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Deespicable

Rating or list from 1-44

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The past couple of years I have attempted to rate our list via an A to D rating. This method is highly subjective and somewhat dependent on your category criteria.

For example is Nathan Jones an A grader? Clearly not if you compare him directly to Danger, Fyfe, The Bon, Ablett etc, but certainly he’s among the game’s elite and someone who invariably gets a tag – a bit of a rarity at the Dees a couple of years ago.

To give more clarity to my rating I have decided to go with rating the list from 1-44 – that way comparisons with players from other clubs become inconsequential. While the current year’s performances is the major consideration in the ranking, there’s no doubt the past and potential has a little bit of a bearing.

As someone who put money on us making the eight, I have to say we are all entitled to feel that we underachieved a bit this season. But given that we consistently picked the youngest side statistically (and not just the post-match rhetoric of a coach trying to deflect his side’s failings), then I have to say that it’s been a great season. How many of us would have predicted that our starting line-up would generally not include Dunn, Garland and Grimes each week? Hands up if you were confident that Wags and Hunt and Oscar would become permanent fixtures of our defence?

I’m still quite bullish about our chances of securing a spot in the eight next year, although it will be dependent on another wise recruiting period with about 8 players likely to be sent on their way.

As Roosy realised last year, perhaps with a nudge from Goodwin, the game is no longer just about stoppages. We needed pace to be able to counter-attack and if we can add another pacey left-footer to our defence (ie: Hibberd) we can make real inroads. If we somehow get Hurley as well, and still retain T-Mac, then we are talking top-four material.

But regardless we finally have hope that goes way beyond what any one player can do – even Jesse’s signature is not the be all and end all it once was.

In a few weeks Roosy will pass on to Goody an amazing young list, now with genuinely emerging players. Jason Taylor might have left the Pies in unsavoury circumstances, but he has been the best recruiting officer in the AFL for the past three years and hopefully he has one more year in him at least.

But even if he doesn’t, we already have a squad with depth – and with a bit of luck and awareness what a VFL flag will do for our list – we will bat deep for quite a few years yet.

As I said last year, this is not a sugar-coated rating like our club coaching comments, but hopefully I’m not coming across as a “nuff-nuff, kick the ball” fan either.

And feel free to tear strips out of my assessments – it’s a view after all.

One to 44 – rating our list

1 Jack Viney – Three years ago I was laughed at a bit when I said he was our Joel Selwood, but now most diehard fans know his importance in setting the tone. He was huge in the last quarter against Richmond when we needed him and not just in letting Rance know game ethics. Last year I felt he still needed to polish up his delivery but that is no longer an issue and he now provides run with his clearances as well as the occasional goal – his one with Swallow chasing him in Tassie was my favourite. I suspect his knuckle break has restricted his tackling ferocity in recent weeks, but his first B&F is on its way. I still like him as a tagger because he hunts his prey and still provides offense, but now other side’s are marking him more. Looking forward to him taking on Mitchell and Selwood in coming weeks.

2 Max Gawn – Our fan favourite. Certainly Roosy, who keeps downgrading him via the coaches votes, still has his reservations. But anyone who saw him do speed work pre-season will know that he’s the antithesis of the lumbering old ruckman and he seems to like firing himself up for big games – the Pies QB trio, Goldy and the Tigers at night. He’s now a shoe-in to be our first All-Australian since 2010. The nice thing for us is that he’s contracted until the end of 2018 and he genuinely seems to love the club more than a cigarette these days. He’s also our resident comedian and with his government school background, clearly has the last laugh on Melbourne private school toffs.

3 Nathan Jones – Yes, I know he’s not rated as highly as Fyfe, Danger, Hannebery or even the next A-grade tier that includes The Bon, Cotchin and Pendles etc. But sometimes you need to assess someone on how others rate him and the North game in Hobart when Ben Jacobs went to him clearly showed that other sides know that his low-to-the-ground passes can wreak havoc. I was sold on him two years ago when he tagged and spanked Marc Murphy and with his neck-injury resolved, he’s now commander of a seriously good midfield.

