The big Footy Prophet AFL Phantom Draft took place on last Sunday, where our experts gathered together to try and see how the big night would pan out. Matt Palf, Craig Byrnes, Jason Harris, Dan Batten, Josh Elliott, Maddy Friend and Nicholas Coggins all took on the role of list managers for the day, and here is what they came up with. All the teams and all the picks – plus the reasons for them. (Note: Pick numbers will alter to the starting draft order due to academy picks made along the way)


15: Will Hayward | North Adelaide | 186cm | 76kg | FWD/MID

49: Jacob Allison | Aspley | 194cm | 79kg | FWD/MID

57: Oscar Junker | Western Jets | 193cm | 84kg | UTILITY

65: Mitchell Hinge | Glenelg | 187cm | 82kg | DEF/MID

87: Luke Strnadica | East Fremantle | 199cm | 93kg | KPF/RUCK

105: Ben Davis | UNSW | 187cm | 84kg | FWD/DEF

The Crows are in an interesting position just outside the top ten and entered the draft with a focus on potential elite midfielders and key position depth at either end of the ground. It would have been ecstatic to have local Will Hayward fall to pick No.15. While his exposed form is mainly forward as a marking target, his midfield attributes are difficult to ignore. Some have compared his top age draft year to Nathan Fyfe’s in 2009 and their strengths are quite comparable. Adelaide had a lengthy wait until selection No.49 and it was surprising Brisbane academy prospect Jacob Allison hadn’t been bid for. It came as an even greater surprise when the Lions didn’t match. 194cm midfielders with inside ability, elite speed and a thumping 65 metre boot don’t grow on trees.

Oscar Junker is a nice selection at pick No.57, offering flexibility to develop in defence, forward or as a modern tall midfielder. Mitchell Hinge is a South Australian product who may take some time, but is a great user of the ball off half back and is capable as a midfield rotation. Luke Strnadica has fallen off the cliff in terms of exposure during 2016, but is one of the few key forwards in the pool with AFL attributes and could become anything with some development. Ben Davis was a lovely surprise so late in the draft and despite navicular injury concerns, is a rangy type who can play numerous positions. Adelaide would be happy to have landed such a wide range of players who offer flexibility and assess some list development requirements.


3: Ben Ainsworth| Gippsland Power | 179cm | 76kg | FWD

17: Alex Witherden | Geelong Falcons | 186cm | 80kg | DEF

22: Daniel Venables | Western Jets | 185cm | 82kg | MID/FWD

23: Sam Powell-Pepper | East Perth | 187cm | 89kg | MID

47: Declan Watson | Aspley | 192cm | 83kg | KPD

76: Liam Baker | West Perth | 173cm | 67kg | FWD

Brisbane has a really strong draft hand this year, so I felt that they were well placed to see who fell to them and select the best available player. They are well stocked for tall talent, having drafted taller players in recent years, so I tried to add some midfield depth, speed and explosiveness.

Ainsworth is one of the best players in the draft this year, and gives them the lively small forward they’ve been lacking for a while. Venables and Powell-Pepper need to work on their consistency, but are explosive and add a different look to their midfield, while Witherden is a perfect replacement for Pearce Hanley off half-back and provides some class with his accurate kicking. Declan Watson is a tall defender from Brisbane’s academy. I was very surprised Liam Baker fell as far as he did, and as a medium forward provides impact and an accurate kick.

CARLTON – Josh Elliott

7: Sam Petrevski-Seton | Claremont | 178cm | 73kg | MID

26: Patrick Kerr | Oakleigh Chargers | 194cm | 93kg | KPF

53: Patrick Lipinski | Northern Knights | 187cm | 80kg | MID/FWD

61: Ben Jarman | North Adelaide | 173cm | 70kg | FWD

64: Taylin Duman | Oakleigh Chargers | 192cm | 77kg | DEF

68: Matt Guelfi | Claremont | 183cm | 77kg | MID

I had a bit of fun bidding with the Blues. When pick 5 rolled around, McGrath, McCluggage, Ainsworth and Taranto were off the board, so I put up two quick bids on Jack Bowes and Will Setterfield – just to keep everyone else honest. I also tossed a bid on Josh Daicos later in the piece. I can just picture the smirk on SOS’s face while putting that bid in.

