So the 2014 AFL National Draft has been run and won – by everyone it seems.
The recruiters will reel off the positives of every pick, there are no losers. Or are there?
AFL Draft expert Sebastian Spagnuolo examines each club’s new graduates below.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: During trade week the Crows gave their pick 10 to the Cats in return for pick 14, a trade that raised many eyebrows. This left everyone wondering if they in fact knew that the player they wanted at 10 might still be there at pick 14. If that was indeed their logic, it was a risky move. They selected Jake Lever who is a key defender that hasn’t played for 18 months due to a knee injury but showed prior to that he was a special talent. The Crows will need to give him time to grow into the rigours of AFL football. Was he the player they would have taken at 10? We’ll never know for sure. With their other picks, the Crows have picked up some run from the backline from local boy Harrison Wigg and the big bodied, mature-aged key forward option in Mitch McGovern, who is the younger brother of West Coast’s Jeremy. Harry Dear is the son of Hawks Norm Smith Medallist Paul and is a ruck option that will take time to develop. Prior to the draft, the Crows upgraded 2014 rookie listed player Charlie Cameron to their senior list for 2015.
14. Jake Lever – 193cms, 84kgs, key defender from Calder Cannons,VIC.
35. Harrison Wigg – 179cms, 74kgs, defender/midfielder from North Adelaide, SA.
43. Mitch McGovern – 191cms, 84kgs, forward from Claremont, WA.
58. Harry Dear – 197cms, 98kgs, ruckman from Sandringham Dragons, VIC.
RATING: C+ Did well getting Lever at 14, but were there better options available with their other selections? Only one South Australian selected too.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: Due to a bumper trade period which reaped Dayne Beams and Allen Christensen, the Lions, who traded away picks for the aforementioned players, entered the draft at pick 44. They used three picks for players they had their eye on for some time. Liam Dawson and Harris Andrews were both graduates from their academy in Brisbane and Josh Clayton is a father-son selection. Josh’s father Scott played 160 games for Fitzroy and is currently the Gold Coast Suns’ recruitment manager. Brisbane also continued their love affair with the Apple Isle by selecting Josh Watts and Josh McGuiness with late picks.
44. A/S (academy selection) Liam Dawson – 188cms, 83kgs, defender from Brisbane Lions Acad, QLD.
61. A/S Harris Andrews – 198cms, 91kgs, key forward from Brisbane Lions Acad, QLD
65. Joshua Watts – 194cms, 75kgs, utility from Glenorchy, TAS.
73. Jaden McGrath – 179cms, 73kgs, forward from Bendigo Pioneers, VIC.
81. Josh McGuiness – 189cms, 72kgs, defender from Lauderdale, TAS.
86. F/S (father/son) Josh Clayton – 190cms, 80kgs, midfielder from Sandringham Dragons, VIC
RATING: C- Paid the price of a massive trade period by not having access to any top-30 talent. Dawson, Andrews and Clayton will take time.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: With an adequate number of selections to help a list in transition, the Blues pretty much picked to their needs. Most Blues’ fans pre-draft would have been asking for the best available midfielder at pick 19. They chose a mature-aged midfielder, Blaine Boekhorst, who has a volleyball background and great agility. Dillon Viojo-Rainbow and Clem Smith are pacey and well-skilled rebounding defender options and Jayden Foster is the son of former Bulldog and Lion Peter, and is a goalkicking tall forward. They addressed most needs and kept picks spare for the pre-season draft.
19. Blaine Boekhorst – 184cms, 69kgs, midfielder from Swan Districts, WA.
28. Dillon Viojo-Rainbow – 185cms, 80kgs, midfielder/defender from Western Jets, VIC.
60. Clem Smith – 177cms, 77kgs, defender/midfielder from Perth, WA.
63. Jayden Foster – 194cms, 91kgs, key forward from Calder Cannons, VIC.
RATING: B Recruited on needs basis. Boekhorst can play immediately to fill a void left by McLean and Robinson. Smith adds X-factor.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: Just like the 2013 Draft, the Pies entered with two top-10 picks. Father-son selection and pick nine Darcy Moore was considered by some a potential top-five pick on the open market, meaning in a way the Pies go home with two top-five calibre players. With Moore being a key position player, pick five was odds-on to be a midfielder. The Pies selected Jordan De Goey who is an elite ball using midfielder that can be a dangerous forward too and is a nice size. The Magpies used their other selections to add to their midfield depth by selecting the strong Brayden Maynard and the in and under Matthew Goodyear. Big bodied midfielders were top of the Magpies agenda. They kept one pick spare for the pre-season draft too.