4 Bernie Vince – Few will ever forget his game on Danger last year and hopefully he goes to him again in Round 23. This year our desire to go with Tyson and develop Oliver, VB and Angus has meant he’s often had to make the conversion to half-back which has made scoring goals harder geographically, but he’s become our most reliable kicker-in, especially with Salem out. I still love him as a tagger, but you can see why he’s been sent back a la Matt Boyd at the Dogs. He still occasionally gets a gig in the midfield – Sam Mitchell and him waxed possessions a few weeks ago – but with his thumping kick and courage, you can see him playing on for a few more years yet. And if we get Hibberd, and Salem goes back to kicking the ball in, perhaps his role will become more high half-forward next year.

5 Tom McDonald – Last year he became one of the league’s premier tall defenders and it’s important to remember he’s still only 23. A fantastic spoiler and strong intercept mark, his mobility (he’s the fittest bloke in the side) makes him a weapon and a key part of our new rebound-quickly game style. I get a little tired of the “he turns it over” lobby group. Yes he takes risks with his low-flat kick, but the majority of them come off. The mail says he might leave for Sydney, but he’s a smart, country kid, hopefully he won’t get excited by the Harbour City Lights and leave. If he did, it would a huge setback.

6 Neville Jetta – I was really looking forward to his battle with Eddie Betts a few weeks ago and more than a tad disappointed that he ended up marking Cameron more than Eddie. Too often our zone-style defence takes him away from a direct task of quelling an opposition side’s best small forward. But then again he can cope with almost any forward type, because he possesses an amazing spring for his size. It’s that leap that occasionally gets him into trouble because when he’s on a small, you want him making sure the crumber is covered at ground level for the ball that spills over the back, but apart from that knock, he’s become our second-best defender.

7 Jack Watts – Every year he just keeps surprising. After being dropped for Round 23 last season, he produced another huge pre-season, training as a forward, which is after all what he was recruited as, and finally his body and confidence seems to be AFL-ready. You can tell when he gets it that Hoges leads with intent knowing that Jack’s elite foot skills will deliver it lace up. Their rapport is as clear as his vision – they really get on well and Jack’s laconic personality has won almost everybody over. He still has to make sure he brings his attack on the footy – those who saw his cringeworthy first half against the Dogs would know what I mean. But there’s been enough to like about his game that you almost miss his occasional lame tackling efforts. His use in the ruck when Gawny rests, which appeared comical initially, has also brought him into the game even more. And that’s what everyone wants, Jack in the game. He’s now a legitimate matchwinner – that’s hard to believe for those who have watched him closely over the years.

8 Jesse Hogan – I have to admit that I wasn’t at the Essendon game, but clearly if you were, you’d have an argument to say he’s a long way from arriving. But watching him take on Scott Thompson the next week after copping all that criticism showed he is well on his way to being a champion. He’s just so more mobile and clever on the ground than his contemporaries Daniher, Boyd and Patton and even though he’s only 194cm, he’s such a great pack mark and he has the necessary touch of mongrel – just look at what he did once Maynard slung him against the Pies. He has that Neanderthal-man strut that adds to his cult following, but thankfully he’s not as hairy as Garry Lyon. He still needs to work on the length of his kicking and the stutter-step doesn’t help, but I’m sure everyone noticed he nailed one from outside 50m against Port (I’m assuming here that the Alice Springs locals did not mark the 50m line incorrectly). His first effort against the Saints (7 goals) was a 3-voter but the second meeting again showed he still gets  frustrated and loses his way. One of Goody’s first jobs next year is to make a few complaints about “holding” to the umps.

9 Dom Tyson – Super in 2014, injury-riddled and down on form in 2015 – this was always going to be a watershed year for Dom. Would he be able to get his mojo back? Confirmation that he had, came in the rain against Hawthorn with his booming left boot defying the conditions and almost getting us across the line.  His lack of pace and awareness of an incoming tackler can still frustrate supporters, but that has become far less common. Most of the time he is a big-bodied, clever, quarter-back-style midfielder and the drop in interchange may well have helped to take the pace off the incoming tackler anyway. He won’t win our B&F, but he’ll be back in the top 10 and it’s a lot harder to do that this year than in 2014. He’s one of about five players who need a specialist sprints coach in the off-season – I’ve banged on about that for a while now and really can’t figure out why it isn’t made a priority by the club given the importance of pace these days.

