THE CASEY Demons’ VFL premiership claims received a significant boost when Melbourne added two talented players to its AFL list in the Mid-Season Rookie Draft on Wednesday night.
The Demons, who are sitting on top of the ladder with a 5-0 record and a percentage of 212, will be boosted when the competition resumes either by being able to select Werribee recruit Kye Declase and Albury/Murray Bushrangers defender Daniel Turner – or the players they may replace in Melbourne’s high-flying AFL team.
Declase, 24, has been in excellent form for the Tigers, averaging 22 disposals and seven marks while also kicking six goals, and could add strength anywhere across the Casey team if he doesn’t get selected in the AFL.
Turner, 19, a 191cm intercept defender who should slot into the hole left by the pre-season injury to Marty Hore, has averaged 17 disposals and eight marks in four matches for the Bushrangers this season.
By contrast, Werribee has lost a key player in its own chase for an elusive first premiership since 1993 but has enhanced its reputation as a go-to club for players with AFL ambition – Declase is the fourth Tiger taken in the past four years, following Josh Corbett and Sam Collins (Gold Coast) and Jake Riccardi (GWS).
That reputation has already paid dividends with 194cm forward Aidan Johnson signing just last week from Ovens and Murray club Lavington – where he kicked 53 goals in the 2019 premiership year and has 16 in seven games this year.
Casey’s closest rival on the ladder, Footscray (5-0, 209 per cent), has the same hurdle to overcome as Werribee after medium forward Jordan Boyd, who has played every game this season, was drafted by Carlton.
Box Hill Hawks were another club to receive a boost at the draft, with highly-rated young Tasmanian forward Jackson Callow joining Hawthorn – he will either boost the goalkicking power at Box Hill City Oval or push another AFL-listed player back.
Collingwood’s drafting of the spring-heeled Ash Johnson provides a similar boost to its VFL team, but the Magpies will be relying more on Max Lynch and Mason Cox after young Oakleigh ruckman Ned Moyle was taken by Gold Coast, while the Brisbane Lions also received a ruck boost with Claremont’s Kalin Lane to join Archie Smith in the centre circle.
It was also one-in-one-out for Richmond with former Saint Matthew Parker arriving to fill the hole left by midfielder Sam Durham being drafted by Essendon.
North Melbourne and Sandringham received a double boost with two players each being added to their AFL lists.
The Kangaroos picked up young ruckman Jacob Edwards and midfielder-defender Charlie Ham, while St Kilda took Edwards’ Sandringham Dragons teammate Max Heath and forward Cooper Sharman, an exciting forward from Leeton-Whitton in the NSW Riverina via Woodville-West Torrens.
It is business as usual for top-four contenders Southport, Williamstown and Geelong with no draftees, while the lists of Aspley, Coburg, Frankston, Northern Bullants, Port Melbourne, Sydney and GWS also did not change.
HOW YOUR CLUB FARED IN THE MID-SEASON ROOKIE DRAFT
Box Hill Hawks*
17.Jackson Callow, 18, 195cm, 96kg, key forward, Norwood
Kalin Lane, 19, 204cm, 95kg, ruck, Claremont
Kye Declase, 24, 195cm, 85kg, utility, Werribee
Daniel Turner, 19, 191cm, 79kg, defender, Bushrangers/Albury
Jordan Boyd, 22, 182cm, 81kg, forward, Footscray
Ash Johnson, 23, 193cm, 85kg, forward, Sturt
Aiden Begg, 18, 197cm, 87kg, ruckman, Eastern Ranges (shoulder – season)
Sam Durham, 19, 185cm, 75kg, midfielder, Richmond
Ned Moyle, 19, 204cm, 100kg, ruck, Oakleigh/Collingwood
Jacob Edwards, 18, 202cm, 83kg ruck/forward, Sandy Dragons
Charlie Ham, 18, 180cm, 74kg, midfield-defender, Geelong Falcons
Matthew Parker, 25, 187cm, 79kg, forward-mid, South Fremantle.
Max Heath, 18, 204cm, 94kg, ruck, Sandringham Dragons
Cooper Sharman, 20, 194cm, 78kg, forward, Woodville-West Torrens
No change: Aspley, Coburg, Frankston, Geelong, GWS Giants*, Northern Bullants, Port Melbourne, Southport, Sydney*, Williamstown
*Box Hill Hawks (Jai Newcombe #2), Carlton (Alex Mirkov #6), GWS Giants (James Peatling, #8) and Sydney (Lachlan McAndrew #12) all had players promoted onto their AFL club senior lists.