ONE-half of the offseason changes are done and dusted, now it’s time to turn our attention to the draft. The annual flurry of AFL trades leaves a bunch of clubs with very different lists ahead of November’s draft. With a handful of potentially game-changing talents available early and the exciting prospect of live-pick trading looming, let’s look ahead to a month from now by predicting how the first 23 picks unfold.
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Pick #1 Carlton Blues – Sam Walsh, Midfielder, Geelong Falcons
FOR all the rumours going around, I would be shocked if the Blues dealt this pick on draft night. Following a reasonably successful trade period, Carlton will look to add the creme of the crop to their budding engine room with Sam Walsh becoming a Blue.
Pick #2 Gold Coast Suns – Jack Lukosius, Key Forward, Woodville-West Torrens
WITH Tom Lynch walking out the door and Steven May the following suit Gold Coast need key position players, ASAP. Lukosius might follow suit and return home to Adelaide a few years from now, but the Suns should draft him and give him a reason to stay.
Pick #3 Gold Coast Suns – Izak Rankine, Half-Forward/Midfield, West Adelaide
IF they go big with Lukosius first, then next cab off the rank might be one of the towering King twins. However, I think it will be hard to pass up on the super talented Izak Rankine, who could find himself on the Power or Crows if one decides to package their picks and move up (most likely to this spot). Until such a time, Rankine becomes a Sun and most likely Lukosius’ new housemate.
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Pick #4 St Kilda Saints – Max King, Key Forward/Ruck, Sandringham Dragons
ST Kilda is another squad who could be active on draft night by moving a few picks around. With the Saints still searching for an heir apparent to Nick Riewoldt’s throne though, a key forward with the ability to pinch hit in the ruck would be a nice use of pick four.
Pick #5 Port Adelaide Power – Connor Rozee, Half-Forward/Midfielder, North Adelaide
A more realistic scenario would probably be the Crows landing Rozee a few picks later should the Power move up the board. If Port Adelaide stays put an exciting, versatile homegrown talent will suffice.
Pick #6 Sydney Swans (BID) – Nick Blakey, Forward/Midfield, Swans Academy
EXPECT the talented Swans academy prospect to warrant a bid inside the top-10 that will force Sydney’s hand. Despite persistent injuries that held him out of the combine, there’s no way that Blakely will be wearing any other colours once draft night ends.
Pick #7 Gold Coast Suns – Bailey Smith, Midfielder, Sandringham Dragons
SHOULD the Suns land their key pillars earlier, then Bailey Smith seems like the logical choice at seven. Perhaps the most complete midfielder in the draft, Gold Coast could use a reliable ball-winner to compliment their speedy outside talents.
Pick #8 Western Bulldogs – Ben King, Key Defender, Sandringham Dragons
THE Western Bulldogs failed in their efforts to keep Marcus Adams at the Bulldogs and as a result, they’ll need to look for a replacement. There’s a chance they target someone in the later rounds or maybe they have faith in Jackson Trengove/Aaron Naughton to hold down the fort. Ben King is too good to pass up if he slips to them though.
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Pick #9 Adelaide Crows – Jordan Clark, Half-Back, Claremont
ADELAIDE will have their sights set on one of the SA boys, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan. A best player available tactic could be on the cards with my money on late bolter Jordan Clark at this stage.
Pick #10 GWS Giants – Jackson Hately, Midfielder, Central Districts
LOSING three midfielders in the trade period means that GWS will likely look to bolster that area with their first pick. There are a bunch of ball winning midfielders around this mark so the Giants could have their pick of the bunch on the edge of the top-10. A ready to go prospect like Jackson Hately fits that mould and obviously fills a need from day one.
Pick #11 Port Adelaide Power – Zak Butters, Midfielder, Western Jets
ANOTHER team that lost a handful of mids in the trade period could target a ball winner with their second first rounder. Zak Butters could be a nice replacement for the likes of Jared Polec with his outside class.
