IS THE AFL's quirky draft curse finally broken?
A strange trend at the annual pick-fest has its origins in 1999, when Damian Cupido and Bob Murphy were the respective No.6 and No.13 selections.
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The talented but complicated Cupido – who's become one of the sport's great journeymen at grassroots level – ended up playing only 53 games for Brisbane and Essendon.
His best season came four years after he was drafted, when he booted 39 goals from 23 games, including two career-high bags of five.
But Cupido's football feats didn't come close to matching those of Murphy, who captained the Western Bulldogs, was twice an All Australian and made 312 senior appearances.
A year later welcomed ex-Roo and Docker Dylan Smith (21 matches) and premiership-winning Lion Ash McGrath (214) to the AFL at those picks, then Ashley Sampi (78) and Nick Dal Santo (322).
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They were the beginnings of an incredible 12-year streak where No.13 outshone his No.6 counterpart.
Murphy, McGrath, Dal Santo, Brent Stanton, Shannon Hurn, Jack Riewoldt and Brad Ebert have all played 200-plus matches from pick 13, and Daniel Talia should bring up the milestone in 2020.
All Australians Chad Wingard (2011) and Jack Macrae (2012) hit back for the sixes, but Carlton midfield bull Patrick Cripps delivered another emphatic victory for the 13s the next year.
There is still a chance the tables could be turned in the 2014 and 2015 drafts, but Lachie Weller and Matthew Kennedy – both chosen at No.13 – hold the games edge over their rivals so far.
However, there's been a significant switch in the past three drafts.
No.6 v No.13
Damian Cupido (53 games)
Bob Murphy (312 games)
Dylan Smith (21)
Ash McGrath (214 games)
Ashley Sampi (78)
Nick Dal Santo (322)
Steven Salopek (121)
Byron Schammer (129)
Kepler Bradley (117)
Brent Stanton (255)
Tom Williams (85)
Matthew Bate (102)
Beau Dowler (16)
Shannon Hurn (269)*
Mitch Thorp (2)
Jack Riewoldt (262)*
David Myers (123)
Brad Ebert (246)*
Chris Yarran (119)
Tom Lynch (Adelaide) (139)*
Gary Rohan (125)*
Daniel Talia (186)*
Reece Conca (126)*
Brodie Smith (167)*
Chad Wingard (161)*
Taylor Adams (132)*
Jack Macrae (141)*
Jesse Lonergan (60)
Matt Scharenberg (38)*
Patrick Cripps (101)*
Caleb Marchbank (48)*
Lachie Weller (86)*
Aaron Francis (27)*
Matthew Kennedy (41)*
Sam Petrevski-Seton (64)*
Daniel Venables (21)*
Jaidyn Stephenson (40)*
Jarrod Brander (3)*
Ben King (14)*
Isaac Quaynor (4)*
* Still playing
Carlton's Sam Petrevski-Seton, Magpie Jaidyn Stephenson and Gold Coast power forward Ben King have justified their early valuations with hugely promising starts to their careers.
They have work to do to change recent history for players chosen with the sixth selection, given it is the worst-performed top-10 pick by average games played since the turn of the century.
On the flipside, the lucky 13 is the equal of the seventh selection on the same measure and producing better results than all bar picks one, three and five.
Greater Western Sydney and the Bulldogs are in the respective sixth and 13th slots ahead of Wednesday night's NAB AFL Draft.
That could change for the Giants, who've long discussed with Melbourne (No.3) and Adelaide (No.4) about moving up the order to try to beat a bid for Academy prospect Tom Green.
The Demons appear unlikely to budge but a deal with the Crows could yet happen.
The Dogs were adamant during the Telstra AFL Trade Period about not giving up No.13 in any swap for incoming talent Josh Bruce and Alex Keath.
It may prove a sound decision if history is any gauge.