Around the Grounds – Round 19
Hello again Community and welcome to another edition of Around the Grounds. We’re 19 rounds deep into the AFL season and headed into Supercoach Finals time. That means for the majority of us is our teams are set, or close as we can get to being set and that means we’re hoping to sit on our teams and hold our remaining trades and hope we cop no more injuries.
Since our need to trade has been (hopefully) somewhat diminished, what we usually do here in AtG is start to prepare for 2022. So we’ll go through a series of teams for the final 4 weeks and take a look at a few players who haven’t gotten gametime this year and see if we can sniff out who may be our next rookie prize who can help us in in the future.
Brayden Cook (MID/FWD, $117,300)
Drafted at pick #25 in the 2020 AFL Draft, Cook was a bit of a later bloomer football wise, growing up to 190cm in his U18 year. Played as a forward/wing in his final year with South Adelaide, he averaged 18 disposals, 7 marks and 2 goals a game. His start to the 2021 season was slightly delayed due to shoulder surgery over the off-season, but has played the majority of the Crows SANFL season
He hasn’t become a prolific ball winner yet, but has a nice Supercoach friendly kick to handball ratio, as well as showing a emerging ability to hit the scoreboard over his last 5 odd weeks at SANFL level. He’s been compared to the Crows Tom Lynch in style, that’s not something that will be achievable off the bat just from a fitness perspective, but a nice comparison of where he could end up with his attributes. Tom Lynch is out of contract at the end of the year and his potential leaving could be an indicator of how close they see someone like Cook debuting.
VERDICT: 2023 seems to be more likely at this stage
Patrick Parnell (DEF, $102,400)
Parnell has done the rounds a bit so far this year, he started 2021 as an over-ager with the Murray Bushrangers for a spell, before getting a callup to the UWS Giants VFL side as a top-up against Richmond and then eventually being drafted by the Adelaide Crows as a mid-year selection and playing in the SANFL.
|VS Rebels||24||18||6||5||0||0||TAC Cup|
Nothing truly stands out on his SANFL form so far, especially some quiet performances over his last 3 games. Talent isn’t the question for him, but his size at 170cms and 68kgs would be a concern, though that hasn’t stopped someone like Caleb Daniel in the end. The Crows have like a bazillion guys across half-back at the moment, so he’s got some work to do if he’s to stand out from the pack in that position.
VERDICT: Not quite yet
Kieran Strachan (RUC/FWD, $146,700)
Taken in the rookie draft a few years ago, Strachan has taken a bit of a familiar path for ruckman at the Crows. He’s on the rookie listed and plugging away in the SANFL until the incumbent goes down with an injury. If that doesn’t happen then he’s generally not getting a look in, no matter how good his form is.
Strachan’s hitout numbers have been great and he’s shown an increasing ability to also find the ball around the ground as his fitness has grown through the year. The big questions for him are “Will he be with the Crows next year?” and if not “Will he be on an AFL list?”. We saw someone like Paul Hunter, also from the Crows, get a job with St Kilda as a injury top-up, and while his form wasn’t great, it at least opened up plenty of lineup options for teams to start the year. If he’s still with the Crows in 2022 then I’d probably right him off as Reilly O’Brien is still the #1 man there, but if injuries hit and he finds a new team he could be an option.
VERDICT: Depends where he ends up in 2022
Lachlan Gollant (MID, $123,900)
Coming into his first year Gollant standing at 19ccm only weighed 70 kgs so spent the 2020 concentrating on one thing. Size. He added 13 kilograms in 13 months from his draft year in 2019 and now stands at a slightly beefier 83kgs.
Originally pegged as an outside midfielder, Gollant has spent more time as a forward in 2021, where he has shown the ability to hit the scoreboard, averaging 1.4 goals a game in the SANFL. He missed a big period early in the season with a finger injury, so has limited SANFL form to go with this year. The guaranteed parts of the Crows forward line (Tex Walker/Tom Lynch) are aging, while the rest are young and developing and rather inconsistent at times. Gollant could be thrown into that pile as well at this stage. Another watch for 2022, but one that may be later in the year.
VERDICT: 50/50 at this stage. Tom Lynch leaving could open a spot for him.
