No.1 pick Aaron Cadman with GWS star Toby Greene at the 2022 NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney has crowned Aaron Cadman as the No.1 pick in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft, prioritising the key forward on Monday night ahead of a bid on father-son prospect Will Ashcroft. 

The athletic and tough Cadman, who has been the standout key forward of his draft class, joins the Giants with their first No.1 selection since Tom Boyd in the 2013 intake. 

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The teenager had been in the club's sights since it manoeuvred up to the prized No.1 selection during the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period, knowing he was open to moving north. 

"Never in a million years I would have thought I'd be in this position as the No.1 pick," Cadman told's Draft Night Live.

"You dream about it, but for it to become a reality, it's really, really special."


Cadman, who has earned comparisons with Geelong premiership forward and former Giant Jeremy Cameron, is a product of the Greater Western Victoria Rebels. 

He shot into top-five calculations this season following a growth spurt and a standout campaign with the Rebels and Vic Country, earning All-Australian selection at the national championships. 

He arrived at the Giants after the club used the 'mega trade' last month to get its hands on the prized first selection from North Melbourne, moving up from the pick No.3 it already held after a busy trade period. 


Having lost midfielders Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper, the Giants were left with a strong draft hand that made it possible to move all the way to the top of the 2022 order and secure the player it most wanted. 

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The 195cm Cadman, who kicked 34 goals in the NAB League this year, also becomes the first player drafted to the Giants under new coach Adam Kingsley.


North Melbourne bid on Ashcroft immediately after Cadman's selection, forcing the Lions to pay and ensuring the son of former Brisbane player Marcus Ashcroft landed at the Lions as the No.2 pick. 

The Sandringham Dragons midfielder was regarded by many clubs as the best player available in the 2022 pool, representing a steal for the Lions, who were able to pay for him with a group of picks between No.34 and No.41. 


The Kangaroos, who had turned their pick No.1 into prime back-to-back selections during the trade period, then selected forward Harry Sheezel and midfielder George Wardlaw with picks No.3 and No.4. 

Essendon opted not to trade its prized pick No.5 after fielding offers right up until the draft, instead selecting talented Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Elijah Tsatas.

Powerful Gippsland Power midfielder Bailey Humphrey was the next player selected, joining Gold Coast with pick No.6 and capping a sensational late-season surge after returning from a knee injury. 

Bailey Humphrey with Gold Coast captain Touk Miller during the 2022 NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Hawthorn then opted for Sandringham Dragons onballer Cameron Mackenzie with one of the harder to predict picks in the draft, bringing size and strength to a developing Hawks midfield. 

Geelong then faced the choice between local midfielder Jhye Clark and WA midfielder Reuben Ginbey, deciding to go local and snaring the impressive Clark at pick No.8. 

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That left the Eagles to also go local, pouncing on big-bodied midfielder Ginbey at No.9 with the first of their two early selections after trading out pick No.2. 

At No.10, St Kilda snared highly rated South Australian midfielder Mattaes Phillipou, who was viewed as a "wildcard" in the top 10 order.

Mattaes Phillipou with St Kilda player Jack Steele during the 2022 NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Carlton was next, using its pick No.11 to land Murray Bushrangers midfielder Oliver Hollands, the younger brother of Gold Coast's Elijah Hollands. 

The Bulldogs then surprised with an earlier-than-expected bid on Brisbane father-son prospect Jaspa Fletcher, forcing the Lions to pay a high price for the talented wingman at No.12.

After their bid was matched, the Bulldogs used their selection at No.13 to snare WA product Jedd Busslinger, who was the first defender selected in the draft. 

Jedd Busslinger poses with Western Bulldogs player Bailey Dale during the 2022 NAB AFL Draft. Picture: AFL Photos

The Eagles then used the second of their first-round picks to again go local, adding game-breaking midfielder Elijah Hewett to their ranks, overlooking big-bodied onballer Ed Allen. 

Goalkicker Matthew Jefferson was the next player selected, with Melbourne using its pick No.15 to recruit the player regarded as the second-best key forward available in 2022.

Sydney then turned the draft on its head with back-to-back bids and a trade with Hawthorn.  

First, the Swans used pick No.16 to bid on GWS Academy product Harry Rowston, forcing the Giants to give up their pick No.17 to secure the Griffith teenager.   

The Swans then used pick No.17 to bid on Adelaide father-son defender Max Michalanney – the son of Norwood great Jim Michalanney – with the Crows also quickly matching. 

Rather than use pick No.18, the Swans traded it to the Hawks, sliding to pick No.27 and receiving future second- and third-round selections as part of the deal, with the Hawks securing Oakleigh Chargers key defender Josh Weddle. 

Collingwood then used pick No.19 to land Allan, who was the slider of the first round after being linked to West Coast at No.12.  

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Sydney finally entered the draft at pick No.20, landing tenacious small forward Jacob Konstanty from the Gippsland Power. 

The Giants rounded out the first round with pick No.21, selecting pacy Swan Districts midfielder Darcy Jones. 

GWS also holds the valuable pick No.22, which will open the second night of the draft, giving them time to canvass trade offers for the selection

2022 NAB AFL Draft – First Round 

1. Aaron Cadman (Greater Western Sydney)
2. Will Ashcroft (Brisbane - matching North Melbourne's bid)
3. Harry Sheezel (North Melbourne)
4. George Wardlaw (North Melbourne)
5. Elijah Tsatas (Essendon)
6. Bailey Humphrey (Gold Coast)
7. Cameron Mackenzie (Hawthorn)
8. Jhye Clark (Geelong)
9. Reuben Ginbey (West Coast)
10. Mattaes Phillipou (St Kilda)
11. Oliver Hollands (Carlton)
12. Jaspa Fletcher (Brisbane - matching the Western Bulldogs bid)
13. Jedd Busslinger (Western Bulldogs)
14. Elijah Hewett (West Coast)
15. Matthew Jefferson (Melbourne)
16. Harry Rowston (Greater Western Sydney – matching Sydney's bid) 
17. Max Michalanney (Adelaide – matching Sydney' bid) 
18. Josh Weddle (Hawthorn – after trading with Sydney) 
19. Ed Allan (Collingwood)
20. Jacob Konstanty (Sydney) 
21. Darcy Jones (Greater Western Sydney)