JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Dockers rook'n'roll into showdown with Crows

Date

Simon White

Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich (centre) was a first round national draft pick but his close mates Ryan Crowley and Aaron ...

Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich (centre) was a first round national draft pick but his close mates Ryan Crowley and Aaron Sandilands both got their chances from the rookie list.

Almost every footy fan will have, at some stage, been emailed a Powerpoint presentation of Fremantle's drafting ineptness.

Trading Andrew McLeod for Chris Groom. Giving Jeff Farmer away for Phil Gilbert. And so on.

And every one of them will likely have enjoyed a chuckle. Even Freo fans. It's the only reaction you could possibly have.

Fresh-faced youngsters - Freo's longest serving rookies Antoni Grover, Aaron Sandilands, Paul Duffield and Ryan Crowley ...

Fresh-faced youngsters - Freo's longest serving rookies Antoni Grover, Aaron Sandilands, Paul Duffield and Ryan Crowley in their first club photos.

No one will have received an email outlining the Dockers' success with the rookie list. Such an email doesn't exist.

But maybe it should.

Of the 22 Fremantle players picked to take on an equally rookie-laden Crows side in tonight's first semi-final in Adelaide, eight of them debuted off the Dockers rookie list, including giant ruckman Aaron Sandilands, creative defender Paul Duffield and midfield grunt-workers Ryan Crowley, Matt de Boer and Michael Barlow.

West Coast's Dean Cox - once-in-a-generation ruckman and rookie list product.

West Coast's Dean Cox - once-in-a-generation ruckman and rookie list product.

A ninth, Zac Dawson, got his second AFL chance as a rookie at St Kilda, after being delisted by Hawthorn.

Each of the 16 established clubs in the competition have enjoyed notable success with the rookie list - across town West Coast snared once-in-a-generation ruckman Dean Cox and star midfielder Matt Priddis - but the Dockers have needed it much more than most.

Of the 25 players selected by Fremantle in national drafts between 2001 and 2007, including six first-round selections, only five are still at the club: David Mundy, Garrick Ibbotson, Chris Mayne, Kepler Bradley and Ryan Crowley (and Crowley was delisted, then rookie-listed).

Clancee Pearce - from fatso to key Freo contributor.

Clancee Pearce - from fatso to key Freo contributor.

Former Fremantle recruiting manager Phil Smart, now general manager of football at Swan Districts, was around for all the Dockers' drafting adventures - good and bad - from the club's inception in 1994 until 2009.

He was there when recruiting staff argued passionately for a 211-centimetre Sandilands experiment which has since returned two All-Australia jumpers, the debate about whether to offer Crowley a gig in the second-chance saloon and the 2008 punt on a chubby kid named Clancee Pearce.

This week he gave a retrospective scouting report on all seven of "his" rookies who will take the field tonight.

St Kilda's Clint Jones - a potential Freo rookie list gem who got away.

St Kilda's Clint Jones - a potential Freo rookie list gem who got away.

Aaron Sandilands (No. 33, 2002 rookie draft)
"Aaron was probably a bit uncoordinated and still growing into his body and he'd also had some stress fractures in his back. To be honest, there was some pretty spirited debate about whether we should even rookie him - there was a question about whether a player of that size was the way footy was going. But it was a lot like with Matthew Burton. Big guys take longer to develop and you've just got to be patient."

Paul Duffield (No. 10, 2004 rookie draft)
"Paul was a really well credentialled junior player who was unlucky not to be taken in the national draft. He needed to put some more size on and be a bit harder at the contested ball but he was a nice kick and a hard worker. There would have been questions around his pace but he made good decisions and when you are a smart player, you can get around that." 

Ryan Crowley (No. 55, 2002 national draft - then No. 39, 2005 rookie draft)
"It's a bit ironic given Ryan developed into a tagger but when he was first drafted he was entirely a one-way player - and it was all offensive. He was always an elite runner, not fast but with great endurance. He'd fallen out of favour with the match committee before he was delisted and had played a fair bit of his footy after first being drafted with the Subi reserves. It took a bit of convincing for him to get another chance and I'm really happy its worked out." 

