We’re at the apex of the off-season, meaning that despite our best efforts there is a dearth of content.
So I’ve decided to do a piece on who your club should select (if anyone) at the pre-season supplemental selection period or the SSP.
I will talk about every club, but I will only talk about those clubs that have at least a category A selection available to them. So without further ado let us begin.
The Crows have no available list spots after taking the lightly framed half forward/midfielder Luke Nankervis in the pre-season draft.
The Lions have no available list spots. If a player is moved from their active list to the inactive list due to long-term injury, then they can.
Thanks to the COVID-related retirement of Liam Jones, the Blues are the only club on this list with a player on their inactive list.
The Blues have Joshua Cripps and Tyreece Leiu training with them in hopes of obtaining the last spot available.
I expect the Blues will shore up their key defensive depth and take Eastern Ranges prospect Tyreece Leiu, who stands 194 centimetres tall and can also go through the midfield as a big-bodied presence.
With the signatures of Fothergill Round Mitchell Medallist Charlie Dean and the re-rookieing of Isaac Chugg, the Magpies have no available list spots.
The Bombers have two list spots open with them, inviting Austin Harris (Gold Coast academy), Nic Martin (Subiaco), Ronald Fejo Junior (West Adelaide), Tex Wanganeen (son of Gavin Wanganeen), as well as former AFL listed players Dylan Clarke (Essendon) and Jack Lonie (St Kilda).
The expectation is that Austin Harris is training with the mid-season draft or the national draft in mind, when he can still be selected by Gold Coast.
He will play for the Essendon VFL side as well as the Oakleigh Chargers, looking to ply his craft in sight of more recruiters.
Lonie, a former St Kilda small forward, is expected to play for the Essendon VFL side, however he does have the faint hope of making the AFL.
That leaves Clarke, Wanganeen, Fejo and Martin as the available options for the Bombers.
Despite the romance of signing father-sons, Tex Wanganeen is not currently at the level required for an AFL player.
It is looking increasingly likely that the Bombers will take one of Nic Martin or Ron Fejo Junior, both of whom fill a need for the Bombers as pacey half forwards with Martin slightly edging Fejo on experience.
Fejo meets the needs of the Bombers more closely as they need a mercurial small forward, particularly in light of injuries to Devon Smith and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
I expect that the Bombers will sign one of Fejo or Martin. I would prefer they sign both but they may wish to keep their powder dry for the mid-season draft.
I do not expect them to take Dylan Clarke as he is only an inside midfielder and has been shown to be limited in other capacities.
The Dockers have two category B rookie positions available with Ultan Kelm taken off the list because of an injury playing Gaelic football.
As Thom Roker said on his draft assessment, the Dockers have a Yarran, a Rioli, a McAdam, a Pickett and a Jetta coming through the Stephen Hill squad of their next generation academy.
I expect they will be able to fill the remaining list spots from here if they so choose.
The Cats have one list spot available and while they’ve yet to invite any players to train with them, I expect them to look towards re-stocking their youthful brigade.
The Cats are limited in the availability of the tall timber they have at either end of the ground. They should look to one of two players.
One is Blake Schlensog from Western Australia, who was on the Cats’ list and is considered very unlucky to be delisted last season.
The other option is Matthew Hammelmann, who at 25 represents a good stopgap as Tom Hawkins heads into the deep, deep twilight of his career as well as leading the goal kicking at VFL level.
However, I could be completely off the mark as the Cats have not yet announced anyone to train on with them.
Gold Coast Suns
The Suns have two list spots available. One spot is a category A selection, while the remaining spot is a category B selection.
With the former, I believe they will end up taking Nathan Freeman. As long as he can show he can remain on the park long enough, he shapes as a suitable replacement for Hugh Greenwood.
With their Category B selection, as a northern team they can use this spot to select an academy player.
They should pick their best available player, who has not yet been picked up from the draft.
They should select Will Bella: a strong, marking key forward. He has the frame to come in and make an immediate difference, however he lacks the endurance required to make repeat efforts.
He also plays in a position of relative strength for the Suns with the addition of Malbior Chol this off-season along with Levi Casboult coming in as a rookie pick.
Greater Western Sydney Giants
With the re-listing of running defender Jacob Wehr and the rookie selection of medium defender Cooper Hamilton, the Giants have no more available list spots.
The Hawks have two openings, but one is a category B selection. With the signature of Ned Long in the rookie draft, the Hawks appear content to take their list into 2022 and gear up for a solid draft.
However, I would consider obtaining the signature of Launceston best and fairest winner and TFL leading goal kicker Dylan Riley.
Riley has routinely put on big bags of goals in the TFL that would endear him to many AFL recruiters.
He has played on the Apple Isle for several years, and has a body hardened by years in the second-tier competitions for Launceston in the TFL and Meander in the NTFL.
The Demons have one availability on the category B rookie list. However, as they’re coming off an inspirational, drought-breaking premiership, they don’t need to sign anyone as they do not have any needs.
North Melbourne Kangaroos
They already have pursued the signature of former Adelaide player Tom Lynch. He is joining their rookie list in a pseudo coaching role.
Marty Hore is also training with the Roos, taking up the remaining category A rookie spot as defensive depth. That leaves a remaining category B selection available for the Roos.
Port Adelaide Power
The Power have two category B selections available, however they do not have any players training with them.
With their jealously guarded bounty of draft picks, the Tigers only have one spot available as a category B choice.
St Kilda Saints
The Saints have experienced a lot of list churn on account of their prioritising of academy and father-son talent at the draft this year.
They have Woodsville West Torrens utility Jack Hayes, who’s played everywhere on the ground. He averaged 19.7 disposals a match, kicked 22 goals, and led the SANFL for marks with 154.
This will leave one spot open for use in the SSP or the mid-season rookie draft.
However, it is tempting fate not to take a full list into the season, particularly with the amount of deficiencies that the Saints have on their list.
They should look at taking Blake Schlensog as a tall defensive option. He would pair well with Dougal Howard.
At 21 years of age and 199 centimetres tall, it is clear that Schlensog’s best footy is ahead of him.
He is a prototypical key defender with a good pair of hands, averaging 6.8 marks per game in the WAFL last year.
The Swans have one opening on their list for the 2022 season that they’re expected to hand to former first overall pick Patrick McCartin.
I have no doubt that McCartin would be the feel-good story of the year and would be an astute selection as Lance Franklin and Sam Reid are quickly approaching the end of their respective careers.
However, Angus Baker fits the overall list profile of the Swans better. Baker stands at 191 centimetres tall and is 23 years of age.
He has his best footy ahead of him and he has an ability to shut down tall or small opponents in the back line.
Baker was supposed to be taken by the Bombers last year. However, thanks to the revelations of Nick Hind and Jayden Laverde, he found no home at Essendon.
Baker is skilled enough to fill the role vacated by Jordan Dawson or even take the reins from Dane Rampe as a back-line general.
West Coast Eagles
The Eagles have three open spots on their rookie list, however two of these choices are category B rookie selections.
The Eagles have invited former Fremantle player Luke Strndica, former Lions player Tom Joyce and draft hopeful Kade Dittmar.
The Eagles are well stocked in the ruck department, which rules out Luke Strndica.
However either Kade Dittmar or Tom Joyce could slot straight into the midfield at the Eagles. Joyce in particular was a part of the super draft, being taken at pick 40 in 2018.
The Western Bulldogs do not have a list spot available with Buku Khamis and Cody Raak filling their remaining list spots at the rookie draft.
Should Josh Bruce’s injury be more complicated than initially thought, they could open a spot.
However, the Bulldogs have been given a privileged run with injury.