The AFL 2021 season is upon us, and this means selecting the next crop of rookies to get excited about. While an AFL rookie gets paid considerably less than their more senior teammates, they can still be crucial to the fortunes of their club across the season.
Kade Chandler – Melbourne Demons
Kade Chandler is already getting his name on the scoresheet for the Demons. He'll have his work cut out to keep his place in the short term, but he's certainly a strong prospect for Melbourne.
Jamarra Ugle-Hagen – Western Bulldogs
The Western Bulldogs named Jamarra Ugle-Hagan as their number one draft pick. Evidently, the Dogs have big plans for this forward.
Francis Evans – Geelong Cats
Evans made his debut for the Cats in round two of the AFL 2021 season. A shakeup was required after a surprise loss at the Adelaide Oval, and it seemed to pay off, as the Cats edged out the Lions 81-80 in Geelong.
James Rowe – Adelaide Crows
The Adelaide Crows needed to make some big changes after a poor season in 2020, and James Rowe is one of those changes. Expect the young forward to get some good game time this season.
Elijah Hollands – Gold Coast Suns
Elijah Hollands has been tipped as one of the hottest talents in the draft, and the Gold Coast Suns can be very happy indeed with his signature. Injuries have hindered the young player's career, but he's certainly one to watch.
Heath Chapman – Fremantle Dockers
Along with Francis Evans, Heath Chapman made his debut in the AFL in the second round of the 2021 season. The defender is already impressive for Fremantle early in his career.
Mark Hutchings – West Coast Eagles
An injury to Eagles' forward Mark Hutchings' knee has made life difficult for the player in recent months. However, he may begin to feature more heavily when the season gets going.
Callum Coleman-Jones – Richmond Tigers
Callum Coleman-Jones courted controversy last season when some questionable behaviour led to the flouting of COVID-19 restrictions. Coleman-Jones is an important player for Richmond's future, though, and is learning from past mistakes.
Kieren Briggs – GWS Giants
There is stiff competition in the GWS forward line, but Kieran Briggs is certainly up there amongst the contenders. Hailing from Greater Western Sydney, Briggs looks likely to live the dream as a big player on this Giants' side.
Matthew Kennedy – Carlton
Kennedy has spent a few seasons in the AFL but has struggled to make an impact. Carlton recently announced that he was being kept on as a rookie, and the natural inside midfielder will be hoping to make the position his own in the near future.
Tom Highmore – St. Kilda
St. Kilda are struggling with injury worries at the moment, so there is space for younger players to make their presence known. Tom Highmore is one of those young players, and we can expect to see him featuring more heavily as the season progresses.
Logan McDonald – Sydney Swans
Sydney Swans made a bright start to their AFL campaign, helped by a number of young additions. One of the most exciting of these additions is Logan McDonald, who has shown promise in his early appearances.
Finlay Macrae – Collingwood
How many AFL rookies can boost the pedigree of Finlay Macrae? The young player certainly has big shoes to fill, thanks to his brother Jack. However, Collingwood feels like a good place for Finlay, and could be a fine springboard for a career of his own.
Charlie Lazarro – North Melbourne
It's difficult to call how the season will go for Charlie Lazarro. However, there is certainly enough about him for North Melbourne to throw him into the mix when the situation requires a change.
Miles Bergman – Port Adelaide
It's never easy to break into the Port Adelaide side, especially not at the moment. Bet on forward Miles Bergman to give it his best shot though.
Ely Smith – Brisbane Lions
2021 has not started well for the Brisbane Lions. They do have promising young players, however, and, for 20-year-old midfielder Ely Smith, the time could be now.
Tyler Brockman – Hawthorn
Brockman has impressed hugely at Hawthorn in the run-up to this season. Team coach Alastair Clarkson has been vocal in singing the young player's praises.
Harry Jones – Essendon
Essendon have been keen to ring the changes after a middling showing last season. Harry Jones is an interesting prospect who could help Essendon rejuvenate their chances.
Who is your pick from the AFL Rookies for the 2021 season?
What did you think of our list? Who would you change? After all, it's difficult to predict which young players are going to be having the biggest impact in the new season.