Clubs could target young guns in mid-season draft

Kelly, a 19-year-old from Albury, was overlooked in the national draft as a ruckman but has been a strong performer in defence so far this season and looks suited to a key position.

The 200-centimetre Kelly will show his wares alongside other mid-season draft prospects such as Josh Dunkley’s brother Kyle and Shaun Atley’s brother Jacob, who are representing Vic Country in a Young Guns game being played in Sandringham on Sunday morning.

Former Cat Aaron Black has nominated for the mid-season draft.Credit:AAP

Eastern Ranges midfielder Cody Atkinson is also likely to come under notice in that match as a potential mid-season pick when he plays for the Metro team.

Clubs are also reluctant to select a player from outside their state unless they are likely to stay with players picked in the mid-season draft on a base wage of $50,000 plus $20,000 if they are not re-contracted at the end of the season.

There are several ex-AFL players including former Geelong and North Melbourne defender Aaron Black, Sydney premiership player Alex Johnson, ex-Saint Nathan Freeman, ex-Cat Cory Gregson and high draft pick at Melbourne Jimmy Toumpas (who finished his career at Port Adelaide) among the nominations, while several clubs are keen on Coburg’s Sam Lowson who has not been on an AFL list before.

Exciting Western Australian prospect Marlion Pickett, who several clubs considered as a pre-season supplementary list choice, is also understood to be nominating.

Pickett has not played yet this season due to a finger injury but is keen to pursue an AFL career if the chance arises in the mid-season draft with his fitness high and his injury not expected to sideline him for long.

Pickett impressed for Subiaco last season with his attack on the ball and impact on WAFL games forcing clubs to consider him as he was compared to Geelong sensation Tim Kelly.

The AFL remains wedded to the rules sent to clubs that sees only players who nominated for last year’s draft are eligible to be picked despite some confusion among players who had registered for earlier drafts.


Clubs believed the rule was appropriate to prevent clubs taking advantage of the system by warehousing prospects however the AFL has the capacity to examine individual cases that may have some merit.

Players who have signed on to be a top age member of a northern club’s academy in 2019 are also unable to be picked.

The order of the draft will be based on ladder positions after round 10 with Melbourne currently holding the first pick in the draft, with some clubs believing the introduction of the pre-season supplementary list period has diluted the quality of prospects available to some extent.

Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.

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