The Bulldogs made an interesting trade to shuffle down the order, which perhaps indicates they were more keen on nabbing a big defender, as well as an extra midfielder. It was a shrewd move, as some of the players they like should still be available.
Pick 24 (originally 20)
The big fish: Kieran Collins
Collins is the second best key defender in the draft behind his team mate Jacob Weitering. He is a man-mountain who can out body most forwards, while also having the nous to run off his defender and fly across for an intercept mark. He’s not quick, but he reads the play well, which allows him to stay in touch with his opponent.
Plan B: Ben McKay
McKay is a 200 centimetre swingman who has played his best footy down back. He is a superb contested mark, with some real strength. McKay needs to work on his footskills and decision making, but as a key defender, he has the size and agility to match up with most forwards.
Pick 25 (originally 21)
The big fish: Mitch Hibberd
Hibberd is a versatile defender/midfielder with some real athleticism. He’s a very good user of the football and he adds some extra run, which the Dogs rely on out of the back half. Hibberd could be a long-term replacement for the aging trio of Dale Morris, Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd.
Plan B: Tom Cole
Cole is a hard-nosed midfielder who can win his own ball, but he also makes the right decisions on the outside. He can play as a two-way defender, and he provides leadership too. The question over Cole is what is his standout skill? At this stage, he just looks like a very solid player in a few different areas.
Pick 35 (originally 30)
The big fish: Ben Crocker
Crocker is a classy medium forward who can really change a game with his marking. We’ve seen him kick clutch goals for Vic Metro and he provides great leadership for Oakleigh. The Dogs already have a versatile forward set up, and Crocker could further add to that depth.
Plan B: Harry Himmelberg
It’s likely the Giants would match a bid for Himmelberg, but it depends on where the bids come for Jacob Hopper and Matthew Kennedy. Himmelberg plays as a lead up third tall between the arcs. He’s reliable for a couple of goals per game and he’s been one of the most consistent players across the year.
Pick 47 (originally 51)
The big fish: Gach Nyoun
Nyoun is the athletic ruckman the Dogs need desperately, but at this stage he is more of a project player. He’s got a great leap and he always tries to put defensive pressure on when he can. Nyuon has a high ceiling, but he’s going to take a while to develop.
Plan B: Andre Parella
Parella is more developed physically than Nyuon, but again, he is still a young ruckman. He’s got some strength and he’s shown a few glimpses when he’s headed forward. Parella divides opinions among draft followers. Some think he may go in the national draft, where as others don’t think he can make it to the top flight, even as a rookie.