HAVE you been wondering why a player is not in your team on a regular basis? We have.

Below is a list of footballers who are a mix of high draft picks, high-profile recruits, or just dominating in their state league but can't seem to crack it into the AFL side.

Why are these guys out of favour with the coach? Check it out. 

Jackson Hately

After the Crows and Greater Western Sydney failed to strike a trade last year, the young midfielder headed to his new club via the pre-season draft – but he's only managed two games (17 disposals in round six against Hawthorn, 11 disposal in round seven against GWS). Hately is being kept at bay by young teammates Will Hamill, Ned McHenry, Lachie Sholl and Harry Shoenberg, along with the hugely improved Ben Keays. The third-year midfielder has plied his trade well in the SANFL, averaging 24 disposals and seven tackles from his six games. Hately is knocking the door down and should get another chance soon. - Michael Whiting

Others on the outer: Elliott Himmelberg (three games), Billy Frampton (six games). 

Jackson Hately in action against GWS in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Cam Ellis-Yolmen

The Lions have endured more injuries in 2021 than in recent seasons, but the powerful midfielder has been unable to crack a game. Ellis-Yolmen has had some niggles, including a shin problem that kept him out of the VFL for a few weeks, and was beaten to the back-up midfield spots by Deven Robertson and Rhys Mathieson when opportunities presented. With Jarrod Berry's (groin) return imminent, Ellis-Yolmen needs to get back on the park and press his claims or risk slipping further down the pecking order. - Michael Whiting

Others on the outer: Archie Smith (zero games). 

Cam Ellis-Yolmen during the preliminary final between Brisbane and Geelong at the Gabba on October 17, 2020. Picture: Getty Images

Lochie O'Brien

The Blues snapped up O'Brien with pick No.10 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, but the smooth-moving left footer has failed to make his mark at Ikon Park. Despite a promising start to his career which saw the Blues extend his deal right after he made his debut, O'Brien has managed just two games in the past two seasons. His only appearance in 2021 came in the opening round and he has been toiling away in the VFL since then. The likes of Matthew Cottrell have overtaken him on the wing and O'Brien remains without a contract for next season. - Chris Correia

Others on the outer: Matt Kennedy (three games), Josh Honey (one game) 

Lochie O'Brien in action against Footscray in round four of the VFL season, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Mason Cox 

Has been added to the Pies' squad for Queens's Birthday against Melbourne but will Nathan Buckley play him in his final match as senior coach? Cox was dumped after a goalless performance in the round four loss to Greater Western Sydney and has been on the outer since. The Pies have opted for Darcy Cameron to assist the No.1 ruck and partner Brody Mihocek and Jordan Goey in attack, with Cox forced to play VFL. The American, who comes out of contract this year as a 30-year-old, has played four VFL games for six goals while splitting his time between ruck and attack. Was taken to hospital in mid-May as precaution for a larynx injury but is back fit and available. - Mitch Cleary 

Others on the outer: Will Kelly (one game).

Mason Cox at Collingwood training in early June, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Martin Gleeson

The versatile defender played 13 games last season before signing a contract extension for 2021, but he has managed just one senior appearance this season – in round two's loss to Port Adelaide. Gleeson, 26, has probably been squeezed out of a different looking Essendon defence that now includes Jayden Laverde and Dyson Heppell, and he has also battled a calf injury that kept him sidelined for several weeks. - Callum Twomey

Others on the outer: Tom Cutler (three games). 

Martin Gleeson competes with Charlie Dixon during round two, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Connor Blakely

The big-bodied midfielder has played seven games this season, but only twice been selected in the 22, earning his other five matches as the medical substitute. Fortunately for Blakely, he has been able to get match minutes and impact games all five times he has been the medical substitute, but it's a tough way to build form and it is no surprise he has been unable to lock down a permanent position in those circumstances. Disposal efficiency remains the area of Blakely's game that needs improvement, but it wouldn't surprise to see him get a run of games in the second half of the season and impress as injuries start to bite at Freo. - Nathan Schmook

Others on the outer: Reece Conca (nine games), Taylin Duman (five games), Stefan Giro (four games). 

Fremantle medical substitute Connor Blakely in action against GWS in round two, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Charlie Constable

The fourth-year midfielder must be wondering what else he needs to do break into the Cats' line-up. Has averaged 29 disposals per game at VFL level this season and played three AFL matches – including two as the starting sub and the other with just 55 per cent time on ground. Constable couldn't even win a game in round 11 in a midfield missing Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan and Cam Guthrie and has since watched Shaun Higgins, Quinton Narkle and Max Holmes go past him. His spread away from stoppages has been one query over his career but he has never looked out of place in his 12 AFL games. Assessed the market last year while under contract with no takers and still remains unsigned for 2022. - Mitch Cleary

Others on the outer: Josh Jenkins (one game), Jordan Clark (nine games, three as sub), Ben Jarvis, Darcy Fort (no games 2021), Rhys Stanley (one game since round seven).

