DUAL premiership winner Jude Bolton says the Sydney Swans should go back to the future at Friday night’s AFL draft and pick a player who can provide attack and skill off half-back.
The Swans’ premiership teams of 2005 and 2012 featured creative defenders like Tadhg Kennelly, Nick Malceski and Rhyce Shaw providing enormous drive out of the backline and setting up scoring opportunities.
“I’d love to see someone who can provide good ball use off half-back,” Bolton said ahead of the draft at Sydney Showground.
“They need speed and skill in that part of the ground. Looking forward, (Callum) Mills is likely to spend more time in the midfield and Jarrad McVeigh is going around again.
“The successful Swans teams of the past have been characterised by damaging players off half-back like Shaw, Malceski and Kennelly.”
Sydney’s recruiters Kinnear Beatson and Michael Agresta have barely put a foot wrong over the years and have nailed their first-round picks consistently.
Mills (Pick 3) and Heeney (18) were obvious choices but Ollie Florent (11), Will Hayward (21) and Zak Jones (15) were less so but look set for long careers.
Nowadays it is the list managers who make the draft picks but as Bolton points out coaches know just how important these selections are to their success.
“John Longmire always says he spends more time on the phone to Kinnear Beatson and Michael Agresta than he does to his wife at this time of the year,” Bolton said.
- 2017 AFL Draft Picks
- GWS Giants
- 11, 27, 28, 57, 65, 89, 107
- Sydney Swans
- 14, 33, 51, 88, 106
“The Swans recruiters have been able to have great success with their second and third-round picks as well. It’s a credit to them and they do their homework. The amount of tape they watch and the games they see is amazing but what they do is really drive into what is required.”
Adam Goodes at pick No.43 in the 1997 draft was the most famous bargain in the Swans’ catalogue but Luke Parker (40), Sam Reid (38) and Dan Hannebery (30) were also among their best.
For the first time in their short history the Giants will have a modest involvement in the first round with just one selection, at pick No.11.
In the last six drafts they have had a total of 29 first-round selections, peaking with 11 in 2011.
While they only have one this year it still required some work after GWS were slugged with a 1000-point penalty for the Lachie Whitfield affair.
“We’ll have to work hard but we are very pleased to have managed to get pick 11 which was part of the trade with Essendon for Devon Smith,” Giants football manager Wayne Campbell said.
Campbell said as a principle they will look for the best player available in the first round rather than a needs based selection.