What do Essendon and Collingwood do? Will Jamarra Ugle-Hagan be pick one?


Firstly, if he is the best player then pick him and don’t presume to know what the Bulldogs will do. Secondly, selecting him demands the Bulldogs pay the appropriate draft price for him.

Finally, any player stepping into fishbowl Adelaide after their miserable year will carry a weight of public expectation to be the one to transform the club. Maybe calling Ugle-Hagan just eases that pressure on the player they take, just a bit.

The most likely No.1 choice: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. Credit:Getty Images

Against those arguments is the fact you are telegraphing to the player you do take that we don’t think you were the best in the country.

And you also deny them a little financial bonus for being pick one in the country.

2. What do Essendon do with their picks?

Three picks in the top 10 – six, seven and eight – gives the Bombers a juicy draft hand. Firstly they will consider whether to use all three in this draft or trade one or more picks, either to get lower in this draft (consider trying to tempt North Melbourne to move on pick two) or even get into the first round of next year.

If they keep the three picks, then what is the best approach? Does it change your strategy if you have a cluster of picks?

“I think Essendon with their list at the moment, they just call out the players in the order they rank them and they will get a blend of types in that anyway. There are not three clear midfielders or three clear key positions players in a row at those picks,” a recruiter told The Age.

3. Do you take the best talent or the best fit for your needs?

It might sound self evident that you take the most talented player. But it’s not. The Giants, for instance, have always had an abundance of inside midfielders because academies have thrown up access to elite players at a discounted rate who all happened to be inside midfielders.

Top 10 of 2019: (back, left to right) Tom Green, Liam Henry, Caleb Serong, Hayden Young, Fischer McAsey, (front) Lachie Ash, Luke Jackson, Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson and Dylan Stephens.

Top 10 of 2019: (back, left to right) Tom Green, Liam Henry, Caleb Serong, Hayden Young, Fischer McAsey, (front) Lachie Ash, Luke Jackson, Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson and Dylan Stephens. Credit:Justin McManus

Melbourne, as another example, now have a depth of tall players and inside midfielders and have been looking for more speed and run.

But do you do that at the pointy end of the draft? Or rather, at what point in the draft does elite talent become overtaken by positional need? There is no one definitive answer to this as it varies between list demographic, but typically the top five to seven players in any year are a cut above the other players and cannot be ignored, so after that point the ledger might swing a little more towards need over talent.

A respected list manager said: “It depends on your list but I think in your own mind you end up believing you have taken the best player because I think subconsciously your need influences your impression of the best player. And you spend so long watching tape of players that fit a positional need that you fall in love with them.”

4. What do Collingwood do?

Forgetting all the drama and rancour of the last month and whether they got commensurate value for the players they traded out, clearly a priority for Collingwood was to get into this draft. They have two first-round picks and their first-rounder next year is up for sale. They can comfortably trade that pick because they have father-son Nick Daicos coming through next year who will be a first-round pick and they have adequate points to cover selecting with later draft picks.

That future first round is a very valuable pick because this year’s draft has been rendered more speculative due to the absence of exposed form from so many players.

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Collingwood will want to trade next year’s first to get high in this year’s draft.

It is doubtful it can get them into the top five where they would like to be to be able to claim one of the players that a consensus of recruiters would rate as the clear best available players.

5. So who are the best five?

Taking out the academy and father-son players, recruiters tend to agree that Logan McDonald, Riley Thilthorpe, Elijah Hollands, Denver Grainger-Barras and Will Phillips are a class above the other players in the draft (on exposed form).

6. Will the Roos use pick two on a player?

This is the second time North Melbourne have had pick two (the other was in 2002 for Daniel Wells). They’ve never had pick one.

North indicated during the trade period that pick two was on the table for the right deal to see what it would flush out.

The thought behind it was that nailing two picks in the top 10 could be more transformational than using just pick two, given the urgent need for young talent at Arden Street.

Increasingly now the noise out of North suggest they are more likely to hold the pick. Recruiters believe the Roos are every attracted to Hollands, an outside midfielder who is an elite ball user able to play in multiple spots on the field.

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7. Do non-Victorian players have an advantage this year?

Depends which way a recruiter looks at it.

They do in the sense that non-Victorian footy was shortened but not cancelled, meaning players like McDonald (WA), Thilthorpe (SA), Grainger-Barras (WA) could be studied, even via tape, but Victorian kids could not.

Players do get drafted in the first-round, anyway, when they’ve been injured in their draft year. Hollands, who did an ACL this year, is expected to go high, for example. Recruiters know how good he could be without having seen him in 2020.

8. Will clubs use all their picks?

No. Some clubs believe there will only be 50 names called out on draft night as a combination of reduced list sizes and uncertainty around talent because of the COVID-19-affected year for the Victorian under-18 players.

Hence the AFL has (mercifully) cut the draft back to a one-night affair.

There is every chance many clubs won’t use all picks and leave one spot open on their list for a player to train with them in pre-season and then be taken in the supplemental selection period.

It is also likely that clubs will hold open a rookie place for the mid-season draft next year when those Victorian kids who didn’t get to play this year resume playing next year and clubs can have a good look at them. Clubs will then want to use that 2021 mid-year draft to get a jump on next year’s national draft.

9. Could there be a bidding frenzy?

There are plenty of prospects linked to clubs already through academies and father-son allowances.

