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Chook’s Rooks – Round 1

If you missed them thr first time, you’re going to wait until James Magner, Clay Smith and Adam Kennedy have played two games before jumping on, right? Good. Just a quick round-up of our round one rookies, then, as we await Calvin’s Captains!

AFL coaches might have you believe differently, but the main purpose of first-year footballers is to make quick cash for our Dream Teams. Who’s with me? Fresh-meat five! (Sorry, been channelling The Todd quite a bit this week).

Pity, then, that we have to wait until the third round until we get to see some price rises and, even sadder than that, some rookies won’t be generating more than spare change unless they improve on a woeful round one. It’s not unusual to cop the odd dud score from this crowd – rookies are notoriously inconsistent – but there were some popular picks at the impotent end of the scale. Sixty-six points would’ve been a handy return for Richmond defender Brandon Ellis or teammate Steven Morris, but individually, not as a combined total. Western Bulldogs forward Tory Dickson couldn’t muster more than 37 points, a performance made to look even more miserly when compared with the outstanding DT debut by midfield teammate Clay Smith. Geelong ruckman Orren Stephenson might be one of the AFL oldest-ever draftees, but even he should be able to outscore his age. He didn’t on Saturday night, though, collecting just 22 points before being subbed out.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, with the aforementioned Smith and Melbourne midfielder James Magner delivering on their pre-season hype with some big first-up scores.

For the uninitiated, the Chook’s Rooks format for the past four or five years is to monitor the progress of our three-or-more gamers in order to sell them off at their highest price, to highlight the crucial two-gamers before their first price rise and, lastly, recognise the one-gamers after their first appearance at AFL level. We’ll return to that arrangement next week, (well, for the one and two-gamers, at least), but no one’s changing price just yet so there’s little else to do but to head around the grounds for a quick round-one review…

GWS v Sydney

This one got the full rundown last week, but it’s worth mentioning, now that the other rookies have had a turn, that Tommy Bugg not only ended the round as the top-scoring rookie defender, but as one of the top-scoring defenders across all price brackets. His 97-point haul beat long-time demi-god of the defence Brendon Goddard and was bettered by only Brisbane pair Jed Adcock and Pearce Hanley, Hawks duo Grant Birchall and Matt Suckling, and Carlton’s Andrew Carrazzo.

Bugg wasn’t alone in his first-round heroics, with seven of the top 10 scores by rookie-priced players being produced by blokes wearing the orange and charcoal. If you remember, fwd-mid Adam Kennedy topped the charts with his big-time 116, no doubt tempting those who left him out of their initial squads to burn their first trade of the season. Wait, if you can, until he’s played his second game. It’s, like, a golden rule of DT, or something.

Richmond v Carlton

A decent game of footy was ruined for those who fielded one of Richmond pair Steven Morris (27 points) or Brandon Ellis (39) on the ground, especially if you had Bugg riding the pine. Both avoided the vest to finish with nine touches and two tackles apiece, with Morris condemned to a far lower score by his horrible kick-to-handball ratio of 1:8. In comparison, Ellis kicked it six times.

Hawthorn v Collingwood

Another cracker of a game, but not from a DT perspective, with Hawthorn blooding the best of their youth last year, and Collingwood only playing kids to plug injury-enforced holes in their defence. The Pies are expected to get back a few best-22 players this week, meaning we might not see Jackson Paine (40) and substitute pair Peter Yagmoor (8) and Paul Seedsman (17) for some time now. While not like-for-like replacements, the Hawks will soon need to find room for fit-again forward Jarryd Roughead and midfield hard-nut Liam Shiels, meaning debutant defender Jarrad Boumann (18) might make way after copping the red vest on Friday night.

Melbourne v Brisbane

Melbourne midfielder James Magner got his own minute’s applause when he started his DT career with a bang – goaling with his first kick in the AFL and then getting a gimme seconds later following a wrestle with Pearce Hanley. He finished with 103 points, but possibly an injury too following a tackle from Mitch Golby. I haven’t heard anything official (although he’s tweeted that “the ankle feels fine”), so here’s hoping he’s okay, as I imagine he’s among the four players that coach Mark Neeld thought broke even against the Lions. A big shake-up is promised ahead of the West Coast game, opening the door for mid-fwd Tom Couch to make his debut. Defender Josh Tynan has already had that honour, though he was far less prolific than Magner, scoring 46 points.

The Lions had about plenty of players priced in the $200k-$300k bracket, but none under the rookie cut-off (Jon Patton’s $179,700).

Gold Coast v Adelaide

Mature-age Gold Coast recruit Aaron Hall features in plenty of forward lines this year and didn’t disappoint greatly with a 55. There’s certainly scope for improvement, though, with 10 of his 17 touches by hand and no goals amongst his seven kicks.

North Melbourne v Essendon

Not a rookie-priced player to be seen here.

Fremantle v Geelong

I’d have put money on Ellis and, to a lesser extent, Morris, outscoring Billie Smedts, but the Geelong def-fwd managed a half-century, easily eclipsing the Tiger duo. Fellow rookie-priced Cat, defender Cam Guthrie, had seven tackles to push his score up to 61.

Western Bulldogs v West Coast

After Magner went big on Saturday, Western Bulldogs midfielder Clay Smith rightly realised he’d have to pull out something special to lure coaches away from the Melbourne ball-magnet. He succeeded, chalking up 79 points in three quarters but ran himself into the ground doing so, needing to be substituted before the fourth term. Dickson, as mentioned above, fared less well, crawling to 37 points.

Port Adelaide v St Kilda

Port Adelaide mid-fwd Darren Pfeiffer missed the cut when the extended bench was reduced to four players, and St Kilda midfielder Tom Ledger was a late withdrawal, but we still had a couple of Power rookies in midfielder Chad Wingard and ruckman Jarrad Redden to keep an eye on, as well as Saints first-gamer Terry Milera and fellow forward (for DT purposes) Jamie Cripps. Redden and Milera scored strongest, with 68 and 74 points respectively. The red vest stopped Redden in his tracks, as it did to Cripps, who snagged 48 points before being subbed in the third term. Wingard couldn’t use a vest as an excuse; he simply didn’t have a huge impact en route to 50 points.

A “proper” Chook’s Rooks next week with breakevens and everything! Follow me on twitter @ChookDT.

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