I can see Clurey playing games this year, but he’s too valuable as a lock down defender, especially with Troy Chaplin leaving the club via free agency. He’ll be in and out of the side, but don’t expect huge things from the young man. A pass for me at this stage.

Jason Ashby SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: N/A did not partake
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 104

Ashby didn’t make the cut for Vic Metro in the Nationals, however his impressive TAC Cup season was something to behold for the young defender. Ashby can play a number of roles in defence, but that’s about as far as it goes. He can play tall or small, and is a good one-on-one player, who isn’t afraid to take defensive marks on the last line of defence. Ashby had some testing results he’d rather forget, finishing bottom 10 for goal kicking, and bottom 15 for the 20 meter sprint.

Paige’s Thoughts:

Ashby is a great positioned  meaning that he matches up well on-one-on, and has terrific upper body strength. He rarely gives away free kicks, but tends to get a lot of frees for, with frustrated forwards usually being unable to compete with him. Although Ashby had some terrific scores in the TAC Cup, he was utilized as very much a rebounding defender, and also as a run-with player, who ironically enough kept number one draft pick Lachie Whitfield to a year low 18 disposals. Can’t see him having much to offer at senior level just as yet.

Final Word:

Better options available at that price, and I can’t see him getting much opportunity in 2013, unless injuries take hold at Essendon like they did in 2012. He’s a depth player at the moment, who will spent majority of the year in the twos, improving his game.

Tanner Smith SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 58
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 89

Tanner Smith had some impressive numbers at TAC Cup level, where he showed his flexibility to play as a tall key position defender, as well as a tall forward prospect in 2012. Never one to get a lot of the ball, Smith averaged only 10 touches a game, but led the competition in both the TAC Cup and National Championships in the way of spoils last year.

Paige’s thoughts:

Ross Lyon has praised Smith’s versatility since being drafted, and has impressed on the training track so far over the summer. At this stage, it looks as though Smith will be more of a long term prospect, who isn’t quite big enough to hold down a key position spot in defence, or up forward. He should see some action in 2013, but not enough to come into  consideration in SuperCoach.

Final Word:

Given Ross Lyon doesn’t like to blood youngsters too early, Tanner Smith will feature very little in 2013, however will still get the opportunity at some point for the Dockers, who are light on for key position prospects both up forward and in defence.

Jackson Ramsay SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 61
SuperCoach Ave in the WAFL Colts: 118

Very much unknown to most, is Jackson “Ramma” Ramsay – however is remembered for the incredible shut down role he played on Lachie Whitfield in the championships, causing him not to feature in the best for the first time in 2012. Across Ramsay’s three games for WA, he averaged 19 disposals, including 10 uncontested, and three tackles. The gut runner showed impressive foot skills, and an impressive knack for reading the play, however missed the second half of the season with injury.

Paige’s thoughts:

Ramsay was a standout at Colts level in WA, and was ranked number one in the competition for the most disposal average per game, which was 24. His gut running and endurance is why coaches love him, especially in the colts where he demonstrated his ability to get across the ground with four inside 50’s, and four rebound 50’s per match. He looks to be another “no-name-gem” from the Derek Hine factory, but at this stage isn’t one to consider in SuperCoach.

Final Word:

Although Ramsay has been injury free, and put in a great showing in Utah, with no senior experience behind him, I can’t see him cracking the Collingwood line up in 2013. Isn’t one to consider this year, and will spend the year in the twos.

Josh Saunders SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 85
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 114

Despite playing in the TAC Cup for the Geelong Falcons, Saunders wasn’t invited to the National Combine, however really threw himself into calculations in the state combine, where he recorded the second highest beep test. Saunders was a standout for the Falcons off the back flank, averaging 23 disposals per game, in his 12 appearances. He also showed an appetite for the contested ball, notching five tackles and four clearances per game, three inside 50’s and three rebound 50’s per game, playing predominately as a rebounding defender.

