Rookie reality: 2010 AFL rookie elevations

The AFL rookie system is becoming increasingly important for fantasy coaches with new rules allowing more mature-agers like Geelong’s James Podsiadly.

A number of clubs took advantage of a relaxation of the rules regarding rookies this year to draft mature-age players, who (presumably) are not going to attract price premiums in Dream Team or Supercoach, and thus will represent the best value cash cows that money can buy. We all remember 2009’s fantasy favourite Greg Broughton, don’t we? Another one of those stowed in your team would be tickety boo, thanks very much.

A reminder of the rules for rookie elevations. Rookies can be elevated if a player is put on the long term injury list. The player on the LTI list has to be there for a minimum of eight weeks. You can also get two rookie elevation slots if you have two zero “veterans outside list”, a list designation only available to players who have played 10 or more consecutive years at the one club. Importantly, if you only have one veteran player you don’t get one rookie elevation spot, it has to be no veterans or you get nothing. It is possible to qualify for only one spot: one of the veterans has to be “inside list”. Before I am deluged with people reminding me that St Kilda elevated Zac Dawson and the Bulldogs elevated Liam Picken early last season despite only having one veteran each, Dawson was elevated for Jarryd Allen and Picken for Paul O’Shea, both of whom went to the LTI list.

I don’t think there have been any official placements of players on the LTI list but we know of a number of injuries that will last at least until mid-May when round 9 comes around, so we can project.

VFL 1st Elimination Final - Box Hill Hawks v Geelong

Adelaide: 2 VOL, 2 LTI (Andy Otten, Brodie Martin). 2 spots.
Three of the Crows’ seven rookies are 20 years old and another two are 21. The two eldest are Brian Donnelly from Couthy Louth in Ireland, and Ricky Henderson who is likely to find some games in the seniors later in the year as a third tall defender, if you believe BigFooty rumours. Would you really be able to trust a rookie playing under Neil Craig to get his fair share of time on ground, though?

Brisbane: 2 VOL, 1 LTI (Xavier Clarke). 1 spot.
Could also put draftee Callum Bartlett on LTI if his rehab from a knee injury doesn’t take. According to Quigley’s must-read Brisbane analysis, none of the rookies are likely to get consistent games anyway so this discussion is moot.

Carlton: 0 VOL, 0 LTI. 2 spots.
Jarrad Waite will return before round 9 from his ACL, you would think. Jefferey Garlett is the obvious stand out. Private dancer Levi Casboult could also be unchained later in the year, if his ship sails into port.

Collingwood: 2 VOL, 1 LTI (Brad Dick). 1 spot.
The Pies’ rookie list has a bit of everything: a Queenslander, a NSW scholarship player and a 204cm American called Seamus McNamara who turns 25 in May. Jarryd Blair as one of three retained rookies probably has the best chance to play first, though I’m not confident at this stage that any are set for round 1 in the seniors.

Essendon: 1 VOL, 0 LTI. 0 spots.
David Hille will likely return before round 9 from his ACL. Michael Quinn has had more than a taste of senior footy already but the one that fantasy coaches will be interested in is Marcus Marigliani, a 24-year-old inside midfielder who has been using his brick-outhouse body to good effect for Frankston in the VFL. An outside chance of being dual classified as a forward. He will attract a lot of interest mid-year as the round 11 rookie spot opens up if the Dons don’t suffer an injury by then.

Fremantle: 1 VOL, 1 LTI (Tim Ruffles). 1 spot.
A significant number of plan teams include 22-year-old Michael Barlow, a scintillating runner from VFL side Werribee. Unfortunately for fantasy coaches, there’s only one rookie elevation spot at Fremantle at the moment and Barlow is fighting with Matthew DeBoer for it. DeBoer could be more useful to the Dockers’ midfield rotations due to his tagging abilities, so Barlow may not get his chance as early as some would want it. Barlow will probably tear up the NAB regardless, so don’t expect his light to be hidden under a bushel.

Geelong: 2 VOL, 0 LTI. 0 spots.
On existing injuries, Mitch W. Brown has a small crack in his previously-broken leg but it’s only a two-weeker, allegedly, while Steve Johnson is an outside chance of being put on LTI if his hip doesn’t improve (hey, don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger). There are two obvious elevation candidates here: Ranga Ediriwickrama and James Podsiadly. The former is yet another indigenous speedster to add to the Varcoes et al, while the latter is a proven 28-year-old goalkicker in the VFL at several clubs including Geelong. As a third forward with Cameron Mooney and Tom Hawkins around him, particularly if Stevie J doesn’t come up early, Pods is going to be impossible to ignore for fantasy coaches. Whether this comes to pass or not is up to Bomber Thompson.

Hawthorn: 1 VOL, 2 LTI (Trent Croad, Max Bailey). 2 spots.
While you might think that Wayde Skipper would be useful ruck back up and Garry Moss is a strong candidate, fantasy coaches only want to hear about Jarrod Kayler-Thomson, the 24-year-old from Perth in the WAFL. As an outside runner for a team that may be without Clinton Young, there’s a spot available for JKT if he can outsprint the kids in front of him.

Melbourne: 2 VOL, 0 LTI. 0 spots.
With John Meesen and Jake Spencer as ruck back ups, the only other serious contender is Michael Newton, who most Demon supporters would like to see stay as a rookie. None of the three are attractively priced for fantasy. Daniel Hughes is now mature-age at 23 but that’s only because he has been on the Melbourne list for four years.

North Melbourne: 1 VOL, 0 LTI. 0 spots.
Majak Daw got all the headlines and I’m as interested as anyone to see what he’s like, but for fantasy he’s going to be as inconsistent as Nick Naitanui. Alan Obst is now mature-aged but is another who has been through the ringer in AFL lists, first at Adelaide and now at North, and he is injured again anyway.

Port Adelaide: 2 VOL, 1 LTI (David Rodan). 1 spot.
Cameron Cloke and Danny Meyer are the obvious choices though neither is underpriced for fantasy. Ruckman Daniel Bass is not the right type for fantasy, while it will be worth keeping an eye on the three SANFL pick ups Glenn Dawson, Cameron Hitchcock and Daniel Webb in the NAB.

Richmond: 0 VOL, 0 LTI. 2 spots.
Plenty of interesting players here, including Pat Contin who has been impressive at training and Relton Roberts who will be 24 in March.

St Kilda: 1 VOL, 1 VIL, 0 LTI. (Steven Baker is a veteran inside list.) 1 spot.
Steve Gaertner would be of most relevance but the Saints aren’t playing noobs this year if they can help it.

Sydney: 0 VOL, 2 VIL, 0 LTI. (Adam Goodes and Brett Kirk are both veterans inside list.) 0 spots.
Mike Pyke and Henry Playfair are the only two to have senior experience. Most of the other five will have their chance to impress in the NAB, if not all of them.

West Coast: 0 VOL, 0 LTI. 2 spots.
Plenty of players with games in the ones under their belts on this rookie list, though because of that this group is less interesting for fantasy coaches.

Western Bulldogs: 2 VOL, 0 LTI. 0 spots.
Brodie Moles is the mature-age Geelong reject, while Matthew Panos is the junior who slipped a long way down the draft to be snaffled by a grateful Bulldog hierarchy. Another side who will probably choose not to go to the rookie well if they don’t have to.

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