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2017 draft revisited: How have your club's players fared?

Jack Higgins had an outstanding debut AFL season, including kicking the goal of the year - AFL,Adelaide Crows,Brisbane Lions,Carlton Blues,Collingwood Magpies,Essendon Bombers,Fremantle Dockers,Geelong Cats,Gold Coast Suns,GWS Giants,Hawthorn Hawks,Melbourne Demons,North Melbourne Kangaroos,Port Adelaide Power,Richmond Tigers,St Kilda Saints,Sydney Swans,West Coast Eagles,Western Bulldogs
Jack Higgins had an outstanding debut AFL season, including kicking the goal of the year

WITH the dust now settled on the 2018 season, AFL.com.au, with the benefit of hindsight, looks at how your club performed in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

Our reporters give a comprehensive report on how each draftee went during the year and what they might need to work on this pre-season.

Check out the take on your club below.

PLAYER RATINGS What the stats say about your first-year players

Pick 12: Darcy Fogarty 
The solidly built forward was up and down more times than a yo-yo, getting dropped five times among 10 senior games in a promising debut season. Fogarty showcased his strong marking and ability to finish in front of goal. His last game was in round 16, finishing the season in the SANFL where he played a variety of different roles, including in defence. Needs to work on his tank.

Pick 40: Andrew McPherson 
It was a difficult first season for the medium-sized defender, who played just three SANFL games because of injury. Sidelined with groin soreness at the start of the year, McPherson made his Crows' state league debut in June only to suffer a season-ending hamstring injury against Sturt on July 1. He is on a modified training program but is expected to ramp up his training after the Christmas break.

Rookie selection pick 17: Patrick Wilson 
Mature-age recruit who had a stellar SANFL season, winning the Crows' state league club champion award, averaging 27 disposals per game. Played one AFL game and provides midfield depth.

Rookie selection pick 31: Cam Ellis-Yolmen 
Started strongly in his return from a torn ACL, playing the first 12 games of last season. The big-bodied midfielder finished with 15 games, enough to earn another rookie deal.

Rookie selection pick 38: Lachlan Murphy 
The small forward exceeded expectations to play 11 senior games in his first season. Retained on the rookie list, but will face competition from recruits Tyson Stengle, Shane McAdam and Ned McHenry.

Rookie selection pick 41: Jackson Edwards 
Delisted after one season on the rookie list. The son of Crows great Tyson played 14 SANFL games and missed a month with a sprained ankle. Questions over the midfielder's leg speed and size. – Lee Gaskin

Pick 1: Cam Rayner 
Could hardly have asked for more from his first season. Rayner played every game and impacted in a number of them with his power, marking and goalkicking. Is super strong but has a long way to go with his endurance and will spent most of 2019 in the forward line again with the occasional midfield minutes.

Pick 15: Zac Bailey 
Showed his best was very good in 12 appearances. Bailey played largely as a small forward but was thrown into defence in the final two weeks, where his blistering speed and willingness to take on the game was eye-catching. As his peripheral awareness improves, the Northern Territory product will be a huge asset and should be in line for plenty more games in 2019.

Pick 18: Brandon Starcevich
Got his chance late in the season with four games as a half-forward.  A midfielder by trade, Starcevich is good in tight spaces and strong over the ball. Is a bit down the pecking order in the midfield rotation, but more development next year won't hurt him.

Pick 41: Toby Wooller
The first half of his season was derailed by a hand injury, but the young forward impressed in the NEAFL upon return. Dropped 5kg in the off-season, is in the top bracket of runners at the club and has the potential to be a strong third-forward option.

Pick 43: Connor Ballenden
Kicked 19 goals in 17 NEAFL games, showing glimpses of his contested marking ability. Ballenden also helped out in the ruck. He is powerful, but like most teenage key position players will need a few years to develop. Needs to improve his agility and running, which he will likely do again through the reserves.

Pick 54: Jack Payne
Made quick progress early last season, playing in the JLT Cup, before a shin injury wiped him out for the year. On a modified program during the pre-season, the hulking full-back will take things slowly until he's 100 per cent.

Rookie selection pick 1: Claye Beams 
Not the role he envisaged, but Beams was crucial for the younger Lions in their NEAFL team. Never dropped his bundle despite not getting a senior game. He was delisted at season's end. - Michael Whiting

Cameron Rayner showed exactly why he was taken with the first pick in the 2017 draft. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick 3: Paddy Dow
Played 20 games and surpassed plenty of expectations with his craft at stoppages, particularly out of the centre. Was thrown into the deep end in a light Carlton midfield, but held his own. His ball-winning abilities will improve with time, but he showed he has the nous to be a prolific onballer at AFL level. Could be a star of the future.

