THERE is genuinely tempting talent on this year’s AFL delisted free agent market.
They are the types that could plug a hole for a contender or offer much-needed depth for those teams in the lower reaches of the ladder.
Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane), Tommy Sheridan (Greater Western Sydney) and Darren Minchington (Hawthorn) have already found new clubs this week as delisted free agents.
AFL.com.au has taken a look at the other players (in alphabetical order) that might pique the most interest as they hope for a second – or even third – chance at the elite level.
TOMAS BUGG (5/4/1993)
Previous club/s: Greater Western Sydney (65 games), Melbourne (31)
Why would they want him? Bugg’s competitiveness is his calling card. He’ll never be the most talented player on the field, but he plays on the edge, always gives maximum effort and, at his best, makes his side stand taller. Was a midfielder in his junior days, has played down back then most recently as a defensive forward capable of generating scoring opportunities.
Should suit: Carlton, Geelong, Western Bulldogs
TOM CAMPBELL (2/11/1991)
Previous club/s: Western Bulldogs (42 games)
Why would they want him?The 200cm Bulldogs discard looms as the ideal back-up for a ruck-needy club – and there are a few that could do with an upgrade in this area. Campbell never played double-digit games in a season while at the Kennel, but he is athletic, a competent contested mark and holds his own in ruck contests. Likely to find a new home.
Should suit: Essendon, North Melbourne, Richmond
NATHAN FREEMAN (16/6/1995)
Previous club/s: Collingwood (zero games), St Kilda (two)
Why would they want him? One of the hard-luck stories of the AFL. Would have dreamed of a long career when the Pies snapped him up as a top-10 pick five years ago. Numerous hamstring injuries and two clubs later, he has only two matches to his name. Had 23 disposals or more in seven of his 11 VFL matches this year, so he might be able to add midfield depth somewhere.
Should suit: Carlton, Fremantle, Hawthorn
Is Nathan Freeman worth a punt? Picture: AFL Photos
CORY GREGSON (4/9/1996)
Previous club/s: Geelong (39 games)
Why would they want him?Another player overdue for some luck. A fourth bout of surgery on his troublesome left foot in July ended his season and subsequently his career at the Cattery. Still only 22 years old, Gregson managed 20 senior games in his first season and seemed headed for a long career in the navy blue and white hoops. Is a club willing to take the risk on getting his foot right, knowing there is upside in the small forward?
Should suit: Fremantle, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide
BILLY HARTUNG (24/1/1995)
Previous club/s: Hawthorn (63 games), North Melbourne (13)
Why would they want him?Boasts pace and endurance to burn. Those two attributes have taken Hartung this far, but it’s the rest of his package that has polarised opinion. Showed improvement in two of his deficiency areas in the first four rounds in particular at North – averaging 7.5 contested possessions and 2.8 tackles – so he’s evidenced he can get better.
Should suit: Brisbane, St Kilda, Sydney
MITCH HIBBERD (23/9/1996)
Previous club/s: North Melbourne (four games)
Why would they want him?The Tasmanian was unable to play an AFL game this year despite consistently winning big-possession tallies in the VFL. He’s a good size (190cm) and his elite running ability – he dominated the time trial and Yo-Yo test at Arden Street in the pre-season – suits the modern game. Can play across half-back or as an outside midfielder.
Should suit: Brisbane, Greater Western Sydney, St Kilda
KIERAN LOVELL (16/5/1997)
Previous club/s: Hawthorn (two games)
Why would they want him? The No.22 draft pick from 2015 arrived at Waverley Park with fanfare as an under-18 All Australian midfielder. Lovell never had trouble finding the Sherrin and is a good runner, but struggled for opportunities at the Hawks for various reasons, including his 2017 season being ruined by a serious shoulder injury. A second chance might be all it takes to unlock his potential.
Should suit: Carlton, Fremantle, St Kilda
Kieran Lovell could find more opportunities at another club. Picture: AFL Photos
DANIEL MENZEL (13/9/1991)
Previous club/s: Geelong (73 games)
Why would they want him? The man knows where the big sticks are. His defensive shortcomings are well documented – although the Menzel camp believes how he was used contributed to that – but there are few players with his offensive abilities. The 190cm forward booted 100 goals across the past three seasons and will be on an AFL list in 2019.
Should suit: Brisbane, Sydney, Western Bulldogs
JORDAN MURDOCH (23/3/1992)
Previous club/s: Geelong (108 games)
Why would they want him? Murdoch’s athletic prowess and size (190cm) are well known and regarded and any club on the hunt for an outside midfielder should be interested. The Suns and Saints remain in the race for him. Like all delisted free agents, he isn’t perfect and has had his share of knockers, but he fits a need that his two leading suitors are in desperate need of.
Should suit: Brisbane, Gold Coast, St Kilda
JAKE NEADE (25/9/1994)
Previous club/s: Port Adelaide (66 games)
Why would they want him? Neade was never a huge goalkicker, but he is suited in a day and age where forward-half pressure is so coveted. The ‘Elliott Express’ brings speed, work rate and tackling intent, and is capable of brilliance in front of goal. Any club looking for an instant injection of experience in their forward line could do far worse.
Should suit: Melbourne, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs
LUKE PARTINGTON (5/3/1997)
Previous club/s: West Coast (six games)
Why would they want him? Averaged more than 26 disposals and a goal in the WAFL over the last two seasons, but didn’t add to his AFL games tally this year behind a strong Eagles midfield. The South Australian’s biggest criticism surrounds his kicking, so that might put sides off, but he offers plenty with his ball-winning talents, sharpness by hand inside the contest and work ethic.
Should suit: Carlton, Fremantle, Port Adelaide
CAMERON SUTCLIFFE (23/5/1992)
Previous club/s: Fremantle (104 games)
Why would they want him? Offers versatility in that he can play down back or through the midfield and will diligently perform a defensive role in either area. The former Docker is a plug-and-play option – and must be at his age compared to some others on this list. But that might be his greatest advantage and could see him link up with a club lacking experience and depth.
Should suit: Gold Coast, Sydney, Western Bulldogs
Cameron Sutcliffe could slot into multiple positions. Picture: AFL Photos
JACOB TOWNSEND (20/6/1993)
Previous club/s: Greater Western Sydney (28 games), Richmond (19)
Why would they want him?The 2017 premiership-winning ex-Tiger has options and will land somewhere. It says lots about his character that his former club Greater Western Sydney is open to bringing him back. The Swans are also doing their due diligence, while Richmond could re-draft him. Townsend is the ultimate role player, knows where the goals are, is a fierce tackler and can lock down on an opponent if asked.
Should suit: Greater Western Sydney, Richmond, Sydney
MAVERICK WELLER (13/2/1992)
Previous club/s: Gold Coast (32 games), St Kilda (89)
Why would they want him?Several clubs could get use out of an experienced and versatile role player like Weller, especially one desperate for an opportunity to continue his AFL career. He’s another footballer on this list with 100-plus-games under his belt, including playing double-digit matches in each of the past five seasons. Look no further for an instant contributor.
Should suit: Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Richmond
BRENDAN WHITECROSS (25/1/1990)
Previous club/s: Hawthorn (111 games)
Why would they want him? You’ll have to go a long way to find someone who’ll say a bad word about ‘Whitey’. Two knee reconstructions ruled him out from Grand Finals in 2012, 2013 and 2014, but he played in the Hawks’ VFL flag this past season. Was a perennial back-up in his last few years at the Hawks, but never looked out of place when his opportunities came.
Should suit: Carlton, Gold Coast, St Kilda