Devon Smith tops big names such as Gary Ablett and Bryce Gibbs as the recruit of the year
Jon Anderson, Herald Sun
July 26, 2018 8:00am
IT’S a list that contains two of the biggest names of the past 15 years, but even that pair arguably falls short when it comes to naming the AFL’s recycled recruit of the year.
Bryce Gibbs, maybe; Gary Ablett, more than likely for many; and even Old Luke Hodge would have his admirers, but for bringing an A-game to the table on a weekly basis, Essendon’s Devon Smith is hard to top.
The former Greater Western Sydney small forward had no shortage of suitors come draft time last year, with Carlton, Essendon and Geelong leading the way for his services.
The Blues fell short for immediate finals potential, and the latter had the problem of wanting Smith’s manic pressure to be applied within its forward line.
So the lure of more midfield minutes with the Bombers won out, much to the pleasure of both parties with Smith quite conceivably the best player to change clubs over 2017-18.
Then again Ablett turned the clock back in the final quarter of that classic against Melbourne last Saturday night, and Luke Hodge’s recent form hasn’t been too far removed from his brilliant best.
1: Devon Smith (Essendon): The AFL’s pressure king who brings a commitment coaches dream of.
2: Gary Ablett (Geelong): It may not be as consistently evident yet greatness still lurks in his 34-year-old body.
3: Luke Hodge (Brisbane): Originally it was all about teaching, but don’t forget he can still play the caper a bit.
4: Bryce Gibbs (Adelaide): Has been hurt by the absence of the Crouch boys and Sloane, but overall good to very good.
Bryce Gibbs has been a strong contributor for the Crows.
5: Adam Saad (Essendon): Once he got the wheels rolling, Saad has delivered the defensive run he was recruited for.
6: Nathan Wilson (Fremantle): He can get better although Freo would be pleased with what they have got.
7: Jake Stringer (Essendon): There has been good and bad, but enough of the former to suggest future happiness
8: Jarman Impey (Hawthorn): In terms of playing his role within a team, Impey has been solid.
9: Aaron Young (Gold Coast): For a bargain basement pick-up, he has been more than handy.
10: Jake Lever (Melbourne): Like Charlie Cameron, would be a lot higher but for injury after 11 games.
Notable mentions: Sam Gibson, Logan Austin, Matthew Lobbe, Tom Rockliff, Sam Murray, Hayden Crozier, Lachie Weller, Steven Motlop, Jack Watts, Billy Hartung, Matthew Kennedy, Jackson Trengove, Aaron Mullett, Darcy Lang, Stewart Crameri, Jack Trengove, Brandon Matera, Brendon Ah Chee, Trent McKenzie, Josh Schache, Lindsay Thomas, Matt Shaw, Alex Morgan, Lachlan Keeffe, Dylan Buckley, Harrison Wigg and Harley Balic.