5. Jordan De Goey – 187cms, 82kgs, midfielder from Oakleigh Chargers, VIC.
9. F/S Darcy Moore – 199cms, 93kgs, key forward from Oakleigh Chargers, VIC.
30. Brayden Maynard – 186cms, 88kgs, midfielder from Sandringham Dragons, VIC.
48. Matthew Goodyear – 185cms, 77kgs, midfielder from Calder Cannons, VIC.
RATING: A It was hard for the Magpies to mishit. With two top-10 picks and three inside the top 30 this draft should prove to be a great one for the club. They will enter 2015 with seven first-round draft picks from the past three drafts.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: The Bombers did well to secure two top-20 selections on the back of Paddy Ryder departing for Port Adelaide. Most Bombers fans would be asking for some pace in their midfield and they addressed that by selecting the nicely sized and versatile utilities Kyle Langford with pick 17 and Jayden Laverde at pick 20. In recent weeks, both were touted as possible top-10 selections so the Bombers will be very pleased. Due to the ongoing ASADA case, these players could be playing senior football sooner rather than later. In the lead up to the draft, the Bombers elevated medium forward and 2014 rookie listed player Patrick Ambrose to their senior list for 2015.
17. Kyle Langford -190cms, 76kgs, utility from Northern Knights, VIC.
20. Jayden Laverde – 189cms, 82kgs, midfielder from Western Jets, VIC.
RATING: A- If you’re going to have only two picks, have them early and make them count. And that they did. Got two well-sized future guns.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: I thought the Dockers would be looking for long-term replacements for Luke McPharlin and Michael Johnson. They instead recruited midfielders and forwards. Lachlan Weller and Connor Blakely are rated very highly so they’ve done well to get them both. Ed Langdon and Josh Deluca-Cardillo are both small forwards and clever around goal.
13. Lachlan Weller – 181cms, 77kgs, midfielder from Southport, QLD.
34. Connor Blakely – 186cms, 81kgs, midfielder from Swan Districts, WA.
54. Ed Langdon – 181cms, 72kgs, forward from Sandringham Dragons, VIC.
68. Josh Deluca-Cardillo – 179cms, 80kgs, forward from Subiaco, WA.
RATING: B Only four selections but the Dockers have done well with their draft haul. Blakely will be considered a “slider” and could have gone as high as pick 20. Should they have selected at least one key defender in a draft full of good ones?
SEBASTIAN SAYS: With pick 10 given to them by the Crows during the trade period, the Cats got a rare look in on the top end of a draft. The jury was out on whether they’d be recruiting to fill a key position as a long-term Lonergan, Rivers or Taylor replacement, or a midfielder with Bartel, Johnson and Kelly ageing. In the end they went with Nakia Cockatoo who is a dynamic, highly skilled and explosive midfielder that will add excitement, and in many ways fill a hole left by the departures of Allen Christensen and Travis Varcoe. Corey Gregson is a busy small forward type from SA, Dean Gore is a versatile midfielder and lastly Jordan Cunico is a running machine. Prior to the draft, Geelong elevated Mark Blicavs from their rookie list to their senior list for 2015.
10. Nakia Cockatoo – 185cms, 86kgs, midfielder from NT Thunder, NT.
47. Cory Gregson – 175cms, 72kgs, forward from Glenelg, SA.
55. Dean Gore – 183cms, 86kgs, midfielder from Sturt, SA.
59. Jordan Cunico – 184cms, 72kgs, midfielder from Gippsland Power, VIC.
RATING: B- Not much access to early talent. Cockatoo will excite the Geelong faithful though.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: In Rodney Eade’s first draft as senior coach and with two picks inside the top 15, the Suns were in a great position to address their needs. At pick eight they took Peter Wright who was considered the second best key forward in this draft. Wright will add to a forward/ruck group which already has the talents and height of Zac Smith, Sam Day, Tom Lynch and Charlie Dixon. Prior to the draft, Gold Coast used two of their available selections to elevate Andrew Boston and Josh Hall to their senior list for season 2015. Jarrod Garlett is an excitement machine that will fit in nicely in a small forward/midfield rotation with Brandon Matera and Jack Martin. Touk Miller is a small statured midfielder that moves from contest to contest and plays a similar game to his new teammate Dion Prestia.
