AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft 2021: Your club’s picks analysed

Jacob Edwards was taken by North Melbourne at pick one. (Picture: nmfc.com.au)

After an exciting night at the 2021 AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft, The Inner Sanctum team takes you through every player selected on the night.

Adelaide:

Pick: Patrick Parnell (Pick 4)

Standing at just 178cm, Murray Bushranger product and new Adelaide Crow Patrick Parnell is very much in the mould of Western Bulldogs star Caleb Daniel as a classy half-back flanker. 

Renowned for his pin-point passing and toughness at the contest, the small defender will be a welcome addition to Adelaide’s developing backline and should form a nice combination with the likes of Will Hamill and Andrew McPherson in the years to come. Parnell has also shown an ability to play a lockdown role in defence and curve the influence of dangerous small forwards, with that extra versatility very appealing to the Crows. 

With more of a medium to long term view in mind when it came to this selection, there are absolutely no expectations on Parnell to come in and contribute at AFL level straight away. It is important the 19-year-old is given the chance to develop his body over the next 12 to 18 months and buy into the strong culture Matthew Nicks is building at West Lakes.

Zac Standish 

Brisbane:

Pick: Kalin Lane (Pick 14)

Out of the Claremont Reserves in the WAFL, Kalin Lane will take a while to develop as a ruck prospect for the Lions. 

The 204cm prospect is already showing soft hands in ruck contests, but needs to add size to his frame before he can press for AFL selection. Once he does that, he projects to become an elite contested mark with his hands, and uses his athleticism to butter up at stoppages and lay tackles. He will learn from the likes of Archie Smith and Oscar McInerney.

Jasper Chellappah

Carlton:

Picks: Alex Mirkov (Pick 6), Jordan Boyd (Pick 19)

The Blues decided to recruit from within, adding 210cm volleyball-convert Alex Mirkov from their VFL team. The 21-year-old is arguably the draft’s biggest bolter, he’s only played two games for Carlton’s VFL side and received special exemption to nominate for the Mid-Season Draft after not registering for last year’s draft.

Mirkov was on the radar of several clubs given his size, athleticism and the potential he’s shown as a tap ruckman across his limited appearances in the VFL. He’s a raw prospect and one Carlton will need to spend time developing over the next few years, but the upside is there for him to be a player of the future for the Blues.

The Blues then at pick 19 took the small and speedy Jordan Boyd. Hailing from Spotswood and more recently Footscray VFL, the Blues added the mature aged medium forward. He has played every game for the undefeated Footscray side this year, showing off his dash up forward and around the ground. The Blues will be hoping to add his classy ball use and finishing to their forward mix.

Hamish Spence

Collingwood:

Picks: Ash Johnson (Pick 3) and Aiden Begg (Pick 18)

The Magpies added an instant dose of excitement to their stagnant forward line by selecting Ash Johnson with the third overall pick. Averaging 2.2 goals and 6.2 marks a game for Sturt in the SANFL, the 23-year-old applies great forward pressure, has strong hands and knows how to get the crowd on their feet with his high-flying ability.

He’s the latest product out of Halls Creek and is the brother of Adelaide’s Shane McAdam. He is also cousins with Carlton’s Sam Petrevski-Seton and Gold Coast’s Jy Farrar. Given his 193cm and 85kg frame, he could play a similar role to Will Hoskin-Elliot as a hybrid third tall forward, especially since Hoskin-Elliot has been spending more time on the wing in recent weeks.

Collingwood then took the Eastern Ranges’ ruckman Aiden Begg with its second pick, with a clear eye to the future. Begg suffered a season-ending shoulder injury while playing in the NAB League, clearly indicating that the Pies see him as a long-term option. Standing at 197cm, he has impressed with his ruck craft and ability to play up forward, adding to the team’s developing key-position stocks in Liam McMahon, Will Kelly and Anton Tohill. 

Hamish Spence

Essendon:

Pick: Sam Durham (Pick 9)

The Bombers have snagged Sam Durham from under the noses of Richmond just a selection before the Tigers were rumoured to get him to Punt Road. Durham offers elite flexibility and skills, and has plied his trade with the Richmond VFL side this season. Expect him to settle as a rebounding defender at the Bombers; he will add depth to a back-line of general defenders including Dyson Heppell, Nick Hind and Mason Redman. 

