First draft picks sorted as Big Bash captains plan squads

NOMINATIONS have closed for the inaugural Barrier Reef Big Bash, with discussion to now shift to who will be first drafted by the four franchises.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this news release about QLD and Australian news called “First draft picks sorted as Big Bash captains plan squads”. This article is brought to you by My Local Pages Australia as part of our local and national news services.

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Rising Aussie star Shyla Heal focuses on Opals, WNBA Draft after starring role in WNBL

Aussie basketball legends Liz Cambage and Leilani Mitchell had a special message for 19-year-old Shyla Heal after a tough WNBL grand final three weeks ago.

The WNBA stars had just led the Southside Flyers to their 99-82 championship victory over Heal and Townsville Fire before seeking out Australia’s most exciting basketball prospect in years.

“We can’t wait to play with you,” they told her.

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To hear those words from her idols just months before the 2021 WNBA Draft meant everything to the youngster.

“After the grand final, Liz said to Zitina (Aokuso) and I that we’re the future of Australian basketball and that she can’t wait to play with us. Leilani said something pretty similar, too,” Heal said.

“That was pretty cool, coming from two WNBA players. Hopefully if I keep working hard and getting better, I’ll play beside them in the Opals team, that’s the main goal.”

Heal was phenomenal for Fire in 2020.

The point guard finished the season averaging 16.7 points per game – placing her in the league’s top five scorers, ahead of WNBA stars Mitchell (11.2ppg) and big Ezi Magbegor (15.4ppg).

In a gruelling and condensed six-week competition, Heal steered Townsville to the grand final and took out Youth Player of the Year.

It’s hardly surprising, given that the teenager is already a seasoned WNBL campaigner and has won gold medals for Australia’s in the junior ranks.

But it’s still an astounding feat for a 19-year-old.

“She played really well, but we expected her to play well,” former Australian Boomer Shane Heal said of his daughter.

“Playing with Townsville and (head coach) Shannon Seebohm was always going to suit her style. She had the opportunity to play her natural position and she showed that she’s one of the better point guards in Australia right now.”

Since her 2020 campaign, Heal’s 2021 WNBA Draft stocks have soared – multiple mock draft websites forecast the Aussie to be a first-round pick.

Heal’s form even prompted Australian WNBA legend Michele Timms to call her “a once in a generation talent” and also claimed that “I have no doubt she will be better than me and Draft pick #1 is where she should be sitting.”

TCL – the global consumer electronics company backing NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka “The Greek Freak” – has also just signed Heal as an ambassador.

“It’s really cool that they’re believing in me, from the start of my career. We’ve had a couple of meetings with them so far and they’re really supportive” Heal said.

Heal will now focus on her own training and upcoming Australian Opals camps, before the WNBA Draft in April.

“I’ve really done everything I already can. Now it‘s just up to all the scouts. I’ll hopefully get drafted to the best environment, where I can learn from the best players and also show what I can do at that level as well” Heal said.

Heal Snr said it has been special to watch his daughter be rewarded for her hard work.

“We’ve spoken about the WNBA as a goal and that she’ll be drafted somewhere. We’ve embraced that, rather than treat it as pressure. We’ve treated it as something that’s going to happen, ” he said.

“But there’s a process in place, you have to tick all the boxes and play great basketball. Now that’s done, it’s about resetting her, training as hard as she can … being in the best physical and mental place to be ready when she gets these chances.”

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AFL Academy coach calls for raising of the draft age

AFL Academy assistant coach Glen Jakovich firmly believes the draft age should be elevated by 12 months in order to protect draftees who aren’t ready for the pressures of AFL football.

The Eagles legend has seen a number of juniors come through the Academy during his time and says some have had the talent to succeed, but were not ready to make the professional leap at 18.

Jakovich hopes when the AFL holds its external review, that the draft age is something that is brought up.

“Part of my thing with the AFL review coming through, I’m a big advocate for it and I’ll state it right now, they’ve got to lift the draft age,” he told Sportsday WA.

“Too many young players are going into this environment not ready physically and mentally and they’re going to rush players.

