The 2017 Draft is now behind us and only time will tell whether or not clubs got it right or missed their opportunity to score big. Some lucky teams even had the chance to make more than one selection from the top-10, just as the Carlton Blues and St Kilda Saints did in the last night’s draft. We’ve seen before how vital having those multiple top-tier picks can be for a club trying to turn its fortunes around from the previous season.
One thing is certain though as we’ve seen in the past; when they get it right, it can be a tremendous advantage heading into their next campaign and even continue on for seasons to come. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest hauls clubs have walked away with in the history of the AFL.
Hawthorn Hawks 2004 – Jarryd Roughead (No.2), Lance Franklin (No.5) and Jordon Lewis (No.7)
The Hawks finished in the bottom 2 that year prior to the draft and were in need of some seriously talented players to help turn around their downward spiral. They nabbed 3 top picks in what was a sensational draft for the club and chose some key players that got the organization heading back in the right direction. Roughead is the only one who still remains at the club but the things they achieved together were nothing short of remarkable.
Between the trio, they played 669 games, scored 1254 goals, were awarded three Coleman Medals and eared themselves seven All Australian honours. Most importantly though, they helped guide the club to 4 premiership flags in 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2015, although Franklin moved to the Sydney Swans after the 2013 season.
The Hawks didn’t make the finals last season after a bad start early on; however, they finished off strongly missing out by just six points. Fans seem to think that next year has better things in store for the club though, with the side receiving a lot of backing through bookmakers to make the top-8 in 2018. There is still a long way to go though, and some bettors are choosing to utilise free bets like at bet365 to take the risk out of betting on a club that is currently trying to rebuild. As it stands right now, they are 2.25 to crack their way back into finals footy.
Collingwood Magpies 2005 – Dale Thomas (No2) and Scott Pendlebury (No5)
When these two players were at their prime and lining up alongside each other, they were magnificent to watch and worked incredibly well as a pair through the middle of the park. They were instrumental in helping to bring the 2010 premiership back to the Magpies after a 20-year drought, and in the club reaching the 2011 Grand Final.
Pendlebury has been captain since 2014, bagged himself five Copeland trophies, and earned five All Australian call-ups. For a brief period, Thomas was considered the best in the game by some pundits, and also made the 2011 All Australian side.
St Kilda Saints 2000 – Nick Riewoldt (1) and Justin Koschitzke (2)
You know you’re doing well when you score yourself the number 1 and 2 draft pick, and it certainly paid off big time for the Saints. If Riewoldt goes anywhere in St Kilda, he is treated like royalty now, and the locals absolutely adore him for what he gave the club. He is their longest serving captain, kicked 718 goals in 336 matches, won six best and fairest awards, and was selected for the All Australian team five times.
In 2001, Koschizke won the Rising Star award and managed a very tidy 247 goals in 200 games while at the club, proving himself to be a worthwhile investment. The duo was pivotal in getting the Saints’ to their Grand Final losses in 2009 and 2010, and in turning the club into one of the most feared in the competition during that period.
If any club can come out looking as good as these three did from this year’s draft they will surely be thanking their lucky stars. Only time will tell how this new batch of youngsters will progress in the game but there’s bound to be a few superstars somewhere in the bunch.