Anyway, after those bids were matched the player at the top of my list was Sam Petrevski-Seton. He’s a little more specialised than Taranto, Bowes or Setterfield, but also boasts arguably more pace and better kicking than any of those three as well. No shortage of talent and offers Carlton some things they don’t have.

I was really hoping for a good slider at the second pick and just narrowly missed out – Josh Battle going only one pick before. Ah well. I’m not as high on Patrick Kerr as some but he seemed the logical choice after that and I’m sure Blues fans will be happy given the romance of the pick.

The remaining picks are all a bit speculative but I’ve added some exciting forward line talent in Lipinski and Jarman, a versatile project tall in Taylin Duman, and an inside midfielder with some good size in Matt Guelfi.


30:  Jordan Ridley | Oakleigh Chargers | 192cm | 78kg | DEF/UTILITY

39:  Callum Brown | Eastern Ranges | 177cm | 72kg | MID/FWD

52:  Josh Daicos | Oakleigh Chargers | 178cm | 72kg | MID/FWD

60:  Max Lynch | Sandringham Dragons | 199cm | 99kg | RUCK

65:  Kym Lebois | North Adelaide | 173cm | 68kg | MID

81:  Alex Villis | Norwood | 178cm | 68kg | DEF

Losing Brown, Frost and Marsh, my number one priority was picking up a tall defender. I wasn’t sure if Jordan Ridley would make it to pick 30 but thankfully he did, as the Pies could really a player in his mould who can use the footy. Ridley won the kicking contest at the Draft Combine – a reflection of his elite foot skills – and if it’s anywhere the black and white looked shaky last year, it was kicking out of defence.

It was a bit of a risk picking Ridley over father-son prospect Callum Brown, but luckily he was bid on as late as pick 39. Same goes for Josh Daicos, who was bid on at selection 52. Both will certainly add a bit to the Pies forward half, which looked questionable without smalls Alex Fasolo and Jamie Elliot during the year.

For my later selections, I bid on GWS academy prospect Max Lynch, arguably the second best ruck prospect behind Tim English. After that, it was a tough decision between Kym LeBois and Corey Lyons, with the former’s potential being the deciding factor. LeBois is just 175cm, but we have seen what Caleb Daniel has done.

I nabbed All-Australian rebounding defender Alex Villis with the Pies last selection, who could add a touch of class to Collingwood’s defence in the future.

(note: Villis is a potential top 30 prospect, but a recently discovered issue with his heart has sadly cast doubt on his draft hopes)

ESSENDON – Matt Palf

1: Andrew McGrath | Sandringham Dragons | 178cm | 73kg | DEF/MID

21: Jy Simpkin | Murray Bushrangers | 182cm | 75kg | FWD

32:  Willem Drew | Nth Ballarat Rebels | 188cm | 79kg | MID

45:  Myles Poholke | Dandenong Stingrays | 184cm | 82kg | MID

65:  Brodie Romensky | Western Jets | 190cm | 86kg | DEF/MID

Essendon finds itself in an enviable position this year after securing pick one in a very strong draft. With their suspended players coming back, and their young stars that stepped up in 2016, they have a very talented and balanced side with few areas that need urgent strength. One area that does need some development is their forward line, especially their tall stocks, but with the big forwards scarce this year I decided to stock up on talent and leadership rather that positional wants.

I may have surprised a few taking McGrath at number one, but he has topped my rankings for quite a while now. He has the ability to take a game into his own hands, and his level of maturity and leadership qualities will be huge for the Bombers. I had earmarked tall forward Josh Battle for my second pick, but when Jy Simpkin was still available I had to snap him up. Classy, quick and with great goal sense, he can have an immediate impact in the forward 50.

