13 RECRUITS from the 2019 AFL National Draft ran out for their respective teams on the weekend, and we take a look at how the best handful of them performed. There was plenty to take out of Round 6 for the class of 2019, as a bunch of talented youngsters have retained their spots at the elite level and are now stamping their mark on the competition.
STAR OF THE ROUND: Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
STATS: 17 disposals, 77% disposal efficiency, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 rebound 50s
The SUNS may have gone down against Melbourne, but Anderson again showed why he was such a highly regarded junior with another solid contribution for his side. He is now consistently finding a good amount of ball on the outside of midfield, and has provided good support in the defensive half to help the SUNS transition into attack. Turnovers still linger in his game under pressure given Gold Coast’s high-possession style, and the next step for Anderson will be to showcase the damage he can do going forward with his penetrating kick.
Lachlan Ash (GWS GIANTS)
13 disposals, 10 contested possessions, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s, 2 score involvements, 1 goal
Ash has been showing small glimpses of his well-balanced game from half-back; able to help out on the defensive end, provide a short kicking outlet in transition, while also getting forward well to help set the GIANTS into attack. The Murray Bushrangers graduate showed all of the latter with his first AFL goal on the weekend, and his elite disposal and speed are slowly coming to the fore.
Louis Butler (Western Bulldogs)
16 disposals (13 kicks), 4 marks, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s, 4 score involvements, 366 metres gained
The Bulldogs were soundly beaten by Carlton on the weekend, and Butler was forced to adjust quickly among his side’s under-siege defence. He had no trouble finding the ball and moving it forward via foot, able to penetrate both arcs and have a hand in four scores across the night. Having relinquished possession a few times under the Blues’ immense forward pressure, Butler will only be better for the experience and can look to implement a greater defensive output going forward.
Will Day (Hawthorn)
16 disposals, 81% disposal efficiency, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50, 3 rebound 50s, 3 score involvements
It was a seamless debut from Day, who was far from overawed by the the occasion and provided plenty of class from Hawthorn’s defensive half. The South Australian got involved in the contest, finding a good amount of ball and doing good things with it, providing safe touches in dangerous areas and finding teammates with aplomb. Having been somewhat of a speculative selection in the first round of last year’s draft, Day looks to be repaying the faith early.
Caleb Serong (Fremantle)
11 disposals, 82% disposal efficiency, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 4 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 3 score involvements, 1 goal
Breaking the trend of top performers to have shone in a loss is Serong, who was instrumental at times in Fremantle’s miraculous comeback win over St Kilda. The diminutive midfielder was again terrific through the engine room, pumping the Dockers forward from stoppages while also providing damaging run to break the lines and carry his side into dangerous areas. He was another to notch his first goal at the level, which came at a crucial time and on the back of a sensational overhead mark inside 50. A high-impact performer who Dockers fans will be enjoying at the moment.
Others in action:
Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Tom Green (GWS GIANTS)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)
Fischer McAsey (Adelaide)
Josh Morris (Hawthorn)
Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Dylan Stephens (Sydney)
Chad Warner (Sydney)
Hayden Young (Fremantle)