WHO would Hampden league coaches love to pluck from the AFL and why? JUSTINE McCULLAGH-BEASY finds out.
There is plenty of admiration for a prolific Tiger and tall Magpie but the coaches have also looked to the future too in picking some next generation talent.
Neville Swayn, Camperdown:
His picks: Dustin Martin (Richmond), Brodie Grundy (Collingwood), Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
Why: "Martin is an onballer who can be as dangerous going forward, most influential player in the league. Grundy is a mobile ruckman who gives onballers first use and his mobility is elite and Fyfe is a versatile player who can play tall and is a game-changer.
Adam Courtney, Cobden:
His picks: Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs), Josh Kelly (GWS Giants), Max or Ben King (St Kilda, Gold Coast)
Why: "As a Bulldogs supporter, I'm probably a bit biased. Bontempelli just oozes class, understands moments in the game so well and will do whatever it takes for his side to win which shows how much leadership he has. All the best players have high talent levels but it's the small things in the contest and his ability to go forward and have a big impact which sets him above the majority of them. Very similar to Patrick Cripps but I fear Cripps' body might let him down later in his career. Best two young players/leaders in the league in my opinion. Max and Ben King - I'd take either. Both players will be big stars. Tall and agile, in a few years once they develop physically they will be hard to stop. They mark the ball at the highest point with exceptional spring, good pace. Players like them don't come along very often and key forwards are invaluable assets. You need blokes who can finish off on the outside and I don't think at the moment there is anyone better than Kelly. Elite by foot and has a huge running capacity. He also hits the scoreboard regularly and once the ball is in his hands forward of centre, look out as he rarely makes mistakes."
Gerard FitzGerald, Hamilton Kangaroos:
His picks: Dustin Martin (Richmond), Brodie Grundy (Collingwood) and Darcy Moore (Collingwood)
Why: "Martin is one of the elite midfielders but is the best of that select group when it comes to playing forward, Grundy is a powerful, athletic ruckman who can push forward and get dangerous and Moore is becoming an elite defender who can play on a variety of opponents because of his speed, running power and height."
Chris McLaren, Koroit:
His picks: Brodie Grundy (Collingwood), Patrick Cripps (Carlton), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
Why: "If I was building a team, I'd start in the middle. So Grundy, Cripps and Bontempelli would be a good start. All are superstars already and still young."
Jarrod Holt, Portland:
His picks: Jeremy McGovern (West Coast), Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood), Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Why: "McGovern is a great intercept mark, reads the play so well. Changes the way other teams have to play to dull his influence. Pendlebury is ultra consistent at a very high level. Makes everyone better around him. Great ball user. Martin is a great player in the mid and up forward. Has a big impact wherever he is around the ball. Tough and durable."
Winis Imbi, Port Fairy:
His picks: Nat Fyfe (Fremantle), Harris Andrews (Brisbane), Toby Greene (GWS Giants)
Why: "I'll go for a player on each line. Fyfe is growing as a leader all the time. He's also a role model of preparation for all the team. Fyfe is acutely aware of his responsibilities and totally aware of others in their roles. Players would want to play for him. Obviously the guy can play. You always need a defender and this kid Andrews will be the best key defender in the competition. Rarely gets beaten and is starting to develop a good mix in providing offensive run. Greene may not be admired by the public but he couldn't care less. An antagoniser who just loves to play. He's coming into his prime. Elite decision-maker and offers potency in any role he plays."
Adam Dowie, North:
His picks: Brodie Grundy (Collingwood), Lachie Neale (Brisbane), Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Why: "Brodie so our mids can get aggressive in terms of movement and predictability, Lachie is the best ground-ball player in the AFL, highly regarded by the Lions for his work ethic and Dustin can't be tackled in the AFL, let alone the HFL. A great kick and will win a large percentage of one-on-one contests, works forward of clearances so a high-scoring mid. Untaggable."
Mat Battistello, South:
His picks: Joel Selwood (Geelong), Sam Walsh (Carlton), Eddie Betts (Carlton)
Why: "I am a little bit biased but Selwood. I'd start from there. I think he will go down as one of the better leaders to have ever played the game, Walsh because he is an up-and-coming superstar and someone like Betts for the entertainment factor."
Ben Kenna, Terang Mortlake:
His picks: Dustin Martin (Richmond), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs), Tom Lynch (Richmond)
Why: "Martin is a big-game player and unstoppable one-on-one, Bontempelli has class and composure and sets up the team and Lynch is one of the best contested marks and a consistent goal-kicker."
Matt O'Brien, Warrnambool:
His picks: Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Brodie Grundy (all Collingwood).
Why: "Pendlebury, would love to see him up close and work out how he seems to be in second gear but no one can lay a glove on him. Sidebottom is a prolific ball winner who bobs up when his team needs him most. Big-game player. And Grundy is probably the best big man in the country - could even push Dan Weymouth out of the first bounce. Also, taking these three from the Pies might be the only way to stop them in 2020."