Giants make Whitfield No.1

EVERY AFL club has spent more than two years waiting for Lachie Whitfield to become old enough. Whitfield’s long wait ended too, the teenager on his way to Greater Western Sydney as the No. 1 draft pick.
Nanjing Night Net

Whitfield became the top-ranked player of 2012 at the start of a draft in which Ben Jacobs reached North Melbourne two months after quitting Port Adelaide, and Melbourne recruiting manager Todd Viney called the name of his son, father-son draftee Jack.

Adelaide, which relinquished its draft picks in rounds one and two on Wednesday, chose tall Tasmanian defender Sam Siggins when the club finally entered the draft near the end of round three, with pick No. 62.

Whitfield, a classy midfielder, was called ahead of midfielder Jono O’Rourke and key defender Lachie Plowman, the Giants opting for three Victorians with the opening three selections.

Whitfield has starred for Vic Country for the past two years and is a versatile player the Giants will be able to use in many parts of the ground, primarily through the midfield but also in the forward line or off half-back.

”It’s very humbling, something that I hold dear to me, to be the No. 1 selection,” said Whitfield, who will not feel completely like a fish out of water when he moves to Sydney next week, having played junior football with many of the Giants’ 2012 debutants.

The Giants’ work wasn’t done there. With picks 12 and 14 the AFL’s newest club dominated the front part of the draft for a second consecutive year, and added a key forward and key back in Kristian Jaksch and Aidan Corr with those fourth and fifth picks. GWS then pulled a minor surprise, grabbing James Stewart, the son of former Collingwood player Craig. The Magpies had access to Stewart as a father-son pick in 2012 but opted against nominating the athletic key forward.

Melbourne opted for wingman Jimmy Toumpas with pick No. 4, before the Western Bulldogs had a double shot at adding another pair of young players to their work-in-progress list that tumbled down the

ladder this year. Jake Stringer, a big, strong midfielder who can take a mark playing forward and spent last season returning from a broken leg, was the Dogs’ pick at No. 5, with classy goalkicker Jackson Macrae called out at No. 6.

Tough midfielder Ollie Wines is on the move from Echuca to Port Adelaide as the No. 7 pick, with classy midfielder Sam Mayes (Brisbane), hard nut Nick Vlastuin (Richmond) and Essendon’s father-son pick Joe Daniher rounding out the top 10.

”It’s exciting, but for me it doesn’t mean any more pressure than anyone else here,” said the son of former Bombers’ full-back Anthony.

Hugely talented South Australian Troy Menzel, who clubs were wary of given he had a LARS knee reconstruction at the age of 16 two years ago, made it to Carlton as the No. 11 pick.

Jacobs made it to North Melbourne’s second-round pick, No. 37, after quitting the Power at the end of the season and after his potential trade there fell through last month. Dayle Garlett, a West Australian midfielder, who many believed to be top-10 talent, was overlooked entirely, with clubs concerned at a raft of off-field disciplinary issues.

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