There never has been and, let’s hope, never will be another AFL draft like 2020. The combination of compromise and pandemic will define this draft as likely the most complex and uncertain in AFL history.
Hugh Greenwood was a speculative pick for Adelaide in the 2015 rookie draft.
While every club hopes they are gaining a player who will go on to forge a successful AFL career, the majority of these players are in and out of the system in quick fashion.
Rookie success stories like Dean Cox and Aaron Sandilands are well documented and while Greenwood is not at that level, he is proving a good return on investment.
The Crows picked him up as a category B rookie on a two-year deal, at a time when the 23-year-old was under contract with the Perth Wildcats.
Greenwood was a talented footballer as a junior and represented Tasmania at under 16 level, but he was also a promising basketballer, accepting a scholarship at the AIS which also saw him spend time in the USA.
The transition from basketball to an AFL environment was always going to take time and the Tasmanian developed at SANFL level in his first year on the Adelaide list.
The midfielder played 21 games in total at SANFL level in 2016 and finished the season particularly well during the Crows’ finals campaign. Strong form at this level continued in 2017, seeing the rookie make his AFL debut in Round 9 against Brisbane.
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The 26 year-old performed strongly – with 15 disposals, nine tackles and three goals – and he established himself as a regular for the rest of the 2017 season.
Season 2018 shows last year was no flash in the pan, Greenwood having played all 21 games and averaging 17.7 disposals.
Impressively, the midfielder is ranked sixth in the league for tackles and is ranked in the top 20 for stoppage clearances and contested possessions. These are the stats of someone who belongs at the top level.
It has been a disappointing year for the Crows, falling from a grand final appearance last year to missing the top eight, but Greenwood is one major positive. While not one of the stars, his contribution cannot be underestimated.
Out of contract at the end of 2019, a new deal should be forthcoming for a player who has gone from rookie pick to an integral part of the Adelaide Crows’ midfield.