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Wednesday special: draft hits and misses

Corey Enright #44 of the Geelong Cats poses for a portrait headshot for the 2000 AFL season.
Corey Enright remains one of the biggest draft hits ever, after being selected at pick No. 47 in 1999 by the Cats

Adelaide

Greatest hit: Patrick Dangerfield

The decision to select a young Victorian at pick no. 10 at the 2007 NAB AFL Draft and overlook local prodigy Brad Ebert took serious guts, particularly as Dangerfield spent his first season as a Crow living at home in Victoria finishing school. While Ebert is developing into a star in his own right, Dangerfield has become one of the game's most damaging players. A reigning two-time All Australian, the 'Raging Bull' is a marketing dream, oozes leadership and wins games off his own boot.

Biggest miss: Laurence Angwin

The Crows overlooked some genuine quality to draft Angwin at pick no. 7 at the 2000 draft, passing on Shaun Burgoyne, Scott Thompson (who ended up with the club anyway), Daniel Kerr and Kane Cornes. Adelaide was after a big man and Angwin was a promising junior. Unfortunately they didn't get a single game out of him and would now regret ignoring the next tallest player drafted – Drew Petrie, an All Australian and three-time leading goalkicker at North Melbourne. - Harry Thring

Brisbane Lions

Greatest hit: Tom Rockliff

It's hard to believe every club overlooked Rockliff in the 2008 national draft before the Lions eventually snapped him up in the pre-Season draft (No.5 overall). He is a prolific ball-winner, current vice-captain, 2011 club champion and finished sixth in this year's Brownlow Medal. The Lions cleaned up in the 2008 draft, getting Daniel Rich (No.7) and Jack Redden (no.25) who, along with Rockliff, form the long-term nucleus of their midfield.

Biggest miss: the class of 2010/11

The 2010 and 2011 drafts have turned out to be disastrous for the Lions. Every first and second round pick from that crop has now left, leaving a gaping hole in the club's list. Jared Polec (No.5) and Patrick Karnezis (no.25) were both taken in 2010, while Billy Longer (no.8), Sam Docherty (no.12) and Elliot Yeo (no.30) were selected the following year. The five all departed in the recent trade period, citing homesickness. It might not hurt the Lions too much in 2014, but beyond that, they have some big gaps in both age and talent that need addressing. - Michael Whiting

Carlton

Greatest hit: Kade Simpson

In 2002, Carlton had lost its first two draft picks because of salary cap violations, with its first selection not coming until No. 45. Fortunately, the Blues made that pick count, snaring Simpson. The left-footer has now played 200 games and is coming off a career-best season in 2013, when he won the Blues' best and fairest award. Versatile and courageous, Simpson, 29, is one of the Blues' most dependable players.

Biggest miss: Luke Livingston

The Blues took the key-position defender with pick No. 4 in the 2000 draft. But after making his debut in 2002 and playing 17 games, Livingston never managed to establish himself as a senior player, bowing out of AFL football four injury-plagued years later after 46 games. In taking Livingston, the Blues overlooked midfielders Shaun Burgoyne (No. 12), Daniel Kerr (No. 18) and Kane Cornes (No. 20), and key defender Ted Richards (No. 27) - Nick Bowen

Collingwood

Greatest hit: Nick Maxwell

Maxwell was a rookie selection who ended up captaining the club to a premiership and a key part of a team that has made eight finals series in succession. Of course, Ben Johnson at No.62 in 1999, Dane Swan at No.58 in 2001 and Dayne Beams at No.29 in 2008 are more talented but few can top Maxwell for influence.

Biggest miss: Chris Egan

Egan is the Magpies' only real bust in recent years, with the talented defender playing just 27 games after being selection No.10 (coincidentally one of the Magpies' picks this year). Egan played for four years but a vital mistake against the Brisbane Lions in 2008, in a game which the Magpies lost by two points, sealed his fate. - Peter Ryan

Chris Egan played just 10 games for the Magpies after being selected at No.10. Picture: AFL Media


Essendon

Greatest hit: James Hird/Dustin Fletcher

It's impossible to go past the 1990 draft where James Hird was taken with pick 79. Still one wonders how one of the greatest players of all time was such a low draft pick. A match winner, a Brownlow winner, a premiership captain, he did it all for Essendon, including twice leading the club's goalkicking. Despite the recent supplements scandal and his ban from coaching, Hird still remains a revered figure at the club. In the 1992 national draft, the Bombers used a father-son selection on a young, skinny teenager called Dustin Fletcher. It's a choice that is still having an impact on the team 22 years on, as Fletcher laces up the boots for yet another campaign. For longevity and consistency, Fletcher has been a massive hit for Essendon.