Connor McFadyen (FWD, $123,900)
Taken at pick #42 in the 2018 AFL Draft, McFadyen was drafted from the Lions academy where he had been playing football since he was 11 years old. He’s played mostly as a medium sized forward, though has the usual midfield aspirations that so many forwards have. Unfortunately for the Lions they’ve run into a bit of a cold streak over the past month or so in the VFL, being handed 3 100+ losses in that time, which reflects on McFadyen’s ability to hit the scoreboard.
|VS Gold Coast||14||10||4||3||3||1||0|
|VS UWS Giants||13||8||5||3||0||0||1|
You can see the early goal kicking has been totally wiped off the board over the last month with games against Southport, Geelong and the UWS Giants. McFadyen is out of contract at the end of this year, but may be given a bit more time given he tore his ACL in mid 2020, an injury which required multiple surgeries to correct. Lions are pretty stocked up forward currently, so not exactly sure where he stands on getting a gig for 2021.
VERDICT: Hard to see him breaking through at this stage.
Thomas Joyce (MID/FWD, $123,900)
Selected at pick #40 in the 2018 AFL Draft, Joyce is another young Lion who missed a bunch of time due to injury, with a stress reaction issue in his shin taking a chunk of time out of his 2019 NEAFL season where he averaged 17.6 disposals, 3.5 marks and 3.1 tackles.
|VS Gold Coast||34||15||19||6||1||0||0|
|VS UWS Giants||24||13||11||7||2||1||0|
As you can see from his averages this year in the VFL, he’s been able to find the ball at a very consistent rate, never dropping below 21 touches for a game. The issue now for him is how does he push into a Lions midfield that has Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons, Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry and a host of other names. He’ll also have senior opposition such as Cam Ellis-Yolmen for a spot as well. Definitely has the ability to be a player, put him on a watch-list to see if a spot opens up for him next year.
VERDICT: Quality looks to be there, but is the opportunity?
Blake Coleman (FWD, $117,300)
Taken at pick #24 in the 2020 AFL Draft, Coleman is another member of the Brisbane Lions Academy, he was the Lions first pick in that draft and is also the brother of teammate Keidean Coleman.
|VS Gold Coast||12||6||6||2||6||1||0|
|VS UWS Giants||13||6||7||5||1||1||0|
He’s been playing as a mid-sized forward and has shown the ability to be a nuisance pressure wise with his tackling. He hasn’t been a consistent threat on the scoreboard yet, never kicking more than 1 a game, but even in his NAB Cup games he wasn’t prolific in that area, kicking 5 goals in 5 games. Much like Joyce, there’s a bit of competition for spots as a forward with the Lions with players such as Charles Cameron, Dayne Zorko and Lincoln McCarthy occupying spots in the forward line. Small forwards have always been iffy Supercoach prospects, especially rookies, but tackles are a great source of points, so even if he’s not kicking a lot of goals you at least know he has other avenues to scoring. Can’t see him getting an immediate spot to start 2022, but he’s got time to work on his game still.
VERDICT: Has a few other small forwards ahead of him at this stage
Connor Ballenden (FWD, $146,100)
Ballenden hasn’t had a short career with the Lions, another player drafted from their Academy in 2017, he’s been involved with Brisbane since his U12 days. He’s a big lad at 200cm and 101kgs, previously he’s been used as a forward, but made the switch to the backline this year.
|VS Gold Coast||17||15||2||9||4||0||0|
|VS UWS Giants||11||7||4||6||1||1||0|
Immediate stats that jump out are ball use by foot, marks and rebound 50’s. There’s a clear role there as a distributor across the back half. He’s also been used at times as a back-half ruckman, which just adds another potential string to his Supercoach bow. He has played a few games in his career and got a call-up in Round 3 against Collingwood. He only played 55% ToG and spent a good portion of that in the ruck vs Grundy and only won 1 hitout in 19 ruck contests, which shows you he still has some work to do on his ruck craft (to be fair to Ballenden Tom Fullarton didn’t fare any better against Grundy, winning 3 hitouts from 53 contests). The Lions have a pretty tall backline already, with Harris Andrews (202cm), Jack Payne (197cm), Ryan Lester (192cm), Marcus Adams (192cm) Grant Birchall (190cm) and Brandon starcevich (187cm) all regularly featuring down back. The kick, mark, rebound stats scream out as having Supercoach potential though.
VERDICT: Potential to take Grant Birchall’s spot in 2022?
Brock Smith (DEF, $123,900)
Another Smith to add to the Lions list, Brock was pick #33 in the 2019 draft, he’s a mid-sized defender noted for his ability to be both offensive and defensive in that position.
|VS Gold Coast||21||15||6||5||4||0||0|
|VS UWS Giants||27||19||8||8||10||0||0|
Like a lot of the Lions VFL squad there’s a bit of a mixed bag there, especially towards the later part of the year where the triple digit losses started hitting. There’s some encouraging signs in those numbers though with a clear role available to him if/when he gets a call-up to AFL level. It’s also one we know can be a great source of scoring points as well.
