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The verdict: We rate your club's draft haul

Callum Twomey, with Ben Guthrie  November 24, 2017 11:17 PM

Clubs react to the 2017 NAB AFL Draft Matt Thompson brings you the big news from the draft in Sydney

Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 12, 39, 75, 94
Selections after bidding: 12, 40
Who they picked: Darcy Fogarty, Andrew McPherson

Verdict: Well, the Crows couldn't have been more pleased as they saw Darcy Fogarty still available at their first selection. Few at the club thought the powerful local forward would be there at Adelaide's pick No.12, but clubs in the early part kept overlooking him and handed the Crows a gift. The club has had retention issues but won't have to worry about that with Fogarty, who comes from country South Australia. He could be the best player in the draft. They got another pleasant surprise when half-back Andrew McPherson was available at pick 40, ending their night with two South Australians. McPherson, like Fogarty, would have been picked earlier if not for an injury-interrupted campaign this year. It was a good night for the Crows. – Callum Twomey

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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 1, 15, 18, 40, 44, 52
Selections after bidding: 1, 15, 18, 41, 43, 54
Who they picked: Cameron Rayner, Zac Bailey, Brandon Starcevich, Toby Wooller, Connor Ballenden, Jack Payne

Verdict: In the end, the Lions did what everyone expected and made Rayner the No.1 overall selection in the NAB AFL Draft. The powerful forward/midfielder has the ability to change the course of games and the Lions will be hoping he can be a key piece in the club's rebuild. Bailey is a ball magnet with class and an ability to kick goals through the midfield. He is a solid pick. Starcevich offers real versatility, while Wooller (the grandson of Geelong's 1963 premiership captain Fred) is a good forward option after Josh Schache departed in the off-season. The Lions were always going to match a bid for academy prospect Ballenden, which they did when Fremantle placed a bid at pick No.43. Parker-Payne is another familiar name the Lions know plenty about as one of their academy prospects, capping their draft haul. Rayner is an immense talent and could be absolutely anything as a player, while Ballenden complements the club's key position stocks perfectly. - Ben Guthrie


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 3, 10, 30, 72, 95, 96
Selections after bidding: 3, 10, 30, 70, 78
Who they picked: Paddy Dow, Lochie O'Brien, Tom De Koning, Angus Schumacher

Verdict: Carlton had eyes on building its midfield at this year's draft and were set on taking Paddy Dow, basically no matter who slipped through. The tough, talented goalkicking midfielder shapes a long-term midfield star. They coupled him with his Geelong Grammar mate Lochie O'Brien, a hard-running midfielder/half-back, and he will add important polish. He might even jump into the Sam Docherty role next year. After those two it was hard to go wrong for the Blues. They added another developing tall to their stocks with Tom De Koning, who will take some times, before rounding out their night by taking midfielder Angus Schumacher and ex-Gold Coast runner Jarrod Garlett in what was a major surprise. He has a second chance at an AFL career now and has the talent to do it, so it's up to him. – Callum Twomey


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 6, 38, 56, 61
Selections after bidding: 6, 39, 50  
Who they picked: Jaidyn Stephenson, Nathan Murphy, Tyler Brown

Verdict: After some concerns about a heart issue that emerged late in the year, Collingwood stuck to its guns and picked perhaps the most naturally talented player in the pool. Stephenson is a unique talent – he is lightning quick, nimble on his feet and he can kick goals through the midfield. The Pies put plenty of homework into former cricketer Murphy and would be delighted to snare him with their second pick. Port placed a bid on Brown – the son of Pies champion Gavin and brother of current player Callum – which Collingwood was quick to match. Heart concern aside, Stephenson is a terrific pick for the Magpies while Murphy has created plenty of buzz after concentrating on his football full-time. Give a big tick of approval to the Magpies. - Ben Guthrie

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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 48, 67, 81
Selections after bidding: 49, 66, 76
Who they picked: Jordan Houlahan, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Matt Guelfi