Jasper Chellappah

Fremantle:

Did not have a pick.

Geelong:

Did not have a pick.

Gold Coast:

Pick: Ned Moyle (Pick 5)

Projected to go as high as pick number two, Ned Moyle fell right into the lap of the Suns, who were crying out for a ruckman. Standing at 205cm, the 19-year-old AFL Academy member has been all-conquering this year. Moyle has starred for the Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League and played a few games for Collingwood’s VFL side, where competed well against AFL-listed ruckmen like new teammate Zac Smith, Sam Naismith and Callum Sinclair.

Moyle knows how to compete in the ruck contest and win taps, but he also covers the ground and provides constant follow-up efforts. He addresses an immediate need given the Suns’ current injuries in the ruck department, but he is also a promising long-term option to develop alongside injured co-captain Jarrod Witts. If he can get up to Queensland soon and start training, there isn’t much stopping Moyle from making his AFL debut sometime this season.

Hamish Spence

Greater Western Sydney:

Pick: James Peatling (Pick 8)

Perseverance has paid off for the soon-to-be 21-year-old who was looked over in two drafts. James Peatling has been a stand out for the Giants in the VFL, averaging 22 disposals while playing across the midfield and halfback.

He also has the versatility to move down back, a necessary attribute for the Giants who are battling major injury woes in their defence. Peatling will contribute a creative mind and speed in his position, with the ability to apply pressure on the ball. 

Tricia Mifsud

Hawthorn:

Picks: Jai Newcombe (Pick 2) and Jackson Callow (Pick 17)

After being one of the biggest stories leading into the draft, Jai Newcombe ultimately did land at Hawthorn with its first selection. The Box Hill product nominated for the draft under ‘other terms’, creating conjecture over whether the Hawks had advised him to add extra years to his contract in a bid to ward off other clubs and keep him at Waverley. But the club decided it did not want to risk him being taken before its pick in the second round, and you can understand why.

The 180cm midfielder is a contested bull who has been averaging 23 disposals in the VFL. Given his familiarity with the Hawks’ program and the team’s current weaknesses in the midfield, Newcombe could slot straight into the senior side and made an instant impact.

After training on at Hawthorn over the pre-season and failing to win a list spot, it came full circle for Jackson Callow on Wednesday night. Originally from Tasmania, the 195cm and 96kg key forward has been dominating for Norwood in the SANFL this season.

He led the league in contested marks, despite just turning 19, and starred against Adelaide’s SANFL side a few weeks ago with his 24 disposals, seven contested marks and kicked three goals. He looms as a prospect who could make an immediate and long-term impact for the Hawks, given his age and strong form at SANFL level.

Hamish Spence

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Melbourne:

Picks: Kye Declase (Pick 15) and Daniel Turner (Pick 24)

Kyle Declase was a train-on player with the Demons before the start of the 2021 season, but wasn’t given a list spot. Second time’s the charm for the Werribee tall, who has also played for the Northern Blues in the VFL. While he has traditionally been a defender, Declase has spent the majority of his time up forward this year, kicking six goals in his five games while averaging 22 disposals and seven marks. The Dees could use him as a true swingman given his ability to play at either end.

Hailing from the Murray Bushrangers, 19-year-old Daniel Turner has shown the ability to be a strong interceptor at NAB League level, taking advantage of his 191cm frame to dominate aerially. Turner has averaged 17 disposals, eight marks and four rebound 50s so far this year. He could slot into Adam Tomlinson’s role in defensive 50, or play the remainder of the year at Casey to further develop his craft.

Alex Catalano

North Melbourne:

Picks: Jacob Edwards (Pick 1), Charlie Ham (Pick 16)

As widely predicted and speculated, North Melbourne selected ruck/forward Jacob Edwards with the first selection of the 2021 Mid-Season Draft. After loading up on midfielders in the National Draft at the end of last season, North secured Edwards who looks to be a long term player in the attacking 50, partnering with Nick Larkey for years to come.

The Kangaroos then selected small defender Charlie Ham with their next pick in the draft. The brother of Essendon’s Brayden, Charlie is a smart and evasive player who rarely wastes a possession – his disposal efficiency is 90.9% during his bottom age NAB League season for the Geelong Falcons, and will certainly add a different dimension to North Melbourne’s back half.

Jono Baruch

Port Adelaide:

Picks: Jed McEntee (Pick 13)

Port Adelaide has copped injury after injury this season and has added some classy depth with Jed McEntee from Sturt. He has performed through the guts this year but can also play as a small forward, averaging 19.1 disposals in his eight games for the Double Blues. The 19-year-old will be on Port’s list for longer than just 2021 and if the injuries keep up, may find himself featuring at AFL level early on.

Jack Hudson

Richmond:

Picks: Matthew Parker (Pick 10)

Former Saint Matthew Parker will get another chance on an AFL list as he heads to Tigerland to bolster their forward line. In the WAFL on the weekend, he gave a sensational performance for South Fremantle against West Coast’s WAFL side, kicking four goals, taking nine marks and gaining 26 touches.

At 187cm tall, his aerial work is sublime, and he hits the scoreboard consistently. At 25, not only is he a mature player, but his prior experience on an AFL list will give him an edge, putting him in the frame for a potential debut this year. Parker will reunite with Marlion Pickett, another South Fremantle product taken in the 2019 Mid-Season Draft.

Rebecca Ruthven

St Kilda:

Picks: Max Heath (Pick 7) and Cooper Sharman (Pick 21)

With Rowan Marshall still two to four weeks away from a return, the Saints have done well to add to their ruck stocks with Max Heath. The 202cm ruckman was rated as highly as a top 30 pick in the 2020 national draft before going undrafted.

He played three games for the Sandringham Dragons this year, averaging 24 hit outs and four tackles. Heath particularly focused on his endurance leading into last year’s draft, and has shown in the NAB League this year that he can put in four quarters of effort.

Cooper Sharman has made his way all over Australia, chasing every opportunity to achieve his AFL dream. Originally from Leeton in the Riverina, Sharman was briefly a part of the Giants academy before signing with Coburg in the VFL for the cancelled 2020 season.

He played two games for Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL this year, kicking two goals and averaging 11 disposals, six and a half marks and two and a half inside 50s. He is renowned for his strong ability to lead out of the forward 50, and at 193cm, provides another tall option for St Kilda’s struggling forward line.

Alex Catalano

Sydney:

Pick: Lachlan McAndrew (Pick 12)

Although the Sydney ruck stocks have been revived with Tom Hickey’s strong form, injury and age suggest him and Sam Naismith will not be around for many more years. With an eye on the future, Sydney took Lachlan McAndrew with their selection.

McAndrew is a Swans Academy player honing his craft in the VFL and is a long term prospect for the Swans ruck stocks. At 209cm, McAndrew is one of the tallest players to ever be on the Swans list. Remarkably, the 21-year-old has only played Aussie rules since 2019. McAndrew has played two VFL games so far this season, but has shown a willingness to learn and grow, which will no doubt occur under Sydney ruck coach Dean Cox. 

Thomas Grattan

West Coast:

Picks: Will Collins (Pick 11) and Connor West (Pick 23)

After being on the Eagles’ radar since the Pre-season Supplementary Selection Period, it’s unsurprising they picked up Will Collins with their first pick of the evening. Since February, the 19-year-old has spent time in Swan Districts’ reserves and league backline developing his ball usage.

He will continue to learn from All-Australian defenders Brad Sheppard and Shannon Hurn, while also joining the likes of Jackson Nelson, Alex Witherden and Tom Cole, as the next generation of West Coast defenders. At 185cm, the lockdown defender boasts a powerful left-foot kick and pace.

With Luke Shuey and Tim Kelly still four weeks away and Elliot Yeo on limited minutes, recruiting West Perth’s Connor West was a clever draft move. The son of former Eagle Robbie West is a tough, mature body who finds the ball easily and lays plenty of tackles.

Averaging 27 touches and six tackles a game with plenty of experience on his side, the 22-year-old could slot into their midfield with ease. With a playing list ravaged by injury, West is an exciting addition to a midfield that needs more depth. 

Rebecca Ruthven

Western Bulldogs:

Did not have a pick.

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