Who are the biggest busts in VFL/AFL history?

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Geelong were so impressed by talented Woodville-West Torrens Eagles David Ugrinic that they drafted him with Pick 13 in the 1993 National Draft, the Cats' highest selection that year. They kept him on their list for three more years as Ugrinic remained in the SANFL playing for the Eagles, before he moved from Adelaide to Geelong to play for the Cats in 1997.

Players whose surnames start with U are rare in the AFL, but if one was to look at the short list of such players, then one would not see David Ugrinic's name listed among them. This is because while he played Reserves football for Geelong during two years with the team in 1997 and 1998, he was never selected to make his senior debut for the Cats. His ultimately short stint at the club was disrupted by many injuries, most on-field but also had a fall at a beach in 1998, and he departed the Cats with 0 senior AFL games and returned to South Australia.

I'm not sure of this, but Ugrinic would surely have to be one of the highest drafted players who never played a single AFL game. Geelong evidently had faith in him, keeping him on their list for three years as he remained in South Australia. There's been higher-rated players who didn't make it in the AFL, but most of them did play at least a handful of senior games before it became apparent they weren't viable long-term AFL prospects.
 

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Mitch Thorp (2 games) over Joel Selwood is hard to top.
Prob cost Hawthorn 2 additional flags
Ye hardly anyone talks about Thorp he flies under the radar he was a huge bust. I remember watching the Hawks v Cats game the match where Hawkins kicked the goal after the siren & it was with my brothers mate who was Hawks supporter & he even said I can't hecking believe we picked Thorp over Selwood, I think that was when Selwood was at his peak and dominating the game.
 
Besides those mentioned earlier

Jack Trengove
Jon Patton
Anthony Morabito
Harley Bennell
Colin Sylvia
Tom Williams
Beau Dowler
Cale Morton
 
Cannot go past him. Had a stellar junior career but off-field incidents saw his senior career cut short

It wasn't the off-field stuff that finished him, many clubs were willing to overlook that. Especially since he was a good trainer.

His calves were made of tissue paper. Couldn't string together more than 5 games at any level before blowing one.
 
Crows had a string of spectacular 1st Round tall blokes:
  • Tom Gilligan (1996 #13): 3 Games.
  • Laurence Angwin (2000 #7): 0 Games for Crows, 4 for Blues.
  • Fergus Watts (2003 #14): 5 for Crows, 1 for Saints.
  • John Meesen (2004 #8): 2 for Crows, 4 for Melbourne.
  • James Sellar (2006 #14): 21 for Crows, 23 for Melbourne.
Things have picked up a bit since then, though there's still the elephant in the room:
  • Fischer McAsey (2019 #6): 10 Games.
 
Jack Watts was no superstar and definitely underachieved, but he did play 170 odd games.

Not in the same league as some of the others mentioned here.

Chalk a large number of those games up to “potential” and being part of one of the worst teams and clubs in recent history. He got games in an appalling team because he was a former #1 pick, I think his career win rate % was somewhere in the 30s.

Compared to the hype he’s definitely up there as an enormous bust. Produced maybe half a season of decent consistent football.

Not all his fault of course, but that’s the case for all busts.
 
Ye hardly anyone talks about Thorp he flies under the radar he was a huge bust. I remember watching the Hawks v Cats game the match where Hawkins kicked the goal after the siren & it was with my brothers mate who was Hawks supporter & he even said I can't *ing believe we picked Thorp over Selwood, I think that was when Selwood was at his peak and dominating the game.
Thorp apparently had a very high opinion of himself
 
There's a long list of players that haven't played a lot of games, but of those that have, I personally look no further than Jake Stringer and Chad Wingard.

That 2015 year Jake had with the Dogs, he really could've been anything and he's just been a plodder since.
 

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You’re joking right? Never been to Yuendumu I take it?

Firstly, it was me that said it. Secondly you are wrong. Thirdly, I would suggest I have been there more than you. Fourthly, I will repeat it was a stupid insensitive comment that lacked any knowledge of Aboriginal people.
 

Yes, no proper response, so you resort to the sarcastic overtones. You are quick to label Aboriginal lifestyle, but you have no idea. Stop throwing out stereotypical rubbish that brings down Aboriginal culture. Your throw away lines are pathetic.
 
I think there are a few different categories.

Busts because their careers were ruined by injury, like Gumbleton.

Busts because of behaviour/lack of commitment - Tarryn Thomas

OR busts because they were just plain spuds - Where does one start?
 
There's a long list of players that haven't played a lot of games, but of those that have, I personally look no further than Jake Stringer and Chad Wingard.

That 2015 year Jake had with the Dogs, he really could've been anything and he's just been a plodder since.
I wouldn't call them busts. Their careers just never reached the heights that many of us expected
 
Josh Schache was hyped up as the Lions saviour big time when he was drafted.:(
 
Yes, no proper response, so you resort to the sarcastic overtones. You are quick to label Aboriginal lifestyle, but you have no idea. Stop throwing out stereotypical rubbish that brings down Aboriginal culture. Your throw away lines are pathetic.
Calm down mate. Read the defence brief they provided in the court case. He was hiding behind cultural obligation as an excuse for his behaviour. Wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else.
 
Fergus Watts an elite kid and showed great signs that he would be a AA quality forward. Broke his ankle that bad he couldn't play again.
can confirm, met Fergus through work. His a great ambassador for the Reach foundation
supremely talented footballer, did you see his EF Vs North Adelaide. Kicked 10
 
can confirm, met Fergus through work. His a great ambassador for the Reach foundation
supremely talented footballer, did you see his EF Vs North Adelaide. Kicked 10

Yes as a 19 year old. Would have been a formidable team with Riewoldt and Kosi.
 
There's a long list of players that haven't played a lot of games, but of those that have, I personally look no further than Jake Stringer and Chad Wingard.

That 2015 year Jake had with the Dogs, he really could've been anything and he's just been a plodder since.
Stringer has never got over his injury as a junior. I think it’s more mental than physical but It definately affects his ability to give more than 70 percent in training and on the field. Plus “the package” is also very much a “lad” who seems somehow bemused he’s not an automatic top 10 player of the game. If he hadn’t done that leg though - he could have been absolutely anything. Legend status by the end of his career I suspect. He was the most amazing junior talent.
 

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