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Thomas Roker

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Joined February 2018

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Thom Roker is an avid Gold Coast Suns fan. He has been writing and podcasting Suns content since 2017, with a focus on Academy players, NEAFL games, list management and player profiles, as well as the inaugural season of the Suns AFLW team.

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Yeah, I was thinking that as I wrote it having noticed Cracka had left him off the original list. I’m not really too comfortable with the whole A-Grader rating. If it’s based on being in the All Australian list, then that’s the opinion of sports writers. If it’s Brownlow votes, then it’s the opinion of umpires. Salary? Sheppard’s salary wouldn’t be huge. Hard to know what the rating actually is.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Assumptions that Elijah Taylor will join West Coast have been hosed down too. The word is that he didn’t impress the Eagles in his time with them as a draft prospect, while now they are ice cold on him after breaching Covid quarantine in WA and the assault allegations.

Sydney Swans part company with Elijah Taylor

I know a bit about the SANFL rivalries. Cornes Snr coaching the Crows hasn’t helped, but Kane just has to have the most outrageous positions on everything. Suns fans just hate his guts and we’ve got more South Australians than anyone outside SA at our club.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Those are certainly 3 freaks who are hard to replace, but with 12 games at Optus, squad depth, a Premiership coach and a proven record of wrapping JK and NicNat in cotton wool, I’m pretty sure they’ll be fine.

Mind you, I was one of the stooges who thought Scott Clayton’s fateful trade would work out great for the Suns as I saw the Eagles as a spent force at the end of 2017. I could only have been more wrong if the Suns had finished 18th instead of 17th.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

These are their A-Graders. Here’s the B-Graders:
Allen – readymade replacement for JK
Brander – ready to try and earn a top 22 spot
Duggan – best 22
Langdon – awesome pickup
Petruccelle – one of the fastest in the AFL
Redden – best 22
Sheppard – 3rd in Best and Fairest 2020
Jake Waterman – emerging forward, might be joined by Alec Waterman
Witherden – super cheap addition
Williams – moves up to 2nd ruck

Don’t sleep on the Eagles. Ever. They’ll play finals and use most of their players doing it to keep the big guns fresh for a shot at the Tigers in September.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Nope, didn’t think I’d have to, but it was worth saying for your reply. 😂 😂 😂

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Until the year Nick Riewoldt was drafted, Brisbane had a zone of 100km radius from the Gabba. The AFL saw how well Big Nick was going and reduced Brisbane’s zone to 50km, effectively sending the boy from 77km away to St Kilda.

The Lions won their 3 flags with Crackers Keating on a horrifying run up, but the AFL CHANGED THE RULES to introduce a ruck circle to mitigate this advantage. Then Adrian Anderson performed an act of bastardry when he forced the Lions to play the 2004 prelim at the MCG despite it being a Lions home fixture.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Liverpool openly admits that it identified its pitch conditions as a major reason why they couldn’t capitalise on 19 home matches by optimising their ground to suit their playing style. It worked. Eventually.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

SEN SA has been a terrible idea from the very beginning. Kane Cornes just deriding both Adelaide teams no matter what they do. I don’t know where he gets the self-entitlement from, but his old man was no better and winning a flag in Adelaide tends to give players a fairly big head.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Hub360, what are your thoughts on Wylie Buzza? Kicked 6.6 in 9 games, but also 6 goal assists. Takes contested marks and marks inside 50, tackles, chops out in the ruck, gets his own clearances, but couldn’t survive this year’s cuts.

He’s also from Queensland and still fits the Suns age profile a year from now. It hasn’t really been made clear yet, but the NEVFL will allow clubs to keep a roster of 2nd tier back-up players and there will be 4 QLD sides involved in the 22 club comp, so Wylie will probably head home given he had no real association with Port Magpies.

