THE DRAFTEES have arrived and now they are staring down the barrel of a summer of blood, sweat and tears.

Having achieved their first goal of joining an AFL list, the main goal now is getting a game. Easier said than done for some, and even harder than that, is making an impression in that game.

With a bit of luck, they might do a Riley Thilthorpe (the No.2 draft pick of 2020), who produced one of the great AFL debuts in recent history when he booted five goals for Adelaide against Hawthorn in round six this year - but things don't always go according to the script.

Inspired by that performance, we've gone through the recent archives to find the BEST debut at your club. The only proviso is that the player must still be on the list he debuted for. Here's hoping a new face at your club can top - or at least match - some of these efforts below. Check it out.

Riley Thilthorpe

The most recent is the best. After a scratchy start, Thilthorpe exploded to kick five goals on debut and showcase the talents that saw Adelaide pounce with pick No.2 in last year's NAB AFL Draft. The 201cm youngster hadn't demanded selection with big SANFL performances, but he took to the big stage and rose to the occasion in a tight clash against Hawthorn, kicking three goals in a five-minute burst in the second quarter. He launched for a superb contested mark to kick his third and his five goals was a club record on debut. - Nathan Schmook

Other contenders: Reilly O'Brien (16 disposals, one goal, 29 hitouts, R20, 2016), James Rowe (16 disposals, two goals, R1 2021)

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Crows come running for debutant's triple

Adelaide's Riley Thilthorpe kicks not only his first AFL goal on debut, but three in a quarter

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Daniel Rich

Taken with the seventh pick in the 2008 AFL Draft, Rich debuted in round one the following season and fitted in like a veteran. The blonde-haired teenager with the booming left boot gathered 21 disposals and showed the poise that has characterised his long career, setting up two goals and helping the Lions to a nine-point win over West Coast. Rich won the Rising Star nomination for his performance. - Michael Whiting

Other contenders: Ryan Lester (16 disposals, one goal, R1, 2011)

Jonathan Brown and Daniel Rich after the win over West Coast in round one, 2009. Picture: AFL Photos

Jacob Weitering

There had been plenty of hype surrounding Carlton's new No.1 pick Weitering leading into the season-opener in 2016 and the young defender delivered on his promise. Playing on Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt, then a dual Coleman Medal winner, Weitering won 17 disposals and took seven marks in a performance full of confidence and composure. Weitering also had five intercepts, took three contested grabs and had 226m gained, showcasing the type of potential that would lead to him ultimately claiming the Blues best and fairest last year. - Riley Beveridge

Other contenders: Sam Walsh (24 disposals, R1 2019), Ed Curnow (24 disposals, one goal, R1 2011)

Jack Riewoldt and Jacob Weitering during the round one clash in 2016. Picture: AFL Photos

Brody Mihocek

Recruited to the club as a VFL premiership full-back for Port Melbourne, the Tasmanian was thrown forward for his AFL debut with immediate success. The then 25-year-old, who had also previously played for Werribee (VFL) and Burnie (TSL) in state league competitions, booted four goals from 12 disposals against Fremantle in round 11, 2018. He went on to kick a further 25 majors from 15 games in a season the Pies lost the Grand Final to West Coast. Club leading goalkicker awards followed in 2019 and 2020. 

Other contenders: Steele Sidebottom (22 disposals, R7 2009), Brodie Grundy (14 disposals, 12 hitouts seven tackles, R18 2013)

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Debutant Mihocek kicks maiden goal

Collingwood mature-aged recruit Brody Mihocek enjoys a special moment in his first game

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Dyson Heppell

Starting his career as an attacking half-back, Heppell begun with a bang, collecting 20 disposals in the Bombers' round one win over the Western Bulldogs in 2011. His poise and creativity, not to mention his calmness for an 18-year-old, immediately endeared him to the Essendon faithful and he won the round's NAB AFL Rising Star nomination. After a brilliant debut season that saw Heppell help push Essendon into the finals, he also won the NAB AFL Rising Star, becoming the first Bomber to achieve the feat. - Callum Twomey

Other contenders: Andrew McGrath (22 disposals, R1 2017), Jordan Ridley (25 disposals, R9 2018), Michael Hurley (14 disposals, R1 2009). - Callum Twomey

Dyson Heppell leads the Bombers off the ground after the round one win in 2011. Picture: AFL Photos

Nat Fyfe

The signs were there immediately that Fyfe was a superstar in the making. The slightly built 18-year-old used his athleticism to thrill the Subiaco Oval crowd on debut in round five, 2010, taking three contested marks and turning one of those into his first AFL goal. He won seven of his 13 possessions in the contest, despite weighing in at just 76kg, and he hit teammates with passes that showed his football IQ was well advanced. The blemish on his game was a final return of 1.4, but it was easily forgiven in a 39-point win against Richmond. - Nathan Schmook 

