Class of 2014 is ready to shine 

ANGUS GRAHAM (Adelaide)

When you consider the make-up of Adelaide's list, the big-man from King Island looks nothing short of an insurance policy.

He didn't get close to an AFL game last year, and looks well down the pecking order behind Sam Jacobs, Josh Jenkins and Shaun McKernan and reportedly failed to impress in the SANFL.

JACK OSBORN (Adelaide)

The 23-year-old former basketballer from North Hobart had his 2013 disrupted by hip problems, but got another year on the Crows' rookie list.

SAM SIGGINS (Adelaide)

The key defender from Lauderdale is seen as a big part of Adelaide's defensive future post- Ben Rutten, may have to wait a bit before getting his first opportunity in the big time.

The 195-centimetre, 88-kilogram 19-year-old played 14 games in the SANFL reserves last year.

JOSH GREEN (Brisbane)

Expect to see more midfield time from the Clarence red-head, who has made his name as an explosive half-forward.

Kicked 24 goals in 17 games last year and his pace could provide some spark for the Lions at stoppages.

The 21-year-old finished last season impressively and has been lively again during the NAB Challenge.

Could play game 50 this season, starting the year on 34.

RYAN HARWOOD (Brisbane)

Re-established himself for the Lions after just one game in the first half of the year, playing in defence on smalls and having tagging roles in the middle.

Departures of players like Elliot Yeo open up a permanent spot off half-back which the 22-year-old should grab with both hands.

His NAB Challenge form was impressive, highlighted by a 24-disposal effort against Gold Coast.

MITCH ROBINSON (Brisbane)

A huge year beckons for Lauderdale's Robinson, who fell out of favour with coach Mick Malthouse after being the target of some sprays during the year and was dropped in round 20.

The hard-at-it forward- midfielder bounced back with his best performance in the qualifying final win over Richmond, but needs to continue playing at that level to re- establish himself.

While he has no trouble finding the ball, his disposal efficiency and work in front of goal needs to improve. Was second at the Blues for tackles in 2013.

THOMAS BELLCHAMBERS (Essendon)

The ankle injury, which is likely to keep him out until round 6 or 7, is a huge blow to not only Bellchambers, but the Bombers' early season hopes.

With only one other recognised ruckman on its list, and a fledgling forward-line that lacks a spearhead, the big man from Launceston is a piece of the puzzle that Essendon can't do without.

The 24-year-old ruckman is coming off a great year, where he averaged 10 disposals, 22 hit-outs and kicked 28 goals.

More of the same this year will be needed if Essendon is to climb up the ladder.

BRADY GREY (Fremantle)

A clever midfielder with good skills, Grey was selected with pick 58 in last year's national draft.

But the Burnie 18-year-old might see plenty of WAFL time, as Ross Lyon's midfield is tough to break into.

ALEX PEARCE (Fremantle)

Devonport product Pearce could become a swing-man for the Dockers, with the skills and endurance to do the job at both ends.

Like Grey, the 18-year-old, who stands at 197 centimetres and 82 kilograms, seems likely to see plenty of the WAFL this season.

GEORGE BURBURY (Geelong)

Surviving three years on Geelong's rookie list is evidence enough that 21-year-old Burbury, of Hobart, is mentally strong enough to bounce back from the badly broken jaw suffered last month against Collingwood.

The timing could not have been worse than for Burbury, as the hard-at-it forward was in a prime position to get a spot in a forward line missing some familiar faces after last year's clean out.

The bravery he displayed in the incident with Nick Maxwell underlines his style of play, with his willingness to tackle noticeable in his two games last season.

JAKE KOLODJASHNIJ (Geelong)

The key defender from Launceston is not as attacking as brother Kade, but that doesn't dilute his value.

An under-18 All-Australian, the 194-centimetre, 86-kilogram Kolodjashnij is expected to be given plenty of time to develop in the VFL, and hasn't put any pressure on himself to get an AFL start this year.

He did not feature in the Cats' NAB Challenge campaign.

JACKSON THURLOW (Geelong)

Thurlow has grown in confidence, as reflected in his output this season, with the running defender set to show why the Cats thought he was the 16th best player two drafts ago.

Showed more than a glimpse in his debut last year against the Bombers with a 13-disposal first half that he's comfortable at the level.

Had post-season hip-surgery, but the 19-year-old is fit and firing heading into round 1.

Was solid in his one NAB Challenge outing, collecting 17 disposals and nine marks.

AARON HALL (Gold Coast)

Had a wonderful year playing as a small-medium sized forward for the Suns, although wayward in front of the sticks kicking 30.37.

Thirty-eight of his 51 scoring shots came from general play and was ninth in the league for forward-pressure acts.