Biggest miss: Scott Gumbleton

It's been well documented that the Bombers used pick No. 2 on the key forward in 2006, only to watch as he struggled to overcome injury after injury. Lachie Hansen, Matthew Leuenberger, Travis Boak, Joel Selwood, Ben Reid and Jack Riewoldt are among the names that went after him in that draft. Essendon cut its losses last month, trading Gumbleton to Fremantle for pick 55, after just 35 senior games for the Bombers. - Jacqui Reed

Fremantle

Greatest hit: Matthew Pavlich

There's always pressure on the top draft picks and Fremantle had three of the first five picks in the 1999 national draft and they picked up two outstanding players in Pavlich and Paul Hasleby. The pair combined for 499 games and were the pillars of Fremantle's first finals appearance. Pavlich is easily the club's greatest player but Hasleby's contribution cannot be undersold. Leigh Brown was pick No. 5 that year. He only played 63 matches for Fremantle but he played 246 in his career and won a premiership with Collingwood.

Biggest miss: Jayden Pitt

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and one cannot predict how careers will pan out. Pitt's has unfortunately ended prematurely due an unforeseen health issues. Regardless of this, he was a lightly framed midfielder who was surplus to requirements after one year following selection at pick No. 20 in 2010. The man West Coast selected at pick No. 26, Jack Darling, had been a standout prospect leading into the draft but rumours about his attitude spooked Fremantle. Imagine a Dockers forward line of Pavlich, Darling, Mayne, Walters, and Ballantyne. - Alex Malcolm

Jayden Pitt was a first-round draft pick in 2010. Picture: AFL Media


Geelong

Greatest hit: Corey Enright

The Cats have had plenty of draft hits. Premiership captain Cameron Ling was taken with pick No. 38 in the 1999 national draft, while they snared Steve Johnson with pick No. 24 in 2001. But when you take into account that he was selected with pick No. 47 in the '99 draft (nine selections after Ling), Enright is surely the club's greatest hit. Since making his debut in 2000, Enright has played 266 games, won three premierships, two best and fairest awards and been selected in the All Australian team five times. And he might well be the greatest half-back flanker in the history of the game. What a bargain. 

Biggest miss: Kane Tenace

The Cats spent pick No. 7 on the boy from the Murray Bushrangers in the 2003 national draft. A hard-running midfielder, Tenace arrived at the Cattery with a big reputation. He had won the Bushrangers' 2003 best and fairest after a dominant season in the TAC Cup, had represented Vic Country and had made the All Australian under-18 team. But although he showed flashes of brilliance in the early stages of Geelong's 2007 campaign, Tenace was unable to fulfill his promise. He was delisted at the end of the 2009 season after playing just 59 games. - Adam McNicol

Gold Coast

Greatest hit: Jaeger O'Meara

Gold Coast cleaned up in their first national draft (2010) with David Swallow, Harley Bennell and Sam Day as the first three picks, but the shrewd use of the GWS 17-year-old mini-draft may yet pay the biggest dividend. Giving up pick No.4 to the Giants for O'Meara is now looking like theft. Trading the second pick in last year's draft for Jack Martin seems a high price at this point, but if he's anywhere near as good as advertised, rival clubs will soon be wishing they dealt harder with the Giants.

Biggest miss: Josh Caddy

It's a small sample size to go from and hard to be critical of players in the system for just three years, but Caddy was taken at No.7 in that original 2010 draft and has now left. Gold Coast was always likely to lose one or two players to homesickness, and although they have plenty of other exciting midfielders, losing a future star and leader after two years of development still hurts. - Michael Whiting

Greater Western Sydney

Greatest hit: Jeremy Cameron

With so many high draft picks and concessions approved for their entry into the AFL, and with just two seasons under their belt, the Giants' biggest hit may be yet to appear. But whoever it is, they will do well to move past the decision to take Jeremy Cameron as a 17-year-old access selection back in 2011. In year one he indicated his talent by managing 16 games and kicking a team-high 29 goals. Last year, that swelled to 21 games and 62 goals, good enough for third in the Coleman Medal, an All Australian jumper and a club best and fairest award.

Biggest miss: TBA!