What do think of him and have you heard if he’s staying in the SANFL. I reckon he could be a chance at the midseason draft if he can put it all together. Just depends where he plays and if he can stay injury free.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Charlie’s a Queenslander. He can kick goals when nobody’s even looking. Pretty sure he confused the stats guys into missing half his goals. 😂

Seriously, Mitch Georgiades is a good medium-tall at 192cm and Todd Marshall is a developing tall at 198cm. Replacements for Ebert and Westhoff. There were 40 goals from that lot across 48 games, so I reckon with Georgiades and Marshall playing close to every games you’d be getting about 40 goals between them and at least another 40 from Charlie alone. There’s a young bloke called Orazio Fantasia who doesn’t mind a goal and Stephen Motlop kicks them from the grandstands from behind the goal posts for fun.

Port is far from a one-man forward line. It just wasn’t a year for big bags and high scoring. The new rules should open up the game for the big boys and the smart forwards, so Port fans are right to be up and about.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Well done for taking the effort to predict the next season so far out. Nobody is going to agree with you, but getting in first will give you the opportunity to come back with another version based on some persuasive arguments.

Constructive criticism is hard when it’s your own team, so I’ll get the Suns out of the way early on. My nickname for them is the Seventeeners, partly because they always seem to come 17th, so you might be onto something. However, you seem to have gone away from your own advice in that if Port and Brisbane benefited from the 17 match fixture without having to play 5 more games against mostly top 8 opponents, why wouldn’t the Suns have done better against the other bottom 6 teams from 2019 who they had a great record against? For mine, the Suns will be much more consistent with another preseason under their belt and playing a proper 23 round season with normal length games.

Without going into full details, I think you’re underselling Port’s forward line and even with Joe for only part of the time, Brisbane are already crazy good. Richmond’s core group will age another year, Houli 33, Edwards 32, Riewoldt 32, Cortchin 31, Astbury 30, Martin 30, Grimes 30 by next September, not much different to Geelong. I don’t know where all the bad predictions for West Coast are coming from because with Elliot Yeo they are top 4 again, while good coaching alone can’t elevate the Hawks up the ladder (they will tank anyway).

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Brisbane were made to merge with another club and won all their Grand Finals as the Away team against Melbourne clubs.

Hawthorn won their 3 flags as the Home team against interstate opponents and received several top of the draft priority selections.

You can be one-eyed about it or you can view the achievements objectively and separately. Would Hawthorn have won 3 in a row without Jarryd Roughead? Did Eddie McGuire over-egg the advantages the Lions had?

A speculative look at the next AFL season

The Suns getting access to Alex Davies but suddenly being made to give up a primary list spot is less about fairness and him being a first round talent and much much more about him being an elite talent who would easily be in contention for the top 10. Some scouts have been at the top of their board. And the kid has character on par with Matt Rowell – courteous, careful with his words, time for everyone, humble and honest. Kept in cottonwool all year and itching to get into preseason training. Pushing for round 1 selection or else he’ll tear the new NEVFL to pieces and force his way into the AFL side.

It’s almost a step back to Joel Jeffrey, whose raw talent has excited onlookers and who deserves his top 20 rating. He’s in need of more development and will be tried in a few different positions. He could be a really handy defender, especially the attacking aspect coming out of defence. He’d make a great 3rd tall who can also play small, though he’d have fierce competition for that spot. But on a wing he’d have room to run.

The Suns could be looking at an all indigenous reserves forward line with Patrick Murtagh, Joel Jeffrey, Brodie Lake, Mally Rosas, Jy Farrar and Sean Lemmens. Their 2020 group suffered for not having a competitive reserves comp, so in a way the Suns recruits from both 2019 and 2020 (apart from Rowell and Anderson) will all be very exciting to see develop into AFL calibre as they play reserves alongside players like Jarrod Harbrow, Jordan Murdoch, Jack Hombsch and Zac Smith, who’re highly experienced mentors.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Your memories of Matty Rowell’s 2020 are a little clouded by his rounds 2, 3 and 4. He was no better than average against Port Adelaide in Round 1, then the long break came and he returned knowing that he needed to be stronger and faster. Some credit also needs to go to his teammates for also being UP in those 3 games, especially Miller, Weller, Bowes, Lukosius and Ainsworth.

