Those of you with an hour to spare, here's my now annual mid-year report ranking our Demon list.
What's the line from that English makeover show - pash, snog or avoid!
Deespicable’s 2018 Player Rankings
It’s 26 years since a ruckman won the Brownlow Medal (Goodesy wasn’t a true ruckman) and I reckon there’s a chance with our Max this year. Against Essendon, I noticed that the umps were finally starting to look after him like they did with the late Jimmy – could that be an omen that a Charlie is around the corner? Naturally he’s my No.1 Dee on this year’s rankings, although Olly is making sure our best and fairest award is a thriller and our 20-year-old also needs a big finish to the season to win his first AA gig.
But how good is it to finally have some players whom you can genuinely call stars. And with tricky away games to come against Port, the Crows, West Coast and Geelong, plus hard ones at home against Sydney and GWS, we’ll need everyone on their game just to make the finals.
I remember how we all thought we’d finally made it in 1984 under Barrass having just won our sixth game in a row to defeat the Hawks at Princes Park only for Greg Healy to be taken out the following week by an Essendon thug. That thumping by the eventual premiers set us back three years, so hopefully our loss to the Pies didn’t give us the Colliwobbles.
It shouldn’t for two reasons. Firstly we have incredible list depth now (I mean Dom Tyson a VFL player …seriously!) and secondly Goody gets it. The guys he selects now are either tough nuts or work their butts off. He made his statement at the end of last year with Wattsy and whilst some of us bemoan his departure, we all now understand why.
Goody’s two big tasks now are finding a replacement for Lever (Smithy deserves his shot at it although I’d prefer him as our third tall defender) and sorting out how to inject pace come finals – getting Mr Nippy back firing from injury will determine our fate against the quick sides such as the Tigers and Pies.
But this list is about the players, so here goes.
2018: One to 44 – Rating our list (last year’s rank in brackets).
1 Max Gawn (2) OK Gawny, you’ve made it – you can have a cigarette and a bucket of chips now. I’m sure that three years ago, Gawny would have celebrated in such a way, but I think our most popular and marketable player now gets that in this industry, you have to keep your discipline levels up 99% of the time. And let’s face it, he’s still got the battle with last year’s All-Australian Patty Ryder and will need to keep beating his opponents in the back half of the season because at this point it’s neck and neck with Brodie Grundy for the AA spot, although they do have a bench to reward both of them if needed. How good has Gawny been in almost every game so far – he just gets to contests even at ground level, then bobs up on our forward line to take a mark or two. And it’s not always his fault that our players don’t read his left-handed taps. Media commentators and everyone with a microphone or tape recorder flock to our one-liner king post-game now and I reckon there’s a Danger in that – remember how we all loved Dangerfield two years ago Maxy. I’d cut back your media next season before you fall victim to the nasty Tall Poppy syndrome.
2 Clayton Oliver (3) With Gawny on song and in vogue, Clayton has barely been sought out post-game this season and to be fair, most games he’s been good, without being our matchwinner. As a result his superstar status is on hold, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the man. I have watched him annoy the sh.t out of our fellow midfielders at training with his push and hold scrimmaging for ruck contests – maybe he’s trying to invoke the Jack Viney style hardness into others. But sometimes I just wish he’d not get caught up in that “bold and hold” play and just go the pill at clearances – he’s the best I’ve seen at it in my time and that includes Wellsy, Willow and Viney Snr.
3 Jesse Hogan (11) Forget Roaming Bryan, this year we have Roaming Jesse. With the Tigers having success playing Jack Riewoldt in the role, Goody decided to let Hoges loose and have carte blanche to pretty much go anywhere up forward. And given he’s got such a good natural tank, it’s really helped him be more involved in the game and gone (mostly) is his petulance over poor entries from teammates. What has impressed me more this year is that he’s finally shown he can kick a longish goal – he took two shots from outside 50m against the Tiges and both made it. Sure he’s no thumper like Neiter, but he’s more accurate than him and if shots from the 50m arc become part of his routine, then he’s way more damaging in his roaming role than isolated in the square. After all, he’s our second best pack mark behind Gawny and presents better than Jen Hawkins down the line. With Lever gone, he may have to on occasions play as a tall defender, but what I hate though is his short forays on the ball at centre clearances. Firstly he’s untrained in that area and he’s just nowhere near as quick at the dish as Olly or Trac or Jones or Salem or Angus. And as for his defensive work at the centre stoppages, take a look at his first quarter effort against Geelong – he lined up on Ablett at the first one (goal to Gaz). He then moved to Selwood for the second one and was absolutely schooled. Why Goody, why? Let the mids be mids and your star forward, roam forward.
