With the AFL trade period and NAB AFL Draft finished clubs are beginning to look towards the upcoming 2022 season.

Every year there are some fans that are excited about their big free agency and trade signings. Others have some young talented new draftees that their club has selected, while some fans are hoping for some further development from their current list, with a player or two making the leap.

Whether it's new faces, further internal improvement or changes in leadership there are many different pathways for each club to move up the ladder in 2022.

While we have now entered the quieter period of the AFL calendar, there is still plenty of sport to watch over the summer period. With the Ashes and BBL in full swing, and the AFLW competition beginning on the 7th of January there is something for all Australian sporting fans.

Check out the Zero Hanger AFLW and Zero Wicket sites for all your summer sporting news.

This time of year provides optimism for clubs, as they all begin a big off-season campaign. By doing so, clubs will be hoping for improvement as they look to develop new strategies and gameplays for the upcoming season.

While there are many ways that a player can make their way to a club, is there one pathway that provides more success than others?

Are each club's best players due to excellent drafting? Solid trading? or finding some bargains in the open market?

Taking a look at each club's best and fairest results, it is interesting to look at how each of those players made their way to the club.


Adelaide Crows - Malcolm Blight Medal

The Crows have predominantly used the draft to build their list, with the majority of the top 11 in their best and fairest coming from those selections.

The Crows are the only club to have a player selected in the Rookie Draft winning their club B&F in 2021. Rory Laird was selected with the 5th selection and has been a constantly great performer for the Crows ever since.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Rory Laird of the Crows fends off Dustin Martin of the Tigers during the 2018 AFL round 16 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Adelaide Crows at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 06, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

In total, four of their players were selected in the Rookie Draft, which meant that Adelaide have had more success in the Rookie Draft than any other club.

They also have the latest draft pick (that wasn't a father/son or academy pick) with Taylor Walker being selected with the 75th selection in 2007.

2015 was also one of their more impactful off-seasons, with three players (Keays, Doedee and O'Brien) all being selected that year.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Rory Laird 123 2011 Rookie Draft (P5)
2 Ben Keays 120 2015 AFL Draft (P24)*
3 Paul Seedsman 105 Traded from Coll (2015)
4 Brodie Smith 93 2010 AFL Draft (P14)
4 Tom Doedee 93 2015 AFL Draft (P17)
4 Taylor Walker 93 2007 AFL Draft (P75)
7 Jake Kelly 90 2014 Rookie Draft (P40)
7 Reilly O'Brien 90 2015 Rookie Draft (P9)
9 Jordon Butts 88 2019 Rookie Draft (P39)
10 Rory Sloane 86 2008 AFL Draft (P44)
10 Ned McHenry 86 2018 AFL Draft (P16)

*Academy selection


Brisbane Lions - Merrett-Murray Medal

Brisbane have managed to combine the draft and excellent recruiting in order to build their list.

A trade with Gold Coast in 2011 helped the Lions obtain their B&F winner of 2021. Zorko has been one of the club's most consistent and best performing players since his arrival at the club.

Dayne Zorko during the round 10 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans at The Gabba on May 26, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.

Four of the Lions top 10 players arrived from another club, with three (Zorko, Cameron and McCarthy) being traded and another being signed as a delisted free agent.

The 2017 off-season was one of the most impressive periods out of all clubs in the league. Four players were obtained during this period with Starcevich, McInerney and Bailey were all drafted, while a blockbuster trade with Adelaide resulted in getting the exciting Charlie Cameron. Include the fact that Cam Rayner (who was injured all season) was also selected with the number one selection and 2017 set up the Lions for the present and the future.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Dayne Zorko 340 Traded from GC (2011)
2 Hugh McCluggage 336 2016 AFL Draft (P3)
3 Jarryd Lyons 332 Delisted Free Agent (2018)
4 Brandon Starcevich 290 2017 AFL Draft (P18)
5 Daniel Rich 285 2008 AFL Draft (P7)
6 Harris Andrews 281 2014 AFL Draft (P61)
7 Oscar McInerney 274 2017 Rookie Draft (P37)
8 Zac Bailey 273 2017 AFL Draft (P15)
9 Charlie Cameron 266 Traded from ADEL (2017)
10 Lincoln McCarthy 254 Traded from GEEL (2018)


Carlton Blues - John Nicholls Medal

Carlton has built their current roster in predominantly two ways; high draft picks and trades.

