Tag: kysaiah pickett

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 5: Pick one down, but draftees fly high

11 RECRUITS from the 2019 AFL National Draft ran out for their respective teams on the weekend, and we take a look at how the best handful of them performed. Top pick Matt Rowell may have been rubbed out early with a dislocated shoulder, but there was plenty to take out of Round 5 for the class of 2019 as plenty of talented youngsters retained their spots at the elite level. For the first time this year, none of the weekend’s debutants came from the most recent draft, but there promises to be plenty to come.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Hayden Young (Fremantle)

STATS: 15 disposals (10 kicks), 6 marks, 2 rebound 50s, 73% disposal efficiency

The stats may not overly flatter him, but Young is building nicely into is AFL career having returned another strong performance in Fremantle’s first win for 2020. Stationed in his usual defensive post, Young delivered 12 of his 15 disposals from the back half and did so with accuracy. His intercept marking ability is also coming to the fore as he gains in confidence, able to read the ball well in flight and have a crack backing into traffic. At four games into his elite level venture, the Dandenong Stingrays graduate is beginning to bring his best traits forward and has cemented his spot in the Dockers’ side.

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast SUNS)

18 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 score involvements

As good mate, Rowell went down, Anderson stepped up to deliver one of his better performances across his first five career games. Continuing in his role on the wing, Anderson got involved in the contest and managed to find the ball in important areas while also fulfilling his defensive duties with 11 pressure acts. The former Oakleigh Charger may have turned the ball over six times amid the heat of the contest, but has impactful touches and has the potential to have a big say once all the factors in his game click.

Lachlan Ash (GWS GIANTS)

15 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 2 score involvements

Ash is another who is beginning to click into gear having been granted ample opportunity upon his AFL berth, and he was among the GIANTS’ top 10 disposal winners in their win against Hawthorn on Sunday. Moving along the line from defence to the wing, Ash was able to penetrate the forward 50 in transition to show a glimpse of his attacking quality, while also providing a safe outlet in the back half. He won half of his possessions in contested situations too, displaying a good appetite for the contest and the rigours of the elite level.

Tom Green (GWS GIANTS)

14 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 2 clearances, 3 score involvements

Right behind Ash in terms of disposals was GIANTS Academy graduate, Green with 14. After a breakout game in Round 4 saw him earn a Rising Star nomination, the big-bodied midfielder continued on his ball winning ways to contribute some solid numbers to GWS’ Sunday salute. The GIANTS’ coaching staff has shown great faith in Green in allowing him to run through midfield, attending centre bounces where he thrives on the contested side of the game. He’s another who looks to be locking down a spot, and is providing ample cover some some absent GWS stars.

Caleb Serong (Fremantle)

10 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50, 2 score involvements, 1 goal assist

Following the example set by former Vic Country teammate, Young is Serong, who also played his part in Fremantle’s opening win for season 2020. The diminutive Gippsland Power product is another who has been thrust right into the engine room action at times, holding his own against big-bodied opposition and remaining relevant going both ways. He is proving more comfortable with ball in hand as time goes on, and it is positive that he manages to find it in the first place.

Others in action:

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)
Sam Philp (Carlton)
Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
Matt Rowell (Gold Coast)

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 4: Green shoots appear for GWS gun

13 RECRUITS from the 2019 AFL National Draft ran out for their respective teams on the weekend, and we take a look at how the best handful of them performed. From a Gold Coast trio who continue to flourish, to a number of other high picks who earned their spots, the draft class of 2019 is already showing promising signs for the future. There were a total of four debutants from last year’s cohort in Round 4, with others either holding their spots or returning to the line-up.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Tom Green (GWS GIANTS)

STATS: 18 disposals, 12 contested possessions, 72% disposal efficiency, 2 marks, 7 clearances, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s, 6 score involvements, 1 goal

In a low-disposal game, Green was among the GIANTS’ top five ball winners as they snuck home to a thrilling win over Collingwood on home turf. Thrust straight back into the midfield fold, the GWS Academy graduate looked at home in his second AFL outing, getting stuck straight in with the tough stuff to notch 12 contested possessions and seven clearances. Last year’s number 10 draft pick was also able to boot his first goal at the elite level, and an important one at that given the final score.

Louis Butler (Western Bulldogs)

14 disposals (11 kicks), 2 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 4 score involvements

A Thursday night debut saw Butler collect 14 disposals in his usual defensive role, slotting in well across half-back and generating some decent forward momentum. While he kicked well below his usual rate at 21 per cent efficiency, the Sandringham Dragons product put the ball in dangerous areas, breaching either arc five times and having a hand in four score involvements as the Bulldogs downed Sydney.

Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)

10 disposals, 9 contested possessions, 3 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 4 score involvements

After serving an avoidable suspension, Pickett returned to the Demons’ fold and was one of his side’s more lively forward 50 options. He was often Melbourne’s most dangerous outlet at the fall of the ball, wreaking havoc with his ability to hit the contest at full pace and extract, while also doing all the right things defensively. He may have hit five turnovers and could not quite find the goals, but you knew something was about to happen when Pickett neared the ball, and he brings a different dimension to the Melbourne team.

Matt Rowell (Gold Coast SUNS)

20 disposals, 1 mark, 5 tackles, 7 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 6 score involvements, 2 goals

Rowell may finally have been knocked off his ‘Star of the Round‘ perch, but still put in a performance worthy of the honour in his fourth AFL appearance. The Oakleigh Chargers graduate clicked over the 20 disposal mark once again and added another two goals to his haul, while proving a key cog in the SUNS’ engine room operations. Not many draftees have been able to match the grunt work of Rowell, who continues to put up fantastic tackle and clearance numbers to prove his two-way relevance.

Hayden Young (Fremantle)

15 disposals (12 kicks), 6 marks, 4 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 7 rebound 50s, 1 goal assist

Having kept his spot in the 0-4 Fremantle side, Young repaid the faith this week with arguably his best performance in three games at the elite level. Stationed in his usual half-back post, the 19-year-old provided a great glimpse of his damaging left-foot kick with a spearing goal assist pass as he cut through the corridor, while also contributing seven rebound 50s. As he adjusts to the pace and pressure of the AFL, Young has been able to better showcase his offensive game and join in the play going both ways.

Others in action:

Lachlan Ash (GWS GIANTS)
Noah Anderson (Gold Coast SUNS)
Connor Budarick (Gold Coast SUNS)
Caleb Serong (Fremantle)
Sam Philp (Carlton)
Fischer McAsey (Adelaide)
Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)

2020 SANFL season preview: Can the Bays go back-to-back?

LAST year saw a drought-breaking year in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) with Glenelg taking home its first League premiership since 1986. The Tigers were able to bounce back from a loss earlier in the finals series to take out Port Adelaide in the grand final last year. The result also meant seven of the eight non-AFL affiliated clubs have won SANFL titles this turn of the century with only South Adelaide (1964) holding a drought longer than a decade from those sides. We take a look at the eight sides in contention for the 2020 SANFL premiership in order of ladder position last year (minus Adelaide and Port Adelaide).

