The Suns curiously downtraded from pick three to six, which suggests they believe they will snare the player they were originally keen on a little later. The Suns also have a late first round pick and a mid-second round pick to use. There are definitely some holes in the list, but the Suns seem to be perfectly placed to fix those.
Pick nine (originally six)
The big fish: Aaron Francis
The Suns downtrading makes sense if they are keen on Aaron Francis. The Demons and Bombers seem far more interested in Darcy Parish, Charlie Curnow and Sam Weideman, based on list needs. Francis trailed off towards the end of the year, but there is no doubting that he can be an elite intercept player at the next level. He would compliment Rory Thompson and Steven May nicely as that third tall defender.
Plan B: Wayne Milera
Losing Harley Bennell means the Suns have lost a spark in the midfield, but perhaps more importantly, they need another mercurial goal kicker. Milera has produced several great performances up forward in the SANFL. He floats through traffic with his evasiveness, while his skills are top class. He’d be a great fit for the Suns.
Pick 20 (originally 16)
The big fish: Riley Bonner
The Suns could do with another classy rebounder, especially considering Josh Glenn’s absence. Bonner’s long kicking could prove a force with Trent McKenzie on the other flank. Having two weapons operating in tandem back there, alongside possibly Francis, would be ideal. Scores launched from defensive 50 chains are becoming an increased focus, so Bonner would certainly aid there with his elite footskills.
Plan B: Darcy Tucker
Tucker plays in a similar fashion to Bonner, but he’s better at winning his own ball at this stage. Tucker looks best as a rebounding half back, but he’s shown spurts as a midfielder too, and he could even be a classy half-forward at the next level. Tucker has elite endurance and he’s showing all the signs that he can potentially become a lethal outside player at the top level.
Pick 34 (originally 29)
The big fish: Daniel Rioli
Rioli hasn’t showed consistant flashes of brilliance, but he looks like a great athletic project. The Suns can afford to put time into him due to their age profile, while other clubs perhaps wouldn’t be afforded that luxury. Rioli is quick, he can jump and he has great endurance. He’s got a knack of being able to take some nice overhead marks, despite his small frame. He’s clean at ground level, but he’s got a long way to go before he becomes a solid AFL player.
Plan B: Aidyn Johnson
Johnson presents as a medium utility who could be anything. He’s got elite agility and speed, while also being able to hit the scoreboard and lay several tackles. The Suns could do worse than taking a punt on him as a well-rounded forward, despite only seeing limited glimpses of him.
Pick 56: Adam Saad (rookie upgrade)
Pick 79: Keegan Brooksby (rookie upgrade)