4 Nathan Jones (1) OK you’ve all read a lot about him lately with him notching up his 250th in Round 11 and joining a select group of nine that have reached that milestone for us. Come finals time only four will rank ahead of him and he will have gone virtually 250 games since his last final in 2006. He’s a man of few words but we all know what Jonesy stands for – he’s as tough and reliable as they come and after a bit of criticism responded with a career-high 10 clearances roving Gawny against Essendon. How many years can he go on for? My view is that he should break Neiter’s club record in 2021, provided Goody sends him down back – I reckon he could become a dead-ringer for Jarrad McVeigh with his elite evasive and kicking skills – in fact with Viney back, we no longer need his ground-based skills in the middle so much, that the move should happen now. It won’t though, Goody will keep playing Lewis and Vince back there. But next year – definitely.
5 Michael Hibberd (5) SuperCoach does funny things with your head – the minute a player posts a few low scores we start questioning his value. But Hibberd is still the same player who won an AA spot last year, he still charges into packs when required, still bodies his opponent to make sure they can’t get a clean grab and he still mops up almost anything that comes near him. He’s as dependable a defender as we’ve seen. Many ask why hasn’t he been as dominant as last year and my gut feel is that his direct opponent has been told to take him over to the right side of the park, where he’s not quite as confident and natural as on his left boot. But did his name come up on Demonland’s potential outs when we lost badly to the Hawks and Tigers – no way.
6 Jack Viney (4) OK we’ve barely seen him this season, but already you can gauge his value. I’ve said for a long time he’s our Joel Selwood and there’s no-one who likes playing on him – even at training. He was majorly missed in the game against Richmond and as with owls, I reckon he does his best work at night when conditions are greasy. Sadly we only have four games to come at night, so we may have to wait until finals for him to really show us his true value. And hopefully that involves tagging a couple of big names – that’s where he does his best work.
7 Jake Lever (New) It’s took some DL’ers a bit of time to warm to him, but most could see his worth before his luck ran out. We haven’t exactly had a great run with marking intercepters – Clint Biz came to us late, Jared Rivers’ best year was probably his first, while Howey was allowed to leave. But now we have a genuine reader of the play who is a lovely kick and whilst we may have paid top dollar for him, I’d rather that than taking a punt on a kid via the draft. And he’s only 22. Assuming he comes back OK from his latest ACL, I reckon in time we may rate him as our best tall defender, even snaring Gary Hardeman’s team of the century spot.
8 Tom McDonald (13) All of us tend to be a little hard on T-Mac. In the old days it was his occasional low pass out of defence that was picked off by opponents that irked us. Then his magical game against West Coast last year made us expect five goals almost every week. In my view, Tom will never be a superstar. But he is what all coaches want – a mega-fit worker who courageously presents time and time again (just ask Howey who reckons he’s the world’s best stepladder). But the good thing is that not all teams have a jumping jack, and Tom’s work ethic means at some point he’s the one with the sit and his hands are incredibly reliable, just as his flat kicks are deadly accurate. That makes him a very valuable tall forward in the James Westhoff mould with the added bonus that he has the tank to play as the back-up tap man.
9 Jake Melksham (19) Melky had an unbelievable pre-season and whilst he hasn’t been able to dominate each week (what small forward does) he can lay claim to a rare victory against Alex Rance (four goals) and arguably our best individual game of our season against Carlton where he kicked five and set up another handful. What makes him so dangerous, apart from his hard running and surprising core strength is his thumping long flat drop punts that split open opposition zones. Sure he’s not quite as glamorous as De Goey or Toby Greene, but right now he’s climbing the rankings of small forwards and is even being mooted as a possible AA.
10 Angus Brayshaw (No rating) What a relief. We all knew he was a talent but it seemed he was on his way out, courtesy of the grim reaper known as Mr Concussion. As with Olly and his glove, he’s become the man with an appendage, but the helmet gives him that Nathan Burke style tough look. I was sold on him again when he touched up the Saints pre-season with a memorable final term, but it took Goody a bit longer– he waited until the Bombers game to trust him with a centre clearance or two and whilst he’s not as fleet-footed as some pacey wingmen, he’s got a bagful of tricks and we can now all see the magic of his long kicking off both feet.
