Best choices, early mistakes, who each team should choose, statistics, history

AFL recruiters have spent months, if not years, trying to find the best chance for the 2021 draft.

But you can also learn a lot from past sketches – what to do and what not. analyzes several key elements before the national draft on 24-25. November.

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SITUATION: How three clubs have the key to unlocking important AFL draft domains

No worries about vaccinations for AFL applicants 01:40


Thanks to Adam Cerra’s replacement, Fremantle will end up in this year’s draft as the only team to have two top ten selections – ironically, as he has selected Cerra as one of the top two top five selections in 2017.

How much more valuable is it to own options 6 and 8, which become 8 and 10 after the bids for Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy are matched, compared to just one of the top five selections?

We can find out on the valuable Draftguru site, which lists information on all draft selections from 1993-2010 – modern times, but not sketches that are too recent for players to have played their entire careers.

It shows that the player selected in 6th and 10th place has played an average of 126.2 matches in his career. So take two of them – that’s better than the average of one in 233.9 games.

So does this mean that two choices between 6-10 are better than one? Well no. It’s a huge value if the talent is stacked in one list place instead of splitting into two.

But the choice of two careers average game is 197.2; choices 3-5, it is 165.1. They are much closer.

We would argue that vacuum betting is more likely to succeed if you use options 6 and 8 than just option 3.

But what’s even more interesting is how small the drop is between felling 6-10 and picking 11-20.

COMPARISON OF PLAYERS 6–10. VS 11–20 (AFL, 1993-2010)

Average career games: 126.2 – 118.8

Average career votes for Brownlow: 18.3 – 16.8

Selection needed to find 200 players: 3.8 – 3.7

The range needed to find the whole Australian: 5.6 – 5.8

Keep in mind that these are averages, so it’s not the case that 11-20. there would be more All-Australians than 6-10. ranked just because there are more players in the draft.

History tells us that you’ll be just as likely to find a great player in the second half of the first round as the top ten in the second half.

This tells you about the difficulty of drawing and the advantages of several early choices over one better choice – the more shots on the dartboard, the happier you get.

Kysaiah Pickett was taken out of the top 10 of the 2019 draft. Photo by Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia


For the first couple of decades of the AFL era, the best choice for a draft was a sure thing.

Between 1992 and 2010, the first players selected have all played at least 100 games – what we call the minimum for a truly successful AFL career and a successful draft selection. At its worst, you got Jack Watts (who played 174 games) or Clive Waterhouse (who is Clive Waterhouse).

But over the last decade, things have changed a bit.

Choose 1, the last decade

2011: Jon Patton

2012: Lachie Whitfield

2013: Tom Boyd

2014: Paddy McCartin

2015: Jacob Weitering

2016: Andrew McGrath

2017: Cam Rayner

2018: Sam Walsh

2019: Matt Rowell

2020: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Patton and Boyd both retired before reaching the 100-game mark; the latter is Bulldogs ’main series hero, but neither matched their draft. McCartin may get his second goal with Sydney, but given his injury history, you could be optimistic when he says he gets into 100 matches.

This has created a different perception of choice 1; maybe it’s not such a sure thing after all?

Jon Patton in 2013.Source: News Corp Australia

But Patton, Boyd, and McCartin were chosen as key strikers, and when you look at the first midfielder taken each year in the last decade, things suddenly look much stronger.

The best pulled midfielder, in the last decade

2011: Stephen Rabbit

2012: Lachie Whitfield

2013: Josh Kelly

2014: Christian Petracca

2015: Callum Mills

2016: Andrew McGrath

2017: Andrew Brayshaw

2018: Sam Walsh

2019: Matt Rowell

2020: Will Phillips

This is a list of superstars or ones that are too young to be called that. For us, it suggests that not all recruitment is equal.

We all know the general AFL wisdom that it takes longer for long players, and rye men in particular, to develop. But that’s because we start them so early.

With a draft age of 18 – sometimes clubs literally choose children because they only need to turn 18 by the end of the draft year – it’s much harder to predict how good the outlook is at best because they’re beyond. off. Compare this to the NFL, where you need at least three years of college football.

A potential key player at the age of 18 will be further away from his physical best than a midfielder, especially when the midfield doesn’t have to fill as many muscles.

Rucks and KPP games also require skills to be practiced against adult men – which is impossible at an early age – while the endurance and speed required in midfield can be brought from underage ranks to elite play.

We are not trying to present this as a groundbreaking discovery; but especially in the 2011-2014 season, players who are at their best will show how difficult it is to project KPP abilities compared to projecting midfield abilities.

Should AFL clubs therefore focus on midfield games with early choices – players who are more “confident” – and target long players later?

Another Daicos to illuminate it for Pies? | 02:29

This is similar to complacency as in Moneyball (the actual book), where Billy Beane of Oakland tells his scouts to take college players instead of high school players because they are less risky.

After all, the more you know about a potential person’s development, both physically and mentally, the easier it is to reflect his or her true talent – even if it means losing players with a lot of potential and a high ceiling, but also a greater chance of crashing.

How will this affect the 2021 draft? Well, it’s not such a big deal considering that midfielder Jason Horne-Francis and Nick Daicos are unanimously the two best players.

Sam Darcy has a good chance of rising to third – through the GWS bid the Western Bulldogs face – and the 204cm father-son potential has been praised for his agility on the ground as a player his size. This reminds us of Luke Jackson, who finished third in the 2019 draft and has turned into a weapon.

Perhaps this suggests a slightly different assessment of stables in recent years; that teams view athleticism as much as height. Or maybe it’s just a small sample.


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