Gold Coast FC has had an extra crack at the best Queensland youth this year, extending its hold over local talent.
If you’re already sick of hearing about the Gold Coast list, get ready because it’s going to dominate fantasy for the next 12 months… until we all jump on the GWS bandwagon. After the first list lodgment closed off yesterday at 2pm, we got our first look at a legitimate version of the GC squad for the coming year. A lot of pundits have been scratching their heads, wondering if the Suns had pulled a shifty, because they seemed to have signed a whole lot more local kids than had been mandated by the official Gold Coast draft rules, as listed by the AFL and then repeated the other day in the Age.
Draft experts such as those in the phantom draft boards of BigFooty had been including the likes of Zac Smith and Charlie Dixon in their 2010 draft zone selections, but it appears that the AFL failed to educate the public that the five Cane Toad kids that the Suns signed up in 2008 on three-year deals do not actually fall under this rule, and like the five mature-age recruits, they have appeared on the first Suns list without ever going through a draft process.
Maybe the fault lies with us in not understanding the rules, or maybe they weren’t explained in full. On the face of it, Gold Coast seems to have gained two lots of five Queenslanders prior to the 2010 draft where they should have only been allowed one group of five. The mature-age recruits can be explained as being part of the GC’s nine rookie selections, similar to Michael Barlow or James Podsiadly from the 2009 draft, but exactly where do those five 2008 Queenslanders fit in those draft rules?
Here is rule 35.2 of the AFL Player Rules:
35.2 Contracting local talent â€“ 2008 and 2009
(a) At any time prior to the 2008 and 2009 National Drafts, GCFC may offer up to 20 Players who would be eligible for those Drafts contracts to play with GCFC in 2009 and 2010.
(b) The Players must have been resident in Queensland or in the case of the 2009 National Draft, Northern Territory, for a continuous period of three years immediately prior to the date of the National Draft and have not previously been listed on a Rookie List or Primary List of a Club.
(c) Any of the Players contracted under this Rule 35.2 may be included on GCFCâ€™s Primary or Rookie List for the 2011 AFL Season provided they have consented to being so included.
This is the regulation that these five boys have fallen under, I think. Either way, Brisbane Lions fans are getting increasingly annoyed with their lack of access to grassroots recruitment opportunities.
Here is the Gold Coast list as it stands, classified by the way players were added to it. Be warned that the zone selections are not confirmed as such by the club, though they do fit the facts.
2010 under-17 priority selections (maximum 12, must have been born between 1/1/1992 and 30/4/1992)
Piers Flanagan, Taylor Hine, Luke Russell, Jack Hutchins, Hayden Jolly, Alex Keath, Brandon Matera, Trent McKenzie, Tom Nicholls, Matt Shaw, Joshua Toy, Maverick Weller
Note that a few names which have been on the GC’s books in recent times do not appear on this first official list. Jesse Haberfield was also signed in 2008 alongside the abovementioned five, but he seems to have been quietly dropped after playing VFL last year. Similarly, Michael Gugliotta was set to be the third NT selection elevated from the VFL squad but his name does not appear in the player list. Others not to make it from the Suns VFL side this year to the AFL list include Alik Magin and Roland Ah Chee – albeit that those two may still be listed as rookies – plus Jack Stanley, Joel Tippett and Nathan Ablett. In fact, outside the five mature-agers, GC has another four spots open for a total of nine rookies, so there is still hope for the likes of Nablett.
It should also be pointed out that Keath has already chosen cricket over football, so that selection is hopeful at best.
The biggest hole in the depth charts at the Gold Coast continues to be key position forward. Brennan is undersized as a CHF and Fraser probably can’t handle the load of a full season at FF interchanging through the ruck. They have plenty of prospects and will no doubt pick more up in the draft, particularly Sam Day likely at #3, but given how long big forwards take to come on (see Jack Watts) I think this will be their major weakness in the early years.
The draft itself will be soon enough, then we can get stuck into a realistic first 22 for the Suns, an exercise which will be vitally important given they have the bye in Round 1 so it will continue to be guesswork right up until the first lockout of the 2011 fantasy season. See you for the draft.