Rules: Each team had 5 choices and made their choices in reverse ladder order with Brisbane being allocated first choice in its foundation year. The West Coast had no draft choices but had exclusive rights to all of WA. Queensland was allocated to Brisbane. Allthough trading was allowed none actually occured. Clubs were permited to draft players aged 16 and above.
Background: The 1986 National Draft, the first ever draft, will be remembered as the Tasmanian draft with a host of good Tasmanian players drafted. The best Victorians had been recruited directly into under 19's squads prior to the draft, in what was a mad pre-draft era recruiting splurge. With a moratorium on recruiting WA and Qld players and South Australian draftees variously; under contract, paid by their league to stay home, or convinced a South Australian AFL team was imminent, there was little talent. The clubs also had only a few months to prepare and the draft became one of 'leftovers'.
Players: The good players drafted in 1986 included, Stephan and Mathew Febey, Trent Nicholls, Mathew Armstrong, Simon Minton-Connell, Darrin Pritchard, Jason Taylor, Alistair Lynch and Andy Lovell (all Tasmanians). Another notable selection was Melbourne's drafting of Darren Jarman (he stayed in the SANFL). A few South Australians went to AFL clubs however including Craig Kelly, Martin Leslie, Richard Cousins and Keiran Sporn.
Bits and Pieces: An indication of the nature of the era, was the story of Steve Sims drafted by St Kilda from West Torrens. Sims had gathered 448 possesions in the SANFL in 1986, however unbeknown to Saints, Sims had signed a contract with SANFL side North Adelaide on the day prior to the draft. Richmond's choice of Richard Anderson was interesting as well. Anderson's 443 possesions at Norwood in 1986 indicated a player of great ability, but he chose to accept a country teaching appointment and was lost to both the AFL and SANFL when he signed with Port Pirrie. Greg Whittlesea and Andrew Payze used their drafting as an impetus to sign with the player retention scheme.
Analysis: By November 1988 (2 years later), 13 of the 65 players had played senior AFL football, 23 would eventually become senior players. Only 28 of the 65 players were still listed by the time the 1988 draft came around. Despite this seemingly poor strike rate, 10 of these players are still listed, and in addition to these 10 another 2 players were 100 game veterans.
Winners and Losers: The winners were Melbourne and Fitzroy. Melbourne for recruiting Andy Lovell and the Febey brothers, Fitzroy for Alistair Lynch, Jason Taylor and Mathew Armstrong. The losers were Geelong and St Kilda who didn't recruit a senior player, North Melbourne got 2 games from Brenton Harris and Sydney got 5 games from John Brinkotter, but none of the other selections of these clubs played AFL football.
Rules: The 1987 draft followed the same format as the 1986 draft. The moratorium on recruiting from WA and Qld was still in place, and again allthough trading was permitted no clubs had been interested/willing/able to negotiate a player trade. The minimum draft age was still 16. It was 19 for NSW (Sydney could take 16 year olds). Pre-draft trading was allowed but none actually occurred.
Background: Again West Coast took the best 5 Western Australians, the best SA players wouldn't leave the SANFL, and Tasmania had been raided a year earlier. The best Victorians were in under 19's programs, allthough their numbers were declining. Even Victorian country football had yet to really recover from the previous year's open season. At this time in draft history clubs were happy to recruit players and then negotiate when that player would join the club. So for example Martin Leslie allthough drafted in 1986 only joined Brisbane in time for the 1989 season.
Players: The 1987 Draft was weaker than the 1986 draft, and produced only a few good players. The only 100 game players have been Graham Wright, Brendon Gale (both Tasmanians), Stephen Tingay, Liam Pickering (who would have to move to Geelong to make an impact), and South Australians, David Grenvold and Andrew Obst. Simon Tregenza and Chris McDermott allthough drafted by Footscray and Brisbane respectivley, both stayed in Adelaide. Other interesting selections were Stuart Wigney, David Kernahan (brother of Steve), Jay Viney (brother of Todd), and of course Darren 'Doc' Wheildon.
Bits and Pieces: Stephan Oliver (Carlton) had been described as the best country footballer in years but he continually refused to move to the city. He regularly would return to Bendigo to play with his mates and never really committed to life at Carlton. Another interesting name was the drafting by Essendon of Jamie Cox, the Tasmanian Sheffield Shield player.
