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October 31 delisting & rookie news

Oct 31 delisting & rookie news

The October 31 deadline for cutting senior lists to 35 in preparation for the 2008 draft has come and gone without too many huge surprises, though the addition of a new category of rookies could have some effect on fantasy for 2009.

Chief among the big names to be delisted from a fantasy point of view was Chris A. Johnson, who was mildly popular this year with a particularly good stretch through rounds 12 to 17. As an outside player in a backline that plays plenty of kick to kick under the current regime, he had as much a chance as any to improve next year on his 2008 average of 76.2. As commenter Virgil pointed out in the previous post, this does have a slight positive knock-on effect for Jack Grimes: he is a different player type in that he’s more inside, but it does mean he has one less senior player fighting for a spot in the back half of the Demons 22.

The full catalogue of new delistings officially announced yesterday:
Lions: Daniel Dzufer, Phil Smith, Joel Tippett
Blues: Darren Pfeiffer, Lachie Hill, Sam Jacobs, Aaron Joseph
Pies: Toby Thoolen, Luke Casey-Leigh
Hawks: Matthew Suckling, Hugh Sandilands, Alex Grima
Demons: Chris A. Johnson
Power: Daniel Boyle, Gavin Grose, Ryan Willits
Tigers: David Gourdis, Clayton Collard
Swans: Peter Faulks, Kristin Thornton, Luke Brennan, Nick Davis, Aaron Bruce

The rookie rucks Tippett and Jacobs were the only other popular fantasy names to crop up, though they were only being stowed in the #4 ruck spot and forgotten about. Pfeiffer had some currency early this year but wasn’t going to figure in 2009.

Perhaps the biggest story out of Delisting Day is the new class of NSW scholarship rookies, of which there were five named by clubs as list concessions negotiated as part of the introduction of the new Gold Coast team. Combined with the new rule that one rookie per team can be nominated to play senior footy after round 11 even without a long-term injury, this means the rookie lists are even more important for fantasy purposes. The NSW scholarship players are:

Cats: Ranga Ediriwickrama, the highly rated small midfielder/forward of Sri Lankan heritage who starred at the under 18 championships drawing comparisons with Cyril Rioli
Pies: Scott Reed, a 192cm utility from the Central Coast who also was among the best for NSW/ACT at the championships playing in the backline, though Collingwood have been quoted as considering him a “forward/midfielder”
Saints: Blake McGrath, a 208cm converted basketballer and former soccer goalie who will, of course, be aimed at the ruck
Hawks: Will Sierakowski, a 187cm utility being steered by the Hawks into a defensive role, cousin of David and nephew of Brian
Dogs: Chris Ogle, another rugby convert who will run through the midfield in the footsteps of Kieren Jack, son of Brett the golfer

Obviously Ediriwickrama is the most interesting of these from a fantasy perspective, not just because of the hype around him from the championships. It is usually only smaller players who have the body type to succeed when still a rookie… think Austin Wonaeamirri, Shane Valenti and Jake King. Given there’s not a whole lot else to get excited about on the Geelong rookie list, he looks to be the favourite to get a gallop after round 10. Next year’s Trent Cotchin as a mid-year cash-cow cash in target, perhaps? There will be plenty of rookies vying for that title given the rule changes, no doubt.

It’s also important to keep in mind how many rookies are allowed to be “nominated”, i.e. allowed to play senior games, according to the AFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement. The rules as of 2009 are that in the first ten games, you can nominate one rookie for each veteran outside your list, with a maximum of two, and then one for each player put on the long-term injury list. From Round 11 onwards you can nominate one extra rookie without reference to veterans or the LTI list. Due to the expanded rookie lists next year with the Gold Coast concessions it seems most AFL clubs have maximised the amount of rookies they can nominate, with no veterans not outside of the lists and only 7 of the possible 32 rookie nomination slots not available. At the start of the season, the available slots are as follows:

Adelaide: 2
Brisbane: 2
Carlton: 0
Collingwood: 2
Essendon: 2
Fremantle: 0
Geelong: 2
Hawthorn: 1
Melbourne: 2
North Melbourne: 2
Port Adelaide: 2
Richmond: 2
St Kilda: 1
Sydney Swans: 2
West Coast Eagles: 2
Western Bulldogs: 1

The Hawks have already made noises about Cameron Stokes being their nomination, which should come as no surprise, and you’d think that Shane Valenti would be vital to Melbourne’s plans despite not being given a senior contract. More on the likely nominations when we have the full rookie lists to peruse.

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