Demons to make a line-Ball decision - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons to make a line-Ball decision

By Sam Lienert 25/11/2009 07:34:40 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne's decision on whether to swoop on former St Kilda captain Luke Ball and ruin his bid to join Collingwood will go down to the wire.

The Demons are the main obstacle to the 25-year-old former Saints' best and fairest joining the Magpies, an ambition he was initially denied when the two clubs could not reach a trade deal.

Melbourne have committed to youngsters Tom Scully and Jack Trengove with the first two picks of Thursday night's national draft, but could take Ball with their fourth selection, No.18.

Collingwood's first pick is No.30.

Demons recruiting manager Barry Prendergast said they could not make a firm commitment, with the decision resting on which players were left when the time came.

"You rate and rank the draft as to how you think it should fall," Prendergast said.

"He'll be part of that consideration and he's part of that strategy as to where he fits.

"He's the most interesting player in the draft obviously because there's so much speculation about him, but in terms of a recruiting manager, you rate and rank him with the rest."

Essendon, who have two picks in the 20s, have also canvassed the possibility of thwarting the Magpies.

But, while the Bombers refused to comment on Wednesday, they are believed to be leaning towards youth, meaning if Ball gets past pick 18 he should reach Collingwood.

Regardless, Ball stands to be picked as early as any recycled player in the past 13 years.

The most recent experienced player snaffled earlier than pick 30 was John Rombotis, taken by Port Adelaide at No.7 in 1996, after his former club Fitzroy merged with Brisbane.

Saints coach Ross Lyon said Ball's eventual draft position would determine whether his club was vindicated in turning down the Magpies' trade offer of picks 25 and 62, instead losing him for nothing.

"What we're about to find out at the national draft is Luke Ball - where's he rated? Ask me the question afterwards and see whether it was fair and equitable or not," Lyon said.

Meanwhile, Prendergast said the Demons' swathe of early picks - partly due to two years of poor performance - were a timely boost in a draft rated as lacking depth, particularly with expansion club Gold Coast having already stripped out some of the nation's best teenagers.

"It's particularly useful, there's no question about that," he said.

"This is a really powerful position in this draft and we want to make the most of it."

At the other end of the spectrum, Hawthorn do not enter the draft until pick 39, after trading for Port Adelaide's Shaun Burgoyne and North Melbourne's Josh Gibson.

But Hawks player personnel manager Chris Pelchen remained confident they would still acquire some talented youngsters, although he said planning was difficult, given they were at the mercy of other clubs' decisions.

The Hawks are set to use one pick on a recycled ruckman, with Adam Pattison (Richmond), Cameron Cloke (Carlton) and Chris Bryan (Collingwood) among their options.

Ex-Saints defender Matt Maguire, who has trained with Carlton, is also under their consideration.

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