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FREMANTLE is quietly celebrating the steal of the 2015 NAB AFL Draft after top-20 prospect Harley Balic slipped through to the Dockers at pick No.38.

Balic, an intelligent midfielder/half-forward, may have slipped so low thanks to the serious wrist injury he suffered while dunking a basketball on his school court at Parkdale College two years ago.

Not realising the extent of the damage to his wrist, Balic continued to play football and basketball that season.

It was only later that damage to his fractured scaphoid was revealed.

He had surgery and played out the 2014 season, but the injury resurfaced and he learned in January this year that he would need more surgery.

Keen to keep taking the field, he managed to delay the operation until the end of this season, though it meant he missed testing at the Draft Combine.

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"We were [surprised he was around at pick No. 38] ... he was invited to the draft tonight and they usually invite about 20 kids," Dockers list manager Brad Lloyd said on Tuesday night.

"For him to get through to that second round, we were pleasantly surprised."

Clubs had queries over Balic's speed, though his poise in traffic and decision-making in tight spaces would seem to compensate for any lack of pace.

"We think he’s a quality player, he’s played well at state level and under-18 level and we think he really adds to the playing list," Lloyd said.

Cats throw a curveball

At the tail-end of the draft, Geelong sprung a surprise by taking little-known commodity Matt Hayball with Tuesday night's final pick (No.70 overall).

Hayball played just two SANFL reserves games in 2015, after spending the season with West Adelaide's under-18s, and convinced Geelong recruiter Stephen Wells he was worth the investment.

"Matt is a wiry, marking player," Wells said.

"Physically, he's got a long way to go. When it came to that pick there were a number of players we could have chosen, but we just went for something a bit different."

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