FanFooty

2008 AFL national draft review, club by club

Whodathunkit, it turns out that the media gets it right once in a while. The much-hyped late switch of Fremantle’s #3 pick from Daniel Rich to Stephen Hill took place as advertised, leaving Brisbane to get an early Christmas present. Those poor old stupid Dockers, when will they ever learn?!

Let’s look at each club and where the draft leaves their new recruits in terms of short-term opportunities, referring back to the holes identified in this positional drill-down post. The codes after each name are the expected Champion Data classifications, followed by the expected VirtualSports classifications.

Adelaide
10 – Phil Davis – Def-Tall-Key, BAC
28 – Shaun McKernan – Utility-Tall, RUC/FWD
44 – Rory Sloane – Def-Med-Gen, BAC
60 – Thomas Lee – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
72 – Will Young – Def-Tall-Key, BAC

After many years of being a fantasy footy wasteland for rookies, 2008 saw a sudden commitment to playing draftees. You could argue that Neil Craig’s hand was forced by injury, I suppose. This year’s crop look decidedly tall, which is never a good sign for round 1 of the new season. I don’t think we’ll see any of these five front up in the first month of the season. That’s what the SANFL is for, after all. Davis will probably be blooded just in time for the winner of the current battle between Greg Galllman and Aaron Kite to get tired after his debut run.

Brisbane
7 – Daniel Rich – Mid-Med-In, CTR
25 – Jack Redden – Mid-Med-In, CTR
41 – Todd Banfield – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
57 – Aaron Cornelius – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
69 – Bart McColluch – Ruckman-Tall, RUC/FWD
81 – Kieran King – Mid-Med-Out, CTR

Santa must have had some glowing reports about the saintliness of Michael Voss, because he’s got a lovely new toy to play with! Two inside mids in the top 25 shows that Voss knows exactly where the Lions have been deficient in recent years. Redden is described as a “midfielder/forward”, which is the sort of player the Lions could do with to bolster the Brownshaw attack since the loss of Anthony Corrie. Rich will play round 1, and possibly Redden too.

Carlton
6 – Chris Yarran – Fwd-Med-Gen, FWD
40 – Mitch Robinson – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
65 – Rhys O’Keeffe – Utility-Med, CTR/FWD
80 – Caleb Tiller – Fwd-Med-Key, FWD

Perhaps the biggest hole in any depth chart going into this draft was Carlton’s list of small forwards, which started and ended with Eddie Betts. Yarran is just the sort of player they need to feed off Brendan Fevola and Brad Fisher, just as Cyril Rioli fed off the Buddy/Roughead/Rifleman combo this year. As one of two clubs to announce their 22s prior to the 160 minutes of maelstrom before round 1 in 2009, Carlton’s draft looks even more important. Little ROK might find his way into a few teams if he gets named in round 1 purely as a defensive move by fantasy coaches.

Collingwood
11 – Steele Sidebottom – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
29 – Dayne Beams – Mid-Med-In, CTR
45 – Jarrad Blight – Def-Tall-Gen, BAC/CTR
46 – Luke Rounds – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
73 – Leigh Brown – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD

The Pies needed some runners, and in Sidebottom and Beams they have a couple of likely prospects. One might question the seemingly inexhaustible demand for midfielders who run forward of the play in the Collingwood structure, but Mick Malthouse has found a way to make that work in certain types of games. Beams may end up becoming more vital to the team’s drive out of the middle in the long term, as Sidebottom fights for the pill on the forward 50 arc with Didak, Davis and Thomas. I suspect, however, that the constant Malthouse rotations will limit the pointscoring capabilities of the top two mids here. As for Brown, if he fronts up in the seniors then you know Mick’s in trouble.

Essendon
5 – Michael Hurley – Def-Tall-Key, BAC
23 – David Zaharakis – Mid-Med-In, CTR
55 – Michael Still – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
67 – Tyson Slattery – Def-Med-Gen, BAC

Hurley is a definite Super Coach prospect, though I wouldn’t touch him for Dream Team. He’s highly likely to score in the range of Harry Taylor and Nathan J. Brown from this year. Not hugely excited about the rest.

