The Roar
The Roar



AFL Round 8 rookie report

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Roar Rookie
11th May, 2021

There was only one debutant in Round 8, Buku Khamis, as teams start to figure who their best young talent is.

James Jordon closes the gap at the top after Tom Powell failed to poll a vote for the first time since Round 3. And after many weeks of bench warming, two Bulldog youngsters finally break their way into the top five.

1. James Jordon (Melbourne)
The rapid development of James Jordon continues as the Demon put together another brilliant performance on the weekend. Some 23 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s, four intercepts and 338 metres gained highlighted an all-round game from the 20-year-old. But again, it was Jordon’s pressure that stood out. Eight tackles, 12 ground-ball gets, and 28 pressure acts are huge numbers for a kid playing in just his eighth game.

2. James Rowe (Adelaide)
If James Rowe continues to play games like this, he will be a very good chance to win rookie of the year. But the young Crow is far too inconsistent and goes missing too often. In the Showdown, though, he had one of his good games, kicking a goal to go with five score involvements and two inside 50s. Rowe went at 92 per cent from his 13 disposals, despite over half of them (seven) being contested. His pressure was also important with three tackles and 28 pressure acts.

James Rowe

(Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

3. Anthony Scott (Bulldogs)
Anthony Scott put together the best game of his career on the weekend, helping in his team’s come-from-behind win over Carlton. He had modest stats. Scott only had 12 disposals, two marks and two tackles. But despite playing 47 per cent of the match in the defensive half, the young forward impacted the game up forward with two goals, eight score involvements and a goal assist.

4. Caleb Poulter (Collingwood)
In just his second AFL game, Caleb Poulter looked exciting on the defensive wing. Twelve of his 18 touches were kicks, giving the Pies valuable meterage (368 metres gained), while he remained composed, going at 83 per cent disposal efficiency. Poulter also won the hard ball with seven contested possessions, four intercepts and five ground-ball gets.


5. Lachlan McNeil (Bulldogs)
The other Bulldog to finally make his way into the votes, Lachlan McNeil applied fantastic pressure inside the Dogs’ forward 50. Nine of his 11 disposals were contested, while three of his five tackles were applied inside 50 (the most on the ground). Seven ground-ball gets, four score involvements and a goal assist completed a nice day for the 19-year-old.

Warming the bench
Tom Powell missed out on the top five for the first time in over a month, but the North Melbourne young gun still had a good game with 16 disposals, three marks and two tackles. Miles Bergman had 15 disposals and four marks for Port while Brisbane’s Jaxon Prior had five marks, three tackles and a goal.

Tanner Bruhn kicked two goals in his return for the Giants while rookies Archie Perkins (13 disposals and a goal) and Harrison Jones (two goals) were good for Essendon. Bulldogs ruckman Jordon Sweet played his role, kicking a goal and laying five tackles.

Rookie rankings leaderboard
Tom Powell (19 votes)
James Jordon (16 votes)
Errol Gulden (12 votes)
James Rowe (11 votes)
Nik Cox (10 votes)
Heath Chapman (eight votes)
Matt Flynn (five votes)
Braeden Campbell (five votes)
Jacob Koschitzke (five votes)
Archie Perkins (five votes)