AFL clubs go for height in draft

Size matters, with rebuilding Carlton spearheading a demand for height in this year’s AFL national draft.

As expected, the Blues used the prized top pick on key defender Jacob Weitering and Brisbane at No.2 went for tall forward Josh Schache.

Five of the top 10 selections and seven of the top 15 are key position players.

“I’m talking now but I’m speechless inside,” Weitering said.

“I really don’t know what to say and how to express how I’m feeling.”

“Obviously being No.1 comes with a fair bit of expectation and pressure.

“But I can only go there and do what I can do and hopefully help others do their bit as well.”

Weitering is the fourth current No.1 selection at Carlton, following captain Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs and Matthew Kreuzer.

The Blues also recruited tall utility Harry McKay at pick 10 and then went for key forward Charlie Curnow at 12.

That was despite Curnow being arrested in Geelong last Friday for allegedly being drunk in a public place and refusing a breath test.

Curnow is the younger brother of Blues player Ed.

The Blues will hope Weitering and McKay have the sort of impact as key position players as Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead had a decade ago at Hawthorn.

The new and complicated live bidding system had an immediate impact, with Sydney trumping Melbourne on the third selection to take highly rated midfielder Callum Mills.

The first round featured five selections – including two in a row from Richmond – that changed because of a live bid from a rival club.

It was introduced by the AFL in an effort to ensure fair value for northern academy and father-son nominations.

It also meant a drawn-out process especially in the first round of the draft on Tuesday night at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Midfielder Clayton Oliver was this year’s draft bolter, going to Melbourne with pick No.4.

No player has been selected so early in the draft without playing earlier that year in the national under-18 championships.

But Oliver had an outstanding season, winning the Morrish Medal as best and fairest in the TAC Cup competition.

Melbourne and Essendon were the other teams with two selections apiece in the top 10.

The Demons also chose tall forward Sam Weideman at No.9 to complement their Rising Star winner Jesse Hogan in attack.

New Bombers coach John Worsfold called out midfielder Darcy Parish at No.5 and Essendon then went for defender Aaron Francis at six.

After their selections at 13 and 14 were trumped by northern academy live bids, Richmond used the No.15 selection to introduce another Rioli into the AFL.

Daniel is the cousin of Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli and plays as a small forward or defender.

Adelaide sprang the biggest surprise of the first round at 17 when they recruited defender Tom Doedee.

Last year, Doedee represented country Victoria at the under-18 Australian basketball championships.

But he progressed rapidly this season at the Geelong Falcons.

Josh Dunkley was the first father-son nomination to be called out when the Western Bulldogs used the No.25 selection on him.

But Sydney did not use a live bid on Dunkley, the son of former Swans defender Andrew.

Bailey Rice was a father-son candidate at St Kilda and Carlton, thanks to his father Dean’s long AFL career.

The Saints recruited him at No.49.

Essendon cheekily used their pick at No.53 to nominate Jack Silvagni, the son of Carlton list manager and club great Stephen.

Not surprisingly, the Blues matched the bid to ensure the Silvagni name did not end up at their fierce rivals.

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