The 23-year-old also won plenty of the ball (10 games with 15 or more disposals a game).

The Hobart forward was one of only two Suns to play all 22 games last year and has played 30 in his two seasons in Queensland.

But with Gold Coast flagging a more taller forward set-up of Charlie Dixon, Tom Lynch and Sam Day, it could mean time further up the ground for Hall.

KADE KOLODJASHNIJ (Gold Coast)

In the mould of Grant Birchall, Kolodjashnij is expected to do some damage off half-back for the Suns with his deadly left foot.

One of three Harrison medallists after being named best player in division 2 of the under- 18 carnival, Kolodjashnij averaged 27 touches, with seven contested.

When given a chance, the 18-year-old from Launceston will justify the tag of being a No.5 draft pick.

JESSE LONERGAN (Gold Coast)

Got a brief taste of the big-time last year, before he was put on ice following a hamstring injury, which came after a delayed start due to a broken hand.

But the hard-nut midfielder from Launceston looks well- equipped to have more of an impact this season.

After foregoing an end-of-season trip to focus on his training, the 19-year-old played both NAB Challenge games in midfield and forward roles.

He was impressive against the Lions, tagging Daniel Rich, collecting 11 touches and laying an impressive 10 tackles. In his four games, recorded an elite handball efficiency rating of 91 per cent.

If his body allows, Lonergan looks well equipped to establish himself in the Suns' best 22, as his style of play gives the young midfield brigade the hard edge it needs.

LUKE RUSSELL (Gold Coast)

Showed his versatility last year by going back into defence and doing a solid job.

But the 22 year old, who was signed to the Suns as a 17-year- old, can be equally as damaging playing midfield and forward roles.

Played 18 games last year, giving him 43 for his career, and developed into one of the Suns' most underrated players.

HENRY SCHADE (Gold Coast)

The North Hobart defender spent a lot of last year in the medical room due to ankle and back problems.

But after two years in the NEAFL, he has reportedly got his body to a point where he can finally get a start in the big league.

TIM MOHR (Greater Western Sydney)

Out of action at the moment due to a foot fracture, which is a huge blow not only to himself but the Giants, the former Launceston defender has established himself as an important part of a young defence.

He had some outstanding games last season considering the amount of ball that came into the defensive half, including his shut- down job on Lance Franklin at Aurora Stadium in round 8 and a career-best 24-disposal effort against Essendon in round 6.

He was one of two Giants to play all 22 games last year and led the club for intercept marks and possessions, spoils and rebound 50s, but did concede the most goals (41).

ANDREW PHILLIPS (Greater Western Sydney)

The Lauderdale ruckman's 2013 was wiped out due to hamstring and hip problems and the 22-year- old has also had hamstring problems this preseason.

He has managed just nine games since his debut in 2012 and faces a big year to prove that he his body can stand up to the rigours of the AFL.

However, the 202-centimetre, 98-kilogram big-man did show promise in his limited exposure at the top level.

GRANT BIRCHALL (Hawthorn)

Expect more of the same from the dashing defender from Devonport.

Had another great year running from defence for the premier, even though at times he struggled with added attention.

Despite missing seven matches due to a PCL injury, he finished second at the Hawks for disposals for the season and earned a top-10 finish in their best and fairest.

He was above average for kicking efficiency, metres gained per game, rebound 50s and intercept possessions.

Birchall was one of the Hawks' best in the grand final win against Fremantle with a 26-disposal afternoon, which came a year after he was virtually non- existent in the loss to the Swans.

The 26-year-old's status as one of the best running defenders in the game is unquestioned, as he can not only win the ball, but use it at a very high efficiency rate.

ZAC WEBSTER (Hawthorn)

The rookie-listed forward from Glenorchy is likely to spend the year in the VFL for Box Hill developing his body and game for the challenges of the AFL.

The Hawks took him with the 48th selection in the rookie draft after the 18-year-old captained the Mariners last season.

COLIN GARLAND (Melbourne)

Another Tasmanian who has had his preseason ruined by injury.

The 25-year-old defender from Wynyard had surgery on his right ankle in January to remove a bone spur.

The 101-gamer, who finished runner-up in the Demons' best and fairest last season, is a vital member of defence, with his ability to play on both talls (such as Travis Cloke) and small forwards (such as Jake King), and is often used at the kick-outs.

Champion Data ranked him as elite for categories such as intercept marks, intercept possessions, spoils and defensive- half pressure acts.

One of the leaders at Melbourne who has weathered the storm well in previous seasons, so will deserve any success that could come his way under the guidance of Paul Roos.

