The Undroppables. A category of football players that we made up.
The definition: A fringe or developing AFL player who performed well enough to keep his spot on the side for the following week.
Throughout the season we will be monitoring players who have had their chance in a side and done enough to lock themselves up for the next round.
Note: We parked this concept during the farewell rounds due to a general lack of weekly nominations.
Check out our round 15 nominations below:
Massimo D’Ambrosio (Essendon)
Massimo D’Ambrosio, a mid-season recruit at Essendon, has wasted no time on the senior squad after being picked with pick three a few weeks ago.
The Western Jets running defender, who recently played on Richmond’s VFL team, only needed one appearance for Essendon’s VFL side before being rushed to the seniors.
D’Ambrosio made an impressive debut in the win over St Kilda on lap 14, looking not an inch out of place.
He kept his spot on the team for last weekend’s trip to Perth against the West Coast.
Averaging 14 goals and three marks, the teenager is almost guaranteed to play much of the remainder of the season given the club’s current fortunes.
Rhylee West (Western Bulldogs)
Rhylee West is starved of senior opportunities, having played just 18 games in three and a half seasons.
The Bulldogs father-son is beginning to find his niche at the AFL level.
West was one of the best players on the scene in the Dogs’ win over Hawthorn on Friday night.
The 21-year-old set his best career with 19 disposals, five tackles, three goals (three behind) and three assists.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, West will look to continue his good form in the hopes of a new deal.
Jack Ross (Richmond)
The 21-year-old appears to be largely being used as a replacement for any injured Richmond midfielders.
He was in and out of the team in 2022, but took his chance in Saturday’s narrow defeat to Geelong.
He played the first three games of the season, was an unused medi-sub in round 4 and added three more games before being dropped prior to round 8.
Ross was given a reprieve on round 10 before making way again for round 12 but was called up to the Cats clash after scintillating VFL form and to replace the injured Trent Cotchin.
The former second-round roster had arguably its most accomplished game as a senior Tiger, collecting a season-high 25 disposals, an equal career-high six clearances (two off center), and making good choices with both hands and feet proven by its removal efficiency of 84%.
However, he failed to lay down a tackle that will no doubt take center stage on the track this week.
With Cotchin still sidelined with a cracked collarbone, Ross is confident he will keep his spot in Damien Hardwick’s 22 for this weekend’s encounter with West Coast.
Dylan Stephens (Sydney)
Dylan Stephens played the best game of his career at Sydney Swans on Saturday night.
In just his fourth senior game for the year, Stephens was dynamic.
The 21-year-old amassed a career-best 23 disposals, which included 16 kicks, five goals and 474 yards – impressive numbers that saw him in the voices of the coaches.
After exercising his appeal in the reserves last week, Stephens was recalled to the seniors in their dominant round 15 win over the Saints – dropping him now would be a very harsh call from coach John Longmire.
If the Swans can get more performances out of Stephens than they did on Saturday night, they will be a much more dynamic side if they want to consolidate their spot in the top eight.
Darcy Fogarty (Adelaide)
Darcy Fogarty has enjoyed the best football month of his young career in the past four games.
The 22-year-old had never held his place at Adelaide’s forefront before, but it is now almost certain that he will play in the seniors for the remainder of the season and rise above Riley Thilthorpe in the pecking order.
Fogarty has scored 12 goals in the last four weeks and it is his ability to contribute to team-mates’ scores and his piercing kick that now makes him a dangerous proposition for opponents.
He paired up with Taylor Walker over the weekend to score 10 of the Crows’ 17 goals in last week’s win over North Melbourne.
If the duo can continue to perform at that level, it will be a dangerous combination in the last two months of the season.
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