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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

In early November, Shane Crawford announced his retirement. Crawford, 34, had been considering his decision for some weeks before informing Coach Alistair Clarkson and football manager Mark Evans. Crawford suffered from knee tendinitis for much of this past season, but was recently cleared by medical staff to play on in 2009 and had agreed in principle to a new contract.

In making his announcement, Crawford said he had achieved everything he had set out to do in his career and that the 2008 premiership was the highlight. He also said ending his career on such a high was the way to leave the game. He thanked the club for their support and said he was proud to have been a one-club player and would look back on his career with fond memories.

Clarkson had nothing but praise for Crawford, describing him as an excellent role model who "...gave every last drop for". Clarkson also said Crawford could "...walk away proud...".

Recruited Assumption College
Drafted 1991
Debut: 1993
Games: 305 (only the sixth Hawk to play 300 games)
Rising Star nominee 1993
Captain 1999 - 2004
Club Champion 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003
Hawthorn Football Club Life Member 2001
Preseason Premiership 1999
Brownlow Medal 1999
Alex Jesaulenko Medal (State of Origin Allies best on ground): 1999
Players Association Award 1999
All Australian 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002
International Series 1998, 1999, 2002-03 (captain)

Source: Clinton Brown, Club Media Release


Former Eagle Ben Cousins recently faced the AFL Commission in his bid to return to AFL ranks. The Commission approved his application to nominate for the draft but with a number of very stringent conditions. In a statement, AFL Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick outlined the conditions as follows:

Any club interested in Cousins needs to have an AFL approved drug and alcohol management program. In addition to normal testing under AFL Rules, Cousins will be subjected to urine testing three times per week as well as hair testing four times per year. Cousins will be required to fully cooperate with the resolutions as well as continue attending rehabilitation sessions. Failure to comply or failure of any of the tests could result in Cousins' immediate suspension prior to an investigation and/or hearing.

Cousins faces an uphill battle to return. He did nominate for the draft which was held November 29. However, no club selected him. He now has the option of nominating for the preseason draft.

Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release and author notes

Pre-Draft Information

The following delisted players nominated for the national draft:

Steven Armstrong (West Coast), Clinton Benjamin (Carlton), Greg Bentley (Port Adelaide), Luke Blackwell (Carlton), Jace Bode (Melbourne), Luke Brennan (Sydney Swans), Leigh Brown (North Melbourne), Bryce Campbell (Adelaide), Nathan Carroll (Melbourne), Tim Clarke (Hawthorn), Adam Cockshell (Port Adelaide), Jason Davenport (Geelong Cats), Nick Davis (Sydney Swans), Zac Dawson (Hawthorn), Fabian Deluca (Port Adelaide), Chris Egan (Collingwood), Peter Faulks (Sydney Swans), Aaron Fiora (St Kilda), Charlie Gardiner (St Kilda), Blake Grima (North Melbourne), Tom Hislop (Essendon), Brad Howard (St Kilda), Sam Iles (Collingwood), Ryan Jackson (Carlton), Luke Jericho (Adelaide), Courtney Johns (Essendon), Chad Jones (West Coast), Andrew Lee (Essendon), Luke McEntee (Hawthorn), Kris Massie (Adelaide), Danny Meyer (Richmond), Wayde Mills (Brisbane Lions), Matthew Moody (Brisbane Lions), Gary Moss (Hawthorn), Aisake O'hAilpin (Carlton), Damien Peverill (Essendon), Darren Pfeiffer (Carlton), Michael Rix (St Kilda), Chris Schmidt (Brisbane Lions), James Thomson (West Coast), Toby Thoolen (Collingwood), Kristin Thornton (Sydney Swans), Ryan Williams (Port Adelaide).

