AFL Draft

AFL Rookie Draft Wrap: How Did Your Team do?

With no preseason selections, the last opportunity for players desperate to get on an AFL list was via the Rookie Draft on Monday. While some high profile names like Jonty Scharenberg, Sam Walker, Hamish Brayshaw and Bailey Morrish missed out on their dreams, some lesser known and recycled players were given the opportunity to forge an AFL career. Here is who and what you club selected.
 

 

ADELAIDE

What They Needed:

Not a whole lot after assessing a majority of its midfield needs during the national draft and having already committed to its two selections in the rookie draft.

What They Got:

It was never going to be an overly exciting day for the Crows supporters when knowing exactly who it was going to select. Although the Crows would have still been ecstatic to get the much talked about Ben Jarman, the son of Darren, with its last pick as a nominated father/son after he wasn’t picked during the national draft. The retired Sam Shaw has been given a position on the rookie list “from a welfare point of view” after the defender had to give the game away due to ongoing concussion problems.

 

BRISBANE

What They Needed:

After scoring a bumper national draft crop, the rookie draft would see a focus on securing extra midfield depth and a developing ruckman.

What They Got:

Brisbane managed to select some extremely talented 18 year midfielders during the national draft, but still wanted some hardened inside depth. Delisted Giant Jake Barrett ticked many boxes after a prolific season in the NEAFL. Mitch Hinge was a prospect just too good to pass up on at pick No.20 in the rookie draft and will develop either behind the football or through the midfield. Oscar McInerney is a ruckman who won the VFL Development League Todd Medal as the best player in the competition, but also had an impact for Casey during the finals in the seniors. Midfielder Blake Grewar was prelisted under Queensland list rules after big NEAFL numbers for Redland.

 

CARLTON

What They Needed:

Outside run and small forward depth, on top of a mature KPD option to fall back on should injury bite.

What They Got:

Carlton would have been very happy to see a quality small forward like Kym LeBois fall to the rookie draft, after being highly rated at the start of the season. He is super quick, smart and will add x-factor to the list. The Blues also added another Silvagni to the list, giving 29 year old former Docker Alex an opportunity to revive his career and add defensive depth. Andrew Gallucci has been given another chance to prove himself after being delisted beforehand.

 

COLLINGWOOD

What They Needed:

Collingwood selected Sam McLarty with its first pick in the national draft, but still required key position depth at either end of the ground and another developing ruckman.

What They Got:

Tall talent was the order of the day for Collingwood and it secured three players who stand +195cm. Mitch McCarthy is a former basketballer with strong hands who can play forward, defensive and pinch hit in the ruck. The Suns had indicated it would take KPD Henry Schade with a late rookie pick after delisting him, but the Pies jumped the queue. He played five games for Gold Coast in 2016 and can have an immediate impact. It also selected Liam Mackie, the cousin of Geelong’s Andrew, a developing half back with footy smarts. GWS academy prospect Max Lynch was a nice ruck option late and will be given time.
 

 

ESSENDON

What They Needed:

After being one of the big winners of the national draft, the key focus of the rookie draft was to select a long term development ruckman.

What They Got:

The Bombers had the number one selection of the rookie draft and the choice of its highest rated young ruckman with only one true live selection due to earlier commitments to the delisted Shaun McKernan and Yestin Eades. It went with South Adelaide’s Sam Draper, a raw tall who was playing his first season of AFL after earlier focusing on soccer. He played numerous key position roles before settling and excelling in the ruck later in the season.

 

FREMANTLE

What They Needed:

Fremantle went tall in the national draft with the likes of Griffin Logue, Brennan Cox and Sean Darcy, but probably still had enough midfield depth to go best available at the rookie draft.

What They Got:

With the number three selection and plenty of very talented footballers getting through the national draft, the Dockers were always going to get quality this high. Taylin Duman ended up being their man, a tall rebounding half back who possesses very good leadership skills and is a steal in the rookie draft. It also secured another bargain in local tall Luke Strnadica, who was originally rated one of the better KPFs at the start of the season. He didn’t quite have the season he would have wanted, but at 201cm, he has all the tools to be a monster target. The Dockers also redrafted previously listed players Brady Grey and Josh Deluca.

