13/04/2024

Matthew Jefferson is officially a Demon. (Photo: AFL)

Despite looking to trade up in the draft, Melbourne have secured their man taking Matthew Jefferson at Pick 15 of the draft.

Despite looking to trade up in the draft, Melbourne has secured their man taking Matthew Jefferson at Pick 15 of the draft. 

Speaking to the media after the first round of the draft, Melbourne Recruiting boss Jason Taylor said that Jefferson will fit a need for the club going forward. 

“We’re rapt to get Matty,” Taylor told media at Marvel Stadium. 

“We knew that there would be a range of player at that part of the draft, we really rate Matty’s talent and he fits a bit of a need for us to go on forward that we needed to bring in someone to partner [Jacob] Van Rooyen long term, so i think that was a real win for us to be honest.”

Over the coming years, Jefferson and Van Rooyen will be looking to form a dynamic partnership in the Demons’ forward line going forward, with both bringing different strengths to the table. 

Both talls had fantastic 2022 campaigns that they’ll be looking to build on going into 2023. 

Van Rooyen kicked 36 goals in the Casey Demons premiership season, including a six-goal haul against North Melbourne in the VFL. Meanwhile, Jefferson averaged 3.5 goals a game in the U18 Championships including a seven-goal haul against Western Australia which included six in the third term. 

“I think they’re different, which is always nice. I think they will complement each other in the way they play. I think the proof will be in the pudding over the journey and over the next few years. 

“They do have a different style to each other and that was an attraction as well.” 

Melbourne was one of the handful of clubs looking to get into the draft earlier on the night, having tabled an offer to Essendon for its pick five. While they put their hat in the ring to strike a deal with the Bombers, they were just as happy to wait until pick 15.

“We needed some stuff back, we had a serious crack at it. Lamby worked through that over the phone but we were quite serious about getting up but that’s purely on trying to attract the best possible talent that we could at the top end of the draft. Equally, we were happy to sit where we were and get the player we had at that range.” 

Melbourne has one more selection in tonight’s proceedings, sitting at pick 40 after the four father-son and Next Generation Academy selections. They have a few scenarios in mind.

One of which is young ruck Harry Barnett, who’s the leading ruck in this year’s draft pool. The South Australian averaged 24.8 hit outs per game for West Adelaide in the SANFL Under 18’s competition. 

“We’re looking at various types, but another young ruck would be of some interest but there’s some other players there on our board that will be of some value as well.” 

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After a disappointing end for the Demons in 2022 which saw a straight-set exit from the finals. Taylor believes the Demons have what it takes to contend for another premiership, with great reports coming out of their first day back on the track.

“I think the boys will be certainly hurting from our exit last year and in footy it’s hard to win premierships but certainly going out in straight sets would have the boys primed and ready to go.

“So first day back today, some good reports from the first to four-year players and I think everyone’s raring to go and I do think we can have a serious crack at it.”

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