Ahead of the draft, the AFL allows players to train with prospective new clubs:

Adelaide - Brian Donnelly (Ireland)

Brisbane Lions - Nick Davis (Sydney Swans), Daniel Dzufer (Brisbane Lions), Phillip Smith (Brisbane Lions), Joel Tippett (Brisbane Lions)

Carlton - Greg Bentley (Port Adelaide), Lachie Hill (Carlton Rookie List), Sam Jacobs (Carlton Rookie List), Darren Pfeiffer (Carlton), Chris Johnson (Melbourne)

Collingwood - Colm Begley (Brisbane Lions), Leigh Brown (North Melbourne), Toby Thoolen (Collingwood)

Essendon - Stuart Crameri (Bendigo Bombers), Tom Hislop (Essendon), Hayden Skipworth (Bendigo Bombers)

Fremantle - Chris Smith (Fremantle), Matthew Moody (Brisbane Lions)

Hawthorn - Nathan Batsanis (Box Hill Hawks), Jarrod Bayliss (Box Hill Hawks), Alex Grima (Hawthorn), Haydn Kiel (Brisbane Lions), Danny Meyer (Richmond), Gary Moss (Hawthorn), Cameron Pederson (Box Hill Hawks), Hugh Sandilands (Hawthorn), Ben Smithwick (Box Hill Hawks), Matthew Suckling (Hawthorn), Rhys O'Sullivan (Box Hill Hawks), Thomas Warby (Box Hill Hawks)

Melbourne - Daniel Hughes (Melbourne rookie 2007), Shane Tregear (Sandringham)

North Melbourne - Alan Obst (North Melbourne)

Port Adelaide - Jace Bode (Melbourne), Daniel Boyle (Central Districts), Daniel Caire (West Adelaide), Josh Carr (Fremantle), Jason Davenport (Geelong), Tom Holmes (Glenelg), Charlie McAdam (North Adelaide), James Meiklejohn (Port Magpies), Jessie O’Brien (North Adelaide), Brayden O’Hara (Central District), Chris Schmidt (Brisbane Lions), Daniel Stewart (North Adelaide), Wade Thompson (North Adelaide)

Richmond - Adam Cockshell (Port Adelaide), David Gourdis (Richmond), Matt Davis (Coburg), Nick Liddle (Coburg), Jon Morris (Coburg), Fortunato Caruso (Coburg)

St Kilda - Nathan Carroll (Melbourne), Brad Howard (St Kilda), Sam Iles (Collingwood), James Kielt (Derry, Ireland)

Sydney - Aaron Bruce (Sydney Swans), Peter Faulks (Sydney Swans), Michael Pyke (Moutaubane, France), Kristin Thornton (Sydney Swans)

Western Bulldogs - Liam Picken (Williamstown)"

Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release


NOTE: The analyses at the end of each club's selections is an amalgamation of club opinion and editor notes

No. 11 PHIL DAVIS (North Adelaide, SANFL), 18, 195cm (6"4), 85kg (187 lbs): Defender who can also play forward, season severely restricted due to shoulder injuries and subsequent surgery. Played several games with North Adelaide's reserves. Unable to take part in draft camp testing but he did do some testing earlier in the year and ran the 20 meter sprint (22 yds) in 3.02 seconds and ran a 3 km time trial in 11 minutes.

No. 28 SHAUN McKERNAN (Calder Cannons, TAC Cup), 18, 196cm (6'4"), 94kg (206 lbs): younger brother to former North Melbourne/Carlton ruckman Corey and has a similar style. Has strong hands, is very athletic and moves very well for a player of his size. Primarily a ruckman, he can push forward or into defense. Had exceptional results in the draft camp sprint and agility testing. Represented Vic Metro at the recent championships and was named All-Australian.

No. 44 RORY SLOANE (Eastern Ranges, TAC CUP) 18, 182cm (5'11"), 78kg (171 lbs): defender who can also play in the midfield or up forward. Very competitive and an excellent kick of the ball. Played for Vic Metro at the recent Under-18 tournament.

No. 60 THOMAS LEE (Claremont Tigers, WAFL) 17, 191cm (6'2"), 86kg (189 lbs): Forward who can kick long and takes a strong mark (catch of the ball).

No. 72 WILLIAM YOUNG (North Ballarat, VFL) 18, 192cm (6'3"), 83kg (182 lbs): Missed all of 2006 due to stress fractures in his back and then spent much of 2007 in the USA on an exchange program and played basketball and American football. Returned to Australia this year and was one of Vic Country's best in their narrow loss to Vic Metro in the U-18 tournament Grand Final. A forward who can take a strong mark and has excellent speed and endurance.

