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Crows may not flock to talls in draft return

Tom Campbell of the Bulldogs and Sam Tagliabue of the Bomers in action during the VFL Round 15 match between Footscrat and Essendon at Victoria University Whitten Oval on July 20, 2014. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Sam Tagliabue (left) is one of a number of ruckman that Adelaide has been looking closely at in the lead up to the draft
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ADELAIDE recruiter Hamish Ogilvie has confirmed the club has eyes on VFL ruckman Sam Tagliabue – but says he’s just one of a stack of state league talls on the radar.

The Crows’ need for ruck depth eased slightly in October when Luke Lowden was traded in from Hawthorn, joining Sam Jacobs and rookie Jack Osborn in West Lakes' 200cm-club.

Both Adelaide and Essendon have been linked to Tagliabue, a 206cm prospect who impressed at the Victorian state screening with his speed, vertical leap and agility.

Ogilvie told AFL.com.au that acquiring tall talent remained a focus, but insisted the club wouldn't be blinded by short-term thinking at Thursday's NAB AFL Draft.


"Steve McCrystal's (Melbourne-based recruiter) watched every ruckman in the world over the last year - he's watched them all," Ogilvie said.

"He started with 120, he's been full-time pro scouting. He's been working with us for a long time and he's had the project of the rucks.

“(Gold Coast recruiting guru) Scott Clayton said 'if you know you need a tall and you go too hard on needs, you end up missing a Joel Selwood'.

"You can't compromise that sort of philosophy…I'm not super confident [of drafting a ruckman] because I'm not sure there's too many ruckmen in the draft.

"We've got Luke, we've still got Jack (Osborn) there and with Sam (Jacobs) we've got three (players) over 200cm…we're okay."

With the draft just days away, Ogilvie said the vast bulk of the Crows’ recruiting work was done.

The recruiting team presented to coach Phil Walsh and head of football David Noble last Wednesday and ran the other coaches through the club's draft strategy on Thursday.

After being barred from the opening round of the draft last year, the Crows will return on Thursday night with pick No.14 and will have three other live selections at No. 35, 43 and 59.

Ogilvie said it was almost impossibly tough to separate players in the pick No. 8-20 range, which led to the club downgrading its first pick from No.10 to No. 14 in order to upgrade its late picks.

He was thrilled to have scouted top-end talent and even happier to regain the opportunity to insert such a player into Adelaide's squad.

But Ogilvie was adamant serious value could also be found with the club's three remaining selections.

"The coach was always keen to have first and second round picks, so part of our strategy was to make sure we did," he said.

"We improved the position of our late picks which means now that all our four picks are pretty much inside the third round, once you take the academy players out and the father/son selections.

"That's a good thing in this draft because it's so even."