Junior Clubs: Bullcreek-Leeming (WA)
Recruited From: East Fremantle (WA)/Fremantle
Brownlow Votes: 11
Community Ambassador: Ingleburn Magpies
Rhys Palmer is a left-footed midfielder who played his junior football at Bullcreek Leeming Football Club in Western Australia. Palmer was selected at pick seven in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft by Fremantle and made his debut in 2008, taking out the NAB AFL Rising Star Award in his debut season. He joined the GIANTS as an uncontracted player at the end of 2011.
The West Australian continued his important role as a defensive forward in 2015, but couldn't stay on the park for a full season. A shoulder injury suffered in round four against Gold Coast - Palmer's 100th game - forced him to miss the next seven games. Despite that setback, the left-footer kicked 18 goals for the season. Steve Johnson's arrival might place pressure on Palmer, although his negating role will still be vital at ground level.
A hamstring injury in round one ruined his aim of returning to the midfield in 2014. But a position as a tagging, goalkicking half-forward might just be the perfect role for the former Rising Star winner. Playing 17 games, his best return since that rookie year, Palmer kicked 23 goals and handled some big defensive roles well and looks on track for a long career in western Sydney.
Re-born as a defensive forward to start his second season as a GIANT in 2013, Palmer revelled in the role, producing excellent football over the first half of the year. Kicking nine goals and averaging almost 17 touches through 11 games, foot problems then ended his season early.
The former Fremantle midfielder had a solid first season in charcoal and orange, appearing in 15 games and averaging just over 19 disposals per game. But he struggled a little for consistency, named an emergency four times and playing in the NEAFL on three other occasions. But at his best he was a good contributor to the cause, finishing the year with a three-goal, 19-possession effort against North Melbourne in round 23.
Another of the uncontracted players to join GWS, Palmer played 53 games with Fremantle, claiming the NAB AFL Rising Star award in 2008. He has been slowed by injuries in recent years, but the midfielder is relishing a fresh start in Sydney and some added leadership responsibilities.
2007 NAB AFL Draft 1st round selection (Fremantle) No.7 overall; 2011 uncontracted player selection (GWS GIANTS)
Fremantle (2008-11: 53 games, 23 goals)
2008 NAB AFL Rising Star Winner
2008 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Round 8, 2008