Old boys network: Mature-age draftees

Draftees with age and experience are always valued by fantasy coaches looking for the next Broughton.

Please keep in mind that the following positional designations are projections by me of DT/SC and Champion Data positions, and are not official in any way.

#14, Lewis Jetta, SY Midfielder, Mid-Small-Out. 4/5/1989, 178cm, 72kg, Swan Districts (WA)

Will most likely have a slight price premium in Dream Team and Super Coach which, along with the fact that he was drafted by Sydney, may scare most fantasy coaches away from him. Seeing as the Swans don’t treat the pre-season games with any degree of seriousness, we aren’t going to see him at his best there either. Jetta (pictured) averaged 56.1 through 23 games in the WAFL this season (WAFL numbers omit tackle stats). He will play as an outside midfielder, though Champion Data may eventually classify him as inside as the Swans tend to have so many stoppages, thus skewing the figures that CD use to determine classifications. Jetta’s strengths are a long kick, evasiveness and running speed, with a sidelight in chase-down tackles. While you may be thinking Cyril Rioli with that skill set, Jetta is not nearly as much of a goalkicker, so perhaps more of an Andrew Lovett. With the Swans also trading for Ben McGlynn this off season, we may have to wait to see Jetta in the ones as he has stars like Jarrad McVeigh, Rhyce Shaw and Kieren Jack ahead of him in the depth chart as well.

#46, Benjamin Stratton, HW Back, Def-Tall-Key. 1/3/1989, 189cm, 82kg, East Perth (WA)

Played the last two seasons in the WAFL, with 20 games in 2009 for a DT average of 40. Probably only an outside chance of being a Nathan Grima type. His potential is definitely more for Super Coach given his player type, so it will be worth keeping an eye out in the Fantasy Freako newsletter for news of his SC numbers in the preseason. Despite his age I don’t think he’d be likely as a round 1 prospect at this stage, barring catastrophe further up the depth chart to the likes of Ryan Schoenmakers or the oft-injured Stephen Gilham.

#55, Trent Dennis-Lane, SY Forward, Fwd-Med-Gen. 30/8/1988, 184cm, 70kg, Subiaco (WA)

This is more like it. We have a smallish forward – the kind that typically does better than average as a rookie – and a WAFL star who kicked 57 goals in the league last year, including four in the grand final, averaging 55.8 in Dream Team across 23 games for Subiaco. Yes, we have the cautionary tale of Hayden Ballantyne from last year to discourage us from outright slobbering over this kind of player, but we can blame Ballantyne’s disappointing debut year on lingering injury. If we’re looking for reasons to complain, there are more: playing for Subiaco on the wide home field they enjoy is a far cry from the SCG. TDL is a ready-made replacement for Michael O’Loughlin as a lead-up forward who can also crumb when required, but Micky O was never a fantasy star in the Sydney system. O’Loughlin had Barry Hall sucking the oxygen out of forward 50, while Dennis-Lane will have to contend for targets with new centre half forward Adam Goodes. Plenty of queries hang over the head of this 21-year-old for fantasy purposes.

#67, Jeromey Webberley, RI Back, Def-Med-Gen. 12/7/1988, 181cm, 78kg, Clarence (TAS)

Just when you thought Richmond had enough running half-backs, they pluck another one out of obscurity. Well, perhaps calling Clarence obscurity is a little harsh, especially since Webberley himself kicked the winning goal in the grand final of the TFL this year with a bomb from outside 50m. Nevertheless, the Tigers did trade away Andrew Raines and see Joel Bowden retire, so all Webberley has to do is wait for Jordan McMahon and/or Jake King to stuff up to get his chance. As the AFL has, in its infinite wisdom, plumped for another Carlton v Richmond “blockbuster” on a Thursday to kick off round 1, Webberley could become a very popular boy indeed if he’s named for that game. Let us hope, if that comes to pass, that he does not suffer Raines’ fate from the corresponding game this year.

#71, Ben Nason, RI Forward, Fwd-Small-Gen. 3/6/1989, 179cm, 73kg, Central Districts (SA)

A shock of peroxided hair is always going to get you attention as a sportsperson. Nason has modeled his game and his ‘do on Dale Thomas, but he’s going to need a different role model if he wants to attract the attention of fantasy coaches. Nason played only one game in the SANFL seniors last year – the last round before finals when Centrals were resting senior players – but he did manage a crucial goal in a narrow win over Sturt. While he may bob up at crucial stages like Daisy, I would like to hear more news of workrate and consistency of ballwinning before thinking seriously about Nason.

#76, Shane Thorne, WB Forward, Fwd-Med-Gen. 25/11/1986, 183cm, 80kg, Northern Territory

While no one has yet taken a chance on Liam Patrick as the next raw, unrefined Territorian in the mould of Liam Jurrah, Thorne has a similar background, if a different body shape. The scant details about his game style seem to be conflicting about whether he is a winger or a forward, so perhaps the more apposite analogy would be to a Jared Brennan or Darryl White. The Bulldogs have plenty of small forwards and they already have Josh Hill as a winger-cum-forward, so maybe Thorne is more of a replacement for the just-departed Malcolm Lynch and aimed at stepping into the big shoes of Brad Johnson after this year.

#77, Will Johnson, SK Back, Def-Tall-Key. 26/10/1989, no height or weight found, Sandringham Dragons (VIC)

Transferred from suburban football to Sandringham in the VFL mid-season and played eight games through July and August, through which it is hard to draw a form line. Unlikely to be a fantasy factor under any but the most dire of injury circumstances at St Kilda.

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