AFL 3 years ago

Ten rookies that did it the hard way since 2000

  • Ten rookies that did it the hard way since 2000

In today's edition of the Top Ten, I've gone back as far as the 2000 Rookie draft and had a look at the players that were overlooked in the national draft, and had to work their backsides off to get onto the senior list.

The rookie list wasn't introduced until 2002, however players were elevated to the senior list from their state league affiliate. 

CRITERIA: Is simple, you must have been picked in the Rookie Draft.

Let's begin!


Mumford took some time to develop in the AFL and is now at his third club, the GWS Giants. He was traded from the Cats to the Swans were he would become a big part in the Swans winning their second premiership in seven years, over the Hawks in 2012. He was traded the following year to the Giants where he has established himself as one of the premier ruckmen in the competition today. His big body and tenacity at the contest puts a lot of fear into a lot players and is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most intimidating player in the competition. Let's just hope he can get back out on the park, fit and healthy and be a part of the Giants imminent success that awaits them.


Who would have thought that when the Swans selected Jack, that he would turn out to be the player he is now. Coming into the AFL system with a rugby back ground, given his father was a Rugby League legend, not many gave Jack a chance of succeeding in the AFL system. However what he has done has proved a lot of people wrong and for the Swans to get him that late in the rookie draft, is one of the steals of all drafts. He is now the captain of the Sydney Swans and a premiership player, a dream, I'm sure even he thought was not possible

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Known as "The Truck", Ben Rutten enjoyed a 12 year career at the Crows, where for the majority, he was renowned as one of the competition's very best key defenders. He wasn't quick and wasn't all that agile, but one attribute he had was that he was the strongest player during his time at the Crows. There's no question about that. Rutten's unbelievable strength was able to combat the monster forwards that he came up against throughout his career.


Brisbane were one of many teams that were going through a period where they would bring in international players, mainly Irish, to add something different to the game. The Lions took a gamble on pick 38 selecting Irishman Pearce Hanley. And the rest is history, and continuing to write history too. Hanley is close to being the best Irishman this game has seen. Jim Stynes is still in front by some distance, however Hanley has all the capabilities of maybe one day adding a Brownlow Medal to his trophy case, like Stynes. Terrific ball carrier, terrific user of the ball, quick, evasive, he almost has it all. Terrific footballer all-round.


Recently retired midfielder Brad Sewell was your "footballer's footballer". He would crack in when needed, win the hard ball, use it effectively and bring his team-mates into the game. Winning two premierships in 2008 and 2013, missing out on last season's 2014 premiership, Sewell announced his retirement at the end of the year. One of the toughest footballers you'll come across in the 2000's no doubt and was very well respected across the competition.


Initially taken with pick seven by North Melbourne in the 2005, Josh Gibson was making noise of a different kind, coming into the system with an unusual haircut. However, it wasn't long before his football did the talking as he made a name for himself, firstly at the Kangaroos, and more recently at Hawthorn, where has played a big part in Hawthorn's success over the last three seasons, picking up three premierships and potentially a fourth by the end of next season. His ability to read the flight of the ball and leave his man to assist team-mates is terrific.


Finds himself a little unlucky to be sitting this low in the list, but given the other three, it's hard to argue. Sandilands certainly took his time to make a name for himself at Fremantle, however it was worth the wait, as he has become one o the best rucks we've seen, certainly since the turn of the millennium. One aspect of his game that probably has him from not finishing any higher in this order is that he has never really been a great mark for his size and never really got forward enough and used his size to his ability. However, credit where it's due, he has started doing that in the last couple of years.

 3. BRETT KIRK - SYDNEY - 2000

Brett Kirk, now an assistant coach at the at the Swans, has had leadership written all over him since he entered the competition way back in 2000. Kirk, much like Brad Sewell above, was the type of footballer you wanted to have in your side. He wasn't the best user of the football, he wasn't necessarily the best player. What he was, was a brave, courageous, tenacious, fierce leader that would always put his body on the line for the better of the team, which did unfortunately see him suffer a few head knocks in his career. A premiership player and I don't like to jump too early, too often, but feel he's a premiership coach in waiting also.


