2008 National Draft Review

Afldraftinfo.com’s take on your clubs selections in the 2008 National draft (including brief write-ups on players without profiles):


10 – Phil Davis (North Adelaide/SA) | Video

Haven’t seen much of him– key position utility with all-round attributes including notably good hands overhead and ball use by foot. Risky pick due to injury (shoulder re-co’s are of major concern to KPPs) and lack of exposed form at higher levels. Seems like Adelaide overpaid slightly, but had to do so in order to get their man.

28 – Shaun McKernan (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
44 - Rory Sloane (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
60 – Thomas Lee (Claremont) | Video

Risky pick, but could be justifiable this late. Has played mostly school footy and is from country WA (Dowerin) which suggests big upside, but has played very little footy at higher levels. Has some attractive athletic attributes to work with, but I’m not sold on the footballing side – can’t consistently find the footy.

72 – Will Young (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country) | Video | Profile

Grading: C+

Took some bold risks that could pay of big time or be flop city. Liked the Sloane selection and McKernan was worth the risk at 28, but not as convinced on the others. Davis is quite a big risk so I hope his potential upside is worth it. Lee is a relative long shot and Young a workhorse without anything all that special about him.


7 - Daniel Rich (Subiaco/WA) | Video | Profile
25 - Jack Redden (Glenelg/SA) | Video | Profile
41 - Todd Banfield (Swans Districts/WA)| Video | Profile
57 - Aaron Cornelius (Tassie Devils/Tasmania| Video | Profile
69 - Bart McCulloch (South Launceston/Tasmania) | Video | Profile
81 - Kieran King (East Fremantle/WA) | Video

Not a fan of this pick. - don’t rate him at all apart from his 400m time. Brisbane will need to make a footballer out of him, because that entire area of his game is very unrefined at present.

Grading: B-

I think it’ll be mainly about Rich down the road. They overpaid for Redden who while could be very good, his weaknesses concern me somewhat (good engine but can’t find much of the ball and injury prone). Cornelius they got a round cheaper than expected. McCulloch and King I both see as long shots, which is generally expected with such late picks.


6 - Chris Yarran (Swan Districts/WA) | Video | Profile
40 - Mitch Robinson (Tassie Devils/Tasmania) | Video | Profile
65 - Rhys O'Keeffe (North Adelaide/SA) | Video | Profile
80 - Caleb Tiller (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | Video | Profile

Grading: A

Likely to reap the rewards of a great recruiting effort in seasons to come. Tiller late was the only selection I wasn’t a fan of, but the rest were very good value, particularly Robinson and O’Keeffe who I didn’t think would last so long. Yarran should prove to be a very good addition both in the long term and short term - can slot in the starting team to assist in providing multiple dimensions to the forward line from season 1. There’s no way Robinson should’ve lasted to 40...but he did...similarly so with Rhys O’Keeffe.


11 - Steele Sidebottom (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | Video | Profile
29 - Dayne Beams (Southport Sharks/Queensland | Video | Profile
45 - Jarrad Blight (Swan Districts/WA) | Video | Profile
46 - Luke Rounds (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)| Video | Profile
73 - Leigh Brown (North Melbourne) | Video

Grading: B

Overall Collingwood got a decent bunch and seemed to address most needs through the midfield. Sidebottom was a safe, solid first up pick, but for me it was the Blight pick that was the biggest steal of all and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up the best of the lot – he certainly has the most upside of the lot IMO. I thought the Beams and Rounds picks were sound too – I think Collingwood would’ve been particularly stoked about Beams who they had in the mix for the first pick (and rumour has it, rated higher than Sidebottom).


5 - Michael Hurley (Northern Knights/ Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
23 - David Zaharakis (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
55 - Michael Still (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
67 - Tyson Slattery (West Adelaide/SA) | Video | Profile

Grading: B

Apart from the Slattery pick I find it hard to fault their effort - a solid mix of players.


3 - Stephen Hill (West Perth/WA) | Video | Profile
21 - Hayden Ballantyne (Peel Thunder/WA) | Video | Profile
24 - Nicholas Suban (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)| Video | Profile
37 - Zachary Clarke (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | Video
Seemed a bit over the odds. Project ruckman that hasn’t played much footy (basketball background) – long way off it - lacks physicality but has considerable upside and athleticism to boot.

53 - Michael Walters (Swan Districts/WA) | Video | Profile
56 - Benjamin Bucovaz (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) | Video

Not a fan. What AFL role? Medium utility with very few appealing AFL attributes and too injury prone.

68 - Tim Ruffles (North Ballarat City/NSW/ACT) | Video

Very explosive, dynamic and exciting but skinny as a rat and inconsistent. Will take time to get to AFL standard. Sound late pick smoky selection.

