After being eased into pre-season training, Ned McHenry (MID, $170,000) is back working with the main group and even finished second in the Crows' 2km time trail. McHenry averaged 82 from his 10 games in the SANFL last year and with so many players leaving Adelaide in 2019, McHenry will be right in the mix for a game for round one.
Deven Robertson (MID, $228,000) was somehow left hanging after the first round at the NAB AFL Draft, much to the excitement of the Lions who didn't hesitate to pick up the young gun with the 22nd selection. He is a contested beast who is ready to make an impact at the top level after winning the Larke Medal following averages of 30 possessions, seven tackles and four marks for 110 points while captaining WA at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. Also keep an eye on Brandon Starcevich (DEF/MID, $189,000) as he appears value in the backline. He is currently in 34 per cent of Fantasy Classic teams and is the 15th-most-selected player.
The Blues obviously saw something in Liam Stocker (DEF, $285,000) to grab him following the infamous pick swap with the Crows. Now, although he didn't show much from his five games with a top score of just 52, he will be given every chance to succeed and can be selected as a defender. The reason we highlight the defender eligibility is because he was drafted as an inside mid and has every intention of earning a spot in there.
If Jay Rantall (MID, $192,000) can turn his pre-season time trial wins into games and Fantasy points, then he'll be a profitable cash cow. The former basketballer has finished first in both 2km time trials since joining the club in November. Rantall averaged 97.4 in the NAB League, although this was not quite as high as fellow draftee Trent Bianco (DEF/MID, $182,000), who averaged 104. Collingwood looks to have some more high-scoring players coming through.
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The Bombers addressed some needs in the off-season by picking up mature-age recruit Jacob Townsend (FWD, $266,000). As a member of Richmond's VFL premiership team last season, the 26-year-old played 16 games at an average of 90 but only managed one senior appearance. He played mostly as a forward in his 45 AFL games which included the 2017 premiership, returning a modest average of 51. If he plays as a midfielder for Essendon, his numbers should improve.
Cutler, Philips, Townsend. Who will have the biggest impact for Essendon this season? @cleary_mitch and @CalTwomey break down the new Bombers to watch in 2020.— AFL (@AFL) January 18, 2020
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Coaches will be keen to see how Hayden Young (DEF, $258,000) fits into the Dockers' back six. From all reports he is a likely starter in round one and Fantasy Classic coaches tend to agree. Young is the second-most-selected defender behind Sam Docherty and with good reason: he averaged in the mid-80s during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and the NAB League last season. Caleb Serong (MID, $256,000) could find himself in the mix for games very early if he has a successful pre-season. After averaging 24 possessions for the Gippsland Power while providing plenty of grunt work around the ball, he already looks equipped with the tools to make an instant contribution to what looks like a thin midfield group. Eyes will also be on Luke Valente (MID, $170,000) and Sam Sturt (FWD, $170,000) to see if they can crack the senior side in their second year on Fremantle's list.
Patrick Dangerfield flagged that Cooper Stephens (MID, $240,000) might make an early impact in the season after participating in Geelong's practice match against Collingwood last week. He should get an opportunity to stake his claim on a spot in the 22 during the Marsh Community Series. In 2018, Geelong traded pick No.42 to Carlton to secure the services of Nathan Kreuger (FWD, $170,000). The 196cm key-position forward is being talked up this pre-season as an x-factor for the Cats up forward. Cameron Taheny (FWD, $172,000) is another cheap option who could be a chance for games. Taheny is a goalkicker from the SANFL who averaged 60 last year.
Matt Rowell (MID, $270,000) is the fourth-most-selected player in Fantasy Classic. He's popular for a reason. The No.1 draft pick averaged 99 in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and 123, the most of any draftee, in his final year in the NAB League. Drafted at No.2 was Rowell's teammate and close friend Noah Anderson (MID, $268,000), who averaged 108 from his seven NAB League games. The Suns also swooped on Sam Flanders (MID/FWD, $250,000) with pick No.11. Flanders was just one of seven draftees to average 90-plus in the NAB League. He placed within the top five scorers in the under-18 championships, averaging 98 and could potentially get a game as early as round one.