Even though he won a Brownlow Medal last season, to me, Matthew Priddis is still highly underrated across the competition. He reminds me of a certain Brisbane Lions midfielder in Simon Black. Maybe not in the way he moves, as Black was silky, but just the way they're both rated across the competition, as in my opinion, they don't get the recognition that they thoroughly deserve as they're both superstars. When Priddis has the ball in his hands, it's almost like everything around him turns slow-motion. He always seem to have so much time to use the ball correctly and efficiently and wouldn't put it beyond him to win Brownlow number two for the rest of his career either.


There is no argument when it comes to Dean Cox. He is the best ruckmen we have seen in our game in the last 25 years, at least. His tap work was phenomenal, his mobility to get around the ground was outstanding and not to mention his ability to get forward and kick goals at crucial moments throughout his terrific career was first class. Did I use enough high quality words in there to describe him? I think not. Easily the number one spot had to go to him, and given in the early part of his career, of number of high quality people within the industry were questioning whether he was even good enough to even make it to the elite level.  


Quinten Lynch - Pick 19 - West Coast
Matthew Boyd - Pick 23 - Western Bulldogs
Nathan Bock - Pick 25 - Adelaide
Marty Mattner - Pick 51 - Adelaide

Michael Firrito - Pick 10 - North Melbourne
Joel Patfull - Pick 14 - Brisbane Lions
Nick Maxwell - Pick 15 - Collingwood
Michael Osborne - Pick 23 - Hawthorn
Mark Nicoski - Pick 25 - West Coast
Jason Porplyzia - Pick 29 - Adelaide

Andrew Carrazzo - Pick 2 - Carlton
Nathan Foley - Pick 4 - Richmond
Paul Duffield - Pick 10 - Fremantle

Danyle Pearce - Pick 16 - Port Adelaide
Dale Morris - Pick 19 - Western Bulldogs
Heritier Lumumba - Pick 20 - Collingwood
Ryan Crowley - Pick 39 - Fremantle
Heath Grundy - Pick 42 - Sydney Swans

Alan Toovey - Pick 2 - Collingwood
Heath Hocking - Pick 20 - Essendon
Ben McGlynn - Pick 55 - Sydney Swans 

Sharrod Wellingham - Pick 10 - Collingwood
Nick Smith - Pick 15 - Sydney Swans
Michael Jamison - Pick 17 - Carlton
Jake King - Pick 24 - Richmond
Brent Macaffer - Pick 26 - Collingwood
Jarrod Harbrow - Pick 27 - Western Bulldogs

Jeff Garlett - Pick 6 - Carlton
Jarryd Blair - Pick 27 - Collingwood
Liam Picken - Pick 30 - Western Bulldogs
Luke Breust - Pick 47 - Hawthorn
Sam Jacobs - Pick 72 - Carlton
Matthew Suckling - Pick 81 - Hawthorn

Michael Barlow - Pick 8 - Fremantle
Ben Howlett - Pick 30 - Essendon
Stewart Crameri - Pick 43 - Essendon
Levi Casboult - Pick 44 - Carlton
Matthew Jaensch - Pick 46 - Adelaide
James Podsiadly - Pick 50 - Geelong
Zach Tuohy - Pick 73 - Carlton

Josh Jenkins - Pick 12 - Essendon
Tom Jonas - Pick 16 - Port Adelaide
Ed Curnow - Pick 18 - Carlton
Luke Dahlhaus - Pick 22 - Western Bulldogs
Jason Johannisen - Pick 39 - Western Bulldogs
Jeremy McGovern - Pick 44 - West Coast
Ian Callinan - Pick 64 - Adelaide
Will Langford - Pick 85 - Hawthorn

Rory Laird - Pick 5 - Adelaide
Lee Spurr - Pick 8 - Fremantle
Marley Williams - Pick 35 - Collingwood
Jack Crisp - Pick 40 - Brisbane Lions
Mark Baguley - Pick 47 - Essendon
Mark Blicavs - Pick 54 - Geelong
Sam Gibson - Pick 63 - North Melbourne

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