GLENELG

Finished: Premiers
Wins: 13
Draws: 2
Losses: 3
Best & Fairest: Jesse White
Leading Goalkicker: Liam McBean & Luke Reynolds (53)

The reigning premiers return to the competition as deserving favourites in the new year, as the likes of Margarey Medallist Luke Partington and reigning leading goalkickers, Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds back in the yellow and black.

Over the off-season, the Bays have been able to bring in some young talent including former Crow Jackson Edwards who returns to South Australia, ex-Sydney Academy talent Luke Parks, and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels forward, Mitch Martin. Unfortunately young star Kaine Baldwin will miss the season through another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. However, the Tigers have every reason to be buoyant about the season ahead.

After all, their list of ex-AFL talent is quite impressive, with names such as Cory Gregson and Billy Stretch alongside Luke Edwards. Expect the Tigers to be the team to beat in 2020.

STURT

Finished: 4th
Wins: 11
Draws: 0
Losses: 7
Best & Fairest: Sam Colquhoun
Leading Goalkicker: Josh Hone (35)

The Double Blues will be confident of a rise up the ladder in 2020 with a couple of handy pickups including talented high-flyer Jordan Houlahan who returns from the AFL, as well as another ex-Cat and Crow, Dean Gore.

Tom Lewis will provide some extra youth and inside hardness alongside the likes of outside movers, Josh Shute and Mihail Lochowiak who have been impressive in past years. Sam Colquhoun has been a star of the competition of late, and with last year’s leading goalkicker Josh Hone also coming back for 2020, Sturt will be competitive once again.

They have a lost a fair chunk of talent over the off-season including ex-AFL talent Danyle Pearce who opted to retire alongside four others including Jack Stephens and Fraser Evans. The Double Blues will likely need to time to adjust in the season.

NORWOOD

Finished: 5th
Wins: 11
Draws: 7
Losses: 0
Best & Fairest: Brad McKenzie
Leading Goalkicker: Peter Bampton (31)

The experience of the Redlegs after a grand final appearance the year before did not end up helping them get past the first week of finals in 2019. They have some serious big names on their list from best and fairest winner Brad McKenzie, to the likes of form AFL-listed talents Dom Barry, Lewis Johnston and Mitch Grigg.

A 2020 recruit in Daniel Johnston will help add some extra height to the side, and provide some firepower alongside the likes of Matthew Panos and Peter Bampton up forward. The biggest inclusion is former Crow, Richard Douglas, who should immediately be in the top five players across the league, whilst another ex-AFL talent in Ryan Bastinac announced yesterday that he would be joining the Redlegs after initially pulling out of the league due to commitments.

If the inclusions are anything to go by, Norwood will be the biggest threat to Glenelg’s crown and could well go all the way if their players remain fit throughout the season.

SOUTH ADELAIDE

Finished: 6th
Wins: 9
Draws: 2
Losses: 7
Best & Fairest: Joel Cross
Leading Goalkicker: Joel Cross (26)

All eyes will be on the Panthers in season 2020 as they try and crack into the top four on the back of some savvy recruiting. Former AFL talent, Matthew Broadbent will help South Adelaide to try and mount a case to rise up the ladder.

Along with the experienced duo, Canberra’s Tom Highmore and Sydney Swans Academy’s Ky McGrath were both vying for draft selection last year, and will be among those looking to take over from a number of Double Blues stars who have left the club. With Brad Crabb and Nick Liddle both exiting, Mark Noble joining his brother in Victoria and Emmanuel Ira also on the out, the main role of the recruits will be to support Joel Cross with some extra depth through the team.

Cross won both the leading goalkicker and best and fairest award last season, and with a young side that has a number of South Australians coming through the state team, the Panthers would be keen to bring through their next crop of players.

WWT EAGLES

Finished: 7th
Wins: 8
Draws: 0
Losses: 10
Best & Fairest: Jordan Foote
Leading Goalkicker: James Rowe (35)

The Under 18s premiers have now lost their array of young talent to the AFL, with the likes of Kysaiah Pickett, Jackson Mead and Harry Schoenberg among those who landed on AFL lists last year. They have brought in Kai Pudney and Mitch Mead from Port Adelaide’s SANFL side, whilst the big recruit might be Liam Buxton from Casey Demons.

It will be an interesting season for the Eagles who have some genuine elite talents through the side, including best and fairest winner Jordan Foote – an ex-AFL talent himself – and small forward James Rowe who made the transition to senior footy seamlessly.

They should be among the mid-table log-jam of teams to battle for a top four place, and with the senior experience still on the list after a seventh placed finish last year, they could well get it done whilst other teams are still trying to gel.

CENTRAL DISTRICT

Finished: 8th
Wins: 5
Draws: 0
Losses: 13
Best & Fairest: Jarrod Schiller
Leading Goalkicker: Troy Menzel (33)

One of the potential bigger improvers in season 2020, Central District has acquired the services of a second Menzel brother with Dan joining Troy at the Bulldogs. Troy was huge last season winning the leading goalkicker award and now the double trouble of the goalsneaks will make life difficult for the opposition. The big question mark will be losing the Neagle trio in Jydon, Jaxon and Matthew back to Wodonga.

Through the midfield, the other brother combination in Jarrod and Travis Schiller will be tough to combat again, whilst former Tiger, Ben Nason has crossed from Woodville-West Torrens. The Bulldogs have also brought in some big ball winners from Victoria, with Murray Bushrangers’ Cam Wild and Dandenong Stingrays’ Jack Toner joining the club along with former Stingrays’ goalsneak Jai Nanscawen for the 2020 season.

Given the talent on the list and two less sides, it would be a near-certainty that the Bulldogs reach the finals.

NORTH ADELAIDE

Finished: 9th
Wins: 4
Draws: 1
Losses: 13
Best & Fairest: Aidan Tropiano
Leading Goalkicker: Lewis Hinder (28)

The ninth placed Roosters have added some extra firepower in 2020 with the recruitment of former Adelaide and Gold Coast ball-winner Harrison Wigg and ex-Hawk and Roo, Billy Hartung. Along with another ex-AFL player in Andrew Moore, and hopefully a full season out of former Port Adelaide goalsneak Jake Neade, and the Roosters will look to rise up the ladder again.

Last year’s reigning premiers were always going to have a tough season after starting on negative points due to the 19th man saga, and losing a number of players to AFL level. They have gained one back in Robbie Young returning to the club. Unlucky overagers not to be drafted last year, Karl Finlay and Dyson Hilder are back again and provide some height in the defensive end.

The recruits will need to take over from Aidan Tropiano who has headed west this season. The Roosters will rise up and expect them to contend for finals again.

WEST ADELAIDE

Finished: 10th
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Losses: 16
Best & Fairest: Logan Hill
Leading Goalkicker: Jono Beech (21)

The only way is up for the Bloods and with a number of solid recruits alongside the potential number one AFL Draft pick, West Adelaide has what it takes to get off the bottom of the ladder. Riley Thilthorpe will be a much talked about name this year and the talented tall will get plenty of time in the League side in 2020.

