Around the Grounds – Round 22

Published by Barron Von Crow on

Hello everyone and welcome to the final week of Around the Grounds for 2021! It’s an exciting and also sad time for a lot of us, the season is coming to an end, some of our teams are way out of the finals race and we’re looking at the last game of the year, we also have retirements coming in, with Eddie Betts, Chris Mayne, Marc Murphy, David Mackay, Stephen Hill, Cale Hooker, Levi Greenwood, Jarrod Harbrow, Jack Hombsch, Jordan Murdoch, Zac Smith, Shaun Burgoyne, Tom Rockliff, David Astbury, Bachar Houli, Shaun McKernan, Daniel Venables and Lin Jong all announcing their retirements and we should all thank them for their services to their respective clubs throughout their careers.

OK, we have Richmond, St Kilda, Sydney, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs left to round out this series, so let’s go see what they got!


Noah Cumberland

Taken with pick #43 in the 2019 National Draft, Cumberland was drafted from the Brisbane Lions Academy, with the Lions not matching Richmonds bid to draft him. Cumberland unfortunately ruptured his ACL near the end of pre-season in 2020 and lost the entire year in recovery.

Noah CumberlandDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Casey5321500
VS Werribee9543320
VS Brisbane171076211
VS Williamstown10913201
VS Sandringham7431210
VS N/Bullants13853201
VS Collingwood201376553
VS Frankston9631532

Cumberland has been able to return in 2021 through the VFL and has spent the majority of his time up in the Tigers forward line. He wasn’t a major goal kicker early in the year, but showed some good form in that regard over the last few weeks. He’s more of a medium size forward, so would be an option that plays around Riewoldt and Lynch, rather than replace them. The Tigers have Shane Edwards and Kane Lambert who are 29+, so if the Tigers decide to inject some youth next year he might be one who gets an early look in.

VERDICT: If the Tigers decide to start a bit of a rebuild he could get games

Mate Colina

The tallest man on an AFL list, Mate was a basketball player who was playing College ball with the University of Hawaii. The cousin of Noah Balta, Mate was drafted to the Tigers as a Category B rookie. The Tigers are stocked with rucks pretty well, so doubt this will be a guy we look at.

VERDICT: Cat B ruckmen don’t have the best track record

Ben Miller

A key defender taken back in Round 4 in the 2017 draft, Miller has been plugging away for a few years now without making his AFL debut.

Ben MillerDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Casey3211000
VS Werribee13853000
VS GWS191273100
VS Brisbane2411135100
VS Williamstown12754000
VS Sandringham181448500
VS N/Bullants161067100

He had some groin issues this year that have kept him sidelined, but after that quiet game against Casey has been fairly consistent with his football. He was named on the Emergency list for the Tigers this year, which is usually a good sign on a player being close to selection and with David Astbury announcing his retirement, that could be a good sign for Miller in 2022 on making his AFL debut.

VERDICT: Key defenders aren’t my favourite, but you’ll have to consider if he’s getting games next year

Bigoa Nyuon

Taken with pick #54 in the 2019 draft, Bigoa was a part of St Kilda’s Next Generation Academy prior to being drafted by the Tigers. The Tigers certainly do liked to be stocked with tall players, with Bigoa being added to that list standing at 197cm

Bigoa NyuonDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Werribee10736100
VS GWS151418100
VS Brisbane171348000
VS Williamstown4131200
VS N/Bullants13857000
VS Collingwood7521400
VS Frankston8624000

He’s had some up and down form in the VFL, but from a pure depth perspective the Tigers are stacked with tall timber with Toby Nankervis, Callum Coleman-Jones, Mabior Chol, Ivan Soldo, Samson Ryan and Mate Colina all on the list as well. For that reason it might be difficult to foresee Bigoa getting a consistent spot next year.

VERDICT: Spots for talls at Richmond is tough!

St Kilda

Sam Alabaskis

He was born in Malaysia, grew up in Dubai, moved back to Perth and then travelled to the US to play basketball for the University of Louisiana Monroe, Alabaskis certainly has done the rounds! He’s a very tall ruck, selected as a Category B rookie in the 2018 draft.

Sam AlabaskisDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksHOGoalsBehinds
VS Richmond32121801
VS Box Hill52331410
VS Williamstown50521200
VS Aspley74321200
VS Richmond10102200
VS Collingwood5232801
VS Carlton62422601

He’s been given some fair competition for the ruck position at the Saints, with Ryder recruited in to support Rowan Marshall, as well as backups like Paul Hunter and Shaun McKernan brought in too. May be a long-shot at this point to make it given the success record of Cat B ruckmen.

