WITH the 2017 AFL National Draft done and dusted, our team takes a look at how each team fared and give an indication of how they think each player could fit into each side. This article will contain Port Adelaide to Western Bulldogs after doing Geelong to North Melbourne yesterday, and Adelaide to Fremantle on Saturday.
Pick 47 – Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges) 203cm | 93kg | Ruckman / Key Forward
Hayes is viewed by many as the draft’s best ruckman, despite Callum Coleman-Jones being the first big-man selected. He burst onto the scene last year and was awarded with All-Australian honours as a bottom-ager. After another impressive championships, Hayes went back-to-back, thanks to his strong overhead marking and ruck work. Endurance is his biggest area of improvement but Hayes has demonstrated a strong ability up forward and through the ruck. He will take time but could well end up being a bargain at pick 47.
Pick 51 – Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers) 182cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder
Bendigo Pioneers draftee Kane Farrell has some very handy traits. He is quick, an excellent kick and composed with ball in hand, making him a handy option on a wing or across the backline. He is athletic and brings some x-factor to Alberton. Farrell is prone to overusing the ball at times, but there is plenty to work with.
Pick 58 – Jake Patmore (Claremont) 181cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder
Patmore was one of Western Australia’s best throughout the National Under 18 Championships. He has no trouble finding the ball (averaged 29 disposals at WAFL Colts level) and uses his blend of speed and agility to break through opposition lines. This combination makes him a real weapon on the outside. Whilst his inside game and endurance could use some work, Patmore projects to be a damaging player at AFL level.
Pick 60 – Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges) 184cm | 83kg | Balanced Midfielder
The Eastern Ranges prospect shares the name with a famous West Indian fast bowler and there are no prizes for guessing his nickname. Garner’s leadership qualities were on show throughout the Championships as he guided Vic Metro to their second straight division one title. Garner is a great kick of the sherrin and provides rebound off when used down back. However when thrown into the midfield, Garner is a solid contested ball winner. Consistency will come with added endurance.
Pick 61 – Dom Barry (Glenelg) 183cm | 78kg | Balanced Midfielder
The former-Demon was a star for Glenelg in the SANFL this season. A midfielder who can win it on the inside and provide run on the outside, Barry has a winning blend of skill, agility and speed which could see him step straight into the Power’s senior side. He will complement the likes of Ebert, Wines, Powell-Pepper and Rockliff nicely.
The Power clearly prioritised foot skills coming into the night. Despite not entering the draft until the middle of the third round, Port managed to get their hands on some excellent value. Sam Hayes, although he will take time to develop his running, will be an excellent replacement for All-Australian Paddy Ryder. Kane Farrell and Jake Patmore will both bring speed and add to the clubs outside depth. But one of the steals of the draft was Joel Garner, who appeared likely to feature inside the second round. However the Vic Metro skipper slipped all the way to pick 60 where the Power could no longer resist. Dom Barry is the most ready made of the five draftees, having already spent time on the Melbourne’s list. Overall, the Power are one of the national draft’s biggest winners, having filled a couple of needs and added five very talented youngsters
Pick 17 – Jack Higgins (Oakleigh Chargers) 178cm | 77kg | Small Forward
A high production small forward who really cemented his spot as a dominant midfielder for the Oakleigh Chargers this year, Higgins will likely add another avenue to goal up forward for the Tigers. He knows how to find the goals and has good goal sense, which will cause headaches for opposition defences.
Pick 20 – Callum Coleman-Jones (Sturt) 201cm | 99kg | Ruckman/Key Position Forward
Callum Coleman-Jones missed most of the year through injury, but is a ready-made tall who is built to compete with the stronger AFL players. He could play early on if fit, and is likely to rotate between ruck and full-forward, possessing strong overhead marking and good ruckwork. He often bullied skinnier players so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the bigger bodies of the AFL.
Pick 25 – Noah Balta (Calder Cannons) 195cm | 95kg | Key Position Utility
A really great value tall for the Tigers who can play anywhere on the field. He has played down back, up forward, through the ruck or on the wing and just possesses a few nice traits such as a long raking kick and ability to find the ball. The big question mark was where clubs saw him in the future and no doubt all eyes will be on him over the pre-season to see where the Tigers will slot him in going forward as he is another player that could play from early on.
Pick 34 – Patrick Naish (Northern Knights) 181cm | 69kg | Outside Midfielder/Small Forward
The least developed of the players Richmond selected, Naish was quickly matched under the father-son rule at pick 34. He provides some dash and good outside ability, having shown he can kick bags when played up forward. Last year he spent most of his bottom-age year in defence so has good versatility and once he puts on a bit more size he can impact anywhere on the field.
