Jonathon Patton to Giants with top pick
Greater Western Sydney have recruited powerful young Victorian key forward Jonathon Patton with the No.1 pick in Thursday night’s AFL draft.
The Giants’ early picks followed the predicted script, with the imposing 197cm, 100kg Patton taken ahead of West Australian midfielder Stephen Coniglio (No.2) and Victorian ball-winner Dom Tyson (No.3).
Speedy 186cm winger Will Hoskin-Elliott, at No.4, and 189cm defender Matthew Buntine, at No.5, rounded out the top five picks for the Giants, at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.
Patton was thrilled to be taken at No.1.
“It’s been a pretty long year and this has been my dream my whole life,” the 18-year-old said.
“To be the No.1 pick, let alone to get taken in the draft, is an amazing feeling.”
Giants coach Kevin Sheedy said the club viewed Patton as a powerful, hard-working forward and said he backed the judgment of GWS list manager and former Carlton great Stephen Silvagni.
“If you’re going to have the fullback of the century pick a full-forward, you’ve got to like the one he selects,” Sheedy quipped.
Port Adelaide, who selected courageous South Australian on-baller Chad Wingard at No.6, and Brisbane, who used their No.8 pick on Billy Longer, were the only clubs other than the Giants to have a selection inside the top 10.
Longer is a 201cm Victorian ruckman, filling the gap the Lions were left with when they lost Mitch Clark to Melbourne in trade week.
Greater Western Sydney also landed rangy half-forward Nick Haynes (No.7), versatile 193cm key position prospect Adam Tomlinson (No.9) and Liam Sumner (No.10), a 178cm midfielder with a good burst of speed inside the top 10.
Patton has been compared to Brisbane triple-premiership forward Jonathan Brown, both for his powerful physique and overhead marking strength.
Coniglio, 17, won the Larke Medal as the best player in this year’s under-18 national championships, representing WA.
The long-kicking hard-running 182cm midfielder was 16 when he started playing senior football for WAFL club Swan Districts and kicked four goals in the 2010 WAFL grand final.
Tyson, 18 and 186cm, is noted for his ability to win the ball from stoppages and make good decisions under pressure, as well as boasting excellent speed and stamina.
Elsewhere, A 29-year-old Ballarat ruckman with a wife and three kids, Orren Stephenson, has joined reigning AFL premiers Geelong in the feelgood story of Thursday night’s national draft.
As expected, imposing Victorian 18-year-old power forward Jonathon Patton, already 100kg and 197cm, was taken at No.1 by Greater Western Sydney, who scooped the nation’s best young talent with 11 of the first 14 picks at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.
The top end of the draft went pretty much to script for GWS, with West Australian midfielder Stephen Coniglio (No.2 pick), Victorian ball-winner Dom Tyson (No.3), speedy winger Will Hoskin-Elliott (No.4) and 189cm defender Matthew Buntine (No.5) rounding out the top five.
Port Adelaide, who selected courageous South Australian on-baller Chad Wingard at No.6, and Brisbane, who used their No.8 pick on ruckman Billy Longer, were the only other clubs to get a selection inside the top 10.
The bottom end of the draft was less predictable, particularly Geelong’s selection of 200cm Stephenson.
At No.78, he was the last player taken who had not had previous experience at an AFL club, or who a club had not already committed to.
Cats recruiting manager Stephen Wells said Stephenson, who played in three VFL flag-winning teams with North Ballarat, would not have been selected except for the recent retirement of triple-premiership ruckman Brad Ottens.
Wells said the 29-year-old could step straight into senior football.
“He’s had tremendous experience in the VFL. He hasn’t had any serious injuries up to his 29th year and he plays against a lot of AFL-listed ruckmen every week,” Wells said.
“Now he’s got his opportunity to represent an AFL club.”
Stephenson’s story echoes that of Cats star forward James Podsiadly, who was plucked from the VFL at the age of 28 two years ago and became an AFL premiership player this year.
While the Cats had to think outside the square, the Giants mostly played it straight, with their failure to snare Longer – who the Lions snapped up to fill the gap left by Mitch Clark’s trade to Melbourne – perhaps the one minor surprise.
But list manager Stephen Silvagni was a contented man.
They did add one ruckman, 205cm elite junior basketballer Tom Downie at No.56.
Downie has barely played football in recent years, but the Giants rate him as a project player with great potential.
They also took ex-Carlton utility Setanta O’hAilpin, with the feisty Irishman one of the few AFL-experienced players given a new club.
Former Adelaide key position player James Sellar, 22, was taken by Melbourne, to shore up their key defensive posts, St Kilda took ex-West Coast player Beau Wilkes and the Giants, as planned, recruited former Melbourne skipper James McDonald.
But two-time Coleman Medallist Brendan Fevola was not given a third AFL home, with December’s rookie draft now looming as his unlikely last-ditch hope.© AAP 2013