All four of the Blues' top players were selected in the first round, with Patrick Cripps being the lowest selection at Pick 13. That includes their top two in Walsh and Weitering being selected with the number one pick.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15: Sam Walsh of the Blues in action during the 2019 AFL round 13 match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on June 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

They also have four of their top 10 being traded from other clubs with four consecutive vote-getters being recruited in the off-season.

For the Blues, they have built their roster off the 2015 off-season. Weitering and McKay are both cornerstones for the Blues anchoring the forward and backline. Plowman was also a young asset they acquired from the Giants and has been an underrated defender for Carlton over the past few years.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Sam Walsh 183 2018 AFL Draft (P1)
2 Jacob Weitering 172 2015 AFL Draft (P1)
3 Harry McKay 118 2015 AFL Draft (P10)
4 Patrick Cripps 112 2013 AFL Draft (P13)
5 Ed Curnow 100 2011 Rookie Draft (P18)
6 Adam Saad 97 Traded from ESS (2020)
7 Lachie Plowman 86 Traded from GWS (2015)
8 Liam Jones 80 Traded from WB (2014)
9 Eddie Betts 75 Traded from ADEL (2019)
10 Jack Silvagni 71 2015 AFL Draft (P53)**

**Father/Son Selection


Collingwood Magpies - EW Copeland Trophy

The Collingwood Magpies have had some big hits in the draft since 2005, getting success with their high draft picks. Six of their top 10 came from selections made within the top 20 picks of draft night.

Crisp was traded early into his career from Brisbane, and has flourished since coming to the Pies. He beat out some of the club's bigger names to take home the Copeland for 2021.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Jack Crisp of the Magpies handpasses the ball during the 2018 AFL Second Qualifying Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Collingwood Magpies at Optus Stadium on September 08, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Number 5 selections have been a success for the Pies, with Pendlebury and De Goey both finishing in the top five of this year's B&F.

Roughead and Mayne were veteran players that were recruited from rival clubs in the past five years and are still playing at a high level.

2014 was the year that helped the Pies regenerate their list, which helped fuel their Grand Final team in 2018. Crisp, Maynard, De Goey and Father/Son selection Darcy Moore all made their way to the club during that off-season.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Jack Crisp 90 Traded from BRIS (2014)
2 Brayden Maynard 70 2014 AFL Draft (P30)
3 Scott Pendlebury 67 2005 AFL Draft (P5)
4 Jordan De Goey 66 2014 AFL Draft (P5)
5 Steele Sidebottom 59 2008 AFL Draft (P11)
6 Brodie Grundy 57 2012 AFL Draft (P18)
7 Darcy Moore 54 2014 AFL Draft (P9) **
8 Isaac Quaynor 52 2018 AFL Draft (P13)
8 Jordan Roughead 52 Traded from WB (2018)
10 Chris Mayne 48 Free Agent Signing (2016)

**Father/Son Selection


Essendon Bombers - Crichton Medal

The Bombers have been able to move through the adversity of the mid 2010s and have turned themselves into a finals team. Getting good value from their draft picks and recruiting unwanted talent from other teams has helped fuel the recent success.

While being taken with the lowest pick (26) out of all other players in the top 10, Merrett had his best season as he took home the B&F.