The Bloods have also recruited a couple of over-agers and former Sydney Swans Academy members Hamish Ellem and Kyle Martin to provide some strength in attack. With Bailey Chamberlain another talented top-age teenager in the line-up, it will take some of the pressure off the likes of 2019 best and fairest winner, Logan Hill, as well as ex-Hawk Dallas Willsmore.

No doubt it will still be a tough year for the senior side with so many huge recruits to a number of other sides, but the youth in the team will give the Bloods great depth and help out across the board. They will need to overcome the losses of Jono Beech and Chris Schmidt this season who were both huge contributors to the team.

Draft Central predictions:

Premiers: Norwood
Runners-Up: Glenelg
Big Improver: North Adelaide

AFL Round 1 rewind: The dozen debutants

THE AFL is a week away from kicking off against after a long couple of months. For a dozen players who made their unusual, but highly memorable debuts in Round 1 of the AFL Premiership season, we look back at how each of them performed in their respectively games with some impressive efforts.

Note: One asterisk indicates a second-year AFL player, two asterisks indicates third-year AFL player

TOP PICK: Sam Sturt (Fremantle)*

Stats: 10 disposals, 3 marks, 3 goals, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 100 SuperCoach

The Round 1 Rising Star was sensational in Fremantle narrow six-point loss against Essendon. The Dockers were unlucky not to get the win as they booted four goals to one in the final term only to fall short on the road against the unpredictable Bombers. With plenty of fresh faces, Sturt was the surprise packet with the 2018 National Draft bolter booting three goals from 10 disposals and notching up a SuperCoach century on debut. He ran at 90 per cent efficiency and had seven score involvements, so was just as capable of sharing it around as others.

RUNNER-UP: Mitch Georgiades (Port Adelaide)

Stats: 11 disposals, 3 marks, 2 goals, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 clangers, 78 SuperCoach

There must be something about raw but talented forwards, because Mitch Georgiades’ performance on debut was sublime for the high-flying forward. He missed the entire 2019 season with a quad injury and was a bolter in the 2019 AFL National Draft, but very few would have predicted a Round 1 debut. But that is exactly what happened and he showed he was far from making up the numbers with the West Australian booting two goals from 11 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s, and running at an efficiency of 73 per cent.

Podium: Matt Rowell (Gold Coast)

Stats: 19 disposals, 1 mark, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 clearances, 3 clangers, 2 rebounds, 80 SuperCoach

From a couple of surprise packets to a player no one would be remotely surprised with the numbers he picked up, as the number one pick seamlessly slotted into the AFL’s bottom side. He racked up 19 disposals – the most of any debutant in Round 1 – and had the equal third most of any Suns player. Despite running at a tough 57.9 per cent contested rate, Rowell still finished with 74 per cent disposal efficiency, and had four clearances and three intercept possessions.

Others:

Fischer McAsey (Adelaide)
Stats: 5 disposals, 1 mark, 1 inside 50, 1 clearance, 16 SuperCoach

The Adelaide key position player was able to slot into the team in Round 1 as the Crows had to restructure their key talls in the absence of Alex Keath. He showed some promising signs, and while still made the odd mistake, was able to play a difficult role in a tight game.

Deven Robertson (Brisbane)
Stats: 7 disposals, 3 tackles, 1 clanger, 47 SuperCoach

Unlike the other players on this list, Robertson was a late call-up to make his debut, coming in for Grant Birchall. He still played 72 minutes and showed the fierce intent he did at Under 18s level to lay three tackles and win seven disposals.

Tyler Brown (Collingwood)**
Stats: 15 disposals, 3 tackles, 1 goal assist, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50, 2 clanger, 64 SuperCoach

A starring role early for the Magpies that even saw the debutant hand off a goal to his brother Callum in Collingwood’s first half onslaught against the Western Bulldogs. While he slowed in the second half, he still had the 15 disposals and 64 SuperCoach points and showed the silky smooth moves that he did at Under 18s level, three years into his AFL career.

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
Stats: 12 disposals, 2 marks, 1 inside 50, 2 clangers, 2 rebounds, 42 SuperCoach

The second pick in the 2019 National Draft held his own in a disappointing loss to Port Adelaide. He predominantly played off half-back and roamed up the ground on occasions, winning some touches on the wing. He finished with a debutant-high 246 metres gained in Round 1 which was the most impressive aspect of his debut.

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Stats: 8 disposals, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebounds, 44 SuperCoach

The slick ball user ran at 75 per cent efficiency, and while it was always going to be interesting to see where Stuart Dew utilised him, Budarick played 100 per cent of his footy in the defensive half. He was able to finish with four intercept possessions and three rebounds on debut, an impressive performance from the utility.

Tom Green (GWS)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 1 goal assist, 2 clearances, 1 clanger, 41 SuperCoach

Tasting victory on debut against the Cats, Green was not afraid to force his way in and win the contested ball. He only had the six tackles, but the bulk of his time on-field was in the centre, and he had 83 per cent disposal efficiency, as well as a couple of clearances against an experienced midfield.

Toby Bedford (Melbourne)*
Stats: 8 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 1 goal assist, 2 inside 50s, 2 clangers, 39 SuperCoach

The former Dandenong Stingrays player earned a spot in the team after a year in the VFL, and he finished with 75 per cent efficiency off eight touches. He also laid two tackles, two inside 50s and set up a goal to end the match with a solid debut effort despite Melbourne’s loss to the Eagles.

Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Stats: 11 disposals, 1 mark, 2 goals, 2 behinds, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 1 clearance, 4 clangers, 57 SuperCoach

He always had the X-factor and talent down pat, and he showed some exciting glimpses on the big stage in the west against the 2018 premiers. He had 11 disposals and a debutant second-high 228 metres gained, showing he was not afraid to take the game on. He made a few mistakes with four clangers, but considering what he offered and the benefits he brought, it is better to see him taking those risks.

Ben Cavarra (Western Bulldogs)*
Stats: 3 disposals, 1 mark, 1 goal, 1 behind, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 1 clearance, 1 rebound, 32 SuperCoach

When it came to feel-good stories, very few could top Ben Cavarra who joined the first-kick, first-goal club when he was awarded a free kick inside 50, and kicked truly at the 20-minute mark of the second term to give the Dogs back-to-back goals for the first time. He might not have won much of it, but with one of the lowest inside 50 counts of all-time, even All-Australian forwards would have struggled inside 50 on that night.

Get to know: SANFL U18s – Central District

CENTRAL District’s elite fleet of smalls among its Under 18 ranks was all set to be unleashed on the big stage in 2020, with all three State Hub members – Isaiah Dudley, Corey Durdin, and Lachlan Grubb – making great inroads over the past two seasons. But given the trio and the rest of their Bulldogs teammates will have to wait to get back on the park, we trace back to the South Australian preseason testing day hosted by Rookie Me to get to know them, where Draft Central had a chat to the promising youngsters.