Pick 10: Lochie O'Brien
Spent most of the year across half-back, where he was able to influence games with his penetrating left foot. Finished the year with 18 games, which is more than even he might have expected, while he closed the campaign with back-to-back 20-disposal outings. Will want to push higher up the field in 2019 and could grab a spot on a wing.

Pick 30: Tom De Koning
The 201cm ruck-forward showed glimpses of his potential throughout 2018. Finished the year with two senior games to his name, having earned his spot through some solid performances in the VFL. Looked a bit gangly at times, so will need to put on size during the upcoming pre-season campaign.

Pick 70: Angus Schumacher
Had pushed for a debut late in the season after a VFL campaign where he averaged 15 disposals across half-back. He's a good size at 190cm and has a penetrating left foot. Provides plenty of rebound out of defence but must work on his consistently before he's considered a chance for senior footy.

Pick 78: Jarrod Garlett
Got a second chance at AFL level after his career with the Suns was cut short. Managed 11 games in his first season with the Blues, kicking just five goals for the year before his campaign was ended prematurely by shoulder surgery. A small forward role is vacant at the Blues, so Garlett will be hoping to make that his own in 2019.

Pre-Season selection pick 1: Cam O'Shea
Reclaimed a spot on an AFL list after a year in the VFL with the Northern Blues. He played 11 games for the season but struggled to deliver and was delisted at year's end.

Rookie selection pick 3: Matt Shaw
Played just two games before he was delisted. The former Suns defender struggled to crack a depleted Blues backline, forced to wait until round 17 before he was given his chance. - Riley Beveridge

Pick 6: Jaidyn Stephenson 
The blond speedster exceeded all expectations by becoming the first teenager to kick 38 goals in his debut season since 1990 and just the second player to feature in 26 games in his first season. The Pies' first winner of the NAB AFL Rising Star award, Stephenson is likely to continue his forward role and gain a few more bursts in the midfield.

Pick 39: Nathan Murphy 
The rangy runner enjoyed a solid debut season that culminated in him gaining AFL exposure in the last two home and away rounds, when he played a role in important wins. A likely type, he wins the ball with sure hands, finds space and kicks with purpose to good options. Took a courageous mark in the final round against Fremantle.

Pick 50: Tyler Brown 
Collingwood list manager Ned Guy excited the Magpie Army recently when he forecast that the midfield prospect would "explode any tick of the clock". The younger, taller brother of fellow father-son pick Callum Brown showed great promise in the VFL this year as a wingman and defender, earning a contract extension to the end of 2020.

Rookie selection pick 6: Flynn Appleby 
The disciplined, medium-sized defender made a strong impression from the outset and was thrust onto the big stage for the round six blockbuster against Richmond. Played nine games before copping a six-week hamstring injury.

Rookie selection pick 22: Brody Mihocek 
Recruited from the VFL as a mature-aged key defender, the strongly-built Tasmanian ended up producing the goods at centre half-forward, kicking 29 goals in the last 16 games. Still learning the role and how to compete with the big guns.

Rookie selection pick 33: Adam Oxley 
Cut from the Pies' primary list and given a reprieve as a rookie, the defensive runner was named an emergency seven times before being elevated for the last three rounds. A groin injury ended Oxley's season and he was again delisted.

Rookie selection, three-year non-registered: Jack Madgen 
The former basketballer suffered illness and a broken jaw before being promoted for the last four rounds when he was forced to pinch-hit as a key defender, enduring a tough initiation on Sydney champ Lance Franklin. A viable back-up option. - Ben Collins

Jaidyn Stephenson booted 38 goals in his debut season, capped off by winning the Rising Star. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick 49: Jordan Houlahan 
It was a development year for Houlahan, who is talented, but the club knew in drafting him he may take a little time to come through. The jumping and leaping half-forward can take a nice grab, and he kicked 14 goals from 17 games in Essendon's VFL side. He will be hoping to produce more consistency so that he can work his way into the frame for a senior debut in 2019.

Pick 66: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher
The key defender has a few at Essendon excited about his development after a promising first season at the club in 2018. He has proven to be strong defensively and is good at intercepting plays and throwing himself into the fray in the back half.