AFL Rd 2 - Sydney v Essendon
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 14: Zach Merrett of the Bombers marks during the round 2 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at Sydney Cricket Ground on June 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

While having some success in the late first round/second round, Parish and Heppell ended up being the only selections in the top 15 to make this year's B&F top 10.

Snelling (mid-season) and McDonald-Tipungwuti (rookie) are both bargain players who weren't selected in their AFL Draft class.

For the Bombers it has been a slow build, with no more than two players who were in the top 10 making it to the club in the same off-season.

Despite recruiting aggressively from other clubs in the past, only Stringer was able to put together a season worthy of a top 10 finish in 2021. Hind was one of the recruits of the 2020 season, with his das and run out of the backline outperforming the low draft compensation the Saints received in return.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Zach Merrett 420 2013 AFL Draft (P26)
2 Darcy Parish 339 2015 AFL Draft (P5)
3 Will Snelling 315 2019 Mid-Season Draft (P7)
4 Jordan Ridley 309 2016 AFL Draft (P22)
5 Jake Stringer 286 Traded from WB (2017)
6 Jayden Laverde 278 2014 AFL Draft (P20)
7 Kyle Langford 253 2014 AFL Draft (P17)
8 Nick Hind 223 Traded from STK (2020)
9 Dyson Heppell 218 2010 AFL Draft (P8)
10 Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti 214 2015 Rookie Draft (P22)


Fremantle Dockers - Doig Medal

Fremantle have had one of the best success rates with the draft, having nine of their top 10 being selected on draft night by the Dockers.

Some of their premier talent has come in the top 20 selections, with Mundy, Bradshaw, Serong, Cerra and Fyfe all being star talents.

It hasn't just been top level picks that have helped the Dockers though. Four of their top 10 were taken in the third round or later, including Doig Medal winner Darcy.

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: Sean Darcy of the Dockers (L) competes for the ball against Max Gawn of the Demons during the round 16 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Fremantle Dockers at TIO Stadium on July 7, 2018 in Darwin, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Despite Cerra leaving to Carlton in the off-season, 2017 has set the Dockers up for long term success. Not only did they receive another top 10 talent from Carlton in this years draft, there other 2017 selections have proven to be hits. Brayshaw and Switkowski were taken at opposite ends of the draft but will both be important pieces in the Dockers' next finals run.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Sean Darcy 222 2016 AFL Draft (P38)
2 David Mundy 207 2003 AFL Draft (P19)
3 Andrew Brayshaw 186 2017 AFL Draft (P2)
4 Caleb Serong 155 2019 AFL Draft (P8)
5 Adam Cerra 147 2017 AFL Draft (P5)
6 Luke Ryan 140 2016 AFL Draft (P66)
7 Nat Fyfe 130 2009 AFL Draft (P20)
8 Lachie Schultz 118 2018 AFL Draft (P57)
9 Travis Colyer 115 Traded from ESS (2018)
10 Sam Switkowski 105 2017 AFL Draft (P73)


Geelong Cats - Carji Greeves Medal

Geelong have been one of the league's top teams for the past decade, being a genuine contender seemingly every season. The Cats used some great drafting to help maintain that success.

Stewart was a third-round selection, who has turned himself into one of the league's best defenders and arguably the best intercept player in the competition. Despite missing time this season, winning the Carji Greeves is a testament to his dominant season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 05: Tom Stewart of the Cats is tackled during the round 16 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats at Sydney Cricket Ground on July 5, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Regular success has resulted in less top end draft picks for the Cats in recent times. They have still been able to find some gems with Henry, Close and Blicavs all being Rookie Draft selections.

It is no wonder that Geelong was able to see sustained success over the past 15 years, as half of their top 10 players were drafted in 2012 or earlier. Having those players still be successful is a testament to excellent scouting and development of players.