Cousin of recent Melbourne draftee Kysaiah Pickett, Dudley is cut from the same cloth on-field too. An aggressive and clever small forward who can also push hard up the field, the bottom-ager has a great eye for goal and knack of finding the ball. With back-to-back State Under 16 campaigns under his belt, the 165cm prospect is working on his running and looks likely to be considered strongly for a berth in South Australia’s Under 18 squad this year – all things considered.

His partner-in-crime in the State 18s forwardline may well be Durdin, a standout at each level of his junior development having picked up the Kevin Sheehan Medal in 2018 as the Under 16 Division 1 MVP. Durdin also made his League debut for Centrals last year as a bottom-ager, and looks primed to hone a small forward role having already proved himself as a worthy ball winner. With a year of State Under 18s already under his belt, the 172cm gun looks forward to being more of a leader this time around at the national carnival.

The third of the trio is Grubb, who was knocked back from the State Under 16 squad in 2018 but has kept at it to become a member of this year’s hub. Another small type at 175cm, Grubb comes from a great football and athletics pedigree and has already matched his father’s feat of playing at SANFL Reserves level. With that senior experience already made, the speedster also hopes to make moves further afield with a sharpened defensive game as he continues to develop.

Without further ado, find out everything you need to know, to get to know these three exciting youngsters, in their own words on a range of topics relating to the currently postponed season and beyond.


COREY DURDIN ON…

TESTING DAY:

“It hasn’t been too bad. Just getting through and doing my best, that’s all… I’ve done it a few times now and I think the main focus for me is just trying my best and that’s all I can do really.”

THE SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s been good. I think last year as a bottom-ager I found myself a lot like a learner, compared to this year I’m a lot more of a teacher and a leader there. That’s probably been the main difference.”

GOALS:

“One of my goals this year is trying to get that vice-captaincy or captaincy in the State (Under) 18s this year… I’m looking to play 12-plus league games and also make the All Australian team.”

SANFL LEAGUE EXPERIENCE:

“It was a great experience, being able to have the opportunity to be coached under Roy Laird. I think the biggest thing I felt was I had to adapt to the bigger bodies – for an example, I couldn’t really wrestle them and out-strength them so I had to use my pace.”

POSITION:

“This year I’m really looking directly on my small forward craft, just my pressure role there with some time in the midfield as well.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

Durdin – “It’s always been great playing with (Isaiah Dudley) in the 16s and the 18s so yeah, just really keen for this year… Riley Thilthorpe, I think he’s going to be great for us and also Kaine Baldwin coming back from an ACL injury. I think he’s going to be really dominant for us.”

ISAIAH DUDLEY ON…

TESTING DAY:

“It’s been pretty good so far, I’m going all good… (I went well) in the agility, and the 20m sprint, went alright in that too. It’s really to my game because I can zip-zap out of the (contest) and I can use my pace as well.”

GOALS:

“Well, hopefully I can make the Under 18s State squad as an under-ager and play nationals.”

POSITION:

“I’ll play a bit of everywhere and then hopefully improve a bit on my running and find my spot in the midfield.”

SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s helped me develop very well, it’s helped me with my running a bit more – I get to push up the ground and push back. It’s been good.”

KYSAIAH PICKETT:

“He’s a good mentor, he’s my cousin. It was good (playing school football with Pickett), I got a lot of feedback from him and he’s a pretty good bloke.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

“This year hopefully I play with Luke Edwards and Corey Durdin… played a fair bit (with them already).”

LACHLAN GRUBB ON…

TESTING DAY:

“Testing’s been good, obviously we were here at 1:00 and did all the education sessions which were really helpful – about drugs and alcohol, betting, gambling and all that. Now we’ve come into the testing and it’s been a really good day so far.”

STRENGTHS:

“As a small forward, I’m a sprinter as well so definitely the 20m (sprint) and agility really highlight my game. I did well on the agility, did a 7.94 which is my PB (personal best) so I was pretty happy with that.”

IMPROVEMENTS:

“Definitely just more defensive work at the moment, just trying to get my game a bit more defensive because I’m more attacking at the moment. And then just looking to get better in my endurance which the yo-yo test will be a good test for.”

SPRINTING, FAMILY, AND FOOTY:

“I grew up playing at Tea Tree Gully Football Club from about Under 6s so footy’s always been in the blood and around the family – Dad played footy at Norwood up until Ressies. But I’ve been sprinting since I was about 13, my Dad’s uncle David Grubb won the Bay Sheffield back in 1970 so sprinting runs through the family as well.”

SANFL RESERVES EXPERIENCE:

“That was awesome obviously to see Dad do it and then me follow in his footsteps is pretty good. I debuted when I was 16 in the twos and ended up playing six games I think. It was a really good experience because we ended up making finals as well, but got knocked out in the semis.”

SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s helped my development massively. Obviously I haven’t always been in the state stuff like all the other boys have, I got knocked back from the 16s. But just used that as motivation to get where I am today, obviously being in the AFL Hub now is just massive for my improvement and I’ve just learned so much so it’s been awesome.”

GOALS:

“Obviously the main one is to get drafted, that’s everyone’s goal. And just to play consistent footy, keep the body healthy, just getting everything right so I can maximise my performance at the highest level.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

“Boys like Riley Thilthorpe and Kaine Baldwin. They’re pretty impressive, pretty elite with the way they go about their footy. Just being exposed to everyone playing at that level is awesome so I’m just keen to get around all the boys and have a really great year.”

POSITION CHANGES:

“Maybe pushing up on a wing, using my speed to go on the outside and I’m working on my contested game as well, just getting cleaner to maybe push up into the midfield as well.”

Debutants earn spots in unprecedented times

WITH only senior leagues running this weekend at the elite level for men’s and women’s, we run through the AFL Round 1 debutants who after toiling away in the state leagues, waiting a few years at club land or impressing so much in an off-season to earn a spot, will run out for their respective teams and live out their dreams. We will add Sunday’s games once the team lists are confirmed.

Western Bulldogs: Ben Cavarra

The mature-age nuggety midfielder-forward has one of the most fascinating journeys to the big time after going through the pathways and being a poster boy for never giving up. Regarded as one of the hardest workers going around, the former Eastern Ranges’ premiership captain and then Frankston and Williamstown star at state level, Cavarra has been made to really earn his chance at the top level. It almost came last year but an injury setback ruled that out, instead playing 12 VFL games where he booted 19 goals. It followed on from some promising seasons where he reinvented himself as a forward having always been a reliable ball-winning midfielder. Possessing some elite athletic traits, Cavarra will show the AFL world that if you are good enough, you are tall enough when he runs out tonight at Marvel Stadium.

