NORTH Adelaide premiership coach Josh Carr has implored AFL clubs to keep recruiting from state leagues after three of his mature-aged players were selected in last month's drafts.
Small forward Robbie Young was snapped up by St Kilda in the NAB AFL Draft, while midfielder and reigning club champion Callum Wilkie will join Young at Moorabbin, after he and ruckman Jordon Sweet (Western Bulldogs) had their names called out in the rookie draft.
The trio have progressed to AFL level along with Roosters teenagers Connor Rozee and Boyd Woodcock, who were both selected by Port Adelaide in the national draft.
WHO SMASHED IT? Your club's draft verdict
In his third season in charge of the SANFL club, Carr told AFL.com.au while the recruiting swoop would make it hard for North Adelaide to defend its title, he was delighted to see the talented trio get a much-deserved opportunity.
Overall, 20 state league players were added to AFL lists for next season.
SWEET RELIEF Ruckman's two-year juggling act pays off
"I think AFL clubs are starting to realise it's not just the 18-year-olds they have to look at because the mature-agers are showing they can come from this competition and be good AFL players," Carr said.
"The club has put a great program in place, adding a full-time development coach in Jacob Surjan, so this helped the guys on their pathway, and it's similar to what an AFL club would do for their players.
"Another reason is if we don't have success playing finals football and winning the Grand Final, it would have made it hard for the mature-aged guys to (get drafted).
"It's hard when it leaves a big hole in your side, but we're happy to help these young kids realise their dream of playing AFL football, so we assist in any way.
"It's a great stepping stone for the players and hopefully AFL clubs will keep looking at our club to find players."
Former Rooster Robbie Young speaks to reporters after he was drafted by St Kilda. Picture: AFL Photos
While he has high hopes for all five of his former charges, Carr considers himself lucky to have coached a player of Rozee's calibre.
The Power traded up the draft order to secure the gifted playmaker at pick No.5, and Carr believes his former club won't regret its decision.
DRAFT TRACKER Every pick, bios, highlights and Cal's comments
"Connor is an exceptional talent for just a kid, and he's very coachable because you've got no complaints when you've got him under your wing," Carr said.
"I have a lot of faith that he's going to be a 200-game player who will work really hard and get the most out of himself."
Port Adelaide draftee Connor Rozee excelled in his under-18 year. Picture: AFL Photos
Adding a SANFL flag to his four seasons as an assistant coach at Port Adelaide gives Carr an impressive coaching resume, but the West Australian is in no hurry to return to AFL ranks, content he still has more to learn at the helm of his own side.
"I'm really enjoying what I'm doing with the Roosters, and my goal was to be successful at this level, so I'll reassess after I got the most out of this group," Carr said.
"I re-signed halfway through this season for another two years, so all my time and energy are in this job and making sure I'm still developing as a coach.
"It's just making sure if I do go back into the AFL system I'm ready to go again."