Curnow remains top AFL draft prospect

Charlie Curnow remains a likely first-round AFL draft pick despite last week’s moment of panic and terrible timing.

The 18-year-old midfielder found himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons when arrested by police in Geelong early Friday morning.

He was allegedly drunk in a public place and also charged with refusing to take a breath test.

Clubs and the AFL are tight-lipped about draft selections, especially those in the first round.

But Curnow quickly apologised and his management put it down to a moment of panic.

It is understood the younger brother of Carlton’s Ed Curnow will still be selected somewhere between picks eight and 14.

“Young people make some silly errors at times – that’s what this is,” said AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan.

“Individual clubs will look at that – there’s no doubt he’d be considered as a first-round draft choice.

“Clubs will look at every piece of information and it’s up to them to see what further inquiry they might make about it.”

It will be a huge shock if Carlton do not use the No.1 pick on key defender Jacob Weitering.

Likewise, all the speculation is that Brisbane will use the No.2 selection to recruit key forward Josh Schache.

But the AFL’s new and complicated live bidding system, plus an even pool of player talent, means nothing is guaranteed after those first two names are called.

The league has introduced the live bids in the revamped draft to help ensure the proper selections are used for players from the northern state academies and father-son nominees.

For example, there is a belief Sydney should have had to use a pick higher than 18 in last year’s draft to recruit Isaac Heeney, who came from their academy.

A computer program will be needed to run the bidding system, where each draft selection has a points value.

If Melbourne use pick three on Swans academy player Callum Mills, as is expected, Sydney will have to give up several lower picks to match the bid and recruit him.

The Demons will then have the No.4 selection.

Each club will also have their own room, rather than sitting together in the one open area, so each group of officials can talk more freely about their choices as the draft unfolds.

AFL integrity officer Brett Clothier said the league would monitor the draft closely in case clubs tried to collude by not bidding on academy players until later in the draft.

“If any clubs were colluding not to bid on players, we would come down terribly, terribly hard on that,” Clothier told the AFL website.

“The question is whether you can prove that obviously.”

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