Collingwood: Tyler Brown

In another feel-good story for tonight’s game amongst all the despair in the world, Gavin Brown‘s second son Tyler will join his brother Callum out on Marvel Stadium for his debut. The former Eastern Ranges’ midfielder has that Pendlebury-like time and space and while still raw, he has that touch of class about him that will no doubt show over time. Brown is in his third season with the club and has put on six kilograms since his Under-18 year, where he weighed up 71kg. Still on the lighter side, Brown is a comfortable 188cm and his scope identified as a teenager is starting to come to the fore. More importantly, he showed during the Marsh Series that he is capable of winning the ball which was the question mark on him at junior level, because he rarely wastes a disposal. A long-term prospect but one who has earnt his spot.

Fremantle: Sam Sturt

The bolter from the 2018 National AFL Draft is ready to debut for Fremantle and those in draft circles will remember his rise from performing at school footy to really having an impact for the Dandenong Stingrays in the run home to the TAC Cup premiership. He is an elite athlete across the board with a ridiculous vertical jump. He was always going to need time to develop given he had not spent a lot of time in an elite program and was still raw, but now 12 months down he has done enough for the Dockers to give him a chance. Rewind to 2018, and remember Sturt lit up in big games, booting 11 goals in six games and was a dead-eye when it came to set shots. If he gets to control the airways, look out.

Adelaide: Fischer McAsey

An All-Australian key position defender and a more than capable forward for the Dragons at times, McAsey was identified as a player who could fill the Crows’ void of key position players. Having lost Jake Lever and Alex Keath in back-to-back years, McAsey will play in that back 50 and looks to have been given the responsibility of holding down centre half-back. In his debut game, he could face another top 10 pick in Nick Blakey who showed in glimpses what he was capable of on his debut year last year, and it sets up a tantalising match-up. His reading of the play and overhead marking is a strength, able to clunk grabs that few his age can.

GWS: Tom Green

An absolute bull at the contest, it comes as a shock to no-one that the New South Wales prospect is lining up for last year’s grand finalists in Round 1. Showing he would arguably get a gig in any AFL side from the get-go, he is an absolute star when it comes to ball-winning and clearance work. Green has been touted as the next Patrick Cripps, and while that is high praise, it is easy to see why. Last year he amassed 33.0 disposals and 10.3 clearances across four games in the NAB League for the GIANTS Academy, then produced it again through the Under-18 National Championships with a carnival average of 23.8 disposals and 8.0 clearances, as well as averaging more than four tackles across both competitions. A fantasy lock for those who enjoy playing SuperCoach or AFL Fantasy.

Gold Coast: Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell, Connor Budarick

The SUNS’ rebuild looks set to add a trio of talented players with last year’s top two picks and an Academy talent making their debuts in Round 1. Oakleigh Chargers’ premiership players Anderson and Rowell will no doubt be key inclusions through the midfield, with Anderson also likely to impact up forward. Budarick was a free get by the SUNS and an absolute steal at that, with the small utility able to play anywhere on the ground. In the clash against Port Adelaide, Budarick could take on former Western Jets’ talent Zak Butters who was another with an impressive debut season last year.

In 2019, Rowell averaged a whopping 31.7 disposals, 4.1 marks, 8.6 tackles, 8.3 clearances, 4.4 inside 50s, 1.7 rebounds and won the Chargers’ best and fairest, his second consecutive best on ground medal in the NAB League Grand Final, and made the All-Australian team. Anderson oozes X-factor and impact as the taller player who can roam through the midfield or provide a leading target inside 50. He averaged two goals a game from seven matches last year with the Chargers, also racking up 28.3 disposals, 3.0 marks, 3.6 tackles, 4.7 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s and 1.4 rebounds in a remarkable season where he too made All-Australian. Budarick was the best player in the Division 2 Academy Series captaining the Gold Coast SUNS on his way to 25.2 disposals, 6.2 marks, 8.2 tackles, 5.8 inside 50s and 2.2 rebounds in the NAB League. He is a tackling machine who earned a spot in the back pocket of the All-Australian team last year, and that is where he has been named in his debut game. Watch for his skill and tenacity.

Port Adelaide: Mitch Georgiades

A high-flying talent who missed all of 2019 with a quad injury, Georgiades is one of the surprise Round 1 bolters. He impressed over the pre-season for the Power, and from his bottom-age year back in 2018, showed off his talent with some aerial tricks. On his way to 10.3 disposals, 3.5 marks and almost a goal per game at the Under-18 Championships, Georgiades also stood out in the Colts competition with 13. disposals, 5.8 marks and 1.3 goals per game. What he offers is an unmatched aerial ability that will no doubt see him compete for the highlight reel each and every week. While he might not have had the match fitness last season, his ability to come straight into the program and already influence the coaches enough with his performance to get a gig is saying something.

St Kilda: Max King

The 200cm-plus key position forward finally makes his debut after missing the majority of his top-age year through an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and then just as he looked to debut last year, injured his ankle and missed out on his chance. That chance has now come after a confident Marsh Series where his ability to fly high, burst away from opponents and do things that players his size should simply not be able to do. The hype is high on the former Sandringham Dragons’ forward, but it is also real, having clocked a sub-three second 20m sprint at testing and booting eight goals against eventual grand finalists, Oakleigh in the first round of the season. No doubt Saints fans will be watching him more than any other player with his ability to break open a game.

Melbourne: Toby Bedford, Kysaiah Pickett

The Dees have announced two debutants for their Round 1 side, with Luke Jackson named on the extended bench but set to just miss out on selection. The two into the side are first round pick, Pickett and a member of Melbourne’s Next Generation Academy from the 2018 AFL National Draft, Bedford. Both have class, skill, speed and pressure and are sub-180cm but will add a forward pressure to the Demons side and ensure the ball is retained inside forward 50. In his top-age year in 2018, Bedford was a tackling machine at NAB League level, laying 5.2 tackles from 136. possessions whilst averaging almost a goal a game. Playing more of a pressure role up the field for Vic Country, Bedford had 6.8 tackles from 12.3 disposals at the Under-18 National Championships. Pickett was a highlight-reel forward with great pressure on the ball-carrier and despite standing at 170cm, earned a place in the League side for Woodville-West Torrens. While he only played the two games, he laid six tackles and ran at 50 per cent contested showing he was not afraid of bigger bodies. For South Australia, he booted a couple of goals from 13.7 disposals and 2.7 tackles at the championships.

2019 AFL Draft club review: Melbourne Demons

ONE of the most talked about clubs heading into the 2019 AFL National Draft, the Demons looked set to shake up the first round with two top 10 picks at the conclusion of what could only be described as a horror season for the 2018 preliminary finalists. Needing some firepower up forward, in particular a key forward and a small pressure forward, as well as some outside midfield depth, Melbourne would only end up using three selections, and traded back from Pick 8 to Pick 10 – which would become Pick 12 – to select a first round bolter. They then proceeded to select a slider which balanced the proceedings on most draft boards, and Demons fans can come away knowing that there are some strong foundations for the future with the draft haul.

MELBOURNE:

National Draft:
3. Luke Jackson (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 199cm | 94kg | Ruck
12. Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 171cm | 71kg | Small Forward
32. Trent Rivers (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 188cm | 83kg | Defender/Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Nil.