Pick 76: Matt Guelfi
The success story of Essendon's draft last year. Guelfi came into the club as a 20-year-old so was physically more prepared to make an impact, and he did. He played 15 games through the midfield and across half-forward and booted five goals. He's tough, good in the air and averaged 15 disposals.

Rookie selection pick 11: Trent Mynott 
The club sees Mynott as an emerging inside midfielder and was pleased with his progress on the rookie list last year. He played 17 games for the Bombers' VFL side in 2018. - Callum Twomey

Pick 2: Andrew Brayshaw 
The level-headed teenager was always tipped to transition to AFL life with a minimum of fuss and it was no surprise to see him debut in round one and play 17 games. Was finding his feet and had a personal best 25 touches against Hawthorn the week before his season was brutally cut short due to Andrew Gaff's shocking punch. Brayshaw's defensive mindset is highly valued and he averaged more tackles (4.4) than any Docker.

Pick 5: Adam Cerra 
Missed the season opener after a compromised pre-season due to a shoulder problem, but came into the line-up in round two and played the rest of the campaign. Cerra's class is undeniable and he has the potential to become an A-grade midfielder. Will spend more time in the guts and is focusing on improving his running power since Lachie Neale's departure.

Pick 44: Hugh Dixon 
The strong-marking and straight-kicking Tasmanian tall forward looked a likely type after bagging six goals in a WAFL pre-season game before a serious ankle injury stalled his progress. Returned mid-year and twice slotted three goals in a game for Peel. Has talent and time to develop after the off-season arrivals of Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb.

Pick 59: Mitch Crowden 
Surprised by making his debut in round two and held his own in eight-straight appearances before hitting the wall mentally. Crowden produced some quality performances at WAFL level in the remainder of the season – notably a 30-disposal display against West Perth. His next step is finding consistency. 

Pick 65: Tom North 
The Dockers have high hopes for the ball magnet and he looked a chance to debut early in the season had it not been for shoulder and ankle issues. Found some form in the second half of the year at Peel, where he averaged just under 19 touches, and will be eyeing senior football in 2019 since Neale's defection to Brisbane.

Pick 69: Lloyd Meek 
Seemed not far off senior football when he made an appearance in the first JLT Community Series hit-out but Scott Jones and Michael Apeness were preferred when opportunities presented during the season. Played a mix of League and reserves for Peel due to Freo's glut of big men and should be battling Jones for lead ruck duties at the WAFL club in 2019.

Pick 73: Sam Switkowski 
Overcame a long-term hamstring problem to pull on purple for the first time in round 21 against Carlton. Was lively in his two AFL appearances and should be better for the experience heading into next year, when small forward spots will be up for grabs. 

Pick 75: Scott Jones 
The mature-age ruckman didn't look out of place in five games last year, especially in his last appearance when he had 11 possessions and took seven marks against Hawthorn in round 19. Rory Lobb's arrival and Sean Darcy's expected emergence from Aaron Sandilands' shadow will make it tough to get a gig next season, but Jones is a solid depth option.

Rookie selection pick 5: Bailey Banfield 
Wanted to prove recruiters wrong for overlooking him in two national drafts and let his football do the talking in a sensational rookie season. The Claremont club champion stepped straight into the line-up in round one and found a niche as a tagger in 20 games. Upgraded to the senior list and hopes to play more time as a midfielder in his own right next year.

Rookie selection pick 21: Stefan Giro 
Has pace to burn and can run all day, so if he can find the composure and ball use to match Giro could be a handy forward/onballer. Exceeded expectations by playing 10 games in his first season and showed he can find the footy by averaging 14.7 disposals. Retained as a rookie for 2019. - Travis King

The Dockers have high hopes for midfielder Andrew Brayshaw. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick 22: Lachie Fogarty 
Niggling groin and calf injuries halted an otherwise impressive debut season where he played 15 AFL games and was emergency for the elimination final. Fighting an early adductor injury this pre-season and has been on a modified program. Once fit, will look to increase his minutes through the midfield with his competitiveness highly-regarded amongst coaches.

Pick 24: Tim Kelly 
Couldn't have done anymore in his debut season that saw him collect the AFLPA's Best First Year Player Award and finish runner-up in the best and fairest. Has returned to pre-season, following two extra weeks leave in WA after his trade request was denied. Superstar Patrick Dangerfield said this week the Cats hope the 24-year-old to go up a notch in 2019. Watch out.

