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Early impressions: How your club's first-years are faring

Griffin Logue has a body that looks already built for senior football

There's a lot to like about silky-skilled midfielder Jordan Gallucci during his first pre-season with the Crows. The club's first choice at the 2016 NAB AFL Draft and No.16 overall, Gallucci has fitted in smoothly with his clean hands, ability to read the play and outside speed. Myles Poholke also looks like he belongs at this level. He's got the strength and size that suggests he wouldn't be out of place in the senior side. Poholke has held his own during contested drills against his more experienced teammates. Pre-existing injuries have slowed the progress of Elliott Himmelberg (leg), Matthew Signorello (shoulder) and Ben Davis (foot). While Himmelberg is a key position prospect, he's also been working with Sam Jacobs to provide depth in the ruck. Rookie-listed father/son recruit Ben Jarman will take longer to develop as a dangerous small forward, but is learning from one of the best in Eddie Betts.

The standout: With the Crows badly needing an injection of pace in their midfield, Gallucci will be knocking down the door for an AFL debut before too long. - Lee Gaskin

As they'd done the previous three years, the Lions reshaped their list in the off-season with a big focus on the draft. Hugh McCluggage was touted as a possible No.1 pick and it's easy to see why. The rangy midfielder has looked right at home at his new club, with composure and good skills under pressure a highlight of the Lions' match simulation sessions to date. His good mate Jarrod Berry has also looked good, and although the inside midfielder has plenty of competition in that part of the ground, he has done everything asked of him at this stage. Cedric Cox is as gifted as any player on the list – some at the club say they still don't know whether he's right or left-footed – but might need a little more strength to play seniors. Of the rookies, mature midfielders Jake Barrett (GWS) and Blake Grewar (Redland) look more than capable of playing at the top level.

The standout: Hard to go past McCluggage. It's only match simulation, but the teenager already looks to have more time and space than most of his teammates. - Michael Whiting

Last year's No.6 draft pick Sam Petrevski-Seton has enjoyed an impressive summer. A smart player with good game sense, he has quickly picked up the Blues' game style, while his work ethic is also very good. Fellow midfielder Zac Fisher, 175cm, is slight of build but hasn't held back in match practice. A true competitor, the West Australian puts his head over the ball, wins his own possessions and tackles with intent. Defender/wingman Tom Williamson has shown glimpses of line-breaking run and overhead strength, while key forward Pat Kerr is developing quickly enough to suggest he could have an impact later this season. Rookie Kym LeBois has stood out with his defensive pressure and skill but, like all of the Blues' first-year players, has been working closely with development coach Andrew Walker to understand the lifestyle required of an AFL player. Tall Harrison Macreadie has been training with Carlton's defenders and is learning the Blues' defensive systems, while former Fremantle backman Alex Silvagni has fitted in well at Ikon Park. Cameron Polson suffered a hamstring injury shortly before Christmas but Carlton is excited by his explosiveness, while re-drafted rookie Andrew Gallucci faces six to eight weeks on the sidelines after suffering a recurrence of the shoulder problems that derailed his 2016 season.

The standout: It will be another year of opportunity for Carlton's youngsters and no first-year player is better placed than Petrevski-Seton to break into the Blues' senior team early in 2017. - Nick Bowen

There was plenty of fanfare surrounding Collingwood's draft picks, with the club taking two father-son selections – Callum Brown and Josh Daicos. Brown, the son of former three-time best and fairest winner Gavin, has settled in nicely to his new environment. The level-headed teenager has natural ball winning ability and has displayed clean hands in match simulation drills. Top draftee Sam McLarty has been restricted to the rehab group following a shoulder reconstruction at the end of last season. The key defender has been slowly progressing in his recovery and should join the main training group by the middle of February. Daicos and fellow draft pick Kayle Kirby have been slowly integrated into training as they get used to the demands of professional footy. Former Gold Coast defender Henry Schade will push for senior game time as a mature-age rookie, while Liam Mackie and Max Lynch have displayed some good signs on the track. Lynch's size and athleticism, in particular, have stood out in training. Mitch McCarthy will be in full training by late February as he recovers from a stress reaction in his foot.

