Another four debutants named, Titch cleared to play, Crows trio ruled out
Another four debutants were confirmed on Thursday while Tom Mitchell was given the green light for Round 1 and Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks provided a series of relevant revelations.
As expected, Adelaide confirmed small forward James Rowe (AF $196k SC $117k FWD) will debut this round, along with Sam Berry (AF $216k SC $117k MID).
Rowe was pick 38 in the 2020 AFL Draft and equal leading goalkicker in 2020 SANFL.
Crows coach Matthew Nicks said: “Another player who most would agree, what he was able to do last year (in the SANFL), what he’s brought to our group on and off field, he deserves his opportunity too.”
Berry was pick 28 in the 2020 AFL Draft. Nicks said: “There’s a lot we like. He played two weeks ago in the SANFL. He was a standout at that level. He got an opportunity against a high quality team & he showed enough. We think this is a good launch pad.”
Essendon also confirmed debuts for 2019 Draft pick 30 Harrison Jones (AF $170k SC $123k FWD) and 2020 Draft pick eight Nik Cox (AF $256k SC $175k D/F).
On Jones, Rutten said: “He’s an athletic dynamic forward. He loves to run. He’s been playing his role really well and fitting into our forward line. He’ll compete really hard. He’s a long-term player for us.”
On Cox, Rutten said: “Nik Cox hasn’t played a proper game of footy for nearly 18 months. It’s a huge effort. He’s done nearly every session at training. He’s built his game. He’ll keep getting better and better.”
Top 10 pick Archie Perkins (AF $254k SC $171k M/F) won’t be debuting yet. Rutten said: “He was close. We really like what Archie can do. He was lucky to get some experience in the Carlton & Geelong games. He wasn’t far off. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of him pretty soon.”
Hawthorn declared Tom Mitchell (AF $823k SC $610k MID) is right to go for Round 1 after a pre-season hampered by his shoulder issue.
Hawks Physical Performance Manager Luke Boyd said: “He full trained last week and got through that really well, so Tom will be available to play. It’s exciting to have one of our leaders back out there for Round 1.”
Cheap defender Nick Murray (AF $170k SC $102k DEF) won’t play in Round 1 with Nicks officially ruling him out after battling an ankle issue.
Nicks said: “Nick Murray won’t play unfortunately. It’s probably touch and go with Muz. You don’t want to put a kid in for his 1st game after an interrupted week. It’s a matter of time.”
Jordon Butts (AF $207k SC $176k DEF) looks like he will play. Nicks said: “Butts got through training really well today so he’s put his name up there to play… we’ve been impressed with his development. We think he’s gone to another level.”
It might be a wait for Riley Thilthorpe (AF $268k SC $202k R/F) too. Nicks said: “In the balance, it led to Riley won’t play at AFL. He’ll play SANFL. We’ll get the timing right for Riley. He’s an exciting part of our future, we just want to make sure we don’t rush it.”
Nicks confirmed onballer Matt Crouch (AF $844k SC $594k MID) was out with a groin injury and couldn’t put a timeframe on his return, while he also revealed recruit Jackson Hately (AF $486k SC $310k MID) won’t play Round 1.
Nicks said: “Jacko won’t play this week. We’re looking at some things with Jacko at the moment, around body & whether he’s ready to go at 100%.”
North are sweating on scans for defender Flynn Perez (AF $299k SC $193k DEF) with fears of another ACL injury sustained at training.
David Noble, Brett Ratten, Alastair Clarkson, Chris Fagan and Adam Simpson will all hold press conferences, while we’ll get the Saturday teams and Friday’s Dogs-Pies clash will take place.