VERDICT: Don’t think so

Matthew Allison

The Saints first pick in the 2020 National Draft, selected at pick #26, Allison is a 195cm key defender who can also push down the field and onto the wing.

Matthew AllisonDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Richmond5322000
VS Port Melbourne6333500
VS Box Hill12573200
VS Williamstown4221100
VS Aspley141046100
VS Richmond10733200
VS Collingwood16973400
VS Essendon151054200
VS Carlton14863200

He started the season pretty slowly in his first month, but seems to have settled in pretty quickly after that with some consistent football on display. He’s another one who has been named as an emergency during the year and with the Saints not being 100% set for tall defenders outside Dougal Howard and Tom Highmore he’s one who could definitely sneak through.

VERDICT: Tall defender, but still keep him open as an option.

Max Heath

Selected by the Saints in the mid-year draft, Heath is a 204cm ruckman who has not played any football for the Saints due to finishing off his year 12 studies.


Will Gould

The Captain of the South Australia 2019 AFL Under-18 Championships team, Gould was heavily hyped coming out of the 2019 Draft due to having an “AFL ready” body which saw him line up in Glenelg’s SANFL premiership winning side in 2019. Unfortunately for Gould, that “AFL ready” body hasn’t translated into an AFL game as of yet.

Will GouldDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS GWS11925200
VS Gold Coast191634511
VS Geelong201373000
VS Collingwood171434100
VS Casey11925100
VS Southport201192100
VS Gold Coast131214200
VS GWS14864200
VS Frankston171525400

Gould hasn’t had any terrible form in the VFL this year, but also hasn’t had a patch of blazing good form that screams “pick me!” either. He does like to kick the ball, which is good for Supercoach and the Swans have been fairly settled down back, but at a certain point you’d think the Swans would be forced to give him a shot and see if he’s worth keeping around or not.

VERDICT: Has the skills, just have to wait and see if he gets selected

Malachy Carruthers

Pick #3 from the 2020 Rookie Draft, Carruthers is a 185cm medium defender, although the medium is more height wise than weight given he weighed 67kg at the time of being picked up from Sturt in the SANFL.

Malachy CarruthersDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS GWS1916310200
VS Gold Coast211299100
VS Geelong171258100
VS Collingwood15875200
VS Casey261976000
VS Southport191096401
VS Gold Coast8624100
VS Footscray221573100

He’s found plenty of the ball through the VFL this year and playing across half back he may very well be in competition with Will Gould for a spot next year. Will be an interesting competition between the two next year perhaps?

VERDICT: Size may go against him getting a spot next year, but seems to have the potential to be given a go at some point

Lachlan McAndrew

Selected in the mid-year draft, McAndrew was a part of the Swans Academy after making the switch from NRL. A 210cm ruckman, he’s considered a long term prospect, though you could certainly do worse than having Dean Cox as your coach if you were still learning how to play Aussie Rules football!

Lachlan McAndrewDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksHOGoalsBehinds
VS Gold Coast32102700
VS Geelong50511300
VS Southport3030700
VS Gold Coast5231701
VS Footscray7435300

McAndrew’s ruck time has fluctuated a bit, mostly being dictated by injuries impacting other players. Callum Sinclair has been in the VFL side lately, where you can see the hitout numbers drop pretty significantly for McAndrew.

VERDICT: Another Category B ruck we can probably ignore

Barry O’Connor

A category B rookie for the Swans, Barry made the move over from Ireland where he played Gaelic football. Training as a key defender, with his marking ability, strength and speed noted as his best attributes.

Barry O’ConnorDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS GWS201378100
VS Gold Coast7433000
VS Geelong12757200
VS Collingwood12571200
VS Casey12668100
VS Gold Coast144103100
VS Footscray9724100

The Swans had this bloke named Tadhg Kennelly who became a damn fine AFL player, and although he’s no longer coaching at the Swans i’m sure he gave O’Connor some key fundamentals during their brief time together. Like we’ve mentioned before, the Swans are fairly settled down back and he’s got some competition for spots.

VERDICT: Doesn’t seem likely he’d be there for Round 1 at this stage.

Marc Sheather

Another Category B rookie, Sheather was picked up from the Sydney Swans Academy after not being selected in either the National or Rookie drafts in 2020. He’s noted on the Swans website as being able to “play both small and tall up either end, while also developing as a midfielder.” which kinda sounds like they don’t actually know what his best position is yet.

Marc SheatherDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS GWS10731310
VS Gold Coast9633000
VS Geelong161153913
VS Collingwood171255510
VS Casey10731200
VS Southport211656531
VS Gold Coast2110100
VS Footscray12963402

Some nice games sprinkled in there, especially the game against Southport where he did look like he did a bit of everything! He was signed to a contract extension about a month ago, which you’d take as a sign the Swans definitely see there’s potential in him.

