Little certainty in AFL draft - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Little certainty in AFL draft

By Roger Vaughan 28/11/2008 07:58:02 PM Comments (0)

Beyond Jack Watts and Nicholas Naitanui, nothing is certain in the AFL national draft.

The consensus is that Watts, a strong-marking tall forward, and Naitanui, a hard-working ruckman, will be the first two names called in Saturday morning's draft.

But the depth of talent is so strong, the only certainty in the first round is that the Western Bulldogs will secure Ayce Cordy with the No.14 pick.

The Bulldogs have already secured Cordy under the father-son rule.

Melbourne are likely to recruit Watts at No.1 and West Coast should take Naitanui at No.2.

AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan says the first two rounds of the draft will feature some exceptional junior players.

"The more you look deeply at it, the more you realise there will be some very well-credentialled kids who will have to wait until the rookie draft to get a chance," he said.

"There are eight or 10 outstanding kids in this and there are another 25 or so that you've got no problem saying in another draft, they might sneak into the top 10."

Assuming the first two picks go as predicted, the draft will become particularly interesting when Fremantle make their first selection at No.3.

They are likely to take West Perth utility Stephen Hill and their choice will have a massive impact on the rest of the first round.

It is also assumed Port Adelaide will pick either Hamish Hartlett or fellow ruckman Tyrone Vickery at No.4, with the other to go to Richmond at No.8.

Another point of interest will be the draft debut for new Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss, who has coached at the Australian Institute of Sport Academy.

His time at the AIS means he has spent plenty of time with most of the top prospects in this draft.

"He hasn't seen them play a lot, so you've got to be a little bit careful, but he will know the kids," Sheehan said.

"He's just got a little bit of an advantage through the time he's spent with the best young kids in Australia, but he's got to marry that up with what his recruiters are seeing, too."

The other obvious question, of course, is will this draft feature Ben Cousins?

St Kilda surprisingly decided on Tuesday not to recruit the fallen star and Brisbane announced on Friday night that they would also not sign him.

The Lions were the only club still publicly declaring they might be interested in Cousins.

Still, Sportingbet Australia are offering odds of $1.60 that another club will shock the draft by picking the self-confessing drug addict.

Of course, this is also a guaranteed way to separate some punters from their money.

But Sheehan notes that "ducks and drakes" are as much a part of draft day as the young players.

He notes that only a meeting that morning prompted Hawthorn to recruit current stars Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead in the 2004 draft.

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