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BigBreakfast

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 19, 2019
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Players are drafted too young, there is no doubt about that, many sit on the lists for a couple of years before they can at minimum hold their own at AFL level. TBH if the draft age was lifted to 20 it would be far more practical. Early draft picks would be more valuable as drafting would be far more reliable and players would be ready to go far sooner. There would be far less wasted draft picks as drafting would be easier. However this probably doesn't fit into the desire for kids to leave high school and go straight into either footy or something else and many may go into a career that makes it too hard to do both at a high level.

I think with smaller list sizes, more young talented players having a go in state footy, the state comps might become a stronger recruiting ground.

Ben Silvagni is currently a 21 year old key position player, most 21 year old key position players are developing on lists still and are just starting to emerge as permanent AFL players. Most of them have played most of their footy in the twos.

That's why Lewis Young is such a good pick up. He's 22 years old. He's just at that point where he's just developed as a tall and ready to play senior football. These kids, particularly the tall ones are a waste of a list spot for 2-4 years while they are developing and that's why it would be good to be able to pick them up later as we have with young.

We have probably drafted some raw kids over the years who have had talent who have been delisted a bit too early. Silvagni is one and Ramsay and Macreadie are the other two. If you were to pick them up at 20 and give them two years to make it you would probably have a different story on your hands than you do when you pick them up at 18 and give them two years then delist them because spots are tight and you can't be patient with slow developers.

IMO I think it's a big year for Ben Silvagni, it's one where he should be mature enough and strong enough to perform and look like an AFL player and get back on a list somewhere.

There are plenty of players out there like this who could become AFL players but just might take longer to develop.

I would be hoping with us that we probably have a good cleanout of players next season and we have a serious look at the young talent in the state comps.
In previous generation, the likes of Tuck played 100 games in the 2s. We are in such a hurry to see instantaneous results, we miss the opportunity for growth.
I freely admit to being a LOB basher on other threads. That being said, the opportunity for internal growth over periods of time cannot be overstated. As long as the coaching infrastructure is in place to facilitate this growth. That’s been out primary downfall in recent history. Inconsistency on a developmental front.
 
Nov 8, 2000
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In previous generation, the likes of Tuck played 100 games in the 2s. We are in such a hurry to see instantaneous results, we miss the opportunity for growth.
I freely admit to being a LOB basher on other threads. That being said, the opportunity for internal growth over periods of time cannot be overstated. As long as the coaching infrastructure is in place to facilitate this growth. That’s been out primary downfall in recent history. Inconsistency on a developmental front.
Even so, Tuck debuted at 18. Players tended to join clubs earlier in those days. Wasn't Tim Watson 15 when he first played a senior match?
 

BigBreakfast

Norm Smith Medallist
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Even so, Tuck debuted at 18. Players tended to join clubs earlier in those days. Wasn't Tim Watson 15 when he first played a senior match?
You are correct. Watson was early at it. Draftees are not a lot older though, if at all. I’m torn on this whole issue. I guess it is horses for courses. Walsh is a beast, LOB is (likely) a bust. Bigs take longer but it’s worth it but Luke Jackson is a monster already. Judge each on their merits. I firmly believe that the environment: coaching, support etc are crucial factors. I don’t think LOB has had a fair shake, neither did SPS but, Walsh thrived in the same environment. Horses for courses.
 

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Nov 8, 2000
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You are correct. Watson was early at it. Draftees are not a lot older though, if at all. I’m torn on this whole issue. I guess it is horses for courses. Walsh is a beast, LOB is (likely) a bust. Bigs take longer but it’s worth it but Luke Jackson is a monster already. Judge each on their merits. I firmly believe that the environment: coaching, support etc are crucial factors. I don’t think LOB has had a fair shake, neither did SPS but, Walsh thrived in the same environment. Horses for courses.
A heap of growing between 15 and 18. As you identified though, genuine talent rises regardless of age, while some struggle until their early 20s.
 

Dramoth

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Jul 19, 2005
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The difference though, is that the US College system is huge (across all sports). College basketball, football etc. has a massive following with TV coverage. By the time the drafts come along, all of the major candidates are well known. They have a lot of exposure, and with recent rulings the top players will be able to earn a packet. College sport in the US is a $14b industry.

For the AFL to move to a system where players would have to wait till 21 to play, there would have to be a significant shift in the junior football structure - likely a country-wide Under-21 comp. It'd need to be financed to a point where the players earn a decent wage, or it would end up in court with talented underage players claiming the rules prevented them earning a salary. And there would need to be a shift in the way we punters consume our sport - a televised national comp, that drew regular crowds. It's hard to see that we'd have the resources to support this in the way the US does.
I'm not saying that we should adopt the US college system, I'm just saying that the age needs to be higher to hit the top levels of Aussie Rules football. Even in soccer, players don't appear regularly for the senior sides until they are older... mind you, football is nowhere near as hard as the other brands of football.

Players back in the days when thylacine60 and I were kids would come through the u19s and the club reserves. The AFL killed those competitions back in the 80s or 90s which meant that kids who were drafted at 18 could be shunted straight into the top league without waiting. Some of those kids weren't ready for that level and failed out. Some, like Sam Walsh, were ready for the top league straight out of school.

The AFL makes a few billion dollars with TV rights agreements, usually over 5 years, and the clubs have a salary cap of 11 million a year (roughly). That's roughly 200 million a year in player wages. Where does the rest of the money go?
 

Doro

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This whole 'raise the draft age' debate seems to be largely to do with BSOS and McReadie being delisted. It was a harsh bit of pruning, don't think it's an example that the current system is broken though.
 

Jimmae

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This whole 'raise the draft age' debate seems to be largely to do with BSOS and McReadie being delisted. It was a harsh bit of pruning, don't think it's an example that the current system is broken though.
Macreadie's was far harsher than BSOS.
 

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Coona Blues

Director of Coaching
Nov 3, 2011
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Yet another 3rd tall, we have bucket loads of his type
Assuming he gets through to be taken as a Cat B, he is a free hit. Has outstanding athleticism, listed 192cm, but effective as a high leaping ruckman as well as key defender. If he grows a couple of cm’s a real KP prospect. Very raw, but untapped. Why we would bypass him would be a mystery.
 

Arr0w

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Nov 13, 2015
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Not particularly relevant, he's a likely free hit as a Cat B rookie.

What's the downside?
It actually is relevant, there are others, spine players, that would also be free hits.

It's not as if he is a highly touted talent and despite the athleticism, it's about his football ability.

Unless we were cutting one of the likes of Parks, Marchbank, Kemp, Gov, all of which could play his role, I would be looking at our actual needs
 

Arr0w

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Assuming he gets through to be taken as a Cat B, he is a free hit. Has outstanding athleticism, listed 192cm, but effective as a high leaping ruckman as well as key defender. If he grows a couple of cm’s a real KP prospect. Very raw, but untapped. Why we would bypass him would be a mystery.
A ruckman? We are planning our list management needs based on a possible growth spurt?

If we know he has had that growth spurt and is currently 196+, great, if not, I would be looking elsewhere
 

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