AFL draft's international flavour
Saturday, November 29 2008 @ 04:30 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The 2008 NAB AFL Draft was held today, with at least two players with international backgrounds being drafted at either end of the day.
Exciting Fijian-Australian Nick Naitanui went at number two to the West Coast Eagles, meaning he gets to stay in his home town of Perth. The athletic ruckman has already excited talent scouts to the extent that Fiji is now being explored for similar prospects.
Naitanui was picked after Victorian Jack Watts going to Melbourne, whilst third was Western Australian Stephen Hill going to Fremantle, and Hamish Hartlett of West Adelaide being picked up by Port Adelaide with pick four. In fact the first five picks all went to clubs in their home states.
At the other extreme was Irishman Colm Begley, de-listed by Brisbane a few weeks ago. With the very last selection of the draft that was exercised, St Kilda threw a lifeline to Begley, taking him with pick 83.
Port Adelaide and Carlton passed with the final two picks, 84 and 85 - no doubt breaking the hearts of 1000s of hopefuls. That would include Brownlow Medallist Ben Cousins, seeking to return after an AFL ban due to his admission of a drug addiction, and Irishman Aisake O'hAilpin, who was looking for a second chance after being de-listed by Carlton.
As is traditional there will now be a flood of media stories in which each club explains how pleased they are with their selections. The last chance for players to make a main AFL list is now the NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft on December 16.