AFL National & Rookie drafts review

And just like that- The 2016 AFL Draft is over. Matt Balmer has his say on each clubs selections in the AFL National Draft and AFL Rookie Drafts. There was no-preseason draft in 2016, with clubs confirming to the AFL that their plan was to pass their selection.

No club receives a grade, every club walks out of the draft happy with their selections. Time will tell how good they have drafted.


Pick 15 Jordan Gallucci

Pick 44 Myles Poholke

Pick 51 Elliott Himmelberg

Pick 62 Matthew Signorello

Pick 75 Ben Davis

Pick 13 Sam Shaw

Pick 30 PASS

Pick 45 Ben Jarman (Father/Son)

Matt says: A lot of speculation was made over the Crows’ first selection, but they finally settled for Jordan Gallucci over running defenders Isaac Cumming and Cedric Cox. Gallucci is one of the best athletes in the draft pool and if he can polish up his kicking, he could be a dangerous player going forward. Myles Poholke has been a strong performer at the Stingrays, whilst they nabbed key defender Elliott Himmelberg after many had expected him to go higher. Matthew Signorello adds some spark as a lively half forward, whilst some clubs may have been put off with Ben Davis’ navicular issues – he showed that if fit he can be strong inside 50. Ben Jarman slipped through the drafted and gets to the Crows as a pre-selected rookie. Adelaide’s first official selection in the Rookie Draft was retired defender Sam Shaw in an administrative decision in relation to the pending CBA and his access to welfare assistance.


Pick 3 Hugh McCluggage

Pick 17 Jarrod Berry

Pick 23 Alex Witherden

Pick 24 Cedric Cox

Pick 55 Jacob Allison (Brisbane Academy)

Pick 71 Corey Lyons

Pick 2 Jake Barrett

Pick 20 Mitchell Hinge

Pick 37 Oscar McInerney

Blake Grewar (Brisbane zone selection)

Matt Eagles (Category B Rookie – ‘The Recruit’ TV Winner)

Matt says: The Lions again stuck with picking Vic Country players, with North Ballarat Rebels trio Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry and Cedric Cox. Melissa Lambert was in attendance at the draft and it is hoped her influence on the Lions youngsters remains despite husband Craig’s suspension. Alex Witherden could’ve well gone top 10 if not for a broken leg in school football, while Jacob Allison showed plenty of promise in 2015 as a bottom ager for Queensland. Clearance and tackling machine Corey Lyons rounds out yet another impressive haul for the Lions. GWS’ Jake Barrett was too good to pass up with their first selection in the rookie list, whilst Mitchell Hinge is a medium utility who could fill a role anywhere for the Lions. Their final pick was Casey Scorpions ruckman Oscar McInerney, who is very clean below his knees.


Pick 6 Sam Petrevski-Seton

Pick 27 Zac Fisher

Pick 47 Harrison Macreadie

Pick 59 Cameron Polson

Pick 61 Tom Williamson

Pick 65 Patrick Kerr

Pick 5 Kym LeBois

Pick 23 Alex Silvagni

Pick 39 Andrew Gallucci

Matt says: The Blues targeted Sam Petrevki-Seton a long way out and he will add some much needed speed to their midfield. Despite his small frame, Zac Fisher knows how to win the ball and GWS elected not to match the Blues’ bid on academy member Harrison Macreadie. SOS sure loves a Giant! Cameron Polson was one of Sandy’s best before a shoulder injury saw him miss the rest of the season and Tom Williamson has a lovely left boot on the outside. Patrick Kerr managed to remain on the board until their last pick & no doubt the family would’ve been very pleased. Carlton families would’ve also been pleased to see former Fremantle defender Alex Silvagni join the Blues in the rookie draft (a relative of Stephen), with Andrew Gallucci re-selected. Kym Lebois is an exciting prospect and the left footer is very crafty around goal.


Pick 30 Sam McLarty

Pick 35 Callum Brown (Father/Son)

Pick 50 Kayle Kirby

Pick 57 Josh Daicos (Father/Son)

Pick 7 Mitchell McCarthy

Pick 24 Henry Schade

Pick 40 Liam Mackie

Pick 51 Max Lynch

Matt says: An interesting selection in Sam McLarty with a few other defenders on the board who could’ve been taken beforehand. McLarty can play at both ends, but shoulder injuries plagued him for most of 2016. I think he ends up as a defender. Callum Brown and Josh Daicos were always going to be in Black & White, whilst big Collingwood supporter Kayle Kirby was snared at 50. Kirby cracks in hard and knows where the goals are – but will need some work on his conditioning. Collingwood looked to address talls in the rookie draft with promising tall utility Mitch McCarthy their first pick. Long term he may end up as a ruck/forward. Henry Schade comes from the Gold Coast Suns, whilst Liam Mackie is the cousin of Geelong star Andrew. Ruckman Max Lynch has developed well throughout 2016 and has traits that may see him become a player for the future.


