Bailey Upholds Territory Tradition At AFL Draft
Saturday, November 25 2017 @ 05:22 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
When young Zac Bailey galloped out of a centre clearance for the Allies, in their clash with the Vic Metro team at the Under 18 National Championships earlier this year, he changed the game and ensured an upset Allies win. He may have hoped for, but couldn’t know, that he had also turned on the neon sign that alerted recruiters to his talent and potential. Not only did he gain All-Australian U18 selection, he also lit the pathway lights to draft day.
It was, therefore, little surprise to those who know him that Bailey was selected by the Brisbane Lions at last night’s NAB Rising Stars Draft at pick 15. The journey had reached a new destination, and young Zac now has a dream come true – an AFL career. The junior from Southern Districts Crocs in the NTFL had followed past Territorians to the highest level of the game.
He follows an amazing list of past Territorians – names like Nathan Buckley (Southern Districts), Michael Long (St Mary’s), Andrew McLeod(Darwin Buffaloes), Maurice Rioli (St Mary’s), Peter Burgoyne (St Mary’s) and more – as well as current stars like Cyril Rioli (St Mary’s), Steven May (Southern Districts), Steven Motlop (Wanderers) and one day Jed Anderson.There are plenty more.
But the past three seasons alone, prior to last night, have seen an acceleration with Brandan Parfitt (Nightcliff) going to Geelong with pick #26 in 2016. Daniel Rioli (St Mary’s) went to Richmond with pick #15 in 2015, whilst Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Tiwi Bombers) was rookie drafted by Essendon with their pick #22 and Ryan Nyhuis (Nightcliff) went to Fremantle with pick $34 in the same rookie draft. Geelong took Nakia Cockatoo (Southern Districts) with pick #10 in the 2014 draft.
Now Zac Bailey can proudly look towards carrying on the Northern Territory tradition of producing some of the greatest players the game has seen.
His partner in crime from the Northern Territory, Adam Sambono, wasn’t selected, but with precocious talent of his own, the kid from the Darwin Buffaloes will be more than a curious onlooker when the AFL’s Rookie Draft takes place on Monday. Sambono was a later arrival on the talent pathway and is still in the process of catching the eye of recruiters, but he would be an exciting addition to any AFL list.
To round off the Northern Territory link, former Melbourne Demons and Alice Springs footballer, Dom Barry, was given another chance at AFL level when selected by Port Adelaide with pick #61 after resurrecting his desire and talent with Glenelg in the SANFL.
Top selections by teams in last night’s draft were:
#1 Cameron Rayner – Brisbane Lions
#2 Andrew Brayshaw – Fremantle
#3 Paddy Dow – Carlton
#4 Luke Davies-Uniacke – North Melbourne
#6 Jaidyn Stephenson – Collingwood
#7 Hunter Clark – St Kilda
#9 Aaron Naughton – Western Bulldogs
#11 Aidan Bonar – GWS
#12 Darcy Fogarty – Adelaide
#13 Jarrod Brander – West Coast
#14 Matthew Ling – Sydney
#17 Jack Higgins – Richmond
#19 Wil Powell – Gold Coast
#22 Lachlan Fogarty – Geelong
#29 Charlie Spargo – Melbourne
#45 James Worpel – Hawthorn
#47 Sam Hayes – Port Adelaide
#49 Jordan Houlahan – Essendon
Picture Credit: Brisbane Lions (http://www.lions.com.au )