For the later picks, I went with more midfield strength. I bid for GWS academy prospect Harry Macreadie at 32 but that was matched. Willem Drew is a tough, battling mid with a good burst of speed, while Myles Poholke is one who has definitely flown under the radar – he’s another super-professional midfielder, who is able to roll forward in impact in the forward half. For my last pick, I took Brodie Romensky, who had slipped too far to ignore. He’s a composed, classy, ball-winner who’s reading of the play suits him to a role in defence or through the centre.

All up, I’m pretty happy. I didn’t get a tall forward, but there will be some potential project players in the rookie draft to fill that need. The five players selected provide class, consistency and tons of leadership.


8:  Tim English | South Fremantle| 205cm|89.5kg| RUCK

41:  Zac Fisher | Perth| 175cm| 70kg| MID

46:  Jack Maibaum | Eastern Ranges|191cm|91kg| DEF

69:  Nick Larkey | Oakleigh Chargers| 198cm|85kg | RUCK/FWD

77:   Sam Simpson | Geelong Falcons | 179cm| 65kg| MID

95:  Cameron Zurhaar | East Fremantle| 187cm| 89kg | MID/FWD

After a 2016 season from hell which contained plenty of defeats, injuries and more recently off field indiscretions, the Dockers needed their luck to turn somewhere along the line.  While their trade period was solid, there was still some holes that needed to be filled in their squad.

In the past, the club has been criticised for not prioritising local talent but one  player who I was not going to miss out on was South Fremantle ruckman Tim English who I took with their first pick. With Aaron Sandilands coming to the end of his career and Zac Clarke and Jonathan Griffin highly inconsistent, picking English was a no brainer.

The 19yo stands at an impressive 205cm and while he needs to fill out a bit, has had a very impressive 2016. English played in all three grades this season and represented WA in the Under/18 Championships where he won selection into the All-Australian side.

I again went local with their second pick selecting Perth midfielder Zac Fisher who was the other WA U/18 All Australian representative in 2016. Fisher had a standout 2016 campaign playing 10 league games for the Demons averaging 19 possessions a game.  While having a light frame (70kg), he is a quality user of the ball along with plenty of pace which are two areas the Dockers are in drastic need of improvement.

With their third pick, the Dockers got a bargain at pick 45 with U/18 All Australian Full back Jack Maibaum, a true lockdown defender who will fill the breach left by the retired Luke McPharlin and the ageing Zac Dawson.

I rounded out their selections with Oakleigh Chargers forward Nick Larkey,  and then a cheeky pick for Geelong Falcons midfielder Sam Simpson (son of Sean) who the Cats had hoped would slip to the rookie draft. Finally, I returned home to pick up versatile mid/forward Cameron Zurhaar from East Fremantle.

GEELONG CATS – Maddy Friend

25:  Josh Battle | Dandenong Stingrays | 192cm|89kg| FWD

43:  Josh Begley | Eastern Ranges | 186cm| 96kg| FWD

48:  Harry Morrison | Murray Bushrangers | 182cm| 78kg| DEF

62:  Corey Lyons | Sandringham Dragons | 181cm| 77kg | MID

70:   Tyson Stengle | Woodville-West Torrens | 171cm| 69kg| FWD

91:  Jack Henry | Geelong Falcons| 191cm| 84kg | UTILITY

The Cats were in an interesting spot with their picks, in that a lot was dependent on waiting to see which players fell to them. I was conscious of their need to fill a few areas on their list, which I tried to do with their two earlier picks, although I wasn’t able to get a key defender (despite bidding on several academy players!). At their later picks, several players fell through who were too good to pass up.

Battle will be a replacement for Kersten in size, but is a more consistent player and possibly the best forward in the draft. Begley has been building throughout the year, and while he has played a lot as a forward, he’s developed the versatility to play as a utility as well, so he could be a very useful player for the Cats. Morrison was too good to pass up in the fourth round, as was Lyons. At their later picks, I felt Stengle gives them another exciting forward option to complement the taller players, while Henry is a classy utility.

