04/03/2024
Melbourne 2021 AFL Draft

Taj Woewodin is set to join Melbourne at the 2021 AFL Draft. Photo: @WAFLOfficial Twitter

There won't be a Mac Andrew for Melbourne next year, but they are set to pick up the son of a Brownlow Medallist.

Melbourne has continued its history of trading into the first round of the AFL Draft by acquiring the Western Bulldogs’ 2021 Pick 17. 

As with Jake Bowey in 2020, plus Trent Rivers and Kysaiah Pickett in 2019, the Dees will be searching for a player that can push for selection as soon as possible.

The premiers will add a father-son, and are in a good place to continue building their list with another first-round talent.

READ: AFL Draft Power Rankings: The Top 50 Prospects in 2021

2021 AFL Draft: No Mac Andrew, but Melbourne set to pick up son of Brownlow Medallist

Melbourne has Mac Andrew in its academy, but he won’t be playing for the Demons to start his career. With new academy rules in place, the Dees can’t match a bid within the first 20 selections on draft night, which is all but guaranteed.

Andrew’s rate of development this season has been incredible, with the athletic tall sharing similarities with Nik Cox and Luke Jackson in his ground level ability and running capacity. 

Nightcliff’s Andy Moniz-Wakefield has also been nominated as a Melbourne NGA prospect at the draft.

The Dees will, however, be picking someone up under the father-son rule. Taj Woewodin, son of Brownlow Medallist Shane, captained East Fremantle in the WAFL Colts and averaged 22.7 disposals across the year. He’s a malleable player in his ability to play anywhere around the ground at 183 centimetres.

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2021 AFL Draft: Who will be best available for Melbourne at Pick 17?

Melbourne draft selections: 17, 37, 49, 57, 94

Melbourne is set to take the best player available with their first selection. The club has great depth at every position, which made for many tough-luck stories for players who missed out on Grand Final selection.

The Dees could also be set to be the first premiers ever to field the same 22 in Round 1 of the next year, with Michael Hibberd signing on.

With best available in mind, the Dees could look at Campbell Chesser. The speedster hasn’t played much football in the past two years, but was a leading prospect in this draft pool through the U16s State Championships where he was an All-Australian. Chesser is classy with the ball and damaging on the edge of contests, with a high ceiling as a wingman or half-back at the next level.

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A player that could put pressure on the roles of Tom Sparrow and Alex Neal-Bullen in 2022 is Sam Butler. Brother of the Saints’ Dan, Butler is a midfielder that exits the front of stoppages with power and speed, and uses the ball well going inside 50. He’s also shown forward craft similar to his brother’s and could settle into a high-half forward role early in his career.

Zac Taylor is another option for the Dees similar to what Butler offers – Taylor may be the best inside 50 kick in the draft. He accumulated 26 touches a game for the Calder Cannons and there are whispers of a rise into the first round after a strong finish to his year and an outstanding showing at the Vic Metro training session last week.

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The combination of Ben Brown, Tom McDonald and Jackson worked beautifully this season, and the Dees also have Sam Weideman pushing for selection but another key forward to develop could be a nice option.

With Pick 37 or 49 the Dees could look at Jack Williams, a hulking key position player out of WA who is a Sharks teammate of Woewodin. He enjoyed a strong WAFL Colts season playing across all three areas of the ground and kicked 32 goals. His game is similar to that of McDonald’s with his swingman ability and contested marking. 

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