It is too early to declare any of the Giants' picks a mistake. They have already shipped Dom Tyson – the No.3 selection in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft – to Melbourne, but received the No.2 pick in this month's draft in return. GWS also decided to take Will Hoskin-Elliott and Matthew Buntine with the fourth and fifth choices in 2011. They are making solid progress and loom as long-term players. The only criticism is the Giants didn't take Chad Wingard at No.6, who just became an All Australian at the age of 20 with Port Adelaide. - James Dampney

Hawthorn

Greatest hit: Sam Mitchell

At pick 36 in 2001, Mitchell was a bargain. Even more extraordinary is that he had been overlooked entirely at the draft 12 months earlier, despite winning back-to-back best and fairests at TAC Cup club Eastern Ranges. Twelve seasons on and the midfielder is one of the Hawks' all-time greats, with 245 games, four club best and fairests and two premierships to his name. An honourable mention must be made to the 2004 draft, where Hawthorn selected Jarryd Roughead at pick No. 2 ahead of Richard Tambling, before adding Lance Franklin with pick No. 5 and Jordan Lewis with pick No.7.

Biggest miss: Mitch Thorp

Thorp is the standout choice here. The key forward played only two senior games for the Hawks after being selected with pick No. 6 in the 2006 draft, one place ahead of Joel Selwood. He was delisted at the end of 2009. However, after a dominant season as captain-coach of South Launceston in the Tasmanian league this season, Thorp is eyeing off a return to the AFL. - Mark Macgugan

Mitch Thorp and Jarryd Roughead's football careers have taken vastly different paths. Picture: AFL Media


Melbourne

Greatest hit: Jeremy Howe

Howe, the high-flier from Dodges Ferry, was selection No.33 in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft. In 2012, he was the one player the Demons could sell as he took a mark of the round candidate week after week, as the Demons notched up loss after loss. He struggled in 2013 but has not lost his talent. Howe arrived at the club just 20 places ahead of Tom McDonald, a defender picked at No.53, who has also proved handy.

Biggest miss: Cale Morton

Where do you start at Melbourne? The loss of Tom Scully reaped compensation; Jack Watts has caused heartache – particularly when Nic Naitanui is mentioned – but he could still come good. So the award goes to Morton, who showed promise early when picked at No.4 in 2007, albeit in a relatively weak draft but still ahead of Patrick Dangerfield, Cyril Rioli and Brad Ebert. Morton's form declined for a multitude of reasons to the point where he was traded for pick 88 to the Eagles at the end of 2012. The Eagles delisted him after just one season. - Peter Ryan

North Melbourne

Greatest hit: Brent Harvey

With a club record five best and fairest awards to his name, four All-Australian gongs and a premiership, Harvey is one of North's all-time greats. The Roos can thank opposition teams' concerns about his height (167cm) for him sliding to pick No. 47 in the 1995 national draft. Remarkably, the 2009-11 skipper was North's fourth pick in that draft, behind Scott Welsh (No. 17), Chris Groom (No. 26) and Sam McFarlane (No. 33).

Biggest miss: Dylan Smith

Peter Bell's move to Fremantle at the end of 2000 gave the Roos their first top-10 draft pick since 1992. With the first of those picks, No. 6, they took that year's Vic Metro captain Dylan Smith, confident his speed, endurance and prolific ball-winning would make him a lynchpin of their on-ball division. But after just 11 games in three seasons Smith was delisted. He got a second chance at Fremantle, playing another 10 games in two years before his AFL career ended at the end of 2005. North's second pick that year, at No. 8, was Daniel Motlop, who played 47 games in five injury-plagued seasons before crossing to Port Adelaide at the end of 2005. - Nick Bowen

Port Adelaide

Greatest hit: Kane Cornes

It's rare a player slips to no. 20 at a NAB AFL Draft and goes on to achieve as much as Cornes has. A four-time best and fairest, club games record-holder, two-time All Australian and premiership player, he has proved one of the competition's most durable and determined characters.

Biggest miss: Barry Brooks

The 2001 draft was one to forget for the Power. Despite such talent as Geelong's James Kelly and Steve Johnson, Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell and St Kilda's Leigh Montagna all still on offer when Port was on the clock at pick no. 15, the club chose Brooks. He didn't play a game for the Power and was promptly traded to St Kilda where he played eight games, while the others have all become premiership-winning champions. - Harry Thring

 Barry Brooks congratulated by former AFL CEO Wayne Jackson in 2001. Picture: AFL Media

Richmond

Greatest hit: Brandon Ellis

You could look at any of Richmond's first round draft selections from the past seven years and take your pick of which has been the greatest success. Nick Vlastuin (No.9, 2012) and Ellis (No.15, 2011) have been the biggest standouts in their first seasons, with the former playing 18 games in one year and the latter 42 in two. Then there's Reece Conca (No.6, 2010), Dustin Martin (No.3, 2009), Ty Vickery (No.8, 2008), Trent Cotchin (No.2, 2007) and Jack Riewoldt (No.13, 2006), who have also gone on to become key components of the Tigers' line-up.