GOLD COAST SUNS – Nicholas Coggins

4:  Tim Taranto | Sandringham Dragons | 186cm | 84kg |  MID/FWD
5:  Jack Bowes | Surfers Paradise | 187cm | 78kg | MID
9:  Griffin Logue | Swan Districts | 191cm | 94kg | DEF
11:  Will Brodie | Murray Bushrangers | 188cm | 82kg | MID
34:  Brad Scheer | Palm Beach Currumbin | 183cm | 84kg | MID

My main goal was to build a flexible midfield which will take the Suns forward for the next 10 years – although I didn’t ignore other positions I could fill. Taranto is a massive talent that can impact the midfield and forward line, while academy boys Jack Bowes and Brad Scheer add class and strength. The pick up of Will Brodie at 11 is an incredible bargain, as he can headline the inside mid with Bowes for a decade.

The pick which most people will be most surprised about will be my decision to take Griffin Logue. He could be a very interesting prospect for the Suns, whilst providing the flexibility to play a lot of roles on the field, he shows his real strength is his defending. The Suns will  look to possibly start him as a defender, but he’ll eventually be a 50/50 midfield player due to his amazing tank.

GWS GIANTS – Josh Elliott

2:  Hugh McCluggage | Nth Ballarat Rebels | 186cm |76kg| MID

6:  Will Setterfield | Sandringham Dragons | 189cm| 78kg| MID

14:  Harry Perryman | Collingullie-GP | 184cm| 79kg| DEF/MID

28:  Zach Sproule | Murray Bushrangers | 196cm| 89kg | KPP

31:   Harrison Macreadie | Henty | 196cm| 91kg| DEF/MID

33:  Isaac Cumming | North Adelaide | 184cm| 74kg | DEF

46:   Ryan Garthwaite | Murray Bushrangers | 192cm| 83kg| DEF/FWD

72:  Lachlan Tiziani |Murray Bushrangers | 189cm| 79kg | FWD

Not sure if it will happen in the real thing but from a GWS perspective, I was little bummed to see Andy McGrath go at No.1. That said, Hugh McCluggage is a gun – no complaints on my behalf, and I think that with Whitfield set to miss the first eight weeks of the season he could step right into the team and might have already solidified a spot in the best 22 by the time Whitfield is able to come back. It’s not the perfect fit, but I couldn’t pass him up if available.

After that, it was honestly not that exciting to draft for the Giants, simply because my next seven picks were all Academy players so there was no real sense of wondering who might be available and who you might choose.

The only bid I chose not to match was for Kobe Mutch – someone had to miss out if I was going to avoid going into deficit, which I ultimately did, and Mutch is just a bit vanilla in my view. A handy player but I feel like there’s a lot of players he’d be behind at the Giants.

In terms of those academy players gained it was all about finding depth for the Giants after they traded so much of it out this off-season. Zach Sproule, Harrison Macreadie and Ryan Garthwaite add some height, Harry Perryman and Isaac Cumming are a boost in defense, Lachlan Tiziani can offer some spark up forward and Will Setterfield adds another layer of class to the midfield.

HAWTHORN – Jason Harris

86: Mitchell McCarthy | Dandenong Stingrays | 195cm | 93kg| KPD

88:  Bailey Banfield  |  Claremont |  189cm | 84kg | Midfielder

108:  Liam Mackie | Glenelg | 186cm | 76kg | Defender

It was a long wait but it gave me plenty of time to think who I was going to select in the 2016 draft. To my good fortune there was still plenty of talent left on the draft board. With their first pick, I went with the athletic former Basketballer Mitch McCarthy.

The Dandenong Stingrays product was one of many youngsters that have to up to the tough decision of two sporting loves. After going over to the US to complete a Basketball scholarship, it was there late last year that he realised he missed Football too much and returned home.

Despite suffering the dreaded navicular stress fracture injury to his foot, which ended his 2016 season, there was enough evidence to go on that the 198cm running defender would be someone that would be able to bring some youthful exuberance to a mainly ageing Hawks defence.

With their second pick, I selected Bailey Banfield from WAFL club Claremont.  If there was ever a ready made player in the latter part of an AFL draft it was Banfield who has very impressive physical attributes for an 18-year-old.