The standout: Brown is a hard worker, an efficient user of the footy and is putting himself right in contention for round one selection. - Ben Guthrie

Black-and-white bloodlines: Peter and Josh Daicos with Callum and Gavin Brown. Picture: AFL Photos
 

No.1 draft pick Andrew McGrath has already caught the attention of his more senior teammates, winning admirers for his competitiveness and explosive pace. The highly rated 18-year-old has been training as a defender, although he showed his versatility for the Sandringham Dragons last year by stepping into the midfield as well. Jordan Ridley will add depth and flexibility with the capacity to play most roles, while Josh Begley has displayed his ability in front of goal. Kobe Mutch can kick the ball on either foot and is learning the ropes under the tutelage of Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell and co. Dylan Clarke, the younger brother of North Melbourne's Ryan, is already proficient at winning contested ball but needs to sharpen up his kicking. Rookie big man Sam Draper, pick No.1 in the Rookie Draft, continues his recovery from knee tendinitis and after a thorough rehab is back running. Ben McNiece, signed as a category B rookie, provides the Bombers with a handy small defensive type.

The standout: McGrath has enough talent and the required competitiveness to play from round one. - Ben Guthrie

Top draftee Griffin Logue arrived at the Dockers with an AFL-ready body and the 193cm defender hasn't looked out of place on the training track. Logue's athleticism and running ability is well-known, but the Swan Districts product's precise kicking has also impressed onlookers. Logue is working on understanding the gameplan and his positioning for different game scenarios, but it wouldn't surprise if he finds a spot in the backline early in 2017. Bullocking ruckman Sean Darcy looks to have trimmed down from the 110kg he was listed as on draft night and has been running strongly, while he has spent plenty of time refining his tap work with ruck coach Simon Eastaugh. Mature-age recruit Luke Ryan recently joined full training after shoulder surgery, and is another who could push for an early-season debut. - Travis King

The standout: Logue looks well placed to claim a spot in the Dockers' opening home and away clash with Geelong at Domain Stadium - Travis King

Geelong's list was further transformed in the off-season with 13 new arrivals at the club through the trade and draft periods. Top draftee Brandan Parfitt has shown good game sense at training and uses the footy well on both sides of his body. After recovering from shoulder surgery, mature-age defender Tom Stewart is almost back in full training and is beginning his push for round one selection. Key position player Esava Ratugolea and midfielder Quinton Narkle have shown good promise, while Timm House (shoulder) and Ryan Abbott (fractured leg) have been integrated back into training. Rookie Jack Henry has displayed his athleticism, while Zach Guthrie's poise in match simulation has stood out. Young forward Jamaine Jones is crafty around goal and after starting training in December, following a pre-planned school trip, Sam Simpson's polished ball use has been a feature. Irishman and category B rookie Mark O'Connor is learning quickly as he makes the transition from the round-shaped gaelic football.

The standout: Stewart appears the most likely for an early season debut, but don't rule out Parfitt, who will push for a spot as a small forward. - Ben Guthrie

Brandan Parfitt has impressed with his skills and footy nous. Picture: AFL Photos

With four selections in the draft's top 10, the Suns were always going to welcome plenty of top-end talent, and no one has disappointed. Ben Ainsworth has fitted straight in and not only looked sharp in any skill drills, but has been dangerous in Gold Coast's match simulation sessions. Like Ainsworth, Jack Bowes is another making a strong case for a round one nod, with the tall midfielder showing his skills under pressure against his more highly credentialled teammates. Will Brodie and Brad Scheer have also looked at home, but might have to bide their time until a little way through the season, while Jack Scrimshaw has done well with a reduced training load as he adjusts to AFL level. The lanky defender is also expected to figure in senior calculations as the season wears on.

The standout: It's tight, but probably Ainsworth. The dynamic small forward has shown his nous around goals and is pushing hard for a spot in the Suns' round one team. - Michael Whiting

The Giants' new recruits only had a short block of training to settle in before the Christmas break, and have been on the track for just two weeks since, but No.2 draft selection Tim Taranto has been impressive, finishing fifth in the club's 3km time trial on January 7, and showing some good signs in match simulation. The Victorian has work to do on his foot skills, but he's been given high praise by star forwards Steve Johnson and Jeremy Cameron, who he's likely to work alongside when he earns a debut this season. Taranto's Sandringham Dragons teammate Will Setterfield has been eased into his workload after an injury-interrupted 2016, but hasn't looked out of place in the midfield, nor has fellow GWS Academy pick Harry Perryman, who looks to be a competitive animal. Attacking defender Isaac Cumming and small forward Lachlan Tiziani also haven't put a foot wrong, and are exciting longer-term prospects.