Pick 36: Charlie Constable 
Was "excruciatingly close" to an AFL debut in round one, only to be overlooked and named emergency for five of the first seven games. Collected big numbers in the VFL but got concussed at the wrong time in May, and was sent for a 'mini pre-season', having missed parts of the pre-season following tonsillitis. Will get the chance for senior football this year as he increases his tank. 

Pick 57: Gryan Miers 
Played all 20 games in the VFL and turned heads with his forward pressure but failed to force his way into the AFL side. Would've liked to have hit the scoreboard more but will get further opportunities following the departures of fellow small forwards Lincoln McCarthy and Cory Gregson.

Rookie selection pick 16: Stewart Crameri 
Coming off hip surgery, the former Dog and Bomber broke through for four senior games from rounds 7-10 only to succumb to separate eye and groin injuries in the VFL before he was delisted.

Rooke selection pick 30: Matthew Hayball 
Provided a second chance as a rookie, his third season at the Cats, before he was cut at season's end. Toiled away for 18 VFL matches. - Mitch Cleary

Pick 19: Wil Powell 
A longer-term prospect, the lightly-built West Australian played seven games last season, probably ahead of schedule. Powell is clean with the ball in his area and courageous beyond his size, but will need a couple more years to truly be strong enough. Clever and quick, he will most likely be challenging for a half-forward spot.

Pick 42: Charlie Ballard
One of the unheralded good Suns stories in 2018, the South Australian played 11 games before a knee injury curtailed him. Found a home at half-back and showed good aerial ability and composure with the ball.

Pick 52: Brayden Crossley 
Raw and rugged, Crossley was thrust into the Suns team to play the slightly unfamiliar role of key forward in 10 matches. While more at home as a ruckman, the teenager acquitted himself well with his aggression and follow-up work his strengths. Needs to improve his fitness to play regular senior footy but has plenty of years to do so.

Pick 55: Connor Nutting 
The rebounding defender spent his first season toiling away in the NEAFL. Showed glimpses of his promise, but must become more consistent to earn a senior call-up.

Rookie selection pick 2: Josh Jaska 
The lanky defender battled with fitness and form and was delisted at season's end. Reads the play well, but needs more strength and consistency.

Rookie selection pick 19: Nick Holman 
Made the most of his AFL lifeline, playing all 22 games. Played a mix of roles from half-forward to midfield to tagging and did them all with discipline and a hard-nosed edge. Not blessed with great skills, Holman carries out his coach's instructions to perfection and will be hard to dislodge from the team.

Rookie selection pick 32: Mackenzie Willis
The strongly-built small defender his third year at the Suns wrecked by an ACL injury mid-season and was delisted. - Michael Whiting

The Suns' top pick Wil Powell played seven games in 2018. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick 11: Aiden Bonar
The midfielder/forward took time to build into the season but managed to play some consistent footy in the NEAFL through the middle of the year. Bonar made his senior debut in round 20 against Carlton and held his place until he was dropped for the finals. His second pre-season will be a great chance to increase his endurance.

Pick 27: Brent Daniels
A serious knee injury before the Christmas break cost the small forward three months of training but once he returned to the field he settled well in the reserves. Daniels managed seven senior games late in the season and will be looking for more scoreboard hits next year.

Pick 28: Sam Taylor
Made his debut in round 11 against Adelaide in a game that turned the club's season around and immediately looked at home in the back half. Taylor was a crucial part of the GWS defence in eight games until a hamstring issue ended his season in round 20. The West Australian looks to be a future star.

Pick 56: Zac Langdon
Another brilliant selection from the Giants, Langdon kicked 21 goals from 21 games and was an important player with Toby Greene injured. Early in the season the mature-age recruit led the way with his forward pressure, and if he maintains that he'll be a regular again next year.

Pick 64: Nic Shipley
The GWS academy product didn't have a massive impact in his two senior games but dominated as a midfielder at NEAFL level. Shipley is a hard-tackling, selfless player and will press for more games next year but will find it tough given the stars in front of him.

Rookie selection pick 15: Dylan Buckley
An interrupted pre-season meant the small forward had a delayed start to the year, and although he played two senior games, his impact was minimal. A full summer on the track will be a huge benefit because he showed at reserves level that he can consistently hit the scoreboard.

