Dees coach undecided on No.1 draft pick - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dees coach undecided on No.1 draft pick

By Peter Veness 02/10/2008 04:22:35 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne coach Dean Bailey acknowledges Fijian-born Nick Naitanui could give the club a welcome marketing boost, but says football prowess will determine the No.1 pick in next month's AFL draft.

The tall, athletic, dreadlocked Western Australian is one of three players considered the most likely contenders to be the first player named, along with Victorian key forward Jack Watts and WA midfielder Daniel Rich.

But Bailey, who has been looking on at this week's draft camp in Canberra, said while the Demons were close to settling on their choice, there was still work to be done.

"We probably, to be fair, haven't really finalised the actual player," Bailey said.

"We're still accumulating the last part of the pie."

Melbourne recruitment manager Barry Prendergast had gathered video files from an array of players, the coach said.

"The decision is going to be tough and (camp) results are a part of it obviously and then obviously there's more interviews to follow and more examinations," Bailey said.

The potential star marketing power of Naitanui was part of the financially struggling club's thinking, Bailey said, but not their main concern.

"The marketing component is really interesting (but) we're just after players that are going to be very good footballers for us."

Watts also fits the marketability category and he and Naitanui both displayed their athletic prowess in tests.

Watts ran the 20 metre sprint in 2.82 seconds, while Naitanui was just behind him in 2.86 seconds.

The other stand out performance came from West Australian Stephen Hill who broke Danyle Pearce's four-year-old record in the agility run, sprinting through in 7.7 seconds.

Bailey said he was impressed and not just by the top two.

"Each year the kids seem to be getting bigger, they seem to better prepared and not only in interviews but also physically," he said.

He expected the coming weeks to be a busy time for himself and the Demons recruitment staff.

"We'll have a number of discussions and debates and I think we'll get the best result," he said.

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