EVERYONE expected drama and unpredictability in this year’s draft and that’s what we got. Brisbane stuck to the script by taking Cameron Rayner first overall, but from there the surprises began and they didn’t stop until the final pick. Amongst all the pandemonium there were a few clear winners and losers as another 70+ players joined the Australian football fraternity.
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HOW do you stop homesick players leaving South Australia? Easy, you draft players who hail from SA. Not only did the Crows manage to do that, but both players they selected slid in the draft with Adelaide happy to pounce when there time came. At pick 12 they took Darcy Fogarty who had featured inside the top five of some mock drafts and secondly they took Andrew McPherson (40th) a talented half-back who’s stock dipped slightly after an injury-interrupted year. Not a bad night for last year’s runner’s up.
COME draft time we often hear schools or teams referred to as football factories, with the Geelong Falcons one of the most prestigious junior clubs. Well don’t look now but Haileybury College might be coming for the crown. With specialist mentor Matthew Lloyd on board, the school reeled off six picks in this year’s draft with Andrew Brayshaw (2nd), Luke Davies-Uniacke (4th), Aiden Bonar (11th), Oscar Clavarino (35th), Charlie Constable (36th) and Jackson Ross (71st) all finding new AFL homes. A sign of things to come?
Image from twitter.com
MANY expected Power to be a rookie prospect or at best a late flyer in the last few picks of the draft. However, the Claremont utility found his name called in the first round, which came as a huge shock to everyone. He played a prominent role for his WAFL colts side last year averaging 14 touches in 18 games and could be something special in due time. Still, to find himself in the top-20 was a surprise for everyone making Wil Power one of the biggest winners last night.
West Coast Eagles
THIS pains me to say it as a Fremantle supporter, but the Eagles may have done it again. With Mark LeCras on his last legs and Josh Kennedy not getting any younger, West Coast stocked up on forwards with their selections early. They stuck local and took Oscar Allen (21st) and excitement machine Liam Ryan (26th) who can be the successors for the ageing members of their list. Throw in key position player Jarrod Brander and some midfield depth later on and the Eagles had a great draft night.
THERE aren’t many players who can lay claim to kicking seven goals in a grand final. Gyran Miers is one of them, after his stellar showing on the biggest stage in this year’s TAC Cup finale. Many expected the lively forward to go inside the top 30 or at worst by the end of the second round. Instead, he had to wait until the fourth round at pick 57 to hear his name called. With Geelong taking potential small forward Lachlan Fogarty at 22 and Gary Ablett expected to pinch hit up forward this year, Miers has his work cut out from day one to play a game in 2018.
AS mentioned above, Wil Power at pick 19 was the surprise of the night, and for Stuart Dew, it may be a regret as his first draft choice coaching the Suns. It seems like Power wasn’t this high on other clubs radar’s which means that Gold Coast would have probably been able to take him with their next selection at 42, therefore wasting a top-20 pick. A few academy selections mixed in with Power isn’t the greatest influx of talent for a Suns team that needs, well, almost everything.
Greater Western Sydney
BOASTING pick No. 11 after the Devon Smith trade the Giants had plenty of worthy prospects on the board including Jack Higgins, who loomed as a great replacement for the now Don. Instead, they took a gamble on Aiden Bonar, who has already had two ACL surgeries. Don’t get me wrong Bonar has a high ceiling and could be great, but in a forward line that boasts injury-plagued big men, the Giants missed on this one.
Second Chance Stories
AS is the way every draft night there is heartbreak for some who are chasing a second (or third for some) chance at the AFL dream. The biggest names who went undrafted include Sharrod Wellingham, Sam Collins, Corey Wagner and Matt Shaw, but not all hope is lost with the rookie draft coming up on Monday. However, after seeing Billy Hartung, Jarrod Garlett and Dom Barry all have their names called it will sting for those guys and others to not be included in that bunch.
Banner from thewest.com.au