Other contenders: Sam Sturt (10 disposals, three goals, R1, 2020), Sean Darcy (14 disposals, 40 hit-outs, R14, 2017)

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First Goal Ever: Skinny Fyfe thrills us from the start, 2010

Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe was an instant threat in the air and kicks the first goal of his career

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Sam Menegola

After unrewarded stints at Fremantle and Hawthorn, Menegola arrived at Geelong with a point to prove after a starring 2015 campaign for Subiaco in the WAFL. The then 24-year-old was made to wait until round 18, 2016, until he was thrown in for his first AFL game – collecting 26 disposals and five tackles in a 30-point win over Adelaide. The West Australian has hardly been dropped since and has become a mainstay in Chris Scott's best side ever since. 

Other contenders: Tom Hawkins (three goals, R2 2007), Quinton Narkle (14 disposals, two goals, six tackles, R15 2018)

Sam Menegola appeals for a holding the ball decision in his debut against Adelaide in round 16, 2016

Izak Rankine

After 18 months of hamstring problems, Rankine's much-hyped debut against Melbourne in round 6, 2020 did not disappoint. In one of the most exhilarating first games in recent memory, the Suns whiz-kid kicked three goals – all remarkable in their own right – from 12 disposals and came within a whisker of winning the game off his own boot. Rankine's first goal was nominated for Goal of the Year when he bounced a loose ball back up to himself like a basketball, stepped an opponent and snapped over his shoulder, all within the space of two seconds. - Michael Whiting

Other contenders: Ben Ainsworth (14 disposals, two goals, R1, 2017)

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Rankine electrifies on debut

Gold Coast finally got to unleash Izak Rankine and he didn't disappoint

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Jacob Hopper

The inside midfielder earned a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for his outstanding debut in 2016, with 32 disposals (17 contested, nine clearances) in a 91-point victory over Gold Coast. The then 19-year-old even picked up two coaches' votes. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that it took until round eight for the Giants to select Hopper for his debut, as the GWS Academy graduate was a well-built, contested-ball winning beast when he arrived as pick No.7 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft. He proved worth the wait. - Martin Pegan

Other contenders: Toby Greene (27 disposals, R1 2012), Adam Kennedy (28 disposals, R1 2012), Bobby Hill (15 disposals, three goals, R17 2019)

GWS debutant Jacob Hopper tackles Gary Ablett in round eight, 2016. Picture: AFL Photos

Luke Breust

This debut was memorable for so many reasons. Playing against St Kilda in round eight, 2011, Hawthorn conceded the game's first five goals before over-running their opponents in the final three terms. Slotted into a forward line alongside Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead, Breust showed a sign of things to come, with two goals from 13 disposals. His first goal midway through the third term to give his team the lead, and his second in the last quarter. He also set one up for Franklin. - Michael Whiting

Other contenders: Harry Morrison (21 disposals, two goal assists, R23, 2017)

Liam Shiels and Luke Breust (right) after the Hawks' win over St Kilda in round eight, 2011. Picture: AFL Photos

Jack Viney

Having arrived at Melbourne as the son of 233-game great Todd, all eyes were on Viney ahead of his debut in the 2013 season-opener. The young midfielder duly delivered, becoming one of the club's few positives in a big defeat. Viney had 22 disposals, 16 contested possessions, six clearances and kicked a nice goal to instantly emerge as one of the team's most important midfielders. He was narrowly shaded for a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination by Ollie Wines, who made his debut in the same game, but it was still a promising afternoon for the soon-to-be captain and best and fairest winner. - Riley Beveridge

Other contenders: Kysaiah Pickett (two goals, R1 2020), Charlie Spargo (18 disposals, two goals, R6 2018), Clayton Oliver (22 disposals, R1 2016), Tom McDonald (18 disposals, six marks, R23 2011)

Jack Viney celebrates a goal with teammates against Port Adelaide in round one, 2013. Picture: AFL Photos

Bailey Scott

The son of 113-game North Melbourne premiership player Robert, tough midfielder Scott made an instant impression in the 2019 season-opener. On a difficult afternoon in a heavy loss to Fremantle, Scott's performance gave Kangaroos fans a glimmer of hope. Scott had 21 disposals, took eight marks and kicked two goals on a wing to ensure a big loss at Optus Stadium wasn't only filled with bad news. Scott's performance won him a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for the week, before a foot injury would bring a premature end to a promising maiden season in the senior system. - Riley Beveridge

Other contenders: Tom Powell (19 disposals, one goal, R1 2021), Tarryn Thomas (10 disposals, one goal, R2 2019), Luke McDonald (14 disposals, R1 2014)

