Main content

New model to boost future recruiting strategies

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29: Andrew McGrath of Vic Metro in action during the Under 18 Championship match between Vic Metro and Western Australia at Simonds Stadium on June 29, 2016 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Andrew McGrath is tipped to go as the No.1 pick

• Tomorrow's heroes: What makes 2016's top draft prospects special?
• Draft Machine: Search the draft pool and pick the top 10 to win $10k

THE MODEL in which AFL clubs are identifying and recruiting players is set to be bolstered under a program designed and developed by former list manager Chris Pelchen.

The ex-Hawthorn list manager and St Kilda football boss has been a key figure in establishing the STAR Network (Sports Talent and Recruiting), an independent national recruiting network.

As well as identifying the top selections in the NAB AFL Draft, as it has done in selecting Andrew McGrath over Hugh McCluggage at No.1 in this year's pool, STAR is hoping it can help to revolutionise the 'futures market'. 

• Going Places: Every draft gun has a story

The STAR Network will be officially launched for the 2017 season and the concept would see the clubs who subscribe to the program (half of which have already shown interest) have access to reporting, analysis and scouting from STAR's team of recruiters around the country. 

Pelchen said there was great scope for providing a service to clubs who are planning for forthcoming drafts with the introduction of trading for future picks and next generation AFL academies.

• Listen to this week's Road to the Draft podcast

"The futures market has been borne out of the NFL recruiting system and it probably took a little longer to get there than the wishes of many clubs," Pelchen said.

"But now we're there it's only going to grow. That in combination with free agency means that we're going to have to pay stronger attention to futures markets.

"That's why it's been the one area that has been of most interest to AFL clubs because it's the newest area of scouting."

• Final draft order: What picks will your club take to the draft?

Along with the national draft and futures market, STAR also offers pro scouting – of currently listed AFL-players, even if playing in the VFL, SANFL, WAFL or NEAFL, and have introduced a recruiting component based on the women's competition as well.

Pelchen, along with business partner Paul Prior, have recently formed a partnership with sports analytics company Genius Tech Group, which provides key software for prospective clubs as well as predictive analytics.

Although STAR will be in full operation as of next season, Pelchen and his fellow scouts have closely followed this year's draft crop and have put together a list of their top 20 rankings. 

• NAB AFL Draft Hub

STAR Network's top 20 draft rankings

1. Andrew McGrath
POS: Midfielder, Ht 179cm, Wt 75kg, DOB 2/6/98

From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
Pelchen says: "To us, he didn't put a foot wrong all year. He played in so many positions – he can be a genuine midfielder, a run-with player and even troubleshoot in defence or push forward and create. His versatility makes him the most valuable player."

2. Hugh McCluggage
POS: Midfielder, Ht 185cm, Wt 75kg, DOB 3/3/1998
From North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country 
Pelchen says: "What's ideal about Hugh is that he's a goalkicking midfielder and they are few and far between. He can go inside and outside and things seem to happen after he's had the ball."

3. Jack Bowes
POS: Midfielder, Ht 187cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 26/1/98
From Gold Coast Academy/Queensland
Pelchen says: "Jack is such a smooth mover. Everything he does is normally right and we've looked at him closely this year and he's rarely played a bad game. He's a modern day midfielder and for that reason we've got him rated higher than many people have."

4. Will Setterfield
POS: Midfielder, Ht 190cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 5/2/98
From Sandringham Dragons/GWS Academy/NSW-ACT
Pelchen says: "While he had his injury interruptions, we believe he can play any role through the midfield and he can go forward or back if need be. He's got outstanding character and we've got no doubt GWS are going to end up with a fantastic player."

5. Jack Scrimshaw
POS: Defender/midfielder, Ht 194cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 4/9/98
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
Pelchen says: "Jack is an incredibly talented and creative player who can play at half-back and may push into the midfield at some stage. We have him rated this highly because of the way he uses the ball and controls the game from defence."

6. Tim Taranto
POS: Midfielder, Ht 186cm, Wt 82kg, DOB 28/1/98
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
Pelchen says: "Tim has really shot up the calculations and it's not hard to see why. He can play in the midfield or up forward. He's hard at the footy and makes things happen. He's good above his head and he's going to be a really impressive AFL footballer." 

7. Sam Petrevski-Seton
POS: Midfield/half-forward, Ht 181cm, Wt 76kg, DOB 19/2/98
From Claremont/Western Australia
Pelchen says: "He's a Rolls Royce and a player who's easy to watch. He's a smooth performer and uses the ball well. He'll need to keep his work rate up and I'm sure clubs will stress that to him, hence why he's a better player under pressure."

