Jack-Gunston

As we edge closer and closer to the 2015 national draft, it’s time to take a look back once again at the drafts of yesteryear. This instalment covers the 2009 draft and coincides with the first Brownlow Medallist from that season, with Nat Fyfe taking home the award after a stunning season which has been equaled by few in football history.

After a busy trade week which saw big deals involving Brendan Fevola, Josh Gibson, Brock McLean and Darren Jolly, the real winner heading into draft day appeared to be cellar-dwellers Melbourne. Due to their poor performance over the previous two seasons, they were given a priority pick which came at the very first selection; combined with picks two and 11, they seemed poised to select some future stars that would bring them out of the doldrums.

History shows that Melbourne bombed overall and the first round was incredibly hit and miss. Five players in the first 18 chosen have failed to reach 50 games, either through injury or being delisted. A solitary All-Australian and best and fairest winner (Daniel Talia) as well as one premiership player (Lewis Jetta) in the opening round highlights the thin layer of talent. The true steals in 2009 occcured primarily between picks 20 and 40, including the aforementioned Fyfe slipping to the second round: 12 teams passed on the midfield gun before Fremantle snapped him up with their second selection.

Some of the biggest bargains besides the Brownlow medallist include triple premiership player Jack Gunston, highly sought after key defender Jake Carlisle, future North Melbourne leader Jamie Macmillan and Brisbane utility Allen Christensen. The development of many players chosen in 2009 is perceived to have been stunted, with potentially 17 of the top 40 no longer being at their original club or no longer playing at the highest level by the end of this year.

Revising this draft was difficult, with so much talent chosen later or being picked up in the rookie draft. Only five of the original players selected in the first round have made the cut, with two moving up from the rookie draft and three originally taken in the third round or later. The ranking of certain injury prone players was obviously impacted by their lack of game time, but it’s not unlikely that Daniel Menzel or Gary Rohan could improve their position in the coming seasons.

The Big Improvers

Let’s get the obvious number one choice out of the way. Right now in the AFL there isn’t a better all round player than Nat Fyfe. His clearance ability and inside ball winning is second to none and he dominates the opposition at every turn. Falling to pick 20 in the original draft is mind-boggling in hindsight and every other list manager in the league would see him as the one that got away.

A duo of rookie-listed players make their way into the first round off the back of very consistent careers so far. Michael Barlow and Stewart Crameri were absolute steals and have more than delivered on the investment. In his first season at Fremantle, Barlow exploded onto the scene and was fancied for a massive Brownlow upset before breaking his leg. Since recovering from the horrific injury, he has been a valuable addition to a brilliant midfield.

Now at his second club, Crameri is working in tandem quite well with ‘the Package’ Jake Stringer and consistently has the skill to breakaway from his defender and provide a marking option, either up the ground or deep inside 50.

Originally picked up by the Crows with pick 29, triple premiership player Jack Gunston has been a value selection for the Hawks. Gunston is a vital cog in the three peat powerhouse of Hawthorn, having kicked at least 40 goals in his past three seasons at the Hawks.

The biggest move up the draft order is another Hawks player, with small defender Taylor Duryea sneaking into the first round. Taken with the sixth last selection in the draft, he has become an important lockdown player who can also provide run through the midfield. Duryea’s form in this year’s finals series was an indicator of his potential going forward for the Hawks.

Sliding Down

Injuries have crippled first round picks Jack Trengove, Anthony Morabito and Daniel Menzel and they can no longer fit into the top 20. Elsewhere, Port Adelaide and Essendon will be regretting their early choices, with the Power pair Andrew Moore and John Butcher failing to make an impact and Bomber Jake Melksham on his way out of the club after six years of sub-par football.

Number one pick and much-heralded midfielder Tom Scully only just makes the top ten in this revision as he has failed to live up to the original hype. His departure from Melbourne to GWS after accepting a big money deal seems to have impacted on his output and he’s not looking like the star that was originally taken by the Demons with their priority pick.

Revised 2009 AFL Draft

  1. Nat Fyfe
  2. Dustin Martin
  3. Jack Gunston
  4. Michael Barlow
  5. Daniel Talia
  6. Lewis Jetta
  7. Jake Carlisle
  8. Tom Scully
  9. Allen Christensen
  10. Mitch Duncan
  11. Ben Cunnington
  12. Jamie Macmillan
  13. Max Gawn
  14. Stewart Crameri
  15. Koby Stevens
  16. Ben Stratton
  17. Taylor Duryea
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Rhys recently graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from Griffith University and is passionate about AFL. He also loves to write about film, tv and pop culture in general. You can follow him on Twitter at @RhysWoosnam