The Mongrel’s Recruit of the Year – Round Three

I’ve waited a few weeks to post the first results in our Mongrel Punt Recruit of the Year Award. It just seemed right that we waited until some of the dust settled on the new season, particularly with teams having played more than others, and so on.

And yes, I understand that some teams are still carrying that advantage, but I can’t wait forever.

For the record, we’ve been running this the last couple of years, but I haven’t been overly promoting it, as I do get caught up with the Robert Flower Wingman of the Year article, and the Defensive Player of the Year Award during the week. This is particularly so in short weeks, such as this, but with a sick kid at home on the couch, and me sitting next to her, occasionally patting her, I find myself with a bit of extra time, so here we are.

Previous winners as follows.


He certainly seems as though he was a one-hit wonder, at the moment, doesn’t he? Still, he buckled down in 2022 and made a real difference to the Dockers.


He made a splash, indeed, also taking out the Tigers’ Best and Fairest Award in his first year at the club.

What does 2024 bring?

Well, we have plenty of class jumping ship for the season. Brodie Grundy, Jade Gresham, Ben McKay, and Jack Ginnivan are amongst a couple of dozen players wearing new colours in 2024. How will they fare?

And how does this work?

Well, every game recruits play, they are given a rating out of ten… by me, because I like to think I am a pretty fair judge. This is where the advantage comes in for the teams that have not had a week off at this point in the season.

Oh, and no rookies. Only players who have switched clubs are eligible for this award.

Anyway, enough chatter. Let’s jump into the top ten after Round Three.






=2 – JAMES JORDON – 22.5

4 – BEN MCKAY – 19.5

5 – IVAN SOLDO – 19

=6 – JACK BILLINGS – 18.5

=6 – ZAC FISHER – 18.5


=8 – RILEY BONNER – 18





I’m not sure what people expected from Brodie Grundy this season, but chances are he’s exceeding it.

His first outing against Max Gawn was a ripper, and he’s followed that up with another two very good outings, and one… well, one average one. He does have the benefit of playing an additional game than one of the players tied for second, but I loved his last quarter against the Tigers on the weekend. It kind of flew under the radar due to the Swans losing, but he had eight touches, four marks, and ten hit outs against Toby Nankervios, who is bloody tough to get a kick on.

I’m a big wrap for the recruitment of Zerk-Thatcher to Port, and he is more than justifying his spot in their side. Whilst many looked at the arrival of Esava Ratugolea as the one to take the heat off Aliir Aliir, but it has been the work of BZT on the last line that has been the standout.

Ivan Soldo has spent years in the shadow of Toby Nankervis, but is finding his feet as the number one option at Port. Another need of the club was filled when they picked up both him and Jordon Sweet in the off-season, with Soldo the one emerging as their main big man.

Although he was outpointed by Max Gawn on the weekend, his ability to push hard forward stretched the Dees at points.

Jack Billings is on the list by virtue of his big game in Round One, but having four games under his belt have aided him greatly, especially with really poor outings in Round Zero and Round Three.

Jack Ginnivan would probably be higher if he was awarded more free kicks… just kidding. As much as a couple of them were there on the weekend, he also played for more than his fair share of them, and if you’re going to do that, you will constantly be under scrutiny, causing the umps to err on the side of caution when assessing the incidents.

James Jordon has been solid without being spectacular for the Swans, whilst Massimo D’Ambrosio started with a bang for the Hawks, but has tapered off somewhat since his debut.

Riley Bonner could possibly have an argument for a higher position, but I marked him down this week due to the record number of turnovers attributed to him.



Jade Gresham is slowly building into the season and could be a real weapon as he acclimatises to the Essendon setup. Also, Xavier Duursma had his best game for the Bombers on the weekend after a start that was more akin to his last couple of years at Port. He is one to keep an eye on.

Jeremy Sharp is sitting in 13th and Freo would be thrilled with how he is fitting in on the wing.

The biggest disappointment thus far is probably Lachie Schultz (12th), who has not yet found his groove with the Pies and has been going missing for long stretches.

Anyone else – just ask.


Each week, from this point on, I will endeavour to update this list, with weekly scores posted, as well as the previous week’s rankings listed next to players’ names on the overall leaderboard.

Hope you enjoy, and find something to invest in as the season progresses – please call me out if you believe I have unfairly graded a player as we go. I don’t mind the feedback, and perhaps you’re seeing something I’m not.



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