“(Logan) McDonald, I haven’t put him in the calculations for Sydney (in 2021). I hope he gets a taste, plays five or six games, but you can’t have him playing 18 games or more next year. There’s going to be a lot of wear and tear on such a young player introduced into a professional program so early in the piece.”

Jakovich believes the additional time to prepare for the AFL system would be hugely beneficial to the majority of draftees.

“(It should be lifted by) six months minimum, but definitely 12 months, that would be my optimal age bracket to lift it 12 months from where it is now,” he said.

“They’re just not ready mentally and physically. I want players to experience a bit more of life and life experiences, get a job in the real world, but probably spend some more time in the SANFL, the WAFL or local leagues.

“I think the under 18s competition could use players more for another 12 months and give those clubs the responsibility of fast-tracking the development of the players.

“At clubland, they’re trying to do everything in such a short span of time. They draft them and they want to get maximum results out of them in their standard two-year contract and it’s just not enough time.

“There’s always exceptions. Chris Judd was one of them, but that’s one in 40 or 50 footballers.

“We’ve got to look at it across the board that we’ll get more Chris Judd’s, but they’ll come from later developers.

“I’ve got a number of examples through the AFL Academy program who were thrust into the AFL system way too early, got injuries and lost complete confidence in the system, didn’t like it and didn’t like clubland because of the pressure mounting on them to play at AFL level when they were an outstanding junior.

“They’re on the scrapheap when they’re 21 years of age when they should be building into the peak of their careers.”

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New York Jets win, blow No. 1 Draft pick, Trevor Lawrence, social media reacts

NFL basket case the New York Jets have done the unthinkable and come away with a win over the LA Rams.

But while the pictures of the players celebrating the end of the 13-game losing streak in 2020, the team’s long suffering fans were furious at the victory.

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Why would they be upset about a win?

Because it will likely cost them the chance to sign Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a player described as a generational talent having led the powerhouse college team to a championship in 2018 and runners up in the nation last year.

The Jets now have a 1-13 record, the same as the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the NFL’s tie-breaker comes down to the strength of the team’s schedule.

The Jets had the third toughest run, while the Jaguars have had 22nd most difficult schedule in the league, meaning the Jaguars.

The Jaguars also have the 7-7 Bears next week and the 10-4 Colts in the final game of the season, and despite beating Indianapolis in week one, it appears unlikely Jacksonville will blow this chance at securing a star to rebuild the franchise around.

As for whether Lawrence will be in the 2021 Draft class, it appears likely with the superstar making all the right noises about moving into the big time.

“I think I’m ready,” Lawrence said on The Dan Patrick Show. “I think just being here at Clemson, my journey has taught me a lot. I’ve grown up a lot the past few years. I’m really just ready to take on whatever challenge it is and just have that opportunity.”

It comes just two weeks after a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders that saw the side blow a lead with just five seconds left after Derek Carr found Henry Ruggs for a 46-yard touchdown.

Fans could accept the tanking for Lawrence but the victory has left the supporters devastated by the win.

The Athletic ’s Jets beat writer Connor Hughes said “the Jets didn’t win as a franchise. Not really” after losing the No. 1 draft pick.

He quoted New York running back Frank Gore who said “I’m going to enjoy this one, then have a good Christmas” but added “The same can’t be said for Jets fans, who just received the equivalent of coal in their stockings.”

He also called it “another gut-punch” adding the dream isn’t over but the franchise now needs the Jaguars to somehow find a win.

In the New York Post, Mark Cannizzaro said it was “too bad” for fans unhappy about the win in a story titled “The Jets deserved this — Trevor Lawrence be damned”.

In For The Win, it was laid out as “The Jets were oh so close to being able to draft him and potentially fixing their quarterback woes that have plagued the team for years. Instead, they ended up winning a meaningless game in a lost season.”

In Sports Illustrated, Conor Orr said “Sunday was a 60-minute advertisement against the idea that any franchise can legitimately tank a season in this sport”.

Most of the NFL was expecting the Jets to claim just the third 0-16 season in history and fans were quick to take to social media to hammer the Jets.

