Thursday night’s AFL National Draft kicked off with Carlton selecting Sam Walsh with the No.1 pick, while Gold Coast has began the rebuild by selecting South Australian boys Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine with picks two and three.
With reports from Marvel Stadium stating that Carlton were set to trade away the first pick, Walsh’s sensational TAC Cup season made him the Blues’ fifth No.1 pick in 14 years.
The on-baller averaged a total of 32 touches as skipper of the Geelong Falcons and 29 touches as Vic Country’s skipper. His class, work ethic and leadership skills made him the best country footballer.
Walsh was presented with the Carlton guernsey by co-captains Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty. Walsh also told the media that the last Geelong Falcons No.1 pick Paddy McCartin gave him some advice.
“I’ve known the McCartins for a while now and he’s such a humble guy,” Walsh said.
“He just said to embrace it because the hard work starts now, so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it and being part of this footy club.”
The Blues also provided one of the biggest shocks of the night by trading their 2019 first round selection to the Crows for Pick 19 and the Crows’ future first round selection.
Through this selection, big bodied Sandringham midfielder Liam Stocker found his way to Ikon Park. The pairing of Walsh and Stocker adds more depth to a promising, young on-ball group.
The Suns held two consecutive picks due to Tom Lynch’s free agency move. Not only did they take the South Australian duo, but they also picked up the versatile tall Ben King at six.
The Suns held three of the top six picks this year which sees plenty of young talent heading to Metricon Stadium as the club begins their rebuild.
St Kilda claimed the brother, Max King with Pick No.4. The 204 cm forward suffered an ACL injury earlier in his TAC campaign but the Saints were still willing to take the risk, which made Port Adelaide to select a local South Australian Connor Rozee with the next pick.
Speculation grew throughout the night that the Western Bulldogs were looking to trade away pick seven but the club chose to keep it and select midfielder Bailey Smith.
Adelaide made the Kangaroos match a bid for Tarryn Thomas at Pick 8, as they then selected his Tasmanian teammate Chayce Jones with the next pick.
Collingwood were the only other team forced to match a bid on a Next Generation Academy prospect with the Giants making the Pies select Isaac Quaynor with pick 13.
Sydney and West Coast completed the first live trade on draft night with the Swans trading pick 26 for a future third round selection early in the night.
But, the clubs were trading again with Sydney traded a future second round pick for the Eagles pick 24.
2018 NAB AFL DRAFT – FIRST ROUND
- Carlton: Sam Walsh
- Gold Coast: Jack Lukosius
- Gold Coast: Izak Rankine
- St Kilda: Max King
- Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee
- Gold Coast: Ben King
- Western Bulldogs: Bailey Smith
- North Melbourne: Tarryn Thomas*
- Adelaide: Chayce Jones
- Sydney: Nick Blakey*
- GWS: Jye Caldwell
- Port Adelaide: Zak Butters
- Collingwood: Isaac Quaynor*
- GWS: Jackson Hately
- Geelong: Jordan Clark
- Adelaide: Edward McHenry
- Fremantle: Sam Sturt
- Port Adelaide: Xavier Duursma
- Carlton: Liam Stocker
- Richmond: Riley Collier-Dawkins
- Brisbane: Ely Smith
- GWS: Xavier O’Halloran
*North Melbourne, Sydney and Collingwood all matched bids on their draftees