With the dawn of a new AFL season comes a host of new faces, as clubs unveil their round one debutants.
From first-round draft selections, to mature-aged recruits, any player who makes their AFL debut in 2019 is eligible for the Zero Hanger Rookie of the Year Award.
Here are our Zero Hanger ROTY votes for round one, featuring a father-son gun, a state-league recruit and a bunch of future stars.
5 votes | Sam Walsh
The number one draft pick appeared right at home at AFL level and looked like a ready-made A-grade midfielder.
Walsh racked up 24 disposals and looked comfortable at stoppages and in the contest, while his work and positioning around the ground was equally impressive, highlighted by six uncontested marks and a shot on goal.
He received the ultimate praise from coach Brendan Bolton, who told AFL.com.au that he was “falling in love with [the Blues’] players”.
“Walsh’s run, what did he have? 24 on debut? He’s 18 years old, that’s a fair effort.”
Walsh’s 24 touches led all rookies in round one.
4 votes | Bailey Scott
Scott exploded into AFL football on an otherwise dismal day for North Melbourne, as he amassed 21 disposals in the Kangaroos’ 82-point loss to Fremantle.
On a day when his teammates showed little fight, Scott shone in his AFL debut, taking eight marks and booting a team-high two goals.
Bailey Scott kicks a goal on debut!
— AFL (@AFL) March 24, 2019
Despite his side’s thrashing, the Roos’ father-son selection’s performance didn’t go unnoticed, beating out Walsh for the round one NAB Rising Star nomination.
3 votes | Charlie Constable
Making his AFL debut in front of 78,000 fans in Geelong’s blockbuster Friday night win over Collingwood, Constable caught many eyes running through the midfield.
On a night when prized first-year recruits Tom Atkins and Jordan Clark were also unveiled to the Cats’ faithful, it was the 2017 No. 36 selection who impressed most.
In addition to 21 possessions and a goal, the 191cm midfielder’s ability to apply pressure with three tackles would have pleased coach Chris Scott who will attempt to perform a juggling act with the Cats’ glut of midfield talent.
2 votes | Lachlan Schultz
While a host of Dockers recorded eye-popping stat lines in Fremantle’s dissection of North Melbourne, first-gamer Lachie Schultz’s performance may have gone unnoticed.
Selected at No. 56 in 2018’s Draft, Schultz was thrust straight into AFL action and provided an injection of speed and excitement into Fremantle’s previously stagnant forward line.
— Fremantle Dockers (@freodockers) March 24, 2019
The 21-year-old was lively, gathering 17 possessions, while taking six marks and booting two goals in the Dockers’ landslide victory over the Kangaroos.
1 vote | Zak Butters
Selected at Pick No. 12 in 2018’s NAB AFL Draft, Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters lived up to his price tag on debut.
One of seven new faces in a Power side that pulled off a watershed 26-point win against the Demons on Sunday, Butters shone alongside a number of debutants.
The light-framed midfielder was active throughout the Power’s gutsy performance, tallying 13 touches and iced a sparkling debut with two goals.
— AFL (@AFL) March 23, 2019
5 – Sam Walsh (CARL)
4 – Bailey Scott (NM)
3 – Charlie Constable (GEEL)
2 – Lachlan Schultz (FREM)
1 – Zak Butters (PORT)