8. Peter Wright – 203cms, 102kgs, key forward/ruckman from Calder Cannons, VIC.
15.Jarrod Garlett – 177cms, 73kgs, midfielder/forward from South Fremantle, WA.
29.Touk Miller – 177cms, 80kgs, midfielder from Calder Cannons, VIC.
RATING: A Two picks in the top 15 and three in the top 30. This should prove a great haul of new recruits for a club on the rise.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
SEBASTIAN SAYS: With picks four, six and seven the Giants shaped the first round of the draft. With pick four they added Jarrod Pickett from WA who will add some extreme pace and skill. Pick six was used on the versatile defender Caleb Marchbank who is considered a “bolter” of this draft, and pick seven on a quick, goalkicking midfielder in Paul Ahern. Patrick McKenna is the current Captain of Australia’s under-19 cricket team and only chose to concentrate on footy this year. The Giants will afford him time to do his first pre-season and get fully entrenched into his football and their program. Jack Steele and Jeremy Finlayson were both selected from the clubs academy.
4. Jarrod Pickett – 178cms, 76kgs, midfielder from South Fremantle, WA.
6. Caleb Marchbank – 193cms, 85kgs, key defender from Murray Bushrangers, VIC.
7. Paul Ahern – 182cms, 77kgs, midfielder from Calder Cannons, VIC.
23. Patrick McKenna – 186cms, 76kgs, midfielder from Gisborne, VIC.
24. A/S Jack Steele – 183cms, 82kgs, midfielder from GWS Academy, ACT.
85. A/S Jeremy Finlayson – 195cms, 84kgs, key forward from GWS Academy, NSW.
RATING: A+ Three picks inside the top 10. Five picks inside the top 30. This club just can’t stop dominating drafts! Is there an end in sight to this draft domination? McKenna the speculative pick, but they can probably afford it.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: The Hawks had to wait and see what would fall to them from the first round’s carnage and only had three selections in total. Daniel Howe is a nicely sized utility option similar to Isaac Smith in that he can play as a tall midfielder/wingman. Teia Miles makes great decisions and Marc Pittonet is a developing ruckman to add to the Hawks big man stocks. Prior to the draft, the Hawks used two of their available selections to elevate Dallas Willsmore and Zac Webster to their senior list for season 2015.
31. Dan Howe – 191cms, 84kgs, utility from Murray Bushrangers, VIC.
49. Teia Miles – 179cms, 68kgs, midfielder from Geelong Falcons, VIC.
50. Mark Pittonet – 201cms, 100kg, ruckman from Oakleigh Chargers, VIC.
RATING: C The Hawks had limited opportunities to snare the best talent, but in a deep draft they still managed to fill spots on a needs basis. No superstars here, but the Hawks don’t need them anyway.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: The Demons smashed it. With picks two and three how can a team get it wrong…? This time they seem to have made the right and obvious calls. Both Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw are players that can have a positive effect on the Demons from day one. Petracca is a damaging and powerful midfielder/forward and Brayshaw is the tough inside midfielder. Alex Neal-Bullen is also a midfielder and was rated as a potential top-25 pick. Both are ready-made AFL players. Like Neal-Bullen, Oscar McDonald was rated very highly by some and made it to pick 53. He joins his brother Tom at the Demons. Prior to the draft, the Dees promoted Neville Jetta to their senior list for 2015.
2. Christian Petracca – 185cms, 92kgs, midfielder from Eastern Ranges, VIC.
3. Angus Brayshaw – 187cms, 86kgs, midfielder from Sandringham Dragons, VIC.
40. Alex Neal-Bullen – 182cms, 77kgs, midfielder from Glenelg, SA.
42. F/S Billy Stretch – 182cms, 71kgs, midfielder from Glenelg, SA.
53. Oscar McDonald – 196cms, 88kgs, key defender from North Ballarat, VIC.
RATING: A+ Petracca and Brayshaw are both future All-Australian calibre players. Neal-Bullen and McDonald shouldn’t have been available at their picks either.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: With three picks inside the top 40 and after their best season in recent times, the Kangaroos looked to the draft to add more young talent to their list. Most observers couldn’t decide if the Roos would take a key position player or a midfielder with their first pick. They decided on a key defender by taking the tall South Australian Sam Durdin. They went tall again with Daniel Nielsen and Ed Vickers-Willis who are also key defender types. In the lead up to the draft, the Roos used two of their available selections to elevate key defender Joel Tippett and mid/forward Kayne Turner to their senior list for season 2015.