8. Ben Ainsworth
POS: Small forward, Ht 179cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 10/2/98
From Gippsland Power/Vic Country
Pelchen says: "Ben's a player who has been a solid performer over the last three years. He's hard at the footy, he can play inside midfield and he can play as a talented, dynamic small forward. He's a very hard player to match up on."

9. Harry Perryman
POS: Midfielder/half-forward, Ht 184cm, Wt 75kg, DOB 19/12/98
From Collingullie-GP/GWS Academy/NSW-ACT
Pelchen says: "He's not as pretty to watch as others but he's just so efficient in what he gets done. He uses the ball extremely well and he's exactly what the Giants need – guys who can play one-on-one football." 

10. Will Brodie
POS: Midfielder, Ht 189cm, Wt 82kg, DOB 23/8/98
From Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
Pelchen says: "He's a very competitive kid and he's someone we rate highly as a person. Will's a very safe selection. He's very disciplined in the way he approaches his game and he's meticulous in the way he prepares for his football."

11. Jy Simpkin
POS: Half-forward/midfielder, Ht 181cm, Wt 71kg, DOB 5/3/98
From Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
Pelchen says: "He's dynamic and he does catch your eye. Despite breaking his leg early in the season, he plays his footy with real spirit and he's a guy that doesn't get caught often because he uses the footy so quickly and efficiently."

12. Tim English
POS: Ruckman/tall forward, Ht 204cm, Wt 86kg, DOB 10/8/97
From South Fremantle/Western Australia
Pelchen says: He's a difficult one to place because he's such a raw talent. At 204cm, to have that sort of agility and ground coverage means he's a very attractive option for clubs. Not many clubs choose ruckmen in the first round of the draft, but I think English will buck that trend."

13. Alex Witherden
POS: Half-back, Ht 189cm, Wt 79kg, DOB 10/9/98
From Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
Pelchen says: "The best is yet to be seen out of Alex and we've had to take his injury into account (a broken leg that wiped out his 2016 season). If he'd played the whole year he would have been even higher – he's just got such composure with the footy."

14. Jarrod Berry
POS: Midfield/half-back, Ht 191cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 5/2/98
From North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country
Pelchen says: "He's a tough, rebounding defender and gets the footy and goes. To have the endurance level he's got means he's going to be able to play on talls and smalls. We really like the run and risk he plays with."

15. Oliver Florent
POS: Midfielder/Half-forward, Ht 183cm, WT 74kg, DOB 22/7/98
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
Pelchen says: "A player who came up the order later in the year, like he did for most clubs. He can play in so many spots forward of centre, he's a very attractive option. It's getting more difficult to pick midfielders who can rest up forward and kick goals, but this guy can."

16. Griffin Logue
POS: Key defender, Ht 194cm, Wt 92kg, DOB 13/4/98
From Swan Districts/Western Australia
Pelchen says: "This is one lad, because he isn't a midfielder, who will attract a lot of interest. He's got such good athleticism. To run with the endurance at 194cm that he has, means that he'll be able to play on those modern day AFL star forwards."

17. Jordan Gallucci
POS: Midfielder, Ht 183cm, Wt 75kg, DOB 3/5/98
From Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro
Pelchen says: "He gets varying opinions across clubs, but for us his athleticism means that you're really going to be able to mould this player into what you want. He can jump and he can run – he's a true athlete – and he'll be able to go forward, after stints in the midfield, and be a marking option."

18. Daniel Venables
POS: Midfielder/half-forward, Ht 186cm, Wt 81kg, DOB 19/11/98
From Western Jets/Vic Metro 
Pelchen says: "He's a player who's polarised opinions a little. His natural aggression is something that appeals to AFL clubs and his championships form was excellent. But he's had injuries so there is a little risk there. That ferocity at the footy won't leave you wondering what he's going to do."

19. Will Hayward
POS: Half-forward, Ht 186cm, Wt 76kg, DOB 26/10/98

From North Adelaide/South Australia
Pelchen says: "He is exciting because he can kick goals. As a forward, he's dangerous in the air and he's dangerous on the ground. He can rush his disposal a little bit but we wouldn't be surprised at all if someone picked him earlier because of his talent."

20. Jordan Ridley
POS: Tall defender, Ht 192cm, Wt 79kg, DOB 20/10/98
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
Pelchen says: "He's a bit higher than some clubs may have had him but he's a player who has real upside. Anyone who can kick the ball as well as Jordan, at his height, deserves this standing. He can play as a third tall defender or even on the wing if need be."