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AFL clubs turn sights to "super-draft"

Football

With this year’s AFL drafts done and dusted, clubs will quickly turn their focus to the 2018 ‘super’ draft.

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The quality of next year’s talent pool has seen it compared favourably to the AFL’s famous 2001 super draft headed by Luke Hodge, Luke Ball and Chris Judd.

That’s high praise, but AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan says it’s justified.

“We’re really optimistic it could be the second of the real super drafts,” Sheehan said.

“We’re pretty excited … in the top 10 or 12 you’d find a player from each state or territory, which is pretty rare.

“The way the boys performed at under-18 level as 17-year-olds was very exciting. We’ve got some points of reference that tell us that next year’s draft looks pretty special.

“There will be a combination of players as well – midfielders, some taller players, some goal-kickers who are real excitement machines.”

Yesterday’s rookie draft was the final opportunity for clubs to add players to their 2018 rosters following Friday night’s national draft selection meeting in Sydney.

Brisbane made Victorian midfielder-forward Cameron Rayner, who has been likened to Richmond superstar Dustin Martin, this year’s No.1 pick.

Father-son prospect Jackson Edwards, the son of two-time Adelaide premiership champion Tyson, joined the Crows at the rookie draft yesterday, along with Sturt premiership star Patrick Wilson and standout Crows development player Lachlan Murphy. The Crows also, as promised, re-recruited senior list discard Cam Ellis-Yolmen, returning from a season layoff after a knee reconstruction, as a rookie.

Former Port player Cam O’Shea was the only selection in the pre-season draft, which was briefly called off before Carlton notified the AFL it intended to exercise its call.

Edwards’ selection – Adelaide’s second father-son rookie gambit after selecting Darren Jarman’s son Ben last year – followed Chris Naish’s boy Patrick finding his way to Punt Road (pick No.34 of the national draft) while Tyler Brown, son of Gavin, joined brother Callum at Collingwood at pick 50. 

Experienced players to be given lifelines at the rookie draft includedLindsay Thomas (Port Adelaide), Stewart Crameri (Geelong), Dylan Buckley (Greater Western Sydney) and Matt Shaw (Carlton).

Players of note to miss out include Richmond’s Ben Lennon, Geelong’s Tom Ruggles, Sydney’s Michael Talia and Carlton’s Blaine Boekhorst.

-AAP

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