2012 National Draft Geelong BF Preview Thread The Details: Thursday 22d November on the Gold Coast. Geelong's Picks: 15, 36, 55 [subject to change] Links: - AFL Combine Home: includes previews of all combine invites and list of those invited to state screenings. - AFL Draft Order (as of the start of FA/Trade period) - Potential Draftee Watch 2012 - Phantom Drafts: Chris25's Young Talent Time. Knightmare's Phantom. BigFooty Official Phantom Draft Trial Run Preview: Somewhat paradoxically for a team that is by its own admission in transition, Geelong faces a serious case of list squeeze going into the 2012 draft. With just three retirements and one Free Agent departure, list space is at a premium - a problem complicated by the strong performance of the entire rookie list in both the seniors and VFL. Although there are strong rumours of several out of contract players leaving the club (most notably Tom Gillies), any spaces opened here are likely to be taken by FA signings or trades. The result is that Geelong's impact on the draft will likely be small, certainly compared to last year when 5 players were taken. This is in itself is not a bad result. The VFL premiership shows the existence of a strong group of young players who will be pushing for senior selection in the next two seasons. Although (as in 2002 and 2007) a significant part of this years premiership came down to a core of experienced players who will not be part of the club's long-term plans (Troy Selwood, Gleeson, Stephenson, Corrigan, McLean, Hogan), this is offset by the fact that just one first round pick played - Mitch Brown, #15 in 2008. The upper tier of the club's talent (Menzel, Smedts, Guthrie, Christensen, Motlop, Vardy, Hunt) did not play. It's thus fair to say that Geelong have a balanced group of young players going forward. This will allow the club to focus on upper-tier talent to add some more class to this group. At this stage, the priority should be a midfielder who can player a similar role to Selwood. The prospect pool contains plenty of outside class (Motlop, Smedts, Duncan) and stodgy inside types (Schroeder, Stringer); the only player who looks like he might combine both is Horlin-Smith, who had a superb VFL season but still has questions over his pace. Fortunately, this looks like a midfielders draft and there should be several players available who match the description. The most prominent is Nick Vlastuin. Metro captain who was highly rated at the start of the year but whose stocks have slipped - not through any fault of his own but (as is often the case) because other, flashier players have risen. Shifter's wrap: “Medium midfielder/defender who attacks the ball aggressively and rarely fumbles. Strong and courageous in the air, he also excels at the stoppages. Loves the physical pressure of the game, winning contested ball and tackles strongly. Captained Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and won All-Australian honours for his work as a medium defender averaging 16.6 disposals and 4.6 marks. AIS-AFL Academy member.” There's also Nathan Wright: “Medium midfielder/defender who attacks the ball aggressively and rarely fumbles. Strong and courageous in the air, he also excels at the stoppages. Loves the physical pressure of the game, winning contested ball and tackles strongly. Averaged 14.8 disposals and was impressive in his four matches for Vic Country in this year’s Under-18 championships. AIS-AFL Academy member” Jonathan O'Rourke: “Medium midfielder who is a prolific ball winner and smart user of the ball. Runs all day and makes good decisions with the football in heavy traffic. Has good game sense and an excellent mix of speed and endurance. Classy type who averaged 18.5 disposals at 77% efficiency for Vic Metro and was rewarded with All Australian honours following the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. Another AIS-AFL Academy graduate." And Jackson Macrae. Macrae's stockings are rising by the minute however, particularly after his golden point performance in the TAC GF: “Versatile medium midfielder who can also go back or forward. Big improver this year and is a long left foot kick. Shows great courage in the air and at ground level in his attack on ball. Kicked six goals against Tasmania in an outstanding performance and averaged 19.4 disposals at 78.4 percent efficiency in the Under-18 Championships this year. Averaged 23 disposals ain seven TAC Cup games to date this year.” Macrae shooting up the order could knock a few down. Arguably the perfect match would be Oliver Wines, although it's hard to see him dropping to #15: “Strong medium midfielder with a distinct hard edge that wins him contested ball, including at the stoppages. Has elite endurance and can push forward and hit the scoreboard. Ferocious tackler who is a good overhead mark and prolific ball winner. Averaged 24.2 disposals for Vic Country in thr NAB AFL Under-18 Championships this year, winning All-Australian honours. AIS-AFL Academy Graduate.” I'll also throw out a smokie: Time Broomhead. Haven't seen him play but the descriptions of him just scream 'Wells favourite'. Reputed to be strong overhead and a very, very smart footballer. Of course, there's a significant rider on Geelong chasing a midfielder at #15 - Josh Caddy. If Caddy can be secured for the compo pick, the need for a potentially elite midfielder will have diminished significantly and the club could pursue a more open policy. Which of course means Troy Menzel. Even when his brother was establishing his name in the AFL in 2011, the word was that the younger Menzel was the better player. But a series of knee injuries to both brothers have raised questions about their durability at senior level. In addition, a groin strain only allowed Troy to play two games for SA in the Championships. Although those two games did net him 15 goals, there might also be a question over exposed form. Although an undoubted talent, a huge amount will depend on his medical report - and in addition, Geelong have a relative gut of medium forwards. On a similar note, there's three other names: fellow South Australian Sam Mayes, West Australian Dayle Garlett and Pioneer Jake Stringer. Mayes is an undoubted talent but it's looking increasingly like Geelong won't get a crack at him. Garlett has already shown his worth at senior level playing for Claremont in the WAFL. Superficially, he looks a typical indigenous kid - supremely skilled, athletically brilliant, but with questions over work ethic and his willingness to play outside WA. But not sure that's reality as opposed to stereotype. Ultimately as outsiders we can't figure that out, but his stats and highlight reel are more than impressive. In addition, he's not just a flashy outside type - averaged 3.4 clearances for WA at the champs. Finally, there's Jake Stringer. Spent time at the club over the 2011 preseason and was highly rated going into his bottom-aged year - and then broke his leg in fairly horrible fashion. Has played mainly as a forward for the Pioneers this year and has generally looked like he's still fighting for full fitness. On talent thought to be a top-5 pick, but once again seems to be slightly out of favour because of a lack of runs on the board in the second half of the year. Slim chance he'd slip to #15. All of this still comes with a significant caveat: the club looks like it's going to make a far bigger splash in FA/trade week this time around, all of which could change the entire picture. Interesting times ahead.