Rookie selection pick 29: Sam Reid
The underrated utility played a career-high 21 games for the season and showed his importance by filling a number of key roles for coach Leon Cameron. Reid's leg speed allows him to play on small forwards, on a wing, or as a tagger. - Adam Curley

Pick 45: James Worpel
The strong-bodied midfielder was a revelation in his first season, playing 11 games, including two finals. Worpel had an early taste of senior football before returning for good in round 18 with 32 disposals against Carlton. He kicked the match-sealing goal after winning a one-on-one battle with Michael Hurley before famously snatching a ground ball from Joel Selwood's grasp as they ran from opposite directions. Worpel was nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star award.

Pick 67: Dylan Moore
Moore spent the year in the VFL after impressing with his aerobic capacity throughout the pre-season. He had some solid performances in the state league playing through the midfield and up forward, but it was in the finals where his star really rose. Moore slotted four goals in the one-point preliminary final triumph over Williamstown, then added three more as the Hawks beat Casey in the Grand Final.

Pick 71: Jackson Ross 
The former junior tennis star was a somewhat speculative choice late in the draft, but he developed nicely in the VFL. Ross is 193cm and athletic enough to play in the midfield as well as in attack, where his strong hands make him a difficult match-up. Kicked multiple goals five times and had 20 disposals, nine marks and two majors in a breakout effort against Werribee.

Rookie selection pick 7: Harrison Jones
Jones arrived at Hawthorn as a midfielder, but learned the ropes predominantly down back for VFL affiliate Box Hill. The Hawks love his competitiveness and energy. A shoulder injury ended Jones' season prematurely, but he earned a new one-year deal.

Rookie selection pick 23: David Mirra
The mature-age recruit, who has re-signed for 2019, looked comfortable in seven AFL games. His debut against Melbourne saw him quell Demons spearhead Jesse Hogan in a big Hawthorn win and he later had 24 disposals against Brisbane.

Rookie selection pick 34: Dallas Willsmore
Willsmore's five-year, two-match stint at the Hawks ended when he was delisted in September – and this time he was not re-drafted. Was serviceable in averaging 17 disposals and six marks at VFL level, including playing in the flag, but was unable to add to his AFL games tally.

Category B rookie: Changkuoth Jiath
Hawthorn recruited the athletic Jiath out of its Next Generation Academy, knowing he would take time to develop. Injury spoiled the first half of his season, but he got going once he returned to fitness and his tackling was a feature in becoming a VFL premiership player. – Marc McGowan

James Worpel looks like a steal for the Hawks at pick 45. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick 29: Charlie Spargo 
The small forward made his debut in round six and he quickly became a legitimate member of Melbourne's best 22. Spargo usurped Jeff Garlett's as Melbourne's No.1 pressure forward, playing 18 matches including the club's finals series. Will be looking to hit the scoreboard more often in 2019 and improve the penetration in his kicking.

Pick 31: Bayley Fritsch 
Made his debut in round one up forward, moved to the wing in the middle part of the year and then was shifted down back to emphasise his versatility. Was desperately unlucky to be dropped for the club's preliminary final but he'll learn from the experience. Will play regular senior football in 2019 in multiple areas on the ground.

Pick 37: Harrison Petty
The key defender started behind schedule after fracturing his elbow before being drafted but made up for lost time with an impressive debut season. Petty played one senior game against St Kilda in round 15 and the Demons have high hopes for him in the future. Working on becoming more involved in the attacking side of the game and having impact on games from the back half.

Pick 48: Oskar Baker 
Baker enjoyed a mid-season purple patch in 2018 and was close to making his senior debut. Unfortunately those hopes were dashed when he injured his hamstring in August which sidelined him for six weeks. He suffered a reoccurrence of the injury in September that has seen him start in the rehab group this summer. One of the fastest players on Melbourne's list, Baker will be pushing his claims for a debut in 2019. - Ben Guthrie

Melbourne did not pick a rookie as it filled its list in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

Pick 4: Luke Davies-Uniacke
Played five of the first six games last season, but struggled to adjust to the pace of AFL football. Managed just two more senior matches for the season, but the Kangaroos were pleased with his development in the VFL. A natural ball-winner who can accelerate from stoppages and push forward to provide a target in attack, Davies-Uniacke remains an outstanding prospect. However, the Roos will look for him to play with more intensity in his second season. 

Pick 23: Will Walker  
Enjoyed a highly encouraging debut season, earning a senior call-up in round 19 against West Coast after consistently strong VFL form. Walker looked at home at AFL level over the next four games with his speed and penetrating foot skills before a PCL injury in round 22 against Adelaide ended his season. Not expected to return to full training until January, but this will give him the chance to fast-track his strength work in the gym. Well placed to push for more senior opportunities in 2019. 

