ADELAIDE headed into the National AFL Draft with three picks in the first round, and eventually only took the two, offloading what would become pick 19, and the Crows’ 2019 first rounder, to Carlton for the Blues’ 2019 first rounder. It likely meant the Crows picked up a top five pick next year, putting them in a terrific position not just this year, but for 2019 too.
Chayce Jones – Small Utility
Jones was rumoured to be a possible top 10 selection heading into draft night, and, after the Crows unsuccessfully bid on North Melbourne Next Generation Academy member, Tarryn Thomas, they selected Jones with the ninth pick in the National Draft. Jones has all the traits the Crows would be looking for – speed, skills and tackling pressure – not to mention leadership to boot. The Launceston product is a terrific leader and is one of the more underrated players in the draft crop, and now he heads to West Lakes and will have an instant impact. Don’t worry about his size, he packs plenty of punch and will see senior games next year.
Ned McHenry – Small Midfielder/Forward
It was a little surprising to see the Crows pick up McHenry after selecting Jones given their relatively small stature compared to those available, but I love the selection. McHenry is the ying to Eddie Betts’ yang, in the sense that while both players are two-way runners, Betts does his damage offensively, while McHenry does his damage defensively – averaging the most tackles at the National Under 18 Championships. He knows where the goals are and can play midfield, though at 174cm, expect him to be a pressure forward who relieves on a wing in time. His forward stoppage prowess is something to behold and is another player who given the right circumstance, could play games next season.
Will Hamill – General Defender/Midfielder
Unlike the other two, Hamill is more of a long-term player, though he has that prototype size to fill into something special. At 188cm or thereabouts, Hamill has the height, and the smooth-moving ability to glide around the field and break down opposition zones. Like Jones, Hamill runs a sub-three second 20m sprint, and rarely makes a mistake by hand or foot. He needs to find more of the football, but will always be a player that might average 17 touches a game, of which 13 of them cause serious headaches for the opposition. Can play off half-back or through the middle, Hamill is still very light and will need type to bulk up, but when he does, expect him to do some nice things.
Lachlan Sholl – General Defender/Midfielder
Sholl is a similar type and size to Hamill, so in some ways they have double-dipped here, but they do have some differences. While both primarily play off half-back and can push into the wing, Sholl has more penetration by foot and can do some damage with his piercing kick. He does not quite have the consistency of disposal that Hamill does, and needs to build up more of a contested brand of ball-winning to have a bigger impact at senior level, but at pick 64, Sholl looms as a low-risk, high-reward selection.
Kieran Strachan – Ruck
The Essendon VFL ruckman has barely got on the park in the past two seasons, but the Crows had no issues giving him a chance, with selection in the rookie draft. He will take time, but given Sam Jacobs is not getting any younger, and the likes of Reilly O’Brien and co are still developing, the Crows will be keen to add another ruck to the group, which they have done here in the mature-ager.
Jordon Butts – Tall Utility
The over-age tall does not turn 19 until the final day of the year, so is practically a top-age player. He is similar to a Justin Westhoff in the sense he can play forward, back or through the midfield. At 194cm or so, Butts has a remarkable running ability to play on a wing if needed. He is one of those players that is perfectly suited to the rookie draft because he has lots of traits that can be harnessed in order to make him a better player, he just needs to put them all together to click. Smart pick by the Crows.
Adelaide placed an emphasis on speed and tackling pressure in its National Draft selections, with both Jones and McHenry being two of the draft crop’s more prolific tacklers. Jones and Hamill are two of the quickest players available, while all four have great foot skills. In terms. Of their draft selections, Adelaide deserves an A+ because the Crows not only addressed needs, but picked up players who would not have been there at their next selection with other clubs keen on those players. Overall, Adelaide gets a tick for meeting needs and a tick for value. Then there’s a top five pick incoming, overall a fantastic draft for the Crows.