11 Neville Jetta (14) After being in contention for an AA spot last year, Nev started the season poorly being touched up a couple of times by Menzel in Rd 1 and I reckon he was close to being sent to Casey before Rd 5, but against Richmond he was back to his reliable self playing a fair bit of time on Dusty and since then it’s been business as usual with his Doggie game unbelievable. Sure I’d love to see him take the game on more and provide dash out of defence, but as with Salem and Jordy he is offering the safe, precise option.
12 Christian Salem (16) For the second year in a row, there was a push to play Salem in the middle and this time around he showed more ability in the bump and grind centre cauldron. But as with last year I kept thinking what a waste. He’s not big enough to really impose in the guts and he is just so clean with his kicking that he’s needed on the outside. Eventually he was moved back against Essendon and suddenly, with Jordy’s help, we seemed to be so much more precise. And he seems to have improved his defensive one-on-one work, making him a crucial member of our back seven.
13 James Harmes (18) Goody has warmed to him this season playing him in the guts ahead of Dom and Angus and with Viney back he even gets in there ahead of Jonesy at times. The reason why is that he’s your typical blue-collar worker that coaches love because they illustrate a side’s intent. In NBA terms. he’s our Delly. Demonlanders get incensed when he tries to break though about 12 tackles and gets pinged for holding the ball, but in the current rugger style game, you need a good second rower and Harmes provides that kind of grunt. As yet this year he hasn’t nailed too many goals on the run, but that will come and hopefully it coincides with September.
14 Christian Petracca (12) With no Jack Watts for us to get excited about pre-season, Trac carried the ‘big improver’ hype outjumping Braydon Preuss to lead us to our AFLX title. His first game against the Cats was a cracker. But since then he’s struggled to really get his season going with one DL’er even dubbing him Colin 2.0. Even his admirers have admitted he needs a stint in the twos now. He’s missed set shots that he’d nail last year and his lack of explosive pace and fitness has meant he’s been caught on occasions. My biggest gripe is still that he doesn’t get back far enough on the mark quickly enough to hit his targets with his grass-burning bullet passes. But almost every game you just sense that he’s about to dominate proceedings and put those hips and leap to good use. He should join our top three as stars of the game, but I must admit I’m getting a little tired of waiting. Come on CP5 – your time is now … or maybe September.
15 Alex Neal-Bullen (21) I’d love a dollar for every time someone reckons he should be dropped. But thankfully Goody rates ANB and his hard yards more highly than the Demon faithful and it’s paying off. Yes he’s prone to the odd turnover, but yes he’ll be back trying to make amends seconds later with a smother or a tackle or just perceived pressure. As with Harmes he doesn’t always look quality, but he’d kicked 15 goals to the halfway point and averages just over three tackles which is high for a permanent small forward. At his best he has a bit of the Robbie Gray’s about him.
16 Oscar McDonald (23) He was everybody’s flavor of the month in April, but May saw him fall like the leaves outside. That’s not majorly surprising given he’s invariably our last line of defence and until QB we’d been winning. He’s handled all the big boys fairly well this year including Ben Brown and his kicking is as good as any big guy you’ll see. That’s why I hope that he gets switched up forward for a cameo when we get a game when things aren’t working out for his big bro or Jesse.
17 – Jordan Lewis (7) I said last year that his smarts were as calming for the side as a chai latte. And what happens. In Rd 1 he’s beaten for pace and makes a professional free on Geelong’s Brandon Parfitt. Then he mouths off like a spoilt child and gives away a 50m that starts an onslaught of Cat goals. For the next three weeks he is caught out for pace by the ball over the back and to be honest, I was rapt he was injured for the Tiger game – he had become such a liability. But the week off worked wonders and I reckon he managed to convince Goody that precise ball movement (Hawthorn style) could cut a swathe through zones better than breakneck speed. As a result he joined Salem in our new-look back seven and the results had been stunning until the Pies game. Jordy’s games against the Saints and Blues were as good as any you will see from a defender. But can Goody continue to overlook the fact that good sides can expose him for pace. That leads to the inevitable question – should he play on in 2019? My view is that he’s already shown his future – he’s a coach in waiting and St Kilda should be arranging a chai latte meeting.