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Silky Scott deserved this one

A shining light for North Melbourne on an otherwise miserable day, Bailey Scott snaps through his second AFL goal

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Ollie Wines

In many aspects, Wines' debut would have been an above average game for a mature-bodied midfielder. The inside bull had 24 possessions (16 contested), one goal and six inside 50s to be one of Port's best players in a 79-point win against Melbourne. The Echuca product was doing what he knows best from the very beginning, also winning three clearances and earning the first NAB AFL Rising Star nomination of the season before going on to finish third in the award, behind eventual winner Jaeger O'Meara. - Nathan Schmook

Other contenders: Sam Powell-Pepper (19 disposals, two goals, R1 2017), Zak Butters (13 disposals, two goals, R1 2019)

Marlion Pickett

It couldn't be anyone else, could it? Pickett recorded one of the most famous debuts in football history when he became the first player in 67 years to make his debut in a Grand Final for the 2019 premiership decider against Greater Western Sydney. Having been plucked from the mid-season rookie draft, Pickett, then 27, was brought into the Tigers' line-up for the clash against the Giants after a run of hot VFL form. He delivered on the biggest stage of all, collecting 22 disposals and kicking a goal, making the highlights reel with a dazzling blind turn and finishing third in the Norm Smith Medal voting in Richmond's historic win. - Callum Twomey

Other contendersDustin Martin (18 disposals, R1 2010), Trent Cotchin (16 disposals, two goals, R8 2008), Kamdyn McIntosh (23 disposals, one goal, R1 2015), Jack Ross (25 disposals, R4 2019)

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One game, one flag: Pickett's stunning Grand Final debut

Marlion Pickett writes his name into football folklore with a premiership in his first game

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Nick Coffield

Expectations were high when the Saints took Coffield with pick No.8 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft and he didn't have to wait long to make his debut, facing Adelaide in round three of 2018. Despite the 49-point loss, Coffield was a rare shining light with 18 disposals and a goal. Soon after the Saints locked him in with a contract extension, as well as fellow young gun Hunter Clark. His ball use was a standout attribute of his game and by season's end he was ranked fourth at the club for disposal efficiency.

Other contenders: Jarryn Geary (21 disposals, R1 2008), Jack Bytel (18 disposals, R11 2020)

Errol Gulden

There isn’t much of the Swans Academy star, who stands at 176cm and 76kg, but Gulden made a huge impression in his debut with 19 disposals and three goals in the Swans’ shock 31-point win over Brisbane in round one this year. The No.32 pick in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft arrived with a reputation for fierce competitiveness and endurance, but impressed just as much with elite foot skills that delivered deft passes inside 50 and gathered three goal assists. Gulden earned a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination at the first attempt, as well as seven coaches' votes, then backed up with a similar performance the next week. - Martin Pegan

Other contenders: Tom Papley (11 disposals, three goals, R1 2016), Logan McDonald (11 disposals, three goals, R1 2021), Ben Ronke (15 disposals, two goals, R6 2018)

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Swans' debutants combine for six to blast past Lions

Sydney debutants Logan McDonald and Errol Gulden have combined for six goals to shock the Lions

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Luke Shuey 

After injury cruelled Shuey's first season, the midfielder emerged in round one, 2010, to show his class with 18 possessions (eight contested) and two goals on debut. Shuey's first game was enhanced by what he had to overcome in his first year in the AFL system. A broken leg, osteitis pubis and a hernia all delayed his introduction, but they were minor speed bumps in comparison to the tragic loss of his sister Melanie in a road accident. Shuey's resilience was on display early and he went on to average 18 disposals and a goal a game in 2010. 

Other contenders: Shannon Hurn (14 disposals, one goal, R5, 2006), Jack Darling (11 disposals, two goals, R1, 2011)

Luke Shuey in action during his debut against Brisbane in round one, 2010. Picture: AFL Photos

Lachie Hunter

Hunter set the scene for what was to come with his debut, which saw the smart midfielder gather 19 disposals and kick a goal in round 13, 2013, against Richmond. Hunter's left-foot passing and ability to find the ball was immediately on show with the father-son Bulldog, who amazingly didn't attract a bid until pick 50 the previous year, going on to play nine games in his first season with the club. Three years later he had featured prominently in the Dogs' breakthrough premiership and in recent seasons has grown into one of the best wingmen in the game. - Callum Twomey

Other contenders: Cody Weightman (two goals, nine disposals, R7 2020), Josh Dunkley (15 disposals, one goal, R1 2016)

Lachie Hunter in action during his debut against Richmond in round 13, 2013. Picture: AFL Photos