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2018 AFL Draft: Club-by-club review, my take on every team

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23rd November, 2018
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The 2018 AFL Draft has come to a close and playing lists are now all but finalised for the eighteen AFL clubs.

Today I’ll take a look at who every club picked up in the national and rookie drafts, and offer my take on each club’s new acquisitions.

Adelaide Crows

9 – Chayce Jones
16 – Ned McHenry
30 – Will Hamill
64 – Lachlan Scholl

Rookie draft
7 – Kieran Strachan
24 – Paul Hunter (re-drafted)
39 – Jordon Butts

Adelaide’s first pick Chayce Jones is a quality midfield prospect with a record of proven form but also a great athletic profile. Their second pick Ned McHenry plays something of a specialised role as a pressure forward and is AFL-ready.

The Crows showed a willingness to engage in live trading, swapping out pick 19 and their future first for Carlton’s future first in a deal that could be a big win down the line. They also picked up an additional future second by trading down the order in a deal with GWS.

My take: The Crows’ draft haul may seem a little underwhelming given that they took four top-25 picks into the draft, but live trading has enabled them to spread some of that bounty into the 2019 draft while still getting some quality prospects here.

Brisbane Lions

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21 – Ely Smith
36 – Tom Berry
40 – Tom Joyce
42 – Connor McFadyen
55 – Noah Answerth

Rookie draft
4 – Ryan Bastinac (re-drafted)
21 – Jacob Allison (re-drafted)

Brisbane got the big-bodied inside midfielder they’ve been looking for with Ely Smith at their first selection, then would have been overjoyed to find that they could get another two picks in before a bid came for academy player Connor McFadyen.

Seeing Tom Berry drafted to the Lions to join his brother Jarrod, who the Lions picked two years ago, was one of the more enjoyably sentimental moments of the draft.

My take: Midfield depth is something the Lions need, and here they’ve brought in five players who can all potentially play in that area of the ground.

Carlton Blues

1 – Sam Walsh
19 – Liam Stocker
66 – Finbar O’Dwyer
70 – Ben Silvagni

Rookie draft
1 – Hugh Goddard
19 – Tom Bugg

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The Blues became the first – and so far only – team to make a live trade for an extra first-round draft pick, swapping out their 2019 first for Adelaide’s 2019 first in order to get pick 19 this year and add Liam Stocker to Sam Walsh, who they had already taken at pick 1.

Father-son prospect Ben Silvagni joined the club at their last pick after not attracting a bid, before they took two players with some AFL experience in Hugh Goddard (St Kilda) and Tom Bugg (GWS, Melbourne) at the rookie draft.

My take: Both Walsh and Stocker are AFL-ready players who can help the Blues be more competitive next year – which is good, because they’re going to need to be to justify trading their future first. I’m glad to see Tom Bugg still on an AFL list.

Sam Walsh

(AAP Image/James Ross)

Collingwood Magpies

13 – Isaac Quaynor
29 – Will Kelly
77 – Atu Bosenavulagi

Rookie draft
17 – Tim Broomhead (re-drafted)
33 – Samuel Murray (re-drafted)

As expected the Magpies matched bids for academy prospect Isaac Quaynor and father-son player Will Kelly inside the top 30, they then took another player from their academy in Atu Bosenavulagi with their third and final pick.

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My take: A paint-by-the-numbers draft, really – the Pies took what the academy and father-son systems had already put on the plate in front of them. Not going into deficit to pay for Quaynor and Kelly was a win.

Essendon Bombers

38 – Irving Mosquito
60 – Noah Gown
72 – Brayden Ham

Rookie draft
8 – Tom Jok
25 – Matt Dea (re-drafted)

They had to wait until the late 30s for their first selection but Essendon made the swashbuckling move of the draft when they launched a surprisingly early bid for Hawthorn NGA prospect Irving Mosquito and landed him after the Hawks elected not to match.

Noah Gown and Brayden Ham are project players of differing sizes while Tom Jok is a mature player from Collingwood’s VFL side.

My take: If Mosquito becomes a quality AFL player then Dodoro will look like a bloody magician, if not, it didn’t cost much. Didn’t get the inside midfielder some feel they need, overlooking Jack Bytel at their first pick.

Fremantle Dockers

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17 – Sam Sturt
32 – Luke Valente
57 – Lachlan Schultz
59 – Brett Bewley

Rookie draft
5 – Ethan Hughes (re-drafted)
22 – Tobe Watson
37 – Ryan Nyhuis (re-drafted)

Fremantle picked a raw and athletic medium forward in Sam Sturt with their first selection, before a canny trade up the order allowed them to net midfielder Luke Valente with their second.