Analysis: The club needed to bolster their defense and forward line with the retirements of Rhett Biglands and Nathan Bock and the departure of Ben Hudson last year. The club was in dire need of strong forwards. This will allow the club the versatility to rotate Brett Burton and Simon Goodwin through their more traditional midfield roles.


No. 7 DANIEL RICH (Subiaco, WAFL) 18, 184cm 6'), 83kg (182 lbs): Midfielder similar to Hawthorn's Luke Hodge. Wins plenty of the ball and uses it well. Played senior football with Subiaco and held his own against the likes of Eagles Daniel Chick and Phil Read. Captained WA at the Under-16 championships several years ago and played in Subiaco's 2007 and 2008 premierships. Has football smarts, is quick with his hands in ball usage and disposal, can kick the ball a long way, and reads the play well to get into position. His build makes him a ready made AFL player. Was named All-Australian for a second consecutive year.

No. 25 JACK REDDEN, (Glenelg, SANFL) 17, 188cm (6'1"), 74kg (162): Midfielder/forward who is good at winning the ball in close and has neat disposal skills. Very good at clearing the ball out of contested situations and feeding it to teammates (winning the clearances). Also has excellent aerobic fitness and represented SA at the U-18 tournament.

No. 41 TODD BANFIELD: (Swan Districts, WAFL) 18, 182cm (5'11"), 75kg (165): has played some senior WAFL football and was one of the best on ground in the WAFL Grand Final. A speedy midfielder who attacks the ball well.

No. 57 AARON CORNELIUS (Tasmanian Devils) 18, 192cm (6'3"), 84kg (185): Tall forward who is strong overhead, can kick a bag of goals, and is very good on the lead (running toward midfield to receive the ball). Has played senior football with Tasmania the past two seasons and represented Tassie at the U-18 tournament. Was a key player in their Division Two title win. A graduate of the AIS-AFL Academy and attended this year's draft camp. Was named All-Australian after the tournament.

No. 69 BART MCCULLOCH (South Launceston, Tasmania) 18, 199cm (6'5"), 86kg (189): Very mobile ruckman with good endurance for a player of his size. Represented Tasmania for the U-18 tournament. Also very good at ground level for his size.

No. 81 KIERAN KING (East Fremantle, WAFL) 17, 180cm (5'9"), 81kg (178): Speedy running defender who is not afraid to take on opponents in the contest and context of the game.

Analysis: Definitely needed to add midfielders to the mix with the retirement of Nigel Lappin and Simon Black nearing the end of his stellar career. Ditto the forward line with Bradshaw nearing the end as well. The addition of tall forwards will take the pressure off Brown and Bradshaw. Also needed another ruckman to help out Charman with the retirement of Beau McDonald and the iffy condition of Matt Leuenberger who was sidelined for much of 2008 with injury.

No. 6 CHRIS YARRAN (Swan Districts) 17, 180cm (5'9") , 83kg (182): Described by AFL Talent Manager as "...a freakish....and...exciting player" A medium sized forward who can also play as a goal-kicking midfielder, he has been compared to the just-retired Jeff Farmer. Has excellent skills and is very evasive. Kicked seven goals in his senior debut game with the Districts. Unable to do much testing at the draft camp because of a back complaint, he did test well for agility and in the repeat sprint trials. Represented WA at the U-18's but was hampered by a minor ankle injury. Don't be surprised if he pops up in a documentary in the near future. The filmmaker who put together the 1996 documentary The Year of The Dogs, has been following Yarran and others since their U-16 days.

No. 65 RHYS O’KEEFE (North Adelaide, SANFL) 18, 188cm (6'1"), 83kg (182): Long-kicking defender who can also play midfield. Started in NA's reserves this year but ended up in the senior squad. Voted SA's best player at the U-18's and was named All-Australian.

