Seven Peter Jackson VFL players became 2016 AFL rookie selections this week, adding to the six VFL players taken in the AFL Draft.
Casey Scorpions trio Tim Smith (rookie-listed by Melbourne), Oscar McInerney (Brisbane) and Declan Keilty (Melbourne) found homes on AFL lists in the 2016 NAB AFL Rookie Draft along with North Ballarat’s Rowan Marshall (St Kilda) and Coburg’s Robbie Fox (Sydney). North Ballarat‘s Matt Eagles was signed as a Category B rookie from the TV series The Recruit, while Essendon‘s Ben McNiece was later signed as a Category B rookie by the AFL Bombers under the new Next Generation Academy rules relating to multicultural and indigenous prospects. McNiece qualified for the Academy through his mother, who was born in India.
Smith, 25, and Keilty, 21, both played in the Scorpions’ losing VFL Grand Final and earned selection in the 2016 VFL Team of the Year. 192cm forward Smith kicked 31 goals in 19 games to take his career VFL numbers to 91 goals in 80 games for the club, while 194cm key-position player Keilty enjoyed a break-out 19-game season under senior coach Justin Plapp, regularly shutting down the opposition’s best key forwards.
* CLICK HERE to read about Tim Smith from earlier in 2016
22-year-old McInerney, the 2016 A.Todd Medallist for the best player in the Development League, broke into Casey’s senior team late in the season as a 203cm ruckman and impressed in six games – including the club’s three finals.
* CLICK HERE to read vfl.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Oscar McInerney.
Marshall, 21, played all 18 games for the Roosters in 2016, the 201cm ruckman working in tandem with veteran Orren Stephenson and winner of Foxtel’s ‘The Recruit’ Matthew Eagles in North Ballarat’s engine room, while 23-year-old Fox made the 2016 VFL Team of the Year following a season in which he averaged 21 disposals and seven tackles per game as a versatile 187cm midfielder.
24-year-old McNiece, a 180cm small defender regularly tasked with matching up on some of the opposition’s best smaller forwards, averaged 15 disposals and four marks per game in 17 matches for the VFL Bombers this year.
Meanwhile, 2015 Williamstown premiership player Andrew Gallucci was re-rookied by Carlton having been delisted by the Blues after the 2016 season.
In the AFL Draft, Geelong VFL players Tom Stewart, Timm House and Ryan Abbott were selected by the AFL Cats, Footscray premiership stars Ben Long and Mitch Hannan joined St Kilda and Melbourne respectively, and Coburg’s Luke Ryan was drafted by Fremantle.
See the list of VFL players selected as AFL rookies below:
|10||Rowan Marshall||North Ballarat||St Kilda|
|25||Tim Smith||Casey Scorpions||Melbourne|
|37||Oscar McInerney||Casey Scorpions||Brisbane|
|41||Declan Keilty||Casey Scorpions||Melbourne|
|Category B||Ben McNiece||Essendon VFL||Essendon|
|Category B||Matt Eagles||North Ballarat||Brisbane|