Pick #12 GWS Giants – Jye Caldwell, Midfielder, Bendigo Pioneers
ONE of the bolters in the draft might not be available at pick 12, but if he is the Giants will snap him up. If they are able to land both Hately and Jye Caldwell then their midfield ommissions aren’t as glaring all of a sudden with the powerful ball-winner in Caldwell giving them another string to their bow.
Pick #13 North Melbourne (BID) – Tarryn Thomas, Midfielder, Roos Academy
NORTH Melbourne was quite content to offload their higher picks this offseason, as long as they had enough points left to land their man Tarryn Thomas. A bid for the excitement machine might come a bit later in the top-20, but regardless of where the bid is made the Roos will happily add the dynamic youngster.
Pick #14 Geelong Cats – Curtis Taylor, Half-Forward/Midfielder, Calder Cannons
LUKE Dahlhaus is a solid get, but the Cats need more firepower if they want to atone for their 2018 shortcomings. Enter Curtis Taylor, who as a medium-sized forward could free up Dangerfield in the middle and still provide Geelong with a reliable avenue to goal.
Pick #15 Adelaide Crows – Liam Stocker, Midfielder, Sandringham Dragons
WE saw what happened to Adelaide’s midfield once a few injuries mounted up last year. Spoilt for choice a bit the Crows could look to add a budding star like Liam Stocker which wouldn’t be a bad move. Especially if those injuries rear their head again.
Pick #16 Fremantle – Ian Hill, Midfielder/Half-Forward, Perth
IF I was running the Dockers my two priorities at this pick would be to find a replacement for Lachie Neale and to add some outside dash. The opportunity to draft the cousin of Brad and Stephen Hill, can’t be passed up.
Pick #17 Collingwood Magpies (BID) – Isaac Quaynor, Half-Back, Oakleigh Chargers (Pies Academy)
EVEN though they were forced to part ways with their first-round pick to land Dayne Beams, Collingwood look set to add Isaac Quaynor through their next-gen academy. The Pies will be hoping a bid for the dashing, rebounding defender comes later, but this feels about right.
Pick #18 Port Adelaide Power – Xavier Duursma, Midfielder, Gippsland Power
PORT might be forced to go back to the well in an effort to land speedy, outside types, even if they land similar types with their earlier selections. Xavier Duursma is a versatile smooth mover who looms as a great Chad Wingard replacement.
Pick #19 Adelaide Crows – Chayce Jones, Midfielder, Launceston
THE athletic Chayce Jones could very well slide into the second round, but as I mentioned before Adelaide is in an interesting spot. A ruckman would be high on the shopping list, but if they are forced to hold their current draft hand the combine bolter in Jones makes sense.
Pick #20 Richmond – Riley Collier-Dawkins, Midfielder, Oakleigh Chargers
RICHMOND could emerge as the big winners if they are able to land Collier-Dawkins this late in the first round. There are plenty of areas of his game that he can improve on, which considering his current skill-set is an exciting prospect.
Pick #21 Brisbane Lions – Bailey Williams, Forward/Ruck, Dandenong Stingrays
AFTER plenty of movement in the past two weeks, Brisbane now enters the draft with a very different plan. Securing Lachie Neale and Marcus Adams boosted their young list nicely, but they still need to find other avenues to goal. Bailey Williams might be a long-term project, but he might be the future partner in crime for Eric Hipwood up forward. Worth a punt.
Pick #22 GWS – Ely Smith, Midfielder, Murray Bushrangers
I don’t think the Giants will burn all of their first rounders on midfielders, but sometimes you just can’t pass on a prospect. Ely Smith could be that prospect at #22 with the fearless young gun set to make an impact from day dot, no matter where he lands.
Pick #23 West Coast Eagles – Sam Sturt, Half-Forward, Dandenong Stingrays
DESPITE missing out on the Tim Kelly sweepstakes, West Coast is poised to be a force once again in 2019. Mark LeCras retirement and Liam Ryan’s off-field woes are raising a few eyebrows about their supporting cast up forward. That makes an agile, athletic Sam Sturt, the logical pick before round two begins.
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