Max Michalanney is set to join Adelaide.

The Crows will enter the 2022 draft with an unusual hand for a team that finished in 14th position on the ladder. After trading Pick 5 to the Gold Coast for local talent Izak Rankine, Adelaide won’t enter the draft until matching a bid for father-son prospect Max Michalanney.

They’ll attack the draft with four picks, however, after dealing with the father/son bid, recruitment manager Hamish Ogilvie believes they’ll be lucky to even take two selections. Committing to re-drafting Andrew McPherson and Paul Seedsman, list spots will be tough to come by.

The Crows would be open to trading back up into the higher rounds of this year’s draft, excited by a few names in those ranges. They’re also keeping their eye on next year’s draft, and are considering abandoning the 2022 draft altogether in favour of strengthening that hand.

READ: AFL Draft Power Rankings: The top 50 prospects in 2022

Adelaide’s draft hand: 46, 56, 59, 81

2022 AFL Draft: Father-Son defender guaranteed

Adelaide will be sitting comfortably knowing they’re guaranteed to have Max Michalanney on their list in 2023. Son of Jim who played 211 games for Norwood, Max is one of the best general defenders in this year’s draft pool.

He is elite at reading the play and predicting the opposition’s next move, which gifts him a bulk of intercept possessions at just 190 cm tall. His athleticism and aerial ability help him cover a range of attacking opponents, demonstrating his ability to play well above his height in the Under 18s State Championships.

Michalanney’s numbers don’t represent his dedication to his role; he thrives on perfecting the basics and blanketing his target each week. He will be a welcome addition to the Crows’ backline who often seemed to struggle with discipline and being accountable to their opponents.

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Coming into the Adelaide system, he could benefit from some extra time in the gym to fill out his frame and gain more strength in the contest. Similarly, an AFL pre-season would likely develop his tendency to be timid in packs, improved physicality would see him be a premier general defender through the Crows’ rebuild.

2022 AFL Draft: Moving back up the draft order

Adelaide has a host of late picks in this year’s draft and would be open to packaging those picks in order to find themselves in the earlier rounds of the 2022 draft. They’ve also had conversations with the Giants for the coveted first pick of the second round.

There is a large selection of home-grown talent on offer in the second round, with the Crows showing their keenness to adopt an Adelaide-based list.

Jakob Ryan is a fast-moving rebounding defender out Glenelg who may only be available if they acquire the first pick of the second night from the Giants. Averaging 28 disposals and seven marks during his eight games in the SANFL Under 18s, his flowing blond mullet was easy for recruiters to spot as he bolted into late first-round projection.

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Woodville-West-Torrens’ Adam D’Aloia is a prolific ball-winner that would add depth to the Crows’ building list of inside midfielders. He had 30.5 disposals per game on average during the Under 18s SANFL competition and was a standout for his proficiency inside the contest. He often looked a class above others that simply couldn’t handle his strength and determination at the coalface.

They may be looking towards Billy Dowling to strengthen their outside contingent. The North Adelaide product has an incredible running capacity and averaged over 30 disposals during his 12 games at SANFL Under 18s level. Capable of hitting the scoreboard at the end of his efforts, Dowling has all the tools to be an AFL wingman.

2022 AFL Draft: Eyes on 2023

The club hasn’t been shy when talking about plans for next year’s draft and is heavily considering maximising their hand for 2023. Ogilvie highly rates the crop available and spoke about it when discussing why they’d be tentative to make the trade for pick 19 with GWS.

There is a high level of talent already making cases to be top-five picks in 2023, with the Crows hoping to increase their chances of snagging one of the top prospects.

Harley Reid is the early favourite for the top pick next year, playing as a bottom-ager in the State Championships he averaged 20.3 disposals and 6.5 marks through his four games. He also has the capability to find the scoreboard going at almost a goal per game in the NAB league for the Bendigo Pioneers.

Vic Country forward Nick Watson is another contender for the top selections. The small forward averaged 2.6 goals over his seven NAB league games for the Eastern Ranges – he applies high pressure in the forward line and is making a strong case to be a very early pick in 2023.

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