Pick 1 Andrew McGrath

Pick 22 Jordan Ridley

Pick 31 Joshua Begley

Pick 42 Kobe Mutch

Pick 63 Dylan Clarke

Pick 1 Sam Draper

Pick 19 Shaun McKernan

Pick 39 Yestin Eades

Matt says: You can’t win a draft – But going off their Under 18 talent, they’ve drafted very well. McGrath was the gut feel for Pick 1 since the TAC Cup Finals, whilst Jordan Ridley and Josh Begley are two that were very promising in the TAC Cup. GWS elected not to match midfielder Kobe Mutch, while the McGrath family were very pleased when best mate Dylan Clarke was able to get to the Bombers with their final selection. After turning to AFL in the last year, tall ruckman/forward Sam Draper was the first selection in the Rookie Draft for the Bombers. Draper comes from a soccer background and in the SANFL U18s he didn’t find much of the football but showed his mobility. Shaun McKernan and Yestin Eades both found themselves back at the Bombers after being re-selected.


Pick 8 Griffin Logue

Pick 38 Sean Darcy

Pick 41 Brennan Cox

Pick 66 Luke Ryan

Pick 3 Taylin Duman

Pick 21 Luke Strnadica

Pick 38 Brady Grey

Pick 50 Josh Deluca-Cardillo

Matt says: Did Fremantle play the draft declaring they’d take Jack Scrimshaw at 8 to scare the Suns into taking him a pick earlier? Home boy Griffin Logue slipped through and the Dockers had no hesitation taking him. They were on the look out for a ruckman with Geelong Falcons’ Sean Darcy an early surprise. Brennan Cox was an All Australian defender at Under 18 level and they grabbed VFL hot prospect Luke Ryan with their last pick. Some were surprised Taylin Duman snuck into the rookie draft and the Oakleigh Charger showed good signs in 2016. Luke Strnadica has a good mark and leap on him – but will need work on his agility and when the ball is on the ground. Brady Grey and Josh Deluca-Cardillo were re-selected.


Pick 26 Brandan Parfitt

Pick 40 Tom Stewart

Pick 43 Esava Ratugolea

Pick 60 Quinton Narkle

Pick 68 Timm House

Pick 69 Ryan Abbott

Pick 16 Jake Henry

Pick 33 Zach Guthrie

Pick 48 Jamaine Jones

Pick 53 Sam Simpson (Father/Son)

Mark O’Connor (Category B Rookie- Ireland)

Matt says: A few surprises in Geelong’s haul. Tom Stewart was considered by many early in the draft, but it was Northern Territory midfielder Brandan Parfitt who went earlier than first thought. The Cats had been linked to Esava Ratugolea for a while and they selected Quinton Narkle at Pick 60 – no doubt wanting to see more of him down at Simonds Stadium after his great game in the Under 18 championships there. With their final two picks, they look in their own backyard with Timm House and Ryan Abbott selected out of their VFL team. In the Rookie Draft – Geelong have got themselves four very good prospects. Jack Henry can play virtually anywhere and may end up as a midfielder in the future. Zach Guthrie was one of the Cannons’ best in 2016 – and is the brother of Geelong’s Cameron. Jamaine Jones is an exciting forward, whilst they added smart small forward Sam Simpson as a father/son selection but he will need time in the gym.

Gold Coast

Pick 4 Ben Ainsworth

Pick 7 Jack Scrimshaw

Pick 9 Will Brodie

Pick 10 Jack Bowes (Gold Coast Academy)

Pick 67 Brad Scheer (Gold Coast Academy)

Pick 4 Keegan Brooksby

Pick 22 Cameron Loersch

Max Spencer (academy)

Matt says: Small forward Ben Ainsworth could almost slot in from Round 1 for the Suns and Jack Scrimshaw was selected despite a few whispers over him wanting to stay in Victoria. Will Brodie was largely touted as a top five pick and Scott Clayton will be ecstatic that he was available at Pick 9. Jack Bowes is a gem and may just be one of the best out of this draft pool, while it was Brad Scheer who the Suns matched with their last selection. In the rookie draft the Suns re-selected Keegan Brooksby and Cameron Loersch, whilst they selected Max Spencer as an academy selection.

