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Son of champion Dog follows in dad's footsteps

Rhylee West will play for the same club at which his father, Scott, won seven best and fairests - AFL,Draft,Western Bulldogs
Rhylee West will play for the same club at which his father, Scott, won seven best and fairests

RHYLEE West is a step closer to running out for the same club as his champion father Scott after the Western Bulldogs picked him at No.26 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft.

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The Bulldogs had to match Melbourne's bid on the contested ball-winner, but after doing a trade with Fremantle to gain the necessary draft points, the Dogs were quick to match the bid.

The trade with Fremantle saw the Dogs receive picks No.34 and 41 in exchange for 30 and 57 to secure West, and Bulldogs recruiting manager Sam Power said the trade proved to be beneficial.

"That's where we expected the bid would come for Rhylee, and then we were able to do the live trade," Power said. 

"We were able to put a pick in the 40s out to a future third-round pick next year to build next year's hand."

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West has a similar playing style to his famous father. He plays with toughness and thrives on winning contested ball, earning under-18 All Australian honours following a terrific carnival with Vic Metro.

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West appears to be a suitable complement to the Dogs' first pick at No.6, 186cm Bailey Smith, and will add to a midfield that already features Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Lachie Hunter.

Smith is one of the hardest-working draftees in this year's pool and one of its most energetic. He wins the ball in tight and he has the ability to explode out of the contest. The Bulldogs have picked a midfielder who has the traits to become a genuine star at AFL level.

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The Bulldogs then took Laitham Vandermeer with pick No.37, and then finally gave mature-age Williamstown prospect Ben Cavarra his chance with pick No.45.

Cavarra has been overlooked in multiple drafts after first nominating in 2013, but gets his opportunity after booting 34 goals for Williamstown across the 2018 season.

Hayes, 23, finished fifth in the VFL competition's Liston Trophy and is the son of legendary horse trainer David.

"They both knew that we had genuine interest and that we were considering them but when it gets that late in the draft you don't know about the interest from other clubs," Power said. 

"We had a clear aim coming in today that we wanted both on our list and to achieve that was really pleasing."

Power said the Bulldogs were happy that Smith fell through to their pick No.7, particularly with Port Adelaide weighing up whether to select him earlier in the night. 

"We were really rapt to get him and surprised he was there at pick seven so to get him there we had no hesitation in calling his name out," Power said.