Fremantle
3 – Stephen Hill – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
21 – Hayden Ballantyne – Fwd-Small-Gen, FWD
24 – Nick Suban – Def-Small-Gen, BAC
37 – Zachary Clarke – Ruckman-Tall, RUC
53 – Michael Walters – Fwd-Small-Gen, FWD
56 – Ben Bucovaz – Fwd-Med-Key, FWD
68 – Tim Ruffles – Mid-Small-Out, MID/FWD
77 – Chris Hall – Mid-Small-Out, CTR

At least you can say the Dockers are going to commit to youth in 2009, with zero players over the age of 28. That means Hill plays in round 1, and probably Ballantyne, Walters and Suban as well if fit. Hill will be a DT specialist, whereas Sandover medallist Ballantyne will probably go a touch better in SC with his goalscoring abilities. Suban will be okay in his first year but probably merge into the blancmange of Freo backs thereafter. Even Clarke is worth a look due to the paucity of backups for Aaron Sandilands… especially as a handcuff if you buy 211. There will be plenty of value at this club for fantasy this year, even if (or maybe because) the team doesn’t win many games.

Geelong
15 – Mitch Brown – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
33 – Tom Gillies – Def-Tall-Key, BAC
39 – Steven Motlop – Fwd-Med-Gen, FWD
49 – Taylor Hunt – Def-Med-Gen, BAC

Comments by Geelong recruiters on SEN after the draft indicated that none of these players would have immediate impact. Look elsewhere, the Cats aren’t playing the kids.

Hawthorn
16 – Ryan Schoenmakers – Fwd-Tall-Gen, FWD
34 – Liam Shiels – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
50 – Jordan Lisle – Utility-Tall, BAC/FWD
63 – Luke Lowden – Ruckman-Tall, RUC
75 – Shane Savage – Mid-Med-Out, CTR

Evil genius Chris Pelchen allowed SEN an audience after the draft, where he revealed that he was going to wave his magic wand and turn Schoenmakers from a forward into a defender (or failing that, a newt). He expressed surprise that Lisle dropped so low – speculation pre-draft had the Hawks using their first-rounder on him, and Pelchen said he was in their top 25. Part of Pelchen’s fiendish plan is to warehouse 17-year-old talent for the GC17 years, so I think most of these players are going to be “Box Hilled” while the Hawks chase flags.

North Melbourne
9 – Jack Ziebell – Utility-Med, CTR/FWD
27 – Sam Wright – Fwd-Med-Gen, FWD/CTR
43 – Liam Anthony – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
59 – Nathan O’Keefe – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
71 – Warren Benjamin – Mid-Med-In, CTR

Oh well, we can forget about Ziebell. Run away, run away!

Melbourne
1 – Jack Watts – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
17 – Sam Blease – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
19 – James Strauss – Mid-Med-In, CTR/BAC
35 – Jamie Bennell – Fwd-Small-Gen, FWD
51 – Neville Jetta – Fwd-Small-Gen, FWD
64 – Rohan Bail – Fwd-Med-Gen, FWD/CTR

Watts will be Hogwarted in ’09, making him an iffy fantasy buy for anyone but the most passionate Melbourne fan. Blease could be a fantasy crowd-pleaser, though, and if Strauss somehow snags back eligibility then he could join Ricky Petterd and Jack Grimes in a lot of demonised fantasy defences. Jetta might take a while to come on, but when he does debut he’s every chance to pull out a Wonaeamirrian run.

Port Adelaide
4 – Hamish Hartlett – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
22 – Jackson Trengove – Def-Tall-Key, BAC
38 – Matthew Broadbent – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
42 – Mitch Banner – Mid-Small-In, CTR/FWD
54 – Jarred Redden – Ruckman-Tall, RUC
66 – Glenn Dawson – Fwd-Med-Gen, FWD
78 – Jason Davenport – Mid-Med-Out, CTR

Hartlett’s probably going to be a touch too expensive now to be wildly popular, barring a hot NAB run. He’s well worth looking at in SC with his quality disposal ratings. Also with SC potential is Trengove, who now gets a bargain pricing, which will be a boon for those casting about for back bench options and not liking the look of many draftees.

