It’s been a post-season period, moves left, right and centre, changing the landscape of football, especially in the draft. Trading was introduced into the draft in 2018 and 14 trades were made on November 22nd, with pick 19 being the highest. Other than the draft, the trade and free agency period saw the likes of first round draft picks like Jesse Hogan, Tom Scully and Dylan Shiel finding new clubs. It was big but the year ahead and their impact at their respective clubs will be bigger. So here’s a few of the plethora of players who changed clubs or found clubs that you should watch in 2019.
1. Nick Blakey
My only draftee entered into the list for this year, Nick Blakey will lead the first set of AFL players born in the 21st century for 2019. Blakey is the son of John Blakey, a 359-game veteran of Fitzroy and North Melbourne, so he already has fantastic pedigree. Blakey was one of the best forwards in the draft, kicking 12 goals in the U-18 Championships for the Allies this year. He’s been touted as a future captain and can play anywhere on the ground with his skills despite the move to the front half of the ground for the Swans academy. If he can slot into the Swans forward line near Buddy next season, he’ll be a fantastic prospect to watch.
2. Reece Conca
People might laugh at this one but I think Reece Conca has a lot to offer Fremantle. Conca can play anywhere on the ground as a small midfielder, forward or defender and has all the attributes to fill the void left by Lee Spurr in Fremantle’s backline. Already with 109 games to his name, Conca could easily fly under the radar of most clubs and will give the Dockers some edge with his tackling ability and manic pressure game-style brought over from the Tigers. Expect him to be fired up after a missed flag opportunity at Richmond.
3. Lachie Neale
Speaking of voids, Fremantle will now have to cover the massive hole in their midfield that’ll be left with the absence of ball-magnet Lachie Neale. Neale is already A-Grade talent and if the Lions had of kept Dayne Beams their midfield would be formidable. Neale hasn’t yet reached his prime and still has his best football ahead of him. He’s already a fantastic player and it’ll be scary to see how well he’ll play for the Lions. If Neale can average over 30 disposals in 2019, he could be winning plenty of games for Brisbane in their bid for their first finals berth in 10 years.
4. Jesse Hogan
The big fish Fremantle has being wanting for almost 10 years since Pavlich passed his prime. Jesse Hogan will be watched with careful eyes for the entire year as Fremantle fans hope and pray that he’ll be the answer to their forward line woes. Already pumped up as a superstar before his first game, Hogan has already slotted 152 goals in his 71 games for Melbourne since 2014. Hogan booted 47 goals in 2018 and heading into his prime can easily get to 60-70 a season, something the Dockers haven’t had since 2012. Get excited Dockers fans.
5. Dayne Beams
The prodigal son has finally returned for the Magpies and his name is Dayne Beams. After a very successful stint at Brisbane to play with his brother, Beams has become one of the competitions best midfielders and if not one of the best players in the league. Beams will add a capital S to the stellar midfield at Collingwood. If you want to see a midfield for the ages watch Beams, Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Treloar and Adams next season.
- Dylan Shiel
- Tom Scully
- Isaac Quaynor
- Chad Wingard
- Steven May