18 Jayden Hunt (6) Mr Nippy has taken a huge step back this season and I blame that monster goal in Darwin last year. For some reason, Goody or one of his assistants decided the torpedo could be a line breaker and if you cast your mind back to pre-season, you’ll remember Gawny and Trac and Jayden unleashing. But Jayden took it way too far. Against Richmond he was hard up on the boundary under pressure in the second term and instead of opting for a centering drop punt, he went the torp in a slippery night game – Jayden, what were you thinking? Hopefully he’s back working on his craft, lowering his eyes and trying to flatten his punt. He’s No.18 because he still is a must have for this side to be successful, especially in WA and more than likely on the finals stage in September when pace becomes critical.
19 Mitch Hannan (20) I’m still a bit miffed why he copped a four-game VFL banishment after his performance against the Cats. The breaking point seemed to me when Harmes overcooked a pass to him on the outer flank and he was caught with the pill, but we are talking about one of Goody’s love-childs here. His recall in Round 6 coincided with our winning streak and whilst he hasn’t been a worldbeater, he provides a nice mix of speed, agility, pressure and a nice leap that can catch defences out.
20 Bernie Vince (15) Sure he’s sliding down my rankings, but you still have to love this guy and his cheeky grin. He plays old-style and almost got caught out again driving miss Daisy a few weeks back, but he loves a contest and I hope in coming weeks with wet weather and a soggier MCG, that we give him a cameo back in the middle scaring the life out of someone. I reckon he will need a new role come finals when Jayden returns from injury and I’m hoping Goody sends him forward where his tackling and ability to get under the skin of opponents can make a difference.
21 Dom Tyson (17) If the finals were right now, Dom misses out. But our run of form and avoiding injuries won’t last until September and he’s probably the best VFL player going around in the entire comp. Goody’s made it hard for him - he’s been forced to play a different role (wing) for the first time in his career and his days as the quarter-back appear over at our club which now has Olly to set things up. I’m sure the winter months will allow him the chance to show us what a clean ball-handler he can be, but if he’s only offered a wing, you have to wonder how he can produce the numbers to play finals and out there pace becomes a factor. Remember that wing is the same offer that was made to Grimesy and Trenners before him and we all know what happens next.
22 Bayley Fritsch (New) Those of us who idolised Robbie, had reincarnation on our minds as our new boy took his magical arch-backed mark near the goalsquare against the Cats. Sure he’s a left-footer, but it’s a shame Jonesy didn’t hand over his No.2 guernsey there and then. As with Robbie, he’s not a high-pressure player, which is why he mixed highlights with being a bit of a liability up forward in those first few weeks. But since being moved to the wing and becoming more involved with link play, you can see his attributes and evasive skills. Too early to tell how he will cope with the modern-day AFL pressure and harder tags, but certainly he’s a very clever pick up and bargain at No.31.
23 Sam Frost (10) I know I’m not alone here in saying that I really rate this guy. Unfortunately he’s been a victim of two things – the decision to bring in Lever and the preference of Goody for precision over dash, which means he’s finding it hard to get a gig down back, even at VFL level. His game against North showed the good and bad. His first touch was an errant boot out on the full and then his second was an intercept mark and crazy dash that paid off. Later he showed incredible diligence to chase down a Roo forward but because his lunge was a second too late, it resulted in a 50m penalty. That’s his lot at the moment – almost a star, but not quite the complete package yet. If I was the Saints or North, I’d be trading hard to get him in to replace Brown or Thompson, but I hope we can keep him as I still think he is as close to Sean Wight as we can get. And whilst I think there’s some good signs from Smithy at CHB, I just reckon for the big mules I’d want Frosty back there, even if our heart’s in our mouths when he gets it.
24 Billy Stretch (22) Love it NOT how Demonlanders are quick to say he’s not up to it this year after he gets one go at it – against Richmond at night – and then even the club website reckons he’s out of form. I watched him pre-season and he’s improved his kicking (now as good as his dad’s) and even though he’s best suited to link play, he still has a red-hot crack (unlike his dad, Dipper might say). His only demerits are that he’s a tad small and not explosive quick, which means he struggles to break out of packs. But he’s one of the most disciplined players you’ll ever see and I just hope he gets a go against a side where his confidence can grow. I still think he can become a regular but he may have to be recast as a small defender. And if I was with the Crows or Port, I’d be making enquiries now. He’s way too good to be playing VFL.
25 Tom Bugg (26) I really expected him to be back in our side a lot this season and that’s the way it looked like going after a solid pre-season and a four-goal game as basically our full-forward against the Roos. But his kicking has let him down and this time it may be terminal. Some of you bemoan his missed shots at goal but that didn’t really worry me because set-shots can run hot and cold. But it was the Richmond game when he sprayed a chip kick to Jeffy, who was running to the goalsquare. In a tight game it was a serious flaw and made it hard for any coach to pick him. I love his grunt work and we used to need his character, but now we have a team full of egos more than happy to give opponents some lip. He may get one more go at it this season as his form at VFL level is exceptional, but he’ll have to hit his targets.
