'Roos, Blues excited about AFL draftees - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Roos, Blues excited about AFL draftees

By Sam Lienert 18/02/2009 04:38:36 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne and Carlton both named near-full strength squads for Friday night's AFL pre-season clash, but it is the emergence of some new draftees that has them most excited.

The two clubs are predicting big things for their top picks from last year's national draft - Kangaroos' midfielder Jack Ziebell and Blues' small forward Chris Yarran - both named to play at Telstra Dome on Friday night.

Experienced `Roos defender Daniel Pratt said Ziebell's strong pre-season form had him on track to start the home and away season in the senior side.

"If he keeps his form up that he's shown the last three or four weeks in the practice matches he'll definitely play," Pratt said.

"He's just one of those natural footballers and he's got athletic ability too which is another key area playing AFL footy these days.

"He's going to be a great player for the club if he continues the way he's going.

"Just watching him during training he's just a natural."

Blues' midfielder Shaun Grigg had similar praise for the silky skills of agile Aboriginal forward Yarran, who is also in strong contention to start the premiership season in Carlton's 22.

"Chris Yarran's a class act with his skills, he's just a natural player, a natural mover," Grigg said.

The Blues' second draft pick, midfielder Mitch Robinson, was also included, after starring in a recent intra-club match.

Carlton named their biggest stars, including captain Chris Judd, fellow midfielders Nick Stevens, Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy and forward Brendan Fevola.

Stevens can play in the pre-season, but must sit out the season-opener against Richmond.

The `Roos' squad included captain Brent Harvey and former skipper Adam Simpson, while their four ruckmen - Hamish McIntosh, Drew Petrie, David Hale, and Todd Goldstein - were all named.

"It's good to get match fitness going into round one," Pratt said.

"You don't want to be only playing three halves or two halves going into round one.

"So we'll put our best side out on the park each week that's available according to the plans of the fitness staff."

Meanwhile, Grigg said Irishman Setanta O'hAilpin had been fully welcomed back into the fold after his exile for punching and kicking teammate Cameron Cloke in a practice match.

"We've all moved on and the club dealt with it and we'll go on from there," Grigg said.

"I don't think there's any hard feelings at all, he's got to train hard and win back the respect of everyone and I'm sure he can do that."

O'hAilpin is serving a four-match suspension.

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