No. 80 CALEB TILLER (Murray Bushrangers, TAC Cup) 17, 189cm (6'2"), 75kg (165): Athletic forward who is good on the lead. Needs some work on his general kicking. May need some time in the gym to strengthen up to hold his own in contested play situations.

Analysis: Club needed to add some midfield depth and the addition of forwards who can play midfield as well will give Coach Brett Ratten plenty of options and versatility. Also takes the pressure off Fevola and Betts and will allow the club to use Waite and Fisher in defense if need be.


No. 11 STEELE SIDEBOTTOM (Murray Bushrangers) 17, 184cm (6'), 81kg 178): Can play forward, midfield and defense. Excellent skills on both the left and right, he kicked 10 goals in the TAC Cup Grand Final to help his team to victory and win the TAC Cup Medal. Is strong in the air and very good in man-on-man contests. Has excellent endurance and was ranked second at the draft camp in the agility test and 3km time trial.

No. 29 DAYNE BEAMS (Southport Sharks, Queensland) 18, 186cm (6'10"), 77kg (169): Prolific ballwinner who can play midfield, forward or defense. Well-balanced and cool under pressure, he was a member of the Sharks' premiership team although he was sidelined early in the game with a hip injury. Represented QLD at the U-18's. The hip injury prevented him from taking part in the draft camp testing. Was offered the chance to join the new Gold Coast team but opted for the draft.

No. 45 JARRAD BLIGHT (Swan Districts) 17, 189cm (6'2"), 73kg (160): Athletic half back who can also play in the midfield. Has a great leap and can take a strong mark. Very courageous and knows how to win the ball in contested situations. Excellent long kick on the right and left foot.Also has excellent endurance and ranked fourth in the endurance test at the draft camp.

No. 46 LUKE ROUNDS (Geelong Falcons, TAC Cup) 17, (181cm (5'9"), 75kg (165): Fast-paced medium-size midfielder/defender who can win the ball, is strong overhead, makes good decisions in the course of play. Impressive testing at draft camp for speed, agility and endurance. Very good athletic skills.

No. 73 LEIGH BROWN (North Melbourne) 26, 194cm (6'3"), 101kg (222): Former Fremantle and North defender gets another chance.

Analysis: Another club adding versatility with players who can rotate through different positions. With the retirements of Wakelin and Burns and Rocca nearing the end, they will be handy players down the track.


No. 5 MICHAEL HURLEY (Northern Knights, TAC Cup) 18, 192cm (6'3"), 92kg (202): Tall, strong defender who can kick the ball the proverbial country mile. Very courageous with a fearless attack on the ball. Excellent contested skills and was considered the best defender at the U-18's and was a key in Vic Metro's win to take out their MVP Award. Is equally effective as a forward and came in second in the Knights' best and fairest. May well have won the B&F if state commitments hadn't prevented him from playing more games with the Knights. Named All-Australian in 2007 and 2008.

No. 23 DAVID ZAHARAKIS (Northern Knights) 18, 182cm (5'11), 72kg (159): Very quick and agile midfielder with a long kick. Good skills on both the left and right. Represented Vic Metro and was named All-Australian. Unable to participate in draft camp due to illness.

No. 55 MICHAEL STILL (Northern Knights) 17, 194cm (6'3"), 83kg (182): Tall forward who is an excellent mark (catch of the ball). Placed second in TAC Cup goalkicking.

No. 67 TYSON SLATTERY (Woodville-West Torrens, SANFL) 18, 186cm (6'1"), 75 kg 165): Athletic forward/winger who is strong in the air and can kick long on the left or right. Did not attend draft camp but recorded fastest time of 2.75 seconds for the 20 meter sprint at a state screening. Great running capacity underlines his excellent fitness. Can also play in defense.

Analysis: Rebuilding and looking at life after Lloyd, Lucas and Fletcher, the Bombers went for more speed in the midfield and added to their forward and defensive depth now so these youngsters will be able to step up when the aforementioned trio of veterans call it a day.