JEREMY HOWE (Melbourne)

Played several roles in the Demons' year of woe, but could find himself more settled under the guidance of Paul Roos.

The 23-year-old kicked six goals in attack in two NAB Challenge matches, a position where he can be more dangerous.

But how the high-flier fits into a forward structure that could also contain taller-types Chris Dawes, Jesse Hogan and Mitch Clark will be interesting to watch.

He had the most scoreboard impact and marks inside 50 at the Demons last year, but was very good playing behind the ball.

Howe, pick 33 in the 2010 national draft, has played 56 games since his debut in 2011.

BEN BROWN (North Melbourne)

One of the feel-good stories from last year's draft, recruited after a strong season in the VFL after being overlooked the three previous seasons.

The ruckman-forward kicked 29 goals in 18 games for Werribee (North's VFL affiliate) and was subsequently taken by the Roos at pick 47 in the national draft.

The 200-centimetre, 99-kilogram product adds depth to North's already impressive list of key- position options, but you don't recruit a 23-year-old just to be a back-up player.

NATHAN GRIMA (North Melbourne)

The continuing issue of his back is one that Evandale's Grima admits will be with him until the end of his career.

This season it saw him absent from main training until very late in the piece and not featuring in North's NAB Challenge campaign.

The 28-year-old is a vital member of the backline, producing strong performances to restrict opposition forwards.

Played a career-best equalling 17 games last season, and is desperate to prove he can be durable.

Is rated as above average by Champion Data for key defenders in winning disposals, spoils and tackles, and sixth in the league for metres gained, but was poor for intercept marks.

JACK RIEWOLDT (Richmond)

Whether he's aware of it or not, Jumping Jack has placed pressure on himself with his self-imposed media ban.

He must perform on the field to justify this decision.

Being played closer to goal is the start for the Coleman Medal winner from Clarence.

He was very good last year when he was equal first in the league for assists to go with his 58 goals.

But Richmond is a far more dangerous outfit with Riewoldt as primary goal-kicker. A tally of 70-80 should be what he's aiming for.

The 25-year-old also needs to work on his forward pressure, averaging just two tackles a game.

TOBY NANKERVIS (Sydney)

Another great Tasmanian story from the draft. Working on his deficiencies after being overlooked in 2012, Nankervis was picked up by the Swans at 35 in the national draft.

He racked up the most Champion Data points in the under-18 carnival, proof that he does more than just win the hit- outs and can have an impact around the ground.

Kicked three goals in the third quarter of an intraclub match, and played in the NAB Challenge against the Giants, adding a goal to his ruck work.

The 199-centimetre, 101-kilogram 19-year-old could get a chance this year, considering the Swans no longer have Shane Mumford or Jesse White, and is a year ahead of other ruckmen taken from last year's championships..

JIMMY WEBSTER (St Kilda)

Had a wonderful start to his AFL life last season, playing quality football off half-back in his second year on the Saints list, and also won the most improved player award.

He played 11 games and looked comfortable at the level.

The 21-year-old Glenorchy defender, the older brother of Hawthorn rookie Zac, will be looking to build on this solid base.

ELI TEMPLETON (St Kilda)

The pacy midfielder from Burnie, who was surprisingly overlooked in the national draft, already has "cult-figure" written all over him thanks to his blond shaggy hairstyle.

At under-age level, the 18-year- old showed he knows how to win the ball, finishing with the eighth most disposals and fifth most uncontested touches a game.

He showed in his one NAB Challenge appearance when he kicked 2.1 against the Western Bulldogs that he could provide the Saints with some quality outside run.

MAVERICK WELLER (St Kilda)

Delisted from the Gold Coast after requesting a trade, Weller could turn out to be one of the bargains of the draft.

The 22-year-old can do a job either as a midfielder or running off half-back (he played mainly defensive roles last year), and showed in his final game as a Sun (when he collected 27 disposals against the Giants) that he can dominate games if given the opportunity.

Originally from Burnie, his talent was flagged when prelisted as a 17-year-old by Gold Coast.

SAM DARLEY (Western Bulldogs)

The 21-year-old running defender from North Hobart was traded from the Giants to the Bulldogs in search of more opportunities following 13 games in two seasons.

He had games of 20 and 19 disposals last year, showing he can win the ball, and should see some more game time this season at his new club.

Will also add depth to the Dogs midfield stocks.

LIAM JONES (Western Bulldogs)

Stewart Crameri's recruitment should benefit West Moonah's Jones, as he's always looked more comfortable being a second or third forward rather than the main target.

The 23-year-old needs to improve his consistency and output, as 22 goals from 19 games is too low. But he did kick two bags of four, showing he's capable of being more of a scoreboard threat, and had the most scoring shots in his career (37).

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