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Illinois WR Imatorbhebhe enters 2021 NFL Draft

FILE PHOTO: Dec 12, 2020; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe (9) runs after catching a pass against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second half at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

December 17, 2020

Illinois wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe declared for the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday and will not play in Saturday’s season finale at Penn State.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound redshirt senior leads the Fighting Illini (2-5) with 22 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns.

After transferring from Southern California, he caught 33 passes for 634 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games 2019.

“My time here exceeded my wildest expectations and I leave here knowing that I am forever a member of the Illini Nation. Thank you for taking me in a year ago and giving me a chance to reclaim my dream,” Imatorbhebhe wrote on Twitter. .”.. I want to announce that I am officially declaring for the NFL Draft. I wish the team and my brothers nothing but the best.”

Illinois fired coach Lovie Smith on Sunday. Acting head coach Rod Smith will lead the Fighting Illini against the Nittany Lions (3-5).

(Field Level Media)

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AFL 2021 teams, Round 1, AFL draft 2020: Young stars most likely to debut in Round 1 at every club

Many draftees will struggle to get a look-in for Round 1 selection in 2021, but some clubs will be looking to unleash their prized new recruits as soon as possible.

The Swans could unveil all three national draftees immediately, while new faces at North Melbourne and Adelaide are set to give those two clubs selection headaches. assesses every club’s draft haul and predicts the players most likely to debut in Round 1.

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North recruit surprised by Boomer visit after “shock” draft selection

Will Phillips had no idea his name was to be called out so early in last week’s AFL Draft.

Expected to be taken a little later in the first round, the Oakleigh Chargers midfielder landed at North Melbourne with pick 3.

Phillips admits it was a huge surprise that the Kangaroos came calling because of all the clubs he spoke to in the lead-up, they appeared to show the least amount of interest.

“I found out via broadcast. It was a bit of a shock to me,” he said on SEN Drive.

“I always thought I was sort of in that range, but having not played all year I thought I would have slid to five or six to Hawthorn or Gold Coast.

“They were one of the clubs that spoke to me the least. I spoke to 17 clubs and only had one interview with North. That’s probably the main reason why it was such a big shock.

“But super stoked and so grateful to not only be staying in Melbourne but to be at such a great club. The club is going through a transition stage, I guess, and to be a part of that will be really special.

“Hopefully we can bring some success to the club over the next few years.”

Another shock on draft night came when club legend Brent Harvey turned up at Phillips’ house.

The reason for the visit was to bestow the famous number 29 jumper on the talented youngster which was last worn by ‘Boomer’ in 2016.

“Definitely not my choice. If I could choose it I would!” he laughed.

“Literally, Boomer just rocked up to my house on draft night with one of the media team and asked me if I’d be willing to wear jumper number 29.

“After four years without it being occupied, I said, ‘Absolutely of course’.

“If the cameras weren’t there I might have said something else.”

Phillips explained how it all came about on what was a very memorable night and how he plans to learn from the man who holds the record for the most career games in history.

“Dad went out to meet them, he was meeting people as they came in because I had a few people over that night,” he said further.

“I answered the door and he (Harvey) was standing right there. I was pretty shocked, it was a night full of surprises really.

“Firstly getting picked by them, then a 400-game player presents you with their jumper number. It’s pretty surreal.

“I’m really excited to work closely with ‘Boomer’. He’s obviously a master of the game. He works pretty closely with the first and second-year players.

“I can’t wait to get to work.”

Phillips became North’s highest draft pick since 2006 when they took Lachlan Hansen at 3.

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Process of 2020 AFL Draft slammed

Matt Rendell has slammed the AFL draft format, saying the league deliberately prolonged the time between picks being made and revealed.

“What were they doing? Fair dinkum AFL,” a frustrated Rendell said on Dwayne’s World.

“Has there been anyone that actually thought it was great? The length, the delays and the whole lot. I don’t think there’s one. The clubs were mighty pissed I think.

Rendell understands that many clubs had in fact made their picks soon after they were on the clock but were themselves made to wait before their selections were revealed at the discretion of the broadcasters.

