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Draft prospect Hill's slide may be West Coast's gain

Ian Hill may find himself staying at home with the Eagles - AFL,Draft,Ian Hill,West Coast Eagles
Ian Hill may find himself staying at home with the Eagles

WEST Coast could find itself in the box seat to land exciting local product Ian Hill after his injury-impacted season.

The speedy half-forward started the year nursing a shoulder injury after off-season surgery and ended his campaign with another shoulder operation.

Hill, who is a second cousin to Fremantle pair Stephen and Bradley Hill, was touted as a possible top-five pick at the beginning of 2018 but did not reach those heights this year.

The premiers don't enter the draft until pick No.20 but Hill is considered a chance to still be available, although Port Adelaide (pick 15) and Greater Western Sydney (pick 19) have also shown interest, and Fremantle (pick 14) also have been linked to the small forward.

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He would add to the Eagles' impressive stocks of small forwards, with premiership pair Willie Rioli and Liam Ryan starring last season and the club also having first call on Next Generation Academy prospect Jarrod Cameron, the younger brother of Brisbane's Charlie, at this year's draft.

The 18-year-old Hill was understood to not be on the AFL's original list of players invited to the NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium in two weeks' time, before scoring a ticket. More than 20 players will be at the venue for the opening night of the draft.

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Included in that group is Gippsland Power's rangy midfielder Xavier Duursma, who now shapes as a top-20 smokey, and small forward/midfielder Ned McHenry, who has been linked to the Tigers, Crows and Melbourne.

The Crows have four selections in the first 21 picks (No.8, 13, 16 and 21) and could also look to bolster their ruck stocks, with GWS academy prospect Kieren Briggs tipped to attract an early bid.

Rivals believe the Giants could look to trade up in the draft from their current position at No.19 to ensure they don't need to use their third top-20 pick to match a bid on the bullocking big man and instead match a bid with later picks.

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Clubs see St Kilda's pick No.4 as shaping the top group of selections. Sam Walsh, Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine are widely tipped to be the first three players picked, because even if Carlton springs a surprise and grabs Lukosius at No.1, Gold Coast would follow by taking Walsh and then likely Rankine at No.2 and 3.

The Saints are considering a group of players for their choice, with key forward Max King and midfielder Bailey Smith seen as the most likely candidates.

Jye Caldwell, Ben King, Connor Rozee and Bailey Smith are in the next group of likely selections, with the Bulldogs in a strong position to take Smith at No.7 should he get past the Saints' choice.