Melbourne had what was effectively the first “live” selection in the AFL National Draft last Wednesday night, after Gold Coast SUNS made no secret that Oakleigh Chargers duo Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson were the first two selections. Demons fans tended to lean towards Hayden Young or Lachlan Ash with the need for skill coming off half-back, but recruiting guru Jason Taylor had other ideas. Many might have baulked at the idea of the Demons selecting the crop’s best ruck in Luke Jackson with the third selection, especially given for all of Melbourne’s shortcomings on-field, the dominance of Max Gawn is not one of them. But instead, Taylor picked the high upside East Fremantle talent with the belief that he could be the next Brodie Grundy, and in the meantime, hone his craft as a key forward. Jackson’s mobility is much greater than that of Gawn of Braydon Preuss, and would allow the teenager to play alongside one of them more effectively than if that duo were together. Simon Goodwin also hinted during the week that perhaps Jackson could develop into a new-age midfielder, and while it would be partially tongue-in-cheek, the West Australian’s mobility is one of his greatest strengths.

A month out from the draft, the lightning fast, aggressive tackling machine in Kysaiah ‘Kossie’ Pickett was predominantly ranked around the mid-second round. But like Cody Weightman and Miles Bergman after him, the small forward bolted into the first round and became the first of the trio selected in the end. Standing at just 171cm and 71kg, Pickett is not afraid of the contest and loves crashing into opponents and bringing them to ground. Along with his defensive pressure, Pickett has all the traits to be a highlight reel machine, flying for big grabs and snapping unbelievable goals. The only downside is his size which will limit midfield development, but there is nothing stopping him playing a similar role to Eddie Betts, while Pickett’s uncle Byron was made for the biggest stages. While he might have been considered a bolter, the Demons levelled it out with Trent Rivers at Pick 32 with the West Australian a slider in the draft. He joined his Sharks’ teammate Jackson at the Dees, and could play off half-back or along a wing wherever they see fit. Rivers also has the size and hands to play on the inside, making him the ultimate utility. Given he could well be a first round talent, Melbourne picked up a bargain in the mid second round.

The Demons had two picks in the AFL Rookie Draft and passed both, meaning they will have two spots to potentially hand to players over the off-season depending on how they train at the club. They could also hold onto a list spot for the mid-season draft and wait and see which players have started 2020 in good form before offering a list spot to them. While the Demons might have picked up a ruck, Jackson is more than capable of playing a forward role if required, and given the lack of pure key forwards in the draft, he would be one of the more desirable ones in that area. Pickett and Rivers are perfect needs, and Melbourne fans could expect Rivers to potentially play games next year, as could Jackson, while Pickett might feature later in the year, especially to give fans a taste of what he is capable of.

2019 AFL Draft – Club-by-club selections

WITH the 2019 AFL National, Pre-season, and Rookie Drafts come and gone, here are the full club-by-club selections after three days worth of drafting.

ADELAIDE:

National Draft:
6. Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 197cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
24. Harry Schoenberg (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 182cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
28. Josh Worrell (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 195cm | 83kg | Key Position Utility
42. Ronin O’Connor (Claremont/Western Australia) | 192cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
48. Lachlan Gollant (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | 191cm | 72kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
7. Ben Keays (Brisbane Lions)
21. Ben Crocker (Collingwood Magpies)

BRISBANE:

National Draft:
22. Deven Robertson (Perth/Western Australia) | 184cm | 81kg | Inside Midfielder
33. Brock Smith (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 189cm | 82kg | Tall Defender
37. Keidean Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy) | 183cm | 75kg | Medium Defender
59. Jaxon Prior (West Perth/Western Australia) | 189cm | 82kg | Tall Defender

Rookie Draft:
12. Sam Skinner (Brisbane Lions)
26. Corey Lyons (Brisbane Lions)
34. Archie Smith (Brisbane Lions)

CARLTON:

National Draft:
17. Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 192cm | 89kg | Tall Utility
20. Sam Philp (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) | 186cm | 79kg | Inside Midfielder
47. Sam Ramsay (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | 180cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
3. Josh Honey (Western Jets/Vic Metro) | 185cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
18. Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power/Vic Country | 187cm | 72kg | Medium Forward
PSD. Jack Martin (Gold Coast Suns)

COLLINGWOOD:

National Draft:
40. Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) | 185cm | 83kg | Balanced Midfielder
45. Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 178cm | 73kg | Midfielder/Defender
55. Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle/Western Australia) 192cm | 75kg | Defender/Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Nil

ESSENDON:

National Draft:
30. Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | 196cm | 78kg | Key Position Utility
38. Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 202cm | 87kg | Ruck
56. Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) 179cm | 78kg | Small Forward
63. Lachlan Johnson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) 176cm | 74kg | Small Utility

Rookie Draft:
10. Mitchell Hibberd (Williamstown) | 191cm | 90kg | Midfielder

FREMANTLE:

National Draft:
7. Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
8. Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 178cm | 83kg | Midfielder/Forward
9. Liam Henry (Perth/Western Australia) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
61. Minairo Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens) | 183cm | 71kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
6. Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder/Western Australia) | 178cm | 72kg | Midfielder/Forward
20. Thomas North (Fremantle Dockers)
30. Hugh Dixon (Fremantle Dockers)
Cat-B. Isaiah Butters (Claremont/Western Australia) | 182cm | 69kg | Medium Forward
Cat-B. Leno Thomas (Claremont/Western Australia | 181cm | 74kg | Medium Defender

GEELONG:

National Draft:
16. Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
19. Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 201cm | 86kg | Key Position Utility
41. Francis Evans (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) 182cm | 78kg | Medium Forward
50. Cameron Taheny (Norwood/South Australia) 185cm | 80kg | Medium Forward

Rookie Draft:
14. Brad Close (Glenelg) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
27. Oscar Brownless (Geelong Cats)
35. Lachlan Henderson (Geelong Cats)

GOLD COAST:

National Draft:
1. Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 180cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder
2. Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 191cm | 87kg | Inside Midfielder
11. Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 183cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
27. Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 189cm | 81kg | Midfielder/Defender
60. Jy Farrar (Adelaide SANFL) | 191cm | 79kg | Tall Utility

Rookie Draft:
1. Josh Schoenfeld (Gold Coast Suns)
16. Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
29. Matt Conroy (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
37. Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Northern Territory/Allies)

GWS GIANTS:

National Draft:
4. Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | 187cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
10. Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies) | 190cm | 89kg | Inside Midfielder
51. Jake Riccardi (Werribee) | 194cm | 96kg | Key Forward
65. Thomas Hutchesson (Adelaide SANFL) | 177cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
15. Jake Stein (GWS Giants)
28. Tom Sheridan (GWS Giants)
36. Zachary Sproule (GWS Giants)

HAWTHORN:

National Draft:
13. Will Day (West Adelaide/South Australia) | 189cm | 76kg | Medium Defender
29. Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 189cm | 82kg | Inside Midfielder
57. Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens) | 186cm | 76kg | Medium Forward

