Adelaide Crows

Cam Ellis-Yolmen
You could excuse the big-bodied Crows midfielder for being a bit cautious, having torn his ACL in the first game of last year's pre-season competition. But Ellis-Yolmen threw himself into every contest and did some great work at stoppages. He also worked back hard defensively, beating Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe in a one-on-one duel, winning the ball and hitting a teammate by foot, and even slotted the late goal that iced the game for Adelaide. He's not a walk-up start in the Crows' midfield, but Ellis-Yolmen gives the side a physical presence and has ticked every box in his comeback. - Lee Gaskin

Cam Ellis-Yolmen celebrates his match-sealing goal against Fremantle. Picture: AFL Photos


Devon Smith 
After arriving at Essendon in search of more midfield time, Devon Smith proved at the first opportunity that he was worthy of the new responsibilities. After two seasons interrupted by knee injuries at Greater Western Sydney, Smith looks an improved player in red and black and was his team's leading possession-winner with 26 against the premiers. He held his own at stoppages and also found space on the outside – something his teammates struggled with against the red-hot Richmond pressure. The midfield move looks a winner. - Nathan Schmook     


Andrew Brayshaw
The No.2 overall pick from last year's draft looks ready-made for the elite level. He covers the ground beautifully and didn't look out of place against Adelaide. Brayshaw found plenty of the ball, used it well and didn't shy away from the contest. It's going to be hard to squeeze him out of the Dockers' best 22 come the start of the season. - Lee Gaskin


Bayley Fritsch
Lock in the 21-year-old forward for a round one debut. Fritsch booted three goals and collected 11 disposals in an extremely encouraging first-up display. The spring-heeled forward worked well into dangerous space in attack, competed strongly for the footy in the air and followed his efforts up at ground level. Fritsch booted 42 goals in 19 games for the Casey Demons in the VFL last season, with the Demons tracking his progress right up until they drafted him with pick No.31 in last year's NAB AFL Draft. He's still got a few things to work on, but his upside is exciting. - Ben Guthrie

North Melbourne

Billy Hartung
The ex-Hawk was close to North Melbourne's best player in a 53-point loss to Melbourne on Saturday. Hartung changed the game in the first half and kept his side within striking distance at the major change. His ability to gut run from one end of the ground to the other yielded two goals, and his ability to finish at top speed was impressive. North is working with Hartung on his ability to win contested ball but they would have been pleased with what they saw from their recruit in Tasmania. - Ben Guthrie

Port Adelaide

Dom Barry (Port Adelaide)
The former Melbourne onballer quit football at the end of 2014 and has returned from the AFL wilderness keen to make up for lost time. Barry upstaged big-name recruits Jack Watts and Steven Motlop with an assured performance in his Port debut, and sparked the Power with an excellent goal after a clean pick-up below his knees. The 23-year-old racked up 20 touches and could be a bargain recruit after being plucked with pick 61 in last year's NAB AFL Draft. Barry's running power has been on show over pre-season and he looks like he could add another element to an already excellent midfield brigade. - Travis King


Shai Bolton 
The Tigers have been well aware of Bolton's speed and skill, but they have been waiting to see his defensive game reach a level that warrants consistent selection. His pressure efforts against Essendon didn't register on the stat sheet, but he was a menace in the forward line, making opponents nervous and swooping at the right time. He had a clear chemistry with Jack Riewoldt, despite having played only six games, and his three goals were just reward for effort. Should now be the frontrunner for round one selection as Daniel Rioli's replacement. - Nathan Schmook   

West Coast Eagles

Liam Ryan (West Coast)
It was a nearly-but-not-quite performance from the electrifying forward on his Eagles debut, but there was still plenty to get excited about. Ryan booted the game's opening goal from an athletic effort while he was falling to the ground and was lively throughout the contest, flying for his trademark screamers and working hard defensively. The Subiaco product missed a chance from 20m that he would normally swallow to put West Coast ahead in the last term but West Coast coach Adam Simpson saw more than enough from seven touches to believe he has a talent to work with inside 50. - Travis King