This year it was Carlton's turn to fall victim to the player retention scheme when Peter Bubner signed up after being recruited. Bubner would later be included in Adeliade's initial training squad but was cut after missing a training session as an example of the type of discipline the new club expected. The retention scheme was designed to stop SANFL players going to the AFL. To qualify a player had to have played 6 seasons, 120 games and 4 state games, or if they were deemed to be a 'high priority' they need only 3 years, 50 games and 1 state game. Typically being drafted was enough for a player to move into the 'high priority' classification.
Analysis: A total of 25 of the 65 selections went on to play senior football. Of these only 7 players are still listed. A total of 8 players went on to play 100 AFL games, down from 12 the previous year.
Winners and Losers: The winner was Melbourne who picked up two 100 game players in Andrew Obst and Stephan Tingay. The losers were Geelong and Hawthorn who got no senior games from their 5 selections.
Rules: The moratorium on WA and Qld had been lifted. On the 26 October the clubs had to finalise a list of 50 players aged 19 or over. Brisbane's list was 40 and West Coast 35, plus 5 new WAFL players (3 over 20, and 2 between 16 and 19). On the 2nd November clubs advised the league of any trades, there were no restrictions on the number of trades. On 9th November each club selected 8 players (adjusted by trading). Players had to be older than 16 and not on a list on 26 October. This meant the clubs had a list of 58 (48 for West Coast and Brisbane) which had to be cut to 48 by 13 March. On the 22nd March the first ever preseason draft was used to select 4 players, bringing the list to 52. Preseason draftees had to be either 'discards' or players who wanted to change clubs.
Clubs (other than West Coast) could choose only 1 WA player each, and NSW and Queensland recruits had to be over the age of 19, to be recruited by an interstate club.
Background: The 1988 national draft was the strongest draft to this point, and had great player depth. With the end of the moratorium in WA and with two years for 'feeder' clubs to recover from the 1986 recruitment overkill, there were a number of good players available. Allthough still in operation the SA player retention scheme was now familiar to the AFL clubs and they worker around it. Also the SANFL promises of an imminent entry into the AFL were beginning to sound hollow.
Pre-Draft: For the first time pre-draft trading occurred. Ken Hinkley resurected his career with a move from Fitzroy to Geelong. Alex Ishchenko and Mark Zanotti departed West Coast to be key players at the hapless Bears. Paul Harding, Peter Russo and Robert Handley all went to St Kilda so that Hawthorn could have the first draft pick, they recruited Alex McDonald. Hawthorn had released Russo because of a perceived lack of pace. This deal between Hawthorn and St Kilda was the first trade ever conducted under the draft system. Unfortunately for St Kilda Russo was almost 30, Harding returned to WA and Handley was a hack.
Players: A notable feature of the draft was West Coast using its pre-draft picks to recruit the core of the succesful WA under-17 (Teal Cup) squad. They got Sumich, Pyke, Turley, Watters and Jackson.
The 100 game players from the draft proper would be country Victorians; Chris Naish, Leon Cameron, Anthony Stevens, Michael Sexton and Chris Grant. Also from South Australia Tony Francis, David Hynes and Richard Champion. The Tasmanians still were able to provide journeyman Adrian Fletcher. while the Territory gave Essendon the great Michael Long.
Also among the names are a few players who have stuggled to make an impact but are still plying their trade in the AFL; Mathew Francis, Alex McDonald, Shannon Corcoran and Rod Keogh. There are also a host of WAFL, SANFL and VFA/VFL stalwarts who had their shot at the AFL in the 1988 national draft.
An interesting name was Port Adelaide veteran Darren Mead, who elected not to go to Essendon. Current Richmond player Ross Funke saw his brother Leigh recruited to Fitzroy, and fellow tiger Joel Bowden saw brother Sean pave the way at Punt Rd. St Kilda recruited Dermott McNicholl from Ireland, and Melbourne recruited Brian Stynes, Jim's brother. McNicholl was a Gaelic football star brought to Australia by VFA club Prahran. Paul Hills would win a premiership at Essendon but not fulfill his potential. Peter Divenuto (brother of the Tasmanian cricketer) was recruited to Collingwood. Derek Kickett and Brad Sholl (both North Melbourne), and Darryn Creswell (Geelong) would both have to wait to make their names elsewhere.
Preseason: This draft is notable for the almost complete lack of talent it produced. With the exception of John Gastev, Andrew Rogers and Lazar Vidovic none of the players really threatened to build an AFL career. Interesting selections include Wally Matera, Peter's brother, and Mathew Febey. This would be the second time he was drafted to Melbourne, but it would take a third chance to see him overcome his injury problems and actually play senior football.