Pick 62: Kyron Hayden
Faces a make-or-break 2019 after being delisted and demoted to the rookie list. Shoulder surgery delayed the start of the big-bodied West Australian's career at Arden St, but he rebounded to play 14 VFL games and showed glimpses of his potential as an inside and outside midfielder. However, if Hayden is to extend his career beyond next season he needs to take a more dedicated approach to his football.

Pick 72: Tristan Xerri
The project ruckman made such an encouraging start to his first season at Arden St that by May North had extended his tenure by a year to 2020. The agile former Western Jet played 13 senior VFL games, but spent most of his time in attack as Braydon Preuss shouldered the No.1 ruck duties. Xerri should enjoy more time in the ruck in 2019 after Preuss' departure to Melbourne, but this year shapes as another developmental one in the state league.

Pick 77: Billy Hartung
The former Hawk played the first 13 games last year and appeared a good fit in North's midfield with his run and speed. However, after suffering a hamstring injury in the Roos' round 14 win over the Western Bulldogs, Hartung was unable to earn a senior recall and was delisted at the end of the season.  

Rookie selection pick 4: Tom Murphy
The raking right-footer played four consecutive senior games in the middle of his debut season, a promising effort that earned him a two-year contract extension. The half-back is a reliable kick, composed decision-maker and likes to take the game on with his speed. Finished third in the club's Yo-Yo running test on Friday.

Rookie selection pick 20: Gordon Narrier
The speedy small forward showed flashes of his line-breaking talent in the VFL, but his lack of consistency and struggle to adjust to the demands of the AFL saw him delisted after just one year. - Nick Bowen

The Roos expect No.4 pick Luke Davies-Uniacke to step up a level next season. Picture: AFL Photos
 

Pick 47: Sam Hayes 
The under-18 All Australian ruckman in 2017, Hayes showed plenty of promise in the first seven games of the SANFL season before rupturing his ACL in a training drill in early June. A long-term prospect, the Power will take a cautious approach to his recovery. Hayes is signed until 2021. With five ruckmen on their list, the Power won't rush him back until he's ready.

Pick 51: Kane Farrell 
The opportunist forward debuted in the round 19 win against the Western Bulldogs and held his spot for the final five games of the year. Kicked three goals in the first quarter of the round 20 Showdown against Adelaide. Farrell is a strong chance to be in the Power's best 22 for round one, especially with Sam Gray's ankle surgery limiting his pre-season.

Pick 58: Jake Patmore 
The West Australian played all 18 SANFL games in a variety of roles, gaining experience in defence and attack. Booted 16 goals for the season, including kicking three goals in a game on two occasions. With the Power well stocked across half-back, especially with the addition of Hawthorn's Ryan Burton, Patmore's best way to break into the senior side will be as a pressure forward.

Pick 60: Joel Garner 
The defender played the first 10 games of the SANFL competition before having a shoulder reconstruction in late June that ended his season early. His competitiveness and toughness stood out, but can work on his disposal in transition. The Power has plenty of defensive depth so Garner will need a good season to break into the senior side.

Pick 61: Dom Barry
The Power took a punt on the former Melbourne winger with their fifth selection in the national draft, but it didn't pay off. He played five of the first seven games of the season before being dropped. Barry's form in the SANFL didn't warrant a recall to the senior side and he was delisted at the end of the season.

Rookie selection pick 12: Lindsay Thomas 
The former North Melbourne forward played seven games for the Power before retiring. Suspended for three games for a hit on Geelong's Scott Selwood in his Port debut, Thomas returned to play six straight games from rounds 13-18. – Lee Gaskin

Pick 17: Jack Higgins 
Couldn't have done much more in his debut year. Played 20 games, including two finals, and brought pressure, tackles and a sparkling personality to the forward line. Came fourth in the NAB AFL Rising Star for his impressive season and won the Coates Hire Goal of the Year for his outrageous effort against Collingwood. Can look forward to increased midfield minutes in 2019 after signing a two-year contract extension.

 

Pick 20: Callum Coleman-Jones
Young ruckman/key forward who was managed through his first season with a program that featured bursts of games punctuated by a development program. Is mobile and strong and will look to continue in his development in 2019 with the Tigers bullish about his potential. His goal – along with Noah Balta's – will be to challenge Ivan Soldo for the VFL's No.1 ruck spot.