Verdict: After their busy trade period the Bombers didn't have a lot to do on draft night, with three later picks. Many thought the Bombers would focus on inside midfielders at the draft having not really addressed that area via trades, but they went with high-flying forward Jordan Houlahan with their first selection. He could be an excitement machine and add to what is already a forward line with a few thrilling players in there. Brandon Zerk-Thatcher was picked as a 19-year-old who can play as a key defender, while Matt Guelfi was also overlooked at last year's draft but has a strong body and is good overhead for a midfield option. – Callum Twomey

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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 2, 5, 42, 60, 66, 70, 77, 80, 90
Selections after bidding:  2, 5, 44, 59, 65, 69, 73, 75
Who they picked: Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra, Hugh Dixon, Mitchell Crowden, Tom North, Lloyd Meek, Sam Switkowski, Scott Jones

Verdict: The Dockers shaped the top of the draft and landed two classy midfielders. Brayshaw, the younger brother of Melbourne's Angus, is tough and uses the footy with purpose. Cerra is a silky midfielder with class and poise, who looks like being a 200-game player. Dixon, a tall forward, was the first Tasmanian off the board and was a real 'needs pick' given the Dockers' inability to uncover a big man in attack. Crowden is a proven ball-winner at under-18 and SANFL level, while North is another who thrives at stoppages. After delisting Zac Clarke and Jon Griffin in the off-season, the Dockers found two developing big men in Lloyd Meek and Scott Jones. Switkowski is renowned for his defensive pressure as forward, with the 20-year-old booting 19 goals in 12 senior games for the Box Hill Hawks in the VFL. Brayshaw and Cerra will complement each other beautifully and could see superstar Nat Fyfe spend more time forward in 2018. - Ben Guthrie

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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 22, 24, 35, 58, 71, 86
Selections after bidding: 22, 24, 36, 57
Who they picked: Lachlan Fogarty, Tim Kelly, Charlie Constable, Gryan Miers

Verdict: After being touted as a possible top-15 pick, Fogarty slipped through to the Cats and they would have been delighted to nab him with pick 22. He's likely to start as a small forward, where his tackling pressure skills will be put to good use and with question marks over the fitness of Lincoln McCarthy and Cory Gregson he could get an opportunity at some stage next season. Fogarty has clean hands and uses the ball well. Kelly is regarded as one of the best players in the WAFL competition and will press for senior selection straight away. Constable was another player who dropped down the order, but his ability to find the football and use it in traffic is just as good as any of his peers. Miers is a livewire forward who starred in the TAC Cup Grand Final, booting seven goals. Geelong is still well and truly in its premiership window, after getting Gary Ablett back to the club, and everything it did at the draft suggested it was one of the bigger winners on the night. - Ben Guthrie

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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 19, 41, 50, 54, 74, 88
Selections after bidding: 19, 42, 52, 55
Who they picked: Wil Powell, Charlie Ballard, Brayden Crossley, Connor Nutting

Verdict: The Suns knew they were going to have the surprise of draft night by taking Wil Powell at No.19. The 187cm prospect took the eye of the club early in the season and excited with his courage, skills and movement, and can kick on both feet and mark well overhead. He may take a little time but could be special. Charlie Ballard is athletic and versatile, while ruckman Brayden Crossley and speedy midfielder Connor Nutting were picked via the club's academy. All the talk will be on Powell, however, as a true draft surprise who came from the clouds to be a top-20 selection. – Callum Twomey


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 11, 27, 28, 57, 65, 85, 93
Selections after bidding: 11, 27, 28, 56, 64
Who they picked: Aiden Bonar, Brent Daniels, Sam Taylor, Zac Giles Langdon, Nick Shipley

Aiden Bonar had been on the radar of the Giants for a long time, and until his run of form later in the year there was a slim chance he could have gotten through to their second-round picks. In the end they had to use No.11 on the powerful, strong-marking forward. He brings real X-factor to perhaps the competition's most exciting list. The Giants had considered Jack Higgins at that spot but instead got their small forward at 27 in Brent Daniels, and also wanted to boost their back half depth and got WA's Sam Taylor to do that. Zac Giles Langdon was a bit of a surprise at pick No.56, but is a mature-age forward with elite endurance and good skills that can come and have an impact right away. Nick Shipley was always going to be picked as an academy selection and is a big-bodied midfielder. - Callum Twomey