Pick 63 – Ben Miller (Subiaco) 196cm | 93kg | Ruckman
A freakishly athletic ruck, Miller is another player who can play anywhere on the ground. He moves like the wind and has a great leap and agility, so once he develops his game further he will be quite an interesting player. He has the body to impact soon, but will spend most of next year learning the craft further but expect him to be a name that pops up in the next 18-24 months.
Richmond clearly targeted ready-made players to plug holes in their 22. Jack Higgins could be a walk-up starter in Richmond’s round one forward line, while Callum Coleman-Jones and Noah Balta are both players that could slot in straight away if pre-season form permits. It will be interesting to see where Richmond opts to play Balta, and he may well be an insurance policy, designed to swing both back and forward depending on injuries and other players’ form. Naish and Miller will take a little bit of time, but with Ivan Maric retiring, it will be hoped Miller can be a long-term solution, while Naish adds a bit of speed to Richmond’s midfield and will start forward.
Pick 7 – Hunter Clark (Dandenong Stingrays) 186cm | 79kg | Inside Midfielder/ Medium Defender
The Saints had long been linked to the Mt Martha tyro and wasted no time nominating the Rays’ Best and Fairest at pick seven. Accomplished at half back, and able to kick off both feet, Clark’s move into the midfield in the second half of the season cemented his status as a top pick. Speedy without being lightning quick, his lateral movement and aggression at the ball and man has long-suffering Saints fans dreaming of the rebirth of the great Lenny Hayes. Clark averaged 26.8 disposals, 6.2 clearances and 6.7 tackles at TAC Cup level.
Pick 8 – Nicholas Coffield (Northern Knights) 191cm | 83kg | Balanced Midfielder/ Medium Defender
The Knights skipper is a tall and agile player with excellent foot skills and evasive ability. Composed and calm, his searing 2.90 in the 20m sprint at the Draft Combine showed he has the raw pace, combined with his skill and football brain, to make himself a genuine weapon off half back or a wing. All Australian in 2017.
Pick 35 – Oscar Clavarino (Dandenong Stingrays) 196cm | 85kg | Key Defender
With Nathan Brown ageing, Logan Austin unproven and Hugh Goddard having ongoing injury concerns, the Saints needed key defensive cover, and they got it in Vic Country skipper Clavarino. Tall with a great reach, the All Australian defender is a strong intercepter and reads the play brilliantly. Will need to fill out and continue his development in a high pressure environment, but a lot to like and has spent the last year learning from schoolmate and new teammate Josh Battle and Dons champion Matthew Lloyd.
Pick 46 – Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers) 185cm | 77kg | Medium Defender / Balanced Midfielder
Continuing a clear theme, with their last pick the Saints chose versatile and pacy overage prospect Paton. Overlooked as an 18 year-old, where he spent more time in midfield, Paton’s move to defence saw him flourish as an attacking type who is good off both feet. Represented Vic Country at the National Championships and played two games with Collingwood in the VFL, averaging 16 disposals. Won a Best and Fairest with Mitta in the Tallangatta and District Football League at 16. Also recorded an impressive 80cm vertical leap and 2.95 20m sprint at the Draft Combine.
The Saints set out with a clear plan to address their lack of speed and below average skill by foot; something they did admirably. They also chose players who were physically more mature than most to being able to play senior football early in their career, and continued a theme of picking club captains and players with excellent leadership skills. While certainly a ‘best available’ draft, it also fitted neatly into a ‘needs’ haul as well. Saints fans should be very pleased.
Pick 14 – Matthew Ling (Geelong Falcons) 183cm | 75kg | Medium Defender
Sydney obviously took the man they wanted in Ling, selecting him slightly higher than where many had projected him to fall. What this tells us is that Sydney would be very happy to have selected the running defender from Geelong. He has great pace and can break the lines with his run and carry which will suit the one-paced Swans backline.
Pick 33 – Tom McCartin (Geelong Falcons) 192cm | 84kg | Key Position Forward
Sydney took the brother of former number one selection, Patrick, who is another tall marking forward. He has great hands and is very mobile, covering the ground well for a tall. He is an endurance beast for a tall and a vice-like grip similar to his brother’s, which is certainly good news for the Swans as they look to find their next tall forward to play alongside Lance Franklin.
Pick 53 – Riley Stoddart (Eastern Ranges) 184cm | 73kg | Medium Defender
Like Ling, Stoddart is a running defender with pace to burn. He loves to run and carry and has a very nice left foot kick. His intercept ability, combined with his athletic traits makes him a fantastic acquisition late in the draft and the Swans would be very happy to have added another quick ball user to their team.