It will be tough for many untried Giants to get a gig early this season, but pick four in last year's draft, Lachie Ash (DEF/MID, $264,000), could get an opportunity. The NAB AFL Under-18 All Australian averaged 23 disposals as co-captain of the Vic Country team at the Under-18 Championships. He averaged 96 Fantasy points for the Murray Bushrangers in the NAB League. If Tom Green (MID, $252,000) gets a run, we can expect decent Fantasy numbers after averaging 105 in the NAB League. Keep an eye on Xavier O'Halloran (MID, $170,000), who may make his debut this year. He spent last season in the NEAFL where he averaged 74 after being picked up at selection No.22 in the 2017 draft.
Father-son selection Finn Maginness (MID, $214,000) was one of the top Fantasy performers at the NAB Under-18 Championships last year. He finished with 30 tackles across the four games to help him average 89 Fantasy points for the series. Maginness may get an opportunity to pull on the guernsey early in 2020. Also keep an eye on Harrison Jones (MID, $170,000) who impressed for Box Hill where he averaged 87 from his 13 games in the VFL.
Kysaiah Pickett (FWD, $248,000) was taken at pick 12 in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft. The nephew of former North Melbourne and Port Adelaide player Byron Pickett has already debuted at senior level in the SANFL. Although he is unlikely to be a high-scoring player, if Kozzy breaks into the Dees' 22, he'll make some coin. Track watchers have said that Trent Rivers (DEF/MID, $208,000) is every chance to make his debut this season and should feature in the Marsh Community Series.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and that's exactly what Aiden Bonar (MID/FWD, $333,000) is hoping for in 2020. Selected in the 2011 draft at pick No.11, the former Giant is eyeing off more midfield time at his new club. Bonar averaged 84 and 78 over the past two seasons in the NEAFL and has impressed the Kangaroos' coaching staff early this pre-season. Some sources consider Jack Mahony (MID/FWD, $204,000) a chance to play early in the year after an outstanding pre-season. He averaged 89 in last year's NAB League.
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After an impressive showing in last week's intraclub match, Mitch Georgiadis (FWD, $236,000) is firming for round one selection. Miles Bergman (FWD, $244,000) could also be in the mix for early games in similar fashion to last year's prized recruits, especially given his versatility. He has the ability to instantly add another level of attack to the Power midfield while also providing some polish with his impressive kicking and a strong overhead game.
Marlion Pickett (MID, $170,000) is the easiest selection of the year. After debuting and starring on the big stage with 22 possessions, two marks and a goal for 73 points, the sky is the limit for the cult hero. The mature-age cash cow will likely be the most selected player in round one.
Max King (FWD, $170,000) was taken with pick No.4 in the 2018 draft. An ankle injury in the VFL ended his season as he was on the cusp of senior selection. The key forward kicked 11 goals in five appearances for Sandringham. King will be close to a round one starter and a definite bench option in the forward line. Also consider Jack Bytel (MID, $170,000), who missed last season with a back injury. His junior numbers were impressive, averaging 95 for the Calder Cannons.
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He's a talented left-footer who has been likened to West Coast's Andrew Gaff. Dylan Stephens (MID, $262,000) was taken at No.5 in the draft after averaging 87 in the NAB Under-18 Championships. Will Gould (DEF, $220,000) is a big-bodied defender, and just like Stephens we could see him also named to start the year. The promising sign for these two rookies is that they had a year in the SANFL, where they proved their worth averaging 79 and 73 respectively. John Longmire put Chad Warner (MID, $194,000) on the radar for Fantasy coaches last week and is definitely one to watch over the Marsh Community Series.
For most of his 11 games in the WAFL, Jarrod Brander (DEF/FWD, $217,000) played as a swingman and averaged 72. But can he go from swingman to wingman for the Eagles in 2020? Word on the street is that the Eagles plan on trialing Brander up the ground during the pre-season games. If he can finally crack their best 22, then the former No.13 draft selection might be worth a position on our benches, either up forward or back in defence.
Cody Weightman (FWD, $242,000) could be a worthy bench selection if he is in the mix for early games as a small forward. He was Vic Country's leading goalkicker at the Under-18 National Championships and his good leap and strong hands will ensure he is in the conversation if he has a good pre-season. A likely downgrade option during the year.