16. Sam Durdin – 196cms, 87kgs, key defender/forward from West Adelaide, SA.
25. Daniel Nielsen – 193cms, 90kgs, key defender from Eastern Ranges, VIC.
36. Ed Vickers-Willis – 190cms, 82kgs, key defender from Sandringham Dragons, VIC.
RATING: B- In this draft, three picks inside the top 40 is a great haul.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: After using two of their picks as part of the deal to secure Patrick Ryder in October the Power could have arrived well into draft night and still had time for coffee before their first selection at pick 56. All four selections for Port are lesser-known types. Dougal Howard and Jesse Palmer are developing tall forwards, Billy Frampton is a light ruckman that will take time and Logan Austin adds some key back depth. In the week leading up to the draft, the Power used one of their possible selections to upgrade midfielder Kane Mitchell to their senior list for 2015.
56. Dougal Howard – 195cms, 88kgs, key forward from Murray Bushrangers, NSW.
69. Logan Austin – 194cms, 86kgs, key defender from Belconnen, ACT.
78. Jesse Palmer – 191cms, 86kgs, key forward from North Ballarat Rebels, VIC.
84. Billy Frampton – 199cms, 85kgs, ruckman from South Fremantle, WA.
RATING: D Very limited opportunities to snare the best talent.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: Richmond were mere bystanders during the October trade period, indicating the Tigers have belief in their current list and only wanted to add some more young talent to it. With their first pick (12) they landed the hard running and well skilled Corey Ellis who has a great inside and outside game. Connor Menadue is a lightly built running backman that in time will release the likes of Nick Vlastuin into a midfield role. Nathan Drummond is an elite kick, Daniel Butler is a small forward that applies great pressure and Reece McKenzie is a tall forward option that has great hands and dominates marking contests inside the forward 50. Prior to the draft, the Tigers promoted rookie Anthony Miles who had a barnstorming finish to 2014.
12. Corey Ellis – 185cms, 76kgs, midfielder from Western Jets, VIC.
33. Connor Menadue – 188cms, 69kgs, midfielder/defender from Western Jets, VIC.
52. Nathan Drummond – 181cms, 85kgs, midfielder from Murray Bushrangers, VIC.
67. Daniel Butler – 182cms, 78kgs, midfielder from North Ballarat Rebels, VIC.
77. Reece McKenzie – 196cms, 100kgs, key forward/ruckman from Northern Knights, VIC.
RATING: B- Did very well with the picks they had. Ellis has the tools to become a very good midfielder.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: Although Christian Petracca had long been seen as the clear number one in this draft, the Saints could not resist taking Patrick McCartin instead. McCartin is regarded by many as the blueprint power forward of the modern game and can be the heir apparent to Nick Riewoldt’s throne. He’ll have Riewoldt’s support for at least two years which can only serve him well. He’s also very quick off the mark for a boy of 96kgs.With picks 21 and 22 they recruited Hugh Goddard (cousin of Brendan) and Daniel McKenzie who are versatile key position and midfield options respectively. McKenzie rates elite for speed which the Saints have lacked recently.To get McCartin and Goddard, who were Geelong Falcons teammates, too would be seen as a very successful draft for the Saints. Jack Lonie is a small forward with great skills and knows where the goals are. Prior to draft night, the Saints used four of their possible selections to promote Mav Weller, Darren Minchington, Cam Shenton and Eli Templeton to their senior list for 2015.
