In focus: Players to watch in NAB Cup
In focus: Players to watch in NAB Cup

A list of AFL aces trying to make their mark in the AFL pre-season competition.

Quinten Lynch #21 – West Coast’s spearhead during their 2006 premiership run, Lynch gradually slipped down the pecking order at the Eagles and when Collingwood came knocking with a better deal during last year’s free agency period he was quick to jump into a black and white jumper. The pre-season cup should give the Magpies a better idea how the 30-year-old will work alongside Travis Cloke in a forward line that struggled heavily last season.

Liam Jones #19 – The 21-year-old with the strong grab will once again have to step up as the Bulldogs’ only genuine target in the forward 50 this year. Jones was a standout in last week’s Indigenous All Stars game, kicking two goals and presenting well throughout the match, but has been criticised at times for failing to make the most of his opportunities in front of goal. Will this be the year he takes his game to another level?

Brendon Goddard #9 – The former St Kilda swingman is set for more midfield time this year after making the move to the Bombers as a free agent last year. Goddard was a key player in St Kilda’s three grand final appearances in 2009 and 2010 but has been down on form over the past two years. With Essendon under serious pressure from the drugs in sport investigations, Goddard will hopefully give the Bombers fans something to smile about.

Cale Morton #40 - Traded to West Coast by Melbourne at the end of last season, the former No.4 draft pick will have a lot of work to do if he is to claim a place in the Eagles’ best 22. Many were shocked when the club recruited the WA product but only 23 years old, there is still time for him to revitalise his football career in the same way brother Mitch did at Sydney last year. Expect to see him trialled on a wing at some stage this weekend.

Mitch Brown #1 – The 22-year-old has played only five games for the Cats since being selected at pick 15 in the 2008 draft. Other clubs came knocking during last year’s trade period but Geelong stood by their man and are set to give him every opportunity to claim a place in their best side this season. Brown is primarily a key forward but was used across halfback in the VFL last season and should get a crack at both roles over the next few weeks.

Hayden Crozier #17 – After having his 2012 wrecked by a bad bout of glandular fever, Crozier will be aiming to use the NAB Cup to showcase the form which earned him four games under coach Ross Lyon in his debut season. The 20-year-old forward is still only lightly framed but makes up for it with superb evasive skills in traffic and a knack for creating goals out of nothing. Can he claim a permanent spot this year?

Brad Crouch #2 – Crows fans are frothing at the mouth in anticipation of Crouch making his debut this year, and with good reason. Picked up as an under-age player in the first GWS mini-draft, the midfielder has been training at the Crows and starring in the SANFL since the beginning of last year. Expect him to be in the starting side come round one.

Oliver Wines #16 – Taken at pick No.7 in last years draft, Wines comes into the competition with a body built to smash through packs. The Bendigo product plays the game like a proper country lad and should offer Port some much-needed support around the stoppages.

Tom Lee #9 – Lee arrives at St Kilda fresh off a starring role in two premierships at Claremont and, given the Saints gave up pick No.12 for him, should see significant game time this year. Expect him to link up with former Tiger teammate Beau Maister in the forward line as the club begins planning for life after skipper Nick Riewoldt

The West Australian

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