Five Victorian football clubs are hoping to have their fortunes changed as the selections for 'The Carlton Draft' are in, with four-time premiership player Isaac Smith taken at Pick 1 by the Bunyip Bulldogs in the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition.

Smith - who only retired this year and has been flagged for a potential mid-season return in the AFL - was the first legend to be snapped up by the local clubs, which included Trent Cotchin, Matthew Lloyd, Dylan Buckley and Leigh Montagna.

In front of local club representatives, fans and media at Crown Melbourne's The Pub, Richmond premiership captain Cotchin was taken at Pick 2.

The 2012 Brownlow medallist famously wore the yellow and black guernsey, but this time will be donning the navy blue for Ballan Blues from the Central Highlands Football League,

AFL Hall of Famer Lloyd was selected next at Pick 3 by Old Collegians FNC in the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League.

The Toora Magpies, from the Mid Gippsland Football Netball League, had the following pick, taking former Carlton and Giants player and well-known podcaster Dylan Buckley.

The final pick went to the Castlemaine Football and Netball Club in the Bendigo Football Netball League, with St Kilda legend Leigh Montanga returning to the game.

The complete 2024 draft results are as follows:

  • Pick one: Isaac Smith – Bunyip Bulldogs, West Gippsland Football Netball Competition
  • Pick two: Trent Cotchin – Ballan Blues, Central Highlands Football League
  • Pick three: Matthew Lloyd – Old Collegians FNC, Warrnambool & District Football Netball League
  • Pick four: Dylan Buckley – Toora Magpies, Mid Gippsland Football Netball League
  • Pick five: Leigh Montagna - Castlemaine Football & Netball Club, Bendigo Football Netball League

Pick 1 and champion winger Smith was stoked to be taken with the first selection in 'The Carlton Draft', following legends of the game Nathan Jones and Nathan Buckley.

“In years past, the likes of Nathan Jones and Nathan Buckley were taken at pick number one, so it feels great to be the third person in history to be taken first in The Carlton Draft. I slid all the way to pick 19 before being taken by the Hawks in 2010, so I'm happy the Bunyip Bulldogs didn't make the same mistake and snapped me up early,” Smith said.

“I had 36 disposals and a goal in my last game for the Cats in 2023, so hopefully I can do something similar for Bunyip and put on a show for the local community.”

Bunyip Bulldogs coach, Lachlan Petch, who snared Smith first on Tuesday night, said his club and town were buzzing to be a part of 'The Carlton Draft' and hoped the welcoming of an AFL player would provide a huge boost to the community.

I've kept a very keen eye on The Carlton Draft since it launched in 2022, and to be welcoming Isaac Smith to the club this year as part of the campaign is a dream come true.”

“Isaac was the obvious choice for us when we received the news we had the number one pick. We've got a couple of bulls in the midfield who should be able to feed him plenty of the ball on the outside, so we think he should get plenty of it come matchday.

“After seeing the success of clubs in previous years involved in the campaign and the positive memories it has created, we cannot wait to see what is in store for Bunyip. Hopefully, we can put some smiles on the faces of players, coaches and our loyal supporters,” he said.

The Carlton Draft match days are set to commence in late May.