10 Dean Kent – If you were down in Tassie, you know how close he was to getting the chop. Barely sighted close to three-quarter time he snaps a goal into the wind and ends up with four for the game. That is the lot of a small forward. They blow hot and cold and usually their impact relates to whether we win or lose, but Kent has become a ferocious tackler and when balanced, one of the best long kicks in the side. He’s also one of our few players that leads up to the ball – too often now our forwards (Garlett, Hoges and Watts) keep wanting the easier ball over the back. If he keeps improving next year, then he could join the game’s elite small forwards, but this year a top-10 finish in our B&F awaits.

11 Jeff Garlett – After being our bargain recruit last year, the wow factor has subsided a little and when his tackle count dropped soon after being re-signed, he found himself getting a sharp reminder of his role in the VFL. He quickly put that behind him with a vintage Jeffy first half against Adelaide. My worry about him now is that he tends to like to wait for the ball over the top – I’m sorry but I hate downhill skiers and I reckon the disease has been a bit contagious with Hoges and Wattsy both looking for the easy one as well. Sorry guys but you can’t all peel off towards goal and we don’t have enough thumping kicks to warrant that style anyway. 

12 Jayden Hunt – Hands up if like me, you didn’t see this coming.  Having watched him at VFL level, I was worried he was just a bit too light and too soft for AFL, but he has real courage and can kick the ball a long way – although he needs to keep working on this area – if he can lower the hang time of his kicks he can be even more damaging. His intercept mark on Josh Jenkins and dash down the wing to set up a goal was one of the highlights of the season and his pace, more than anything, has changed the perception of Melbourne – we are now not just the dour stoppage team. One player can change the image of a team – who remembers Scott Camporeale altering the look of the Blues in 1995? The question for next year is does Hunt move up to the wing to make room for Hibberd, Melksham and a fit Salem, or does he stay as our Jason Johannissen type providing dash from defence? Either way, he’s the big bonus from this season.

13 James Harmes – There are some players who always seem to get a game – a bit like St Kilda’s Jarryn Geary or the Dogs’ Liam Picken – and at times you wonder why. The answer is they are blue-collar workers – they tackle, they chase, they smother, they shepherd and they lead and even if they don’t have that touch of magic, they become the coaches’ pet because they just do the fundamentals so well that you can ignore the occasional brainfade. Harmesy is that kind of player. He’s also a very good kick which means he can hurt sides on the counter and is a dangerous short option around 50m. He’s had a bit of a taste down back lately, but because he does have pace and discipline, he can play anywhere. And he will. Lock him in for next season’s starting 22.

14 Tom Bugg – OK, so at the moment he’s playing VFL but he was a fixture for the first 14 games and provided a key ingredient – arrogance. He also loves laying a tackle and rubbing it in to his opponent – most notably Steele Sidebottom – on QB. Given our downtrodden past decade, you need characters with charisma to rebuild and Smugg Bugg adds to that. I still have doubts about his pace and it was his poor effort against the Crows, where he just couldn’t catch them that cost him his spot. But I suspect he’ll be back in the side soon and ready to leave a final imprint on the season – fairly or unfairly.

15 Christian Petracca – Having watched him at training before his knee went last season I was a little excited about the prospect of him winning Rising Star – backing him heavily at $12-1 pre-season. But while he’s shown his amazing power and flat-kicking ability, he has struggled a little with the pace of some of his opponents. The question next year is whether we start using him for more gruntwork in the middle or whether we keep him as a cocky member of the forward club. Either way he’s got that something special which we are starting to see more regularly.

16 Billy Stretch – I’ve been a big fan of Billy’s since I saw him nail Jack Viney in a tackle at a training session pre-Christmas. Previously that was my one fear with him, that he was just too small to be able to do his share of the grunt work. There’s no doubt he’s footy smart and he has the speed and tank to be a 200-game linkman. He also possesses a nice leap as we saw against Adelaide and makes space. My only anger is that the selectors opted to go Matt Jones ahead of him from the outset this season and that meant we didn’t really get a look at him until Round 7, but once he had a blinder against the pressure-king Dogs, you knew he was developing like a junior Kade Simpson.

