After Ollie Wines won this year’s Best and Fairest, with a massive count of 36 votes, there is concern that it will be impossible for another player from another position to win the award.
If you could poach one player from any other team in the AFL for 2021, who would it be?
To be eligible a player must have played at least five games in 2021. Even injuries are taken into account. The selections are based on the first 11 games of the year and are based on a team’s weaknesses and what they need to do better to improve as a unit.
There is only one player from each of the 18 clubs that can be used for this hypothetical exercise.
The Adelaide Crows have conceded the second most points in the entire competition after Round 11. They have given up scores on a regular basis; it’s been their Achilles heel, conceding 1056 points in 11 games. They need a player of the ilk of Darcy Moore from the Collingwood Magpies, who can play a pivotal role and help out the likes of Tom Doedee and allow Rory Laird to play predominantly as a midfielder.
The Brisbane Lions have shown their depth since losing Lachie Neale through injury. They don’t appear to have a weakness. It would be a handy addition if they could get a half-forward flanker like Isaac Heeney from the Sydney Swans. He would be the icing on the cake for the Lions. It would also add depth to their forward line. There’s a spot on a half-forward flank for Heeney, who’s a matchwinner, given that Cam Rayner is injured for the entirety of 2021.
The Blues are one of five teams that have conceded over 1000 points in the opening 11 rounds. They could use a player like Nathan Broad, who averages seven intercepts per game, which is the second highest of any Tigers player, and he also has the fourth highest average disposal efficiency of any Tigers player, with an average of 82.82 per cent.
He has featured in all 11 of Richmond’s opening 11 games. He is a mid-sized defender that often goes under the radar and would be a useful addition to any team. He would play at centre halfback or anywhere else in the back six for the Blues, allowing Jacob Weitering to play fullback and Liam Jones to perhaps play in the ruck or as a defender on one of the weaker forwards rather than the opposition’s best forward.
Collingwood have scored just 752 points, the second fewest points of anyone in the competition. In Round 11 they managed to kick just one goal in three quarters. There’s one player in the competition who would make their system better going forward: Harry McKay from the Blues. He has kicked 38 goals in 11 games so far this season, the most of any player in the AFL. He would take the pressure off the other Magpies and improve their structure.
Essendon could use a player like Tom Doedee, who has the capability of playing anywhere in the back six. The Essendon Bombers have the sixth worst defensive record statistically after 11 rounds. Doedee, who averages the third most intercepts of anyone in the competition, with an average of 8.91 per game, could help improve the Bombers defence. He would allow Cale Hooker to continue to play forward, where he has been a revelation in the opening 11 weekends.
The Fremantle Dockers aren’t as formidable a team to play against when Matt Taberner is unavailable. Cale Hooker has kicked an impressive 26 goals for the Bombers so far. Having him in the line-up would take the pressure off Taberner. An added bonus for Fremantle would be that Hooker has the capability of playing as a defender, where they’ve had injuries in 2021.
The Cats may be sitting in the top four, but they have only the eighth-best attack, with 948 points scored so far. This means they could use a goal kicker. They already have two tall key forwards who can hit the scoreboard in Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins. Despite that, they need a crumber. Charlie Cameron of the Lions fits that mould and would turn the Cats into an even more formidable team than they already are.
Gold Coast Suns
Gold Coast’s missing link is a no-brainer: they are in need of a ruckman since Jarrod Witts is out injured for the entirety of 2021. The Dockers have a fairly good ruckman in Sean Darcy, who averages the seventh most hitouts of any ruckman in the competition, with an average of 28.60 per game. He is also mobile around the ground, accumulating at least 12 disposals per game in the ten games he’s played this year.
Greater Western Sydney Giants
GWS need a key defender to replace the injured Phil Davis and also Nick Haynes. It would be a good move for the Greater Western Sydney Giants to recruit Sam Frost from the Hawks. He has a total of 86 intercept, the equal sixth-highest of any player in the competition.
The Hawks could use another midfielder as they are struggling to provide anything of substance in the centre. Tim Taranto of the Giants would be the perfect fit and take the pressure off Tom Mitchell, who’s been a key player for Hawthorn in 2021. There’s no doubt Taranto is a quality player who would improve the Hawthorn midfield.
The Demons don’t need much, but what would help them improve even more would be Jack Billings of the Saints. He has had at least 17 disposals and has scored two goals on four occasions. St Kilda have won three of those four games but have won only two of their other seven matches. Having Billings as a part of the Melbourne 22 would be a bonus. He would play as a wing and on a half-forward flank.
North Melbourne Kangaroos
The Kangaroos conceded 1173 points in 11 games, which is 117 points more than Adelaide, who are the next-worst team. Therefore they require a player in the ilk of Aliir Aliir from Port Adelaide, who has played every game in 2021 with an impressive disposal efficiency of 87.08 per cent and an average 7.82 intercepts per game. There’s no doubt he would help the Kangaroos down back.
Port Adelaide Power
The Power could utilise a winger to allow Karl Amon to play as an inside midfielder. The perfect player would be Andrew Gaff of the Eagles. He has averaged the 13th most disposals of any player in the competition as well as the fourth most uncontested possessions.
The Tigers don’t have many weaknesses, but they have been impacted by injuries in the midfield, with the likes of Dion Prestia, Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert and Shane Edwards missing games so far. Consequently they could arguably use the best midfielder in the competition, with Jack Macrae of the Western Bulldogs, who would be the icing on the cake, if they had anything that they needed to add depth to.
St Kilda Saints
The Saints have the fourth-worst defensive record after 11 rounds. Jack Ziebell would add some much-needed leadership to the defensive part of the field, as he has been a revelation in his new role in the back pocket for North Melbourne. He averages the most intercepts for the Kangaroos and the second most disposals, and he has the fourth-highest disposal efficiency on average. Having featured in all 11 games so far, his durability would be invaluable for the Saints, who have the likes of Jarryn Geary battling injury.
Sydney could use a defender, with Tom Stewart of the Cats the perfect fit. The fact that Stewart can play as a key defender would take the pressure off Dane Rampe. Stewart has averaged the fourth most disposals of any Cats player in 2021 and would be an added bonus for the Swans.
West Coast Eagles
The Eagles need a key defender, with Jeremey McGovern injured and Tom Barrass also missing games. Sam Collins from the Suns would be a perfect fit. He has had a total of 80 intercepts in 11 games, which is the equal tenth most of any player in the competition so far. He almost literally carries the entire Suns defence on his back. His inclusion would give Barrass and McGovern more freedom than they currently have.
The Bulldogs definitely have a weakness when it comes to tall key defenders. Jake Lever from the Melbourne Demons is just what they need, as he showed them in Round 11 when the two teams faced off. He is a mobile tall defender capable of playing anywhere in the back six.