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Written by Rhys Knight & Matt Green

The Swan District Football Club have produced an abundance of talent but barring GWS captain Stephen Coniglio in 2011, no one has been drafted higher than the Hawks newest gun, Denver Grainger-Barras in the last decade. 

In his draft season, ‘Shaggy’ (as Clarko affectionately named him) became all the more popular amongst recruiters when he was assigned to Perth’s (and now Sydney’s) Logan McDonald in the second half of their WAFL match. McDonald had kicked three goals and taken big marks in the first half before DGB was given the role. 

Shaggy finished with 16 disposals and eight marks but most importantly, kept McDonald goalless in the second half in what will add many more brilliant chapters to the Sydney-Hawthorn rivalry for many years to come.

In the 2020 Draft, Hawthorn bid on Sydney Swans academy prospect Braeden Campbell, but when the bid was matched, the Hawks knew they had a key back for the long term and Grainger-Barras will finally be unleashed on Sunday as the 8th Hawthorn debutant for 2021.

Twelve anonymous club recruiters were surveyed in December of 2020 about which player they would pick first if eventual Pick 1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was not on the board and Shaggy received four votes – tied with Logan McDonald – and the four recruiters said the following: 

“I actually think I’d go with Grainger-Barras. I really like what he can do. I wouldn’t call it reckless abandon, but he plays with such power and if he can mark it, he’ll mark it, and he can really shut down good players.”

“It’s Denver Grainger-Barras for us. Just his power and marking is so rare.”

“I’d be inclined to take Denver… I typically lean to the key forwards ahead of the key defenders, as they’re harder to find, but Grainger-Barras is very, very good.”

“Denver is rock-solid and Elijah is a star, but I’d probably end up going with Denver. He’s a jet.”

Whilst fan expectation will be high as is such having the first top ten selection the club has had since 2006, all fans should be delighted with the maturity of this young man. 

Denver is quoted to say he’s loved the professionalism and the standards of the Hawthorn Football Club, wants a debut and in the same breath, wants to keep his spot. The Hawks have got a competitive animal and a keeper.

Kevin Sheahan, the most highly rated talent scout in the country, sees a lot of Jeremy McGovern in Denver, citing his ability to go for his marks, make smart decisions and shut down his opponents. Feeling excited yet?

Get to the MCG Sunday 1:10pm and make some noise to support the exciting talent that is Denver Grainger-Barras for his debut.

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