Pre-draft: The father-son pick was Richmond's David Bourke and the pre-draft picks saw Jason Akermanis go to Brisbane and Justin Crawford join Sydney. There were then a series of picks where clubs could choose to list players who had been on their supplementary lists, in future years these selections would have to be via the draft as per normal. The best of these picks was Chris Curran going to Collingwood.
The pre-draft trading was a bit of fun again. For one thing Fremantle had cleverly listed a couple of players who they didn't want, and then used their concessions to arrange trades. So Andrew McLeod was listed by Fremantle but immediately traded to Adelaide. Using this strategy Darryl Wakelin went to St Kilda, Glenn Freeborn to North, and Jeff Farmer to Melbourne.
Sydney was again involved in a three way trade, but unlike the 'Williams deal', the 'Lockett deal' was of their own making. Sydney gained Tony Lockett, St Kilda gained Robert Neill. Hawthorn sent Joshua Kitchen and Glen Nugent to St Kilda and received Simon Minton-Connell from Sydney in return. A host of draft picks balanced up the deal.
The final draft 'twist' was that Fremantle had the right to take a total of 12 uncontracted players. The teams losing a player to Fremantle would be able to choose a 16 year old (the minimum draft age was 17). Essendon was desperate to have first pick, so they released Dale Kickett and Tony Delany to the Dockers in exchange for a promise that Fremantle would take Todd Ridley as an uncontracted player. Fremantle had also promised not to take an uncontracted player from a club finishing beneath the Bombers, so Essendon would be able to take the best 16 year old in the country.
In other trades Adelaide picked up Mathew Connell and Jason McCartney, Brisbane got Andrew Gowers (they'll invent a cure one day) and North picked up Robert Scott and Mathew Armstrong. Geelong did well to recruit Brenton Sanderson and particularly Brad Sholl who became the latest in a long line of Arden St educated Cats.
Players: In the draft itself it is too early to say who the great players are going to be but it is clear that St Kilda has done well. Using draft picks from the Lockett trade, as well as their own picks, they selected Tony Brown, Joel Smith and Austin Jones. Daniel Harford looks the goods at Hawthorn and he and Anthony Rocca became the latest in what is threatening to become the Northern/Preston Knights production line of young footballers. Shannon Grant was a highly rated (and highly priced) recruit for Sydney and Scott Lucas will be a key position player at Essendon for quite some time.
Probably the two interesting things about the draft are firstly, the recruiters seem to have finally reached a point where a top 20 pick translates into a footballer and the quality drops away. Up until this draft the relationship between selection number and player quality appeared a lot more random. The second thing of note was Fremantle's decision to not use its final selections, no point recruiting them only to delist them I suppose.
Fremantle's uncontracted selections, with the exception of Todd Ridley, have been servicable. The Ridley selection was of course complicated as I pointed out previously. Essendon used their compensation pick to recruit Mathew Lloyd, West Coast selected Chad Morrsion and Geelong got Adam Houlihan and Steven King as a result of losing two players (Wills and O'Rielly).
Preseason: In the preseason draft Paul Roos finally lost heart at Fitzroy and went to Sydney. Adelaide did well to pick up Peter Vardy and Tyson Edwards. Richard Taylor was redrafted by Hawthorn after overcoming his knee injury and Jose Romero crossed from North to Footscray. Matt Clape, Paul Dimmattina, Shaun Smith, Glen Manton, Tony Woods, Derek Hall and Mark Fraser were other successful picks. Fraser had emulated Doolan, and 'conspired' with Essendon to manipulate the draft but was cleared by an investigation.
Ross Lyon had been originally going to join Paul Roos at Sydney but the Swanies' bean counters had run out of fingers and toes and he couldn't be squeezed under the salary cap. Sydney passed on their selection and Brisbane picked him up. Unfortunately his recovery from his knee injury was not successful, and he went to Richmond as skills coach, he was actually skills coach at Richmond while still listed at Brisbane because the Bears couldn't afford to delist him. Now he'd be a guy to ask about the merits of the draft system.
Pre-draft: The West Coast decided to emulate its success with pre-draft picks by using the father and son rule to recruit Ben Cousins. They were able to do this because Bryan Cousins played more than 50 WAFL games, allthough had Geelong been more persuasive they could have picked him up. Richmond recruited Joel Bowden who looks an exciting prospect.
In the pre-draft picks Brisbane recruited Micheal Voss' brother Brett, and Danny Dickfos. Clubs had been trying to persuade Dickfos and his brothers to enter the AFL literally for years, but he had always resisted. He ended up nominating for the draft only because his QAFL club Nth Brisbane, premiers no less, went bust and ceased to operate. Fremante, had a host of selections and of note are Greg Harding and James Clement.
In the trading Adelaide did well to recruit Darren Jarman, Troy Bond, Peter Caven and Kym Koster. The Jarman deal saw Jarman go from Hawthorn to Adelaide, Essendon gained Sean Wellman from Adelaide and Paul Barnard from Hawthorn, while the Hawks picked up Paul Salmon. West Coast and Melbourne swapped Andy Lovell and Craig Turley, Richmond and Collingwood swapped Robert Powell and Mathew Francis and Richmond and Carlton swapped Justin Murphy and Ben Harrison.
