How did your club fare? FULL AFL 2020 Draft Wrap

Logan McDonald. Picture: Sydney Swans.

It took a while to get here this year and after a long night, the 2020 AFL Draft has been completed with 60 new young men realizing their childhood dreams. The Inner Sanctum take a look at your team and what they acquired at this year’s AFL Draft

Adelaide:

Who did they pick?

Pick 2 – Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide) 

Pick 11 – Luke Pedlar (Glenelg)

Pick 25 – Brayden Cook (South Adelaide)

Pick 28 – Sam Berry (Gippsland Power)

Pick 38 – James Rowe (Woodville-West Torrens)

A quick word:

The Adelaide Crows kicked off draft night with the first ever bid at the number one selection, picking prodigiously talented key forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. That bid was expectedly matched by the Bulldogs and the Crows were put on the clock again, this time going for local talent Riley Thilthorpe. The West Adelaide product is a promising athlete with very strong hands, elite aerobic capacity and is extremely clean below his knees for a player of his height. In a selection that was down to Thilthorpe and Western Australian phenom Logan McDonald, the Crows were keen to find a focal point for their forward line moving forward and believe the hometown boy will provide it. Partnering Taylor Walker, Elliot Himmelberg and Darcy Fogarty in the Crows attacking 50, Adelaide fans will hope he can continue to develop his body and rise into that modern style hybrid ruck/forward that clubs desperately covet. Along with his prowess up forward, Thilthorpe has shown an ability to go up the ground and have an impact in the ruck as he loves getting his hands on the footy. 

With their second pick the Crows pulled the surprise of the draft selecting bolter Luke Pedlar with the 11th selection. A tough on baller blessed with speed and power through the stoppage, the Crows see Pedlar as that X-Factor player that can break the lines and bring this one paced midfield to life. Forced to give up their second selection with other clubs circling late on the Glenelg product, it will be interesting to see whether Pedlar can come in and have an impact for the Crows next season. It is important to raise that the last draft smokey Hamish Ogilvie went for in the first round was a man nobody had heard of in 2015 called Tom Doedee, it is safe to say that worked out well for the Crows. 

Adelaide also further added to their midfield depth with their pair of picks in the 20’s, trading up to select local prospect Brayden Cook and hard working Gippsland product Sam Berry. They also added reigning Ken Farmer medallist James Rowe, who rose to contention following an outstanding season for the Eagles. An exciting small forward, it will be interesting to see if the mature age recruit can transfer his outstanding SANFL form to the top level. 

Zac Standish

Brisbane:

Who did they pick?

Pick 24 – Blake Coleman (Morningside/Brisbane Lions Academy) 

Pick 43 – Harry Sharp (North Ballarat Rebels)

Pick 48 – Henry Smith (Woodville West-Torrens)

A quick word:

Matching a bid from Collingwood saw Coleman join Brisbane at pick 24. Joining his older brother Kieden at the Den. Blake has been likened to Jeff Garlett and Liam Ryan. The 18-year-old from the Lions Academy is a pressure forward with elite goal sense who will pair well with Charlie Cameron in the forward line. Harry Sharp is still only 17-years of age with another year of high school to complete but will be one that will excite Lions fans. Sharp is an endurance machine who broke the 2km time trial record at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne by 20 seconds with a time of 5 minutes and 28 seconds. The hybrid midfielder is strong at the contest and a good user by foot. His strong endurance running is his biggest asset but will need time to develop. A ready-made ruckman, Henry has been likened to now fellow teammate Oscar McInerny. The Woodville West-Torrens product is still very raw but standing at 202cm, Henry is a threat in the air and has already proven to be a strong contested mark. Should he fill out, Henry could be a damaging tall in years to come.

James Strebinos

Carlton

Who did they pick?

Pick 37 – Corey Durdin (Central Districts)

Pick 41 – Jack Carroll (East Fremantle)

A quick word:

For the first time since 2002, Carlton entered the draft for the first time after Pick 30, having done most of their shopping in the trade and free agency period. Entering the draft at pick 37,  selected for needs, in Corey Durdin, a crafty, speedy small forward who has spent time at senior level in the SANFL for Central Districts. Managed to nab slider Jack Carroll with their next pick who many experts are claiming as one of the bargains of the draft. Carroll, the youngest player in the draft, a clean and classy inside midfielder adding more midfield depth to the Blues burgeoning list of young talent. 