 

GEELONG

What They Needed:

The Cats wanted to add some developing younger players after reaching for mature needs at the national draft.

What They Got:

Geelong were able to draft four players with high ceilings, but who may need time to develop into AFL footballers. Jack Henry is a local rangy wingman who can also be a target forward and kick goals. He has an athletics background and enormous scope. Zach Guthrie is the brother of Cameron who is currently very underdeveloped physically, but is and a lovely user of the ball. Jamaine Jones is small forward with x-factor and creates inside 50 pressure through his defensive efforts. The Cats also would have been pleased to see Sam Simpson land in the rookie draft as a father/son nomination, with decision making and clean hands his strengths.

 

GOLD COAST

What They Needed:

Not a whole lot after dominating the national draft with five very good and seriously talented footballers. The rebuild couldn’t have started in much better fashion.

What They Got:

The Suns looked set to redraft key defender Henry Schade, but whether by design or not, they rookie listed two other 2016 listed players in Keegan Brooksby and Cameron Loersch. It would be the Gold Coast’s only action of the afternoon, not exactly replicating its exciting national draft haul. Defender Max Spencer was pre-listed as an academy rookie and will add speed to the back half.
 

 

GWS

What They Needed:

Nothing really, the list is in outstanding shape. It could do as it liked with no consequences what so ever.

What They Got:

The Giants decided to go with some extra experienced midfield depth, selecting former Docker Tendai Mzungu to join mate Matt De Boer from the national draft. It had priority to academy prospect Zach Sproule, who surprising slipped through to the rookie draft after showing excellent signs forward and back throughout the season for the Allies, Murray Bushrangers and the Rams. The retired Joel Patful needed to be selected on the rookie list to fulfil total player payment obligations and won’t play.

 

HAWTHORN

What They Needed:

After fulfilling its needs during the trade period and having just the two national draft selections, Hawthorn could afford to go best available at the rookie draft.

What They Got:

The Hawks could go with the player at the top of its board at pick No.14 and that turned out to be St Kevin’s midfielder Oliver Hanrahan. He was expected to be a national draft bolter after not playing TAC Cup, so Hawthorn would be pleased to secure his services in the rookie draft. Jack Fitzpatrick was unlucky to be delisted after having an impact in the senior side late and will be popular selection. James Cousins played for great football through the midfield during the Murray Bushranger’s finals campaign and is deserving of an AFL spot.

 

MELBOURNE

What They Needed:

After a quiet national draft, the Demons would be focusing on some key position security and a developing ruckman.

What They Got:

Melbourne went early for its ruck need, selecting Sandringham Dragons premiership player Lachlan Filipovic with selection number eight in the rookie draft. He is another former basketball player and is extremely competitive. The Demon’s then went to its VFL alignment Casey to sure up its KPP stocks, selecting the clubs two best talls Tim Smith and Declan Keilty. Smith had an outstanding year at centre half forward, kicking 31 goals and being named in the VFL team of the year. Keilty’s form was just as good, filling both forward and defensive post deficiencies while occasional taking ruck duties to also be named in the team of the year.
 

 

NORTH MELBOURNE

What They Needed:

North Melbourne are now in list development mode and after access many areas during the national draft, the club was in a great position to select the best players to have fallen through.

What They Got:

The Kangaroos managed to secure two of the great bargains of the rookie draft in Cameron Zurhaar and Oscar Junker. Zurhaar is a physical, big bodied midfielder who loves contact and will fight to the death for his club. Junker could genuinely be developed anywhere at 193cm, having showed form as a tall midfielder, key position defender and target forward. Matthew Taylor is a 19 year old who played 19 senior games for Perth in the WAFL, showing elite kicking skills and speed. North would be pleased with this haul.

 

PORT ADELAIDE

What They Needed:

After recruiting three midfielders and despite also selecting Todd Marshall with its first pick in the national draft, Port Adelaide still needed to focus on getting tall players on the list.

