After a dismal season, North Melbourne will look to spark their rebuild through the AFL draft, most notably holding Picks 4 and 23. Who will they pick?
North Melbourne recently bid farewell to a plethora of champion players. Nick Dal Santo, Michael Firrito, Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie all exited the club after the 2016 season. An inevitable fact of the changing of the times at Arden Street was a slip down the premiership ladder, which was bound to happen eventually for an ageing team which had played finals in three consecutive seasons.
North Melbourne were a loss away from potentially owning the number one overall pick in this draft, but a win over the Brisbane Lions saw them fall to Pick 4. They also hold Pick 23. North Melbourne didn’t bring in any elite talent via the trade table or free agency as they had hoped, namely Dustin Martin and Josh Kelly, with both players deciding to remain at their respective clubs. So the only avenue left for North to explore is via the draft. A good one could shape their future, a bad one could equally prove to be a roadblock to their rebuild. Here are five potential candidates they could consider.
Standing at 184cm and weighing 82kg, Brayshaw rocketed into top draft calculations after a strong TAC cup, in which he averaged 24.8 disposals in 10 games. Brayshaw is prominent in contested situations and possesses tremendous speed and toughness.
Brayshaw also has the flexibility to play more of an outside linkup role if needed, and is also regarded as a good leader. The only knock on him are his foot skills, but he will be a terrific AFL player.
The Victorian prospect is 186cm tall and weighs 83kg. He is a modern-day midfielder who can impact the game in numerous positions and is renowned for his class when in space.
He played 9 games in the U-18 championships, collecting 14 disposals per game and booted 7 goals. He is regarded as a ‘one-touch’ player who is clean in traffic, and should he remain injury free, will be an elite footballer.
Having suffered a shoulder injury late in 2016, Davies-Uniacke started the 2017 slightly behind the rest of the field. However, he soon made up the ground, drawing comparisons to Nathan Fyfe and Luke Parker.
The 187cm, 86kg Victorian comes with great size and athleticism, and has spent periods at full forward where his explosiveness and overhead marking prowess have been on full display. He is in the conversation for the first overall pick, and North Melbourne undoubtedly has their eyes on him.
Fogarty possesses a big, burly frame and is a high-impact player. He does not gather a ton of possessions at this stage of his career, but his power and explosiveness are a standout for his age.
Fogarty battled a knee injury last season, which saw his draft stock fall from potentially number one to a hopeful top ten pick. Given this, it is unlikely that North Melbourne will take a risk on him with Pick 4, especially considering he is a South Australian native.
Spargo is an inside midfielder / small forward, with a 174cm and 73 kg frame, much slighter than the prospects mentioned above. He has drawn comparisons to Lachie Neale and Toby Greene and is an elite ball winner and user.
He is undersized for an inside midfielder, but his ferocious attack on the ball and speed makes up for his size. North Melbourne are in contention to pick him up with their second pick in the draft, at Pick 23.
Which of these talented youngsters will North Melbourne select in the draft? Comment below to share your thoughts.