VERDICT: If it’s not Ballenden who eventualyl replaces Birchall maybe it’s Brock Smith?
Brodie Kemp (MID, $123,900)
Drafted at pick #17 in 2019, Kemp didn’t return to football until May this year due to a ACL injury in his draft year, followed by an syndesmosis in early 2021. He hasn’t had a lot of exposed VFL form due to the interrupted VFL season, but has managed to play a couple of games now.
|VS Port Melb||8||5||3||3||2||0||0|
The bigger issue we have with Kemp is not whether he’ll play, but how soon he will play. The Blues are at that stage where the finals are off the cards, so they will probably start pushing some youngsters through, which leaves Kemp primed to have his AFL debut within the next 4 weeks, whether that be at half-back or in the midfield. All we can do is wait and see on that, though I suspect Kemp will be one who is taken off the board as a starting selection for 2022.
VERDICT: No if he plays in 2021, yes if he doesn’t
Sam Ramsay (MID, $123,900)
The #47 pick in the 2019 draft, Ramsay was the joint winner of the Calder Cannons B&F award (the Robert Hyde Medal) in his draft year along with Ned Gentile.
|VS Box Hill||23||16||7||5||3||0||1|
Ramsay has some experience working across half-back as well as on the wing, but also moved into the midfield as well, so will have a range of different positions he could debut at through the AFL. He’s noted as a good user by foot, which will be a big bonus for his Supercoach potential. Another one like Kemp who may get a shot this year though.
Jack Carrol (MID, $117,300)
The #41 pick from the latest draft, Carrol was noted as a “hybrid midfielder” due to his ability to work both inside and outside the contest, as well as boasting decent size (187cm).
|VS Box Hill||5||2||3||2||1||0||0|
|VS Port Melb||25||20||5||8||3||0||0|
He still has a bit of work to do on gaining strength to work inside the contest at AFL level, but you can see his VFL form has been slightly inconsistent, he’s been noted by the Carlton coaches as needing to work on his “defensive awareness”, as well as his work around stoppages. I imagine this will leave him out of the AFL side this year compared to a few of his teammates, but that means he can be a potential pick for 2022.
Josh Honey (MID/FWD, $123,900)
Honey made his AFL debut in 2020, playing against the Dockers where he had just 4 disposals and 2 marks, so not enough to have an impact on his starting price for 2022 you’d think.
|VS Box Hill||11||9||2||7||6||2||0|
|VS Port Melb||10||9||1||1||2||3||1|
Honey has been able to do one thing really well and that’s hit the scoreboard. He’s kicked multiple goals in 5 of his 7 games at VFL level, while hitting double digit disposal numbers in all but one. Add in a healthy amount of tackles and marks and there’s some potential there for him to score decently. Carlton’s VFL coaches have experimented with him being used in the sweeper role at stoppages at times as well, which could be another points avenue for him. He’s been added to the extended bench on occasion this year for the Blues, which could be a sign that he’s close to earning an AFL recall.
VERDICT: He’s just made the list too
Corey Durdin (MID/FWD, $117,300)
A small forward taken in the 2nd round of the latest draft, Durdin started playing senior football at the age of 16 with Central Districts in the SANFL. He’s lightning quick, but also still developing around being a small forward and learning how to consistently have an impact from that position.
|VS Port Melb||4||3||1||1||3||0||0|
His tackle numbers have been really solid through his VFL season, especially over his last 5 games or so, but he has the same issue a lot of small forwards do which is low disposal counts. He’s been fairly consistent in kicking goals, booting one in 5 of his 7 matches, but hasn’t kicked multiple goals in a game yet. The Blues can’t rely on Eddie Betts forever, so will be hoping Durdin comes along with another pre-season. He could be a starting selection in 2022, but whether he scores well enough to be worth picking would be my question at the moment.
VERDICT: If you hated selecting Jimmy Rowe this year you may not want to look at Durdin next year
Ashley Johnson (FWD, $102,400)
Johnson was picked up by Collingwood in the mid-year draft from the SANFL where he’s spent the past few years playing his football, first with Adelaide as a top up player and then with Sturt. Much like his brother Shane McAdam, he’s got the ability to use his leap to take a mark and hit the scoreboard.
