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The Roar


Scotty's choice: Bombers face tough call heading into AFL Draft

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27th November, 2022

With the first few names of the AFL draft seemingly a lock, Essendon’s agonising decision on how to spend their prized top pick is set to shape the course of the opening round.

Only the order of the first four names appears in doubt ahead of Monday night’s start.

Aaron Cadman will go to GWS, either at pick No.1 or 2, depending on whether the Giants bid on Brisbane father-son prospect Will Ashcroft, who is bound for the Lions.

Tricky forward Harry Sheezel and midfielder George Wardlaw appear destined for North Melbourne.

But the Bombers’ current pick No.4, which will drop to No.5 on draft night due to the Ashcroft selection, looms as the first big fork in the road.

Essendon have made no secret of their desire to add height to an undersized midfield and two names fit the bill.

One is 186cm-tall Oakleigh Chargers on-baller Elijah Tsatas,  an elite ballwinner who possesses a neat step through traffic.


But the Bombers have also been linked to South Australian Mattaes Phillipou, a 190cm left-footer from Woodville-West Torrens.

Phillipou is an explosive midfielder by trade but can also be swung forward to great effect.

Hawthorn have also spoken to Phillipou, who recently flew to Victoria to speak to both the Hawks and Bombers, and could pounce on either him or Tsatas at pick No.6, or fellow midfielder Cameron Mackenzie.

There is a third option for the Bombers: trading out the prized pick in order to land multiple selections a bit further down the order.

Essendon have reportedly been willing to field offers for their top pick, which they are able to trade on the night.

If it is traded, with Melbourne reportedly among those eyeing the selection, that could throw another spanner in the works.


Elsewhere, Geelong have long been linked to local midfielder Jhye Clark at pick No.7, while West Coast could pounce on WA local Reuben Ginbey with the following selection.

The first round of the draft will be held on Monday night, with the rest of the order completed on Tuesday night.


1. GWS

2. North Melbourne

3. North Melbourne

4. Essendon


5. Gold Coast

6. Hawthorn

7. Geelong

8. West Coast

9. St Kilda

10. Carlton