Jono Baruch

Collingwood:

Who did they pick? 

Pick 17 – Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)

Pick 19 – Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)

Pick 23 – Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers/Collingwood Next Generation Academy)

Pick 30 – Caleb Poulter (Woodville West Torrens)

Pick 31 – Liam McMahon (Northern Knights)

Pick 44 –  Beau Mccreery (South Adelaide)

A quick word:

Chaotic. Could make a reality TV show out of the drama and chronicles in Collingwood’s room. Take a breath, Pies fans, it ended as a massive tick. There were pick swaps, bids, matching bids, phone calls aplenty but it was worth the effort. 

Were able to pick up marking forward Oliver Henry- brother of Geelong’s Jack- and midfielder Finlay McCrae- brother of Western Bulldogs’ Jack- before a bid came for Reef McInnes. In McInnes they get a prototype midfielder who has been part of their NGA courtesy of his mother’s Filipino heritage. Caleb Poulter’s in a similar mould and has shown he’s a ball magnet and uses it well with his penetrating left boot at under-18 SANFL level, but will be given time to develop. McMahon’s another who needs to fill out but when he’s ready will fill the hole as a key forward. Has an excellent vertical leap and improved his running patterns during 15 appearances as an under-ager for Northern Knights last year. 

Picked up an unknown in Beau Mccreery who has senior level experience at South Adelaide who gives and gets goals and keeps defenders honest. As well as the acquisition of players, and juggling draftees around McInnes they had Nick Daicos to keep in mind. The son of the Macedonian Marvel looks a top three pick next season, the Pies therefore willing to trade next year’s picks since they’ll have to match a bid early on.

Jonty Ralphsmith

Essendon:

Who did they pick?

Pick 8 – Nik Cox – (Northern Knights)

Pick 9 – Archie Perkins – (Sandringham Dragons)

Pick 10 – Zach Reid – (Gippsland Power)

Pick 39 – Josh Eyre (Calder Cannons/ Essendon Next Generation Academy)

Pick 53 – Cody Brand (Cody Brand/ Essendon Next Generation Academy)

A quick word:

The Dons decided to replenish their key position stocks with Nik Cox and Zach Reid, while splitting those two selections with the electric Archie Perkins. Both talls project to be dominant AFL players for the next decade, with Cox presenting as the archetypal swing-man, while Reid’s smarts and ball use out of the defensive half make him an exciting prospect.

Suddenly life without Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker looks a lot brighter for the Dons.

Archie Perkins is a player who will excite Bomber fans from day one. The long-haired dynamo has the potential to be the best player in the draft with a rare combination of elite athleticism and goal sense. 

The Dons also were able to lock away their Next Generation Academy duo Josh Eyre and Cody Brand with much later selections than expected.

Todd Davey

Fremantle:

Who did they pick?

Pick 14 – Heath Chapman (West Perth)

Pick 27 – Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth)

Pick 50 – Brandon Walker (East Fremantle/Fremantle Next Generation Academy)

Pick 54 – Joel Western (Claremont/Fremantle Next Generation Academy)

A quick word:

Picked up four locals in Heath Chapman and Nathan O’Driscoll and NGA prospects Brandon Walker and Joel Western. Chapman’s a West Perth rebounding defender who will take some time to develop. That’ll give him the opportunity to learn from the likes of Luke Ryan and his ultra-competitiveness means he should thrive under Justin Longmuir. 

The Dockers identified Nathan O’Driscoll as a player to bring into their system, so traded up to and got him with pick 27. Has played off halfback for Perth this season with some time in the midfield. O’Driscoll will look to build his tank to play extended periods on the ball, his appeal lying in his toughness and dour ball-winning ability. 

