Adelaide Crows prepare to stockpile early draft picks to claim “exciting” SA talent in 2018 AFL national draft

FORGET Bryce Gibbs. Adelaide is poised to trade and stockpile first-round picks to be better placed to claim impressive SA teenagers Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius in next year’s AFL national draft.

This is the silver lining of 21-year-old defender Jake Lever’s defection to Melbourne and the impending trade of contracted midfielder-forward Charlie Cameron to Brisbane.

Adelaide wants to finish this AFL trade period – that closes next Thursday – with two early draft picks to land Rankine (West Adelaide) and Lukosius (Eagles) next November.

Ineligible for next month’s AFL national draft, the pair is labelled by SANFL under-18 coach Brenton Phillips as the “most exciting talent to come out of SA for a long time.”

“Adelaide would be keen to trade draft picks to get them in,” Phillips said.

Rankine, a sharp midfielder-forward, covers all Adelaide planned with Cameron.

Tall forward Lukosius, who put his name in lights with his SANFL league debut in the preliminary final, could be graded as a No. 1 draft pick. To complete this dream strategy Adelaide needs two top-five picks. And this becomes possible by unloading Cameron to Brisbane.

Adelaide would need to:

TRADE Cameron and one of its two 2017 first-round draft picks (currently Nos. 10 and 16) to the Lions. In return, the Crows would want Brisbane’s 2018 first-round pick that could be a top-four pick and this year’s end-of-first-round draft call the Lions (No. 18) gained for losing free-agent midfielder Tom Rockliff to Port Adelaide.

PARCEL Melbourne’s 2018 first-round call gained in the Lever deal yesterday with other draft picks to rise in the 2018 draft order.

Adelaide and Melbourne yesterday closed the first trade outside free agency to end the unsavoury exit that has Lever become a Demon after three seasons and 56 AFL games as a Crow.

Lever returns to Victoria to accept a four-year deal worth almost $4 million at Melbourne.

The Demons and Crows kept the Lever trade within their own negotiations to have:

ADELAIDE get two first-round picks (one in each of the next two AFL national drafts) and a fourth-round pick next year from Melbourne.

MELBOURNE get Lever, Adelaide’s second-round (No. 35) call in this year’s draft and the Crows’ third-round pick next year.

Crows list manager Justin Reid emphasised Adelaide achieved its target in the Lever trade.

“As soon as Jake requested a trade we were always looking to achieve the best possible deal,” Reid said.

“By bringing in two first-round picks we’ve got our desired result,” Reid said.

“First-round selections are highly sought after, so to receive two as part of this trade is a great outcome for us.

“We initially selected Jake with pick No. 14 in the 2014 national draft. To receive this year’s pick No.10 as well as a future first-round pick is a credit to the development program at our club.”

Reid made a gracious exit statement on Lever saying: “We wish Jake all the best for the rest of his career and thank him for his contribution over the past three years.”