Pick 25: Noah Balta
Is set to spend the summer with the forwards group after playing at both ends of the ground in 2018. Showed he can read the play well as a defender and also take a strong mark at either end, while some of his best football came at the end of the season when he played as a pinch-hitting ruckman. A 2019 debut isn't out of the question.

Pick 34: Patrick Naish
Played across half-back and on the wing in the VFL where he was able to showcase his elite kicking and natural running ability. Was named as an AFL emergency twice, which showed he wasn't light-years away from being considered for a debut. Needs to work on his defensive side and physical attributes, but overall it was an encouraging first year.

Pick 63: Ben Miller
Looks to have settled in defence after being drafted as a tall utility. Has been likened to David Astbury in the way he plays. Teamed up with Ryan Garthwaite in the VFL backline with the two impressing despite their inexperience. Competed well despite tiring late in the year. Will look to develop further in 2019 after overcoming off-season hip surgery.

Rookie selection pick 18: Liam Baker
Earned his debut in round 19 against Collingwood and played three AFL games. Showed he can make scores happen, loves hunting the ball and has scope to run through the midfield.

Next Generation Academy: Derek Eggmolesse-Smith
Spent most of the season nursing a stress fracture in his shin. The half-back played in the VFL from August but will need a big summer after missing most of 2018. - Jennifer Phelan

Pick 7: Hunter Clark 
Spent time all over the ground in his debut season but the Saints think he could be a midfielder next year. He would bring much-needed kicking class to that area of the ground, while he is tough and can win his own ball. His composure and decision-making will also help him deliver the footy accurately.

Pick 8: Nick Coffield 
Drafted as a defender with a view to eventually turn into an onballer, Coffield needs to show more desperation and willingness to compete if he is to take up that role. That was the reason he barely played senior football in the second half of 2018. Showed he is one of the club's better kicks though and will be a good player, regardless of what position he ends up in. 

Pick 35: Oscar Clavarino 
Look past his awkward running style – St Kilda has a promising key defender here. He's bulked up since being drafted and looked far more comfortable in the second of the VFL season this year, showing he could read the ball in the air and take intercept marks. Yet to debut but could be a chance in 2019 if he keeps improving.

Pick 46: Ben Paton 
Came in for the final three games of last season and increased his disposal numbers in each match, while booting three goals. His pace and foot skills mean he fills a couple of the club's deficiencies on a wing, although his leap means he could easily line up across half-back.

Rookie selection pick 8: Doulton Langlands 
Showed development in his first season but had games for Sandringham when he had barely any influence. A wingman with speed and class who has put on plenty of muscle since arriving at St Kilda.

Rookie selection pick 24: Lewis Pierce 
It looked like 2018 would be the final year for the ruckman when he was moved onto the rookie list, but Pierce saved his career with some competitive performances when he had his chance late. - Dinny Navaratnam

Hunter Clark will look for more midfield time in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick 14: Matthew Ling
The Swans had high hopes for their top pick, but some niggles affected his pre-season and a toe injury ended it midway through the year. In the small amount of footy he did play, Ling's pace and ball use stood out, and he'll have his eyes on a spot across half-back or on the wing next year.

Pick 33: Tom McCartin
The youngest player taken in the draft had an outstanding season playing as a tall forward, after being thrown into the deep end with Sam Reid injured again. McCartin's willingness to make a contest made him a favourite of the coaches. Next year should see him have more impact offensively.

Pick 53: Ryley Stoddart
Another young Swan who battled niggles in his debut season, but the speedster still managed to play two senior games playing mainly on a wing. Stoddart's left foot is a massive weapon and he's another who should be looking to break into the senior team early next year.

Rookie selection pick 14: Angus Styles
Showed some promise in the NEAFL this season but struggled for consistency and was delisted. Styles was used mainly as a small forward and through the midfield.

Rookie selection pick 28: Joel Amartey
The athletic big man produced some patches of solid form as a tall forward in the NEAFL last year but let himself down with his finishing in front of goal on occasions. Was also used as a back-up ruckman and looks an exciting prospect if he can add some bulk to his frame.

