24/05/2024
2021 AFL Draft Richmond

Could Ben Hobbs join Richmond in the 2021 AFL Draft? Photo: @NABLeague Twitter

Setting themselves up for one more tilt at the flag, Richmond will rejuvenate its list with five top-30 picks in the draft.

Richmond holds five top-30 picks and are set to be one of the big winners in the 2021 AFL Draft.

After a fall from grace this season, the club took the opportunity to stockpile selections with the departures of Callum Coleman-Jones and Mabior Chol. It leaves the club with the most top-30 selections of any team, and some opportunities at the trade table on draft night.

A fit and firing Dustin Martin plus a crop of young talent rejuvenating the list could see the Tigers make another charge for premiership glory in 2022.

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

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2021 AFL Draft: Should Richmond consider trading up further?

There are quality options in the second round with such an even draft pool, but the Tigers will be interested in moving up to potentially acquire three first-rounders. The Swans could be an interested party, but might need more than two mid-second-rounders for their Pick 16. 

North Melbourne’s Pick 20 also remains an option, which could be packaged with 42 for 26 and 27 which would allow the Tigers to go into the second night of the draft with the guarantee of getting one of the top two players on their draft board at that stage.

There remains the option to trade into the 2022 draft and Essendon would be a willing trade partner with its future second-rounder on the trade table.

2021 AFL Draft: Richmond have golden opportunity to rejuvenate list

Richmond draft selections: 7, 15, 26, 27, 28, 83

The elite crop of Tigers that led the charge to three flags are now entering their twilight years. Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards and Jack Riewoldt aren’t getting any younger, and the retirements of Bachar Houli and David Astbury leaves the club with shallow depth in defence.

With Pick 7, the Tigers could nab an elite midfielder of the draft pool.

GWV Rebel Ben Hobbs may be the best direct replacement for skipper Cotchin in the draft. The midfield bull is the best contested player and has a high floor as a prospect because of his ball-winning traits.

He’s also one of the best leaders in this class and would add leadership qualities to a club that is now eyeing life after its three-time premiership captain. With a full pre-season Hobbs would be in line to play senior football early in 2022.

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The likelihood is that one of Hobbs or Josh Ward will be available at the Tigers’ first selection, with the latter an accumulator that can hurt the opposition by foot. Ward shares similarities to Sam Walsh in his elite work-rate and clean hands, and is the type of player that stands up in the big moments.

The Tigers could be in a position that sees them take the one midfielder that the Hawks pass on at their selection. 

Other standout options include key position prospects Mac Andrew, Josh Gibcus, and Jye Amiss with the Tigers’ KPP depth now tested after departures and retirements.

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At Pick 15, the board will be wide open for Richmond.

Should it be a key defender here? If so, Jacob van Rooyen could be the best option. He starred in defence for WA in the State Championships, and dominated up forward late in the season for Claremont.

The home run play here could be Tyler Sonsie. We haven’t seen much of the midfielder this year due to injury and lockdowns, but Sonsie is one of the classiest players in the pool and has shown that he can produce elite football at VFL level already with his 26-disposal, two-goal performance for Box Hill.

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One of the biggest bolters of this draft class could land all the way up at Pick 15. Richmond has taken a good look at Mitch Knevitt and his performances for the Geelong Falcons. At 193 centimetres, Knevitt is a contested midfielder that finished the season with a 36-disposal, one-goal demolition of the Bendigo Pioneers.

With three consecutive selections in the midst of the second round, the Tigers should look to grab a variety of players, with a half-back on the agenda to fill the void of Houli and form a tandem with Jayden Short. 

Darcy Wilmot would be an astute choice if he falls to Pick 26, but the most likely option could be Tom Brown. The Bushranger is classy, composed and quick in the back half and would suit the Tigers’ style of play with his decision making. Alastair Lord will also be in this range after his spectacular finish to the season in the SANFL.

Playing a similar brand to Dion Prestia, WA hard-nut Angus Sheldrick will also be in consideration. His end to the 2021 season was superb at State level and in the WAFL Colts finals. Connor MacDonald was a standout for Vic Country in trial matches, while Matthew Roberts has fallen down rankings with a quiet State Championships but still possesses a great contested game.

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In the key defensive stakes, Rhett Bazzo projects to become a good lockdown defender and was a reliable player for WA, while a mature-age option is prolific defender Jack Avery who – at 190 centimetres – can play on a range of forwards and uses the ball well.

The Tigers have a plethora of options, and could set themselves up for their next flag tilt if they nail this draft.

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