17 Christian Salem – Another frustrating year for him injury and health wise, but I’m still a big fan because he has what we need – an accurate, low flat kick – who remembers him lining up from just inside 50m against Richmond and just nonchalantly nailing it. Who has noticed that when he’s not there, that we only go long from the full-back kick-ins because Vince and Co don’t have his soccer-honed foot skills? He’s still got a bit of work to do before he officially makes it as he can get pushed under the ball a bit too easy defensively and he is not mega-quick, but with Hunt in the side, he doesn’t have to play on the Camerons or Smiths of this world anyway. As with Tyson, he needs an off-season sprint’s coach, but other than that, he should be a key member of our back six (seven with the interchange) next season.

18 Sam Frost – Why? It’s a question all Demonlanders have asked for nearly a year. Why is a guy who is recruited as a defender constantly played as a forward/ruck back-up? Finally, when he bombed badly against St Kilda in Round 6, he gets dropped. Thankfully the magoos had so many forwards available at the time, that we were forced to send him down back, where he has looked so much more assured. He still overplays a kick or too, but you can now envisage him becoming a fixture down back and his speed means he can play on pretty much anybody. He needs to keep working on his strength, Jenkins outbodied him a couple of times for example, but he’s on his way to becoming a lock.

19 Aaron vandenBurg – If you saw him in February, you would have thought that he might become a superstar this season. Few would now believe me that he dead-heated with Jayden Hunt in 50m sprints and his ferocious attack on the ball made him the scariest bloke at training. Sadly he hurt his ankle against the Dogs pre-season and ever since has been hobbling. It’s been hard to work out if fewer interchanges has hurt him as well as he seems invariably to be puffing (tank issues?). But when fit, he’s a key, as he can genuinely put fear into players as he charges in to tackle them like Dipper used to do.     

20 Josh Wagner – Another gem plucked from obscurity by Jason Taylor, he is way more than a Rolfe from the Sound of Music look-a-like. He quickly made inroads with a nice leap, nice tackle and safe kick pre-season and being a left-footer in a side that lacks them down back has helped him become a fixture along with the honour of being “the man that dragged down Gary Ablett”. He shapes to me as potentially the big loser in Hibberd’s arrival next season, but if you play well and work hard, then there’s always a spot for you.

21 Ben Kennedy – The club was keen on him three years ago and missed out, so it was nice to get something out of offloading Toumpas and Howey – although so far the Pies are clear winners in the deal with us running second and Port a distant third. His size worries some but he’s got plenty of courage and he’s quick enough to impact, although playing high half-forward is often a graveyard spot. But he’s only 22 and worth persisting with for a couple more years. He’s actually quite a good kick and has a leap so you wonder if he could become a niggling little defender down the track.

22 Heritier Lumumba - I’ve put Heritier here, because when he’s fit, he’s in. He has his knockers because of his “headless chook” mentality, but those down in Tassie know that he turned the game against North after their opening seven goals. He has another year on his contract, but given his concussion issues, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t call it a day – although he’s a litigious type, so we will have to pay him out via workcare and he’ll probably end up suing the AFL for poor work practice. He is a prince after all! 

23 Angus Brayshaw I was watching him take part in a pre-season game of soccer in January and ANB went to smash a ball out of defence and sconed Angus in the forehead. Was it an omen for his season? Almost everything that could have gone wrong this season has, and usually it’s been in the first few minutes of his handful of games. Jumped on by Ollie Wines at the first ball-up of our pre-season, he did his knee and then when he finally got fit he was rushed back for the Dons game and played like he was. A week later he was rushed back again, which on the one hand showed how highly Roosy rates him, but it also showed a lack of faith in others. Most of his concussions seem to have been a mix of too much courage and bad luck – I mean what are the chances of going down via a ball to the head from a teammate - ANB again. He also had a bit of a weight issue to deal with, but that can happen to youngsters – who recalls Podgey Hodgey? He now looks like he’s ready to finish off the season well and his tackling strength is back. We all know what he can do with his wonderful kicking skills, we just want it to happen now. I’d be disappointed if he’s not in my top-10 rating next year.

24 Col Garland – I know a lot of D’lers have washed their hands of him, but he’s one guy who I’d persevere with … and it’s not because of his loyalty last year. He’s one bloke who had to change his style from the Neeld “down the line” era to the attacking Goody mindset and every time I watch him I see it starting to happen. He’s quickish, he’s a thumping kick and he does team things but every now and then he does a howler and because he’s 28, it’s deemed unacceptable. He’s now up against it, unless Tom Mc leaves, but regardless he’s a very handy back-up tall in case we get unlucky with injuries. Love to see him pinch-hit up forward, but I’ve said that before.