00:39 Mins
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Constable takes charge and lands a stunner

Geelong's Charlie Constable makes the most of his opportunity, notching a super snap after coming on as the sub

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Brayden Fiorini

For the second year in succession, the ball-winning midfielder finds himself on the outer. Fiorini was dropped three times in five games last season and is yet to play seniors in 2021. He's been tried as a wingman at times in the VFL but at heart is an onballer, and with the senior team playing captain David Swallow, Hugh Greenwood, Touk Miller and Matt Rowell (now that he's back from injury) in similar roles, Fiorini is yet to get a chance. The 23-year-old is contracted until the end of 2023, but unless injuries hit hard, it's difficult to see him getting a look-in any time soon. - Michael Whiting

Others on the outer: Will Brodie (three games), Darcy Macpherson (six games). 

Brayden Fiorini during Gold Coast training session at Metricon Stadium on June 9, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Jake Riccardi

A wretched run with injuries has forced the Giants to test the depth of their list and 36 players have lined up for at least one senior match. Riccardi has played six but despite the departure of Jeremy Cameron and a series of soft-tissue issues for prized recruit Jesse Hogan, the 195cm key forward has not been able to nail down a role. The 21-year-old burst onto the scene last year with eight goals in his first three games, but has only kicked two this season and has been tried in defence and even on a wing. Riccardi will be back in the VFL this week after being dropped for the Giants’ clash with North Melbourne. - Martin Pegan

Others on the outer: Matt Buntine (seven games, two as medical sub), Tanner Bruhn (five games, two as sub), Zach Sproule (four games), Nick Shipley (three games as sub).

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VFL Showreel, R3: Riccardi runs rampant in new 'quarterback' role

GWS young gun Jake Riccardi amassed a stunning 40 touches in a new rebounding role

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Oliver Hanrahan

Despite his speed and kicking ability, small forward Oliver Hanrahan has struggled to cement his place in Hawthorn’s best 22. Hanrahan played in the opening two rounds of the year, before being dropped in round three. Hanrahan impressed in his senior recall in round five, booting two goals against Melbourne. He also kicked two goals in round eight but was dropped again in round 10 after a quiet two weeks. The 22-year-old hasn't shown much defensive effort this season, amassing only 10 tackles across his eight games so far in 2021. Dylan Moore's defensive pressure and ability to hit the scoreboard likely puts him ahead of Hanrahan at the selection table, while further competition comes in the form of fellow small forward Josh Morris, who has been named as the Hawks' medical sub four out of the past five weeks. - Sophie Welsh

Others on the outer: Tyler Brockman (four games), Michael Hartley (three games), Josh Morris (four games)

Oliver Hanrahan celebrates a goal. Picture: AFL Photos

Ben Brown

It may be a case of bad luck and bad timing for Melbourne’s new high-profile new recruit Ben Brown, who managed just three games at the Dees before being dropped. Traded from North Melbourne at the end of 2020 after an injury-plagued season, the tall forward underwent knee surgery one month before the 2021 season started. The red-hot Dees boast a relatively healthy list, with competition for places making it hard for Brown to work his way back into form following his injury, adapt to a new gameplan and gel with new teammates. While instrumental to Melbourne’s scintillating form, Tom McDonald’s renaissance has been bad news for Brown, with McDonald fulfilling the No.1 hit-up forward role Brown is so used to playing. Brown managed five goals in his three games before being dropped for Luke Jackson, with the young ruckman/forward’s versatility and Sam Weideman’s mobility meaning the Demons are well-served by tall forwards. At this rate it will take an injury or form slump from one of the Dee’s current big three tall forwards before Brown makes his way back into the starting 22. - Sophie Welsh

Others on the outer: Oskar Baker (one game), Mitch Brown (one game), Kade Chandler (one game), Neville Jetta (four games), Nathan Jones (no games since round seven) 

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Brown's first as a Dee, surprise soccer

Melbourne recruit Ben Brown has his first goal in new colours, pouncing on the loose ball for a clever finish

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Tristan Xerri

It's taken until round 13, but Tristan Xerri will finally play his first game of the season against the Giants on Sunday. The Roos have dealt with an alarming injury list at times this year, but Xerri has been unable to add to the four senior games he managed in 2020. After playing the opening month with Todd Goldstein as the only recognised ruckman, the Roos brought 29-year-old Tom Campbell into the side to provide relief and he has remained in the side until this week. Xerri forced his way into the side after averaging 21 disposals and 26 hitouts at VFL level, including amassing a whopping 36 touches in his most recent outing against the Bombers on May 22. Xerri will provide Goldstein with support in the ruck, but will be looking to cement his spot in the team by providing another tall option up forward. - Ben Sutton

