Get ready to pounce on SuperCoach AFL rookies
AT the time we are looking to make our first rookie downgrades, the options are few and far between.
Popular starting rookies like Matthew Parker and Chris Burgess appear to have hit the wall while Noah Balta is set to make money for the first time this season, but will barely be worth more than his Round 1 value.
So the hunt is on to find replacement rookies to take their spot on the bench and turbocharge cash generation to fuel our big trade plans.
We will see latest prices and break evens when Round 5 lockout ends tonight - we already know how much these rookies cost before their prices start to move - but here's an early look at the best available replacements this week - or next.
A pair of Richmond rookie forwards could tempt some SuperCoaches, while there's a couple of debutants who impressed and will start rising from Round 7.
One in particular looks a prospect you could even risk trading in after just one game, which is normally a SuperCoach cardinal sin.
ROUND 6 BUBBLE BOYS
Jack Ross (Rich) $117,300 MID
Avg: 72 (87, 57)
The youngster who missed out on Vic Metro selection last year is now firmly in SuperCoach calculations. While it wasn't as fruitful as his debut game, Ross was solid against the Swans with 17 touches and 57 SuperCoach points. Premiership Tiger Jack Graham was dropped for Saturday night's game, which says a bit about how highly-rated Ross is at Punt Rd. The only concern is Trent Cotchin's return in the next fortnight, which could limit his price rise to 2-3 games and leave coaches with a bench doughnut if he's sent back to the VFL. He still remains the No. 1 cash cow ahead of Round 6.
Liam Baker (Rich) $162,100 FWD
Avg: 89 (97, 87)
Liam who? Many footy fans wouldn't know Liam Baker if he walked past them on the street, but the Tigers' (very) small forward has produced two promising totals since replacing the out-of-form Dan Butler. He has been winning his fair share of footy around the ground, averaging 19 touches and a goal along with 89 SuperCoach points. Like Ross, his job security isn't strong, with a bevy of small forwards at Richmond's disposal. But with the lack of forward rookies on offer, he is a high priced rookie option to consider.
Shai Bolton (Rich) $146,600 FWD
Avg: 60 (72, 58)
The third of the Tiger trio on the bubble is dynamic small forward Shai Bolton. The 20-year-old has broken into the Richmond side after just nine games in two years. Bolton provides plenty of spark to the Tiger forward 50 so his spot in the side should be safe, but don't expect consistent scoring. Baker appears to be the safer bubble boy option.
Ben Paton (StK) $237,400 DEF
Avg: 73.5 (52,95)
Like the forward line, there aren't many rookie defenders on the horizon, so a 95-point effort game sees Paton enter the equation. The young Saint collected 23 touches across half-back in just his fifth senior game, with injuries to St Kilda defenders giving him the opportunity to shine. In saying that, he is a pricey option and is unlikely to post these sort of numbers every week.
Braydon Preuss (Melb) $239,900 RUCK
Avg: 86.5 (76, 97)
While Melbourne struggled, Preuss performed strongly against the Saints on Saturday, winning 15 possessions, 16 hitouts and recording 97 SuperCoach points. It was the second straight week the former Roo has booted multiple goals and he looks to have a permanent spot as a tall forward who pinch-hits in the ruck. However, his price isn't exactly inviting for a R3, with Adelaide's Reilly O'Brien being a far more attractive cash cow. Unfortunately, if you didn't grab O'Brien before Round 5 you've missed the boat.
Jackson Hately (GWS) $148,800 MID
Avg: 95 (one game)
It is frowned upon to go a week early on a rookie, but there isn't a lot of danger in pulling the trigger on Hately. The first-round draftee is set to benefit from Callan Ward's season-ending ACL injury and thrived in his AFL debut. Hately finished with 22 disposals, 10 contested possessions, six marks and 95 SuperCoach points, spending plenty of time in the centre square. That bodes well for his scoring potential long-term, and he looms as one of the more lucrative rookies on the horizon. Wait the extra week if you can afford to.
Will Hayes (WB) $117,300 MID
Avg: 70 (one game)
Hayes' AFL dream finally became a reality and the 23-year-old put in a good showing against the Blues. The Bulldogs debutant collected 21 disposals and seven marks playing as an outside midfielder. Hayes has been a proven ball-winner at VFL level and it translated to the top tier on Sunday. He should be a player to keep on your radar.
Brayden Ham (Ess) $117,300 FWD
Avg: 44 (one game)
The former Geelong Faclon didn't look out of place in AFL company on Good Friday, picking up a tidy 10 disposals, five tackles and a goal. He will face tougher opposition on Anzac Day but as a rare cheap forward rookie he's worth keeping an eye on.