No. 3 STEPHEN HILL (West Perth, WAFL) 18, 184cm (6'), 69kg (152): Speedy, athletic and long-kicking midfielder/defender. Played senior football with West Perth. Had an impressive U-18's tournament showing and even more impressive draft camp where he broke the agility test record previously set by Port's Danyle Pearce in 2004. Also finished in the top five in the vertical jump and 20 meter sprint tests.

No. 21 HAYDEN BALLANTYNE (Peel Thunder, WAFL), 21, 174cm (5'7"), 77kg (169): Very damaging and speedy small forward as evidenced by his winning the WAFL Sandover Medal (Brownlow equivalent) and was co-winner of the WA Footballer of The Year Award.

No. 24 NICK SUBAN (North Ballarat) 18, 180cm (5'9"), 83kg (182): Midfielder who can also play in defense. Played as a defender opposed to Chris Yarran (see above) during the U-18's and did well. Excellent ball winning skills and leadership skills. Captained Vic Country and was named All-Australian for a second time. Ranked fourth at draft camp in agility test and was named to the TAC Cup Team of the Year. Was a member of the AIS-AFL squad which toured and played in South Africa.

No. 37 ZACHARY CLARKE (Oakleigh Chargers, TAC Cup) 18, 202cm (6'6"), 82kg (180): Ruckman who can play forward and defense. Great vertical leap due to basketball background and has good endurance. Represented Vic Metro at U-18's. Very much a project ruckman as he will need time in the gym.

No. 53 MICHAEL WALTERS (Swan Districts) 17, 177cm (5'8"), 73kg (160): Midfielder/forward with excellent foot skills. Wins the ball well and has a good football brain.

No. 56 BENJAMIN BUCOVAZ (Geelong Falcons, TAC Cup) 18, 188cm (6'1"), 88kg (193): Strong and quick, he can play forward, defense and midfield. Reads the play very well and represented Vic Country at the U-18's.

TIM RUFFLES (North Ballarat) 18, 179cm (5'9"), 67kg (147): Midfielder/forward who is lightening fast and has a huge leap for his size. Very powerful athlete who completed the 20 meter sprint in 2.85 seconds and recorded a vertical leap of 100 cm

No. 77 CHRIS HALL (Woodville West Torrens) 18, 181cm (5'9"), 66kg (145): Forward who can also play midfield. Creative with plenty of courage, he played senior football in the SANFL and represented SA at the U-18's.

Analysis: stocked up on midfielders with a view to the future to replace retired players such as Bell and Johnson and those close to the end of their careers.


No. 15 MITCH BROWN (Sandringham Dragons, TAC Cup) 18, 195cm (6'4"), 82kg (180): A strong mark and very good at ground level play, Brown can play in a variety of positions and also played cricket for Victoria at junior level.

33. TOM GILLIES (Dandenong Stingrays TAC Cup), 18, 192cm (6'3"), 86kg (189): Speedy defender who was rarely beaten. Reads the play well and a good decision maker.

39. STEVEN MOTLOP (Wanderers NT), 17, 182cm (5'11"), 67kg (147): Younger brother of former Kangaroo Shannon Motlop (1998-2001). He is a medium sized forward with good evasive skills. Has been compared to his brother, Port's Daniel, and can also play in the midfield. Another indigenous player with the capability to "...create something out of nothing..."

49. TAYLOR HUNT (Sandringham Dragons), 18, 183cm (6'), 83kg (182): Athletic, speedy defender who can also play forward and midfield.

Analysis: Geelong didn't need much, but it never hurts to add young players who could fill a role down the track when senior players near the end of their careers. These kids will most likely bide their time and hone their skills in the VFL.


No. 16 RYAN SCHOENMAKERS (Norwood, SANFL) 18, 193cm (6'3"), 84kg (185): Can play defense and forward, but the Hawks already have a potent forward line with Lance Franklin, Mark Williams and Jarryd Roughead and will deep him in defense. Has excellent speed and endurance. Tested extremely well at the draft camp in the vertical jump, repeat sprints, and 20 meter sprint. Represented SA at the U-18's.

No. 34 LIAM SHIELS (Eastern Ranges, TAC Cup) 18, 193cm (6'3"), 79kg (173): Strong kicking midfielder who represented Vic Metro at the U-18's. AIS-AFL Academy graduate.