Matt de Boer (No. 19, 2009 rookie draft)
"He was always very competitive and hard at the ball. His kicking needed some work - and it's still not the best part of his game. But every player has strengths and weaknesses and you knew he was going to put the work into improving it." 

Clancee Pearce (No. 48, 2009 rookie draft)
"Clancee always carried a bit of extra condition and for him a big part of it was whether he was prepared to make the right choices in terms of lifestyle and diet. Full credit to him and the match committee that he did that and has had such success this year. We probably expected him to play quite a few games for us at Swans this season but I doubt the Dockers have even considered dropping him once."

Michael Barlow (No. 12, 2010 rookie draft)
"I was there when Michael was picked up but he was really [recruitment general manager] Brad Lloyd's selection. It's a great credit to Brad that he was able to identify someone like Michael, who had such an immediate impact at AFL level."

Alex Silvagni (No. 24, 2010 rookie draft)
"One of the Victorian scouts Dave McMullen pushed really hard for him. Dave had actually pushed for him for a while and [Alex] had been overlooked, so that's another one where you are really glad to see the guy succeed when given the chance."

The evolution of the rookie system has been one of the AFL's more compelling background stories since its inception in 1997.

From an emergency back-up option in the event of an injury crisis, it has become an integral part of every club's recruiting strategy.

The first ever elevated rookie, Collingwood's Mal Michael, eventually moved to Brisbane and became a triple-premiership full-back.

Rookies, once barely on the cusp of earning the national minimum wage - the AFL Players' Association's Ian Prendergast was paid $12,000 as a rookie at Carlton in 2002 - will earn a base salary of almost $50,000 by 2014 under the AFL's new collective bargaining agreement.

Prendergast confirmed this week that, while the AFLPA had pushed for the rookie draft to be absorbed by the national draft, the AFL had decided the current system would remain in place.

In days gone by a recruiter could stash a player away - even one as enormous as Sandilands - and rely on a network of contacts to advise if another club tried to muscle in on the scouting action.

Now, with video footage of every level of the game so readily available, scouts can stay at home and study potential recruits in secrecy.

Still, the rookie list is likely to continue to churn out hidden gems because, as Smart notes, drafting is an art that revolves around taking a player where you think you can get him.

Sometimes it doesn't work, like when the Dockers were dead-keen on rookie-listing South Fremantle's Clint Jones but St Kilda swooped first.

Other times it succeeds spectacularly.

"If you think you can get a player in the rookie draft, no matter how highly you rate him, then you'll probably give it a go because it allows you to look at other options in the national draft," Smart said.

"It's a bit like when we took Nat Fyfe in the national draft at Freo. We rated him a top-five talent but we were confident he would still be around for our second pick at No. 20.

"That meant we could take Anthony Morabito, who we didn't think would be around at No. 20, with our No. 4 pick."

Rookie list products playing this weekend:
Fremantle - Michael Barlow, Ryan Crowley, Zac Dawson, Matt de Boer, Paul Duffield, Clancy Pearce, Aaron Sandilands, Alex Silvagni, Lee Spurr.
Adelaide - Ian Callinan, Michael Doughty, Ricky Henderson, Sam Jacobs, Jared Petrenko, Jason Porplyzia, Ben Rutten, Luke Thompson, Matthew Wright.
West Coast - Dean Cox, Quinten Lynch, Matt Priddis.
Collingwood - Jarryd Blair, Darren Jolly, Harry O'Brien, Alan Toovey, Sharrod Wellingham.

1 comment so far

  • You could most probably make a fairly decent "All Australian" team from player in the league who were originally rookie listed.

    There is a large number of the top AFL ruckmen on that list. Ruckmen often don't mature until their mid twenties, but the teams want to grab them before that, so they rookie draft them and don't use up a place on their senior list.

    The rookie draft is most probably the best thing the AFL has put in place since they introduced fixed lists. The clubs can get a player they are not certain about into their club to see how they will develop within their team culture before having to put them on their senior list.

    Its actually been happening for years but. Before the draft, a player would turn up at a club's training (usually unpaid) and try and impress the coach. If he did, he got a game - and every club will tell you a story about a playing legend that turned up at their club unannounced and went on to play x number of games. If he wasn't good enough, we just never heard of him. How many of them were there? At least now, we get to know the names of some of the "didn't make its" by looking at the rookie delistings each year.

