After months of careful deliberations, Carlton’s Stephen Silvagni will make a decision at the top of the AFL draft that could have repercussions for his club for the next decade.
It is understood the Blues have settled on keeping the No.1 pick, having received no significant trade interest in recent weeks.
That could change tonight at Marvel Stadium if a rival club makes a bold late bid, with live trading in effect for the first time.
But as it stands Silvagni will take the opportunity to snare the best player of what is widely regarded as the most talent-laden draft since the super draft of 2001.
But who will that be?
Geelong Falcons midfielder Sam Walsh has been the hot favourite for some time, and deservedly so having taken all before him in a stunning under-18 season.
But the All Australian captain has competition.
AFL talent chief Kevin Sheehan says South Australian duo Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine and Victorian key forward Max King are also in the frame.
“I’m glad I’m not picking it because it’s a really tough call,” Sheehan said.
“I think all of those boys at different points of the year would have been considered worthy number ones.”
As the draft order stands, popular opinion has Walsh going to Carlton with the top pick, Lukosius and Rankine off to Gold Coast with the second and third selections and King to St Kilda at No.4.
Port Adelaide (with pick Nos. 5, 10 and 15), Adelaide (8, 13, 16 and 21) and GWS (9,11 and 19) will be the clubs to watch in the first round.
The Power and Crows, in particular, have the ammunition to make an offer the Suns or Saints can’t refuse for a top-four pick and both are known to covet Lukosius and Rankine.
As it stands seven clubs won’t be involved tonight when only the first 19 picks will be read out.
Barring a trade into the first round, premiers West Coast, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Essendon, Collingwood, North Melbourne and Sydney will wait until Friday when the rest of the national draft and the rookie draft meeting takes place.
As always, there will be plenty of interest around father-son bidding and selections.
The father-son nominations this year are Oscar Brownless (Geelong, son of Billy), Rhylee West (Western Bulldogs, son of Scott), Kyle Dunkley (Sydney, son of Andrew), Matthew Neagle (Essendon, son of Merv), Will Kelly (Collingwood, son of Craig), Ben Silvagni (Carlton, son of Stephen), Joel Crocker (North Melbourne, son of Darren) and Bailey Scott (North, son of Robert).
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