Gold Coast might have to wait until more than half the AFL has made a choice in Thursday’s draft, but as far as they’re concerned they already have this year’s top pick.
The Suns begin with pick 13 in the 2012 draft but, in 18-year-old Jaeger O’Meara the club believe they’ve already secured the youngster most clubs would have gone for if he’d been available.
O’Meara was chosen last year in the 2011 mini-draft and Suns’ list manager Scott Clayton believes the West Australian recruit is ready to fire in 2013.
“I imagine if you asked 17 other AFL clubs, they’d all have him, certainly in the first group,” Clayton told reporters at the draft week launch on the Gold Coast on Monday.
“Whoever goes number one this year, very respectful for what they’ve done but our footy club’s really excited that Jaeger O’Meara’s here.”
O’Meara wasn’t eligible to play for the Suns at AFL level in 2012 due to his age but did take part in the pre-season NAB Cup after receiving a special dispensation.
Groin injuries and a hernia operation hampered his progress but Clayton said O’Meara was back to full fitness and beginning to bulk up ahead of a likely AFL debut against St Kilda in round one next year.
While O’Meara is off the table for this year’s draft pool, Clayton still believed there was plenty of talent for clubs to pick from on Thursday.
“There’s gems everywhere – I really like the draft pool,” he said.