No. 50 JORDAN LISLE (Oakleigh Chargers, TAC Cup) 18, 195cm (6'4"), 93kg (204): Defender/forward with excellent skills. Can take a strong mark, is a good decision maker, and very good at ground level for a player of his size. Represented Vic Metro and was named All-Australian. His father Mark played for North Melbourne 1984-89.

No. 63 LUKE LOWDEN (Sandringham Dragons) 17, 204cm (6'7"), 86kg (189): Seen as a project ruckman.

No. 75 SHANE SAVAGE (Dandenong Stingrays) 17, 185cm (6'), 74kg (163): Midfielder who can also play forward. Good ballwinning and kicking skills as well as a bit of speed.

Analysis: Stocked up on defenders and added to their midfield depth with a view to the future.


No. 1 JACK WATTS (Sandringham Dragons) 17, 196cm (6'4"), 82kg 180): Highly talented and athletic forward who can take a strong mark, reads the play extremely well and is very fast. Won the Larke Medal as the best Division One player at the U-18's playing for Vic Metro. Also finished near the top at the draft camp in the 20 meter sprint, agility test, vertical leap and repeat sprints. Named U-18 All-Australian.

No. 17 SAM BLEASE (Eastern Ranges) 17, 184cm (6'), 70kg (154): Lightly framed midfielder with excellent balance and poise under pressure. Excellent kick of the ball on the left or right and neat user of the ball. Explosive speed and impressed at the draft camp in the vertical jump and 20 meter sprint. Represented Vic Metro and toured South Africa with the AIS-AFL Academy team.

No. 19 JAMES STRAUSS (Oakleigh Chargers) 18, 185cm (6'), 82kg 180): Athletic, agile and versatile, he can play midfield, defense and forward. Excellent reader of the play and excellent foot skills. Did well at draft camp in the agility test and repeat sprints. Represented Vic Metro at U-18's.

No. 35 JAMIE BENNELL (Swan Districts) 18, 178cm (5'8"), 68kg (149): Quick and agile midfielder. Impressed at state screening in speed and agility tests.

No. 51 NEVILLE JETTA (Swan Districts) 18, 179cm (5'9"), 76kg (167): Related to Essendon's Leroy and plays a similar style. Was best on ground in the Districts' reserves Grand Final win. Excellent ballwinning skills, can play forward and is strong overhead despite his size. Represented WA at U-18's.

No. 64 ROHAN BAIL (Mt Gravatt, QLD) 20, 183cm (6'), 91kg (200): Speedy midfielder/forward who was a key to Mt. Gravatt's AFLQ Grand Final win. Trained with St. Kilda in the preseason several years ago.

Analysis: The Demons got what they really needed - speed through the midfield and several very good forwards.


No. 9 JACK ZIEBELL (Murray Bushrangers) 17, 188cm (6'1"), 86kg (189): Strong-marking goalkicking midfielder who loves the physical side of the game. Very good decision maker with a strong attack on the ball. Represented Vic Country at the U-18's and was named in the TAC Cup Team of the Year. An AIS-AFL Academy graduate.

No. 27 SAM WRIGHT (Murray Bushrangers) 18, 188cm (6'1"), 76kg (167): Started the year with Murray as a forward, but his coach put him in defense later in the year to help his versatility. The move worked and Wright excelled as a running defender. Has been compared to Collingwood's Dale Thomas.

No. 43 LIAM ANTHONY (East Fremantle, WAFL) 21, 189cm (6'2"), 87kg (191): Midfielder with footy smarts and good skills.

No. 59 NATHAN O’KEEFE (Eastern Ranges) 18, 193cm (6'3"), 83kg (182): Forward who developed late but had a strong finish to the season in the TAC Cup.

No. 71 WARREN BENJAMIN (Claremont, WAFL) 18, 187cm (6'1"), 85kg (187): Strong-bodied, speedy midfielder. Set new sprint records at state screening. His brother Clinton plays for Carlton

Analysis: Has added plenty of midfield depth which is needed with Adam Simpson and Brent Harvey in their last years and the retirement of Shannon Grant.

