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The 2021 AFL Draft has a lot on the line for every club and on Wednesday and Thursday night, the fortunes of many teams will be reaped and Generation Next will be born into the ethos of the footballing sphere.
Geelong’s next premiership push needs to begin, Richmond need the youth injection to get back on top, GWS’ youth were exposed to finals footy and their maiden premiership tilt could make a big push with their Picks 2 and 13.
Let’s not forget about our Hawks either, with our picks 5, 21 and 24, in what could be the most important draft since the infamous 2004 Draft, when the Hawks got 2008 premiership players Jarryd Roughead (2), Lance Franklin (5) and Jordan Lewis (7).
Whilst we (and hopefully fans) are not putting the pressure to be the same quality players as those mentioned, if Hawthorn are to make a 14th premiership push, it’ll be from the youth.
This mock draft featured live pick trading as the AFL have introduced that for the first time. Live pick trading will be fascinating watching come the real draft and caused a few twists in our mock draft.
First Round (Picks 1-20)
Going into the first round, even though with the three ‘draft nerds’ making six or seven picks each, I personally drafted up a top 25 ‘Power Rankings’ and then sorted players by ‘best fit’. ‘Power Rankings’ are rankings based on talent.
For example, there is common knowledge that Josh Ward will be Hawthorn’s first selection, below is copy and pasted my notes for Ward, along with the three best fits for him:
- Hawthorn (5)
- Gold Coast (3)
- Richmond (7)
Silky ball user who clubs call a Trent Cotchin clone but reminds us of Zach Merrett, Ward can break into a midfield who needs a mixture of inside and outside mid who was the king of the 2km time trial.
My Draft Hand
My personal picks were the following for the first round:
- Pick 2 – Greater Western Sydney
- Pick 7 – Hawthorn
- Pick 10 – Fremantle
- Pick 13 – Essendon
- Pick 17 – Richmond
- Pick 20 – Brisbane
Second Round (Picks 21-40)
The other landmine we found were the father son selections expected early in the draft and the Next Generation Academy selections in the second round.
Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy were going to put huge holes in the Magpies and Dogs draft capital which affected picks, while St.Kilda and GWS stockpiled picks to pay for Mitchito Owens (provided no one takes him in the top 20), Marcus Windhager and Josh Fahey (GWS).
If at any point you’re currently reading this and being a touch confused, spare a thought for us who conceived the idea and then recorded in the space of 72 hours.
Project or Tradition?
The overriding feeling at the end of the first round filming was joy and (fingers crossed) the beginning of an annual tradition.
The second round saw the influx of the terms ‘genuine steal’, ‘can’t believe he has slid this far’ and ‘would be a really good fit’, but the joy and the fun behind the project was the ability to work on our feet, improvise and make quick decisions for the betterment of 18 football clubs.
With choosing (personally) for Hawthorn, Carlton, Geelong, Adelaide and Collingwood in real time, it was one of the more wonderful challenges I’ve been involved with.
We hope you all enjoyed both videos and enjoyed the level of analysis, banter and expertise involved.
We hope the Hawks dominate starting Wednesday night, and we will absolutely be reacting to the draft selections that will be gracing the doors of the Ricoh Centre, not six days after this article has completed and will welcome them all with open arms.
Written by Rhys Knight