AHEAD of the 2021 AFL National Draft, we cast our eyes back 12 months ago to when the newest draftees had their names read out, and what they have accomplished since at the elite level. In the third piece of 2020 AFL Draft standouts (first chance at AFL level), we look at the 13th and 14th placed teams in Carlton and Hawthorn.
#37 Corey Durdin
#41 Jack Carroll
R: Luke Parks
Carlton entered the 2020 AFL Draft with just the two main picks mid-draft, and were able to pick up a couple of state representatives in small forward Corey Durdin, and classy midfielder Jack Carroll. Whilst the pair only played the two combined games – Carroll is yet to make his debut – they present plenty of upside for the future with plenty of frustration amongst supporters for the on-field and off-field results this year. Carroll will not be far off and might be one to keep an eye on in 2022 after being considered a steal at Pick 41 in the National Draft, while Durdin provides the pressure and goal smarts inside 50. He picked up five and three disposals in his two games which were the last two of the season, but he kicked his debut goal in the loss to the GIANTS, also setting up a goal and having an inside 50.
The standout first year talent was former Sydney Swans Academy and NSW-ACT representative Luke Parks, who produced some terrific form in the SANFL for Glenelg as a rebounding defender. Plucked out in the Rookie Draft, the readymade talent played six games in his debut season at the elite level, and whilst used as the medical sub on occasion, had a few standout games. On debut in Round 3 against Fremantle he had 13 touches, three marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s in a terrific effort, with back-to-back strong efforts in Rounds 7-8, picking up an average of 10.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 3.0 tackles and 2.5 rebound 50s. Still only 20-years-old, Parks is one to keep an eye on in the future.
#6 Denver Grainger-Barras
#29 Seamus Mitchell
#35 Connor Downie
#46 Tyler Brockman
SPP: Lachlan Bramble
R: Jack Saunders
Hawthorn looked like having its worst season in some time heading into the final month, but showed some incredible signs against quality opposition to leapfrog a number of teams and give supporters hope for the future. They picked up four players in last year’s AFL National Draft, a further one in the Rookie Draft, and then the mature-age Lachlan Bramble in the supplementary player period. Bramble finished with 10 games, and became one of the stories of the year, entrenching himself in the Hawks’ best 22, as the 23-year-old averaged 18.3 disposals, 4.4 marks, 3.8 inside 50s and 3.2 rebound 50s, including 25-plus disposals on three occasions.
The only first-year player who recorded more games in 2021 was Tyler Brockman, who was a clever small forward with around a goal a game. Kicking 10 goals in 11 matches, as well as six goal assists, Brockman was able to hit the scoreboard multiple times in his first two games, and had six goals on the board in his first four games. Returning to the side in Round 17, Brockman did not miss another game, kicking three goals in the last round draw with Richmond from eight disposals and four marks in an impressive display setting him up for a big 2022. Top 10 selection Denver Grainger-Barras lived up to expectations after being eased into the team following injury and a standout VFL performance, showing some incredibly mature performances for his age. He clunked 15 marks in his first three games, and then showed great pressure averaging 4.5 disposals in his last two games.
Of the remaining Hawks, Connor Downie made his “debut” in Round 1 as the medical sub but never appeared on the ground, then had to wait until Round 22 to get a proper start, collecting 12 disposals, two marks and two rebound 50s in the upset win over the Western Bulldogs. Both second round pick Seamus Mitchell and Norwood rookie Jack Saunders are yet to be capped at AFL level.
Picture credit: Getty Images