No. 4 HAMISH HARTLETT (West Adelaide, SANFL), 18, 184cm (6'), 76kg (167): Brother to Carlton's Adam, he is a midfielder with excellent skills and reads the play well. Played some senior football with West Adelaide this past season and represented SA at the U-18's. Unable to do any testing at this year's draft camp due to injury, but has tested well in the past.

No. 22 JACKSON TRENGOVE (Calder Cannons), 18, 196cm (6'4"), 88kg (193): Athletic with very good speed and endurance. Can play in the ruck, in defense or forward. Loves a challenge and is very confident. Had an outstanding 2007 season, but his 2008 season was wrecked by injury which prevented him from testing at the draft camp this year, but is an AIS-AFL Academy graduate.

No. 38 MATTHEW BROADBENT (Woodville-West Torrens), 18, 189cm ((6'2"), 83kg (182): Courageous and hard running defender who finished in the top ten at the draft camp 3 km time trial and 20 meter sprint. Good use of the ball and is a long kick. Represented SA at the U-18's and was a member of the AIS-AFL team which toured South Africa.

No. 42 MITCHELL BANNER (Western Jets, TAC Cup), 18, 178cm (5'8"), 78kg (171): Talented midfielder who knows how to win the ball, kicks well, can read the play and is strong in the air for his size.Was the Jets 2007 best and fairest and represented Vic Metro.

No. 58 JARRAD REDDON (Woodville-West Torrens), 17, 202cm (6'5"), 88kg (193): Has a basketball background but showed plenty of skill in his brief football career so far. Represented SA at the U-18's and was one of the best ruckmen throughout the tournament.

No. 66 GLENN DAWSON (Woodville-West Torrens), 18, 186cm (6'1"), 75kg (165): Athletic forward who played some senior reserves games with Woodville in 2008.

No. 78 JASON DAVENPORT (Geelong), 23, 185cm (6'), 82kg (180): Picked up by Geelong in the 2006 rookie draft and elevated to the senior list in 2008, but could not break into the strong Geelong line up. Did win Geelong's VFL best and fairest award in 2008.

Analysis: A good mix of talent to develop and eventually take their places as veteran senior players retire.

No. 8 TYRONE VICKERY (Sandringham & Haileybury College) 18, 200cm (6'5"), 86kg (189): Came back from a knee reconstruction in 2007 to have an outstanding 2008. Good hands and a good decision maker, he can play ruck or forward. Partnered with Shaun McKernan at the U-18's representing Vic Metro and was named All-Australian. His father played four games for Collingwood 1971-72 and is currently a Richmond fitness coach.

No. 26 JAYDEN POST (Western Jets) 18, 194cm (6'3"), 88kg (193): Athletic and versatile, he can play forward or defense. Won the Jets' 2008 best and fairest award and tested extremely well in the speed trials at the state screening.

No. 58 TOM HISLOP (Essendon) 20, 186cm (6'1"), 86kg (189): Drafted by Essendon in 2006, he played just six AFL games. The Tigers believe he could be a great midfield asset.

Analysis: For a club which is rebuilding, the Tigers were relatively quiet in selecting just three players. Those three could fill important roles down the track.


No. 13 TOM LYNCH (Sandringham Dragons) 18, 191cm (6'2"), 85kg (187): A smart player with good speed and endurance. Has excellent leadership qualities and captained Vic Metro. Can play forward, midfield or defense, but the Saints reckon he could provide great forward line support to Riewoldt and Koschitzke. A life-long St. Kilda fan.

No. 47 RHYS STANLEY (West Adelaide, SANFL) 17, 200cm (6'5"), 88kg (193): Mobile ruckman with good ground and tackling skills for a player of his size. Represented SA at U-18's.

No. 48 NICHOLAS HEYNE (Gippsland Power, TAC Cup) 18, 188cm (6'1"), 79kg (174): Athletic midfielder who can push forward. Did well at draft camp, especially in the vertical jump and sprint test. Represented Vic Country at U-18's and was one of the TAC Cup's leading goalkickers.

