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Ruck slider off to Port as Paddy's back-up

Cal Twomey's total draft wrap Callum Twomey and Nat Edwards analyse the 2017 NAB AFL Draft
Ruckman Sam Hayes was one of the draft's biggest sliders - AFL,Port Adelaide Power,Draft,Sam Hayes
Ruckman Sam Hayes was one of the draft's biggest sliders
To see him sitting there when we finally got into the draft was a great result
Port recruiting manager Geoff Parker on Sam Hayes

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DUAL underage All Australian ruckman Sam Hayes will be afforded time to develop his much-scrutinised endurance as Paddy Ryder's understudy at Port Adelaide.

The Eastern Ranges product – one of nine players drafted from the TAC Cup side – went from once being a top-10 chance to sliding to the Power's No.47 selection at the NAB AFL Draft.

Port Adelaide entered Friday night on the hunt for a ruckman after offloading veteran big man Matthew Lobbe to Carlton as part of a frenzied trade and free agency period.

The club's national recruiting manager Geoff Parker never imagined the 203cm Hayes would fill that void despite the 18-year-old's poor aerobic testing turning many recruiters off him.

"We were a bit surprised, because obviously he is the All Australian ruckman (at under-18 level) the last two years," Parker told AFL.com.au

"To see him sitting there when we finally got into the draft was a great result. 

"Obviously, Paddy is the senior All Australian ruckman and he's at the peak of his powers and still has a few more years to go. 

"We're fairly comfortable with being patient with Sam."

Hayes' Ranges teammate Joel Garner, a versatile midfielder, also tumbled down the draft order to Port's 60th pick, although Parker hinted the club link was just a coincidence. 

"To find him and his leadership (at that selection) – he's Vic Metro captain, there's his indigenous heritage and what he's done at Scotch College as well – was appealing to us," Parker said.

"If they come from interstate, then we're happy to back our club and develop the culture around them and want them to stay and be long-term players for our club." 

The Power also found a nice fit in recruiting former Demon Dom Barry, who played five games for Melbourne in 2014.

Barry quit AFL football at the end of that season to return to the APY Lands in central Australia and devote more time to his indigenous heritage.

The 23-year-old forward-midfielder, who won a NEAFL premiership with NT Thunder in 2015, reignited his career with a brilliant season for SANFL club Glenelg this year. 

"We've been able to watch him closely all year and we were looking for that type of player, so he ticked that box as well," Parker said. 

"He went to school (at Ballarat's St Patrick's College) with Jake Neade and they're good friends, so everything sort of aligned."

Midfielders Kane Farrell (No.51), from Bendigo Pioneers and a NAB AFL Academy graduate, and Jake Patmore (No.58), from Claremont, also found their way to Alberton Oval. 

Farrell's move forward in the second half of the year sparked Parker's interest in him, with his hard running and quality kicking inside 50 standing out. 

Patmore, 18, shed nine kilos in the pre-season in a bid to become a more dynamic footballer and confided to Parker that Port midfield bull Sam Powell-Pepper was his inspiration. 

"Patmore's been a prolific ball winner all season with Claremont in the WAFL and also for WA at the under-18 championships," Parker said. 

"He came back in the pre-season and was a bit injured and then he was obviously a little bit heavier at the start of the year and he did the hard work." 

Port Adelaide also bid on Collingwood father-son prospect Tyler Brown with pick 50, but the Magpies matched it. 

The Power look set to add ex-Kangaroo Lindsay Thomas and Brisbane Lions discard Michael Close in Monday's NAB AFL Rookie Draft.

Ken Hinkley's side is also considering drafting Woodville-West Torrens defender and SANFL breakthrough player of the season Joe Sinor, who spent time training with the club.



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Check out every pick made in the Draft Tracker
Draft wrap: Lions reveal top pick, Freo's big call
How did the guru go? Cal Twomey's Phantom Draft