Scott Crow and Alex McDonald left Hawthorn for Collingwood and senior football. Fremantle decided that Phil Matera and Brad Wira were surplus to requirements and released the pair to West Coast and Footscray respectively. Jayson Daniels returned to the Sainters, Kappler went to the Hawks, and Alistair Clarkson, given a chance at Melbourne, went on to win a best and fairest.
Players: As for the draft proper, it is probably to early to tell but it again looks pretty weak. Mathew Primus went to Fitzroy on a one year deal which saw him audition for the other clubs. Of the rest perhaps only Daniel Chick (Hawthorn), and Glenn Kilpatrick (Geelong) have become senior players. The younger players have yet to really have an impact, but many still have time.
Fremantle again could take uncontracted players but only took one player, Godden, from the Eagles. Like the Essendon 'arrangement' a year before, Fremantle also negotiated for the release of David Hynes and thereby gaurenteed West Coast first shot at the 16 year olds. As it happened by gaurenteeing that the wouldn't select a player from a club below the Eagles, the Dockers shot themselves in the foot somewhat by narrowing the pool too far. Fremantle would end up using only 7 of their 12 uncontacted player selections. The Eagles chose David Wirrpunda.
Sydney also were able to take two uncontracted players and recruited Stuart Maxfield and Kevin Dyson. They had originally intended to take Richmond's Chris Naish but the AFL pointed out the 'one player per club' clause of the rule, and Dyson got the job instead. History tells us that faced with not getting the 'goal-sneak' they wanted, Sydney offered a trade to St Kilda and picked up Craig O'Brien instead. A good bit of recruiting in the end.
Preseason: The cyclical nature of the pre-season draft continued. We were back to clubs getting their 'squad' players via trading and so the draft was pretty weak. Richmond and Melbourne in exchange for losing players to the Swans got compensation picks as did the dead-in-the-water Fitzroy. Melbourne picked up Craig Nettlebeck, and Richmond poked Sydney in the eye by enticing one of their players to leave for cash, Gaspar was effectively a trade for Maxfield.
Of the other selections, new Hawthorn coach insisted his recruiting department get Craig Treleven to follow him to Victoria, and new coach Brisbane coach John Northey decided that Richmond supplementary list player Tristan Lynch was his type of player so had him recruited to the Bears. Mathew Young became the latest player to tire of the Hawks reserves, and resurected his career at Saintland.
Rules: The draft age was increased to 18 forcing clubs to go through last year's talent for the second time. Each club was allowed to take one 17 year old each.
Background: The entry of another new team, Port Adelaide, again effected the draft. The very best talent had been 'stockpiled' by Port in anticipation of their entry. Fitzroy had been 'merged' with Brisbane meaning their ex-players were available for the other clubs.
Pre-Draft: Lance Whitnall became the latest father and son recruit when he joined Carlton. The pre-draft picks included Port unlocking its cupboard and taking out the players it had stashed away for just this day. Darren Mead, Darryl Poole, Michael Wilson, Stephen Carter, Peter Burgoyne, Fabian Francis, Warren Tredra were all rewarded for not nominating fo the draft in previous years, as were a host of young SANFL players. Brisbane had fun selecting the best of the defunct Fitzroy's players as part of the 'merger' package.
In the trading Port used Fremantle's trick and used their concessions to trade with other clubs. I've designated these deals by inferring that AFL clubs have traded with SANFL clubs (which of course can't be done). I won't go through all these trades because of the trades only Luke Trew, picked up by Footscray, has been delisted.
Players: In the draft proper the clubs had to struggle with the fact that the draft age had been raised from 17 to 18 effectively making the clubs pick from the same talent pool as the year before. There were not going to be too many good SANFL players up for grabs and so the clubs steered clear of too many selections. Carlton coach David Parkin described the talent pool available in the draft as the weakest he'd seen in 20 years.
The one 'catch' with this draft are that each club could choose one 17 year old, and because this was 'fresh' talent these picks should become reasonable players; they are after all the 'best' in their age group. I've marked these 14 with a '#' (Port allready had taken Stuart Dew, and Carlton Lance Whitnall so they missed out). In assessing the value of choices you should remember that becasue of this 'compilcation' some picks may have occured 'articificially' early or late.
I won't discuss who the good and bad recruits are because it is too early to say and I'd only look foolish, but it is interesting to point out that Collingwood stubbornly refused to recognise the lack of talent and conducted their own mini-draft after everyone else went home.
Bits and Pieces: Bad-boy Martin Pike was the talk of the draft. He had basically been kicked out of Melbourne, despite showing ability, because of behaviour approaching alcoholism. He crossed to Fitzroy and was involved in a number of incidents but seemed to be under more control. At Fitzroy he had been converted from a forward to a loose-checking counter-attacking defender. He won the best and fairest in Fitzroy's last year.
When he nominated for the draft many clubs doubted his 'character'. He also nominated a value of $110,000 a year (as oppossed to the minimum of about $20,000). Only North Melbourne showed any interest, and they seemed to have picked up a very handy player.
Preseason: Continuing the trend of recent years the pre-season draft reduced in significance and only contained 20 selcetions. Paul Hudson and Stephen Paxman used it change clubs and Shane Woewodin might be a good late pick-up. It'll be interesting to see if the clubs continue to swing towards trading over the preseason draft or whether they swing back to the draft as in previous years.
So now you're up to date and hopefully you have the data you need to decide whether your club has been good or bad at recruiting. Hopefully all this info also gives people a reasonable idea of who on their list, and which of their future picks, are likely to be good bad or indifferent etc.
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