ROUND one is fast approaching and with that comes a smattering of new faces in each club's line-up.
But which first-year players from the 2019 NAB AFL Draft look likely to feature in the opening round of the season?
Here's our take on some of the most ready-to-go youngsters, plus a couple of smokies to watch for early in the year.
Matt Rowell (Gold Coast, pick 1)
Like he was for all of his draft year, Rowell tops this group. He's the obvious candidate as being ready to face the rigours of AFL football, having been ready for most of last year for a new challenge. The midfielder is a leading favourite for this year's NAB AFL Rising Star award. Expect him to take on an important role at the clinches right away for the Suns.
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Noah Anderson (Gold Coast, pick 2)
The No.2 pick has impressed in his first AFL pre-season, and it would be a surprise to not see him the running midfielder named in round one for the Suns. At full strength, the club does have some midfield options to rattle through, but Anderson's size, ball-winning ability, capacity to play across half-forward and high-level endurance means he should be a lock.
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Lachie Ash (Greater Western Sydney, pick 4)
Ash was confident he would be ready to play in round one no matter which club he went to, but the Giants have a need for his speed across half-back. The Vic Country co-captain has had senior experience before, having played at local level as a 15-year-old, and has the mature frame and smart instincts to step into the AFL right away.
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Dylan Stephens (Sydney, pick 5)
Stephens' senior form in the SANFL in the back end of last season was crucial to him being selected by the Swans with their prized pick No.5. Stephens is slightly built compared to others, but he brings a genuinely new element to Sydney's midfield with his run and carry and piercing left foot. Watch for him to make a wing on the SCG his own in time.
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Hayden Young (Fremantle, pick 7)
It's hard not to get excited by what Young will be able to bring to Fremantle's back half with his elite kicking and decision-making out of defence. Young is equally good in the air, making his combination with fellow Freo interceptor Luke Ryan likely to be something exciting to watch.
Hoping your club drafts a classy ball user this year? Look no further than Hayden Young, who delivered this brilliant kick in the clutch stages of the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.— AFL.com.au (@AFLcomau) August 21, 2019
He's joined @caltwomey and @nat_edwards on Road to the Draft this week: https://t.co/UXlxYuXy6J pic.twitter.com/o8F94a8iQj
Cody Weightman (Western Bulldogs, pick 15)
The Dogs picked Weightman with a specific role in mind. Their list is exciting but they lacked for a true small forward, so grabbed Weightman with their first selection at last year's draft. Weightman can impact games in different ways – in the air, at ground level and whenever a chance opens close to goal he takes it – and the Dogs will have him earmarked for a forward pocket.
Deven Robertson (Brisbane, pick 22)
Brisbane has a deep midfield and a fit list, which at this stage could see Robertson behind some other options. But the West Australian will bring something that is required to boost that part of the ground for the Lions. Robertson's ball-winning exploits, combined with his speed, agility and toughness mean that he will be targeting an early-season debut.
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Jackson Mead (Port Adelaide, pick 25)
The half-forward looks a good chance to play early in the season. He is one of four top-25 picks from last year's draft vying for a place in Port's forward half, but Mead can also switch into the midfield where his clean marking for a player his size stands out.
Jackson Mead Darren Mead— Port Adelaide FC (@PAFC) November 28, 2019
AFL Players pic.twitter.com/UTkUTA2tk7
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Finn Maginness (Hawthorn, pick 29)
Maginness underlined his outstanding athletic ability by beating long-time Hawks running king Isaac Smith in the club's 2km time trial last week. The midfielder is hard working, clearly, but also has the frame to match it with senior opposition. Hawthorn has some similar types to Maginness in its midfield but he has real power and strength to his game.
Ned Cahill (Essendon, pick 56)
Essendon's stocks for small forwards are healthy at the moment, with Orazio Fantasia and Devon Smith back to full fitness and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti continuing to impress. But Cahill has made a solid impression since starting at Tullamarine and the Bombers rate his tank enough to think he could also be deployed up the ground.
GO PLUGGER The goalsneak who loves a celebration