25 Clayton Oliver – Everyone loved his initial input – a cheeky grin, quick hands and “see ball, get ball” mentality saw him jump the queue to play in the middle and his opening game against the Giants was a ripper as was his North game. But, his desire to give it off, has become an issue – it is almost as if he doesn’t want to run with it himself because he doubts his own ability. Hopefully a lengthy stint in the VFL will solve that issue, because anyone who saw how damaging he was in those final few weeks of TAC Cup knows that he has the ability to take the game on and be a sensation. To me he’s one that needs a few more sessions with Tammy, working on his mental confidence. But once he realises that he is as fit and quick as just about everybody else except Jayden Hunt, then he’ll develop into a genuine star.    

26 Oscar McDonald - Given he’s played almost every game when fit and been preferred ahead of Lynden Dunn and Col Garland, you might find this rating unfair. But to me, he’s a developing backman and still a long way off being reliable, although clearly like brother Tom, he possesses the tools to make it with a great tank. He’s also a better kick than his brother, but he’s skinnier and doesn’t seem as hard – maturity may solve that. To be honest I reckon a stint up forward may help hasten his development and make him more urgent as a defender. But Roosy doesn’t like switching players around – most coaches don’t these days. But given our shortcomings at CHF, then I’d be sending him there for a while, before he settles into his defensive spot.

27 Alex Neal-Bullen – He was recruited as a midfielder and whilst he had a cracker as a small forward down at Geelong last year, he’s just not quick enough to apply the pressure in that role against the modern sides. But he’s kept working his butt off at VFL level and will be one of the favourites for the Liston Trophy this year. He was the major victim pre-season of the Clayton Oliver honeymoon period and he’s now getting a chance to show if he can cut it. The problem is our midfield runs deep nowadays so it’s a hard gig to keep. But he possesses a clever “give and go” baulk that makes him hard to stop on the run and he’s no squib. He’s contracted for another year and is one who is worth persevering with, but I imagine his name will come up at trade time, especially if he wins the Liston or dominates the VFL finals.   

28 Matt Jones – There’s been a lot of Demonlanders who keep saying he’s improved heaps this year. But I’m sorry I didn’t see it in the pre-season, or his first four games, although his first half against the Eagles was a major step in the right direction. He’s always been a very good VFL player, but when he gets to AFL level he’s been unable to take the game on enough to take advantage of his running skills. It’s why some supporters call him Matt “Mediocre’ Jones and why he’s kicked just 10 goals in 60-odd games. He turns 29 in October and I’m sorry, but I’d rather give his wing to a true project player like Billy Stretch. The next few weeks should determine whether he gets re-contracted for another year and my guess is that we’ll keep him on again. But with Melky joining the mix, he’ll have to work harder for a game next season.

29 Jack Grimes – Most would have thought that Crossy’s retirement would have re-opened the door for our clever hard-worker, but the new run-and-gun style meant he had to try and cut it on a wing. He got himself supremely fit and looked a likely wingman pre-season but then had to put up with the weekly excuses from the coaching department as virtually the entire list got a game ahead of him. Eventually he got a go and 30-odd touches up in Darwin was testament to his honesty, but his 100th against the Saints proved a horror match and with our side again under siege, his lack of genuine pace saw his omission. Someone should take him, he still has a bit of the Kyle Cheney’s about him and he’s only 27. Richmond and brother Dylan seems the obvious club to link up with.

30 Viv Michie – OK the queue to make our midfield is too long, so it was pleasing to see him crack three games as a defender and kick his first AFL goal this year. His clever, precise kicking means he can make the transition to the seniors fairly easily but the obsession that our coaches have with leg speed from down back seems to have hurt him and we can only now marvel at his dominant games at VFL level. As a 24-year-old rookie, there’s a chance that he won’t be kept next season, but personally I’d hang on to him because he’s a bonus for our developing VFL forwards.

31 Chris Dawes – He finally got over his calf issues and made his way back against Hawthorn and provided the physical third tall presence that all sides need, let alone ours. But, a couple of shockers in a row, albeit one in the wet and the other against Daniel Talia, forced him to be spelled. But it’s clear that when he’s not there, that we need someone in the CHF spot, as he presents well again and again, even if he can’t seem to take a mark.  Will he be kept at 28 for another season? Not unless he takes a major pay cut, but with our two project talls failing to make major inroads in the VFL, we may just have to offer him one more year.