On the other hand, Rowell leading the Suns to their first win in over a year without Swallow or Ellis was pretty amazing, against the Eagles no less. And imagine what the Suns will be like when Izak Rankine and Matt Rowell actually play in the same side!? Izak actually replaced Rowell in Round 6 to make his debut.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

I think you’re being overly aggressive to prove your point. I think Bobby was referring to a side like the Suns, who came close in 2014, but lost Ablett to injury and fell out of the top 8. Then they rebuilt and rebuilt again, now coming into contention and a ripe target for the Geelongs and Richmonds to poach talent as their own stars retire.

An even better example is the Jeremy Cameron situation. GWS built their list from scratch, with a lot of assistance, but only a couple of years after all the extra help has been stripped away they have suddenly gone from a team that never traded a player they didn’t want to let go of to becoming the first team to match an offer in free agency. They aren’t so much as rebuilding as reloading (Mark Evans called the Suns last 3 years a “reset” as it was already 3 years into a rebuild) and could easily go up or down the ladder in 2021.

So is it better to be contending with an old list than going through rebuild after rebuilt? Yes. Yes it is better. Except what often gets omitted or overlooked is that Geelong has been welcoming home Geelong Falcons graduates in Free Agency and trades, which engenders a club culture that is second to none when you add father-sons and the Falcons players acquired at the draft or as mature agers. The Suns and Giants can only dream of being a club that their former academy grads wanted to return to, let alone father-sons.

A speculative look at the next AFL season

Cal’s a great bloke. He’s made plenty of time for me as a punter and I rate him pretty highly. He not above my criticism, but he’d have to be one of the most generous journalists with giving his time to fans.

Remember how long he’s spent in the hub too. Reckon he’s either cutting his own hair or suffering from having shopped around too much and his regular guy is punishing him ????

The AFL continues to complicate the Suns' recruitment strategy

PS. I’ve previously predicted that Connor Budarick would be promoted and that looks likely now. If the Jacob Townsend runout turns out to be true and Nick Holman is also promoted, then the Suns only have one pick at the draft. There will be some trading of remaining picks as the Suns look to built points in next year’s draft to match bids again. This leaves 2 rookie spots that can be used to pre-list players. Take your pick! Or maybe there are more surprises in store, with the Suns having pick 5 in the rookie draft. Who knows?

The AFL continues to complicate the Suns' recruitment strategy

Tom Boswell reported that Rhys Nicholls is 190cm and 78kg on 11 August 2020 in the Gold coast Bulletin.

Most of the player measurements I used for this article are verified at least twice, but some of them are still growing so I’ve gone with the higher measurement in this instance.

No more 191cm Jesse Joyce stories 😂 😂

The pre-list prospects for the Gold Coast Suns

New article pending. Not much new, just summarizes the new situation and “likely” outcomes.

The Jacob Townsend stuff is interesting. 5th former Tiger. Not sure about a list spot though.

The pre-list prospects for the Gold Coast Suns

I have a huge issue with this kind of reporting from Cal Twomey. He’s getting information from the AFL and the club, then reporting it in a secrecy shrouded manner which hints and guesses around the edges of what is actually happening. Here’s my reading of what he’s saying:
– the Suns have to use their primary list to pre-list Davies and Jeffrey, taking the number from 32 to 34
– the rest of the Suns Academy players can be pre-listed on the rookie list
– there are 4 places left on the primary list and 1 must be used at the draft
– Twomey thinks it “likely” that Rhys Nicholls will “likely” be taken at the draft by the Suns
This is poor tweaking going on here by the AFL. If anything they should be increasing the Suns primary spots and salary cap, but those are the two things the Suns asked for at the AFL commission that were rejected.
What I am excited about is that the chances of 5 Academy players coming onto the list in some way or another is still in prospect and that the Suns are still going to the draft with 1 pick.
Hopefully Budarick and Rosas get promoted. Conroy could stand to spend 2 more years on the rookie list to prove himself.
I guess they are doing their due diligence on delisted free agency before making any announcements.