26 Jeff Garlett (9) As with Buggy I reckon an opportunity will come up for Jeffy again and it should be the Fremantle game in Darwin (Rd 16). But our 2017 leading goalkicker may only get the one chance to keep his AFL career alive because little Charlie does everything coaches love. Jeffy turns 29 in August, so even with a contract for next year he’d want to be back in the side by finals. There’s no doubt he can still be a factor, provided he’s working his butt off, as his pace can cause opponents to panic and at finals times any errors are magnified.
27 Charlie Spargo (New) How can you possibly rank our teenage pressure dynamo below Jeffy and so many others who are playing VFL? Firstly I do get the impact he’s been making – in fact it was his memorable snap against Essendon that sparked our turnaround in our fortunes. And yes his skills are sublime and I am looking forward to him playing many, many games in seasons ahead. But sometimes we overplay a little the contributions of a newbie – he’s been great for team morale, but he’s hardly been dominant. And that’s to be expected. He’s 18 after all. The other factor that he’ll have to contend with down the track is whether he can overcome the limitations of his size in the modern game – something that has confronted other highly-skilled smalls such as Caleb Daniel and now Jack Higgins. Hopefully the club has arranged a chat or two with Boomer Harvey to make sure he knows the hurdles he will have to overcome to survive at this level. Thankfully he is blessed with a similar touch of mongrel.
28 Josh Wagner (24) Another one of our AFLX-flag men who played the tricky first five games of the season before choosing the wrong game to be missing and is struggling to get another crack at it. Part of the rejig that saw Salem head back again was to avoid the Dees tendency to have four up down back and Wags, like Nev Jetta, was one of the chief offenders in this club. It’s hard not to be when you have a huge leap like they do. He’s not a thumping kick, neither is Jordy or Salem mind you, but occasional he mis-queues one and I suspect that is why he’s now on the outer. But he’ll get another chance and given his late start at this level, there should still be some upside.
29 Dean Kent (25) It’s been a dirty couple of years for him as his hamstrings just seem to cave in – especially at night against Richmond. As a result he’s been sentenced to a life of running the far side wing at Gosch’s Paddock with his red-vest mate Pat McKenna. His only other claim to fame this season was being our leading goalkicker in that forgettable game against the Hawks. We all know he has the aggression and pace to make it to 100 games, but he’s now 24 and to be honest he may need a different medical and fitness room to try and get things right.
30 Joel Smith (Injured - NR) Three games into his AFL career and he’s asked to fill the void of our $800,000 man. That’s a big ask, let alone the fact that he’s just 190cm tall. He looked like Charlie Spargo when he was battling Mason Cox on QB Monday, but his leap and pace will give him a chance against some of the big boys and if he tackles like he did when he snagged Tom Phillips, then he’s going to do just fine.
31 Tim Smith (32) The Bull’s been part of our two largest victories this season and as a SuperCoach bargain he was all the rage. He’s way more mobile than Pedo and Weid and coped with the pressure of being our back-up tapman and also our mock full-forward until copping a couple of nasty knocks against the Bulldogs. It was strange that Goody said he was dropped for the Pies, when he was too injured to play VFL, so you have to wonder if there’s a story behind that. But with three talls up forward back on the agenda, the battle for the cherished spot behind Hoges and T-Mac is on in earnest.
32 Cam Pedersen (30) Everyone still loves Pedo and even at 31, he still does all the things you want – he’s a solid mark, he’s a thumping kick and he’s happy to get his hands dirty. But I couldn’t help but think that against the Pies, Mason Cox consigned him to the VFL for another stint that could lead to retirement at season’s end. It was the one game you didn’t want to be the ruck back-up and unfortunately Pedo drew the short straw. That almost certainly will mean Weid and Tim Smith get the next call-ups and if they survive until the finals, then sadly it’s all over for our much-loved big man.
33 Sam Weideman (31) After three years of low yield, I think almost everyone is frustrated that the Weid has failed to sprout in our back yard. But I think it’s finally about to reap rewards. His late start this pre-season may have been the best thing for him because watching him do drill after drill bounding over teammates has meant that his agility is now approaching AFL level. Sure we’d all like him to snag a few goals, but he’s been bringing the ball to ground regularly now and he does give a slick handball in traffic. And don’t forget he’s still only 20, so cut him some slack. I’ll be surprised if he’s not called up this week for the Port game and whilst I’m sure he will have the odd hiccup, he’s pretty close to making it … properly.
