THE Sandringham Dragons have again proved to be the NAB League’s footy factory after a remarkable 10 players found AFL clubs over the past three days.
The Dragons, who also produced young ruckmen Jacob Edwards (North Melbourne) and Max Heath (St Kilda) in the NAB Mid-Season Rookie Draft, dominated the NAB League count, with 43 players from underage competition signed despite two disrupted seasons due to COVID restrictions.
Sandringham's haul started in the first round on Wednesday night when Finn Callaghan was taken by GWS with pick 3, closely followed by Josh Sinn (Port Adelaide, 12) and Campbell Chesser (West Coast, 14).
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Five more Dragons were picked up in the continuation of the draft on Thursday night – Mitchito Owens (St Kilda, 33), Blake Howes (Melbourne, 39), Marcus Windhager (St Kilda, 47), Dante Visentini (Port Adelaide, 56) and Luke Cleary (Western Bulldogs, 61), while Luke Nankervis (Adelaide) followed with the second pick of Friday’s NAB Pre-Season Draft.
St Kilda Next Generation Academy member Jack Peris, the son of Olympic hockey gold medallist and sprinter Nova Peris, made it double figures when the Saints added him to their list as a Category B rookie.
The draft haul of 10 doubled the returns of the Northern Knights and Dandenong Stingrays, who each had four draftees and a Category B rookie, while the Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers each had two top 13 picks among their four selections.
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The Eastern Ranges and Geelong Falcons each had three players taken – the latter all going just up the road to the Cats, while the Calder Cannons, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets (two) and Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power and Tassie Devils (one) ensured that every NAB League club had at least one player picked up.
Surprisingly, though, there was disappointment for both the NAB League’s Morrish medallists, with Flynn Lakey (Calder Cannons) and Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels) both missing out on selection.
Outside the NAB League, WAFL clubs Claremont and East Fremantle led the way with four draftees.
NAB LEAGUE SELECTIONS (43)
Sandringham Dragons (10): Finn Callaghan (GWS, 3); Josh Sinn (Port Adelaide, 12); Campbell Chesser (West Coast, 14); Mitchito Owens (St Kilda, 33); Blake Howes (Melbourne, 39); Marcus Windhager (St Kilda, 47); Dante Visentini (Port Adelaide, 56); Luke Cleary (Western Bulldogs, 61); Luke Nankervis (Adelaide, Pre-Season 2); Jack Peris (St Kilda, Cat B rookie).
Northern Knights (5): Josh Ward (Hawthorn, 7); Darcy Wilmot (Brisbane Lions, 16); Jackson Archer (North Melbourne, 59); Ned Long (Hawthorn, Rookie 5); Dom Akuei (Carlton, Cat B rookie).
Dandenong Stingrays (5): Mac Andrew (Gold Coast, 5); Connor MacDonald (Hawthorn, 26); Judson Clarke (Richmond, 30); Miller Bergman (North Melbourne, 38); Josiah Kyle (St Kilda, Cat B rookie).
GWV Rebels (4): Josh Gibcus (Richmond, 9); Ben Hobbs (Essendon, 13); Kai Lohmann (Brisbane Lions, 20); Sam Butler (Hawthorn, 23).
Oakleigh Chargers (4): Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs, 2); Nick Daicos (Collingwood, 4); Lachlan Rankin (Sydney, 58); Karl Worner (Fremantle, R8).
Eastern Ranges (3): Tyler Sonsie (Richmond, 28); Jake Soligo (Adelaide, 36); Flynn Kroeger (Geelong, 48).
Geelong Falcons (3): Toby Conway (Geelong, 24); Mitch Knevitt (Geelong, 25); Cooper Whyte (Geelong, 64).
Calder Cannons (2): Josh Goater (North Melbourne, 22); Zac Taylor (Adelaide, 44).
Murray Bushrangers (2): Josh Rachele (Adelaide, 6); Tom Brown (Richmond, 17).
Western Jets (2): Paul Curtis (North Melbourne, 35); Cody Raak (Western Bulldogs, Cat B rookie).
Bendigo Pioneers (1): Cooper Hamilton (GWS, R13).
Gippsland Power (1): Jai Serong (Hawthorn, 53).
Tassie Devils (1): Sam Banks (Richmond, 29).
NON NAB LEAGUE
4: Claremont, East Fremantle.
3: North Adelaide, South Adelaide, Subiaco.
2: East Perth, Glenelg, GWS Academy, Northern Territory, Norwood.
1: Carey Grammarians, Central District, Footscray, Peel Thunder, Richmond VFL, South Fremantle, Sturt, Suns Academy, Swan Districts, Williamstown, Woodville-West Torrens.