1. Patrick McCartin – 194cms, 96kgs, midfielder from Geelong Falcons, VIC.
21. Hugh Goddard – 195cms, 92kgs, key defender from Geelong Falcons, VIC.
22. Daniel McKenzie – 183cms, 77kgs, midfielder from Oakleigh Chargers ,VIC.
41. Jack Lonie – 174cms, 67kgs, forward from Dandenong Stingrays, VIC.
RATING: A The second great draft in a row for the Saints. McCartin is projected to be a gun of the competition in no time. Goddard was considered by many as a top-15 talent.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: The Swans entered the night with six picks, of which three were pre-determined academy selections. At pick 18 they got hold of NSW local boy Isaac Heeney, who in October was considered good enough by Melbourne for them to use their pick two on. Heeney is a contested ball and clearance specialist and is already physically strong and capable of playing AFL as soon as required. Jack Hiscox is another NSW local and is a running machine who provides more midfield depth. Abe Davis is a versatile defender and also an academy selection. Keeping to the theme of developing a list from within, the Swans used three possible selections prior to the draft to promote Xavier Richards, Jake Lloyd and Daniel Robinson to their senior list for 2015.
18. A/S Isaac Heeney – 186cms, 82kgs, midfielder from Sydney’s Academy, NSW.
37. James Rose – 186cms, 78kgs, forward from Sturt, SA.
38. A/S Jack Hiscox – 184cms, 74kgs, midfielder from Sydney’s Academy, NSW.
70. A/S Abe Davis 193cms, 90kgs, defender from Sydney’s Academy, NSW.
RATING: B+ Had limited opportunities to snare the best talent, but Heeney will be a gun.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: In my phantom draft, I had the Eagles taking a tall defender/forward option in Hugh Goddard if he was available. But as the draft got closer it became apparent the Eagles defined outside speed as a more pressing area of focus. The Eagles ended up selecting Liam Duggan with pick 11. Duggan is a highly skilled half back/midfield option and rates elite for kicking. The Eagles would have been surprised that Tom Lamb was available at pick 32 and he’ll love the big Subiaco ground with his endurance for a tall forward type. Jackson Nelson and Damien Cavka are both well credentialled midfielders and also could have gone much higher in the draft. With their last pick they secured Alec Waterman, son of West Coast premiership player Chris. Prior to draft night, the Eagles promoted big man Callum Sinclair to their senior list for 2015.
11. Liam Duggan – 183cms, 75kgs, midfielder/defender from Western Jets, VIC.
32. Tom Lamb – 193cms, 85kgs, utility from Dandenong Stingrays, VIC.
51. Jackson Nelson – 187cms, 80kgs, midfielder from Geelong Falcons, VIC.
66. Damien Cavka – 184cms, 79kgs, midfielder from Calder Cannons, VIC.
76. F/S Alec Waterman – 183cms, 89kgs, midfielder from Claremont, WA.
RATING: B+ The Eagles selected four Victorians. Is that a risk? Time will tell, I feel they did very well with the picks they had.
SEBASTIAN SAYS: New coach Luke Beveridge and Bulldogs supporters alike may feel that the Dogs have the best recruit already, after bringing in Tom Boyd. Boyd was the number one pick in 2013 and as a consequence for that trade, the Dogs didn’t enter the draft till pick 26 and 27 where they landed the creative Toby McLean and Lukas Webb, who makes great decisions. Caleb Daniel is the story of the draft for me. He’s small, but on stats alone was the most effective player of this crop and could be the Lewis Taylor of the draft – he’s a non-fancied pick that will just get the job done from day one. Declan Hamilton and Bailey Dale will both be seen as developing midfield/forward options for the future. With pick 64 the Dogs brought Ayce Cordy’s younger brother Zaine Cordy into the club as a father-son selection. Cordy is a developing key defender. Lin Jong and Jack Redpath were both promoted to the Dogs senior list in the week leading up to draft night.
26. Toby McLean – 179cms, 70kgs, midfielder from Oakleigh Chargers, VIC.
27. Lukas Webb – 186cms, 83kgs, midfielder from Gippsland Power,VIC.
39. Declan Hamilton – 183cms, 68kgs, forward from North Adelaide, SA.
45. Caleb Daniel – 167cms, 68kgs, midfielder/forward from South Adelaide, SA.
46. Bailey Dale – 182cms, 70kgs, forward from Dandenong Stingrays, VIC.
62. F/S Zaine Cordy – 193cms, 80kgs, key defender from Geelong Falcons, VIC.
RATING: C+ No top 20 talent for the Dogs. Did they get to address their medium/tall forward lack of depth?
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