Lachlan Shultz and Brett Bewley are a pair of mature players from Williamstown in the VFL, while Tobe Watson will if nothing else allow us to make many jokes about how his name sounds like Jobe Watson.

My take: Sturt and Valente are both players that I admire a great deal and have the potential to be some of the best selections of the draft. Adding this to their busy trade period, I have high expectations for the Dockers in 2019.

Geelong Cats

15 – Jordan Clark
48 – Ben Jarvis
50 – Jacob Kennerly
65 – Darcy Fort
68 – Jake Tarca
74 – Oscar Brownless

Rookie draft
11 – Tom Atkins

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The Cats were in a nice position to wait and see what fell to them at their first selection and in the end it was Jordan Clark, a Shannon Hurn-esque playmaking defender from WA.

They picked up talent all over the ground – forwards in Ben Jarvis and Jake Tarca, a wingman with great endurance in Jacob Kennerly, a 25-year-old ruck option in Darcy Fort, and a midfielder in father-son prospect Oscar Brownless.

My take: The Cats have got a number of players here who can potentially contribute in 2019 – Clark, Kennerly and Fort in particular could all have an impact early.

Gold Coast Suns

2 – Jack Lukosius
3 – Izak Rankine
6 – Ben King
23 – Jez McLennan
71 – Caleb Graham

Rookie draft
2 – Michael Rischitelli (re-drafted)
20 – Jack Leslie (re-drafted)
36 – Brad Scheer (re-drafted)
47 – Harrison Wigg (re-drafted)

Three picks in the top ten was always going to see the Suns leave the draft with a smile on their faces, and they used them to stockpile tall talent in Jack Lukosius and Ben King plus an excitement machine in Izak Rankine.

The Suns then traded up two second-round selections in order to grab half back Jez McLennan – probably overpaying a little to do so, but they were unlikely to use the second of those picks given their plans for the remainder of the draft.

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My take: I’m not convinced they’ve nailed it in terms of landing players who will commit to the club longterm, but time will tell.

GWS Giants

11 – Jye Caldwell
14 – Jackson Hately
22 – Xavier O’Halloran
24 – Ian Hill
34 – Kieren Briggs
61 – Connor Idun

Rookie draft
None

The Giants held three first-round selections this year and used all of them on midfielders. Jye Caldwell was a pleasant surprise to see available at their first selection, while Jackson Hately is arguably the most AFL-ready player of the draft. Xavier O’Halloran promises plenty.

They then made a bold call sacrificing a future second-round pick to trade up the order and pinch Ian Hill, who fits a player type that they’ve been trying to get on their list for a while now. Kieren Briggs through their academy fills a need also.

My take: I’m a fan of everything the Giants have done here, particularly the O’Halloran pick at 22. Fingers crossed Ian Hill turns out to be the player they obviously feel he is capable of being.

Hawthorn Hawks

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52 – Jacob Koschitzke
62 – Mathew Walker

Rookie draft
14 – Damon Greaves
30 – Will Golds
43 – Tim Mohr
49 – Will Langford (re-drafted)

Hawthorn made one of the more surprising calls of the draft when they elected not to match an early bid from Essendon on small forward Irving Mosquito, but this allowed them to retain an early enough pick to go for one of the draft’s better tall defenders in Jacob Koschitzke.

My take: Although the bid for Mosquito came earlier than expected, if the Hawks genuinely wanted him they could have made a live trade of some sort to match the bid – making it all the more surprising that they didn’t. Key defender stocks have been improved here with the additions of Koschitzke and Tim Mohr.

Melbourne Demons

27 – Tom Sparrow
33 – James Jordan
52 – Aaron Nietschke
56 – Marty Hore
75 – Toby Bedford

Rookie draft
15 – Kade Chandler

Melbourne added one of the best inside midfielders of the draft with Tom Sparrow at their first selection, and would’ve been happy to not be forced to match a bid for Toby Bedford and instead were able to pick him up with their final selection.

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Marty Hore is a mature defender from Collingwood’s VFL side who could play early.

My take: Given they just shed a quality inside mid in Dom Tyson during the trade period because their list is overstocked in this area of the ground, I don’t really understand why the Dees would spend their only top 30 selection on another player of that type.

North Melbourne Kangaroos

8 – Tarryn Thomas
46 – Curtis Taylor
49 – Bailey Scott
69 – Joel Crocker

Rookie draft
10 – Tom McKenzie
27 – Kyron Hayden (re-drafted)
41 – Tom Wilkinson

North went into draft night knowing they would add all three of Tarryn Thomas, Bailey Scott and Joel Crocker to the list at some point, but the nice little surprise was that they were able to make use of live trading to nab a slider in Curtis Taylor.

They addressed one of their most pressing list needs by picking up mature NEAFL small forward Tom Wilkinson in the rookie draft.

