16 players were drafted or rookie listed from the VFL in 2011 and while it’s doubtful that many will be picked up in 2012, the competition will still provide the odd hidden gem.
10. Ben Ross, Werribee
After much initial hype, Ben Ross was delisted by North Melbourne at the end of the 2011 season after playing just 12 games in four years. Ross has been a standout performer at Werribee and could be granted another AFL opportunity via the rookie draft.
9. Corey Buchan, Frankston
Corey Buchan has played every game in a stellar debut season for the Dolphins and looms as a likely rookie draft selection. Having just turned 20, the slightly built Buchan has impressed as a hard running utility and uses the ball well by foot.
8. Dean Towers, North Ballarat
Towers has been a standout in an otherwise ordinary season for the Roosters. An outside midfielder, Towers rarely misses a goal on the run once inside 50 and was rewarded with state selection earlier this year. Having by-passed the TAC Cup, Towers has further scope for improvement than most and could be snapped up late in the main draft.
7. Shane Valenti, Port Melbourne
Widely acknowledged as the standout midfielder of the VFL, Shane Valenti was overlooked in the 2011 draft. Nonetheless Valenti has had a standout season with the Borough and at 25 could be a mature age rookie for a club looking for midfield depth.
6. Adam Marcon, Northern Blues
The son of former Preston premiership player Adrian Marcon has had a break out year season for the Blues and is a likely rookie draft prospect. With Brock McLean playing AFL, Marcon will get opportunity to further enhance his reputation by leading a threadbare midfield.
5. Kyle Martin, Frankston
Recruited from Noble Park, midfielder Kyle Martin has been a prolific ball winner for the Dolphins and will go close to winning the VFL’s Round-Fothergill medal and the Frankston B & F in his first season at the club. Martin’s evasive skills, over head marking and accuracy in front of goal have impressed.
4. Dylan Van Unen, Frankston
After 10 games in three seasons at Box Hill, Dylan Van Unen has played every game for the Dolphins in 2012. More recently, Van Unen has played up forward after a strong start to the season in defence.
3. Myke Cook, Sandringham
In his first VFL season, midfielder Myke Cook has been a standout performer for the Zebra’s. Cook was delisted by the Adelaide Crows at the end of the 2011 season but looms as a rookie draft prospect. Like Kyle Martin a prolific ball winner.
2. Khan Haretuku, Frankston
Having been previously rookie listed by St Kilda, 2012 has been a breakout season for Dolphins forward Khan Haretuku. Haretuku’s ability to take contested marks is sure to place him on the radar come draft time. At 22 years of age, expect Haretuku to feature in the main draft.
1. Leigh Osborne, Frankston
It’s extraordinary to think that this time last year Osborne was playing suburban football. A hard running half back and booming left foot kick, Leigh Osborne was rewarded with state selection after impressing in early matches for the Dolphins. Expect Osborne to feature in the main draft, possibly inside the top 50.
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