GWS Giants

Pick 2 Tim Taranto

Pick 5 Will Setterfield (GWS Academy)

Pick 14 Harry Perryman (GWS Academy)

Pick 20 Isaac Cumming (GWS Academy)

Pick 54 Lachlan Tiziani (GWS Academy)

Pick 58 Matt de Boer

Pick 15 Tendai Mzungu

Pick 32 Joel Patfull

Pick 47 Pass

Pick 52 Pass

Zach Sproule (Academy)

Jack Stein (Category B Rookie)

Matt says: After meeting with Tim Taranto nearly three weeks ago, it was evident the Giants were keen on the Vic Metro midfielder. Taranto got better as the season went on and his overhead marking inside 50 is appealing. They matched bids on Will Setterfield and Harry Perryman – as well as Isaac Cumming who bolted up the order late. Lachlan Tiziani missed out in 2015 but his six goal haul in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final would’ve caught their eye and they took a surprise selection with former Fremantle Docker Matt de Boer with their last pick. The Fremantle flavour continued in the Rookie Draft with the Giants electing to take Tendai Mzungu. Retired defender Joel Patfull will remain on the Giants list as a rookie, fulfilling a required player payment and the club adhering to the Total Player Payment (TPP) obligations.


Pick 74 Harry Morrison

Pick 76 Mitchell Lewis

Pick 14 Oliver Hanrahan

Pick 31 Jack Fitzpatrick

Pick 46 James Cousins

Connor Nash (Category B Rookie – Ireland)

Matt says: Not a lot that the Hawks could do this late in the draft– but they got a strong player in Harry Morrison who is the cousin of Brisbane’s Tom Rockliff. Morrison is composed off half back and uses the football well with a solid right boot. Mitchell Lewis played in all positions as a tall for the Cannons, including a 33-disposal, 12 marks and 12 hitout performance against Gippsland Power. Most expected them to pounce on Oliver Hanrahan on Friday – but they elected to wait until the rookie draft to grab the talented St Kevin’s College half forward. Jack Fitzpatrick was re-selected, whilst Murray Bushrangers midfielder James Cousins was a consistent performer in the TAC Cup and was their final pick.


Pick 46 Mitchell Hannan

Pick 64 Dion Johnstone

Pick 8 Lachlan Filipovic

Pick 25 Tim Smith

Pick 41 Declan Keilty

Corey Maynard (Category B Rookie)

Matt says: Mitch Hannan was on show for the Dees on TAC Cup/VFL Grand Final day and his glimpses must’ve stuck in the mind of Jason Taylor. His left foot was very good for Footscray- including a huge mark earlier in the year. Dion Johnstone was another they ‘stole’ off the Dogs, as he was an eligible Cat-B rookie. Johnstone was good up forward and pushed through the midfield for Oakleigh. The Dees elected to go tall in the Rookie Draft – Picking Sandringham Dragons premiership ruckman Lachlan Filipovic with their first selection. Casey Scorpions tall duo Tim Smith and Declan Keilty would’ve been watched closely throughout the season by the Melbourne coaches.

North Melbourne

Pick 12 Jy Simpkin

Pick 34 Declan Watson

Pick 36 Josh Williams

Pick 73 Nick Larkey

Pick 11 Cameron Zurhaar

Pick 28 Oscar Junker

Pick 43 Matthew Taylor

Matt says: Jy Simpkin slipped outside the top 10 and North Melbourne had no hesitation taking him. The small forward missed most of 2016 after breaking his leg for Scotch College – but Simpkin is a great kid who should be able to move into the midfield. Their bid on Brisbane Lions academy tall defender Declan Watson wasn’t match – neither was their bid on speedy Suns academy player Josh Williams. Nick Larkey played at all ends for Oakleigh and the swingman booted goals for Vic Metro in the Under 18 championships. In the Rookie Draft they took mediun forward Cameron Zurhaar who should have the ability to slot in for AFL games in 2017, whilst utility Oscar Junker was one of Western Jets’ best players when fit. Matthew Taylor possesses elite speed and is a clean user of the football. Taylor plays his best football across half back or on a wing.

Port Adelaide

Pick 16 Todd Marshall

Pick 18 Sam Powell-Pepper

Pick 32 Joe Atley

Pick 33 Willem Drew

Pick 9 Peter Ladhams

Pick 26 Brett Eddy

Pick 42 Jarrod Lienert

Emmanuel Irra (Category B Rookie)

Matt says: Todd Marshall was almost a lock to get to the Power after visiting him at home in the last fortnight. Sam Powell-Pepper was their man and he got past the Eagles where a few thought they could pounce. They identified the need for inside midfielders and went with Vic Country duo Joe Atley and Willem Drew. The Power went tall in the Rookie Draft, starting with South Australian Under 18 ruckman Peter Ladhams before drafting mature ager Brett Eddy who bagged 68 goals in the SANFL this season. Jarrod Lienert averaged 16 disposals and four marks in the SANFL and at 195cm he can play everywhere on the ground. Speedy Emmanuel Irra was selected as a Category B Rookie for Port Adelaide.