He had league experience in 2016, playing two very impressive games for the Tigers at the tail end of the season. Banfield will slot in very nicely to the Hawks midfield, which remains an unknown quantity with the shock departures of club icons Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis during trade week.

Heading into the triple digits, the Hawks had their final selection where I chose Liam Mackie, the cousin of Geelong triple premiership player Andrew. While still needing to put on a few kilos, the younger Mackie shows some comparable signs to his esteemed relative as he is also a half back flanker

Liam missed selection for the state U/18s (like Andrew had done in 2002) but had a very strong finals series for the Glenelg U/18s and his school team Sacred Heart. Those performances were enough proof to show the Hawks hierarchy that he was worth taking a punt on and if can have half the career Andrew has had, he will be quite a player.

MELBOURNE – Craig Byrnes

51: Sam Walker | Glenelg | 187cm | 80kg | DEF

67: Oliver Hanrahan | St Kevins | 183cm | 74kg | FWD/MID

Melbourne addessed its most pressing needs during the trade period, where it landed a couple of big fish that will have an immediate impact. The Dees managed to secure Essendon’s Michael Hibberd, a mature body who will add a mix of offensive and defensive skills to the half back line despite not playing for over 12 months. The inclusion of Jordan Lewis was the big surprise though, adding depth, experience and leadership to a developing midfield. It left Melbourne not having to rely on the draft and while an extra key defender would have been nice, it wasn’t an urgent need if the right player wasn’t there.

Sam Walker at pick No.51 was one of the bargains of the draft and impossible to let slip this late. The All Australian defender has a deadly left foot and is an elite reader of the play. Oliver Hanrahan is a speculative type who didn’t play TAC Cup footy, instead representing St Kevins in the APS system. He is a smart footballer who has played midfield and forward and could be a genuine value selection.


12:  Oliver Florent | Sandringham Dragons | 182cm | 74kg | MID/FWD

37:  Elliot Himmelberg | Redland | 196cm | 89kg | KPP

38:  Dylan Clarke | Eastern Ranges | 186cm | 83kg | MID

85:  Sean Darcy | Geelong Falcons | 200cm | 110kg | RUCK

North Melbourne are regularly criticised for their lack of pace in the midfield and Florent should provide this and class in spades.  Some may argue that I jumped the gun in picking Ollie, but he looks to be a perfect fit and is just what the Roos need. Tossed up between him and Jy Simpkin – a top 10 prospect before his season ending injury – for North’s first selection but sided with Florent on the back of his telling midfield form through the back end of the year. Another thing considered was his mental toughness, with his form improving considerably after the unfortunate passing of his father – a testament to his maturity.

With two selections in a row in the second round, I selected versatile tall Elliot Himmelberg, who arguably looked better in defence this year. Ideally, I would have liked All-Australian key defender Brennan Cox to fill the hole of Michael Firrito and support Robbie Tarrant and Scott D. Thompson, but he was selected just before my pick. I also snapped up inside midfielder Dylan Clarke, and despite not being what the Roos necessarily need, you can never have enough ball-winning midfielders. Likewise, I couldn’t resist the romance of Clarke joining his older brother, Ryan, on the North Melbourne list.

Wasn’t exactly spoilt for choice for North’s last pick at 85, but with just Todd Goldstein and Majak Daw as ruckman, I selected monster Sean Darcy. Weighing in at a massive 110kg at a height of 200cm, the 18-year-old is a formidable tap ruckman, albeit while having little influence around the ground.