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 43, 68, 73, 78, 91
Selections after bidding: 
Who they picked: James Worpel, Dylan Moore, Jackson Ross

Verdict: Worpel is a ready-made midfielder who will likely play plenty of senior football early in his career. He's a tough inside midfielder who thrives on winning contested ball and is a terrific pick up for the Hawks. They also would have also been delighted that small midfielder Dylan Moore drifted to them. Moore is quick to react when reading the flight of the footy, he knows how to find the goals and he can run all day. Look for him to press his case early for a call-up to the senior team. Ross, who has a tennis background, has elite endurance and he's well-equipped when the ball is the air. Entering the draft so late, the Hawks would have to be extremely pleased with their haul of players. Graeme Wright and his recruiting team nailed their selections. – Ben Guthrie

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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 29, 31, 36, 47
Selections after bidding: 29, 31, 37, 48
Who they picked: Charlie Spargo, Bayley Fritsch, Harrison Petty, Oskar Baker

Verdict: Spargo is a terrific play-making midfielder-forward, with the capacity to take the play on and create for his team. He is the son of former North Melbourne and Brisbane Lions player Paul. Only a shoulder injury kept him from producing another consistent season. Fritsch is well known to Melbourne after kicking 42 goals in 19 VFL games for the Casey Demons. Petty will add to a developing tall back mix after an outstanding under-18 championships. Melbourne has long been into Baker who comes from Aspley in the NEAFL. Has been dubbed the 'ginger ninja' and it's clear by watching his highlight tapes that Baker has some serious breakaway pace through the midfield. The Demons believed they needed to add to their small forward setup and did so with Spargo and Fritsch. Look for Petty to push to be in senior contention early days too – he can play. – Ben Guthrie


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 4, 23, 64, 76, 87
Selections after bidding: 4, 23, 62, 72, 77
Who they picked: Luke Davies-Uniacke, Will Walker, Kyron Hayden, Tristan Xerri, Billy Hartung

Verdict: The night started superbly for the Roos, who picked up Luke Davies-Uniacke with their earliest selection at a draft since 2006 (No.4 overall). The club targeted midfielders and perhaps got the best one in the crop in Davies-Uniacke, a player who should lead their midfield for a decade. Will Walker was a bit of a surprise at North's second pick, but he had a good end to the season playing as a midfielder for the Sandringham Dragons in their finals series. Kyron Hayden is athletic and powerful as another midfield option, while Tristan Xerri is the ruck back-up that the club was looking for. North grabbing former Hawk Billy Hartung was a shock, but it makes sense given his run and dash is something they can lack at times. – Callum Twomey

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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 46, 49, 59, 62, 63, 82, 89
Selections after bidding: 47, 51, 58, 60, 61
Who they picked: Sam Hayes, Kane Farrell, Jake Patmore, Joel Garner, Dom Barry

Verdict: Port may have landed the steal of the draft with tall forward/ruckman Sam Hayes amazingly falling to its pick No.47. Hayes, a 203cm big man, is a dual All Australian as a ruckman, however he can also play as a genuine tall forward given his mobility. He needs to improve his endurance, but Hayes is a blue-chip investment. The Power complemented their tall selection with defenders Kane Farrell and Jake Patmore. With their two late picks, the Power did exceptionally well with selecting Vic Metro captain Joel Garner and former Demon Dom Barry. By selecting Barry, the Power continued their trend (think Steven Motlop, Jack Watts and Jack Trengove) of going after recycled players. It will be interesting to see whether the tactic pays off. – Ben Guthrie


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 17, 20, 25, 53, 55
Selections after bidding: 17, 20, 25, 34, 63
Who they picked: Jack Higgins, Callum Coleman-Jones, Noah Balta, Patrick Naish