On the flip side however, there is less younger talent making its way onto the top 10 of the B&F. Only Smith and Close came to the club after the 2016 off-season, but Smith is in his 30s.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Tom Stewart 214 2016 AFL Draft (P40)
2 Jack Henry 212 2016 Rookie Draft (P16)
3 Tom Hawkins 189 2006 AFL Draft (P41)**
4 Isaac Smith 187 Traded from HAW (2020)
5 Cameron Guthrie 182 2010 AFL Draft (P23)
6 Mark Blicavs 156 2012 Rookie Draft (P54)
7 Bradley Close 155 2019 Rookie Draft (P14)
8 Joel Selwood 147 2006 AFL Draft (P7)
9 Jed Bews 143 2011 AFL Draft (P86)**
10 Brandan Parfitt 140 2016 AFL Draft (P26)

**Father/Son Selection


Gold Coast Suns - Club Champion

While being a young club, the Suns have utilised the draft to help establish their current top 10 players. Previously recruiting establish players from other clubs, they are now building through the draft with more of a focus on keeping hold of their young prospects.

Touk Miller has one of the oldest tenures at the club of all players in the top 10, but he managed to break out into a genuine A grader in the 2021 season. An excellent value for the Suns at pick 29.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 07: Touk Miller of the Suns celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 21 AFL match between Carlton Blues and Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

2018 and 2019 were both important years for the Suns, which will likely help push them into their first finals series.

In 2018, Collins, Holman and Lukosius all made their way to the club. 2019 saw Anderson and Ellis come to the Suns, making up five of their top 10 players. Factor in that Rankine and Rowell were both high draft picks in those two seasons and the Suns have their core of the future. Providing health and the ability to keep them, Gold Coast will be on the up in the near future.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Touk Miller 562 2014 AFL Draft (P29)
2 Wil Powell 396 2017 AFL Draft (P19)
3 David Swallow 352 2010 AFL Draft (P1)
4 Sam Collins 350 2018 Mature Age Concession
5 Charlie Ballard 299 2017 AFL Draft (P42)
6 Brandon Ellis 287 2019 Free Agent Signing
7 Sean Lemmens 281 2013 AFL Draft (P27)
8 Noah Anderson 270 2019 AFL Draft (P2)
9 Nick Holman 262 2018 Rookie Draft (P19)
10 Jack Lukosius 254 2018 AFL Draft (P2)


Greater Western Sydney Giants - Kevin Sheedy Medal

The Giants have managed to capitalise on high draft picks to help build their core group. Even factoring in all the players poached by rival clubs, they are still stacked with top end picks.

Josh Kelly was a highly sought after player in 2013, and shook off a slow start to the year to put together a dominant season. He wasn't the only high draft pick that helped the Giants make it to the second round of the finals, however.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 16: Josh Kelly of the Giants kicks whilst being tackled by Nick Larkey of the Kangaroos during the round 13 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Greater Western Sydney GIants at Blundstone Arena on June 16, 2019 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

eight of the club's top 10 players were selected in the top 20 selections, with only Taylor being drafted lower (28). Ward was one of the Giants' first big recruits and is still one of the clubs best and most consistent players in 2021.

2011 was the off-season before the Giants' first year in the AFL, which helped propel them into the perineal finals threat. Greene, Haynes and Ward are still producing at a high level and have been routinely some of the Giants best since they started playing in finals.

Kelly and Greene were first and second in the club B&F and are now co-captains with Coniglio in 2022.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Joshua Kelly 159 2013 AFL Draft (P2)
2 Toby Greene 149 2011 AFL Draft (P11)
3 Jacob Hopper 142 2015 AFL Draft (P7)
4 Tim Taranto 129 2016 AFL Draft (P2)
5 Sam Taylor 122 2017 AFL Draft (P28)
6 Callan Ward 111 2011 Free Agent Signing
6 Harrison Himmelberg 111 2015 AFL Draft (P16)
6 Isaac Cumming 111 2016 AFL Draft (P20)
9 Nick Haynes 100 2011 AFL Draft (P7)
10 Lachie Whitfield 97 2012 AFL Draft (P1)


Hawthorn Hawks - Peter Crimmins Medal

The Hawks have been bringing in more young talent over the past few years, as they begin looking towards the future. They're 2021 B&F count however, still contained many of their recent blockbuster trades.