VERDICT: Probably spends another year in the VFL.

West Coast

Callum Jamieson

Pick #49 in the 2019 draft, Jamieson is a developing ruckman who has also spent a bit of time playing as a key defender as well.

Callum JamiesonDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksHOGoalsBehinds
VS Perth4131100
VS West Perth102811100
VS Swan Districts138522200
VS Peel Thunder16795620
VS East Fremantle114732000
VS East Perth125731010
VS South Fremantle12757400
VS Subiaco5230000
VS East Fremantle10372000
VS Swan Districts8351000
VS Subiaco11293300
VS East Perth716200 0
VS Perth113841101

West Coast aren’t exactly short in the ruckman department, so moving over to being a key defender may give him a better opportunity to make his AFL debut. Still, nothing eye popping in those stats, doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be a good player, but the Supercoach potential is pretty limited from 10 disposals and 6 marks. Some backup ruck minutes thrown in there might be a help in that regard though.

VERDICT: Looks like he’d be a potential pick if guys get injured, but probably back in the WAFL to start

Will Collins

Picked up in the mid-year draft, Collins, a mid sized defender, was training with the Eagles in the pre-season during the Pre-season Supplementary Selection Period. Was playing for Claremont to start the 2021 season, but split his time between their senior and reserves side.

Will CollinsDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Claremont8713300
VS East Fremantle5231100
VS East Perth7433100
VS Perth13947100
VS West Perth13945000

Collins is 19, so there’s plenty of time for him to still develop, but I think that will come in the WAFL at this stage.

VERDICT: Don’t think he’ll be an option

Ben Johnson

A medium defender, Johnson was picked at pick #58 in the 2019 National Draft, Johnson managed to play senior WAFL football for West Perth in his draft year.

Ben JohnsonDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Perth151050200
VS Swan Districts171163110
VS Peel Thunder211742000
VS East Fremantle292360100
VS East Perth191364100
VS South Fremantle14951100
VS Claremont201463300
VS Swan Districts161063100
VS Subiaco10642100
VS East Perth2211114210
VS Perth161067100
VS West Perth161150100

He was noted for his kicking ability and that is certainly something he has looked to put to good use at times during his season at WAFL level. The stats certainly catch the eye and the rebounding defender position can be a very lucrative one, though you’d think someone like Alex Witherden may be the next cab off the rank in that position for the Eagles, with others like Luke Edwards being in the mix too.

VERDICT: Keep an eye out as there’s SC potential there

Zane Trew

He was rated as one of the best midfielders in WA during his U18 season, but slipped all the way to the rookie draft where the Eagles seemed pretty happy to snap him up.

Zane TrewDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Perth2481621000
VS West Perth177103710
VS Swan Districts16880200
VS East Fremantle176111400
VS East Perth154110300
VS South Fremantle209110500
VS Claremont191095401
VS Subiaco186123900
VS East Fremantle227152401
VS Swan Districts16882300
VS Perth13672300

He was noted by the Eagles as having “clean hands” and that’s certainly apparent by his kick to handball ratio, though it must be said there was another Eagle who liked the handball and that certainly didn’t stop him from become a fantastic Supercoach player! There’s some very good tackle numbers at times too by Trew, so there’s potential there for some good scores to be produced, even if he is handballing it twice as much as he’s kicking it.

VERDICT: Eagles have midfield depth, but if some injuries occur?

Western Bulldogs

Dominic Bedendo

Pick #55 in the 2020 National Draft, Bedendo is the last player left on the Bulldogs list who has yet to play an AFL game. A medium forward he’s had some damaging moments in front of goal in games, but has yet to be able to break through to AFL level.

Dominic BedendoDisposalsKicksHandballsMarksTacklesGoalsBehinds
VS Gold Coast8532100
VS GWS9635120
VS N/Bullants8805030
VS Carlton121112310
VS Frankston11653332
VS Geelong7525101
VS Cob urg161155110
VS North Melbourne101004221
VS Sydney8624001
VS Casey17983412

He was noted as potentially playing as a intercept defender for the Murray Bushrangers if the 2020 NAB season had gone ahead, which shows you the marking ability he has. Luke Beveridge does seem to like to give as many players a go as he possibly can and he usually sneaks through a player or two we don’t expect to see, so Bedendo could certainly be that guy in 2022.

VERDICT: Wait and see

And that’ll be me done for the week and the year! Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and contribute over this season, I hope I’ve been able to help you in some way. Hopefully we’ll see you all back here for the 2022 pre-season!

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Onya Barron, fantastic work this season, very much appreciated.