Richmond
8 – Tyrone Vickery – Ruckman-Tall, RUC/FWD
26 – Jaydyn Post – Def-Tall-Key, BAC
58 – Tom Hislop – Mid-Med-In, CTR

This is all about Vickery. His deflation back to a price much closer to basement than had been projected makes him very likely to be the most popular #3 ruck. Be warned, though, that during his interview on SEN post-draft he didn’t sound all that positive about getting early games, which is credible since he’s been training with the club for a while now. If you stick with Simmonds this year then you MUST get Tyrone on the phone (or you’ll be boned).

St Kilda
13 – Tom Lynch – Utility-Tall, BAC/FWD
47 – Rhys Stanley – Ruckman-Tall, RUC
48 – Nick Heyne – Fwd-Med-Gen, FWD
62 – Alistair Smith – Mid-Med-Out, CTR
74 – Paul Cahill – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
83 – Colm Begley – Def-Med-Gen, BAC

This draft wasn’t looking particularly noteworthy for fantasy purposes until Heyne bobbed up late in round three. The Saints haven’t got much cover for Steven Milne and Adam Schneider on their small forward depth chart, so Heyne will be given games reasonably early. Don’t get too excited though, as this year proved that St Kilda is not a great place for fantasy for first-year draftees.

Sydney
12 – Lewis Johnston – Fwd-Tall-Key, FWD
30 – Dan Hannebery – Mid-Med-In, CTR
61 – Campbell Heath – Def-Med-Gen, BAC

Urgh. Johnston is only relevant if Micky O or Hall are out for extended periods, and then only for SC. To be fair, Sydney’s development will probably come more through its extended rookie program.

West Coast
2 – Nick Naitanui – Ruckman-Tall, RUC
18 – Luke Shuey – Mid-Med-In, CTR
20 – Tom Swift – Mid-Tall-In, CTR
36 – Ash Smith – Mid-Med-Out, BAC/CTR
52 – Jordan Jones – Def-Tall-Key, BAC

The Eagles had a pretty good draft, all things considered. Their upside is enormous, not only NicNat but Swift could be anything as well. In Shuey they have a Rich Lite, which they need to support Daniel Kerr. Much will depend on the pre-season and round 1 selection as to how popular their new mids are. NicNat’s fantasy stocks have probably fallen somewhat with Vickery’s discount, which is probably just as well because he’s likely to start slowly, especially in SC. I can just see him lolling about like a cross between Buddy and Shaq in his first games, wearing out the umpire’s whistle as he gets used to the pace of the seniors. Buddy was no great shakes in his first 50 games for fantasy, let us remember.

Western Bulldogs
14 – Ayce Cordy – Ruckman-Tall, RUC/FWD
31 – Jordan Roughead – Ruckman-Tall, RUC/FWD
32 – Liam Jones – Utility-Tall, FWD/BAC

Tall, tall, tall. Good for the Dogs, bad for fantasy coaches. Avoid.

For a more generalist look at the day’s events, check out our forum thread: 2008 national draft review.

22 Comments

  1. Chris

    November 29, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Not sure the point in the “Those poor old stupid Dockers, when will they ever learn?!” line. Seeing as another 5 clubs overlooked Rich, there must be a very good reason as to why Fremantle didn’t take the over-hyped, early developed midfielder.

    Anyway, Ballantyne will play Round 1. Doubt Hill will play straight away, he needs a bit more time to develop. Fremantle taking Hill, is good news for Andrew Foster though.

  2. m0nty

    November 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    When do you think Hill will debut, Chris? Surely Harvey learned his lesson last year that you have to put the kids in early.

  3. Chris

    November 29, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I don’t think Hill is physically ready for AFL straight away. I think in the long term it would be better to wait until the second half of the season to play him.

    When you consider that Ballantyne and Suban will probably be chances to play early, as well as Hinkley, Foster and O’Brien. I see no reason to rush Hill.

  4. Chad

    November 29, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    or are they forced to play hill because they overlooked rich?