Ghanian Brandon Walker slid to pick 50 where Essendon put in a bid giving Fremantle a bargain. What he lacks in defensive attributes, he makes up for in his speed and evasiveness which can’t be taught. Has the basics downpat and doesn’t get the high-disposal numbers but looks dangerous each time he gets it. At pick 54 Western Bulldogs put a bid in for lightly framed speedster Joel Western, which Fremantle matched. The Claremont product is another who’ll add cleanliness and ability on the outside and can be used as a small forward. 

Perhaps the only question for supporters following the draft is whether they could’ve added a key forward to their list to help out Matt Taberner, but a good evening for the Dockers, adding four WA boys the parochial Optus Stadium crowd can get behind.

Jonty Ralphsmith

Geelong:

Who did they pick?

Pick 20 – Max Holmes (Sandringham Dragons)

Pick 33 – Shannon Neale (South Fremantle)

Pick 47 – Nicholas Stevens (GWV Rebels)

A quick word:

Holmes was somewhat of a smokey, selected after Geelong traded their future first-round pick to secure pick 20 from Richmond. He is regarded highly for his running capacity and athleticism, with a strong athletics background making him an attractive pick for Geelong. 

Neale is a good ruck prospect for the Cats, with his ruckwork, athleticism and vertical leap key aspects of his game. The West-Australian also has the ability to push forward, with his overhead and contested marking another trait that caught the eye of recruiters. He’ll be able to develop under the guidance of Rhys Stanley and Esava Ratugolea and will benefit from their mentorship.

Stevens’ game is marked by his kicking ability, composure and decision making with ball in hand. Compared to now teammate Tom Stewart, Stevens has the potential to become a versatile tall defender with the ability to push further up the ground.

Will Cuckson

Gold Coast:

Who did they pick?

Pick 7 – Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers) 

A quick word:

With a bulging list, the Suns were only going to take 1 selection to the draft. Touted as the best midfielder heading into the draft, the Gold Coast will be ecstatic to have welcomed livewire Elijah Hollands through the door at pick 7. An extremely talented athlete, Hollands has speed, height and power, three traits that are critical in the make up of an elite modern midfielder. Along with his ability to win the ball through the midfield, Hollands can also have an impact up forward with his athleticism and goal sense causing headaches for defenders. He will add a different dynamic to this Gold Coast littered with young stars, with his skillset and class the perfect complement to the inside grunt provided by Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson. The Suns will be wrapped with this selection and add another crucial cog to this fast developing young core. 

Zac Standish

Greater Western Sydney:

Who did they pick?

Pick 12 – Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons)

Pick 15 – Conor Stone (Oakleigh Chargers)

Pick 18 – Ryan Angwin (Gippsland Power)

Pick 58 – Cameron Fleeton (Geelong Falcons)

Pick 59 – Jacob Wehr (Woodville West Torrens)

A quick word:

Tanner Bruhn was GWS’s first pick for the night at pick 12. He had battled with a knee injury of the last few years, but stayed resilient to return to his best form of footy. The midfielder has brillant football smarts, and complements this with clean hands and ball movement. Three picks later saw the Giants welcome Conor Stone, whose versatility allows him to play both as a forward and defender. He was a part of the oakleigh Chargers premiership side, where he kicked 11 goals. The Giants rounded off their draft night early, securing Ryan Angwin, again another three picks later. The defender acquires a football smarts above his years, allowing him to make decisions under pressure and can get creative with the ball. The Giants were not left with another pick until 58, and decided to use it to take on Cameron Fleeton,after missing out on tall defenders Nik Cox and Zach Rid with their earlier picks. As clubs passed their picks, they found themselves with 59 to utilise it on drafting mature-age defender Jacob Wehr who has spent the last four years on reserves lists to finally secure his AFL position.

Tricia Mifsud

Hawthorn:

Who did they pick?

Pick 6 – Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan districts) 

Pick 29 – Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers) 

Pick 35 – Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)

Pick 46 – Tyler Brockman (Subiaco) 

A quick word:

After a failed bid on Sydney Swans academy player Braden Campbell, the Hawks pounced on highly touted key defender Denver Grainger-Barras when he slipped past Sydney at pick 4. The Swan Districts product is good one-on-one and could be ready to step straight into the Hawks lineup come round one. Grainger-Barras has good take off speed and is a competitor who continues to build his aerobic capacity. 