The pre-list prospects for the Gold Coast Suns

I just read a rumour that the Suns would be signing Cyril Rioli in the Rookie Draft. Can’t get a game for Tiwi Bombers, but he’s coming to the Suns.

The pre-list prospects for the Gold Coast Suns

In pure mathematics, the Suns have 6 primary spots to fill, with the Rookie list stacked with 9 A and 2 B. However, they have several options with how they play it from here.

Option 1 – promote Holman, Budarick, Rosas and Conroy, then take 2 live picks to the Draft. With the 4 remaining rookie spots, they either pre-list or a combination of pre-list and delisted free agency.

Option 2 – promote Holman, Budarick, Rosas and Conroy, take 1 live pick to the Draft and trade out other picks, settling on 37 senior spots, extending the rookie list by an extra spot.

Option 3 – delist Holman and promise to re-rookie, promote Holman, Budarick, Rosas and Conroy, settle on the minimum 36 primary listed spots after using only pick 5 at the Draft, then have 6 rookie A places with which they use however they please with pre-listing and cherry picking the rookie draft or leaving a space for the midseason draft*

This is why nobody but the Suns is reporting on this, because they are waiting on Academy nominations, which will include pre-listed players. Should be today, but it is getting late for that!

I like Thilthorpe, but I’m not letting myself get excited by a tall getting to our pick. That’s why I’m bullish on Cox, as we have more than enough midfielders to run with, and Reid is less impressive from what I’ve seen. BTW, Cox has filled out since his bottom age footage, but he hasn’t lost speed – he’s been training with his uncle, who is an athletics trainer, and his Dad was an AFL player.

*Don’t forget the Long Term Injury list. Rory Thompson could end up on it all season again, which opens a spot for a midseason draft pick. In fact, any players who suffer season ending injuries by then can trigger a spot. Although the AFL aren’t exactly open on that score either.

The pre-list prospects for the Gold Coast Suns

Maybe the Crows get Tom Powell and watch him walk to the Suns in 2 years, like they’ve encouraged Hately to do.

I would not be worried about go-home factor for SA boys from the Gold Coast. There are guys who were delisted by the Suns years ago who still live on the Gold Coast. Only Harrison Wigg and Jesse Lonergan, out of well ov er 20 players the Suns have taken out of SA, have gone back to the SANFL, but only because they harbour ambitions to play AFL again one day and playing NEAFL wasn’t going to get them there.

The pre-list prospects for the Gold Coast Suns

The new development of the AFL allowing clubs to shunt two players straight onto their rookie list to free up senior spots has changed everything.

Today we saw a Brisbane player, Mitch Hinge, refuse a rookie contract and is headed to the Crows, which is quite remarkable. The Lions have cleared sufficient space to draft up to 3 players, who could all be Academy players if Blake Coleman gets a bid before their first pick at 25. They have only 3rd and 4th round picks after that which represent a lot of points. Their Academy is deep enough for them to add 3 kids, likely to also include Saxon Crozier and Jack Briskey.

The Suns are putting 4 players on the rookie list, but are yet to announce how they’ll get from 32 Senior spots up to the 36 – 38 mark. My guess is they’ll pre-list 4-5, upgrade Nick Holman and the 3 pre-listed kids from last year and have 1 or 2 live picks in the draft. They could possibly be active in delisted free agency, but they’d have to really like a player for that to happen (Wylie Buzza?!)

There are clubs that will now be having 1 or 2 more live draft picks than they had thought they feasibly could. It won’t push out drastically, but there’s a realistic possibility of picks going well into the 60s, up from conservative estimates of only 53, as clubs with extra senior space choose players they’d ordinarily leave to the rookie draft.

It’s going to be a mess until after Friday, when all the list lodgements are in, and even then we’ll see a delisted free agency scramble unlike any other given the talent available. Hinge might not be the last player to cut and run with the low-ball contract situation.

There will be plenty of pick trading to come, but the horse trading is not quite done yet.

The pre-list prospects for the Gold Coast Suns