NORTH BALLARAT Roosters premiership players Brett Goodes and Orren Stephenson are contenders to line up for their new clubs in the opening round.
The mature age rookies were yesterday elevated to senior lists – Goodes by the Western Bulldogs and Stephenson by Richmond.
Each was recruited in last year’s rookie draft.
This is Goodes first year in the AFL after an outstanding VFL career with North Ballarat and Williamstown.
Stephenson, 30, is with his second AFL club, having been delisted by Geelong at the end of last season after just the one season with the Cats.
Jack Frost (Collingwood), Ben Hudson (Collingwood) , Justin Clarke (Brisbane Lions), Ed Curnow (Carlton) and Ricky Petterd (Richmond) were other rookies upgraded before yesterday’s deadline.
Goodes and Stephenson impressed in the pre-season. Goodes, 29, has slotted into a defensive role, while Stephenson will bolster
the Tigers’ ruck ranks.
Bulldogs football general manager James Fantasia said Goodes deserved his spot.
“Brett’s leadership skills and his application to his football has been first-class, and we are not only seeing the benefits on the field, but he is providing valuable support to his younger teammates off it,” Fantasia said.
“We are extremely proud of how much he has developed as a person throughout his time here, and as a footballer over the past few months and look forward to seeing him continue his good form this season.”
“They’ve both played some really good footy over the pre-season and they’ve trained really well and almost haven’t missed a beat, so I’m sure that will come into its own next week when the side is put out,”
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin said was also full of praise for Stephenson contribution.
“Big O has been fantastic.
“He’s going to be there as a support for big Ivan Maric.”
Cotchin said hopefully Stephenson would get an opportunity early in the season.
Stephenson played eight games for Geelong last year.
Richmond opens its season against traditional rival Carlton on Thursday, March 28, while the Bulldogs face the Brisbane Lions on Saturday, March 30.