The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) ran from December 1 through March 13, allowing clubs to sign rookie players provided they had room on their lists and salary caps. A number of clubs took advantage of the period to round out their playing lists.
Concerned with the poor depth in the ruck and up forward with Tom Bellchambers injured and the return of Joe Daniher (groin) still indefinite, the Bombers have signed former swimming champion Henry Crauford under the SSP rules. Crauford, 22 years old and 6'3", competed in swimming at state and national levels before returning to football in 2016. He played for Norwood in the SANFL in 2019 and played 19 games for Norwood's reserves side. Several clubs showed some interest in Crauford but he was overlooked in last year's draft. Athletic and with good endurance for his size, he can play both ruck and as a tall forward.
With Bellchambers sidelined, it leaves Andrew Phillips to lead the ruck division. However, Phillips has only played 47 games for GWS and Carlton so will need plenty of support. The Bombers also have youngsters Sam Draper and Nick Bryan, both of whom are still learning and developing. Draper missed all of 2019 with an ACL rupture. He was drafted in 2017 and Bryan was drafted in 2019. Both have yet to make their senior debut. With the signings of Tom Hird and Crauford, Essendon has finalized their list for 2020.
Essendon had previously signed former GWS and Richmond forward Jacob Townsend in early December, shortly after the SSP period commenced. Townsend played a total of 48 games for the Giants and Tigers, but it is believed the Bombers intend to use him as a midfielder.
Adelaide has signed young defender Ayce Taylor from the VFL. He, too, was overlooked at the 2019 national draft. Taylor, 19 years old and 6'1", originally played for the Oakleigh Chargers but was cut last year and joined the Northern Knights. He has the ability to play on tall and small forwards, has speed, athleticism, is strong in the air and good at ground level. He attended the draft combine last year and finished third in the standing vertical jump and ran a 20 meter sprint (22yards) in under three seconds. He had signed with North Melbourne's VFL side but then the call came to sign with the Crows He fills the last spot on Adelaide's list.
West Coast has boosted their forward stocks, signing former Cat Jamaine Jones and WAFL player Nic Reid. Jones, who played seven games for Geelong before being delisted at the end of 2019, has been training with the Eagles since early March and impressed in a practice game with West Coast's WAFL side. According to list manager Darren Glass, Jones, 21 years old, can contribute strongly with his speed, power and tackling to apply plenty of forward pressure.
Reid, 24 years old, was playing amateur football two years ago, but decided to try and make it at AFL level. He played for the Eagles' WAFL side in 2019 kicking 23 goals in 16 games in his first season. Glass described Reid as "... "a very powerful athlete".
The Eagles' forward depth took a hit late last season when Willie Rioli was charged with substituting his sample with another substance during a routine ASADA test in August. Currently on a provisional suspension, he faces a four year ban if found guilty, Young forward Daniel Venables has ruled himself out of the 2020 season due to ongoing concussion issues.
The Hawks have again signed small forward Darren Minchington just a week after he was told he was not required. Minchington played 28 games with St Kilda 2013 to 2018 but was delisted at the end of 2018 after battling knee and hip injuries. He was then picked up by the Hawks in 2019 as a delisted free agent. However, he was plagued by hamstring problems and was delisted at the end of 2019, but still allowed to train with the Hawks in the hope of being rookie listed. When second year rookie forward Will Golds ruptured his ACL during the last round of preseason games, it opened up a spot for Minchington who had been overlooked in favor of former Sun and Eagle ruckman Keegan Brooksby. Brooksby played 14 games for Gold Coast 2015 to 2017. After the Suns delisted him, he joined South Adelaide in the SANFL in 2018 and then was picked up by the Eagles during the 2019 SSP but played no senior games and was again delisted. These signings finalize Hawthorn's list for 2020.
Former Tiger forward Callum Moore, who has been training with the Blues since February, has been signed to fill their final list opening. The spot became available due to first round draft pick Brodie Kemp still in recovery from a ruptured ACL suffered last July. He has been moved to the long-term injury list. Moore can fill the void left by Charlie Curnow (knee) and Harry McKay (groin) with their returns still unknown.
Moore, 23, played just eight games in four seasons with Richmond before being delisted at the end of 2019. He was selected ahead of Northern Knights defender Ryan Sturgess, ex-Bulldog utility Lukas Webb, and former Geelong midfielder Jordan Cunico. The Blues rate Sturgess highly and are hopeful he will continue with the Knights in case a spot becomes available (through injury or unexpected retirement) before the midseason draft. Both Cunico and Webb have already indicated they will remain with the Knights.
Has given veteran defender Lynden Dunn, 32 years old, another chance. Dunn played 195 games with Melbourne 2006 to 2016 before being traded to the Pies. He played another 31 games before rupturing his ACL in 2018 and has not played since due to a second knee injury suffered while playing in the VFL in March of last year. He was delisted at the end of last season but has been training strongly with the club.
The Demons have signed forward Mitch Brown and midfielder Harley Bennell. Both have been training with the club. Brown, 29 years old, played 15 games with Geelong 2011 to 2014 but was delisted. He was then drafted by Essendon as a top-up player when many of the senior Bombers were suspended due tot he supplements saga and played a further 55 games for the Bombers before again being delisted. Bennell's calf issues are well-documented but the club believes if he can overcome those problems, he will be valuable addition to the team. Bennell can also play forward.
Sources: afl.com.au, theage.com.au, Natalie MacGregor, Essendon Media Release, foxsports.com.au, AFL Record Season Guides
Article last changed on Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 12:36 PM EDT