THE INTRIGUE on Daniel Curtin's landing spot and rival trade interest in Greater Western Sydney's top selection are the central forces in a first round of selections that is still taking shape ahead of Monday night's AFL Draft.
With West Coast set to take gun youngster Harley Reid with the No.1 choice and North Melbourne expected to choose Colby McKercher and Zane Duursma, not withstanding a bid on Gold Coast Academy star Jed Walter, the Hawks loom as the starting point for Curtin's entrance to the draft.
However, rival clubs see small forward Nick Watson to have edged ahead as the favourite for the selection, which would allow the Western Bulldogs to grab midfielder Ryley Sanders and Melbourne likely pounce on Caleb Windsor.
Melbourne has put forward its pick No.6 and a future first-round pick for Hawthorn's pick No.4 but so far the Hawks have not shifted, with a view among clubs being that if the Hawks' man is Curtin, then they could slot back to No.6 and grab him and get the Demons' first pick next year for the slide.
In the case of Windsor getting to the Dees, it would then see the Giants with a massive call, with the club still working through offers on Sunday from rivals for the selection if Curtin is available. The Giants could either hold the pick and take Curtin, or draft James Leake or Connor O'Sullivan, with Leake expected to be ahead of O'Sullivan.
West Coast will put its future first-round pick on the table for the Giants' pick if Curtin and potentially other players are available, leaving the Giants weighing up if they want to tap out of the top-end of this year and bank on the Eagles having another poor season in 2024.
As reported by AFL.com.au, the other consideration for the Giants is to slide back only a small number of positions and still hope to select one of their preferred options. Adelaide has put three different trade scenarios to the Giants to try and push up the board from pick 10, including offering pick 10 and a future second-round pick, while swapping 10 for No.7 and then 14 for 16, in possible separate transactions on the night with other picks potentially involved, are other options to have been discussed.
Adelaide had done more work on Curtin over the weekend in the possibility of a trade, with the expectation it may meet him while in Melbourne ahead of the draft.
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Essendon, too, would likely put up a future first-round selection to jump into the draft but not attached to its pick No.9. Sydney has previously offered its pick 12 and end-of-first round pick for next year to move up the board but has not had any takers.
If the Giants held and picked Leake, then the Cats would likely swoop on Curtin and the Bombers grab forward Nate Caddy and the Crows have access to key defender O'Sullivan. If the Giants traded to Adelaide or West Coast or another trade option emerges and the incoming club grabbed Curtin, then the Cats are viewed as the favourites for Caddy, which would spill Essendon to have Leake in their sights. O'Sullivan could then get through to the Crows.
The alternative of the Hawks grabbing Curtin over Watson would see Watson get to the Demons, and Windsor likely the favourite for the Giants' pick. Caddy, O'Sullivan and Darcy Wilson have been in considerations at the Cats with Caddy seen as a likely option, while the Bombers then would also have the Leake and O'Sullivan call to make, with the Crows expected to swoop on whoever is left over.
Under that scenario the Crows could still look to shift up for the Giants' pick, while Melbourne has also discussed using pick 11 and a future first-rounder to climb the order.
St Kilda's pick 13 looms as a tight call, with Harry DeMattia in the frame as well as Wilson, with both offering speed to the Saints' mix.
The Crows could look at taking ruckman Taylor Goad with their second pick ahead of other interest in him from North Melbourne and Collingwood, while Logan Morris has attracted interest from the Pies and Kangaroos.
Goad going earlier would have a ripple effect on Charlie Edwards, who has become a key part of the teens configurations, with North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney also interested in the late riser, while Arie Schoenmaker is a chance to land at the Magpies or Crows with their selections at the back-end of the first round.
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Pick 1 – West Coast – Harley Reid
Pick 2 – North Melbourne – Colby McKercher
Pick 3 – Gold Coast (matching North Melbourne's bid) – Jed Walter
Pick 4 – North Melbourne – Zane Duursma
Pick 5 – Hawthorn – Nick Watson
Pick 6 – Western Bulldogs – Ryley Sanders
Pick 7 – Melbourne – Caleb Windsor
Pick 8 – Greater Western Sydney – James Leake
Pick 9 – Gold Coast (matching Geelong's bid) – Ethan Read
Pick 10 – Geelong – Daniel Curtin
Pick 11 – Essendon – Nate Caddy
Pick 12 – Adelaide – Connor O'Sullivan
Pick 13 – Melbourne – Koltyn Tholstrup
Pick 14 – Gold Coast (matching Sydney's bid) – Jake Rogers
Pick 15 – Western Bulldogs (matching Sydney's bid) – Jordan Croft
Pick 16 – Sydney – Will Green
Pick 17 – St Kilda – Harry DeMattia
Pick 18 – Hawthorn (matching Adelaide's bid) – Will McCabe
Pick 19 – Adelaide – Charlie Edwards
Pick 20 – North Melbourne – Darcy Wilson
Pick 21 – Greater Western Sydney – Phoenix Gothard
Pick 22 – North Melbourne – Riley Hardeman
Pick 23 – North Melbourne – Mitchell Edwards
Pick 24 – Gold Coast (matching Collingwood's bid) – Will Graham
Pick 25 – Sydney (matching Collingwood's bid) – Caiden Cleary
Pick 26 – Collingwood – Logan Morris
Pick 27 – Adelaide – Taylor Goad
Pick 28 – St Kilda – Wil Dawson
Pick 29 – Carlton – Ashton Moir
Pick 30 – West Coast – Lance Collard