The Swans clearly lacked foot speed, particularly off half back and they have done their best to add to that by selecting Ling and Stoddart. McCartin is a pick for the future as he is still developing, and may follow the same slow career trajectory as his brother. None of these players should be expected to make a massive impact next year but they will have plenty of experienced players and coaches to learn from, with the Swans’ development team being one of the best in the AFL.
Pick 13 – Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers) 195cm | 92kg | Key Position Utility
Jarrod Brander is a player who was touted as the potential number one pick at the start of the year, so for the Eagles to snaffle him at pick 13 is a great get for them. Many supporters were expecting a midfielder or small at this pick given their abundance of good talls, but the Eagles saw Brander as the best player remaining on the board and snatched him up.
Pick 21 – Oscar Allen (West Perth) 191cm | 82kg | Key Position Forward
Oscar Allen is a developing forward with some senior experience so expect him to learn off Jack Darling and play a similar role in the future. He is that third tall who plays taller than his 191cm, and the Eagles will love having a West Australian forward to help spearhead their attack for the next decade.
Pick 26 – Liam Ryan (Subiaco) 179cm | 71kg | Small Forward
An exciting prospect, Liam Ryan’s name has been thrown up quite a bit over the past few years, but 2017 was finally the year with the small forward being plucked out by the Eagles at pick 26. It came as a very little surprise as the Eagles were keen on the Subiaco product and he will add some speed and excitement to the forward line and in time, midfield.
Pick 32 – Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco) 183cm | 75kg | Inside Midfielder
A big-bodied midfielder, Ainsworth can play inside or out, and is one of three selected over their final selections in the 2017 National Draft. He is a good decision maker and another Subiaco player who will be thrilled to pull on the blue and gold and stay in his home state. Expect him to play off a flank early, before moving into the midfield sooner rather than later given he has the extra year of experience under his belt as a 19 year-old.
Pick 38 – Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights) 185cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder/Defender
With the Eagles’ speed woes a well documented aspect of their overall team structure, to pick up lightning Jack Petruccelle at pick 38 is a great get. While his kicking can be hit or miss at times, he takes on the opposition and was the fastest man at the National Combine. He still has a few things to iron out, but expect him to excite fans in the WAFL until his senior debut.
Pick 68 – Hamish Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons) 187cm | 91kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward
An over-age player, Brayshaw really dominated in the TAC Cup once he returned from the VFL in the second half of the season. He is ready-made at 187cm and 91kg and could play from round one. He adds that strong presence on the inside, and also up forward, so do not be shocked if he plays from early on, and is certainly one to watch next season.
It is clear the West Coast Eagles had a need for speed and speed is exactly what they got in Ryan and Petruccelle, while Ainsworth provides good decision making and clean hands. Likewise, Brayshaw is a ready-to-go midfielder who loves the contested stuff and can slot in replacing the outgoing Sam Mitchell and Matthew Priddis if required. He can also play forward if other players are moved into the midfield. But the biggest coup’s of the night were twin towers pair Jarrod Brander and Oscar Allen who represent great value at their picks, with Brander potentially settling down back, while Allen will learn off the best in Josh Kennedy up forward. Their draft haul also indicates the Eagles targeted ready-made smalls with Ryan, Ainsworth and Brayshaw in particular able to slot in pretty early on.
Pick 9 – Aaron Naughton (Peel Thunder) 194cm | 85kg | Key Position Defender
With their first selection of the draft, the Bulldogs took the key defender from Western Australia. Naughton played well at every level this year, including his late season games in the WAFL. He can defend well but is also adept at zoning off and intercept marking. Could play AFL next year as he has already shown that he can play well against men.
Pick 16- Ed Richards (Oakleigh Chargers) 185cm | 78kg | Medium Defender
Richards is an eye-catching player, by looks and ability. You can expect to see the dashing defender running off half back and using the ball well, with his efficiency one his biggest assets. He has improved greatly over the last season after not being in the program last year and has recently grown so has some scope for development.
Pick 74 – Callum Porter (Gippsland Power) 182cm | 76kg | Balanced Midfielder
The Gippsland Power best and fairest winner is a great late pick for the Dogs. He will add leadership and competitiveness to their midfield, as well as a quick burst out of the stoppage. He could be used off half-back or half-forward to begin with but they would be expecting him to develop into a midfielder with time. His strength overhead is unbelievable for a 182cm player, who can play inside or out, or even down forward.
The Bulldogs nailed their early selection, choosing a replacement for Dale Morris in Naughton who is the best defender in the draft. Richards could be anything and will be a likely replacement for an ageing Bob Murphy and Porter is a good late selection. They have done very well here and have clearly had an eye for the future with these picks.