No. 62 ALISTAIR SMITH (Perth, WAFL) 18, 183cm (6'), 79kg (173): Speedy midfielder with good endurance and can win the ball.

No. 74 PAUL CAHILL (Sturt, SANFL) 18, 193cm (6'3"), 80kg (176): Athletic forward with a great leap and can take a strong mark. Represented SA at U-18's

No. 83 COLM BEGLEY (Brisbane) 22, 188cm (6'1"), 83kg (182): Irish recruit who played 29 games with the Lions in three seasons, Hampered by injury in 2008. Plays across half back.

Analysis: Got what they needed in the ruck division as well as adding forward depth to the squad.

No. 12 LEWIS JOHNSTON (North Adelaide) 17, 192cm (6'3"), 83kg (182): Athletic center half forward with very good mobility. Represented SA at U-18's and was named All-Australian. AIS-AFL Academy graduate who posted strong results in the vertical leap and 3 km time trial.

No. 30 DANIEL HANNEBERY (Oakleigh Chargers) 17, 181cm (5'9"), 77kg (169): Midfielder who can also play defense. Excellent endurance, placing first at draft camp 3 km time trial. High possession winner and uses the ball well. Represented Vic Metro.

No. 61 CAMPBELL HEATH (Gippsland Power) 17, 187cm (6'1"), 75kg (165): Defender who reads the play well and is a reliable kick of the ball. Represented Vic Country at U-18's.

Analysis: A bit more midfield depth and stocked up with two key defenders, something they may need next year if Tadgh Kennelly decides to return to Ireland at the end of 2009.

No. 2 NICK NAITANUI (Swan Districts) 18, 197cm (6'4"), 95kg (209): Has been highly rated since midseason of 2008. Athletic ruckman with a great leap and good speed and tackling skills for such a big player. Was a member of WA's 2007 team which took out the U-18 tournament title and was one of the best overall players at this year's tournament. Did very well at the draft camp this year, equaling Jared Brennan's 2002 record in the running vertical jump, came in first in the standing vertical jump, fourth in the 20 meter sprint, and placed well in the repeat sprints.

No. 18 (priority) LUKE SHUEY (Oakleigh Chargers) 18, 185cm (6'), 84kg (185): Athletic midfielder with good speed, agility and endurance. Represented Vic Metro and was voted their best player at the U-18's.

No. 20 TOM SWIFT (Claremont) 18, 190cm (6'2"), 84 kg (185): Midfielder with good running endurance. Has had knee problems the past two years, but did test well at draft camp and is an Academy graduate.

No. 36 ASHLEY SMITH (Dandenong Stingrays) 18, 185cm (6'), 84kg (185): Speedy midfielder who can kick the ball a long way and run through opposition lines. Represented Vic Metro.

No. 52 JORDAN JONES (Geelong Falcons) 18, 189cm (6'2"), 85kg (187): Defender with good agility. Can also play midfield. Represented Vic Country at U-18's.

Analysis: The Eagles got probably the best of the lot in Nick Naitanui as well as adding midfield depth.

No. 14 AYCE CORDY (Geelong Falcons) 18, 202cm (6'6"), 78kg (171): Ruckman who need time to develop. Good agility for his size and can play forward. His father Brian played 124 games for the Bulldogs in the 1980's.

No. 31 JORDAN ROUGHEAD (North Ballarat Rebels) 200cm (6'5"), 92kg (202): Cousin to Hawthorn's Jarryd, has good running capacity for a ruckman and played for Vic Country at U-18's. Came up against Nick Naitanui when Vic Country played WA and did very well. Can also push forward and kick goals.

No. 32 LIAM JONES (Tassie Mariners/Scotch College) 17, 195cm (6'4"), 86kg (189): Can play forward and defense, but will need time develop. Injury interrupted his 2008 season, but he had a very good 2007. Did represent Vic Metro at U-18's.

Analysis: The Bulldogs added some much-needed height to their list.

Source: Melbourne Age, Herald Sun, INside Football & author notes

Article last changed on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 6:25 PM EST

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