Pick 29 Shai Bolton

Pick 53 Jack Graham

Pick 72 Ryan Garthwaite

Pick 6 Tyson Stengle

Matt says: The Tigers got exciting Shai Bolton adding on to Daniel Rioli’s selection in 2015. Bolton booted goals for fun in the WAFL Colts and he can play up on a wing. Jack Graham was the Larke Medalist after a superb carnival for South Australia and will bolster their inside midfield. Defender Ryan Garthwaite can play both tall & small and should be able to find a place in the Richmond defence in the future. With their only pick in the Rookie Draft, the Tigers again elected for speed selecting South Australian Tyson Stengle- who is the nephew of Sydney great Michael O’Loughlin.

St Kilda

Pick 25 Ben Long

Pick 39 Josh Battle

Pick 56 Ed Phillips

Pick 10 Rowan Marshall

Pick 27 Pass

Darragh Joyce (Category B Rookie – Ireland)

Ray Connellan (Category B Rookie – Ireland)

Matt says: St Kilda looked to address speed and if they were going to take Ben Long – It had to be here with other clubs circling. Long is one of the few smalls with outstanding speed that have the ability to play at either ends. St Kilda will be happy that ‘local’ medium forward Josh Battle got to their second pick, whilst they selected Ed Phillips (brother of Collingwood’s Tom) with their final pick. Phillips can bob up and kick goals, as he did in the APS school boy competition for Caulfield Grammar, or play across half back which he did at times for Oakleigh. Was one of the Chargers’ best in TAC Cup Finals. North Ballarat Roosters mature aged ruckman Rowan Marshall moves well around the ground and is a very good selection as a rookie.


Pick 11 Oliver Florent

Pick 21 Will Hayward

Pick 45 Jack Maibaum

Pick 48 Darcy Cameron

Pick 17 Ben Ronke

Pick 34 Robbie Fox

Pick 49 Shaun Edwards

Pick 54 Toby Pink

Pick 55 Pass

Sam Fisher (Sydney zone selection)

Matt says: The Swans were very pleased to add Oliver Florent to their stocks, despite some concerns he’d stay in Melbourne. Will Hayward was too good to pass up at 21 and All Australian defender Jack Maibaum should get some opportunity down back for the Swans in the future. Darcy Cameron had a huge year in the WAFL and deserves his chance. Ben Ronke will add some speed across half back, while after doing a lot of work on Coburg defender Luke Ryan – teammate Robbie Fox must’ve caught their eye. Former Giant and Bomber Shaun Edwards has another opportunity while SANFL U18 Grand Final hero Toby Pink is a competitive tall that the Swans will be hoping to develop.

West Coast

Pick 13 Daniel Venables

Pick 37 Josh Rotham

Pick 52 Willie Rioli

Pick 77 Jake Waterman (Father/Son)

Pick 12 Thomas Gorter

Pick 29 Drew Petrie

Pick 44 Fraser McInnes

Tarir Bayok (Category B Rookie)

Matt says: It was a very late decision by the Eagles, who spoke with Daniel Venables the day before the draft. If he can get his body right, he should be able to mould into a strong forward/inside midfielder. WA defender Josh Rotham was viewed by a few early in the season as a possible top 10, while Willie Rioli’s form as a small forward in the SANFL was too hard to ignore. They were also able to snare Jake Waterman with their final selection in the draft. East Perth mature aged defender Tom Gorter was selected with their first pick, while former North Melbourne 316 gamer Drew Petrie will support them, with Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett both recovering from knee surgeries. Fraser McInnes remains in the Eagles set up after being rookied.

Western Bulldogs

Pick 19 Tim English

Pick 28 Patrick Lipinski

Pick 49 Lewis Young

Pick 70 Fergus Greene

Pick 18 Nathan Mullenger-McHugh

Pick 35 Joshua Prudden

Matt says: The Bulldogs made the choice of picking West Australian ruckman Tim English over North Ballarat Rebels half back Cedric Cox. Some pundits think English could make clubs question the decision to overlook him in the future with plenty of traits that suggest he’ll be a great player. After coming from a promising junior basketball background, Bulldogs supporter Patrick Lipinski will have the chance to pull on the red, white and blue after a good season for the Northern Knights. Tall defender Lewis Young is another with a basketball background and he possesses great speed and agility for a tall. Fergus Greene’s selection surprised a few and he should play forward of centre in the near future with an elite endurance base behind him. Eastern Ranges tall Nathan Mullenger-McHugh is another tall with speed, while the Dogs decided to rookie Josh Prudden who suffered an ACL injury early in 2016.

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