Mitchell won another Crimmins Medal in 2021, showing his leadership and importance in the midfield. Since coming to the club in 2016, he has been their best player proving to be a valuable pickup for the Hawks.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Tom Mitchell of the Hawks celebrates the win on the final siren during the round 20 AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 4, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Four of the Hawks top six were acquired by the club via trade. In an attempt to maintain their success of the early 2010s, they made multiple blockbuster trades. Mitchell, O'Meara, Wingard and Frost were all traded to the Hawks in consecutive years. Spanning between 2016 through to 2019, this year showed that they are all still valuable players who are capable of playing at a high level.

The club's success and aggressive trades meant that the Hawks had very few high draft picks over the past decade. They were still able to find diamonds in the rough, getting value from some of those later selections. Howe was the player selected with the highest pick (31), while the remainder of their top 10 were selected later in the draft. Jiath was taken as a Category B Rookie and had a career-best season in 2021. He looks to be an important piece whenever the Hawks begin pushing for finals again.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Tom Mitchell 161 Traded from SYD (2016)
2 Blake Hardwick 126 2015 AFL Draft (P44)
3 Jaeger O'Meara 121 Traded from GC (2016)
4 Dylan Moore 101 2017 AFL Draft (P67)
5 Chad Wingard 100 Traded from PA (2018)
6 Sam Frost 95 Traded from MELB (2019)
7 Daniel Howe 83 2014 AFL Draft (P31)
8 Changkuoth Jiath 79 Category B Rookie (2017)
9 Liam Shiels 74 2008 AFL Draft (P34)
9 James Worpel 74 2017 AFL Draft (P45)


Melbourne Demons - Keith ‘Bluey' Truscott Medal

The premiers were able to build their list with a combination of excellent drafting and impactful trading.

Oliver won his third Truscott Medal in 2021 with another outstanding season. The number four pick has exceeded expectations for the Demons becoming one of the league's most damaging players. Coupled with Petracca and Gawn, the top three of the B&F count make a lethal midfield group that is widely considered the league's best.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 27: Clayton Oliver of the Demons celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL round 19 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on July 27, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Demons were able to find an excellent balance in their recruitment with four top 12 selections, three trades and three selections from Pick 34 and onwards making up their top 10. Their build was also a gradual process with only Petracca and Alex Neal-Bullen coming to the club in the same offseason.

While criticised in the past for the money and assets spent on Lever and May, the two have created a defensive pairing that has become the envy of the other 17 teams. Including Salem in the mix, having three defenders finish in the top seven in the B&F highlights how impactful and important defence has become for the Demons.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Clayton Oliver 670 2015 AFL Draft (P4)
2 Christian Petracca 644 2014 AFL Draft (P2)
3 Max Gawn 542 2009 AFL Draft (P34)
4 Christian Salem 522 2013 AFL Draft (P9)
5 Jake Lever 498 Traded from ADEL (2017)
6 Ed Langdon 487 Traded from FRE (2019)
7 Steven May 431 Traded from GC (2018)
8 Alex Neal-Bullen 421 2014 AFL Draft (P40)
9 Tom McDonald 408 2010 AFL Draft (P53)
9 Kysaiah Pickett 408 2019 AFL Draft (P12)


North Melbourne Kangaroos - Syd Barker Medal

As an up and coming team, the Kangaroos have used the AFL Draft and Rookie Draft to help fill out their best players of 2021. They still get contributions from some of their more senior players, but now are seeing some of their selections from the past five years hit their prime.

Simpkin has a career season in 2021, obtaining close to 20% more votes than the second place getter. In an impressive year, Simpkin has shown that he is a midfielder of the future who will help transition the club as the younger players begin to take over more responsibility.

