Adelaide Crows

Wayne Milera 

The smooth mover looks in sensational nick and will be a dynamic player for the Crows this season attacking off half-back. Following a breakout season last year, Milera showed he's ready to take his game to the next level with a strong performance in the Crows' 17-point win against Port Adelaide at Port Pirie on Saturday. Milera took on the opposition forwards, wasn't afaird to take risks and delivered the ball beautifully coming out of defence. His combination with Brodie Smith and Rory Laird is going to make the Crows one of the most dangerous sides in making that transition from defence to attack. - Lee Gaskin

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Brisbane Lions

Lincoln McCarthy 

Largely unheralded among the Lions' off-season recruits, McCarthy looks the perfect fit to complement Brisbane's emerging list. After playing just 29 games in seven seasons with Geelong, the talented half-forward has had an injury-free pre-season and is reaping the benefits. Against Hawthorn he had 17 touches, two goals, an assist and eight tackles. When forward, McCarthy is a tough individual match-up, able to mark above his head, be dangerous at ground level and supply suffocating defensive pressure. That's not his only trick though, with the 25-year-old adept at spending some time onball, able to use his strong frame to win the contested ball. - Michael Whiting

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New Lion Lincoln McCarthy lays one of his eight tackles on Hawk Tim Mohr. Picture: Getty Images



David Cuningham

It's a big year for the former first-round draft pick, but he looks as though he finally has a defined and significant role in this Carlton side. Having managed just five games last season due to injury, Cuningham has enjoyed a standout pre-season. He played predominantly as a small forward on Thursday night, kicking three classy goals against the Bombers. His ability to find space in confined spaces was evident, while his finishing skills around goal appear to have improved drastically. Importantly, he can also rotate through the midfield. He only won 15 disposals against Essendon, but five of them were clearances. - Riley Beveridge


Isaac Quaynor

The Next Generation Academy product has been pumped up during his first pre-season for slotting seamlessly into an AFL program, and Quaynor did nothing to suggest he won't be right in the round one mix in his first appearance for Collingwood. Quick and strong, the 19-year-old looked comfortable from his first contest and took every opportunity to zip between Fremantle opponents and rebound from half-back on Sunday, finishing with 12 disposals, six contested possessions and four rebound 50s in an encouraging start. - Travis King


Andrew McGrath

It's been floated that the new 6-6-6 rules will benefit explosive midfielders who can get extra penetration and distance from their clearances. Should that be the case, McGrath is built in the perfect mould. Having drifted both across half-back and on a wing in his first two seasons, the former No.1 draft pick seems destined to become a full-time centre-square player in 2019. He played the entirety of Thursday night's game out of the middle, where his breakaway speed was influential. He won 25 disposals and kicked two classy goals in the final quarter, while his ability to sidestep out of trouble and hurt opponents with his turn of speed was evident throughout. - Riley Beveridge


Brennan Cox 

It appeared the Dockers' first-choice forward line for round one would feature Jesse Hogan, Rory Lobb and Matt Taberner as the tall targets, but don't discount young gun Brennan Cox from making a run at the season-opener. The strong-marking 20-year-old was arguably the pick of the bunch on Sunday, booting three first-half goals and reminding everyone of his talent. Cox has been earmarked as a swingman, and that versatility could play in his favour if he performs against West Coast in next weekend's final practice match. - Travis King

Geelong Cats

Jordan Clark 

There were huge wraps for the Claremont product last year after he enjoyed an excellent NAB AFL Under-18s Championships and then stepped up to senior WAFL football without batting an eyelid, and Clark justified the plaudits in his first outing as a Cat on Friday night. Against the reigning premier West Coast, the 18-year-old played with poise beyond his years, picking up 21 touches across half-back, with nine rebound 50s and two score assists. Clark seems a lock to debut on the biggest stage against Collingwood at the MCG on a Friday night in round one, and there is nothing to suggest he won't handle the occasion with aplomb. – Travis King

Jordan Clark feels Eagle heat during the JLT. Picture: Getty Images


JLT FULL FIXTURE Where your team's playing its warm-up games

Gold Coast Suns

Izak Rankine

It's hard not to be excited by this kid. His clean pick-up and dribbling goal from deep inside the pocket to start Sunday's night clash against the Bulldogs demonstrated why last year's No.3 draft pick was one of the most highly rated junior prospects to come through the ranks. His evasive skills, his exceptional delivery and his work ethic – displayed a number of times through his tackling efforts – were highlights from his performance over the weekend. He finished with just six touches, having been withdrawn early from the game, but it's going to be quality, rather than quantity, for the highly skilled South Australian. - Riley Beveridge

GWS Giants

Jye Caldwell

It seemed like every time Caldwell went near the ball, something good happened. He just seemed to have a knack of having an impact, whether it was because of his strength or his delivery or his class. The 18-year-old slipped to No.11 in last year's NAB AFL Draft order because of injuries but his second goal, which saw him nail a tough shot on the run after getting away from Luke Parker, showed that could be a decision several clubs end up ruing.  - Dinny Navaratnam

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Jye Caldwell avoids Swan Harry Cunningham during the Giants' win over Sydney. Picture: Getty Images