What They Got:

With tall prospects the order of the day, Port Adelaide decided to search its own backward and selected there SANFL footballers. Peter Ladhams has been a highly rated ruck option for quite some time and while he didn’t quite have the year he helped, is a solid development option. Brett Eddy was the SANFL’s leading goal kicker in 2016 with 74 and will have an immediate impact when required. Jarrod Lienert is a mature age tall utility who played numerous roles for Sturt and won the SANFL’s “Star Search” award. The exciting Emmanuel Irra was also added as a Next Generation Academy Category B rookie after some solid performances for South Adelaide.

 

RICHMOND

What They Needed:

The Tigers addressed its speed issues by selecting the electric Shai Bolton in the national draft, but could certainly do with some more x-factor.

What They Got:

It was a quiet old day for Richmond with an already loaded rookie list and only one selection in the rookie draft, but still managed to find a very exciting talent. Tyson Stengle is an elusive small forward with extreme talent and elite goal sense. He is capable of big bags, but is also creative in sitting up opportunities for teammates. The Tigers faithful will grow fond of the little South Australian quickly.

 

ST KILDA

What They Needed:

After assessing its needs with success at the national draft, the Saints didn’t have any pressing needs with just one rookie draft selection.

What They Got:

Like Richmond before it, St Kilda were a small player in the rookie draft and decided to strengthen its tall stocks with its only pick at No.10. It went with mature aged North Ballarat 200cm prospect Rowan Marshall. He got better as the year went on with greater responsibility, playing roles in the ruck, forward and in defensive. The Saints were attracted to his ability to play multiple positions, creating greater list flexibility.

 

SYDNEY

What They Needed:

Sydney were another club to successfully count of its needs during the national draft, in particular by selecting a developing defender and a mature ruck option, meaning it had some range in the rookie draft.

What They Got:

The Swans further strengthened its midfield depth by selecting Ben Ronke and the mature aged Robbie Fox. Ronke possesses explosive speed from the stoppages and despite playing overage in the TAC Cup for Calder, is born late December. Fox is an efficient half back or midfielder who had a breakout season for Coburg and turns 24 next year. Former Bomber and Giant Shaun Edwards will look to resurrect his career at a third club, while Glenelg key forward Toby Pink is the September internet sensation who kicked the bouncing winning point after the siren of the SANFL Macca’s Cup Grand Final. Sydney were also able to sign former GWS academy player Sam Fisher as a preselected Category B rookie under NSW list rules.

 

WEST COAST

What They Needed:

The Eagles selected a nice mix of players at the national draft and despite recruiting Nathan Vardy during the trade period, want to ensure further tall depth in the absence of Nic Naitanui.

What They Got:

West Coast had the opportunity to take a punt with its first selection and went with 20 year old East Perth defender Thomas Gorter. He got better as the year went on after securing a position in the senior side midway through the season. To solidify its ruck/forward options, as expected the Eagles recruited 316 game North Melbourne veteran Drew Petrie to fill a potential hole for a year. It also relisted key position player Fraser McInnes, who will be given one more season to prove his worth. On top of the draft selections, West Coast also signed it’s first Next Generation Academy Category B rookie Tarir Bayok. Bayok is of Sudanese heritage and produced the fastest 20 metre sprint test time of all the combines.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

What They Needed:

With a flag and a list that looks like being a threatening force for many years to come, the Western Bulldogs have no pressing needs.

What They Got:

The Western Bulldogs are in the perfect position to take a punt on a player that hasn’t got the runs on the board, but has enormous potential. It went with the Eastern Ranges Nathan Mullenger-McHugh, who is capable in the ruck or as a key position player. Consistency is currently the biggest issue, but the Dogs have time. He is probably too short to ruck at 195cm at the next level, but could be developed at either end. The Dogs also redrafted Josh Prudden, who is still recovering from a knee injury.

 

One of the biggest talking points of the whole draft, however, focused on a player not picked up.  Xavier Richards failed to find himself at a new club after being de-listed by the Swans in October. It’s quite the fall for the young key position player, who only two months ago was playing in an AFL Grand Final and had a two-year contract on the table. His announcement that he wished to be traded to a Melbourne club led to Sydney cutting their ties, and has subsequently left his career in limbo.

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