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 10: Jy Simpkin of the Kangaroos in action during the 2019 AFL round 21 match between the Geelong Cats and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at GMHBA Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Cunnington and Ziebell were both selected before 2010, and finished in the clubs top three. Goldstein was also their number one ruckman for 2021. Having solid veterans on the list is important for development but will likely have left the club before returning they start competing for finals again.

Four of their top five in the B&F were first round selections ranging from 4 through to 12. Being a club that always remained competitive, they never got access to the best handful of players in the draft class. Hall was the only player in the top 10 that found their way to the Kangaroos via trade.

While they have found success with their high draft picks, their recruiting past the second round and in the rookie draft has helped to stockpile young talent. McKay and Larkey were both taken after the first round, while Zurhaar and Turner are Rookie Draft selections.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Jy Simpkin 143 2016 AFL Draft (P12)
2 Ben Cunnington 117 2009 AFL Draft (P5)
3 Jack Ziebell 114 2008 AFL Draft (P9)
3 Aaron Hall 114 Traded from GC (2018)
5 Luke Davies-Uniacke 109 2017 AFL Draft (P4)
6 Ben McKay 106 2015 AFL Draft (P21)
7 Cameron Zurhaar 95 2017 Rookie Draft (P11)
7 Tarryn Thomas 95 2018 AFL Draft (P8)
9 Kayne Turner 92 2014 Rookie Draft (P25)
10 Nick Larkey 90 2016 AFL Draft (P73)


Port Adelaide Power - John Cahill Medal

Port Adelaide quickly become one of the league's top teams, as some of their high draft picks and savvy recruiting began to pay off.

The Brownlow Medallist capped off an impressive season by winning the John Cahill Medal in 2021. Despite the Victorian having early hesitation when he was initially drafted, Wines has made a home for himself in SA and has become the Powers most important player.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 17: Ollie Wines of the Power walks out onto the field during the round 22 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Port Adelaide Power at Marvel Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Three of their top 10 players were acquired by trade, with Burton, Aliir and Dixon all making an instant impact on their arrival at the club. Aliir in particular turned himself into an All-Australian quality defender in his first season at the Power.

Their recent B&F results was made up of four players being selected later than the third round of the AFL draft or in the Rookie draft. Amon and Byrne-Jones were late draft selections in the national draft, while Jonas and Houston were Rookie selections.

Port even have more to be excited about as their ‘super draft' of 2018, didn't feature in this seasons top 10. Expect Rozee, Butters and Duursma to feature more regularly in the top 10 over the next decade. The year was even more impactful with the signing of Lycett and receiving Burton in a trade for Wingard also occurring in the same off-season.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Ollie Wines 229 2012 AFL Draft (P7)
2 Travis Boak 167 2006 AFL Draft (P5)
3 Aliir Aliir 164 Traded from SYD (2020)
4 Karl Amon 146 2013 AFL Draft (P68)
5 Tom Jonas 137 2011 Rookie Draft (P16)
6 Ryan Burton 132 Traded from HAW (2018)
6 Daniel Houston 132 2016 Rookie Draft (P45)
8 Darcy Byrne-Jones 125 2013 AFL Draft (P52)
9 Charlie Dixon 123 Traded from GC (2015)
10 Scott Lycett 120 2018 Free Agent Signing


Richmond Tigers - Jack Dyer Medal

The Tigers have made a name for themselves of finding value all around the draft. After winning three premierships in four season, Richmond weren't given them same luxury of picks as other clubs. Instead they developed their picks from the Rookie Draft, Pre-Season draft and latter half of the national draft.

Grimes was an early pick in the 2010 preseason draft, and has developed into a reliable defender for the Tigers. In 2021, he won the Jack Dyer Medal after another impressive campaign.