“Clubs were putting in their picks within 20 seconds, and they were just letting it draw out and saying the pick was in in the last minute,” he said.

“So they were using the extra time for some interviews, a bit of chat, for advertising. You had clubs sitting around saying ‘come on, let’s get on with it’. They weren’t happy either.

“It’s not the first time they’ve stuffed it up. It’s not that hard to get right, is it? This is about the fourth or fifth time now they haven’t got the draft right. I’m just staggered.”

Last week’s draft played out within a single night after the event was extended to two days in 2018.

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Hine explains strategy behind Collingwood’s draft haul

Collingwood drafted eight new players in the National and Rookie Drafts last week.

The Magpies picked up six players inside the top 44 including Oliver Henry (pick 17), Finlay Macrae (19), NGA prospect Reef McInnes (23), Caleb Poulter (30), Liam McMahon (31) and Beau McCreery (44).

They also added Jack Ginnivan and Isaac Chugg as rookies.

Recruiting manager Derek Hine has given some insight into why the Pies selected such players, citing the evolution of the annual list cycle and the support required for the club’s top-line players.

“If you look at the boys we brought in this year in Reef and Caleb in particular, if you look at our list, they would be sitting behind Scotty Pendlebury and Brayden Sier,” he told SEN’s Bob and Andy.

“The decisions we have to make as a footy club is where’s the longevity in Scott? We know Scott is an elite player but what’s next to him? How can we take the pressure off him physically?

“Because it is a pretty brutal game and that’s where it is important for us for boys like Brayden Sier and these sorts of guys, that can actually step up.

“Then we have the younger boys (who we drafted) that are going to be able to come in. It’s sort of like a cycle of evolution in terms of the way that the list goes.

“I look at it like this: you’ve got your established player, then you’ve got your development player and then you’ve got your depth player – the player that you know is only going to be your 5-10 game (per season) player.

“Then you’ve got this development player who can sit in and try to balance those loads and develop them that way.”

Hine further spoke of the new additions and the attributes they will be bringing with them to the Holden Centre.

“Jack Ginnivan and Isaac Chugg have got some serious wheels as has Beau McCreery,” he added.

“Those boys are 180 to 183 (centimetres) which will complement the Caleb Poulters and the Reef McInnes’. Liam is obviously a key forward at 196-197 (centimetres).

“Oliver, he’s a young fella that can swing both ends. That was the key to try to get the balance. I think we sort of got that and now it’s over to the boys and fingers crossed we have some success with them.”

Macrae, McInnes (both Oakleigh Chargers) and McMahon (Northern Knights) are all Melbourne products, Henry arrives from Geelong, Poulter and McCreery have been picked out of the SANFL, while Ginnivan and Chugg are from Bendigo and Launceston respectively.

Hine was asked if the Collingwood recruiters place much importance on where a kid hails from before they draft him.

“Matty Rendell used to spend a lot of it, but I don’t try to take any notice of it,” he said further.

“You just try to back your program and the systems. You just go where the talent is, no matter where it is.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s in Ireland, America, Launceston, Bendigo, wherever. It’s just getting the best talent in.

“I just can’t overemphasise how important it is for the boys, that once they’ve got their opportunity, to take their opportunity.

“There is a high expectation that the guys have to come in and improve on a daily basis. They’re so heavily scrutinised, whether that be right or wrong, and that in itself creates its own pressures.”

The Pies endured a difficult trade period in losing Adam Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips and Atu Bosenavulagi but somewhat offset that by drafting in a haul of quality youngsters.

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Leaked ‘draft’ letter prompts concerns for TAFE students

TAFE SA staff have been told of a plan that could see students’ accounts closed or force them into full fee paying courses under changes to the sector from next year.

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But the organisation’s chief executive insists it was only a “draft” proposal and the information is “inaccurate”.

InDaily has been leaked a draft letter, asking students enrolled in courses that are being cut for new students from next year to confirm their study intentions.

The letter says if students intend to complete their qualification, they need to contact TAFE by January 22.

Students are not told what will happen if they fail to do so.

But an email sent from a TAFE manager to staff, seen by InDaily, says “if students do not respond to the letter there (sic) accounts will be closed off”.

