2024 Recruit of the Year Award – Round Nine Update

It’s been a month since I updated The Mongrel’s Recruit of the Year Award. I like to allow things to develop quietly, you see? Allow for some movement and a bit of jostling among the participants…

… kind of like in the bedroom.

Anyway, we’ve wrapped up Round Nine and things have certainly tightened up at the top. When we last visited the Recruit of the Year Award, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher was our runaway leader. And when I say “runaway” I mean that he was consistently providing solid defence for Port without the bells and whistles, but doing more than enough to catch this old Mongrel’s eye.

Fast forward four weeks, and the margin has narrowed, and we’re now on the verge of seeing him overtaken. How did this come about? Who are the blokes chasing him down? And where do I see things playing out as we head into the middle stages of the season?

The middle stages of the season… that sounds like it’s come around quickly, huh?

Round Ten already.

Let’s jump into The Mongrel’s Recruit of the Year Top Ten Post-Round Nine


So, 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.

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.

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

(Previous ranking in parenthesis)



2 – BRODIE GRUNDY – 62.5 PTS (2)

3 – BEN MCKAY – 61 PTS (3)

4 – RILEY BONNER – 57 PTS (5)

5 – ZAC FISHER – 54.5 PTS (6)



8 – JEREMY SHARP – 53 PTS (=8)

9 – JADE GRESHAM – 51 PTS (=8)




I mean it – this’ll be quick. I’m as sick as a dog at the moment.

So, if we have three new names in the mix, you know what that means, right?

It means that three have left the top ten.

Ivan Soldo has sat out with injury, and that has hastened his exit. He was ranked number four a month ago. Xavier Duursma was in eighth position, but he is now on the shelf, as well. He also had a pretty ordinary outing back in Round Six, which didn’t help his overall score. And Jack Ginnivan has been quieter than I’d like at the Hawks, with what I’d call pretty average games for a player of his talent.

As all games the recruits play earns them a score, missing games can see them plummet quite quickly.

At the top of the tree, Zerk-Thatcher had an excellent outing back in Round Seven against the Saints, but he hasn’t had a big one since. A big game, that is. I don’t know much about his social life.

Trailing him, Brodie Grundy managed to compile a huge game against Jarrad Witts back in Round Six, with 24 touches, 29 hit outs, 11 tackles, and a goal. His score pulled him briefly into the lead before a more average Round Seven performance saw BZT grab it back.

And Ben McKay’s workmanlike performances in the Essendon defence have seen him slowly reel in the leader, as well. He looked as though he was in for a long afternoon against the Giants this week, with Jesse Hogan very lively in the first quarter, and then, Big Ben just put the clamps on him and that was that for Jesse.

James Jordon has made a move into the top ten on the back of two excellent lockdown roles, firstly against Lachie Whitfield and then against Jordan Clark, where he basically just cut off the run and carry those players provide.

And finally, great to see old Goldy crack the top ten. He has gone into an Essendon line up and, in part due to injury to Sam Draper, taken the number one ruck role. In the preseason, I wrote about his work ethic and his dedication and whether his recruitment was to instil some of that into Draper. I hope the young man is taking notice. Goldstein is a warrior.

And that’ll do me – I am headed back to the couch to stare at the ceiling for the next five hours. Somehow, there is a speck of spaghetti sauce up there and I am blaming Mrs Mongrel, but she says it wasn’t her.

It was her. I know it.



Like this content? You could buy me a coffee – I do like coffee, but there is no guarantee I won’t use it to buy a doughnut… I like them more. And I am not brought to you by Sportsbet or Ladbrokes… or Bet365, or any of them.