Rookie selection pick 36: Alex Johnson
The 2012 premiership defender was the story of the competition when after five knee reconstructions, he played his first game since that Grand Final in round 20 against Collingwood. But Johnson's went down a week later and tore the ACL in his other knee and was later delisted. - Adam Curley

Pick 13: Jarrod Brander 
Everyone was screaming for West Coast to draft midfielders but the Eagles couldn't overlook Brander and they might just have snared Josh Kennedy's heir apparent. He only had five touches in a tough introduction to AFL at the SCG in round 13 – his only senior game – however the smooth-moving tall developed nicely playing in attack and down back in 17 games for East Perth.

Pick 21: Oscar Allen 
Arrived at the club with a tibia stress fracture but work ethic didn't go unnoticed and quickly made up lost ground. The Eagles like his versatility. He played as a tall defender and marking target at East Perth and was used at both ends in his two AFL appearances. Should push for regular senior football in 2019.

Pick 26: Liam Ryan 
He was a human highlights reel for Subiaco and Ryan's first season was nothing if not eventful. A serious ankle injury and mid-year suspension after crashing his car into a tree were speedbumps in an eye-catching campaign, when he booted 20 goals from 13 games and formed a dangerous partnership with Willie Rioli. Ryan had some key moments in the Grand Final, none more important than his brilliant mark and pass to Dom Sheed for the match-winning goal.

Pick 32: Brayden Ainsworth 
Got an opportunity in round eight and didn't look out of place in a road win over the Giants. The inside mid played two more games for the year and has a knack for finding the footy. Came along nicely at East Perth, averaging 25 touches and kicking 10 goals, and will be aiming to sharpen up ball use.

Pick 38: Jack Petruccelle 
Ryan's ankle injury opened the door for the speedster and his two-goal effort lit up a round seven win over Port Adelaide. Managed three games for the season and showed promise. Next step is to spend more time midfield after averaging 12 touches and kicking 15 goals mainly as a small forward for East Perth.

Pick 68: Hamish Brayshaw 
Knee trouble restricted Brayshaw until the mid-point of the season, however the strong-bodied onballer made an impression on his WAFL return, racking up 41 touches in his sixth League game against East Fremantle. Can find the footy and will hope to debut in 2019 with an injury-free run.

Rookie selection pick 13: Ryan Burrows 
Speculative selection after coming from amateur football and found life at the elite level challenging. His cause wasn't helped by an illness and having his wisdom teeth removed but Burrows never played senior football for East Perth and was delisted at season's end.

Rookie selection pick 27: Tony Olango 
Knee, concussion and hamstring issues worked against the project ruckman. An assault charge from before he was drafted, which the club was aware of, came to the light at the worst possible time after Andrew Gaff's punch on Andrew Brayshaw, and Olango was delisted at season's end after 10 WAFL games, including two senior matches.

Rookie selection pick 35: Callan England 
Small midfielder struggled to have an impact playing against men at East Perth, averaging fewer than 12 touches in seven senior games, and was delisted at the end of the year. - Travis King

Liam Ryan starred for the Eagles and bagged a premiership in his debut season. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick 9: Aaron Naughton
Debuting in round one, the key defender immediately validated the Dogs' decision to select him in the top 10. Whether he was standing a superstar like Lance Franklin, or pinch-hitting up forward, the West Australian impressed with his intercept marking, one-on-one defending, composure and maturity. Finished fourth in the best and fairest despite missing four games through injury. Working hard to improve his kicking.   

Pick 16: Ed Richards
Like Naughton, the pacy playmaker quickly showed why the Dogs rated him so highly, playing every game bar round one. Starting the season across half-back, Richards also spent time on the wing and at half-forward, displaying creative dash, elite foot skills and game sense. With the Dogs desperately crying out for class, the ginger-haired speedster looms as a midfield star of the future when his tank improves.   

Pick 74: Callum Porter
The versatile midfielder had a solid first season of development with Footscray and was named an emergency for the senior team on several occasions. While he has no problem finding the footy, the highly decorated junior's kicking is still a work in progress.   

Rookie selection pick 9: Billy Gowers
Handpicked out of the VFL by Luke Beveridge, he didn't let his coach down, making his AFL debut in round one and playing 20 games. The former Blue led the Dogs' goalkicking with 26 majors, but needs to fine tune his decision-making.   

Rookie selection pick 25: Roarke Smith
The medium defender, who has torn his ACL twice in his time at Whitten Oval, was redrafted as a rookie under AFL rules, so the time is now for the fifth-year Dog to establish himself. Reads the ball well in the air with his intercept marking, but needs to improve his decision-making.

Ed Richards celebrates a goal during the Dogs' R15 clash with the Cats. Picture: AFL Photos

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs