Demons add versatility and talent to premiership list

Melbourne list manager Jason Taylor acquired more talent and versatility in this year's draft. (Photo: Melbourne FC)

After a premiership-winning year in 2021, the Demons acquired more talent and versatility to add to their list for 2022.

Melbourne selected three players in this year’s draft, picking up Claremont swingman Jacob van Rooyen with their first pick. They also selected Sandringham winger Blake Howes and East Fremantle’s Taj Woewodin, son of Melbourne and Collingwood star Shane.

List manager Jason Taylor said Woewodin will bring versatility to the Melbourne lineup, adding that they’ll develop him more as a midfielder

“At national level he’s played on a wing, half forward, half back mainly as a bottom ager and been successful in all areas,” Taylor said at Marvel Stadium last night.

“We see his game grow as a midfielder really, his inside game’s really taken off this year, that’s where we’ll look to play him.”

The 183cm father/son prospect played 15 games in the Colts this year, averaging 22.7 disposals, 5.1 marks, 4.5 tackles and kicking nine goals.

Woewodin was utilised more in the middle of the ground as the year wore on, only dropping below 20 disposals in a match just once in the second half of the season.

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Taylor touched on Howes, saying that he will only add to that versatility. He played as a winger this year whilst also playing down back and up forward in recent years.

“He played really good footy as a 16-year-old forward, he’s got a really good aerial game, that’s one of his aces if you like,” Taylor said.

“Then he’s played behind both at school level and at Sandringham Dragons on occasions, some people think that’s his best footy. 

“He finished the year on the wing and I reckon his game started to really grow and then COVID hit.”

There’s been much discussion around West Australian van Rooyen and where his best footy is suited. Many draft pundits saw his defensive game as stronger despite closing out the Colts season with 22 goals in his last six games.

Van Rooyen also went through a bout of glandular fever during the year. His strong finish to the year following those few weeks off showed he has character.

Taylor added that whilst the tall can play back, they’ll also develop him down forward.

“Jacob’s played key back and key forward, but he’s been successful as a forward in the latter part of the year,” he said.

“He got going through the nationals middle of the year and then he finished off the year really well, which I think’s a bit of a indicator of his character.”

Melbourne’s full selections:

Jacob van Rooyen (Pick 19), Blake Howes (Pick 39), Taj Woewodin (Pick 79, F/S)

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