PORT ADELAIDE – Craig Byrnes

16: Jarrod Berry | North Ballarat Rebels | 191cm | 80kg | MID/DEF

18: Todd Marshall | Murray Bushrangers | 198cm | 89kg | KPF

35: Brennan Cox | Woodville West Torrens | 194cm | 90kg | KPD

36: Joe Atley | Bendigo Pioneers | 186cm | 84kg | MID

83: Lewis Young | Sturt | 197cm | 88kg | KPF/RUCK

101: Dylan Whimpress  | South Adelaide/Freeling |  186cm | 70kg | DEF

Port Adelaide possesses one of the stronger draft positions this year with four top 40 selections, including two in the top 20. While pick No.16 was unlikely to see one of the elite top end players slide far enough, it was still a great opportunity to add some quality footballers. Midfielders were at the top of the list of needs, but a developing tall forward and elite rebound/intercept players weren’t far behind. While it would have hoped Will Hayward would somehow get passed Adelaide, Jarrod Berry is a great first selection. He is an elite aerobic athlete who runs all day with the ability to midfield or rebound off half back. The exclusion of Jay Schulz, John Butcher and even Paul Stewart left a large tall forward void on the list, which made the recruitment of Todd Marshall a priority despite his indifferent form late in the year.

After bidding for academy prospects Cumming and Scheer, local Brennan Cox was an unexpected luxury at pick No.35 and will become a quality defender at the next level. Another bona fide midfielder was required and that saw Joe Atley selected, a player who possesses the body and inside qualities to potentially have an impact at AFL level next year. The Power still had two late selections to make and went with local development types. Lewis Young is an athletic tall bolter who can play forward or ruck and impressed Sturt so much that he snuck in for a senior game late in the season. He could go earlier as clubs are very interested. Dylan Whimpress is a super-fast, line breaking half back who will require time to develop physically and work on defensive aspects of his game. It is a great haul for Port Adelaide, who not only delivered on numerous needs but landed three quality South Australians who can’t develop homesickness symptoms.

RICHMOND – Nicholas Coggins

29: Jonty Scharenberg | Glenelg | 183cm | 81kg | MID
58: Sam McLarty | Oakleigh Chargers | 187cm | 91kg | KPF
80: Esava Ratugolea | Murray  Bushrangers | 194cm | 94kg | FWD

At the start of the draft, I was very uncertain as to what was going to be available at my first pick. I really wanted to pick up a tall player with my first pick and my eyes were lit up when I saw Zach Sproule was available. GWS decided to match the bid and forced me onto a Midfielder and I decide I would just grab a tall forward later in the draft. In hindsight, I probably could’ve got Himmelberg at that spot, although I knew I could get a tall player with my second pick. This ended up happening with the selection of Sam McLarty. McLarty is a nice tall prospect, showing his versatility at the start of the year playing down back, he moved up forward and showed his speed and willingness to use his big body on opponents.  I added to this with another tall prospect in Esava Ratugolea.

ST KILDA – Josh Elliott

24:  Cedric Cox | Nth Ballarat Rebels | 181cm | 79kg| DEF

42:  Luke Ryan  |  Coburg (VFL) |  186cm | 83kg | DEF

59:  Hamish Brayshaw | Sandringham Dragons| 186cm | 85kg | MID/FWD

The Saints are in an interesting position this year – they’ve got picks that are early enough to get some decent players, but not so early that they will have a lot of choice about who those players are.

For example, with Cedric Cox and Luke Ryan, it was simply a matter of taking players who were available at the pick that I thought had more promise than any other player left on the board.

While the Saints don’t exactly need two more half-back flankers, these are guys who can potentially play in other areas of the ground, and hopefully provide a touch of class to go with the great grinding ability the Saints possess around the ground.

Speaking of the grind, my last pick, Hamish Brayshaw, is someone who will fit into that well. He doesn’t have the runs on the board that older brother Angus had at this point in his career, but he has a lot of similar attributes and I think would fit well in the St Kilda system.

My only disappointment was that I wanted to pick up some extra height in defence for the Saints and it just didn’t really pan out. Josh Rotham I was keen on at the first pick but he didn’t last, and after that it just seemed like any KPD who was available would be too much of a reach compared to the talent that was on offer.


10: Jack Scrimshaw | Sandringham Dragons | 193cm | 84kg | DEF/MID

20: Jordan Gallucci | Murray Bushrangers | 180cm | 78kg | MID

50: Bailey Morrish | Dandenong Stingrays | 186cm | 81kg | DEF

54: Josh Williams| Hermit Park Tigers | 189cm | 73kg | MID

91: Noah Hura | Peel Thunder | 186cm | 73kg | MID

109: Ben Ronke  | Calder Cannons |  181cm | 76kg | MID

Heading into this draft I had two key goals for the Swans, some height and toughness in defence, and some speed through the midfield, and I definitely succeeded on both counts.