Paige’s thoughts:

The word coming out of St Kilda is that this kid can really play. He’s shown already at training that his commitment and courage will be a few talking points for the rest of his career, and looms as a serious smokey to play some games early on. With Jamie Cripps and Jason Gram moving on from the club, Josh Saunders is shaping up nicely to play some footy this year. His opening game for Vic Country was incredible, Saunders had 21 touches, 10 tackles and three inside 50’s against NSW/ACT.

Final Word:

Bench coverage at this stage, however might be in and out of the side, and will compete with Nathan Wright each week.

Joshua Prudden SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: N/A did not partake
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 112

Josh Prudden flew largely under the radar in 2012, although understandable as he didn’t bother to try out for the Vic Representative squads, believing he wasn’t quite ready to be listed by an AFL club. However, Prudden bobbed up on the radar in the TAC Cup for the Bushrangers, winning a huge 12 contested possessions per game, and seven uncontested with a whopping six  clearances per game – the third highest overall. Prudden’s disposal efficiency was in the elite category, plugging away at a very modest 73% throughout the TAC cup.

Paige’s Thoughts:

Although Prudden’s numbers were impressive in the TAC Cup, it was in the Victorian Schoolboy competition where Prudden was the rock-star  The wonder boy of the competition was as classy and courageous, notching disposals in the late twenties, and sometimes in the thirties. He dominated the clearances averaging 8 per game, chipped in with 6 tackles per game, and knew exactly how to get on the scoreboard.  His efficiency by foot was super impressive, and his endurance was also on display, able to play all over the ground.

Final Word:

Although Prudden’s numbers were impressive, the Bulldogs already have plenty of half back types, but have seriously unearthed a gem in Prudden late in the draft. Prudden has never played at higher level of football, but should really grow in the VFL this year, but isn’t one to consider right now for the Bulldogs.

Sam Siggins SuperCoach 2013

Price: $108,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals: 86
SuperCoach Ave in the TAC Cup: 75

The big Tassie lad put in an incredible showing in 2012, causing many to question why he was taken so late in the National Draft. The strong key defender got a taste of senior football, playing for Launceston in the TSL last year, where he proved he could compete and hold his own. Throughout the National Championships, Siggins took up a key defensive post, and in a poor year for the Devils in the TAC, he was one of the shining lights – with 14 disposals, seven marks (three contested) and four rebound 50’s in his first game against NSW/ACT.

Paige’s Thoughts:

Not quite somebody to consider in SuperCoach 2013, but more of a long term prospect, who will become a very well known player in the years to come. Siggins is a big lad, and is well filled out, however will have continue to build on his big frame, so that he can battle with the gorillas of the AFL.

Final Word:

Siggins looks as though he’ll one day take over from Ben Rutten, meaning he’ll be groomed into a stopped which is anything but SuperCoach relevant.

Sam Colquhoun SuperCoach 2013

Price: $109,500
SuperCoach Ave at the Nationals:
SuperCoach Ave at Colts Level: N/A

To many, it’s remarkable that Sam Colquhoun got overlooked to begin with in the National Draft, given he was number one disposal winner (28), number one for effective kicks, number one for un-contested possessions, and number one in handball receives, and was above elite in kicking efficiency (77%). However, he recorded the second lowest contested possession rate within the top 100 ball winners, causing many to question his accountability, and ability to play a defensive game, only averaging one tackle per game throughout his junior career.

Paige’s Thoughts:

There is plenty to like about Colquhoun, he is an elite kick, who rarely misses a target, and is a trusted ball user off half back, and somebody that can be relied upon to take the kick-ins from full back. However, he has never really been tested as an accountable defender, going on-one-on, or even played a shut down role at Colts level and at the Nationals. Despite SuperCoach being efficiency based, Colquhoun looks as though he may become better suited to AFL Fantasy (AKA DreamTeam), given he will rack up a large amount of the ball, but not so much in the lucrative way that SuperCoach points are allocated, especially within tackling, contested possessions, and clearances.

Final Word:

He’s been training extremely well, and looks as though he’ll be thereabouts for a round one start, and if he’s in round one – I’d still at the very least have him on my bench. Port Adelaide will be pushing up some great rookie options in defence this year, and Colquhoun is one of the better prospects. He’s get a tick for me based on his efficiency, but may not score too highly, but should see enough football to gain a price rise to upgrade him later down the track. Watch for NAB form, then make a decision.

