The Roar
The Roar


Best and worst names of the 2018 AFL draft: A serious investigation

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19th November, 2018
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Have you ever looked at the AFL Draft and thought to yourself, these blokes are just a list of names on paper? If so, this is the analysis for you.

The draft is just two sleeps away, and it feels like the right time for a one hundred per cent serious investigation into the best and worst names of the 2018 AFL Draft.

Mr Popular

Every year the draft gives us a little insight into what kind of baby names the new parents of Australia thought were pretty cool roughly eighteen years ago.

This year, two names are vying for the title of most popular: Bailey (as in Bailey Smith, Scott, or Williams), and Xavier (as in Xavier Duursma, O’Halloran or O’Neill).

The name Xavier is therefore set to be given a breath of fresh air in the AFL as no current player bears it.

Meanwhile, there’s four Baileys currently in the AFL already – five if you count Zac Bailey at Brisbane – and the Western Bulldogs have two of them.

The Dogs have been heavily linked to Bailey Smith at pick 7, but personally I’m dreaming they’ll also pick up Bailey Williams so they can someday field a side with both Bailey Williams and also Bailey Williams.

Regardless of which name wins out, I reckon we can universally agree that standards have fallen a long way since the 2016 draft, when no less than five new Joshs entered the league.


Poorly spelled

Maybe I’m just a crusty old millennial but nothing makes me cringe more than kids names with unconventional spellings.

Call it a pet peeve I guess… I know it looks cool on paper, but what you’re really doing is dooming your child to a lifetime of inaccurate Starbucks cups.

It’s time to name (literally) and shame. The follow players will have to spell their name out at least twice a week for the rest of their lives: Izak Rankine, Chayce Jones, Zak Butters, Jez McLennan, Ely Smith, Wil Hickmott, Mathew Walker.

Parents of Australia, you may think Chayce, Jez, Izak or Ely sound hip and cool, but in reality, they look more like the name of a new smartphone app than the name of a kid.


Future headline

Everyone loves a good pun headline. Well – it’d be more accurate to say they’re widely disliked, but that somehow doesn’t ever stop us from writing them.

The 2018 draft is a rich class for players whose names will before too long be used and abused as we rehash old and desperately uninventive ways to make readers roll their eyes.

Some of these are pretty straightforward: Max and Ben King, Rhylee West, Curtis Taylor, Will Golds, Tom Sparrow, Nicholas Baker and Zac Foot are all ready to go.

However, two in particular stand out for me this year. First of all: Sydney Stack. This one’s a double-whammy, especially if drafted to the Swans or the Giants.

Secondly, and without a doubt the best name of the 2018 draft: Irving Mosquito. A buzzy little small forward, Hawthorn – who he can join as an academy prospect – will be excited to net him at the draft.

Brayden Ham and Jack Mayo also offer plenty, especially if you can get them to the same team and have two slices of bread.



Alright, alright, I know what you’re really here for: the names that sound a little bit dirty.

There isn’t really a prospect in the draft who can live up the hardness and penetration of 2017’s pick 11, Aiden Bonar, but there’s still a few good ones here to make you giggle like a schoolgirl.

James Rowbottom is definitely a name that’s a little bit cheeky, and if being an AFL player doesn’t work out then there’s bound to be great career prospects in the adult film industry for Boyd Woodcock.

Probably not so much Tyron Smallwood.

The BT special

Alright, enough fun and laughter: let’s finish off by groaning over the names you just know everyone’s favourite commentator Brian Taylor is going to really enjoy pronouncing.

Mitch Podhajski and Stefan Rodavanovic are bound to get BT’s volume up if they make it to the top level, but pound-for-pound no one in this category can beat out Atu Bosenavulagi.

The majority will focus on Atu’s 12-letter surname, but personally I believe it’d be a mistake to ignore what is a brilliant and versatile first name.


The way I see it, there’s two ways to go here: option one, he picks up the nickname “D2”. Beep, bop, boop. Aggressive whirring noise.

Option two, Collingwood (who will likely acquire him through their academy) scour the nation to also draft a player named Awun, and the pair regularly ask each other if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, Atu.

(I think I am, Awun.)