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Fantasy Face-off: Whitfield v O'Rourke

James Dampney  March 8, 2013 7:00 AM

Fantasy Face-Off: Lachie Whitfield v Jonathan O'Rourke 2012's top draft pick or the man taken at no.2 " who do you choose?

  LACHIE WHITFIELD
 
JONATHAN O'ROURKE
 
Fantasy position
 
Midfielder Midfielder
2013 price $183,700 $179,200
Age 18
 
18
X-factor, Rising Star or Mr Reliable? Rising Star. Naturally a standout junior, Whitfield is sure to go through some teething problems as he adjusts to life at the elite level.
 
Rising Star. Compared to a young Trent Cotchin, hopes are high for O'Rourke, who uses the ball well and should get opportunities in the young GWS midfield.
Value for money Coach Kevin Sheedy is excited by Whitfield's skills, but has conceded he has a slight build for senior football. That means he is likely to swing in and out of the side to help prevent injuries or burnout.
 
Last season the Giants were extremely cautious with their youngsters, carefully managing their workload. While he is relatively cheap, O'Rourke is also likely to face regular rotation.
Job security Whitfield is considered the most likely new draftee to secure a place in GWS' side for round one against the Sydney Swans. How his body stands up will dictate how many games he ultimately plays. While Whitfield is leading the way initially, O'Rourke has also impressed in the pre-season, showing good signs in an intraclub game earlier this month. The Giants view 10 games as a minimum pass mark for its top-ranked rookies.
 
Injury history Whitfield managed to stay relatively injury-free during his junior days and hasn't carried any significant issues into the professional arena. Nagging hamstring injuries impacted on O'Rourke's TAC Cup performance in 2011, but he showed they were a thing of the past during an impressive season ahead of the draft.
The case for There is a reason why Whitfield was chosen over every other prospect with the top pick in the 2012 national draft. Blessed with speed, endurance and plenty of awareness, he is set for a long career in the AFL. A classy, medium-sized midfielder, O'Rourke demonstrated his talents with an exceptional 77 per cent efficiency for Vic Metro in the under 18 championships. He should quickly find a place in the GWS engine room.
The case against The only thing holding
Whitfield back in his initial foray into the AFL is his 75kg frame. But the club is becoming well versed in bulking up its bevy of youngsters and should be able to get him up to speed in a reasonably short time frame.
With his hamstring troubles behind him and laden with good decision-making skills and game sense, it seems only a matter of time before O'Rourke makes his mark as a Giant.

The verdict
It's line ball between two teens with the world at their feet. With Whitfield almost certain of round one selection, he has his nose marginally in front.

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