Bits and Pieces: People often shake their heads at the thought of Alex McDonald as a number 1 draft pick, but Hawk fans it could have been far worse. Trading Paul Harding to St Kilda left Greg Dear as the only ruckman and Hawthorn were expected to recruit a backup. The newspapers on the morning of the draft suggested two possibilities 19 year old Clinton Wolf (East Fremantle), or Tasmanian 17 year old Stephan Byers (New Norfolk). They eventually did get Byers at 14th (he didn't play) and Wolf wasn't taken.
Michael Long's recruitment was an example of the good work of Essendon's recruiting manager Noel Judkins. Judkins had been the first full-time recruiting manager in the game when he followed Kevin Sheedy from Richmond (where he'd spent 4 years) to Essendon. Long was Judkins' number 1 target but the Essendon football department thought the team needed tall defenders so they recruited Michael Werner and Brad Fox. Judkins was resigned to losing Long, but the other clubs believed Long was under contract at SANFL club West Torrens, whereas West Torrens had actually only leased him from Darwin club St Mary's. Judkins jumped in to claim the player with the 23rd pick.
Carlton recruited John James jnr and Chris Mulclair under the father-son rule. Todd Breman, the second selection, had kicked 100 goals in the WAFL.
Analysis: 24 of the drafted players are still listed, 14 of them have gone on to be 100 game players. 96 of the players recruited went on to play senior football which is an immense number.
Winners and Losers: Footscray was a definite winner with their choice of Leon Cameron and picked up Chris Grant with the 105th pick, as were Collingwood with Tony Francis and Scott Russell who were both premiership players. Geelong were again the big losers, only saved by the redrafting of the delisted Spiro Malakelis in the preseason draft, and worsened by not getting the best from Fletcher and Creswell.
Rules: The clubs submitted their final lists of 58 on 1 November, which was the last day for trades. On 14 November the 14 clubs drafted players to bring their total up to 58 (52 for the Eagles). Each team had 8 choices, adjusted by trades. Clubs then reduced their lists to 48 prior to the March draft, and on the 15 March each club chose 4 players to bring the total to 52. The midyear draft was non-compulsory and was conducted on the 6 June.
The minimum draft age was 16. Clubs (other than the Eagles) were only allowed to choose one WA player each. Queensland and NSW players had to be 19 by which time Brisbane and Sydney would have had the chance to recruit them for three years.
Background: The player retention scheme was in operation in Adelaide. Clubs (with the exception of St Kilda) had come to realise that the draft was a means of recruiting 'rookies'. No longer would fans be excited by their clubs going out to sign saviours from other leagues. No more Jim Tillbrook's (Sturt) coming to save Melbourne (53 modest games) or Brian Peake's being brought from WA to Geelong mid-season and flown in to Kardinia Park in a helicopter where the screaming fans would have been less enthusiastic had they known he would only play 66 games, and be quite ordinary. Recruits were now much younger, and had yet to earn a reputation. Recruiting had changed for ever.
Predraft: In the pre-draft selections the West Coast Eagles recruited Peter Mann (who would make his name at North Melbourne) and Ryan Turnball. Brisbane tried to recruit Darren Jarman, Andrew Jarman and Doug Smart from North Adelaide but none of the trio were interested and they all stayed in the SANFL. Brisbane had tried to recruit Chris McDermott the year before and had this group relocated the Bears might have been allright.
The predraft trading saw former Richmond best and fairest Trevor Poole got to Geelong where he frustrated a whole new group of supporters. Peter Wilson also left Richmond to join the premiership bound West Coast Eagles.
Players: The 1989 draft produced a number of very talented players including Gavin Wanganeen, Ben Allan, Wayne Campbell, Shaun Hart, and Paul Williams who have all gone on to play 100 games with their clubs. The West Coast Eagles established the foundations for a decade of success when they raided their Teal Cup winning team of the previous year for the second year in a row. They recruited Peter Matera, Tony Evans, Ashley McIntosh (father-son rule), Dean Irving and Brett Heady. After the draft was completed they had three more picks and added Dean Kemp to their list with one of them. History tells us it was probably the best draft ever by an individual club (particularly when you add in Turnball and Mann from above).
