Mercury (Hobart)

Vic’s best in mix for Draft


THE bulk of the first 40 picks in this year’s AFL national draft are poised to be used on Victorian prospects in a sign that players from the state will not be disadvanta­ged despite a disastrous two years.

Data compiled by club recruiting department’s shows that potential Victorian draftees have played an average of just 6.7 games of football across the past two seasons due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Injuries to some highlytout­ed players this year have meant they have played fewer games than the average, including the likes of Greater Western Victoria’s Ben Hobbs and Sandringha­m Dragons pair Josh Sinn and Campbell Chesser.

By contrast, most South Australian and West Australian counterpar­ts have played between 20 and 35 matches over the same two-year period, having experience­d largely uninterrup­ted seasons in the SANFL and WAFL.

Some Victorian draft prospects have become increasing­ly anxious that their limited appearance­s will see them overlooked for more exposed interstate talent on draft night.

However, multiple clubs spoken to by News Corp Australia said this would not be the case and confirmed Victorian players would feature very prominentl­y in November’s draft.

About 15 of the top 20 picks are expected to come from Victoria, which is also poised to have strong representa­tion in the second and third rounds of the draft.

“We still think their talent is better than what we’re seeing elsewhere,” one recruiter said.

Many Victorian draft prospects took part in Under-16 National Championsh­ips in 2019 in addition to the games they have played this year, giving recruiters a level of confidence to select them.

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