The young guns primed for a Round 1 debut
UNCAPPED youngsters have been putting in the hard yards working towards a potential Round 1 berth, and some have already impressed track watchers.
At many AFL clubs there are several spots up for grabs, while at others a debut won't come easy.
Who is primed for an early debut at your club? Jon Ralph rates your potential early debutants.
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No. 6 draft pick Fischer McAsey is already pushing for a Round 1 debut as a key back with hard inside mid Harry Schoenberg coming with a bullet and second-year small forward Shane McAdam finally fit enough to push for Marsh Series action.
Gun junior midfielder and Larke medallist Deven Robertson hasn't missed a beat and will play Gold Coast in clash on Saturday alongside many of the kids including dominant NEAFL midfielder Tom Berry and Ely Smith as they audition to break into the senior side.
David Teague has already told fans to cool their jets on pick 17 Brodie Kemp given his ACL rehab that could take most of the year while pick 20 Sam Philp has taken on a full load as an inside midfielder with real pace in match simulation and should see some Marsh Community Series action. He might not debut early but he has some tricks that have excited the Blues fans.
No. 40 draft pick Jay Rantall has barely put a foot wrong with impressive match simulation form and time trial wins but needs to break into an elite midfield. No. 45 pick Trent Bianco hasn't been far behind him as a classy half back in a team that lost James Aish and has Travis Varcoe injured.
Harrison Jones (pick 30) and Nick Bryan (pick 38) were both taken as developing talls and were the Dons' only picks within 50 given their trades of the previous year. Exciting ruckman Sam Draper will only come back in the second half of the year after his knee reconstruction last year while on the verge of an AFL debut.
Track watchers are impressed with No. 7 draft pick Hayden Young's summer form while Caleb Serong should win early action, having played as a forward in match simulation, but No. 9 pick Liam Henry is only easing into training after a knee cap injury last year.
No Jordan Clark-style bolter for the Cats this year but No. 50 draft selection Cameron Taheny is already impressing as a lightning quick forward. Cooper Stephens (pick 16) and Sam De Koning (pick 19) have made solid progress but won't be ready for an early debut.
Lock in the club's first two draft picks Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson for Round 1 debuts barring injury, while Izak Rankine burning up the track after his injury-plagued 2019. Rookie Connor Budarick is a potential Round 1 bolter given his impressive form.
The club's No. 4 pick Lachie Ash and No. 10 pick Tom Greene haven't put a foot wrong, meaning they are both chances to debut in Round 1. Ash gives GWS a point of difference across half back, mixing fearsome attack on the footy with daring kicks inboard to leading targets, while inside bull Greene has also stood out in match practice already, with both set to get meaningful Marsh Cup minutes that could lead to early debuts.
The Hawks couldn't be happier with the summers of Will Day (pick 13) and father-son Finn Maginness (pick 29), Maginness won a time trial over summer and while Alastair Clarkson doesn't mind giving away debuts regardless of birth date it's a midfield that has Tom Mitchell coming back so will be hard to crack into.
Luke Jackson couldn't have been more impressive as the No. 3 pick, playing ruck, midfield and forward in match simulation. But he would have to get past Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman, with Kosi Pickett's best eye-catching on the track but the young Demon still finding consistency that will result in a VFL start to the season.
The Roos couldn't be more excited about small forward Jack Mahony, a draft slider after injuries in 2019, after strong work in intra-club match play.
He is a clever forward who finds space and has already been earmarked as a possible early debutante given the Roos are trying to find their next star small forward.
Captain Tom Jonas has already lauded the athleticism of No. 18 selection Mitch Georgiades, a tall forward, and Jackson Mead's poise as a half forward after being taken at pick 25 as a father-son. No reason why the Power won't play the kids early if they are ready as they did with so much success last year.
Uncapped second-year midfielder Riley Collier-Dawkins has had a flawless pre-season after an excellent VFL finals series and is ready to take the next step, but competition for spots in the midfield has never been harder. As the Tigers joked yesterday, they will likely find a spot for one-gamer Marlion Pickett, while marking tall Callum Coleman-Jones has taken another step after a single game in 2019.
The Saints first pick in the draft was midfielder Ryan Byrnes (pick 52) ahead of quality ball user Leo Connolly (pick 64) but the influx of mature-aged talent means competition for spots is tough so an early debut might elude them.
Isaac Heeney has already been blown away by No. 5 draft selection Dylan Stephens, who can seriously use the Sherrin and won a summer time trial for the Swans. Don't rule out an early debut, while strong-bodied Will Gould has played a season of senior footy before being drafted.
Callum Jamieson is a developing ruckman taken at pick 49 so will take some time, while Ben Johnson is a beautiful ball user but might take some time to break into an elite side.
No. 15 draft selection Cody Weightman hasn't put a foot wrong, with Dogs players continually mentioning his X factor and ability to conjure a goal from nowhere. But with small forwards like Sam Lloyd, Bailey Dale, Tory Dickson, Will Hayes, Mitch Wallis and Rhylee West in front of him, can he crack a debut early? The Dons aren't ruling it out.