32 Lynden Dunn – His cards were marked pre-season when he returned a little over weight pre-season and while he clearly is more reliable than O-Mac and Sam Frost, it was decided that his lack of pace could no longer be tolerated. His loss had ramifications down back because he’s such a thumping, accurate kick, but clearly Goody has decided. He’s contracted but I’d be shocked if he stays. Ideally it would be great if Sydney showed interest in him, rather than T-Mac, but that won’t happen. Maybe Fremantle might take a nibble, as he’s a damn sight better than Zac Dawson.  The other option is the Saints – that being the New Orleans Saints who could well use his kicking skills.

33 Jake Spencer – Obviously getting Jack Watts to re-sign is big news, but in terms of security, the decision to get Spencil to go another two years is major. He’s been one of the best ruckman in the VFL for some time now and there will come a game when Gawny has a niggle or the flu and needs a rest. I’d love him to get the odd game, even still this season, and he showed last year at Geelong when he filled in for Hoges that he can at least present up forward and his kicking, once wonky, is now a natural, reliable stroke. He’s tough too.

34 Jack Trengove – We all loved it when he drifted across and marked against the Pies on QB and kicked a goal that changed the tone of the game. But unfortunately against the Swans, a game where the wet conditions should have suited him, he lacked the required flexibility to lay a tackle and now faces a real possibility in joining his co-captain at another club. I had hoped he’d be given another pre-season to really work on his acceleration, but I’m not so sure that will happen now. Goody just may make the hard call and along with Grimesy and Dunny, the unlucky era will end. He turns 25 in September and is a cracking bloke, so even if we do the dirty on him, I’m sure someone will want him.

35 Ben Newton – An ankle injury delayed his season but he showed really good form in the VFL and then jumped the 23rd man queue (headed by Grimes) thanks to Tyson missing with the flu. He is a really nice left-foot kick as he showed with a goal on the run against the Lions, he’s tough and he can lay a tackle, but I think I still have nightmares about his lack of pace from the second part of last year against the Eagles and the Pies. If Grimes has to go, then Ben has to as well – although it’s now not such a sin to be a Demon delistee as it was. He’s even still young enough (turns 24 in August) to get to a third club next season, especially if he shows some hot form in the VFL finals.

36 Cam Pedersen – Everyone likes Pedo. He plays footy how we all want it to be played. He can kick it long, he can hammer a bloke in a tackle and he’s a very strong mark – albeit without a huge leap. He also is team-oriented – putting his body on the line as a back-up ruckman. But he turns 30 at the start of next year and he’s never been quite quick enough to be anything but a very good role player. As with Terls, Grimes and Dunny, I hope his reward for service will be to go out on a high with a flag in the VFL. But with the Weed and Hulett a year older, there’s just not a spot for him as a back-up tall anymore.

37 Mitch White – He played the same two games as Grimesy this year and had pretty much the same result. The first against Freo showed promise but the second exposed his lack of pace. It’s unfair to write him off at 20, but his thumping left-foot kick is not enough to get him by at AFL level. Whether he gets another year on the rookie list will depend on whether he can lift his intensity during the VFL finals. If he can’t then his time may be up. But as with several players, he needs sprint training – a common theme and very different to what Misson currently offers.

38 Dean Terlich – Those who watched him play in a low-key pre-season intra-club match just prior to our first pre-season game would have noticed how fit and fired up Terls was intercepting kicks and rebounding. He was probably BOG that day, but a slight hammy injury forced him to miss our major intra-club game at Casey the following week and that meant he was emergency for the Port Adelaide pre-season game. And with that, it’s been AFL career over. Wags and Hunt looked the part and all of a sudden Terls was so far back in the pecking order as a running defender that it didn’t really matter what he did. He’s even been sent forward at Casey now, as Michie’s reliable kicking is preferred down back. 

39 Jay Kennedy-Harris – After an incredible debut season with a goal of the year candidate in our win against Adelaide, he’s lost ground as a succession of hamstring injuries have rendered his past two seasons almost obsolete. His one VFL game this year (versus Port Melb) showed he still has clean hands and disposal skills, but whether he can really cut it now that the game has turned even more into a tackle-fest remains to be seen. He’s got one more year on his contract and it wouldn’t surprise me if they asked him to become a rookie next season like Viv and Jetta before him. I’d also trial him as a defender.