77 - Christopher Hall (Woodville-West Torrens/SA) | Video | Profile

Grading: B+

Solid draft for Freo through weight of numbers – 8 picks! Hill is a safe option with good upside who I think will be a very good fit at Freo. I think Freo may have got suckered in to overpaying for Ballantyne a round early, but got very good value with Suban at 24, who was a worthy late first round candidate. Clarke’s a gamble but a developing ruck was an important get for Freo and the ex-basketballer has significant upside – similar to Warnock in 2004. Walters was a steal in the 50s – I expected him to go at least a round earlier. As for the others, Bucovaz – meh, Ruffles - good smokie selection and Hall – even better. I think they’re a good chance to get 4 or 5 MT-LT players through this year’s effort.


15 - Mitchell Brown (Sandringham Dragons)| Video

Overpaid and don’t rate him a first rounder – very similar to Aaron Cornelius who was taken at 57 – skinny, lacks intensity, athleticism and presence, but has excellent pair of dukes (takes just about every mark that comes his way). Has bigger upside than Cornelius given his growth spurt and lack of TAC Cup footy, but not sold on him being more than a sidekick/3rd tall forward.

33 - Thomas Gillies (Dandenong Stingrays) | Video | Profile
39 - Steven Motlop (Wanderers/NT)| Video

Port would’ve likely got him with their next selection, but again think they paid over the odds. Moves and plays like Daniel and was very good at U16 level, but when he had to match it with players of drafting age he was found wanting.

49 Taylor Hunt | Video | Profile

Grading: C-

Tough gig having the picks that they did, but while they addressed needs with many of them, I don’t think they made the best use. Uncharacteristic of the Geelong recruiting team, which IMO is clearly the best in the league and while it could pay off handsomely with Brown, Motlop and Hunt having quite good upside IMO (Gillies I’m not sold on at all), they could just as easily (more likely?) get a slim to nil return on their effort this year IMO such is the risk with each.


16 - Ryan Schoenmakers (Norwood/SA)| Video | Profile
34 - Liam Shiels (Boronia/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
50 - Jordan Lisle (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
63 - Luke Lowden (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | Video

Bottom aged project ruckman, who I haven’t seen enough of to judge, but I would’ve thought Hawthorn have more than enough ruck stocks to play with? Has a long waiting queue ahead of him.

75 - Shane Savage (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Metro)| Video | Profile

Grading: C-

It will be incredibly hard to break into the Hawthorn side in the coming years with the quality on their list and I’m not convinced any of these guys look likely to do so. To be fair to their recruiters they were picking with the last pick of every round, but I still think they weren’t close to their usual lofty standards. Schoenmakers has sexy attributes but doesn’t produce enough results IMO. Shiels is a solid workhorse, but Hawthorn have plenty of those. Lisle is overrated – big reputation, but doesn’t fill me with confidence that he has enough AFL attributes. Lowden is a punt as expected with a bottom-aged late pick.

North Melbourne

9 - Jack Ziebell (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | Video | Profile
27 - Samuel Wright (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | Video | Profile
43 - Liam Anthony (East Fremantle) | Video | Profile
59 - Nathan O'Keefe (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) | Video

Skinny leading tall forward that’s a good grab but has no explosiveness whatsoever. Had some good results at TAC Cup level, kicking 3 goals/game but not sold his attributes will translate to AFL.

71 - Warren Benjamin (Claremont/WA) | Video | Profile

Grading: B

North did a solid job this year. Ziebell and Anthony I have confidence in as safe selections, and while the other three are bigger punts, Benjamin has a more than enough upside to justify the risk (which is minimal at 71), but not sold on O’Keefe and Wright is quite a risky proposition as a 2nd rounder.


1 - Jack Watts (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
17 - Sam Blease (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
19 - James Strauss (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
35 - Jamie Bennell (Swans Districts/WA) | Video

Risky selection – obvious talent, X-factor and plenty of upside as he moved down from Bunbury recently and hasn’t had a lot of exposed form at higher levels bar one WA trial game. Apparently had his heart set on coming to West Coast who gave him the promise, but were pipped on the line by the Dees.

51 - Neville Jetta (Swan Districts/WA) | Video | Profile
64 - Rohan Bail (Mt Gravatt/Queensland) | Video | Profile

Grading: A

The Dees should’ve done a good job with 3 picks inside 20, and I’m confident they did a very good job with those 3 vital selections netting them Watts, Blease and Strauss – though ruling out Swift was a big call to make and has a strong possibility of biting them on the behind. It surprised me that they said he was too risky as IMO Blease is a bigger risk (not due to injury however). Was a pleasant surprise for Jetta to still be available at 51, however I’m not sure how to read into the situation about Bennell.

Port Adelaide

4 - Hamish Hartlett (West Adelaide/SA)| Video | Profile
22 Jackson Trengove (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
39 Matthew Broadbent (Woodville-West Torrens/SA) | Video | Profile
42 Mitch Banner (Western Jets/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
54 - Jarrad Redden (Woodville-West Torrens/SA) | Video | Profile
66 - Glenn Dawson (Woodville-West Torrens/SA) | Video

Medium leading and marking forward that is an athletic freak - haven’t seen much of, but apparently thought of by a few good judges as Brett Burton mk II.

78 Jason Davenport (Geelong) | Video

Ex-Geelong player.

