The 2017 AFL Draft has been and gone, with the dreams of over 70 aspiring footballers realised as their names were called up on Friday night.
After weeks of speculating who would become the number one draft pick, Cameron Rayner was revealed as the first pick of the night, with Brisbane overlooking his lack of endurance to be the number one choice. Fremantle could do no wrong with two picks inside the top five and with those, they decided to bolster up their midfield selecting Andrew Brayshaw with the second overall pick and then choosing Adam Cerra with the fifth pick - both men looming as future stars of the competition.
Rounding out the top five saw Carlton getting their man in Paddy Dow at pick three, whilst North Melbourne were very delighted to get Luke Davies-Uniacke, a man many believed could've also gone at number one, selected with the fourth overall pick. Jaidyn Stephenson's small heart problem didn't worry the Pies one bit as they took him with the sixth pick overall, whilst St. Kilda got themselves two future stars in Nick Coffield and Hunter Clark with picks seven and eight.
The big shocks came with the final two picks of the night, when North Melbourne handed discarded Hawk Billy Hartung a lifeline, selecting him with the 77th overall pick, whilst Carlton took Jarrod Garlett, who had walked away from the Gold Coast Suns a couple of years ago with the final pick of the draft.
There was a lot of intrigue about who the Western Bulldogs would select with their two picks inside the top 20, and whilst there is no arguing the talent that the Dogs chose with both picks nine and 16, there is a sense of indifference with the Dogs' choice at pick nine amongst the supporter base.
Which is why this morning on Bulldogs Centre, we continue the yearly tradition of reviewing the Western Bulldogs' draft night as we take a look at the Bulldogs' three selections from Friday night's AFL Draft with a bit more depth.
Pick 74 - Callum Porter - Midfielder, 182cm, 76kg
What Simon Dalrymple (Western Bulldogs Recruiting Manager) Said:
"He's a boy who's a great competitor, outstanding young man from Gippsland Power, he's got great character which is Josh Dunkley-like. He can play inside/outside midfield as well as going forward and has a good overhead. He has a great attitude and has good speed and good power."
What Alex Docherty (Chief Writer Of Bulldogs Centre) Said:
Gippsland Power product Callum Porter has the potential to be a huge draft bargain with pick 74. He took home Gippsland's best and fairest award this year and finished in the top 10 in the TAC Cup's Morrish Medal, which recognizes the best young talent from the TAC Cup. He also played one game for Casey in the VFL and kicked a goal in their win over the Northern Blues.
Porter, a vice-captain for Gippsland this year, played 19 games for the Power this year and finished in their best players in 12 of those games, including four best on grounds. He's got a real competitive edge to him, which I seriously like and has the scope to be a match-winning player as shown by his four-goal game in Gippsland's win over the Geelong Falcons back in round nine of the TAC Cup.
Kicking and consistency issues are the big concerns in his game, but at pick 74, Simon Dalrymple could have plucked out another draft gem.
Pick 16 - Ed Richards - Defender, 185cm, 78kg
What Simon Dalrymple Said:
"Ed provides great run off half-back and he's an excellent user of the football. He's quick, he's a competitor and he's developed extremely well in the back-half of the year. We think with ample time in the system, he's an exciting prospect."
What Alex Docherty Said:
Very happy to have the Dogs address their need of run, carry and creativity off the half-back line following the retirements of Matthew Boyd and Robert Murphy with selecting Oakleigh Chargers prospect Ed Richards with their second of two first-round picks. He can do all three of those things very well. He's very quick off the mark, has very excellent kicking skills and has football in his veins, with his grandfather Ron Richards playing in a premiership for Collingwood and his great uncle Lou Richards an icon in the AFL.
His second-half of the year was the catalyst to Richards' rise up the draft ladder, being named in Oakleigh's best players five of the ten games he played, including two best on ground performances. Injuries hampered any progress at the start of the year, and could've potentially gone a top-10 pick, as he's got the skills and the athleticism to not just a very good player, but one that could be an extremely versatile commodity in time. I think he'll be a 200-game player when it's all said and done.
Pick 9 - Aaron Naughton - Key Defender, 194cm, 85kg
What Simon Dalrymple Said:
"Aaron's an athletic hybrid defender, who is an excellent intercept mark and has the athletic quality to play on both tall and medium players. One thing we particularly like about him is his drive, he's a very driven young man, which bodes well for him and the club as he grows as a player over time."
What Alex Docherty Said:
I have genuinely mixed feelings about this pick. In Peel Thunder boy Aaron Naughton, this is a young man who is a very worthy top-10 selection, there's no doubt about this. He's got a very good football IQ, has been a great intercept mark at under-18 level and for someone his size, he possesses very, very good athleticism. I mentioned in my mock draft on Wednesday that experts have compared Naughton to another fellow WA defender in Alex Rance, and if he's even as half as good, then he'll be a star. He played seven senior games in the WAFL and averaged 13 disposals and almost seven marks per game, so he's already got some experience against the bigger bodies.
However, it's going to be interesting to see where Naughton fits in amongst the grand scheme of things. The Dogs already have key defenders in Zaine Cordy, Fletcher Roberts, Marcus Adams, Kieran Collins, Lewis Young and Dale Morris. Furthermore, they just signed Free Agent Jackson Trengove nearly two months ago, so I can understand why Bulldogs' supporters would be confused and perhaps a little frustrated as to why the Dogs would use their top 10 selection on yet another key position player. Is it possible that we see Naughton play a swingman sort of role in the future? He kicked 11 goals in 20 under-18 games in the past 24 months so he does know how to find the big sticks, but given his highlights package, his best footy is definitely in defence.
Given that the recruiting staff drafted players that got us a long-awaited premiership, I'll back them that they made the right draft choice here. As a matter of fact, I think they did a very good job with all three selections. To Simon Dalrymple and the Bulldogs recruiting staff, it seems like it's another job well done, we won't know that for another 12 months yet.