IT WAS the tightest race in memory at the start of the NAB AFL Draft, with several contenders for the top choice.

But given Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was off-limits with his links to the Western Bulldogs' Next Generation Academy, the big question was who the Crows would take?

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Would it be Logan McDonald? Or Riley Thilthorpe? Or were Elijah Hollands and Denver Grainger-Barras a chance? 

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In the end the Crows selected Riley Thilthorpe with their pick No.2 at Wednesday night's draft, after their bid for Ugle-Hagan with pick No.1 was matched by the Bulldogs.

Not everyone would have gone the same way. Highlighting the close nature of the decision, surveyed 12 clubs about who they would take with the top choice if Ugle-Hagan was unavailable. 

Four clubs said they would take Grainger-Barras, four said McDonald and three went with Thilthorpe, while Hollands received one vote.   

Club one: "I'd be taking Logan McDonald. His year has been undeniable. I really like Riley as well, and he will be good, but I'm still not sure whether he'll be a key forward or a ruck, whereas I know what Logan is. He had a fantastic season." 

Club two: "It would be a toss of the coin for me between Denver Grainger-Barras and Riley Thilthorpe, but I actually think I'd go with Grainger-Barras. I really like what he can do. I wouldn't call it reckless abandon, but he plays with such power and if he can mark it, he'll mark it, and he can really shut down good players. I liked him going back to under-16s level and his projection has continued since then."

Club three: "It's very hard to find players like Riley Thilthorpe. He's big, competitive, athletic and a genuine footballer. He'd be the one for me." 

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Club four: "I would go with McDonald. His performances at senior level are too hard to ignore. He's athletic and consistent and his character is really strong, as it is for a lot of the boys at the top, but his is really sound. There weren't too many weaknesses with him, but in saying that it is a really difficult call." 

Club five: "It's Denver Grainger-Barras for us. Just his power and marking is so rare." 

Club six: "Logan McDonald's season at senior level and his work ethic and athletic profile has him ahead. I would have had Elijah Hollands ahead at this time of last year but his knee injury and picking someone off an ACL at No.1 would be a big call." 

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Club seven: "I'd take McDonald. He's a better player. Aesthetically he doesn't look good as Riley Thilthorpe but he's tough and smart and runs like the wind. I think he's got a real steel to him." 

Club eight: "Thilthorpe is it for us. His talent puts him ahead and the way the game is going, with his running ability and dual role he really fits into the way it's played." 

Club nine: "Can I have two? I'd have Elijah Hollands or Denver Grainger-Barras just ahead of Logan McDonald. Elijah can really influence games and he's got that something special, so it'd be him." 

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Club 10: "I'd be inclined to take Denver, I reckon if Elijah didn't do his knee he would be just ahead. I typically lean to the key forwards ahead of the key defenders, as they're harder to find, but Grainger-Barras is very, very good."

Club 11: "Thilthorpe would be ahead for me, bearing in mind his medical was all good. It's so rare to find players who can do what he does." 

Club 12: "I probably wouldn't take Logan or Riley, and it would be out of Denver and Elijah. It's so hard to say how it would have gone because they didn't play. Denver is rock-solid and Elijah is a star, but I'd probably end up going with Denver. He's a jet."

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