It was only a few years ago that the Hawks selected Mitchell Lewis after the departure of modern greats Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis. The Hawks went down a similar path when they selected S. Mitchell (Seamus) at pick 29. This Mitchell however is extremely quick and just like his namesake, has an outstanding footy IQ. May be one of the steals of the draft.

Matching a bid from North Melbourne, Hawthorn selected the versatile Connor Downie at pick 35. The Eastern Ranges product predominantly plays across half-back and on the wing but has a knack of drifting forward and kicking a few sausage rolls. With a vacant spot on the wing following the departure of 3-time premiership star Isaac Smith, Downie will be working hard to earn a spot in the senior side next season.

Tyler Brockman is an explosive small forward who possesses elite speed and agility. Brockman provides plenty of x-factor and has incredible goal sense. Following the retirement of Paul Puopolo, Brockman is a pressure forward who averaged 4.7 tackles per game for the Lions in the WAFL Colts competition this year.

James Strebinos

Melbourne:

Who did they pick? 

Pick 21 – Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons) 

Pick 22 – Bailey Laurie (Oakleigh Chargers)

Pick 34 – Fraser Rosman (Sandringham Dragons)

A quick word:

Picked up a couple of midfielders in Jake Bowey and Bailey Laurie with their first two selections. As Victorians neither played any footy this year, but played for Sandringham and Oakleigh respectively in 2019. Bowey, the son of ex-Saint Brett, is a flame-haired midfielder who backs himself by foot and kicks as well as any midfielder in the pool. Laurie contributed to Oakleigh’s run to the premiership last year and will look to play more midfield minutes in time but also has nous around goal. The Charger has creativity, quick decision-making and a good sidestep which makes him a dangerous offensive midfielder. Rosman’s a smokey but adds necessary outside run and balance to the Dees engine room. Another from the Dragons, he’s a speculative pick who played just twice last year and wasn’t part of the AFL academy but his athleticism can’t be ignored: Rosman ran the 20 metre sprint in 2.9 seconds and the two km time trial in 5.52, which are considered elite. Also provides them with a player who could be a key forward option if Melbourne choose to use him that way.

Jonty Ralphsmith

North Melbourne:

Who did they pick?

Pick 3 – Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers) 

Pick 13 – Tom Powell (Sturt) 

Pick 36 – Charlie Lazzaro (Geelong Falcons)

Pick 42 – Phoenix Spicer (West Adelaide) 

Pick 56 – Eddie Ford (Western Jets)  

A quick word:

North Melbourne have strengthened their midfield with Will Phillips and Tom Powell, adding to the Kangaroo’s young and up and coming midifield. Phillips having the flexibility to play both inside and outside midfield was something that was attractive to North Melbourne, he is a ball magnet, who can go forward and hit the scoreboard. Powell is another ball magnet who is highly rated for his work  in and around the stoppages. Lazzaro comes from the Geelong Falcons Footy Factory, who is highly rated for his contested ball use and work around stoppages.   Spicer is a winger, but has the ability to make something out of nothing, and is dangerous inside forward 50. Ford, bringing more depth into the Kangaroo’s emerging midfield, can also be dangerous up forward. 

Elly McNerney 

Port Adelaide:

Who did they pick?

Pick 16 – Lachlan Jones (Woodville West Torrens/Port Adelaide Academy)

Pick 49 – Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons)

A quick word:

There were no surprises for the Power with their first round selection, with the club matching a bid for next generation academy prospect Lachlan Jones at pick 16. The most ready-made prospect in this year’s pool, expect Jones to contribute for Port at senior level straight away with his poise and physicality particularly eye-catching. A standout at league level for the premiership winning Eagles this season, Jones stood out as one of the more reliable ball users in the SANFL and used his athleticism and football IQ to win his fair share of possessions. Expect Jones to become a fan favourite at Alberton very quickly and be a key contributor to their developing back six. 