Dale Kickett, Chris Bond, Gavin Rose, Mathew Robran and Gilbert McAdam would make their marks at other clubs, and a number of other players would become 'stayers' taking a long time to make a career, including Nathan Bower, Mathew Croft, Shayne Stevenson, and Peter Cransberg.
Also among the draft selections were a number of SANFL players who elected not to come to Melbourne to play the 1990 season. These players would have to wait until the Adelaide Crows and the 1992 season. In this group David Pittman (Essendon), David Brown (Brisbane), Stephen Schwerdt (West Coast), Rod Jameson (North Melbourne), and Paul Rouvray (Melbourne). Darren Smith (Essendon) and Roger Delaney (Fitzroy) left the move too late however and never really got the stage they deserved. Yet again the number 1 selection (Anthony Banik - Richmond) was a poisened chalice.
As ever a few interesting names. Footscray added steel to their team with jouneyman professional Glen Coleman who gave them sterling service. The dissapointing Jamie Elliott (named by coach Robert Shaw as a future captain of Fitzroy) began his career with the Roy-boys. Grant Lawrie, a 31 year old 150 game veteran, was recalled from the VFA to give leadership to St Kilda. Colin Corkery (Carlton) and Colum McManamon (Geelong) became the latest Irish experiments.
Preseason: The preseason draft was notable for the recruitment of Derek Kickett to Essendon. Keenan Reynolds became a 70 game player at Footscray, as did Danny Del-re. North Melbourne were still unable to find the ruckman they needed but gave Michael Gallagher a second chance. St Kilda gained 100 games from Fitzroy discard Tim Pekin who was a great contributor across half-back. The sentimental story though was David Cloke returning to Richmond, and shock of shocks he actually had quite a lot of good football left in him. Neale Daniher (currently assistant coach at Fremantle) was given one last chance to overcome his crippling knee injuries and managed 7 games for the year including a history making game where he took to the field with his 3 brothers, to create a new record.
Midyear: The first ever midyear draft was a fiasco. The clubs had to delist two players at least, and of the susequent pick-ups only Dale Lewis (Sydney) and Scott Turner (Richmond) had any success at their new clubs. Of the 45 selections only 3 would play more than 10 games, and none of these made it to 30. Phil Krakouer was recruited by Footscray, and Melbourne reclaimed their knee-injury victim Jamie Duursma but neither played.
Bits and Pieces: Brett Chalmers was recruited into Richmond's under-19s. He'd played only 2 or 3 games with Port Adelaide under-19s and was still playing at Cleave, his future was to refuse to join the Tigers, and to continue developing in the SANFL. A lucrative offer from Collingwood, saw Chalmers decide to wait until Richmond's hold on him expired. Richmond cried foul in that Collingwood were preventing Richmond organise a trade, Collingwood were found to have broken the rules and were fined heavily, Chalmers was banned for a year. Collingwood eventually drafted him in 1992 with the 10th selection, after Chalmers wrote to the clubs before Collingwood saying that he wouldn't play for them. He was again found guilty of manipulating the draft, he never managed a game with the Pies and he was traded to Adelaide, and Collingwood probably wondered if their efforts were worthwhile.
Anthony Banik, the number 1 draft pick was one of the best credientialled junior footballers ever. He was an All-Australian under-16 while still only 14. If he hadn't been drafted by Richmond as a 16 year old he would have become the first person ever to represent a state in 3 Teal Cup under-17 tournaments. He was regarded as the unanimous number 1 selection. He made the all-Australian under-17 team despite missing the 9 weeks prior to the carnival with a knee injury. He was a state junior shotput and discus champion, and the nephew of Carlton premiership player Billy Bennett. However Banik was extremely mature and physicallly developed for his age group, and had very little improvement left in him. After 49 games at Richmond he was delisted and has since played in the SANFL. Banik serves now as a warning to recruiters to ensure that they recruit players with potential, not merely on the basis that they dominate junior competitions.
Analysis: Of the 119 players selected in November, 27 are still listed with AFL clubs. 41 of the 116 players played football, 10 have gone on to play 100 games. Two currently listed players drafted in June 1990 have played 100 games. This draft saw the start of the selection numbers matching player ability, with early draft picks far more likely to play football than later round selections.
Winners and Losers: The overwhelming winner was the Eagles. They not only added a number of good players but got great value from later round draft picks. The losers were Geelong, Melbourne and North Melbourne who all only found one senior player each, and didn't get a 50 game player.
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