40 Liam Hulett - Project talls were definitely on Jason Taylor’s agenda last draft and after just two games with Dandenong, Hulett was a shock to many when he was taken with pick 46. But from the day he arrived it seemed the club had pulled another swifty with the well-built youngster impressing pre-season with good ball skills. So far in the VFL he’s shown he’s a very reliable kick and mark, although I haven’t seen any signs of a breathtaking leap and at just 194cm that may count against him. I can see him being sent down back next season though, and although it’s too early to say for sure, you can see him being granted a third year at the club already.

41 Sam Weideman - Let’s be clear he looks the part – he’s a good kick and he has a nice leap. He also talks and looks like a smart young man that everyone would be proud of having as a son-in-law. But so far he’s been unable to crack a big bag of goals in the VFL and to be honest he’s starting to look like he won’t be our answer to our CHF riddle. A hip injury has reduced his mobility, but it’s his lack of speed on the lead and physical strength in marking contests that worries me. I wouldn’t mind if they swapped him with Lynden Dunn for a couple of weeks and played him as a defender, just to get him more involved. Then next year he must get a few chances pre-season to see if we can hasten his development. 

42 Joel Smith – Some have confused him with Casey goal machine Tim Smith. But Joel is the son of Shaun, so he can take a hanger. From what I’ve seen he’s a better kick than his dad too. But a couple of injuries has meant he’s played only a handful of games as a defender in the VFL. He plays a bit like Howey with great athleticism. He’s only 20, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he pressed for selection next year. And while he’s doing his grounding down back at the minute, I could see him earning a spot in the AFL up forward.

43 Max King – There’s always difficulty assessing just how long a big guy takes to develop into a player. And especially one like Max, who has good kicking skills as well. He’s also had his share of injuries pre-season, but can we afford to keep him on the list for another year? His body is still kid-shaped, he’s had three seasons and he’ll be 21 in September. There’s also the fact that he still seems more suited to playing as a forward, which means he’s a long way back in a queue that now includes the Weed and Hulett. And we have already re-signed Spencer and have Mitch King as a project player – so if you do the sums, his number seems up.

44 Mitch King - The club wisely decided to take a punt on another young ruckman at the draft and felt the young Murray Bushranger was worth a go. Sadly a ruptured ACL at training ended his season after a few promising pre-season signs. The only good thing to come of it is that he can spend a season in the weight room.

No rating: Jake Melksham

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Good reading, you've spent a lot of time on it.

IMHO, there's no way Harmes and especially Bugg are above Petracca. Or Weideman below players like White or Terlich. Or Brayshaw below Kennedy, Wagner and vandenBerg.

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30 minutes ago, mauriesy said:

Good reading, you've spent a lot of time on it.

IMHO, there's no way Harmes and especially Bugg are above Petracca. Or Weideman below players like White or Terlich. Or Brayshaw below Kennedy, Wagner and vandenBerg.

What has Wiedemann done to deserve your up-rating of him?

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Appreciate the effort. Always good to get a detailed take on the list from fellow supporters.

Hogan is top 5, Brayshaw is top 15, as much as I like Tommy Bugg he's closer to the bottom half than the top half. 

I feel Harmes is becoming a bit overrated. A future prospect but our 13th best player right now? Not even close for mine.

I think the summation of Clarry is spot on. Some work to be done between the ears to get him hitting his ceiling.

Some good talking points.

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I know this is trivial but any chance you could post your list without your justification?

I mostly read demonland on my phone and by the time you scroll down to a player you forget who was above him!

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12 minutes ago, deanox said:

I know this is trivial but any chance you could post your list without your justification?

I mostly read demonland on my phone and by the time you scroll down to a player you forget who was above him!

