AFTER a thin year for father-son selections last year with just five players selected in 2016, the next two seasons will provide plenty of interest as to whether a number of household names can follow in their father’s footsteps and play AFL football.
Josh Daicos and Callum Brown made their way to Collingwood last year, while Jake Waterman was picked up with the final pick of the AFL National Draft. Adelaide won the heart of Ben Jarman in the rookie draft, while Sam Simpson headed to Geelong.
2018 will be particularly of interest with as many as 15 eligible father-son selections, including a number of which are tied to various northern academies, making the nomination process that bit more interesting. In 2017 however, there are a number of familiar names, led by Patrick Naish and Jackson Edwards.
Naish is the son of Richmond forward Chris who represented the yellow and black on 143 occasions, booting 212 goals from 1990-1997. Chris also played 18 games for Port Adelaide over the next two seasons. His son has already impressed as a bottom-ager, patrolling the half-back line and showing signs he could become a quality player. He reads the ball well and positions himself accordingly. He is good overhead and is able to move well through traffic, which is what we hope to see more of in 2017. Naish played predominatly across half back for the Northern Knights, but it was at school football for Ivanhoe Grammar where Naish impressed in 2016 – showing his smarts inside 50 kicking goals and working through the inside of the midfield.
Edwards is the son of Adelaide stalwart Tyson, who nutted out a whopping 321 games, playing in the Crows’ two premierships in 1997-98. His son looks destined to pull on his dad’s former jumper at West Lakes. Edwards is a left footer with clean ball skills who has played most of his football for Glenelg on the outside or across half back. Edwards collected 19 disposals and kicked a goal in the Under 17 All-Stars game at Punt Road Oval on Grand Final day last year as one of Team O’Loughlin’s better players. In last weekend’s South Australian Under 18 trial, Edwards played more of a role on the inside of the midfield and pushing forward to take marks.
Lachlan Harris is another likely type, tied to Brisbane through father-son with dad Leon moving to the club as a part time scout following his time as Vic Country under 18s talent manager. Harris is on the Sandringham Dragons’ list and the small has the ability to play as either a small defender or a small forward. For his school Caulfield Grammar in 2016, Harris was mostly tasked with the role of kicking the ball out of defence. Harris has elite speed and was timed at 2.83s for the 20 metre sprint, coming in second place overall at TAC Cup testing in 2016. Harris has also spent time with the Lions over the summer.
Other eligible father-sons in 2017 include Josh Broderick who could join Naish at the Tigers and follow in dad Paul’s footsteps; Devlin Brereton is eligible to join Hawthorn with the Hawks the only one of three clubs father Dermott played enough games for during his famed career; Tyler Brown could join brother Callum at the Pies; and Liam Hickmott could forge a career in navy Blue should Carlton select the son of Adrian.
For Cats fans, 2018 could be a bumper draft with a record number of father-sons potentially available to the club. Oscar Brownless (Billy), Lochlan Hocking (Garry), Baxter Mensch (David) and Bailey Scott (Robert) could all don the dark blue and white hoops in 2019. However Scott might be more of a challenge to win over, with North Melbourne able to select him under father-son as well, while Scott is a member of the Gold Coast Academy too.
Speaking of North Melbourne, the Kangaroos could also be bolstered by a number of father-sons in 2018, with Nick Blakey (John) and Joel Crocker (Darren) both already looking like top-end prospects. Crocker will be only available to the Roos, but Blakey, like Scott has more than one potential home. Father John played enough games for Fitzroy and North to qualify for both the Kangaroos and the Lions while Blakey is a member of Sydney’s Academy.
If Brisbane can win over Blakey, then the Lions can match the Cats with four father-sons in 2018 given Jake Bradshaw (Daniel), James Rendell (Matt) and Casey Voss (Michael) are all eligible to head to Brisbane. Other father-sons include Mason Fletcher (Dustin, Essendon), Zac Hart (Adelaide, Ben), Will Hickmott (Adrian, Carlton), Will Kelly (Craig, Collingwood), Ben Silvagni (Stephen, Carlton) and possibly the top pick of the group along with Crocker, Rhylee West (Western Bulldogs, Scott).
Devlin Brereton (son of Dermott) Hawthorn
Josh Broderick (Paul) Richmond
Tyler Brown (Gavin) Collingwood
Jackson Edwards (Tyson) Adelaide
Lachlan Harris (Leon) Brisbane
Liam Hickmott (Adrian) Carlton
Connor McLeod (Andrew) Adelaide
Patrick Naish (Chris) Richmond
Nick Blakey (son of John) Brisbane/North/Sydney 
Jake Bradshaw (Daniel) Brisbane 
Oscar Brownless (Billy) Geelong 
Joel Crocker (Darren) North 
Mason Fletcher (Dustin) Essendon 
Zac Hart (Ben) Adelaide 
Will Hickmott (Adrian) Carlton 
Lochlan Hocking (Garry) Geelong 
Will Kelly (Craig) Collingwood 
Oskar Manton (Glenn Carlton 
Baxter Mensch (David) Geelong 
James Rendell (Matt) Brisbane 
Bailey Scott (Robert) North/Geelong/GC 
Ben Silvagni (Stephen) Carlton 
Casey Voss (Michael) Brisbane 
Rhylee West (Scott) Western Bulldogs 
Have we missed anyone? If we have – let us know @AFLDraftCentral