The Swans’ effort to move up the draft order smacks of a team who has a player in mind, and my thoughts are either Griffin Logue or Jack Scrimshaw. With Logue going with the pick before, I was stoked to pick up Scrimshaw at 10. The Sandy Dragons gun can slot in as a tall defender immediately, but could well end up one of the best players from this year’s draft when he eventually moves into the midfield.

The defensive stocks were built even more with Bailey Morrish at pick 50 – a steal. While not overly tall at 186cm, he makes up for it with his reading of the play, and in a draft short of taller backs he could easily go in the second round.

I also stacked the side with speed. Jordan Gallucci, although taken perhaps a little early, is one of the elite athletes of the draft – as proven in the Draft combine. His disposal inside 50 needs work, but he has all the the attributes to become an elite inside/outside midfielder. With my later picks, I took Suns Academy player Josh Williams, Western Australian Noah Hura, and nabbed a bargain in Calder star Ben Ronke at 109. All possess elite speed and will add a perfect balance to the Swans’ side.

WEST COAST EAGLES – Nicholas Coggins

13:  Shai Bolton | South Fremantle | 175cm | 69kg | MID
40: Jack Graham | North Adelaide | 180cm | 81kg | MID
55: Jake Waterman | Claremont | 190cm | 94kg | FWD

When looking at West Coast’s list, I think there aren’t many weaknesses. Starting off with pick 14, I was very keen on seeing what quality I could get through the door. I really wanted to get a tall prospect, although personally, I’m very keen on Shai Bolton. West Coast fans should be excited if you get him through the door, he has untapped potential for coaches to work with. Jack Graham at pick 40, to me, was a bit too hard to pass on, I really wanted a forward half player, although I knew getting Jake Waterman later was possible.


19:  Josh Rotham | West Perth |192cm | 79kg | DEF

27:  Kobe Mutch |  Bendigo Pioneers | 186cm | 84kg | MID

56:  Tom Williamson | North Ballarat | 189cm | 79kg | DEF

73:   Liam Ryan | Subiaco | 179cm | 70kg | FWD

In complete contrast to the Dockers, the Bulldogs will not want their fairytale year to end. The 2016 Premiers had four selections in the draft with their first pick coming at the end of the first round where I selected West Perth defender Josh Rotham.

By his own admission the 18-year-old had an up and down season, but still showed good adaptability by playing in the Midfield as well as his preferred position of the third tall defender and produced composed performances for the state team.  With Rotham’s height and strong game intelligence, he seems the perfect replacement for the Bulldogs stalwart Dale Morris.

With their second selection, I chose midfielder Kobe Mutch from the Bendigo Pioneers. The 18-year-old was aligned to the GWS Academy so the Bulldogs placed a bid for him which the Giants chose not to match. Mutch has come on nicely as a player in the last 12 months, developing his inside game to complement his impressive outside running qualities. Mutch also won U/18 All Australians honours representing NSW/ACT and with a ready-made physique looks set to add to the Bulldogs midfield depth.

For their third pick, I initially chose Jake Waterman, the son of West Coast Eagles dual Premiership winner Chris. After a slight delay the Eagles matched the bid and I put my plan B into action, which was North Ballarat half-back Tom Williamson.

While they did not get Waterman, in many ways Williamson is a better selection as he will slot in very nicely in the Bulldogs’ defence once Robert Murphy and Matthew Boyd retire.

Their final pick saw me pick up “flying’’ Liam Ryan from WAFL club Subiaco.  The 20-year-old had a superb 2016 season kicking 40 goals and taking a number of screamers throughout the season.  Tory Dickson and Clay Smith are very serviceable forwards but are not what you would call “crumbers” and this is Ryan’s strength and he will look to thrive at the feet of key forwards Travis Cloke and Stewart Crameri.

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