Rookie Draft:
9. Emerson Jeka (Western Jets/Vic Metro) | 198cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
PSD. Michael Hartley (Essendon Bombers)
Cat-B. Harrison Pepper (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) 181cm | 84kg | Small Utility

MELBOURNE:

National Draft:
3. Luke Jackson (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 199cm | 94kg | Ruck
12. Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 171cm | 71kg | Small Forward
32. Trent Rivers (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 188cm | 83kg | Defender/Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Nil

NORTH MELBOURNE:

National Draft:
31. Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 199cm | 84kg | Ruck
34. Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 178cm | 72kg | Midfielder/Forward
35. Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 188cm | 81kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Cat-B. Matt McGuinness (Tasmania/Allies) | 195cm | 77kg | Tall Utility

PORT ADELAIDE:

National Draft:
14. Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 189cm | 83kg | Medium Forward
18. Mitch Georgiades (Subiaco/Western Australia) | 192cm | 87kg | Tall Forward
23. Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 186cm | 81kg | Medium Forward
25. Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens) 183cm | 83kg | Balanced Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
8. Jake Pasini (Swan Districts/Western Australia) | 192cm | 81kg | Tall Defender
22. Trent Burgoyne (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 177cm | 67kg | Outside Midfielder
32 Boyd Woodcock (Port Adelaide)
38. Riley Grundy (Port Adelaide)

RICHMOND:

National Draft:
21. Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 184cm | 76kg | Inside Midfielder
43. Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies) | 183cm | 79kg | Medium Utility
44. Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies) | 185cm | 83kg | Utility
46. Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 188cm | 75kg | Forward/Midfielder
54. Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 195cm | 87kg | Key Position Utility

Rookie Draft:
Nil

ST KILDA:

National Draft:
52. Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 182cm | 84kg | Balanced Midfielder
64. Leo Connolly (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 181cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
5. Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 202cm | 81kg | Ruck/Key Forward

SYDNEY:

National Draft:
5. Dylan Stephens (Norwood/South Australia) | 183cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder
26. Will Gould (Glenelg/South Australia) 192cm | 106kg | Tall Defender
36. Elijah Taylor (Perth/Western Australia) | 188cm | 77kg | Medium Forward
39. Chad Warner (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 183cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
4. Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 186cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder
19. Jack Maibaum (Sydney Swans)

WEST COAST:

National Draft:
49. Callum Jamieson (Claremont/Western Australia) | 199cm | 84kg | Ruck/Forward
58. Ben Johnson (West Perth/Western Australia) | 178cm | 68kg | Small Defender

Rookie Draft:
11. Anthony Treacy (Claremont/Western Australia) | 182cm | 69kg | Medium Forward
25. Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania/Allies) | 176cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder
33. Brendon Ah Chee (West Coast Eagles)
39. Hamish Brayshaw (West Coast Eagles)

WESTERN BULLDOGS:

National Draft:
15. Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 178cm | 75kg | Small Forward
53. Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) 185cm | 75kg | Medium Defender
62. Riley Garcia (Swan Districts/Western Australia) | 177cm | 70kg | Balanced Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Nil

2019 National AFL Draft: Round 1 selections

IF the first round of the 2019 National AFL Draft is anything to go by, then the remainder of the draft today will be full of surprises. A number of bolters made their way into the top 20, with Port Adelaide picking up Subiaco tall Mitch Georgiades with Pick 18 ahead of a number of other talls who had been touted highly, before Carlton picked up Sam Philp, an electrifying speedster from Northern Knights. Both were expected to land somewhere in the 20s but clubs pounced early.

Sydney pulled the first surprise of the night with Dylan Stephens heading to Sydney – a move that Draft Central‘s Ed Pascoe predicted – with the remainder of the top eight going as planned. Stephen Silvagni made sure he was going out with a bang on his final night in navy blue, bidding on Fremantle’s Liam Henry and GWS GIANTS’ Tom Green, before trading the pick to Gold Coast SUNS who selected Sam Flanders. Carlton received picks 17 and 22 in return, while Gold Coast also received Pick 62. With those picks, Carlton used it to snap up slider, Brodie Kemp who was overlooked by Geelong – a team expected to pick him up – with the Cats going a fellow Geelong-based midfielder in Cooper Stephens who missed most of the year through injury.

The small forwards fell as expected with Kysaiah Pickett, Miles Bergman and Cody Weightman all going inside the top 15 picks, while Sam De Koning won the race for the third key position player behind Luke Jackson and Fischer McAsey when he was picked up by Geelong. Carlton on-traded its pick 22 to gain Pick 20 from Port Adelaide and pick up Philp – whilst also handing the Power, Pick 55. This meant Port Adelaide resumes the draft today with the coveted first selection in the second round – a smart decision given the fact that a number of clubs such as Collingwood were on record to try and target the pick if a slider they were keen on was still on the board. Thomson Dow was the last player picked in the first round with Richmond picking him up leaving a number of talented players still up for offer in the second round.

West Australian captain Deven Robertson was perhaps the biggest slider, touted as high as Fremantle’s Pick 7 at one stage, then linked to Geelong and Gold Coast – the latter traded up therefore did not have the mid-teens selection – but still remains without a club entering night two. His West Australian teammate Trent Rivers was also suggested to be a possible first rounder, while the likes of talls Josh Worrell and Harrison Jones remain available, as does South Australian captain Will Gould, and Oakleigh Chargers’ premiership captain Trent Bianco.

In two other minor trades, GWS GIANTS received Picks 62 and 70 from Collingwood in order to bump the Magpies up two spots to Pick 60. It was a win-win for both clubs given Collingwood has admitted it plans to only use three picks and therefore moved on its third and fourth selection in order to raise its third pick, while the GIANTS gained vital draft points. Meanwhile, Fremantle had to give up a 2020 second rounder as well as Pick 66 to Port Adelaide in exchange for picks 52 and 55 in order to gain some late selections for additional players following the matching of Henry in the top 10.

PICK 1 – Gold Coast SUNSMatt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 180cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 2 – Gold Coast SUNSNoah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 191cm | 87kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 3 – MelbourneLuke Jackson (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 199cm | 94kg | Ruck
PICK 4 – GWS GIANTSLachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | 187cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
PICK 5 – SydneyDylan Stephens (Norwood/South Australia) | 183cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder
PICK 6 – AdelaideFischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 197cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
PICK 7 – FremantleHayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
PICK 8 – FremantleCaleb Serong (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 178cm | 83kg | Midfielder/Forward
PICK 9 – Fremantle (matched Carlton’s bid)Liam Henry (Perth/Western Australia) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
PICK 10 – GWS GIANTS (matched Carlton’s bid)Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies) | 190cm | 89kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 11 – Gold Coast SUNSSam Flanders (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 183cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
PICK 12 – MelbourneKysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 171cm | 71kg | Small Forward
PICK 13 – HawthornWill Day (West Adelaide/South Australia) | 189cm | 76kg | Medium Defender
PICK 14 – Port AdelaideMiles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 189cm | 83kg | Medium Forward
PICK 15 – Western BulldogsCody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 178cm | 75kg | Small Forward
PICK 16 – GeelongCooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 17 – CarltonBrodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 192cm | 89kg | Tall Utility
PICK 18 – Port AdelaideMitch Georgiades (Subiaco/Western Australia) | 192cm | 87kg | Tall Forward
PICK 19 – GeelongSam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 201cm | 86kg | Key Position Utility
PICK 20 – CarltonSam Philp (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) | 186cm | 79kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 21 – RichmondThomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 184cm | 76kg | Inside Midfielder

AFL Draft whispers: 2019 edition

AS with every year, the build up to the AFL National Draft always sees late draft talk emerge as the finalising of lists takes place, particularly at the top-end. We recap what is happening in and around the AFL Draft space in the closing hours.