“If they respond after the due date they will be offered a FFP (full fee payment) place or another RTO (registered training organisation) to complete their training,” the email states.

“All students that contact TAFE will be required to complete their qualifications in an agreed time frame (yet to be determined).”

The email goes on to explain that “this letter to continuing subsidised students is an attempt to understand ‘who is actually an active subsidised student’ and who has a training account but (is) not an active student”.

“In short: DiS (Department for Innovation and Skills) no longer want TAFE to deliver some subsidised qualifications as we know,” the email states.

“TAFE has to go to DiS with a teach out plan.”

In October, TAFE SA announced 20 courses would be scrapped from metro campuses next year, after InDaily revealed concerns from the Australian Education Union that many courses were at risk.

Opposition education spokesman Blair Boyer said this latest development was “just another step in completely destroying TAFE”.

“The chain of emails confirms the Government’s plan to reduce TAFE just to a niche provider or bit player in training by cutting courses and removing subsidies for existing courses,” Boyer said.

“They’re doing it in a really undermining manner by putting the onus on students to explain why they shouldn’t be full fee paying… rather than the onus being on TAFE to make sure they only contact the right students.”

In the email chain, one lecturer asks “why would students need to contact anyone, should we not just be saying to them ‘timetables will be out as normal’… for them to register in as they always have”?

Another lecturer seeks to clarify that the letter applies only to students that are currently studying under a subsidised fee.

The manager replies “yes” but goes on to say: “BUT there are bound to be students contacted that shouldn’t be, it’s TAFE. We will need to manage this if and when it happens.”

Boyer said he was concerned “some people who shouldn’t be moved across to full fee paying will be”.

“The email chain says there will be errors,” he said.

“Over the Christmas period inevitably there will be people who completely miss the email and they are not going to see it until they come back.”

Australian Education Union state president Lara Golding said “TAFE staff are under significant pressure working to support students in the context of devastating course cuts”.

“Students deserve to know exactly what is happening with their courses and if there are new time restrictions on completing their courses,” she said.

“Students have trusted TAFE with their time and money, commencing courses that are meaningful in their lives. It is only fair that they are able to complete those courses under the same arrangements as they started.”

Golding said in addition to the course cuts announced in October, lecturers were reporting that other courses would be cancelled if strict minimum enrolment numbers were not met.

She said students were usually provided with a timetable late in January to enrol in specific subjects.

“Asking students to indicate whether they will be proceeding earlier in the year is a departure from usual practice,” she said.

“Unless the Government is considering cancelling courses mid-way through and preventing students from completing their studies, why are they asking for their intentions?”

TAFE SA chief executive David Coltman said “the letter being referred to is a draft working document of a TAFE SA staff member”.

“The information in it is inaccurate and it has not been distributed to students,” he said.

Coltman said TAFE SA was committed to supporting students “to ensure their learning needs are met”.

“We communicate with our students over the summer break to help us meet their future study needs,” he said.

“TAFE SA will be surveying students in January to confirm their future study plans. TAFE SA will be scheduling information and enrolment events for returning students before the semester commences. These are standard practices.”

Coltman said if a student does not respond to letters about their future study plans “TAFE SA follows-up with other communication requests, including email and direct phone calls”.

“Student accounts are not closed unless the student requests TAFE SA to do so, or multiple unsuccessful attempts have been made to contact the student,” he said.

“There is no proposal in place to ask students to transfer to full fee paying arrangements.”

Asked to confirm the minimum enrolment requirements for courses next year and what would happen if those numbers weren’t reached, Coltman said “every course has different requirements”.

“This will depend on the developmental needs of the learners, the type of course, if there are other providers of the course, the facilities required, where and how the course is delivered,” he said.

As well as court cuts, TAFE SA has announced 21 “new” courses from next year but the union claims only six will actually be new – with the rest updated versions of existing courses, which is a mandated requirement.

Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni has previously defended the TAFE restructure, saying the government went to the last election “promising contestability” in the vocational education and training sector.

“This policy and additional funding has delivered nation-leading growth in apprenticeships and traineeships,” he said.

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