Grading: A

Fine job by the Port Adelaide recruiting staff. Hartlett, Trengove, Broadbent and Redden were all good selections that covered a lot of areas of the list and I think Davenport was a smart AFL ready option late. Haven’t seen enough of Dawson to fairly judge, but Mitch Banner, while not bought at too excessive a price I’m not sold on.


8 - Tyrone Vickery (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
26 - Jayden Post (Western Jets) | Video

A bit over the odds. 19 year old tall defender that has been a big improver this season and played one of the best individual TAC Cup games ever in the EF. Has some nice athletic attributes, can create with run off HB, reads the play well and uses it well but plays way too loose IMO to every be a key defender and negate a half decent forward.

58 - Tom Hislop (Essendon) | Video

Highly talented (went top 20 in the 2006 super draft) and has shown he’s AFL quality in the few games he’s played, but was delisted from Essendon after only 2 years for apparent “off-field issues.” Hopefully for Richmond’s sake they haven’t gone into this one blind.

Grading: B-

Only 3 picks so hard to rate them from such a limited sample. I like the Vickery selection, don’t like the Post selection that early and unsure about Hislop without more background information (obviously talented, but depends how bad the off-field issues are – if he keeps himself in line it will pay off handsomely).

St Kilda

13 - Tom Lynch (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
47 - Rhys Stanley (West Adelaide/SA) | Video | Profile
48 - Nick Heyne (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | Video | Profile
62 - Alistair Smith (Perth/WA) | Video | Profile
74 - Paul Cahill (Sturt/SA) | Video | Profile
83 - Colm Begley (Brisbane) | Video

Not bad, but gee the Saints love their HBFers. Colm still appears to be learning the game as a Gaelic football convert some years ago and has pace, hardness and is effective by foot in space. His DM in close quarters and lack of ball winning ability and general footy smarts are the main issues stopping him from cementing a place at AFL level on a HBF.

Grading: A

Lynch is the rock/safe bet, but aside from him St Kilda have taken 3-4 high risk/reward type picks that were all taken below predicted prices (Heyne, Smith and Cahill – possibly Stanley too as he’s a young ruck which are typically high risk) - if more than one of those comes off the recruiters will look like geniuses. I think they’ve done a very good job from the position they were in (no top 10 picks and 2nd pick after 45) and the risks they took were more than worthwhile relative to draft position.


12- Lewis Johnston (North Adelaide/SA) | Video | Profile
30 Dan Hanneberry (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
61 Campbell Heath (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | Video | Profile

Grading: C+

Sydney took three bottom aged kids, so it seems like they were drafting with the intention to cover the effects of next year’s compromised draft (no bottom agers available). I’m not a big fan of the Johnston (although did address a need) due to the risk - although if anyone can straighten Johnston up it’ll probably be Paul Roos/Sydney. Hanneberry will be a very good fit and should prosper at Sydney

West Coast

2 - Nick Naitanui (Swan Districts/WA) | Video | Profile
18 – Luke Shuey (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
20 – Tom Swift (Claremont/WA) | Video | Profile
36 – Ash Smith (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
52 – Jordan Jones (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) | Video | Profile

Grading: A+

West Coast well and truly torched the draft – as should be expected with a bottom 2 finish and a priority pick - some luck and some smart recruiting. Hard to fault any of their picks, which netted quality prospects and addressed some prominent list needs at the same time – Jones is possibly the only unusual choice considering WCE are already well stocked with defenders and Jones is only likely to be a 3rd tall defender at best, which a few could potentially cover – a zippy crumbing small forward would’ve been the preferred choice from a needs POV.

Western Bulldogs

14 - Ayce Cordy (Geelong Falcons/Vic Metro) | Video | Profile
31 - Jordan Roughead (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country) | Video | Profile
32 - Liam Jones (Scotch College/Vic Metro) | Video

Haven’t seen much of Jones (suffered a lot from injury in 2008 – didn’t play in the U18 championships and plays mainly APS footy when fit), but from what I have really grabbed by interest about him as a prospect. Dinosaur key forward that hits the footy hard and can take a strong high grab under contested pressure or in a pack, but lacks any sort of pace. Doesn’t seem the Bulldogs is the best place for him to end up with his style of play (fast leading, mobile forwards are better suited IMO), but then again could provide variety to the stereotype.

Grading: B

Cordy is a beanpole, but ridiculously talented – will be well worth it if he can put on the required weight. Roughead is solid selection at 31 that is likely to sustain a career as an AFL ruck and can possibly come in to the starting 22 in his first season (both things are hard to say about most U18 ruckman). Jones I haven’t seen enough of to judge fairly, but have doubts whether he’ll fit into the Bulldogs style of play.

Overall Rankings

1 West Coast
2 Melbourne
3 Carlton
4 Port Adelaide
5 Fremantle
6 St Kilda
7 North Melbourne
8 Essendon
9 Collingwood
10 Adelaide
11 Western Bulldogs
12 Brisbane
13 Richmond
14 Sydney
15 Hawthorn
16 Geelong

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