The standout: He was taken at No.2 for a reason and Taranto has done everything so far to live up to the hype. - Adam Curley

The Hawks have liked what they've seen from their draftees so far, in particular Harry Morrison and James Cousins. Mobile defender Morrison was the club's first selection (No.74 overall) and has already been listed on the club website as one of the top 10 improvers of the summer with his ability to handle pretty much the complete training load. "Since he has come into the program, his running ability has improved significantly," said head of fitness Andrew Russell. "He hasn’t missed any training, and his training quality on the track has been very, very good." Cousins is on the rookie list, taken with the 46th selection, with assistant coach Brett Ratten saying, "He’s a real old fashioned footballer; he knows how to find the footy and he’s hard in the contest. He’s really enjoying the combative side of AFL which is great."

The standout: Expect Morrison to be in the selection frame for the JLT Community Series opener against Geelong at University of Tasmania Stadium on February 17. - Ashley Browne

A shoulder injury has held back Mitchell Hannan, the Demons' first selection in last year's NAB AFL Draft at No. 46. The 22-year-old should provide excitement when he makes his way onto the field, with his speed and high marking a highlight. Dion Johnstone has been one of the more impressive players of the incoming draft crop. The small forward's toughness has been a noticeable trait. Rookie selection Tim Smith has shown his competitiveness over the pre-season. The 192cm forward offers athleticism and can take an overhead mark. As with Smith, Declan Keilty came from the Casey Scorpions. Keilty can play at either end of the ground and is strong in the air but needs to sharpen his skills slightly before being ready for the AFL. Ruckman Lachlan Filipovic has been confined to rehab and will take time to develop, but he will offer mobility around the ground when he matures.

The standout: Despite being picked as a rookie, Tim Smith looms as the most likely prospect to make an impact in his first year. - Dinny Navaratnam

Dion Johnstone and Mitch Hannan running laps at training last year. Picture: AFL Photos

Queenslanders Josh Williams and Declan Watson have made strong starts to their first pre-seasons at Arden St. Williams needs to bulk up but has stood out in North's match simulation sessions with his speed and line-breaking run, while he has also held his own in time trials and interval running. Key defender Watson has impressed with his intercept marking and moves well for a big man. The Kangaroos' first pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, Jy Simpkin, has taken part in most sessions this summer but the Roos are taking a conservative approach with his return from a broken leg. Key-position player Nick Larkey needs time in the gym but excelled on the first-year players' December training camp on the Mornington Peninsula. Of North's rookies, forward Cameron Zurhaar has a ready-made AFL body, half-back Matthew Taylor, who played a full season in the WAFL in 2016, has impressed with his composure and maturity, and midfielder Oscar Junker has looked promising in match simulation. Category B rookie Tom Jeffries' transition from rugby to football has started well, with the 202cm Queenslander competing hard on the training track.

The standout: North needs to unearth outside run following the departures of Brent Harvey and Daniel Wells and, at this early stage, Williams has shown enough signs to suggest he can help fill the breach. - Nick Bowen

From the first day he arrived at Grange Oval to begin training with the Power, Sam Powell-Pepper looked like he was meant to be there. The West Australian midfielder has a body ready-made for the rigours of the AFL. He wins the hard ball, gets in and under the packs and isn't afraid to throw his weight around when required. Key forward prospect Todd Marshall has been brought along slowly after arriving at the club with a shoulder injury. Marshall has been limited in what he can do at training, but showed during an open training session in late December that he knows when to lead, finds space, has strong hands and is a good set-shot kick for goals. Mature-aged rookie Brett Eddy – the leading goal-kicker in the SANFL last season – has been used predominately as the club's forward target in training drills with Marshall and Charlie Dixon (ankle) both limited in what they can do.