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Dylan Grimes of the Tigers marks the ball against Paul Puopolo of the Hawks during the AFL First Qualifying Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 6, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Baker, Short and Lambert were all Rookie Draft selections that were overlooked by every other club. The Tigers were able to develop them into quality talents who will help them compete after the old guard leaves the club.

Richmond legends Cotchin, Riewoldt and Martin were the only high draft picks that found themselves in the top 10. The other draft selections were taken after the 29th pick. Lynch is the only player that wasn't drafted by the Tigers, after coming across from the Suns in 2018.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Dylan Grimes 51 2010 Pre-Season Draft (P2)
2 Jack Graham 46 2016 AFL Draft (P53)
2 Liam Baker 46 2018 Rookie Draft (P18)
4 Shai Bolton 45 2016 AFL Draft (P29)
5 Jack Riewoldt 40 2006 AFL Draft (P13)
5 Dustin Martin 40 2009 AFL Draft (P3)
7 Jayden Short 39 2015 Rookie Draft (P11)
8 Tom Lynch 38 2018 Free Agent Signing
9 Kane Lambert 35 2015 Rookie Draft (P46)
10 Trent Cotchin 33 2007 AFL Draft (P2)
10 Nathan Broad 33 2015 AFL Draft (P67)


St Kilda Saints - Trevor Barker Award

Unlike most other clubs in the competition, St Kilda haven't relied heavily on the AFL draft. Only three of their top 10 players were selected in the draft, with none of them featuring in the top five.

Jack Steele headlines the Saints' off-season recruiting, being their best trade over the past decade. He won the Trevor Barker Award by close to 100 votes over the second place getter.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: Jack Steele of the Saints leads the team out during the 2021 AFL Round 23 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Fremantle Dockers at Blundstone Arena on August 22, 2021 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Grant Viney/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

As well as Steele, Hill and Howard were also traded to the Saints in the past two years. Crouch and Membrey are two other players who made the top 10 that were recruited from other clubs, both signing as free agents.

While not featuring heavily with AFL draft selections, half of their top four players came to the club through the Rookie Draft. Sinclair and Wilkie were both undervalued around the league and have become quality players for the Saints.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Jack Steele 234 Traded from GWS (2016)
2 Jack Sinclair 155 2014 Rookie Draft (P1)
3 Tim Membrey 136 Delisted Free Agent (2014)
4 Callum Wilkie 124 2019 Rookie Draft (P3)
5 Brad Crouch 120 Free Agent Signing (2020)
5 Bradley Hill 120 Traded from FRE (2019)
7 Seb Ross 117 2011 AFL Draft (P25)
8 Dougal Howard 112 Traded from PA (2019)
9 Jimmy Webster 105 2011 AFL Draft (P42)
10 Max King 101 2018 AFL Draft (P4)


Sydney Swans - Bob Skilton Medal

The Swans have been able to acquire plenty of talent in the draft, which has resulted in a quick rise up the ladder. Coupled that with a few acquisitions from rival clubs and the Swans are looking primed to challenge over the next few years. Despite Hickey coming to the club with less fanfare than Franklin, he was equally important to their success in 2021.

Parker has been a valuable contributor for the Swans who never plays a bad game of football. Leading a young midfield, he won the Bob Skilton Medal in 2021.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: (L-R) Luke Parker, Oliver Florent and Ryan Clarke of the Swans celebrate victory after the round seven AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats at Sydney Cricket Ground on May 01, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Papley and Lloyd have helped sure up both ends of the ground, and were valuable pick ups for the Swans. Both were Rookie Draft selections and have outperformed most other players taken in that years draft.

