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Bulldogs a fitting home for diminutive Caleb Daniel

Draft wrap and reactions Matt Thompson speaks to the key men behind the big picks at the AFL Draft
Caleb Daniel of South Australia poses during the 2014 Under 18 portrait session at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 01, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Caleb Daniel has become the shortest AFL-listed player since Brownlow medallist Tony Liberatore
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CALEB Daniel will enter the AFL system as the shortest player since Brownlow medallist Tony Liberatore after he was drafted by the Western Bulldogs on Thursday night.
 
Interestingly, it is the 163cm Bulldog champion's former club that used pick No.46 to recruit the 167cm dynamo.
 
This season Port Adelaide's Jake Neade was the shortest player in the league, standing at 170cm.

Many recruiters had raised doubts over Daniel's size and had predicted he was more likely to be selected in next Wednesday's rookie draft.
 
But in a move that surprised industry insiders, the Bulldogs drafted the small forward with their fifth selection.
 
The South Australian youngster played senior football with South Adelaide this year and performed extremely well in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
 
At the draft combine he recorded an equal-best score in the beep test, registering a 16.1.
 
"The height factor wasn't really an issue for us," Bulldogs list manager Jason McCartney told AFL.com.au.
 
"The role he'll play, size won't really impact him.
 
"Many people have questioned his size but we went back and analysed how he won the football.
 
"His kick and decision-making and ball retention are so critical in the game, he was exceptional at that."
 
The Bulldogs also drafted high-flying midfielder Toby McLean as one of their six draft selections, as well as South Australian Declan Hamilton, who is the nephew of former stars Darren and Andrew Jarman.
 
"Tonight was really important for us," McCartney said.
 
"We've had some early picks in the past few drafts but it was vital for us tonight, our picks sat in a cluster in a good area and it was very important to get the right types and make sure they have long and successful careers at the Dogs.
 
"A great team isn't about having a handful of stars, it's about having a balance and having depth across all lines."

Click here to view the Bulldogs' draft haul and watch highlights of every player on the 2014 NAB AFL draft tracker

Selection No. 26 - Toby McLean (Oakleigh Chargers/Narre Warren)
Jason McCartney says: "He had an outstanding year, he's just so consistent. He's the sort of player who can win the ball high, he can win on the lead and is very clever at ground level. We were very keen to get him on board."
 
Selection No. 27- Lukas Webb (Gippsland Power/Lakes Entrance)
Jason McCartney says: "His skills and left foot kick are outstanding. He has great agility and has the ability to play a few different positions as well so we're really happy with Lukas."
 
Selection No. 39 - Declan Hamilton (Port Adelaide/Gaza)
Jason McCartney says: "Declan's first few games in the national championships were exceptional. He is very creative. He's the nephew of Andrew and Darren Jarman. He wasn't a high possession winner but just had some really elite running patterns and could get up the ground and run back inside forward 50 really quickly."
 
Selection No. 45 - Bailey Dale (Dandenong Stingrays/Edithvale-Aspendale)
Jason McCartney says: "Bailey was a really interesting player to watch this year. Every week we watched him we saw something. Bailey played mainly half forward and on the wing and his main trait is his ability to get in off the line. He's really clean at stoppages and has a high contested possession rate because he is so clean and composed in traffic."
 
Selection No. 46 - Caleb Daniel (South Adelaide/Edwardstown)
Jason McCartney says: "Many people have questioned his size but we went back and analysed how he won the football. He ran a 16.1 in the beep test so he's quite different to some of the smalls we have at the club. His kick and decision making and ball retention are so critical in the game, he was exceptional at that."
 
Selection No. 62 - Zaine Cordy (Geelong Falcons)
Jason McCartney says: "Zaine has come through the father-son program. On father-son bidding day we couldn't believe Zaine was available at that pick. He has played on some great talls, Paddy McCartin and Peter Wright during the year. McCartin rated Zaine his toughest opponent when they played. He's got agility as well so can play on smaller types."

Click here to read recruiters' verdicts for all AFL clubs at the 2014 draft hub

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