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Plug and play: The draftees ready for R1

Callum Twomey  November 25, 2017 6:39 PM

Cal Twomey's total draft wrap Callum Twomey and Nat Edwards analyse the 2017 NAB AFL Draft
AFL 2017 Media - NAB AFL Draft

New Docker Andrew Brayshaw has the endurance, skillset and hardness to be able to play from round one next year

RECRUITERS don't select draftees based purely on what the player may be able to do in his first year in the competition. However, there are many prospects who should be able to make an impact in 2018.

Here's eight players who appear ready to go having been selected in Friday's NAB AFL Draft. 

Jack Higgins (Richmond, pick No.17)

Small forward

Higgins has worked tirelessly this year preparing himself for an AFL career and will start at a club ready to go. The Oakleigh Chargers' Morrish medallist can play in the midfield but will start at the top level as a small forward, where he can use his excellent finishing skills and Richmond should see the benefits of that as early as next year. 

Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle, pick No.2)

Midfielder

Has the endurance, skillset and hardness to be able to play from round one next year. Nothing looks to faze Brayshaw very much, and he averaged 25 disposals a game for the Sandringham Dragons this year. He can also spend time across half-forward and rest there, which could help him settle into his AFL career. Fremantle used its No.2 pick on Brayshaw and we should see why next year.

Paddy Dow (Carlton, pick No.3)

Midfielder

It's hard to think Dow won't be playing a lot of senior footy next year if he can avoid injury. He will start contact training a little after his new teammates – most likely in January after shoulder surgery late in the season – but it shouldn't hold back the beginning of his life as an AFL player. Dow is uncompromising, competitive and consistent and Carlton should be able to wind him up and let him go in round one.   

Aaron Naughton (Western Bulldogs, pick No.9)

Key defender

Naughton will start his career at the Western Bulldogs with senior experience under his belt. His form for Peel Thunder in the WAFL was a big reason why he started to really rise up the ranks late in the piece, and he showed he had the athleticism and body strength to play on a range of key forwards. 

Tim Kelly (Geelong, pick No.24)

Midfielder/forward

Given Kelly's age (he's 23), he has been picked to play a role from day one and should come in with confidence given his stellar WAFL season with South Fremantle. He is a medium midfielder/forward who averaged 26 disposals and kicked 26 goals to finish second in the Sandover Medal this year. Geelong is in premiership mode and can count on an impact from Kelly in his first AFL season. 

Hunter Clark (St Kilda, pick No.7)

Midfielder

Clark has a few things going for him as someone who could play right away for the Saints. For starters, he can be deployed in a few roles, namely as a midfielder or as an attacking half-back, so that versatility will help his cause to fit in early. His running is good enough to step in, while he has shown he can find the ball and use it well over a number of years.  

James Worpel (Hawthorn, pick No.45)

Inside midfielder

Worpel is as powerful as any of the players who can step into the AFL next year, having been a consistent player for Vic Country and the Geelong Falcons the past two seasons. He is strong-bodied and has an aggressive streak, and physically won't be overwhelmed by stepping onto an AFL field.

Luke Davies-Uniacke (North Melbourne, pick No.4)

Midfielder

An obvious candidate here, but it's hard to overlook Davies-Uniacke as a prospect who will be able to make an impact in his debut season. If he can stay fit, Davies-Uniacke should play a large chunk of senior footy next year as one of the most complete midfielders who was available in the draft. He's big, strong, tough and explosive and is a great result for the Roos.

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