Best mates could reignite the Suns

Row­ell full of hope for 2020 Gold Coast

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - CHRIS CA­VANAGH AFL Draft

TWO Mel­bourne best mates who played in two pre­mier­ships to­gether this year are headed north to lead Gold Coast Suns’ charge back up the AFL lad­der.

Matthew Row­ell and Noah Anderson were last night se­lected with picks 1 and 2 re­spec­tively in the AFL national draft in both a tal­ent coup and clever re­ten­tion strat­egy by the Suns.

The pair played ju­nior foot­ball with and against each other, won a bas­ket­ball club cham­pi­onship to­gether and com­pleted Year 12 stud­ies to­gether at Carey Gram­mar this year. Both also won pre­mier­ships this year with Carey and NAB League club Oak­leigh Charg­ers.

The Suns kept Row­ell sweat­ing for al­most a minute be­fore log­ging their first se­lec­tion, which sees Row­ell fol­low in the foot­steps of play­ers like Luke Hodge, Bren­don God­dard, Nick Riewoldt and Marc Mur­phy as a No. 1 pick.

“It’s pure ex­cite­ment for me and what this op­por­tu­nity brings,” in­side mid­fielder Row­ell said of his emo­tions. “They’ve (the Suns) been re­ally pos­i­tive through­out the whole year and I think they’ll re­ally bring me into their club.

“I think it will be a great place for me to live and play footy.”

Mel­bourne chose 200cm former Aus­tralian bas­ket­baller Luke Jack­son with pick 3, the ruck­man seen as a fu­ture Max Gawn re­place­ment and likened to Colling­wood’s Brodie Grundy for his fol­low-up work at ground level.

Western Aus­tralia un­der-18 coach and state foot­ball great

Peter Su­mich be­lieves Jack­son is ca­pa­ble of play­ing sig­nif­i­cant se­nior foot­ball next year.

Jack­son be­came the first ruck­man se­lected with a top­five pick since West Coast’s Nic Nai­tanui was se­lected at pick 2 in 2008.

Mur­ray Bushranger­s re­bound­ing de­fender Lach­lan Ash found his way to Greater Western Syd­ney with pick 4, while Syd­ney sprung an early sur­prise by se­lect­ing South Aus­tralian mid­fielder Dy­lan Stephens at pick 5.

San­dring­ham Drag­ons key de­fender Fis­cher McAsey — la­belled an Aaron Naughton clone — was snapped up by Adelaide at pick 6, while Fre­man­tle used back-to-back selections to se­lect Dan­de­nong Stingrays de­fender Hay­den Young (pick 7) and Gipp­s­land Power on­baller Caleb Serong (pick 8) who both played to­gether at un­der-16 level.

Carl­ton lodged a bid on Fre­man­tle acad­emy mem­ber and livewire for­ward Liam Henry with pick 9, which the Dock­ers matched to se­cure the West Aus­tralian.

The Blues used their next pick to lodge an­other bid for GWS Acad­emy mem­ber Tom Green, with the Gi­ants also match­ing that pick for the Canberra-based mid­fielder.

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