The TAC Cup has long been the main breeding ground for young Victorian footballers with this year’s National Draft being no different.
A total of 33 players were selected from the TAC cup with 11 of the 12 clubs having players picked up. Eastern Ranges, a club that had last year’s number one pick Jonathon Patton, was the only team to miss out.
Eight of the top 10 draftees came from the TAC Cup, the same number as last year. The Calder Cannons led the way with seven players picked up, including three in the top 10, which may have been in the top five if it wasn’t for Joe Daniher being a father-son pick.
Much has been made of the ability of the Cannons to have players picked up and they are seen as the number one team for players being drafted. While the figures support this with the Cannons having had 26 players drafted or pre-selected to Gold Coast or Greater Western Sydney in the last five drafts, they aren’t as far ahead as many people think.
In the same period of time, the Oakleigh Chargers have had the same amount of players drafted. The Cannons’ list of players drafted in the last five years is impressive which makes them stand out. This year’s Rising Star recipient Daniel Talia and third-placed Mitch Wallis led the list with most of the draftees playing regular senior football.
This looks set to increase with this year’s draftees in Lachie Plowman, Jonathan O’Rourke and Joe Daniher expected to play senior football next year. The 2010 season, in which the Cannons won the Grand Final, was the best year in the club’s history, resulting in nine players getting drafted.
But for all the success the Cannons have had, they are one of four TAC Cup teams yet to have a number one draft pick.
The Chargers’ list doesn’t read like the Cannons, but it’s still a handy list. West Coast duo Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff and Swans premiership midfielder Daniel Hannebury lead the list of stars.
GWS looked to the Chargers for its first season and achieved success through Dom Tyson, Adam Tomlinson and Toby Greene all having an instant impact.
The Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons have also had over 20 players taken in the draft or pre-selected in the last five years. The Stingrays have had 24 players drafted in the last five years and the only club to have more than one number one draft pick in that period. Lachie Whitfield, the number one pick in this year’s National Draft, joins Tom Scully on that list.
The Falcons, who only had two players picked this year, have had 22 players selected but have lacked the star power in the last five years. Geelong premiership player Allen Christensen is the best of the bunch.
The North Ballarat Rebels, Sandringham Dragons and the Murray Bushrangers are next for the most numbers of players selected. The Rebels have had 19 players drafted with GWS excitement machine Jeremy Cameron the standout. Former number one draft pick Jack Watts heads the 18 picks for the Dragons. In the last five years, the Dragons have twice had five or more players picked in the one year. The Bushrangers’ 18 draftees are headed by the 2008 TAC Cup premiership side; Steele Sidebottom, Jack Ziebell and Tom Rockliff all played in that team and are among their teams best players.
Although there are a number of clubs that have had success as far as players getting drafted, there are TAC Cup clubs that struggle.
The Bendigo Pioneers had two players taken in the top seven picks this year, but in recent years have had little success with players being drafted. In the previous four years, only four players in Dustin Martin, Jordan Williams, Ariel Steinberg and Sam Kerridge have been selected.
The Western Jets have had nowhere near the same success as their neighbours the Calder Cannons. The Jets, who had two players in Spencer White and Lachie Hunter drafted this year, have only had eight players drafted or pre-selected in the last five years. Last year was their best with Will Hoskin-Elliot and Elliot Kavangh taken in the top 20.
The Northern Knights have only had 13 players selected in the last five years, including three in the top 21 this year. Essendon duo David Zaharakis and Michael Hurley, both drafted in 2008, are the best of the Knights players during that time.
Gippsland Power and Eastern Ranges have both had 14 players picked. While Gippsland doesn’t have a big history of players selected, the players that do get drafted tent to succeed. They have had a number of top 10 draft picks come through the ranks, including Scott Pendlebury, Dale Thomas, Brendon Goddard and Jarryd Roughead. The latest star to have come from the Power is the 2011 Rising Star winner Dyson Heppell.
For Eastern Ranges, a club that missed out this year, they had two players be selected in the top 20 last year in Jonathon Patton and Hayden Crozier. The other players selected have struggled to secure a regular senior position.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which team you play for at junior level as far as AFL clubs are concerned, it’s how you perform at senior level. However, TAC Cup sides having players selected is a major honour and something they are always looking at.
All 12 clubs will be hoping that the number of players they have on AFL lists increases in the upcoming Rookie Draft and will be doing everything they can in the future to keep having players selected.