TIRELESS work and rapid development has resulted in AFL dreams being realised for two more VFL players, with Liam Reidy and Tylar Young being taken in Wednesday’s NAB AFL Rookie Draft.
Frankston ruckman Reidy will join Port Melbourne star Corey Wagner in the west after being snapped up by Fremantle with pick 13, while Richmond promoted key defender Young with pick 26.
East Brighton product Reidy made his VFL debut as a key forward for the Dolphins in 2021 before making the ruck position his own this year.
He played 16 games and averaged 21.5 hitouts, 9.1 disposals, 1.8 marks and 4.1 tackles, while also hitting the scoreboard with eight goals.
“He acquitted himself well when up against AFL-listed rucks like Ivan Soldo, Callum Coleman-Jones, Callum Sinclair and Matthew Flynn,” fremantlefc.com.au wrote about Reidy.
“At various stages throughout the season, (he) demonstrated the ability to hit-up as a forward and finish well for goal.
“At 204cm and 102kg, he’s someone who is physically capable of being a backup ruckman immediately, but also has significant scope to develop his game further in an AFL environment.”
Coincidentally, Young was a teammate of Reidy’s at Frankston last year and filled the second ruck role behind Jimmy Rendell, keeping Reidy out of the team.
But his shift to Richmond’s VFL team this year paid the ultimate dividends for both men, with Young making a key defensive role his own at the Swinburne Centre.
Standing 196cm and 94kg, Young played 14 games for the Tigers for career-best numbers of 9.6 disposals at 77.8 per cent efficiency, 4.0 marks and 2.6 rebounds.
He becomes an AFL-listed player having lined up in 22 VFL games overall.
“Tylar played high level soccer until his late teens before switching to football with North Albury Football Club in 2019,” the Tigers’ recruiting team told richmondfc.com.au.
“He went on to play 14 senior games before deciding to head to Melbourne to play two seasons in the VFL with Frankston.
“In 2022 Tylar joined the Richmond VFL program where he showed terrific improvement throughout the season.
“Predominantly playing as a key defender, he showed an ability to blanket a variety of opponents while also developing his intercept game.”
Several other players who spent a majority of their time in the VFL this year gained fresh opportunities at AFL level via the Rookie Draft.
Jake Stein (nine VFL games for GWS for a total of 60 VFL/NEAFL) joined the Gold Coast SUNS and Daniel Howe (12 games for Box Hill Hawks for a total of 44) was selected by North Melbourne.
Ryan Lester (Brisbane Lions), Cooper Murley (Collingwood), Nakia Cockatoo (Brisbane Lions), Seamus Mitchell (Box Hill Hawks/Hawthorn), Kayne Turner (North Melbourne) and Ed Curnow (Carlton) were all redrafted by their clubs.
Geelong father-son Osca Riccardi also made his VFL debut for the Cats this year and was added as a rookie with the last pick on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Will Edwards (Sydney Swans), Shadeau Brain and Darryl McDowell-White Jr (Brisbane Lions), Angus McLennan (Sandringham/St Kilda) and Ted Clohesy (Geelong Cats) made their way onto AFL lists as pre-selected Category B rookie selections.