THREE clubs last night plunged on mature talent, pulling in players from the state leagues in part owing to a belief that mature players were a better choice than the young players on offer in the draft.
North Melbourne, Melbourne and Essendon all drafted players in their early twenties, with the Bombers making the surprise selection of 22-year-old mature recruit Dylan Van Unen, who previously played for Box Hill and Frankston in the VFL, at pick No. 51. They followed up by selecting 22-year-old Nick Kommer from East Perth with a later pick.
“Van Unen is a defender who can play tall and small, we think he is the sort of player who can step up and play senior footy straight away for us,” Bombers recruiter Adrian Dodoro said.
“We wanted to get two boys who we thought could play for us next year, Nick Kommer is very, very hard. we think we might have got a bit of a smokey there to be honest.”
The Bombers also chose Martin Gleeson, who is Jonathan Brown’s second cousin and related to Adrian Gleeson, after having been able to secure father-son Joe Daniher with their first pick.
Daniher, the key forward-ruck who might otherwise have been the first player taken in the draft, was also available to Sydney as a father-son pick as his father, Anthony, also played for the Swans, but Daniher chose the Bombers. Watching Daniher being selected by Essendon would have salted the wound for the Swans, smarting after missing Kurt Tippett in the trade period then having him unavailable in the national draft.
North Melbourne likewise picked up two players formerly at other AFL clubs, selecting 23-year-old Daniel Currie who was on the Swans’ list for four years with pick No. 56 and Gold Coast Suns midfielder Taylor Hine (pick No. 61), who played eight games in the second half of this year before being delisted.
The Roos also finally secured Ben Jacobs in the draft at No. 37 after they had been unable to secure him from Port Adelaide through the trade period. The deal foundered when North refused to give up more than pick 37 for the player. That proved wise as Jacobs slid through the draft to the second round and the Kangaroos were able to select Jacobs with that pick. Port, however, did not use a pick after 30, so No. 37 would have been redundant for them.
The Demons selected Matt Jones out of the Box Hill VFL side with a third-round pick (No. 52). But other former players failed to find clubs including Daniel Connors and Jason Gram.
Amusingly Melbourne’s new recruiter, Todd Viney, got to call out the name of his son, Jack, taken as a father-son selection by the Demons in more ways than one.
Lachie Whitfield, as expected, was taken by Greater Western Sydney with the first of its opening trio of picks, following with Jonathan O’Rourke and Lachie Plowman.
Whitfield said: “It’s very humbling, it’s something I hold very dear. I am honoured to be the No. 1 selection.”
Having voluntarily opted out of the draft’s first two rounds due to the draft and salary cap cheating charges against them, Adelaide finally had its pick at No. 62. It was their recruiter Hamish Ogilvie’s first draft in charge of recruiting and he chose Tasmanian Sam Siggins, 19.
The Western Bulldogs with two consecutive picks in the top 10 – No. 5 and 6 – chose Jake Stringer with their first pick. An aggressive and tough midfielder Stringer slipped slightly in the draft after having badly broken his leg and some clubs being alarmed by its impact on his running. Jackson Macrae was the second choice.
After Collingwood declined him as a father-son selection, James Stewart was picked up by Greater Western Sydney with No. 27. Hawthorn re-selected veteran Michael Osborne with a fourth-round pick.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.