The standout: Strong performances in the JLT Community Series could see Powell-Pepper force his way into the Power's side for round one. - Lee Gaskin

The Tigers recruited a couple of small forwards in Shai Bolton and Tyson Stengle. Bolton has spent a lot of time with Daniel Rioli and has shown the flair that caught the recruiters' attention, and he is just about the quickest player at the club. Stengle needs to develop but his footy smarts and kicking skills should hold him in good stead. Despite tearing his quad twice in the year leading up to last year's NAB AFL Draft, Jack Graham looms as a readymade prospect. The former under-18 South Australian captain is physically mature and his competitive instincts have him well suited to playing as an inside midfielder. His defensive running, a trait so often missing in draftees, is impressive, but he lacks upside, since he already has a developed body. Ryan Garthwaite is a key defender who will need time to grow.

The standout: Having a big body and an impressive work ethic will give Jack Graham a chance to play this year. - Dinny Navaratnam

Jack Graham looks likely to get an early AFL opportunity. Picture: AFL Photos

The hardness Ben Long has shown during the pre-season has impressed the club, while his skills and forward-line smarts have also been noted. As a taller type and with plenty of competition in the forward line, Josh Battle might struggle for senior games as he completes year 12 at Haileybury College. However, he has already shown he can run all day. Edward Phillips took out the six-minute time trial recently, an incredible effort for a first-year player. As with Battle, Phillips will take some time to bring his football up to speed before he is ready for the AFL. The Saints' only selection in the rookie draft was Rowan Marshall, who requires more development before making an impact as a tall forward who can also go into the ruck.

The standout: St Kilda likes how Long's football has improved whenever he goes up to the next level of competition and will hope that happens again after taking him with selection No.25 last year. - Dinny Navaratnam

He might have been the Swans' last pick at last year's NAB AFL Draft at selection No.48, but big man Darcy Cameron looks a likely prospect. The mature-age ruckman from Claremont in the WAFL moves well and has also spent time playing as a deep forward in match simulation. With Toby Nankervis now at Richmond, Tom Derickx retired, and Sam Naismith recovering from a shoulder reconstruction, the West Australian was targeted by the Swans and could be a good partner for Kurt Tippett. The club's top pick (No.11 overall) Oliver Florent has slotted in nicely with his speed a feature, while exciting forward Will Hayward, versatile key position player Jack Maibaum, and rookie Toby Pink have also showed some promise. Pink moves well and looks to be a great size for a high half-forward, but has also spent time playing deep in match simulation.

The standout: Talented big men don't grow on trees and if he can continue to impress, Cameron could play a big role in the JLT Community Series. - Adam Curley

Dynamic midfielder Daniel Venables has been eased into his first pre-season coming off a foot injury and has only recently started joining in some drills. West Perth product Josh Rotham's pace has excited the Eagles and the tall defender has also been training on a wing. Mature-age small forward Willie Rioli's skills around goals have dazzled but, just as importantly, he has drawn praise from coach Adam Simpson for his thirst to apply defensive pressure. Rioli's fitness continues to improve and he'll get a chance during the JLT Community Series. Father-son pick Jake Waterman's aerobic ability bodes well for the future and he has worked closely with forwards coach Jaymie Graham over summer, while mature rookie Tom Gorter is impressing as a linking defender and knows the gameplan after playing at Eagles-aligned East Perth.

The standout: Drew Petrie has been a standout with his training intensity after being axed by North Melbourne and the veteran is pushing hard to face his old teammates in round one. - Travis King

Drew Petrie looms as a replacement for injured teammate Nic Naitanui. Picture: AFL Photos

The first ruckman taken in last year's NAB AFL Draft, Tim English has made an exceptional start to his first year at the Whitten Oval. The 205cm West Australian has a slight build but his competitiveness, particularly in marking contests, has stood out in match practice, while his foot skills are also strong. Forward/midfielder Patrick Lipinski is a smart, balanced player with good endurance, who looks well suited to the Bulldogs' link-up style of play. Key-position player Lewis Young is raw but has good skills on both sides and has shown promising signs in match simulation. Forward Fergus Greene needs to spend time in the gym, but is an elite kick prepared to take risk-reward options. Athletic tall Nathan Mullenger-McHugh also needs to bulk up, but the 19-year-old flies for marks with no fear and follows up with second and third efforts when the ball goes to ground.

The standout: Clubs have become increasingly wary of taking ruckman with first-round draft picks, but English's quick adjustment to the pace of AFL play suggests he has a bright future. - Nick Bowen