Others on the outer: Atu Bosenavulagi (three games), Taylor Garner (three games)

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VFL Showreel, R6: A Xerri good game puts big Roo in contention

North Melbourne ruckman Tristan Xerri displayed his aerial prowess in this fantastic outing

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Trent McKenzie 

It took until round 10 for 'The Cannon' to break into the Power team this season after playing 17 games last year, including both finals. A key part of the defensive structure then, he was overlooked early this season as impressive Sydney recruit Aliir Aliir and a fit Ryan Burton embedded themselves in the back six. A jaw injury to Tom Clurey opened the way for his selection three weeks ago and he has held his spot in what is a stable and formidable backline. Averaged 18 disposals and 8.2 rebound 50s in the SANFL while pushing his case and the Power would have been very comfortable recalling the 29-year-old. Midfielder Tom Rockliff is now injured but was overlooked before his deep vein thrombosis issue. - Nathan Schmook 

Others on the outer: Tom Rockliff (one game), Jarrod Lienert (0 games)

Trent McKenzie tackles Josh Thomas during the round 10 clash in 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Jack Ross

Once again, Jack Ross has been right on the cusp of the team, a regular refrain across his two and a half seasons on Richmond's list. On the surface, it appears he's having his best year yet, already recording nine games (having played seven each in 2019 and 2020), but three of those nine he was an unused medi-sub and replaced injured players on another two occasions. Ross has been unable to find a heap of the footy in his full matches, with Riley Collier-Dawkins the preferred young midfielder of late. - Sarah Black

Others on the outer: Patrick Naish (four games), Will Martyn (two games), Thomson Dow (no games, missed a month with appendicitis), Rhyan Mansell (six games), Sydney Stack (no games, needed to build conditioning)

Jack Ross warms up ahead of the match against Brisbane in round 10, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Ben Long

The physical defender has played more games this season as the starting sub than he has as part of the Saints' best side. Long featured in the opening fortnight of the season but was relegated to sub duties for the next three weeks. He was recalled in round six but dropped for completely the following two games – only to get a spot back as the sub against Geelong in round nine. His frustrating season continued after he played a quarter against the Cats and was put on report for striking while playing VFL two days later. Jack Sinclair's move to half-back and the return of Jimmy Webster to full fitness have cost Long most this season, although he has been named to face the Crows on Saturday night. - Mitch Cleary
Others on the outer: Shaun McKernan (four games)

Sandringham's Ben Long flies for a mark against Box Hill, round three of the VFL, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Lewis Taylor

He was the medical sub on Friday night and managed to get game time but it has been surprising he can't get into the team on a regular basis. Despite tearing up the VFL all season, Lewis Taylor was the unused sub in round 11 against Carlton and played against Hawthorn when Will Hayward went down with concussion. The 2014 NAB Rising Star award winner is averaging 28 disposals and more than a goal a game in the reserves but is stuck behind Hayward and Sam Wicks (who has been struggling since his breakout game against Richmond) for a small forward role, let alone gun goalkickers Isaac Heeney and Tom Papley. - Martin Pegan

Others on the outer: Nick Blakey (nine games), Callum Sinclair (four games), Dylan Stephens (four games, one as sub), James Bell (five games, four games as medical sub), Ryan Clarke (two games as sub), Sam Gray (no games).

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VFL Showreel, R8: Lewis Taylor knocks on door yet again

Lewis Taylor continues to mount his case for AFL selection after another starring performance in the VFL that included three superb goals

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Nathan Vardy

The premiership ruckman has been overtaken by Bailey Williams in the second ruck position and has been restricted to just five games this season, last featuring in round seven. With Nic Naitanui playing less game time than a typical ruckman, and Oscar Allen starring as a forward and sometimes moving back, the Eagles' need a second ruckman most weeks. They have opted for the more athletic and mobile Williams, however, with Vardy unable to win enough of the ball, averaging just 3.6 touches in his five games this season. He has taken some big marks at WAFL level and remains a very capable ruckman, and an opening could have presented with Williams sidelined against Richmond because of a hamstring strain. - Nathan Schmook 

Others on the outer: Brayden Ainsworth (two games), Xavier O'Neill (five games).  

The Eagles celebrate Nathan Vardy's goal against the Dockers in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Mitch Wallis

Wallis was named the Bulldogs' vice-captain in March but after only two rounds he was dropped to the VFL and has not been sighted at senior level since. It comes on the back of his career rebirth last season as a forward option for the Dogs, where he kicked 25 goals from 18 games. The Dogs are hoping for Wallis to be an "influential" player at VFL level before he gets a senior recall, with the 28-year-old an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and his future unclear. - Callum Twomey

Others on the outer: Josh Schache (one game), Ben Cavarra (one game), Will Hayes (yet to play this year). 

Mitch Wallis ahead of the VFL round six match in May, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

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