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Liked the look of: 12 eyecatchers from JLT week three

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 2: Tim English of the Bulldogs kicks the ball during the AFL 2017 JLT Community Series match between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on March 2, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Tim English won plenty of admirers against the Lions

Western Bulldogs v Brisbane Lions

Tim English (Western Bulldogs)
He might have been well beaten in the ruck contest, with the strength and experience of Stefan Martin teaching him some lessons, but he won many admirers with his effort. He fights hard for the ball, winning nine contested possessions and positions himself well enough to intercept opponents. With injuries to Jordan Roughead and Tom Campbell, the coach is considering playing English in round one and on Thursday night's evidence he is at least a chance to break even if he gets an early chance. Given the time it takes for ruckmen to make their mark, English is an exciting prospect.

Harris Andrews (Brisbane Lions)
The 20-year-old gangly defender looks to have all the tools to turn into a quality key defender. On Thursday night he gathered 24 possessions, intercepted the opposition on six occasions and used his long arms to spoil the ball 11 times. He has drawn inevitable comparison to Essendon great Dustin Fletcher in the way he plays and he certainly carries the same calmness under pressure that the 400-game champion showed. The most impressive part was the manner in which Andrews fought to address a mistake he made late in the final quarter when it looked as though he had turned the ball over. It showed his competitiveness and poise. - Peter Ryan

Greater Western Sydney v Sydney

Tim Taranto (Greater Western Sydney)
He was the second pick at last year's NAB AFL Draft so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that Taranto has talent, but it was an attribute you can't measure at the Draft Combine that showed this kid will be a star. The 19-year-old was poleaxed by Swans gun Lance Franklin in the second quarter of Friday night's clash and was clearly hurt, but after a brief stint on the bench, returned to snap a brilliant goal to level the scores just before half-time. Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron mentioned the effort in front of the playing group at the main break, and Taranto's guts would have earned him enormous respect from his teammates. 

Darcy Cameron (Sydney)
John Longmire loves to have a stable of talented big men at his disposal and he'd be extremely happy with the decision of recruiting guru Kinnear Beatson to add Cameron to the Swans' list for this season. The mature-age ruckman from the WAFL has shown some exciting signs in the pre-season, and along with Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair, is an athletic ruck/forward option. Sam Naismith will be the Swans' No.1 ruckman when the season kicks off, but Cameron is a definite chance to partner him, which could give Longmire the luxury of playing Tippett as a permanent forward alongside Lance Franklin and Sam Reid. - Adam Curley

Giant Tim Taranto showed how tough he is against one of the game's biggest names. Picture: AFL Photos

Carlton v St Kilda

Charlie Curnow (Carlton)
The second-year Blue was forced off in the third quarter with a shoulder complaint, but not before he could show glimpses of his promise as a midfielder. Curnow was drafted as a 192cm forward, but the powerful 20-year-old was a regular at stoppages on Saturday against St Kilda. He won four clearances from his nine possessions, using his size to get free and kicking long out of the stoppage. Pick No.12 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, he is strong and competitive and coach Brendon Bolton would be thrilled to have the option of playing him in multiple positions.

Jack Steele (St Kilda)
The former Greater Western Sydney midfielder did a little bit of everything against Carlton on Saturday. He won his own ball with a team-high 13 contested possessions, ran hard defensively and laid a game-high eight tackles, and he hit the scoreboard with two goals. The 21-year-old didn't waste many possessions against the Blues, and if not for Josh Bruce's seven goals, he would have been the best player on the ground. It will be hard for the Saints to keep him out of their round one 22, despite the fierce competition underway right now. - Nathan Schmook   

New Saint Jack Steele impressed against the Blues. Picture: AFL Photos

Fremantle v Collingwood

Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle)
Aged 34 and coming off a calf strain, the star ruckman had every right just to ease into his first game of the pre-season. However, Sandilands was outstanding at Mandurah on Saturday, inspiring the Dockers to a thrilling and morale-boosting two-point win over Collingwood. Freo fans wouldn't have needed a reminder about the 211cm big man's importance, but they got it anyway as Sandilands won a game-high 20 hit-outs and booted a goal – as well as dishing off the opening major to Bradley Hill – from 15 disposals. Freo's hopes of a finals return could hinge on the giant ruckman staying fit this season. 

Tom Phillips (Collingwood)
Most eyes were on stars Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams in Mandurah on Saturday, and they didn't disappoint in their first JLT Community Series appearances. But Tom Phillips' dashing performance in the engine room was another reason for Magpies fans to get excited. The 20-year-old picked up 14 touches, but was particularly influential when the heat was on early as Freo burst out of the blocks and during the Pies' fightback as they wrestled a two-goal lead at the long break. Phillips played six games in his debut season last year and shapes as another talented midfielder who can add to Collingwood's deep onball division in 2017. - Travis King

Aaron Sandilands was a welcome inclusion for the Dockers against the Pies. Picture: AFL Photos

 

Adelaide v Geelong 

Troy Menzel (Adelaide)
While the former Carlton forward didn't have a huge impact on the scoreboard, it was his work without the ball that was telling. Menzel only had the eight touches and kicked 1.1, but laid four tackles and continually pressured the opposition defenders. His work rate came into question last year in his first season at the Crows, but a strong pre-season looks to have done wonders. Menzel looms as a solid back-up option if there are injuries to the Crows' star-studded forward line. 

George Horlin-Smith (Geelong)
Spots in the Cats' midfield are hard to come by, but Horlin-Smith made the most of his opportunity in his first game of the JLT Community Series. After playing only one game last season, the 24-year-old was extremely busy around the ground and was heavily involved, finishing with 23 possessions (11 of those contested), six inside 50s and a 82 per cent disposal efficiency. His work around the stoppages was first class and did his best work in tight spaces. Certainly didn't do his chances of a round one start any harm. - Lee Gaskin

Troy Menzel impressed with his pressure against the Cats. Picture: AFL Photos

Port Adelaide v Richmond

Sam Powell-Pepper (Port Adelaide)
Draftees often need time to develop their body before they can make an impact at AFL level but that won't be the case for this 19-year-old. Listed at 187cm and 91kg, the man is a brute, and he plays like it. He shrugged off tackles and when the Tigers had the ball, Powell-Pepper made sure they felt the impact as he slammed them (within the rules) into the ground. He led the contest with eight tackles and together with Ollie Wines, the two could be the foundation of one of the hardest midfield units in the competition over the next few years. 

Alex Rance (Richmond)
When a side's best player has hamstring tendinitis during the pre-season, it's reason to worry. However, Rance showed there wouldn't be any issues. Having established himself as the best backman in the game over the past three years, he returned against Port Adelaide and marshalled the defence to perfection. Charlie Dixon had just six disposals but more important than that was Rance's ability to work off his man and read the ball in the air. He is critically important to Richmond because he offers so much support to his fellow defenders and he showed there shouldn't be any lapse in form in 2017. - Dinny Navaratnam

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