  5. jarrad

    November 29, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    what did you mean by the ziebell comment?

    i thought he would be good at s.c :S

  6. Damen

    November 29, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Monty,

    Why should we stay away from Ziebell now – interested in your (obviously strong) opinion on this one ? ! I know it has something to do with Dean Laidley (doesn’t he play the kids – oh yeah, I remember having some new Nth defender as Emerg. last year and he seemed OK but didn’t get more than a game or two – is this it ?) As a utility/midfielder with a biggish body shouldn’t he be in the Fwd line on my Supercoach team ?

  7. m0nty

    November 29, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I don’t trust Laidley as far as I can kick him. I don’t know how far I can kick Dean Laidley… but I would like to test it out. :)

    Seriously though, Laidley’s history with playing and then not playing kids is well documented. You just can’t trust him to give kids a decent stretch of games in the ones in their first year or two.

    Lachie Hansen was highly rated too, remember… and remember how that turned out. :(

  8. Captain Fantasy

    November 30, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Only thing is you have to expect the unexpected and Ziebell might be the future North captain once Boomer & Petrie retire

  9. Hank32

    November 30, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Think you are being a bit harsh on Zaharakis. Hes a bit light, but enormously driven. May not play early, but will certainly play at some point

  10. m0nty

    November 30, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I think Zaharakis is going to suffer from Ricky Dyson syndrome… fantasy coaches have long memories! :D

  11. Scuzzlebut

    November 30, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I like Laidley about as much as Daniel Harris likes him. Or Hamish McIntosh. Or Corey Jones. Or (from what I can gather) the majority of Roos supporters. In fact, does anyone like Dean Laidley?

    I had Thomson this year too.

    If only Zeilbell was taken by Melbourne. Dean Bailey on his draftess:”We certainly won’t be fast-tracking them just to get them to play, but I don’t see why they can’t. The opportunities are there for them and as long as they improve gradually. I don’t see why all of them can’t play next year.” (http://www.realfooty.com.au/news/news/bailey-urges-draft-gems-to-shine/2008/11/29/1227491900925.html)

    I will be watching Blease very closely in the NAB games.

  12. Damen

    November 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Blease may be a little light – then again Melbourne is desperate … Damn, I wanted Ziebel so badly – ticked all my boxes, but I had Scott D. Thompson last year and yes, Monty, of course I’ve been burnt by Lachlan Hansen … who hasn’t ? (in fact I may have even had two dips at that cherry … he’ll probs win the Brownlow this year just to piss me off !!)

  13. Bob

    December 1, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    One of weirdest and most stupid reviews of the draft I have seen! Often you have some interesting articles but not here! Have you actually seen any of these kids play or you just taking your views from the SEN/bigfooty dickheads who have no actual sense of the game?

  14. Nick

    December 1, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Bob has his period

  15. Dan

    December 1, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Want a tissue Bob?

  16. Scuzzlebut

    December 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    You can forget about Blease. I just red that he’ll be studying next year. And I’ve just dropped Hartlett from my team: “Hartlett, who was the Power’s first pick [No.4] in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, completed most of Monday’s session, but will have to sit out competitive drills for at least the next month as he recovers from a shoulder reconstruction.” (afl.com).
    Sidebottom, however, just came 3rd in a 2 km time trial at Collingwood.

  17. jarrad

    December 1, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    i cant find jason davenport anywhere in the team planner :S

  18. Scuzzlebut

    December 2, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    m0nty, do you know if Strauss is studying next year? he’s > 80 kgs, a good kick, and pretty fast/agile. He seems to have avoided a lot of the press but, as you said, might play early in the year (if he’s not studying).

  19. m0nty

    December 2, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I don’t have a list of studying draftees, Scuzzlebut. That would be a handy list to have, though.

  20. Big Jim

    December 3, 2008 at 10:27 am

    hey monty – this may be a stupid question, but does the fact a player is delisted and re-drafted by another club effect their price? or does that not matter?

  21. m0nty

    December 3, 2008 at 10:52 am

    No Jim, it doesn’t matter unless they’re drafted in the top 10. If they’re rookied after being drafted in a previous year and they haven’t played any games, they do drop to rookie price though, I think.

  22. Scuzzlebut

    December 3, 2008 at 11:44 am

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