Sidebottom's stocks rise for AFL draft - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sidebottom's stocks rise for AFL draft

By Peter Veness 01/10/2008 02:52:31 PM Comments (0)

Despite kicking 10 goals in the AFL's best shop window, Steele Sidebottom has arrived at the draft camp still unsure of his best position.

Sidebottom began the 2008 TAC Under-18 season playing as a defender for the Murray Bushrangers and is listed as a backman for the annual three-day draft camp which has begun at the Australian Institute of Sport.

But he is certain to have shot up the provisional draft order on the basis of his match-winning 10-goal haul in Friday night's thumping 81-point TAC Cup grand final victory over Dandenong.

Spending time in the midfield and up forward, the 182cm player also picked up 32 touches and pulled down 14 marks in the best performance of his junior career.

"I don't know where it came from but I wouldn't mind it every week, it was good," said Sidebottom, who now shapes as a likely top-10 pick in next month's national draft.

"Everyone is here trying to do the same thing and get the same result.

"It has been a dream to get here."

The performance was similar to Amon Buchanan's 10-goal outing for the Geelong Falcons in the corresponding match eight years ago which attracted the attention of Sydney.

Dale Thomas was best on ground in the Under-18 grand final three years ago for Gippsland Power, leading Collingwood to draft him at No.2.

Even before his grand final performance, Sidebottom had attracted some attention from AFL recruiters, with St Kilda, Collingwood, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide all talking to him.

While Sidebottom shapes as one of the draft bolters, high-leaping West Australian ruckman Nick Naitanui and Victorian key forward Jack Watts have both been touted as No.1 prospects.

Having opted for Australian Rules over basketball, the 17-year-old Watts intends to complete his Year 12 studies next year at Brighton Grammar.

He has firmed as the favourite to go at No.1, with Melbourne having the first pick and badly needing a dominant key forward.

For the Fijian-born Naitanui, the draft camp is a sign the heat of almost two years in the media glare is almost over.

If the Demons opt for Watts, Naitanui is sure to attract the attention of WA clubs West Coast and Fremantle, who have picks two and three in the national draft.

"The media created the hype, I really just do my best at the club and try to carry on the way I have been," he said.

"(I just want a club) who can help me with my ruck work and other parts of my game as well, skills and the physical side as well.

"I'm not really expecting to play a game or anything. I think playing a game in your first season is a bonus."

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