Ugle-Hagan (Bulldogs), Braeden Campbell (Sydney), Errol Gulden (Sydney), Lachie Jones (Port Adelaide), Reef McInnes (Collingwood), Luke Edwards (Adelaide), Cody Brand (Essendon), Connor Downie (Hawthorn), Alex Davies (Gold Coast), Joel Jeffrey (Gold Coast) and Maurice Rioli jnr (Richmond) are some of the top names that will be called out.

Ugle-Hagan, Campbell and Jones will be called out very early. The Hawks, for instance, are very interested in Campbell and so he could go early while Jones is rated a top 10 pick. Gulden could be a late first-round pick.

Recruiters figure that McInnes and Downie are possible second-round picks, Brand and Rioli probable third-round picks.

On top of this, 17 of 2019’s 48 players in the under-17s All Star grand final squads were father-son or academy prospects.

Recruiters seem split on if there will be a bidding frenzy or not.

10. Does GWS’ draft bounty raise a familiar problem?

You would think GWS would be totally and completely excited about their draft bounty (picks 10, 13, 15, 20, 29, 52 and 88) that was boosted by Jeremy Cameron’s trade to Geelong.

In one sense they are, but they also know that over the years they pick top-end talent at the draft and then that talent proceeds to walk out the door a few years later. Jye Caldwell is the latest to do that, heading to Essendon.

Like North Melbourne, trading a suite of first-round picks to gain access to single-figure selections is one option being considered by the Giants.

“We’ve got great confidence in that early part of the draft – that top 15, top 20, they’ve generally announced themselves at 16 or 17-year-olds. Our team’s got a really good handle on those guys,” Giants footy boss Jason McCartney said last week.

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AFL Draft 2020, draft combine, draft prospects, Next generation academy members, father-son prospects, Reef McInnes, Harry Sharp, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan


Former steeplechaser Harry Sharp has smashed the 2km draft combine record with a stunning performance on Saturday.

There was 30 draft prospects who attended the Victorian Metro draft combine at the Holden Centre, with a number of tests undertaken including the time trial and the 20m sprint.

Sharp broke the record by 22 seconds set by Collingwood midfielder Jay Rantall, when he completed the course in five minutes and 50 seconds.

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Harry Sharp, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan dominate combine


The AFL’s draft combine time trial record has been shattered by a steeplechase champion who is emerging as a top smoky for December’s national draft.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels wingman Harry Sharp clocked a 2km time of 5min 28sec during testing in Melbourne on Saturday.

Sharp’s time eclipsed the record that first-year Collingwood midfielder Jay Rantall set at last year’s combine of 5min 50sec and was 24 seconds faster than any other Victorian prospect tested on Saturday.

Sharp has combined his football with athletics throughout his teenage years and won the 2000m Steeplechase event at the under-18 Australian All Schools Championships in Perth last year.

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A Caulfield Grammar student, Sharp had been preparing to represent his country at the under-20 world championships in Kenya in July before COVID-19 hit.

“He’s an elite athlete but one that can play footy,” GWV Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said.

“He’s put a lot of work in to make sure he’s really strong over the footy now. And he kicks the ball very well as well. The other thing I like about him is he has an elite mindset. That comes from his running so he knows his body really well, his planning, his training regimes. He’s a perfect fit for the AFL.”

Rantall and Sharp were teammates at the Rebels last year and had exchanged messages after Sharp was invited to this year’s combine testing.

“Jay messaged Harry and said, ‘Well done on getting to the draft combine, I’m disappointed because my record will probably only last one year’,” Partington said.

Northern Knights key position prospect Nikolas Cox put his athletic abilities on show to place the fourth-best 2km time at the Melbourne combine testing, while highly-rated Gippsland Power midfielder Sam Berry posted the fifth-fastest time.

The likely No. 1 draft pick, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, posted strong results in the running vertical jump (86cm) and the 20m sprint test (2.897 seconds).

Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect Reef McInness topped the times for the 20m sprint.

However, the sprint test was held outside with a tailwind due to COVID-19 restrictions, meaning times were not officially added to the record books.

MORE AFL DRAFT CONTENT

Watch: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan’s miracle trickshot

Father-sons: The famous names in this year’s draft

Vic Metro’s Top 12 draft prospects in 2020

Vic Country’s Top 12 draft prospects in 2020

TOP PERFORMERS – VIC METRO DRAFT COMBINE RESULTS:

2km TIME TRIAL

Harry Sharp – 5min 28sec

Fraser Rosman – 5min 52sec

Liam Kolar – 6min 2sec

Nikolas Cox – 6min 3sec

Sam Berry – 6min 10sec

RUNNING VERTICAL JUMP

Eddie Ford – 94cm

Sam Berry – 94cm

Archie Perkins – 92cm

Jake Bowey – 89cm

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – 86cm

Liam McMahon – 86cm

20m SPRINT

Reef McInness – 2.779sec

Max Holmes – 2.801sec

Liam Kolar – 2.870sec

Zavier Maher – 2.887sec

Fraser Rosman – 2.896sec

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – 2.897sec



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AFL 2020, AFL Draft 2020, top AFL draft prospects, AFL draft order, rankings, Matt Balmer, draft watch, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Will Phillips


The task for list managers and recruiters in 2020 is unlike any others compared to past years.

Some clubs are already stocked with top picks, others need to be precise in their search for gold nuggets.

Foxfooty.com.au and Champion Data assess the chasms at every club – and which draftee they could target at the 2020 AFL draft.

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