He hasn’t had any VFL game since being drafted, but showed he can be a prolific goal kicker in his SANFL games. He doesn’t add much pressure/tackle wise, but kick –> Mark –> Goal is more his bag. The Pies are definitely a team in a transition period, so a new coach could definitely see something in Johnson and give him a starting role early in the season. He’s had finger surgery at the moment which likely rules him out completely for the rest of this season.
VERDIT: Shane McAdam V2 (he averaged 66.0 in his rookie season)
Aiden Begg (RUC, $102,400)
Another mid-year pick for the Pies, Begg was playing with the Eastern Ranges where he only managed 2 games before injuring his shoulder, an injury that has kept him out of football entirely since. He’s a ruck/forward prospect standing at 197cm centremetres, the Pies certainly do have a few options like Brody Mihocek, Mason Cox and Darcy Cameron ahead of him, as well as some guy called Brodie Grundy in the ruck, so he’ll likely be one that is brought along slowly next year.
VERDIT: Gonna take some time
Reef McInnes (MID, $117,300)
A member of the Pies Next Generation Academy, he’s a big midfielder at 193cm while also recording the quickest 20m sprint time at the draft combine in 2020. He spent some time as a half forward with the Oakleigh Chargers, but I imagine the Pies would love to get McInnes as a building block of their next midfield when spots open over the next few years.
|VS Gold Coast||20||10||10||4||11||1||0|
The immediate stand out numbers are the tackles, recording in double digits against the Suns which is an incredible effort for any player. That match against Coburg can be ignored due to him injuring his ankle in the first quarter and missing a good portion of time after that. The question on McInnes will very much be like Brodie Kemp. Will him getting a call-up in the next 4 weeks push him out of our price range in 2022?
VERDICT: Same as Brodie Kemp
Liam McMahon (FWD, $117,300)
The #31 pick in the 2020 draft, McMahon is a key forward who still has a bit of filling out to do, standing at 197cm but weighing 84kgs. He’s listed by the Pies as a long-term prospect but has a great vertical leap which will help tremendously with contested marking and potential ruck work.
|VS Box Hill||5||2||3||1||2||0||0|
The tag “prospect” definitely screams out with those stats. Some good highlights like a 4 goal game against Frankston, but otherwise fairly quiet. That’s OK though, he’ll spend another season developing in the VFL most likely and we can maybe look at him in a few years time.
VERDICT: Just a pup who still needs some more experience
We also had some VFL action go ahead this week with the Gold Coast Suns facing Aspley, Essendon taking on Southport and the UWS Giants against Brisbane.
Gold Coast defeated Aspley 122-44.
The biggest standout in this game was Joel Jeffrey (DEF, $102,400) who booted 9 straight goals, along with 15 disposals and 8 marks. Other standout performances include Malcolm Rosas (FWD, $130,800) who had 27 disposals, 3 marks 7 tackles and a goal, Elijah Hollands (MID/FWD, $130,800) who finished with 19 disposals, 2 marks and 2 tackles and Hawego Paul Oea (MID/FWD, $102,400) who had 18 disposals, 6 marks and 2 goals.
Essendon lost to Southport 71 to 75
Apart from some guy called Alex Rance running out in the red and black sash we also saw Tom Hird (MID, $123,900) kick 1.1 with 15 disposals, 2 marks and 2 tackles and maybe a sneaky chance to be re-drafted former Saint Paddy McCartin boot 3.2 with 10 disposals and 6 marks.
UWS Giants defeated Brisbane 86-59.
For the Giants Zach Sproule (FWD, $185,600) was the standout with 26 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 4 hitouts and added 2.4 to the scoreboard. We also had some cameo appearances from Sydney’s Logan McDonald (FWD, $212,000) who had 15 disposals and 8 marks and Kaiden Brand (DEF, $267,800) who had 19 disposals, 8 marks, 9 hitouts, 9 inside 50’s and a goal.
For the Lions we had Brock Smith (DEF, $123,900) gather 27 disposals, 8 marks and 10 rebound 50’s, Tom Joyce (MID, $123,900) nab 24 disposals, 7 marks and a goal and Thomas Berry (FWD, $191,900) have 23 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles and a goal. Nakia Coackatoo (MID/FWD, $123,900) also played and had 2 goals with 13 disposals, 3 marks and 2 tackles.
And that’s it from me this week, but i’ll be going through some more teams next week, so keep an eye out on that. And if there’s anyone that you think deserves to be covered as a potential rookie price option next year let me hear about it on the Twitters @BarronVonCrow or in the comments below. Seeya all next week!