THE GWS Giants and the Sydney Swans have both rolled the dice on players with injury histories at the AFL draft held at Sydney Showground.
The Giants’ first-round pick Aiden Bonar (No.11) has had two knee reconstructions and the Swans’ second-round selection Tom McCartin, the brother of St Kilda’s No.1 pick Paddy McCartin, has had to overcome recent hip and back injuries.
Bonar had already matched his new team mate Jonathon Patton’s two ACL injuries by the time he was 17 but has recovered in remarkable fashion to impress for the Dandenong Stingrays, the same club as Tom Scully, Dylan Shiel and Lachie Whitfield.
He was one of the dominant players in the country at the age of 15 before picking up the injuries.
National recruiting manager Adrian Caruso said the Giants have taken every precaution to be sure Bonar is 100 per cent right.
“Aiden worked so hard to get back and play the last nine games this year,” Caruso said.
“He’s done some heavy testing, and spoken to many people about his history. Across our medical and physiotherapy staff we all agreed this was the one we want and we have as much confidence as we can in him.”
The Giants lost their first-round pick as part of the Lachie Whitfield drugs penalty and secured pick No.11 as part of the Devon Smith trade to Essendon.
“When we traded up to pick No.11, Aiden was the one we wanted,” Caruso said.
Bonar grew up a Collingwood supporter but like the rest of Australia has watched the Giants push to premiership contenders.
“It’s surreal at the moment,” Bonar said.
“To fly to Sydney and now I’m going to be playing here right next door, I’m stoked to be here.”
The Giants’ pick No.27 Brent Daniels is a like-for-like replacement for Smith and Sam Taylor is a Dustin Fletcher-type defender from country WA who has played senior football with Swan Districts in the WAFL.
“You never know what you’re going to get when you walk in but we got everything we were looking for,” Caruso said.”
The Swans’ first pick Matthew Ling comes from the Geelong Falcons, it’s the same team Cats triple premiership player Cameron Ling started at but the pair aren’t related.
Sydney are hoping he can fill a role similar to Rhyce Shaw, Nick Malceski and Tadhg Kennelly have over the years.
“It was a priority to get run and speed and we really felt Matt continued to develop all year and finished off well,” Swans list manager Kinnear Beatson said.
Beatson said McCartin’s back and hip issues were found to be viral rather than structural and he is satisfied he has fully overcome the problem.