The Power also grabbed intriguing tall forward prospect Ollie Lord from the Sandringham Dragons who looks set to be a project player the club see’s potential in for the long term future and will compliment fellow young forwards Todd Marshall and Mitch Georgiades.

Zac Standish 

Richmond:

Who did they pick?

Pick 40 – Samson Ryan (Western Magpies) 

Pick 51 – Maurice Rioli Jr (St Mary’s) 

A quick word:

Richmond have selected a long term prospect in Samson Ryan, a ruckman from Queensland who will take a bit of time to develop, but has the capacity to be something special, Being able to bring his teammates into the game with his 360’C tap work was something that the Tigers rated highly. Rioli is a son of a gun, highly rated inside a contest and being front and center,  Over the next few years, with the ball in hand, something special will happen. 

Elly McNerney 

St. Kilda:

Who did they pick?

Pick 26 – Matthew McLeod – Allison (Calder Cannons)

Pick 45 – Tom Highmore (South Adelaide)

A quick word:

After bumper trade hauls in recent years, the Saints looked to replenish their list and add more quality depth to their growing list. Matthew McLeod – Allison coming in to add to the key forward depth to work under the tutelage of Paddy Ryder and develop to work in tandem with Max King in the front half. After the success of finding Callum Wilkie in the SANFL a couple of years ago, they went back to the well selecting Tom Higmore who, like Wilkie, is an intercepting defender who is getting his chance as a mature age player. 

Jono Baruch

Sydney Swans:

Who did they pick?

Pick 4 – Logan McDonald (Perth FC)

Pick 5 – Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans Academy/ Westbrook)

Pick 33 – Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy/ Maroubra Saints) 

A quick word:

For the first time since 1998, the Swans had two top five picks. 

The Swans sprung a surprise in taking Logan McDonald, who surprisingly fell to pick 4. Much to their dismay, a bid for Braeden Campbell came immediately afterwards, wiping out a large portion of their draft hand. Nevertheless the pair are highly rated with Logan starring in WA as a key forward with 21 goals in 9 games. Campbell, meanwhile is the latest member of the Sydney academy to join their ranks and is a highly regarded midfielder. Both are extremely talented athletes, and will no doubt feature prominently in the Swans lineup in 2021.

The Swans were also fortunate in Errol Guiden sliding to Pick 32, allowing them to match a bid from Geelong on the small forward. Like Campbell, Guiden is a member of the Swans Academy. He rarely played a bad game in his competition this year, and averaged 27 disposals. He also is noted for his endurance, and should slot in nicely for the Swans in 2021.

Thomas Grattan

West Coast Eagles:

Who did they pick?

Pick 52 – Luke Edwards (Glenelg)

Pick 57 – Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder)

A quick word:

Having wiped out this draft hand to secure Tim Kelly from Geelong last season, the eagles had to wait a while to join in proceedings. 

Luke Edwards was taken at pick 52, and is a general defender from Glenelg.  

The son of Adelaide legend Tyson, Edwards has strong game sense, is efficient by foot, gathers the contested ball, and is a versatile player.

A second general defender, Isiah Winder from Peel Thunder, was taken at pick 57.

Winder has strong athleticism, is efficient by foot, can take a strong mark, has speed, is agile and like Edwards, has a strong game sense. 

Could one of them be a diamond in the rough? Time will tell.

Thomas Grattan

Western Bulldogs

Who did they pick?

Pick 1 – Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country)

Pick 55 – Dominic Bedendo (Murray Bushrangers)

A quick word:

In matching Adelaide’s pick 1 bid for Ugle-Hagan, the Bulldogs secured their first #1 draft pick since taking Adam Cooney in 2003. Regarded by most as the best player in the 2020 draft pool, the 195cm key forward has drawn comparisons to Lance Franklin, with his athleticism and skill in the air key traits of his game. Ugle-Hagan will fill the Dogs’ need for a second key forward, slotting nicely into their forward 50 to partner with Aaron Naughton.

Bedendo provides another forward option for the Dogs, and is strong overhead with a good vertical leap. Despite his lean frame, standing at 187cm and 74kg, Bedendo can become a damaging forward with some development.

Will Cuckson

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