    Commenter
    mukaboy
    Location
    Perth
    Date and time
    September 14, 2012, 1:20PM

    Make a comment

    You are logged in as [Logout]

    All information entered below may be published.

    Error: Please enter your screen name.

    Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Please enter your comment.

    Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

    Post to

    You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

    Thank you

    Your comment has been submitted for approval.

    Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

    Related Coverage

    No love lost for Pav in Adelaide

    Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich might be returning to his home town for one of the biggest games of his career - but there was no love lost for "The Pav" in Adelaide this morning.

    Freo to put the screws on Crows

    Five weeks ago at home, the Crows comfortably beat the Dockers by 28 points. That day, Rising Star winner Daniel Talia kept Matthew Pavlich in check, and two of the Dockers' very best, Aaron Sandilands and Nathan Fyfe, didn't play. Tonight, again at AAMI Stadium, it will be different.

    Crows call on tall to help fill the void

    Luke Thompson will play just his second game for the season in Adelaide's semi-final.

    Lyon-sized Dockers show finals quality

    There's a parallel between Ross Lyon as coach of St Kilda and his efforts at Fremantle.

    Back from the brink

    It's nine weeks now since Michael Walters got to add a 12th game to his tally at Frematle.

    Live coverage, Adelaide v Fremantle

    The Crows must rebound from a disappointing home ground loss in order to withstand the challenge from a white-hot Fremantle.

    Related Coverage

    HuffPost Australia

    AFL 2016

    Round 1
    Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
    RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
    Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
    MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
    GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
    NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
    SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
    Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
    WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
    PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
    WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
    Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
    GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
    COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
    Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
    ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
    ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
    BRI vs NTH 16:35G
    STK vs WBU 19:25ES
    FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
    HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
    CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK vs COL 13:45MCG
    RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
    SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
    GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
    WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
    WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
    GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
    WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
    HAW vs STK 14:10AS
    BRI vs GCF 16:35G
    CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
    ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
    COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
    NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
    Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
    GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
    WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
    PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK vs GWS 13:10ES
    FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
    MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
    Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 6
    Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
    Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs STK 13:45ES
    ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
    GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
    RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
    GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
    Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs SYD 13:10G
    CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
    WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 7
    Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
    Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
    GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
    SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
    GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
    WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
    FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK vs NTH 15:20ES
    PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 8
    Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
    HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
    GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
    BRI vs COL 19:25G
    RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
    Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
    MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
    WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 9
    Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
    Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
    GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
    PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
    NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
    FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
    GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
    STK vs ESS 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 10
    Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
    Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs HAW 13:45G
    MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
    STK vs FRE 16:35ES
    ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
    ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
    COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
    WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 11
    Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
    Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
    CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
    GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
    GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
    FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
    WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
    ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 12
    Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
    Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
    BRI vs FRE 16:35G
    GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
    WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
    STK vs CAR 13:10ES
    RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
    GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
    Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 13
    Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
    Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs WCE 13:40G
    FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
    WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
    Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
    ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 14
    Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
    Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
    GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
    STK vs GEE 19:25ES
    Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 15
    Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
    WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
    Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
    GCF vs STK 13:40MS
    SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
    CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
    Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 16
    Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
    Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
    GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
    WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
    MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
    Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
    WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
    ESS vs STK 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 17
    Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
    Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
    NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
    WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
    ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
    STK vs MEL 15:20ES
    BRI vs GWS 16:40G
    View All Fixtures
    Round 18
    Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
    COL vs NTH 19:50ES
    Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
    GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
    WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
    WBU vs STK 19:25ES
    GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
    Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
    HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
    PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 19
    Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
    Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
    HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
    COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
    BRI vs PTA 19:25G
    NTH vs STK 19:25ES
    Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
    FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
    ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
    Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
    MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
    GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
    WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
    ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
    GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
    FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
    WBU vs COL 19:50ES
    Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs CAR 13:45G
    HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
    GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
    STK vs SYD 19:25ES
    PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
    RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
    FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
    WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
    RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
    GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
    COL vs GCF 19:25ES
    PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
    BRI vs GEE 15:20G
    ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
    STK vs BRI 12:00ES
    ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
    GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
    SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
    NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
    GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
    ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
    FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    AFL 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
    View all
     

    Follow Us on Facebook

    Featured advertisers