1 Jack Viney

2 Max Gawn

3 Nathan Jones

4 Bernie Vince

5 Tom McDonald

6 Neville Jetta

7 Jack Watts

8 Jesse Hogan

9 Dom Tyson

10 Dean Kent 

11 Jeff Garlett

12 Jayden Hunt

13 James Harmes

14 Tom Bugg

15 Christian Petracca

16 Billy Stretch

17 Christian Salem

18 Sam Frost 

19 Aaron vandenBurg

20 Josh Wagner

21 Ben Kennedy 

22 Heritier Lumumba

23 Angus Brayshaw

24 Col Garland

25 Clayton Oliver 

26 Oscar McDonald

27 Alex Neal-Bullen

28 Matt Jones

29 Jack Grimes

30 Viv Michie

31 Chris Dawes

32 Lynden Dunn

33 Jake Spencer

34 Jack Trengove

35 Ben Newton

36 Cam Pedersen

37 Mitch White

38 Dean Terlich 

39 Jay Kennedy-Harris

40 Liam Hulett

41 Sam Weideman  

42 Joel Smith

43 Max King

44 Mitch King

Had some spare time, hope Deespicable doesn't mind

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Agree that Viney and Gawn have taken the top 2 spots of Jones and Vince.  Good to see!

with 5 or 6 young guns still in their first 2 seasons expect this list to be put on its head over the next 2 years

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There's a list like this produced each year, it's the Best & Fairest, which is great.  But it's not really meaningful in terms of importance to future success.  You have Tom Bugg higher than Petracca, Stretch, Salem, Brayshaw, Oliver, Weideman?  Lumumba ahead of anyone?

Surely you're having a lend with this comment?  Surely?

3 hours ago, Deespicable said:

As someone who put money on us making the eight, I have to say we are all entitled to feel that we underachieved a bit this season.

 

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Some exceptionally odd rankings.

Oliver behind Garland ?  Absurd.

But, as you say, it's subjective and I've always liked lists.

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3 hours ago, Diamond said:

What has Wiedemann done to deserve your up-rating of him?

He is a #9 draft pick with huge potential. Would you have put Hogan down the bottom of the list last year when he hadn't played a game? 

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Yes there are some interesting calls there but good discussion generator and quite a bit of thought put into it. Good on you despicable one. 

You could probably argue all of them up or down 3 places or so. Oliver in the future is probably in the top few but at the moment is not in the side. But the big bug bear, for me, is Bugg, 14 really?

Edited by fndee

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You mentioned Jason Taylor might leave. What's the story there? I reckon he's been great and want him to stay!

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4 hours ago, Ricky P said:

You mentioned Jason Taylor might leave. What's the story there? I reckon he's been great and want him to stay!

I don't think he's saying that at all.

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It is a really good read and quite interesting. I found myself disagreeing with you and then reading your opening post saying it is on this year and going, well actually you are pretty right there. I think Kennedy has been given the raw end of the stick here as really he has had a good season - it is just the expectations on him are far beyond those of Harmes, Hunt etc. 

Well done and a great read! 

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Bugg far too high and Petracca is too low. Brayshaw, Oliver, O.Mc and M.Jones would be in my best 22. GOOD JOB ON THE LIST.

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Great thread and well done!

I guess it explains why we are where we are, level with ordinary teams like Collingwood and Richmond, when Jetta, a good solid back pocket, can be the 6th best/most important player on your list.  Not sure Nick Smith or Rory Laird would be in their club's top 10.  I agree with the rating of Jetta by the way, but blokes like Tyson, Hogan and Kent just have to improve and go past him if we're to be any good.

Those questioning whether Hibberd is worth pursuing should note that he would immediately slot into our top 10.

Oh for the day we have a top 10 of Viney, Gawn, Hogan, Petracca, Brayshaw, Oliver, Salem, McDonald, Frost, Weideman.

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Harmes at 13 & Bugg at 14. That must be wrong, otherwise we'd be down with Essendon on 1 or 2 wins!!!!

in a top 4 side Harmes is about 25 & Bugg isn't on their List!!!

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Deespicable I more or less agree with you.One thing people need to do is when rating players is to take into consideration the amount of games that they have played. I would expect N.Jones and Vince to drop down the list whilst others will fill their void. I only rate Viney as an "A" grader at this stage and that is based on comparisons to "A" listers from other club. Garland is rightly rated despite not being in favour but has played many games for the Dees.

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Good post. I do struggle that you say its based on this year and then have Salem 11 spots higher than Matt Jones and also Lumumba at 22. I feel N Jones is slightly too high (would have Jetta and T-Mac ahead). If it were a school yard pick for 3 year deals what your change your first 22 in order be? 

Edited by big_red_fire_engine

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