As we approach the end of the AFL home-and-away season, clubs will start to formulate their offseason plans in an effort to improve their roster come summertime. Of course, to do so, some teams will have to make difficult decisions on fringe players and their future with the club, but going their separate ways could make sense for all parties involved. The 14 players mentioned below have all bounced in and out of their senior sides in 2021 and the final six weeks of the season loom as a crucial stretch for their future with their respective clubs.
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Trent Dumont, Kangaroos
AFL – 8 games, 18.0 disposals per game
VFL – 2 games, 19.5 disposals per game
There was a period of time last year where Trent Dumont had one foot out the door following a testing season with the Kangaroos and those rumours have only intensified in 2021. North’s brigade of new midfield hopefuls in Jy Simpkin, Tarryn Thomas, Will Phillips, Luke Davies-Unicake and Tom Powell cast further doubt over Dumont’s future at the club, with the 26-year old more than capable of still contributing to an AFL side. He’s proven that by playing every game for the Roos since Round 8 having overcome a lengthy calf injury earlier this season; however, I’ll still be surprised if he’s on the list next season.
Quinton Narkle, Cats
AFL – 8 games, 18.6 disposals per game
VFL – 1 game, 26.0 disposals per game
At times this season, Quinton Narkle has looked right at home in Geelong’s midfield, with a career-best 34 disposals against the Suns in Round 10 an example of what he is capable of at full flight. Unfortunately for Narkle, the Cats boast a ton of midfield depth which has seen him lose his spot over the past month – spending 3 of the last 5 rounds as an unused medi-sub. All signs point to Narkle resigning and being a bigger part of Geelong’s future, but if he fails to break back into the AFL side and another team comes calling, we could see him leave for greener pastures in the offseason.
Will Quinton Narkle be at Geelong in 2022?
Gerard, Sam and Richo discussed last night. pic.twitter.com/0ufOPhPnpY
— Sportsday (@SportsdayRadio) June 24, 2021
Will Brodie, Suns
AFL – 3 games, 14.7 disposals per game
VFL – 9 games, 31.6 disposals per game
Will Brodie would’ve been eager to add to his career tally of 20 AFL games in 2021 and cement a spot in Gold Coast’s senior side, but after playing the first three games of the season, he found himself back at VFL level. The likes of Jeremy Sharp, Rory Atkins and Brayden Fiorini have all cracked the AFL side recently while Brodie remains stuck in the two’s amassing touches and hoping for a recall. He may earn a reprieve in the final six weeks, but I won’t be surprised if a team like Essendon or Hawthorn pounces on the young midfielder this summer in an effort to boost their contested ball-winning numbers.
Callum Sinclair, Swans
AFL – 4 games, 10.0 disposals per game, 24.8 hitouts per game
VFL – 8 games, 19.5 disposals per game, 28.8 hitouts per game
Since the 2018 season, Callum Sinclair has been fighting for the No. 1 ruck mantle at Sydney and the arrival of Tom Hickey last offseason may have sealed his fate. It’s no coincidence that the first game Hickey missed this season back in Round 6 was Sinclair’s best outing, with the aging Swan turning back the clock with 54 hitouts and 13 touches in a loss to the Suns. Stellar form at state level has kept him knocking on the door, but youngsters Joel Amartey and Hayden McLean continue to get opportunities ahead of Sinclair – which makes a parting of ways the most likely outcome at the end of the season.
Hamish Hartlett, Power
AFL – 10 games, 15.1 disposals per game
SANFL – 4 games, 20.6 disposals per game
Having played more than half the possible AFL games this season, there’s no certainty that Hamish Hartlett will have to look for a new team in the offseason. The SA native has spent his entire career with the Power; however, as young guns like Miles Bergman and Lachie Jones continue to emerge he may find it harder to squeeze himself back into the top team. Injuries have hampered past seasons for Hartlett, but a recent clean bill of health means there’s plenty he can offer another squad should they be able to entice him to leave Port Adelaide.
Image from themercury.com.au
Charlie Constable, Cats
AFL – 3 games, 12.3 disposals per game
VFL – 9 games, 32.6 disposals per game
The poster boy for this article, Charlie Constable is bound to attract the attention of rival clubs in the offseason. Geelong’s young mid spent two of the first three games this season as the medical sub, with his last AFL appearance coming against Hawthorn in April. Since then, Constable has been tearing up the VFL averaging over 35 touches a game in the last month and turning heads with some eye-popping performances. Unlike teammate Quinton Narkle, Constable’s place at the Cattery next season is far from set in stone and he’s shown that he’s more than capable of performing at AFL level week in, week out.
Sam Petrevski-Seton, Blues
AFL – 11 games, 15.4 disposals per game
VFL – 2 games, 19.0 disposals per game
SPS has found a way back into Carlton’s lineup over the last three weeks, but that hardly seals his fate for 2022. The dynamic defender missed just three games of footy in his first 4 seasons with the Blues, although poor form led to him being sent back to the VFL in Round 9. Hailing from WA, the 23-year old has been partially linked to the Dockers in recent times and even though most signs point to Petrevski-Seton remaining with Carlton, he could be up for an interstate move if he loses his place in the Blues’ side before the season comes to a close.