Coming up next in the Rookie Research Edition:





Late bloomers



  1. Dave

    January 28, 2013 at 5:30 am

    So who do we pick in the defence as our rookies?

  2. Mitch

    January 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Do you want to be any more hand fed buddy?

    • Dave

      January 29, 2013 at 7:29 am

      No, I am more than happy for people to pick the above players. Only 1 of these will be in my team.

  3. Rachael

    January 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I agree that Vlastuin will be a sub most of the year. But boy am I looking forward to seeing him play. He is training the house down. He is a lot like Steve Morris in the way he plays which is what us tiger supporters have come to love, Steve’s hardness at the ball.

  4. John

    February 1, 2013 at 7:44 am

    You keep saying on-one-on but the saying is actually one-on-one… besides that it all sounded good

  5. Rowsus

    February 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Dave. Most SC Coaches will have 3 or 4 Def Rookies in round 1, and while the above was a good read, the general feel was “let’s wait until later on/next year” for all but one the listed Rookies. Given we now have a guide as to who my might follow into 2014, are there any recommendations as to who we might take in 2013?
    As to Mitch’s response to Dave of “Do you want to be any more hand fed buddy?”, I offer him the following excerpts he obviously missed:
    Plowman “…shouldn’t be considered.”
    Vlastuin “…looks to be first in line to cop the vest….”
    Thurlow “…will play at some stage, but perhaps not as much as we need him to,”
    Wright ” … don’t expect…. massive scores.”
    Clurey “A pass for me at this stage.”
    Ashby ” Better options available at that price,….”
    Smith “… will feature very little in 2013, …”
    Ramsay “Isn’t one to consider this year, …”
    Saunders “Bench coverage at this stage,…”
    Prudden ” …. but isn’t one to consider right now….”
    Siggins “….anything but SuperCoach relevant.”
    Colquhoun “Watch for NAB Cup form, then make a decision.”
    Mitch the summary on those twelve players read as nine of them are a straight “No”‘, one can sit on your bench, one will be badly sub affected, and one is a wait and see during the NAB Cup. I’m not sure we’ve been hand fed anything, except a nice list of who to avoid. Which can be pretty useful, it’s a not as good as a list of who to consider.
    While I hate pieces that are positive about every single option/player, it would be nice to see a review of Def Rookies you think we should be considering.
    I’ll put in terms of one of the excerpts I quoted. Where you said on Ashby “Better options available at that price….”, is there any possibility you might list them for us.
    Please excuse the negativity in this post, as I think it is a good site. I just don’t think this review hit the target it’s readers might have been hoping for.
    That aside, keep up the good work.

    • Steve

      February 27, 2013 at 2:54 am

      Maybe it all means you should look elsewhere for rookies who are going to play, and load up on midprice/premiums in defence. You know, at some point you have to make decisions like that for yourself. Also be aware of the fact this article was published on Jan 28. Mitch had it right, feed yourself for once

      • Rowsus

        March 3, 2013 at 10:50 am

        Another person that needs directing to relavent sections of this article: Steve, please direct your gaze to the first line of this article, and I quote “Identifying the right rookies……”. Also, if you look a bit over halfway through the second paragraph you’ll see: “Rookie Research” takes a look at the most promising rookies……
        While it can be useful to know which players we might avoid, that wasn’t the thrust of this article! The article seems to based on the premise of helping us find which rookies we might choose from.
        Two last points for you Steve. No one forced them to write a review on rookies so early. If they choose to do it then, it is they that live by it’s results and relevance. Secondly, I can “feed myself”, and will make all my own decisions, but like every serious Coach, I like to digest as much information as possible first. That doesn’t make me reliant on this site, or any other person to make my decisions for me.

  6. Pingback: Rookie Research Part 3: The Midfielders – SuperCoach Paige

  7. Pingback: Rookie Research: The Forwards – SuperCoach Paige

  8. Brian Davila

    October 3, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Great Article. article , I was fascinated by the info – Does anyone know where I could get ahold of a template HI Uncontested Divorce Packet With Children version to complete ?

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