My take: As a North fan I’d have been happy enough just to walk away with Thomas and Scott, so to scoop up Taylor – rated a top-20 prospect by some – as well seems like it could be considered a major coup in years to come.

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Port Adelaide Power

5 – Connor Rozee
12 – Zak Butters
18 – Xavier Duursma
73 – Riley Grundy
76 – Boyd Woodcock

Rookie draft
9 – Tobin Cox
26 – Cameron Hewett (re-drafted)

Port got a local boy and a dynamic player in Connor Rozee with pick 5, but continued to look for class and creativity and found them in Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma with their two other selections in the first round.

They also nabbed a key defender in Riley Grundy, brother of Collingwood’s Brodie, late in the piece.

My take: I really like what Port did with their trio of early selections, bringing in players who boast the attributes most needed on their list.

2018 AFL Draft

(AAP Image/Daniel Pockett)

Richmond Tigers

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20 – Riley Collier-Dawkins
42 – Jack Ross
58 – Fraser Turner
62 – Luke English

Rookie draft
16 – Jake Aarts
32 – Jacob Townsend (re-drafted)
45 – Mabior Chol (re-drafted)

Richmond would have been pleasantly surprised to see Riley Collier-Dawkins at their first pick, a big-bodied mid who has been talked about like Nat Fyfe but perhaps more realistically might hope to become a David Mundy type.

Their three other selections in the draft all added to their midfield depth – Jack Ross and Luke English as inside mids, Fraser Turner more of a winger.

My take: After being seemingly happy to concede the clearances and contested ball in season 2018, the selections of Collier-Dawkins, Ross and English suggest the Tigers want to improve this area of their game.

St Kilda Saints

4 – Max King
41 – Jack Bytel
47 – Matthew Parker
54 – Nick Hind
67 – Robert Young

Rookie draft
3 – Callum Wilkie

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St Kilda picked up an immensely talented key forward in Max King with pick four before nabbing Jack Bytel with their next pick at 41 – an inside midfielder who could’ve been one of this year’s top prospects if not for repeated back injuries.

Their remaining four picks are all mature-age state league players – Robert Young and Callum Wilkie both from SANFL premiers North Adelaide, Matthew Parker from the WAFL and Nick Hind from Essendon’s VFL side.

My take: Max King’s talent was too good to pass on at pick 4 even if he’s not exactly the player St Kilda need, but to spend the remaining selections on an inside midfielder and mature players leaves me confused about where the Saints think their list is at and what they’re trying to achieve.

Sydney Swans

10 – Nick Blakey
25 – James Rowbottom
44 – Justin McInerney
51 – Zac Foot

Rookie draft
12 – Durak Tucker
28 – Henry Reynolds
42 – Kurt Tippett (re-drafted)

Thanks to a bid for Nick Blakey arriving late and also some clever live trading, Sydney were able to retain another pick inside the top 30 after matching the Blakey bid and used it to pick up an inside midfielder in James Rowbottom.

My take: The Swans would’ve been happy just to get Blakey on the books in this draft so finding a way to also bring another top-30 pick onto the list is a big win.

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West Coast Eagles

28 – Xavier O’Neill
31 – Luke Foley
35 – Bailey Williams
39 – Jarrod Cameron

Rookie draft
18 – Harry Edwards
34 – Josh Smith

The Eagles were one of the big beneficiaries of live trading – their deal with the Swans saw them upgrade next year’s third-rounder to a second-rounder, and then they made use of having the first pick on Day 2 by getting a good value trade from the Gold Coast Suns for it.

That allowed them to pick up four really good prospects in the national draft – two midfielders in Xavier O’Neill and Luke Foley, an athletic forward-ruckman in Bailey Williams, and NGA small forward Jarrod Cameron (brother of Brisbane’s Charlie).

My take: Bailey Williams at 35 is the player the Eagles were essentially able to get as a freebie because of their trade with Gold Coast, and having been considered a potential first-round pick for a lot of the year, he could prove to be one of the bigger draft bargains.

Western Bulldogs

7 – Bailey Smith
26 – Rhylee West
37 – Laitham Vandermeer
45 – Ben Cavarra
78 – Will Hayes

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Rookie draft
6 – Lachie Young
23 – Jordon Sweet

As expected the Bulldogs took explosive midfielder Bailey Smith with their first selection and then were able to match a bid for Rhylee West in the second round, making canny use of the live trading loophole to do it as cheaply as possible.

Laitham Vandermeer is a half back option while Ben Cavarra and Will Hayes are both mature players from the VFL, Hayes having just won Footscray’s best and fairest.

My take: No major surprises here, the Dogs have added some nice pieces to a young list already boasting plenty of them. Nice to see Cavarra get his chance.