CARLTON has crowned Sam Walsh the new No.1 pick at the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, while Gold Coast has set about kickstarting its rebuild by bundling South Australian duo Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine with the next two selections at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night.
Despite speculation suggesting the Blues could trade the top selection, Walsh's superb final year of junior footy was capped by becoming the club's fifth pick No.1 in 14 years.
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The 184cm onballer enjoyed a near faultless campaign, averaging 32 disposals as captain of the Geelong Falcons and 29 disposals as Vic Country's skipper, with his class, work ethic and leadership skills putting him above his peers as the country's best junior prospect.
Speaking after he was presented with his Carlton jumper by club co-captains Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty, Walsh said he received a call from fellow Geelong Falcon and former pick No.1 Paddy McCartin earlier in the day with some words of advice.
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"I've known the McCartins for a while now and he's such a humble guy," Walsh said.
"He just said to embrace it because the hard work starts now, so I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into it and being part of this footy club."
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Carlton also sprung one of the night's biggest shocks, trading its 2019 first-round selection to Adelaide for pick No.19, in addition to the Crows' future first-round pick.
The Blues then used that selection on big-bodied Sandringham midfielder Liam Stocker, pairing him with Walsh and adding the duo to a developing young onball group.
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Gold Coast was next on the clock, holding two successive picks courtesy of Tom Lynch's free agency departure and using them to pair South Australian teammates Lukosius and Rankine.
The Suns also snared versatile tall Ben King with the third of their top-six picks, packaging a host of young talent at Metricon Stadium as the club looks to start yet another rebuild.
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St Kilda claimed 204cm forward Max King with pick No.4, enabling Port Adelaide to pounce on local South Australian prospect Connor Rozee with the next selection.
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Although speculation lingered throughout Marvel Stadium's Victory Room that the Western Bulldogs may look to trade pick No.7, the club ultimately settled on midfielder Bailey Smith.
It came amid a top 10 with few surprises, with Adelaide forcing North Melbourne to match a bid on Next Generation Academy prospect Tarryn Thomas at pick No.8, before selecting his Tasmanian teammate Chayce Jones with the very next selection.
Greater Western Sydney bid on Sydney Academy prospect in Nick Blakey to round out the top 10, with its crosstown rival electing to match that bid and take the talented tall.
Collingwood was the last team forced to match a bid on a Next Generation Academy prospect, with the Giants making the Pies shift to pick No.13 to secure Isaac Quaynor.
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Elsewhere, Sydney and West Coast completed the first ever live trade on draft night, with the Swans trading pick No.26 for a future third-round selection early in the evening.
However, just moments later, the pair were at it again. This time, Sydney traded back into the draft when it exchanged a future second-round selection for West Coast's pick No.24.
The Swans were busy live trading. Picture: AFL Photos
2018 NAB AFL DRAFT – THE TOP 10
1. Carlton: Sam Walsh
2. Gold Coast: Jack Lukosius
3. Gold Coast: Izak Rankine
4. St Kilda: Max King
5. Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee
6. Gold Coast: Ben King
7. Western Bulldogs: Bailey Smith
8. North Melbourne: Tarryn Thomas*
9. Adelaide: Chayce Jones
10. Sydney: Nick Blakey*
*Matching academy bids