Suns youngster and first overall selection Matt Rowell has ignited discussion around the league as having the potential to be one of the best first-year players we’ve had across the last decade.
A number of players – young and old – have given football fans sheer unmatched delight in their debut seasons. And while John Coleman’s stunning 100-goal debut season will forever go unparalleled, we’ve decided to rank the top 10 from the last decade alone.
There’s no age bias with this list – our criteria included players of any age who were playing in their debut season.
Honourable mentions go out to Tom Stewart, David Swallow, Adam Saad, Isaac Smith, Daniel Talia, Brett Goodes, Luke Shuey & Sam Menegola.
Here are the 10 best AFL rookie seasons of the last decade:
10. Dyson Heppell (2011)
Heppell was on track for stardom right from his debut. The eventual Bombers captain won his Rising Star nomination in round one and would eventually go on to win the award, polling 44 votes from a possible 45 after not missing a game.
Ranking second for Essendon for total disposals at an average of 21.4 touches per game and also finishing on the podium for kicks, handballs and marks at the club, Heppell had paved the pathway for his bright career very early on.
Playing off half-back, he finished seventh in the club’s best and fairest as the Bombers bowed out of September against the Blues in an elimination final.