CROWS THE KEY TO FIRST ROUND

Adelaide looms as the club to shape the first round, with the Crows weighing up between Fischer McAsey and Dylan Stephens. While McAsey seems to be the choice for Adelaide, Stephens would also fill a need. More importantly, if McAsey remains on the board, clubs like Geelong and Gold Coast, or perhaps even Hawthorn will look to shuffle up a few picks and do a deal to secure the Sandringham Dragons tall.

FREMANTLE TO PACKAGE UP VIC COUNTRY DUO

Whilst it was one of a number of rumours coming out over the past 36 hours, the Dockers are all but expected to snap up Hayden Young and Caleb Serong regardless of how the early picks pan out. With Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Luke Jackson, Lachlan Ash and Sam Flanders expected to be the first five names called out, and Adelaide considering McAsey or Stephens, Fremantle will be safe knowing they can snap up the elite kicking Young and incredibly consistent Serong.

TALL TIMBER ASSEMBLE

With Jackson, McAsey and Josh Worrell assured in the top 20, and Harrison Jones and Sam De Koning also thereabouts, up to five players 194cm or taller could land at and AFL club in that range. It is also believed that Mitch Georgiades could attract a club like Geelong in the mid 20s, which would also give some others thoughts about how early they pull the trigger on the likes of Charlie Comben, Dyson Hilder, Karl Finlay and Jake Riccardi.

GOULD AND DAY TO REMAIN IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA?

Much has been talked about the South Australian Under-18 captain Will Gould sliding down the order out of the first round, with some believing he could end up in the 30s. However the man with the elite penetrating boot is believed to be in Adelaide’s thought with their back-to-back picks in the 20s. With Gold Coast also keeping a close eye on how the draft pans out, it is now believed he will be snapped up in those picks. Meanwhile, Will Day is expected to land at Port Adelaide with the Power’s first selection, but Hawthorn could play the role of spoiler with the selection right before.

BLUES CONSIDER TRADE OPTIONS

If McAsey remains on the board at Carlton’s selection, expect the above clubs to come knocking. While Carlton is believed to have settled on Stephens at the pick, the Blues might look to move back a few picks to secure a couple of needs rather than wait for the large gap between their first and second picks.

DEES AND DOGS TO EYE OFF SMALL FORWARDS

It is not so much a whisper as it has become public knowledge, but both Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs are keen on obtaining a small forward with their respective first round selections at Pick 10 and 13. The Demons have first crack and are tipped to be favouring Kysaiah Pickett, but Cody Weightman is still very much in the frame. The Dogs will likely pick the player that slips, though Miles Bergman is another consideration – not withstanding the fact that both Hawthorn and Port Adelaide make selections between the two clubs.

HAWKS TO OPEN UP FIRST ROUND

While many pundits seem to have the top 10 close to worked out, Hawthorn is the first club that has many experts scratching their heads. Brodie Kemp is a high possibility, with Day also a consideration. They could well look at the sliding Deven Robertson, or perhaps they look at one of the number of small forwards floating around. Worrell will still be on the board and might be someone the Hawks look to for height, but depending on the Hawks’ move, that will change the drafting landscape.

SWANS TARGET SPEED

Sydney is looking to add speed to its list with West Australian Elijah Taylor and Northern Knights speedster Sam Philp among those players the Swans are considering for their two picks in the second round. While it is believed Flanders will be the Swans’ first selection, Sydney will look to bolster its midfield and forward group with Philp and Taylor.

MAGPIES, BOMBERS TARGET TALLS

While Harrison Jones might be a target for Collingwood to replenish its key forward stocks, the Magpies will need to find a way back into the first round by giving up their 2020 first rounder. If they cannot move from their second round pick, Collingwood may look to Subiaco’s Georgiades – who is now believed to be possibly off the board – while also being heavily linked to Werribee’s Riccardi at the next selection. They have to be wary of Essendon who has two picks just ahead of the Magpies, and while one is believed to be used on an inside midfielder – such as South Australian MVP Harry Schoenberg who the club has been linked to – they will likely try and snap up a tall whether that is Riccardi, Emerson Jeka or Comben.

ROOS WELL POSITIONED FOR A FEW SLIDERS

North Melbourne has traded its way into having a successful draft hand so it now holds three picks in the second round within close succession of each other. They can address multiple needs with speed, skill and perhaps a tall all on the agenda. Yesterday there was suggestion South Australian tall Will Gould might be there and while it is a possibility, Adelaide is expected to pounce first. Philp or Schoenberg are a couple of others who may come into consideration to recruit ahead of their rival clubs.

‘RUNNING MAN’ TO GIVE TIGES SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ midfielder Jay Rantall, dubbed the ‘running man’ is in first round considerations with Richmond holding the final pick inside night one. While the Tigers are expected to select Cooper Stephens or West Australian Trent Rivers with the selection, Rantall is still in the mix. The talented clearance player and fierce tackler will likely land somewhere early in the second round between Gold Coast to Adelaide’s selections with the three clubs occupying the first four picks of night two.

LIONS’ GOOD PROBLEM TO HAVE

Not often are clubs in such a good draft position that they might have to think about how to add Academy selections to the list without matching bids, but that could well be the case for Noah Cumberland, Keidean Coleman and Lachlan Johnson. The Lions have expressed interest in both Cumberland and Coleman, while Johnson has been nominated as a possible rookie. Add in the fact the likes of Will Martyn and Bruce Reville – members of the academy – have been nominated and they will have to manage their senior and rookie lists carefully.

EAGLES AND SAINTS PLAY THE WAITING GAME

Unfortunately for the two clubs that enter the draft last and with little impact in terms of picks, there is not a great deal happening. But both clubs were busy during trade week and therefore have been forced to move on many of their picks. The Eagles would look to pick up a surprise slider or a mature-age talent to continue their push for a flag, while the Saints will likely pick best available when they enter at Pick 51. Both might consider trading down for a couple of picks to ensure they can have a couple of top 70 players. St Kilda will have Bigoa ‘Biggy’ Nyuon to look forward to late in the draft or even as a free rookie selection.