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 fifth piece of 2020 AFL Draft standouts (first chance at AFL level), we look at the 3rd and 4th placed teams in Geelong and Port Adelaide.
#20 Max Holmes
#33 Shannon Neale
#47 Nick Stevens
Geelong would be satisfied with their decision to trade a future first round draft pick to Richmond to secure the services of Holmes at pick 20. The speedy forward made his way into the Geelong senior team as early as round three, in their annual Easter Monday clash against Hawthorn. In his debut, Holmes was fantastic, gathering 16 disposals to go with four marks in a composed effort, but was unluckily dropped to serve as medical sub the following week. He found himself in and out of the team throughout the season, before cementing his spot in the forward line as the team geared up for another finals campaign. Holmes had strong performances of the home-and-away season, including gathering a career-high 18 disposals in the heartbreaking loss to the Demons in round 23. His place in the team was strong during the Cats’ finals appearances, and had career-high tackles and clearances in the semi-finals victory against the GWS Giants. Holmes has certainly impressed with his work when the ball is on the deck, and looks to be a big part of the future down at Kardinia Park.
Neale and Stevens did not feature at senior level, but were able to work on their craft at VFL level throughout the season.
#16 Lachie Jones
#49 Ollie Lord
R: Taj Schofield
Jones proved to be a strong addition to the Port Adelaide list, featuring in six matches for the Power, a number that would have likely been higher if not for an unfortunate ankle injury sustained in round five against the Blues. Jones instantly won the hearts of the Port Adelaide faithful with his impressive play and even more impressive mullet. Jones had firmly established himself in the Power 22 with a spot across half-back thanks to strong defensive work and line-breaking run, and the injury ended up interrupting a promising season. Jones wouldn’t be able to cement a spot in the in-form Power squad as he recovered from the injury, but regardless, the future still looks strong for the cult hero.
Lord was able to develop at SANFL, learning from some of the veterans of the club in the art of a key forward in the modern game, booting 10 goals in 14 games at state league level. The other player taken in the Rookie Draft without any prior AFL experience was father-son prospect Taj Schofield, and whilst he did not get to step up to AFL level, he averaged 16.9 disposals across 10 matches at SANFL level.