2020 AFL Draft Preview: Adelaide Crows

WITH the 2020 trade period done and dusted, it is now time for clubs and fans alike to turn their attention to the draft. Between now and draft day (December 9), clubs will have the opportunity to exchange picks until the final order is formed a couple of days out. While the chaos ensues, Draft Central takes a look at how each club may approach the upcoming intake opportunities with the hand they formed at the close of trade period. Obviously they are subject to heavy change, so perhaps we can predict some of that movement here.

Adelaide is first up, the team which finished last in 2020 and thus holds the power of wielding pick one in the draft. An inspired final month meant Crows fans were left with something to cheer about in the three-win campaign, and holding the competition’s ace card will only add to their excitement. It is the first number one pick Adelaide will use in its history and with many list needs to cover amidst a heavy rebuild, there is plenty of pressure on Crows staff to nail every move and selection. As it stands, they boast the highest total draft value index points of any club at 6832 – over 1300 more than the next-best club.

CURRENT PICKS*: 1, 9, 22, 23, 40, 56, 66, 80
* – denotes as of November 19

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ELIGIBLE ACADEMY/FATHER-SON PLAYERS:

James Borlase (NGA), Luke Edwards (father-son), Tariek Newchurch (NGA)

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LIST NEEDS:

Ball-winning midfielder
Key forward depth
Ruck depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

It seems the race for pick one is down to two options; Logan McDonald and Riley Thilthorpe. Debate has raged over whether the Crows will opt to select McDonald, a West Australian key forward who bolted into top three contention this year, or to eliminate any threat of the ‘go home factor’ by snapping up local forward/ruck, Thilthorpe.

While nothing from McDonald suggests he would be unhappy to shift interstate, the argument for Thilthorpe goes that he is far less likely to move elsewhere in future and can prove a safe pillar for the Crows’ to form their rebuild around. While McDonald is arguably considered the better talent, this is the kind of thinking which may impact Adelaide’s choice.

If it were up to us, McDonald is the Crows’ man. They may also consider placing a bid on Western Bulldogs NGA product Jamarra Ugle-Hagan to keep the ‘Dogs accountable, as they would not think twice in matching for the athletic forward who is the consensus best talent in this year’s crop. Elijah Hollands looms as another option, the only midfielder of the bunch and one who could prove a perfect fit for Adelaide’s engine room with his size, x-factor, and ability to rotate forward.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

The Crows are likely to put pick one under lock and key, but have great potential for flexibility with their later picks. Pick nine could be split into two first rounders in order to maximise the amount of top-end talent brought in, perhaps even packaged up with one of their early second rounders. It may also be used to improve their hand in next year’s first round, as the 2021 intake looks like being a strong one.

Covering potential bids for all three eligible players in Borlase, Newchurch, and Edwards may be tough, so there could be work to do to ensure those bases are covered. Although, it seems more likely that only two of the three will land at Adelaide, especially with Edwards seemingly considering his options in the open draft. The Crows should be one of the busier clubs in terms of pick swaps both in the lead up to draft day, and as it goes live.

THE KEY QUESTIONS:

Who will the Crows take with pick one?

Will they bid on Jamarra Ugle-Hagan first?

Do they trade or split pick nine?

Do they trade into next year’s first round?

Will they take all three of Newchurch, Borlase, and Edwards?

Where will the bids come in for those three players?

Featured Image: (Retrieved from) Perth FC

3 comments

  1. Excellent, well balanced article. For me it comes down to what Crows priority is. Mid or key forward. Mid = Hollands Key Fwd = probably McDonald (I think they have invested in Himmelberg and Frampton as Ruck/Fwds). Highly likely to be Tex’s last season so they have to build around someone new. Fogarty doesn’t seem to have the aerobic capacity for that role – more of a lead up Fwd. McDonald fits that role superbly. Mind you, Thilthorpe could do the job well too.
    Tariek Newchurch is a special talent I think.

  2. I must disagree here. It is not ball winning midfielders but indeed, a classy ball USING midfielder and no need for forward depth given it is our strongest line but a classy forward in a Rozee, Martin, Buddy, Greene role. A game changer. More forward depth completely unnecessary!

  3. I hope they pick Hollands, good size great kick and some class to add to their midfield mix, we have the inside contested ball winners with Crouch, Sloane, Schoenberg showing good potential and adding Hately now gives us some size inside, if we can add Hollands run and long kick it gives us a good midfield mix for now and in the years to come. Jones may end up on a wing or hf/hb but not sure he’s a midfielder at AFL level and McHenry maybe a small forward at best. Im backing Fogarty to have a breakout year and Himmelburg is looking good so im not sure we’d want them 2 plus McAdam and McDonald/Tillthorpe in the forward line together when the need for small fwds with tackling pressure is so important these days

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