34 Corey Maynard (35) After an amazing VFL semi-final last year where he had more clearances than Olly on a good day, Goody had him earmarked for our Rd 1 game against Geelong. And it even came at the expense of Dom Tyson, who was told his defensive skills weren’t good enough compared to Corey. Our former NBL player started off tagging the Cats returning love child Gary Ablett, which is no easy ask, but what made it a one-week only project was several kicking blunders or turnovers. Since then he’s been out indefinitely with a hip injury. He’s 27 in October and time may be running out.
35 Jay Kennedy-Harris (33) I said last year that I suspect we will all have to look back fondly and recall his magic game and goals in Adelaide in 2014 and sadly that’s still the case. He looks good at VFL level, but being so light, he’s just not quite able to break clear of packs. I reckon he might have some value coming out of defence, but at VFL level they opted to send Dion back instead. I reckon a club with a shrewd eye will pick him up for that role next season.
36 Harley Balic (New) He’s tall for a mid/forward at 187cm and he’s got the skill to be a major danger, but he’s going to have to work his butt off next pre-season to get in the mix for an AFL gig. My worry is that he’s not quick enough and maybe dirty/ hungry enough to make it in the modern tackling game. But at 21 he’s worth another year and I’d be getting a sprints coach to help him.
37 Oskar Baker (New) What do you get when an Everyready battery meets Ronald McDonald? – A lively VFL wingman whose running ability and has seen him become one of the league’s most talked about players. I still have doubts about his kicking ability, but he’s got a great attitude, so if he can become more trustworthy off both boots then an AFL chance will appear … next season.
38 Declan Keilty (36) Dec now looks the part at training. He’s a tall, strapping man now and quite capable of matching it in the air against anyone. With Frosty out of favour, he’s even a chance to play AFL should Goody decide he needs another tall for the Eagles or Crows. But I am just not sure his kicking skills are reliable enough and that his ground-level work is good enough. Depending on what happens with others and his play in the VFL finals, he may get another year as insurance.
39 Harrison Petty (New) From a distance he looks like Keilty and there’s similarities in the way they play, although Harry is a better kick, which in the current environment is mega important. He’s 18 until November so if he continues to develop bulk and speed, then I’d expect him to get quite a few games at AFL level. He may even get a go this year, but he’s no Lever yet.
40 Dion Johnstone (38) What’s the line, as a forward you make a great backman. After about six games with little progress this season, the club decided to try him as a defender and a breakout game against Willy has given him an outside chance of staying on the list for a third season. His kicking has improved and he’s never been shy of a tackle, so it’s not as far-fetch as it seemed earlier in the season. As a defender he reminds me a bit of Marlee Williams.
41 Mitch King (39) He’s now into his third season as a project player and whilst a knee injury cost him his first year, there really doesn’t seem to be any major progress this season. He does have nice skills though, but a lack of pace and leap means he has struggled to impact at VFL level. And with Austin Bradtke signed already as our rookie project ruckman for next year, King is smart enough to know what’s in store at this year’s exit meetings.
42 Lochie Filipovic (40) He’s the same height as Mitch at 200cm and his first year was ruined by injury – a hip problem. And he’s yet to impose on a VFL game. But two things in his favour are that he’s pretty quick and secondly he’s still only 19, which means even with Bradtke’s arrival, we’d be likely to keep him on for another year. But he wouldn’t want to finish the season poorly or we might decide that Gawny’s dominance means we can take a risk and go with just one project ruckman.
No ratings - injured
Pat McKenna Nearly two years on since arriving from the GWS and we are yet to see him do anything but run-throughs on the outer wing at Gosch’s Paddock. He didn’t cost us a lot, but he’s kept our physios busy for two years now… sometimes guys are just downright unlucky. He’s still only 21, but he’d want to be playing VFL by finals time or it’s hard to see us risking a third year.
Aaron vandenBurg I’ve said before that I really love this big brute of a guy and would have him in my best 22 if he’s fit. But since suffering ankle-related stressy’s last pre-season, he’s become a virtual trivia question – who got three Brownlow votes against Richmond in the first Anzac Eve game at the MCG. I hope we keep him on next season, but as with McKenna, it’s hard to keep paying medical bills for no onfield return.