Verdict: Richmond already has a fleet of small forwards, but it was too hard to go past Jack Higgins at pick 17. The Oakleigh Chargers jet will likely overtake a couple of those options, such is his forward craft and goal smarts. He's a steal for the Tigers. With three of their next four selections the Tigers addressed some needs by adding talls – ruckman Callum Coleman-Jones and key defenders Noah Balta and Ben Miller. Balta was a hard one to read but his athleticism will appeal, while Miller impressed at the Combine. The Tigers went into the night hoping a bid wouldn't come on father-son Patrick Naish until after their first three picks, and that's how it played out, after they matched St Kilda's bid at No.34. That was a brilliant result for the premiers, and perhaps the final icing on their stunning 2017. - Callum Twomey


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 7, 8, 34, 45
Selections after bidding:  7, 8, 35, 46
Who they picked: Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield, Oscar Clavarino, Ben Paton

Verdict: The Saints had long been linked to Clark and Coffield and got their men with picks No.7 and No.8 in the draft. Clark is a smooth mover with the ability to play at half-back or through the midfield and has all the hallmarks of being a potential 200-game player for the Saints. Coffield can also play in defence or onball and ran an impressive 2.91-second 20m sprint at the Combine. Needing to add a developing defender to its list, the Saints took one of the best in this year's draft in Clavarino. He'll develop underneath the likes of Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown. Paton uses the ball well by hand and foot and was an Under-18 All Australian for Vic Country. All eyes will be on how quickly Clark and Coffield, taken one pick apart in the top 10, but from all the vision and data available both appear to be good picks. – Ben Guthrie


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 14, 33, 51, 84, 92
Selections after bidding: 14, 33, 53
Who they picked: Matthew Ling, Tom McCartin, Ryley Stoddart

Verdict: Clearly the Swans identified run and skill out of half back as a priority ahead of the draft because they got a couple of the better options available. Their first pick was a surprise, with the club grabbing speedy goer Matthew Ling from the Geelong Falcons. Ling uses the ball really well with his trusty left foot and enjoys taking things on. Stoddart is similar and offers some drive out of that part of the ground, which has perhaps been a little lacking for the Swans recently. In between those two, the Swans went with developing tall forward Tom McCartin at No.33. He has a very good endurance base for a key forward prospect and will be allowed time to develop his game. It won't be a rush for McCartin, the younger brother of St Kilda's Paddy, but he's a talent. - Callum Twomey


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 13, 21, 26, 32, 37, 69, 83
Selections after bidding: 13, 21, 26, 32, 38, 68
Who they picked: Jarrod Brander, Oscar Allen, Liam Ryan, Brayden Ainsworth, Jack Petruccelle, Hamish Brayshaw

Verdict: The Eagles may have landed the best tall defender and best tall forward in the Draft. Brander is a terrific player, with the ability to also play forward if needed. Allen won the Larke Medal for WA and gets to stay home to play in front of his family. The Eagles pounced on Ryan, a supremely gifted small forward, with their 26th pick. Few boast the highlight reel of the Subiaco product. Ainsworth is a consistent ball winner through the midfield who was one of WA's standout players in the Championships. Petruccelle is raw but one of the quickest players (he ran 2.87 seconds in the 20m sprint at the Combine) in the pool. The Eagles also took Hamish Brayshaw, the older brother of pick No.2 overall selection Andrew, who wound up at Fremantle, after he missed selection in last year's draft. With the Eagles making a number of list moves at the end of last season, the players they selected in this year's draft suggest they are prepared to patiently build their squad for the future. – Ben Guthrie


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Selections before academy and father/son bidding: 9, 16, 79
Selections after bidding: 9, 16, 74
Who they picked: Aaron Naughton, Ed Richards, Callum Porter

Verdict: Aaron Naughton was long linked to the Dogs having impressed as a key defender at WAFL level late in the year, and he will play AFL footy next year injury permitting. The Dogs liked his defensive traits and he's hard to play against no matter who he's matched up on. Ed Richards fills a different need for the Dogs, adding some valuable class, pace and pizzazz off half-back with his ball use and creativity. The Dogs like natural footballers and Richards is definitely one of those, and his star rose throughout the back half of the season. The Dogs had a long break until their third and final pick, but grabbed versatile midfielder Callum Porter at No.74. He can be used off half-back and in attack too. - Callum Twomey


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