Oliver Hanrahan

While impressive rookie Will Golds, improving forward Mitchell Lewis or even Conor Glass could have filled this category, Hanrahan put in a real eye-catching performance against the Lions. Now in his third season at the Hawks after spending much of his junior life focusing on cricket, the 20-year-old showed plenty of dash and a willingness to take the game on against a more mature opposition. He finished with 19 disposals (at 78 percent) and added two tackles and four inside 50s. Although stuck behind a number of small forwards and midfielders, Hanrahan showed he has plenty of upside to work with. - Michael Whiting


Marty Hore

The versatile defender was never going to be found wanting when it came to the physicality of AFL football. Hore spent three years with Collingwood's VFL team, winning successive best and fairest awards in 2017 and 2018 to be regarded as one of the best backmen in the competition. The mature-age recruit, who will turn 23 on Tuesday, adjusted well to the tempo and intensity against a strong Richmond side. He showed good anticipation and composure in the back half and used the ball well. Afterwards, Demons coach Simon Goodwin gave him his stamp of approval for "playing the right way". - Ben Collins

Marty Hore showed good composure in defence against the Tigers. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

North Melbourne

Bailey Scott 

The son of 1996 premiership player Robert Scott played senior NEAFL football last year while a member of Gold Coast's academy and it showed in Saturday's game at Avalon Airport Oval. Scott looked comfortable with the pace and intensity of play, and several times set up teammates with quick handballs through congestion. Blessed with elite endurance, he ran the game out strongly despite sweltering conditions. Scott finished with 21 possessions, eight of them contested, and put himself firmly in the mix for round one selection. - Nick Bowen

Bailey Scott is tackled by ruckman Lewis Pearce during North's clash with the Saints. Picture: Getty Images


Port Adelaide

Zak Butters 

The No.12 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft almost certainly punched his ticket for a round one debut with an impressive performance in the Power's 17-point loss to the Crows at Port Pirie on Saturday. Butters had 25 disposals playing on a wing and across half-forward. He's willing to stick his head where others don't dare to go, and while he needs to add size to his frame, showed he can accumulate the ball and distribute it efficiently. Butters and fellow first-round draftees Connor Rozee and Xavier Duursma will all be in the frame for the start of the season in a new-look Power side. - Lee Gaskin

Zak Butters takes a chest mark during Port's JLT clash with Adelaide. Picture: Getty Images



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Noah Balta

Richmond assistant coach and Brisbane great Justin Leppitsch hails teenager Balta as the most gifted young athlete he has seen in his time in the AFL – and we all got a sense of that raw athleticism on Sunday. For a teenager who had previously played predominantly as a key defender at VFL level, Balta made a decent fist of it as a ruckman/forward in the win over Melbourne on Sunday. The 19-year-old, who is entering his second season, showed great strength and speed in collecting 18 possessions and kicking two second-quarter goals. Balta could be the bolter for the Tigers' No.2 ruck role. - Ben Collins

St Kilda

Nick Hind

The Saints' fourth selection in last year's NAB AFL Draft at No.54 overall, the 24-year-old has a battle-hardened body honed during his time with Essendon's VFL team. Hind started in defence against the Kangaroos and his explosive speed and uncompromising attack on the ball was soon on display. The qualified plumber gave the Saints plenty of drive from half-back, finishing with five rebound 50s. He faded out of the game in the second half but had already done enough to suggest he can make an immediate impact this season. - Nick Bowen

Nick Hind gets his kick away. Picture: Getty Images


Sydney Swans

Nick Blakey

He was quiet against GWS but the bar is set low for young tall forwards. What impressed about Blakey was he contested early when the Swans were being dominated. He shook off a big hit from Giants ruckman Dawson Simpson and competed well before petering out of the game, and managed to finish with a goal. Perhaps his finest touch was a nice tap to Ollie Florent in the second term. He had just six disposals but the Swans would be hopeful of getting some good games out of Blakey this season. - Dinny Navaratnam

Nick Blakey climbs over GWS co-captain Phil Davis. Picture: Getty Images


West Coast Eagles

Oscar Allen

He isn't yet 20 and has only two games under his belt, but Allen looks like being one of the young Eagles who can put serious pressure on for spots in 2019. The mature 191cm tall booted three goals against Geelong on Friday night, but also spent time starting on a wing and drifting down back as a loose man. It's that versatility that Adam Simpson didn't have among his talls last year, and Allen is likely to swing back and forward as required, while he could also pinch-hit in the ruck. The West Perth product has his nose in front of Jake Waterman and Jarrod Brander to play in round one, and seems all but certain if spearhead Josh Kennedy isn't fit. – Travis King

Oscar Allen impressed with three majors against the Cats. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Western Bulldogs

Mitch Wallis

There were periods on Sunday night when Wallis was anchoring the Western Bulldogs up forward. He was the side's deepest threat, and often their most dangerous. While the hosts were limited in terms of their key-position options in attack, without Tom Boyd and Josh Schache, it could also hint at a new role for Wallis. Able to mark above his head and with a good eye for goal from ground level, Wallis kicked three majors to go with 24 disposals when he did push through the midfield. The Dogs are blessed with a number of prolific onballers, all capable of getting their hands on the footy. Wallis offers them a valuable point of difference and could benefit enormously should he spent more time forward in 2019. - Riley Beveridge