With the NAB Cup set to begin tonight, Blake Gray takes a look at five potential stars of the game.
The 201cm father-son recruit from Essendon looks to have a bright future ahead of him, although Essendon will be hoping for an immediate impact on a struggling outfit, both on, and off the field. With their controversial beginning to the year on top of a disappointing second half of season 2012, the Bombers need some structure going forward, and Daniher seems an obvious key position player to lead the charge. At only 89kg he will need to put on some size before he will be able to hold onto that key position up forward, similar to that of a 19 year old Sam Reid in his second season at the Sydney Swans. Behind Michael Hurley, Daniher should get some valuable experience and begin to justify his high draft selection with plenty of senior games in 2013.
The hype surrounding Gold Coast’s prized young gun is unbelievable. Being dubbed as the next star of the game must be massive for a young man’s ego, but when asked about the high expectations placed upon him, O’Meara has stated, “that’s all external pressure. At the moment I’m just taking each day as it comes and working on what I need to work on.” At only 19 years of age, he has maturity beyond his years and everyone associated with him constantly mentions his hard work ethic and motivation to succeed. He is currently the favourite to win the Rising Star medal, and with good reason. O’Meara is almost a certainty to play Round 1, a lock for all fantasy coaches, and more importantly, a key part of the Suns future development.
The biggest bargain of the 2012 draft was this young man, who was taken at pick 26 as a father-son recruit. The hard-nut midfielder is a certainty to debut in Round 1, and his competitiveness and ruthless attack on the footy should sit well with Melbourne fans. Viney is AFL-ready, after playing with VFL affiliate Casey Scorpions in 2012 as well as in the TAC Cup, and I believe we will be reminiscing on the Demons draft steal for a number of years to come.
After being taken early in the 2011 mini-draft, Sanderson believes he has found gold in the 19-year-old Crouch. He has impressed the Crows during pre-season and throughout 2012, in which he showed outstanding signs for the Crows future as he continually impressed for West Adelaide in the SANFL. Crouch has been selected in Adelaide’s Round 1 NAB Cup Squad against rival side Port Adelaide and St Kilda. His ruthless attack on the footy and ready-made body should allow him to slot straight into the Adelaide line up come Round 1.
For a number of years, Brett has lived in the shadows of his brother – Adam of the Sydney Swans, who has achieved it all in the form of two Brownlow medals and two Premiership medallions. At 28 years of age, Brett finally gets his chance with the Western Bulldogs who selected him with their only pick in the rookie draft. Although Goodes is currently rookie-listed, it is believed Goodes will get plenty of opportunities this year with the Bulldogs looking to climb the ladder, and his first opportunity will begin tonight in their NAB Cup clash with Collingwood and Essendon .Goodes will add some flare to the backline and the Dogs can only hope their mature age recruiting decision pays off.
Blake Gray is a second-year Sport Journalism student at La Trobe University.You can follow him on twitter @blake_gray14