Essendon great Matthew Lloyd has uncovered a potential loophole AFL recruiters could use in future mid-season drafts after the completion of the second iteration of it.
As expected, North Melbourne selected big man Jacob Edwards with the first pick of the mid-season draft, with three more clubs picking ruckmen in the next six selections.
According to Lloyd, the trend in picking up big men could be one we see for years to come across AFL clubs.
“When you look at it there’s four ruckmen in the top seven, so I think recruiters have thought to themselves don’t take them in the top 20 of the national draft when they take years and years to develop,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“You take them in the mid-season draft where you don’t pay a lot for them and you don’t give up much for them and you can develop them.”
The loopholes could also come from the players’ side, with the potential to negotiate long-term deals, as showcased by Hawthorn‘s No.2 pick Jai Newcombe.
The 20-year-old midfielder signed a four-year deal with the Hawks and was the only player to nominate extra financial terms when lodging his application for the draft.
“Is it going to get to a stage where if you’re a smart young bloke, you’re going to say, ‘Hang on, I’m going to hang out and get in the desperate draft mid-year and really play my cards’?” Eddie McGuire asked.
“It’s an interesting thing to do. He had Adelaide and Collingwood sniffing around,” Lloyd added.
“I know Hawthorn had pick two, but there’s no doubt someone would’ve put a (big price on him).”
Despite being the first overall selection, Edwards remains a long-shot to play AFL football this year, with the young gun focused on completing his VCE studies.
According to Lloyd, when he does receive his debut, it is likely to be as a forward, as opposed to Todd Goldstein’s understudy in the middle for North.
“I went and watched him play for the Sandringham Dragons and he dominated that game,” he said.
“He’s a ruck-forward and he’s got a huge leap. Obviously he’s got some weight to put on but when he goes forward he’s grabbed the attention of all the clubs this year with his ability to go forward.
“You’d think he’d start his career as a forward and work his way into the ruck.”
FULL 2021 AFL MID-SEASON DRAFT PICKS
1. Jacob Edwards (North Melbourne)
2. Jai Newcombe (Hawthorn)
3. Ash Johnson (Collingwood)
4. Patrick Parnell (Adelaide)
5. Ned Moyle (Gold Coast)
6. Alex Mirkov (Carlton)
7. Max Heath (St Kilda)
8. Jacob Peatling (GWS Giants)
9. Sam Durham (Essendon)
10. Matthew Parker (Richmond)
11. Will Collins (West Coast)
12. Lachlan McAndrew (Sydney)
13. Jed McEntee (Port Adelaide)
14. Kalin Lane (Brisbane Lions)
15. Kye Declase (Melbourne)
16. Charlie Ham (North Melbourne)
17. Jackson Callow (Hawthorn)
18. Aiden Begg (Collingwood)
19. Jordan Boyd (Carlton)
20. Cooper Sharman (St Kilda)
21. Connor West (West Coast)
22. Daniel Turner (Melbourne)