Second Chance Saloon: Who's The Pick Of The Delisted Free Agency Crop?
As one silly season comes to an end, another commences.
The 2021 carnation of the AFL trade period slammed shut last week ending a ten-day period headlined by a ruck merry-go-round and with Collingwood’s Graham Wright collecting draft points like infinity stones.
However, as some found new homes, others have gone through the painful process of being told to find a new abode and will now test their luck as delisted free agents – hoping to be selected in either the delisted free agency window or the draft later in November.
Let’s take a look at those who may pique the interest of sides looking to fill vacant list spots.
Key position players are never in surplus and Jarrod Brander fits the mould for any team looking for a book-end.
A first-round draft pick in 2017, Brander arrived at West Coast as a highly-touted prospect who loomed as a potential heir-apparent to Josh Kennedy alongside Oscar Allen who also arrived in the same draft – a mere eight picks after the Mildura native was taken at pick 13.
However, Brander struggled for opportunity throughout his four seasons at the club, playing mainly as a wingman in his 22 games for the Eagles and was delisted after failing to find a new home in the trade period.
Despite being told to find a new home, the 22-year-old is coming off a career best season where he played 11 games and averaged 15.3 disposals.
Brander looms as a tantalising prospect for teams looking to add a low-risk, high-reward option with his ability to play on all three lines a major bonus.
Collingwood, Geelong, North Melbourne and St Kilda are all relatively thin in their key-defensive stocks with a player like Brander being a potential solution to their depth issues.
A side looking for another key-forward option such as Richmond, who lost both Mabior Chol and Callum Coleman-Jones, could also look to the swingman as a replacement for one of the aforementioned.
A year after finishing fifth in North Melbourne’s best and fairest, Trent Dumont will be searching for new horizons.
The midfielder has been on the lookout for a new home after reportedly “leaning towards” leaving Arden Street during the trade period and was delisted after a move never materialised.
What separates the South Australian from most other available free agents is that he’s more than proven himself at senior level, playing 113 games for the Kangaroos over a seven-season stint.
The South Australian was also vice-captain, had another top-five best and fairest finish in 2019 and averaged close to 20 disposals a game – playing as an inside-midfielder and more recently on the wing.
At age 26, Dumont still has a lot of football ahead of him and for a side looking to add another proven midfielder to their stocks – he looms as ‘the’ option among those available on the cheap.
Players of this ilk are usually in high-demand during the off-season and in the past have stood out to sides in their premiership window or looking to make in-roads up the ladder with players such as Jarryd Lyons king among those who made the most of another opportunity.
Port Adelaide showed interest in bringing Dumont home last month but didn’t bite while both Essendon and Carlton could do with some more outside run.
Could Dumont be the next success story to emerge after being given a second chance?
It’s quite simple, Charlie Constable’s talent warrants not only a spot on an AFL list but more opportunity than he’s currently been given to cut his teeth at senior level.
The big-bodied midfielder was starved of opportunity at the Cattery, playing only 12 games in four seasons with Geelong’s veterans taking precedence in the middle of the ground.
Despite dominating week in and week out at VFL level this year (averaging 32 disposals from nine games) he found himself on the outside looking in – mustering up only three games.
Constable is now on the look-out for a new home and should benefit from a fresh start where he can be given a sustained opportunity at the highest level.
It’s easy to forget just how impressive Constable was in his first season. Back in 2019, he averaged 21.4 disposals, 3.7 tackles and was awarded a Rising Star nominee in his second-ever game where he tallied a career-high 31 disposals.
The kid can play, he just needs the opportunity to do so consistently.
It’s hard to see Constable not landing on a list come the end of November with the worst-case scenario being a return to Geelong for a fifth season – but this time as a rookie given their non-committal promise that they’ll re-draft him.
However, there are plenty of sides throughout the competition who could benefit from his signature – none more so than Adelaide and Essendon given their lack of inside-midfield depth.
Fingers crossed we see more of the 2019 green-shoots come next season.
You can make a solid argument that Brayden Sier was close to best on ground at half-time of the 2018 Grand Final and that on talent alone – he is arguably one of the best midfielders available.
Since bursting onto the scene in an impressive 12-game stretch at the back-end of 2018, Sier’s pure talent has never been questioned with many believing he could solidify his place in Collingwood’s midfield for years to come.
However, three years later, things haven’t quite panned out that way and the big-bodied midfielder now finds himself looking for a new club.
In the three years to follow his breakout patch, Sier was dogged by injury and form woes and never really got going – especially last season when he was given the first crack to try and fill an Adam Treloar sized hole in the Magpies midfield.
Although the 23-year-old never really capitalised on this opportunity, it doesn’t mean that a fresh start after six years at the Holden Centre wouldn’t do him the world of good.
At his best, the ‘Bear’s best work is at the coal-face, winning high volumes of contested-ball and clearances while also being just as proficient defensively with his tackle work.
Despite only playing seven games last season, his two best games came against both Brisbane (20 disposals, 14 contested, five clearances) and Geelong (21 disposals, nine marks) but was unable to replicate those performances due to illness and injury the following week.
As mentioned before, Essendon would loom as a solid landing spot for Sier who are on the lookout for some contested ball winners.
Among the small forwards still available, there hasn’t been one who has garnered as much interest as Oliver Hanrahan.
After being delisted by Hawthorn, Hanrahan looms as an intriguing target for sides looking to add some dare and another forward option in attack.
In his five seasons at the club, the 23-year-old showed glimpses of obvious talent, in particular in 2019 when he was voted the club’s best first year player – bursting onto the scene after biding his time in the VFL for two years.
Since then, Hanrahan found himself in and out of the Hawks senior side, eventually only tallying 29 games and never kicking over ten goals in a single season.
Although his numbers haven’t been necessarily ‘eye-catching’, Hanrahan also showed signs of an emerging midfielder at VFL level averaging 31 disposals, 12 contested possessions, and seven clearances.
Throughout the last year, he has been linked with moves to four different clubs in the form of Geelong, GWS, Gold Coast and St Kilda.
Given the Cats have committed to picking up Tyson Stengle, St Kilda just delisted Jack Lonie and the Suns are tight for spots – the Giants loom as a potential destination.
With uncertainty still surrounding Bobby Hill’s immediate future and Toby Greene’s lengthy suspension to kick-off the new season, Hanrahan may be the perfect replacement to help solve their small-forward conundrum.
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