Essendon’s Round 1 performance was one of the hardest to read of any club, making them a tough team to get a read on ahead of the AFL’s June 11 restart.
The 2001 AFL draft boasts many of the game’s big-name stars, whether recently retired or still soldiering on.
Luke Hodge, Luke Ball and Chris Judd were the top three picks, Jimmy Bartel was taken at Pick 8, Nick Dal Santo at Pick 13, James Kelly was No. 17, Steve Johnson at No. 24, Sam Mitchell at No. 36, Leigh Montagna at Pick 37, Dane Swan at Pick 58 and Brian Lake at No.71.
Gary Ablett went to Geelong as a father-son at Pick 40, and Jarrad Waite a father-son pick to Carlton at No. 46.
This draft pool boasts a combined seven Brownlow Medals, six Norm Smith Medals and members of the draft class have been selected in the All-Australian Team 41 times, with Jarrad Waite the only of these to have not achieved All-Australian Selection.
The 2013 draft is shaping to be the next ‘SuperDraft’, with plenty of players of this pool announcing themselves already. Tom Boyd and Josh Kelly were taken at picks one and two by the Giants, Jack Billings at No.3 by St Kilda and Marcus Bontempelli to the Western Bulldogs at Pick No. 4.
Patrick Cripps was taken by Carlton at Pick 13, Zach Merrett went to Essendon with Pick 26, Rory Lobb at Pick 29 to GWS, Ben Brown to North Melbourne at Pick 47, Orazio Fantasia at No. 55, and the last player drafted (at Pick No. 97 to GWS) was now Lion Jake Barrett.
Other notable players that were drafted in 2013 include twins Kade and Jake Kolodjashnij (Picks five and 41 respectively), James Aish (Pick 7), Christian Salem (Pick 9), Dom Sheed (Pick 11), Cam McCarthy (No. 14 to GWS), Zak Jones (No. 15), Matt Crouch (No. 23), Lewis Taylor (No. 28 and 2014 Rising Star Winner), Toby Nankervis (No. 35 to Sydney), Aliir Aliir (No. 44), James Sicily (No. 56) and Jayden Hunt (Pick 57).
If we look retrospectively at these drafts, the draft order would likely be vastly different to the original draft order.
Based on players’ achievements, the top ten of the 2001 draft would have been something like this.
Pick 1* – Gary Ablett (Orig. Pick 40)
Pick 2 – Chris Judd (Orig. Pick 3)
Pick 3 – Luke Hodge (Orig. Pick 1)
Pick 4 – Dane Swan (Orig. Pick 58)
Pick 5 – Jimmy Bartel (Orig. Pick 8)
Pick 6 – Sam Mitchell (Orig. Pick 36)
Pick 7 – James Kelly (Orig. Pick 17)
Pick 8 – Luke Ball (Orig. Pick 2)
Pick 9 – Leigh Montagna (Orig. Pick 37)
Pick 10 – Steve Johnson (Orig. Pick 24)
*If Ablett were not a father-son selection
The 2013 Draft was probably too recent to have a retrospective look at, but considering the immense amount of talent in the draft pool, a retrospective look would be interesting anyway.
Based on the AFL Player Ratings** of these players, the top ten would take this order.
Pick 1 – Marcus Bontempelli (Orig. Pick 4) (#6 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 2 – Patrick Cripps (Orig. Pick 13) (#30 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 3 – Zach Merrett (Orig. Pick 26 (#31 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 4 – Josh Kelly (Orig. Pick 2) (#40 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 5 – Matt Crouch (Orig. Pick 23) (#82 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 6 – Orazio Fantasia (Orig. Pick 55) (#127 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 7 – Rory Lobb (Orig. Pick 29) (#130 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 8 – Jayden Hunt (Orig. Pick 57) (#163 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 9 – Ben Brown (Orig. Pick 47) (#169 in the AFL Player Ratings)
Pick 10 – Lewis Taylor (Orig. Pick 28) (#188 in the AFL Player Ratings)
**All Player ratings were correct as of 23/6/17
Time will tell which of these players turn out legends like Ablett, Judd and Swan, but players such as Bontempelli, Cripps and Merrett are shaping to be pivotal for the future of their clubs.
Already, Bontempelli, Cripps and Merrett have won best and fairests at their respective clubs, and Merrett, Kelly, Bontempelli, Cripps and Crouch are shaping to be future Brownlow Medal contenders, if not contenders in 2017.
2013’s No. 1, Tom Boyd was pivotal in the Bulldogs’ premiership win last year, Pick 55 Orazio Fantasia is proving to be an excellent pick-up for the Dons, and No.57 Jayden Hunt is announcing himself as an excellent running half-back.
Of the 2001 class, Nick Dal Santo, Sam Mitchell, Jimmy Bartel and James Kelly have become 300-gamers, with Gary Ablett (Sitting on 299), Luke Hodge (297), Steve Johnson (284), and Leigh Montagna (282) looking like they will join the 300-game club pretty soon. Chris Judd, Dane Swan and Brian Lake also have passed the 250-game milestone.
Plenty of 2013 draftees have already played over 50 games, including Marcus Bontempelli (75 Games), Lewis Taylor (75), Josh Kelly (72), Zach Merrett (72), Gold Coast’s Kade Kolodjashnij (70), Ben Brown (67) and Matt Crouch (60) the notables to have played 60 games or over, with Carlton gun Patrick Cripps sitting on 56 and St Kilda’s Jack Billings, Hawthorn’s Billy Hartung and Brisbane’s Darcy Gardiner all have played 54.
These listed draft classes don’t include the rookie drafts from the same year, but notable rookie draftees from the 2001 rookie draft include Matthew Boyd, Aaron Sandilands, Ben Rutten, Quinten Lynch, Andrew Carrazzo and James Podsiadly. Boyd and Sandilands have since played 290 and 253 games respectively.
2013’s rookie draftees include Mav Weller, Neville Jetta, Charlie Cameron, Sam Gray, Jake Kelly and Ciaran Byrne.
Both these drafts had such an extensive talent pool that the rookie draft even ended up producing some brilliant players, and to really determine which is the SuperDraft, we’ll have to keep an eye out for the future stars of the game.