Brayden Sier, Magpies
AFL – 7 games, 12.3 disposals per game
VFL – 5 games, 28.2 disposals per game
Brayden Sier is starting to run out of chances with the Pies having featured in just 28 games since being drafted back in 2015. Adam Treloar and Tom Phillips’ departure last summer opened the door for more opportunity in Collingwood’s midfield, and yet, Sier hasn’t been able to capitalise having split his time between the AFL and VFL side through 17 rounds. The Magpies could still choose to extend the midfield bull’s contract, but a change of scenery might be necessary to see Sier reach his true potential.
Jake Riccardi, Giants
AFL – 6 games, 12.0 disposals per game
VFL – 6 games, 19.8 disposals per game
Giants key forward Jake Riccardi burst onto the AFL scene last year, impressing with 6 goals in his first two career games against the WA based sides. The powerfully built unit has failed to carve out a niche inside-50 for GWS since then though, with mainstays Jeremy Finlayson, Harry Himmelberg and the mercurial Toby Greene dominating the targets in front of goal – forcing Riccardi to bide his time in the two’s. He hasn’t graced an AFL field since Round 11 (despite kicking 18 goals in his last five VFL games), although, I can’t see a scenario where the Giants won’t be bending over backwards to keep him on their list.
Jake Riccardi has put his hand up for a recall to the AFL, kicking 8️⃣ goals as the GIANTS recorded their third win of the VFL season ⬇
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) June 14, 2021
Patrick Lipinski, Bulldogs
AFL – 9 games, 17.0 disposals per game
VFL – 4 games, 34.0 disposals per game
It’s hard to see a scenario where the Western Bulldogs can afford to keep Patrick Lipinski around next season, with the young pup eager for greater opportunity at AFL level. It’s no one’s fault that the club managed to land high-profile recruit Adam Treloar last trade period, but his arrival has been a big factor in Lipinski splitting his time between grades so far in 2021. Gathering 35, 28, 31 and 35 disposals in his 4 VFL games to date gives us a small insight into what Lipinski could be capable of and Sydney, North Melbourne and Brisbane have all displayed some interest in acquiring the out of contract Bulldog in the past 12 months.
Mitch Wallis, Bulldogs
AFL – 6 games, 10.2 disposals per game
VFL – 5 games, 23.2 disposals per game
Similar to some of the aforementioned players in this piece, Mitch Wallis has reintegrated himself into the Bulldogs’ AFL lineup recently, stringing together four consecutive games after falling out of favour earlier in the season. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Dogs don’t offer their vice-captain a contract for next season, but the midfielder turned small forward hasn’t exactly excelled in front of goal this year. He did have an “important” three-goal cameo against the Roos in Round 16 according to head coach Luke Beveridge, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a rival club tried to pry Wallis away from Footscray.
Mabior Chol, Tigers
AFL – 6 games, 11.6 disposals per game, 16.0 hitouts per game
VFL – 5 games, 14.2 disposals per game, 14.2 hitouts per game
While an injury in recent times to Toby Nankervis opened the door for Mabior Chol to reclaim a spot in Richmond’s outfit, his future with the club still remains murky. The versatile ruck/forward has played the last six AFL games for the Tigers and other clubs are bound to come calling about his availability with Chol coming off the books at season’s end. Nankervis is clearly Richmond’s go-to ruckman and even though Chol seems better suited to play second fiddle, an opposing team may be able to draw him away if they dangle the carrot in front of him and offer a role as their lead ruck.
Image from afl.com.au
Jordan Clark, Cats
AFL – 7 games, 13.4 disposals per game
VFL – 5 games, 22.0 disposals per game
There was speculation around a Jordan Clark trade last offseason and an inconsistent 2021 campaign once again opens the door for his potential departure. The Cats’ speedster has ping-ponged in and out of their senior side, spending Rounds 5, 6 & 11 as the medi-sub and struggling to find his mojo in the star-studded Geelong outfit. Fremantle called about his availability during last year’s player movement period and with six games to go all signs point to Clark fleeing the Cattery before his contract expires.
Dylan Stephens, Swans
AFL – 4 games, 9.5 disposals per game
VFL – 7 games, 28.7 disposals per game
Dylan Stephens still remains unsigned for next year as the end of the season approaches and there are no guarantees Sydney will keep him around. The No. 5 pick from the draft class of 2019 hasn’t exactly excelled with the opportunities he’s had thus far, averaging just 11.5 disposals in his 12 career games, with fellow cygnets Errol Gulden, Chad Warner and Braeden Campbell all seemingly ahead of Stephens in the pecking order. I’m guessing a one-year extension will come his way this summer, but don’t rule out a change of postcodes for the forgotten Swan.
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