Biggest miss: Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls/Richard Tambling

There are no players remaining at Punt Road who were recruited via the 2005 draft. It was the last year the Tigers really missed with their first-round pick, given they dedicated No.8 to the recruitment of Oakley-Nicholls, who played 13 games between 2006-09.Then there's the 2004 draft that saw the Tigers take Brett Deledio with their priority selection before picking Richard Tambling at No.4 – one pick ahead of dual Hawthorn premiership spearhead Lance Franklin.- Jennifer Phelan

Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls played just 13 games for Richmond after being a No.8 draft pick. Picture: AFL Media

St Kilda

Greatest hit: Jack Steven

Midfielder Steven has proved a bargain after the Saints snared him with pick No.42 in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft. The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in 2013, winning the club champion award and earning a nomination in the extended All Australian squad. Averaging 26.9 disposals, he ranked top 10 in the AFL for clearances, handballs and disposals.

Biggest miss: Tom Lynch

Lynch was recruited in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft with pick No.13, which remains the club's highest selection for the past five years. After six games in two seasons the key forward was traded to Adelaide for pick No.37. The Ross Lyon era as a whole was a disaster for the Saints at the draft table and the club is feeling the pinch now. Of the 20 new players recruited at the NAB AFL Draft between 2007-10, only Jack Steven, Rhys Stanley and Arryn Siposs remain. Ben McEvoy, Lynch and Jamie Cripps are now at new clubs, but the rest did not make it at the top level. While Lyon was not responsible for the club's recruiting, it was an era where young St Kilda players struggled to get senior opportunities. - Nathan Schmook

Sydney Swans

Greatest hit: Adam Goodes

In the 1997 national draft, the Swans' first two picks were used on Jason Saddington at No.11 and Fred Campbell at No.40. Then, with pick No.43 they plumped for a youngster from the North Ballarat Rebels by the name of Adam Goodes. Two flags, two Brownlow Medals, four All Australian nods and 331 games later, it proved a reasonable choice. Michael O'Loughlin (pick No.40 in 1994), Ryan O'Keefe (No.56, 1999) and Nick Malceski (No.64, 2002) also proved to be diamonds in the rough and key figures in the Swans' past decade of success.

Biggest miss: Mark Kinnear

Top 10 draft picks have been rare for the Swans over the past 20 years, but in 1996 they held the No.4 selection, which they used on Mark Kinnear. Unfortunately he would make just six AFL appearances. For a club that declined steadily after making the Grand Final that season and was crying out for young talent, it was a poor move. Nathan Brown, Byron Pickett, Jason Johnson and Cam Mooney are among the players taken after Kinnear that year. They also took Josh Willoughby, a former actor, with the No.16 pick in 2004 and he never played a game. - James Dampney

West Coast

Greatest hit: Chris Judd

It may not be a popular choice with some West Coast fans, but if you said to any supporter before the 2001 draft that the Eagles selection at pick No. 3 would captain the team in a premiership, win a Norm Smith Medal, a Brownlow Medal, an AFLPA MVP, two best and fairests, and be twice named All Australian in 134 games over the next six seasons, they would have been pretty happy.

Biggest miss: Brandon Hill

Hill was pick No. 10 in the 1998 national draft and unfortunately never played an AFL game. He finished with 145 WAFL games for Peel Thunder. The man taken at pick No. 11 in the same draft was Lenny Hayes. However the Eagles did get Andrew Embley with pick No. 57. - Alex Malcolm

Chris Judd was a high draft pick for the Eagles and delivered above and beyond. Picture: AFL Media


Western Bulldogs

Greatest hit: Robert Murphy

The Bulldogs nailed the 1999 national draft, and Robert Murphy (pick No.13) is lasting proof. Not only does he bring the team flexibility on the field, with his ability to play in most positions, but he is also a natural leader off it. He was the standout in a quality draft for the Dogs in which they snared Daniel Giansiracusa (pick 32), Mitch Hahn (pick 37), Lindsay Gilbee (pick 43) and Ryan Hargrave (pick 66). Two of those players (Murphy and Giansiracusa) remain in the team, and continue to have an impact on the playing group.

Biggest miss: Tim Walsh

The Dogs selected Tim Walsh in the 2002 draft with pick No. 4, and never saw him reach his potential. Jarrad McVeigh, Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan were chosen after him and developed into quality players, winning premierships at their respective clubs. This came after the Dogs went with Sam Power at pick No. 10 in 2001, letting slip the likes of Nick Dal Santo, James Kelly, Steve Johnson and Sam Mitchell.  - Jacqui Reed