Even in the draft, Sydney was able to find value later in the night. Parker, Dawson and McInerney were all taken after the 40th selection, with most clubs regretting these talented players slip past them on draft night.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Luke Parker 543 2010 AFL Draft (P40)
2 Jake Lloyd 504 2013 Rookie Draft (P16)
3 Jordan Dawson 502 2015 AFL Draft (P56)
4 Tom Papley 481 2016 Rookie Draft (P14)
5 Callum Mills 475 2015 AFL Draft (P3)
6 Tom Hickey 444 Traded from WC (2020)
7 Isaac Heeney 437 2014 AFL Draft (P18)
8 Justin McInerney 383 2018 AFL Draft (P44)
9 Oliver Florent 358 2016 AFL Draft (P11)
10 Lance Franklin 351 2013 Free Agent Signing


West Coast Eagles - John Worsfold Medal

West Coast are another side that has used both ends of the draft and a series of trades to build their list. There team is filled with experience with only two players arriving at the club since 2015 (Kelly and Allen).

Naitanui was able to put together one of his most consistent seasons, after struggling to stay healthy in the past few years. When fit, he showed that he is still one of the league's best rucks while winning the John Worsfold Medal.

AFL Rd 9 - West Coast v Geelong
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Mark Blicavs of the Cats and Nic Naitanui of the Eagles contest the ruck during the round nine AFL match between West Coast Eagles and the Geelong Cats at Optus Stadium on August 01, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

All of the top three came to the club with high draft picks, with Naitanui (Pick 2), Sheed (11) and Gaff (4), all proving to be worthy of those selections.

Three other players in the top 10 were traded from rival clubs, with Redden, Kelly and Cripps all being valuable recruits for the Eagles.

They have also showed an ability to find some value after the first round. Darling, Allen, Barrass and Cole were all selected past the 20th selection yet still managed to forge excellent careers for themselves and the Eagles.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Nic Naitanui 200 2008 AFL Draft (P2)
2 Dom Sheed 160 2013 AFL Draft (P11)
3 Andrew Gaff 149 2010 AFL Draft (P4)
4 Jack Redden 137 Traded from BRIS (2015)
5 Jack Darling 136 2010 AFL Draft (P26)
6 Tim Kelly 129 Traded from GEEL (2019)
7 Jamie Cripps 128 Traded from STK (2012)
8 Tom Barrass 123 2013 AFL Draft (P43)
9 Tom Cole 119 2015 AFL Draft (P36)

Oscar Allen

113 2017 AFL Draft (P21)


Western Bulldogs - Charles Sutton Medal

The Bulldogs managed to hit on a range of high draft selections, while also unearthing the potential of some of the looked over talent found at the end of the draft.

Bontempelli was one of the highly touted prospects that have managed to exceed their already lofty expectations. Winning another Charles Sutton Medal and captaining the squad, Bontempelli is making a case for the best player in the competition.

AFL Rd 10 - Western Bulldogs v St Kilda
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2021 AFL Round 10 match between the Western Bulldogs and the St Kilda Saints at Marvel Stadium on May 22, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Four top ten draft selections have made up the Dogs B&F count, with Macrae (Pick 6), Smith (7) and Naughton (9) joining the Bont as players selected in the first round.

Another four players in their top 10 were taken in the 40s of the AFL draft, having more success at the point of the draft then any other club. Liberatore, Dale, Williams and Daniel all had issues that many other clubs skip them, but have become vital players for the Dogs as they challenge for the premiership.

The Bulldogs have also been able to trade for some excellent depth players. Both Keath and Duryea have improved since changing clubs, with the ready-made players making an impact from the moment they arrived at the Dogs.

Player Votes How they got to club
1 Marcus Bontempelli 353 2013 AFL Draft (P4)
2 Jack Macrae 296 2012 AFL Draft (P6)
3 Tom Liberatore 291 2010 AFL Draft (P40)**
4 Bailey Dale 251 2014 AFL Draft (P45)
5 Caleb Daniel 250 2014 AFL Draft (P46)
6 Alex Keath 241 Traded from ADEL (2019)
7 Bailey Smith 216 2018 AFL Draft (P7)
8 Aaron Naughton 211 2017 AFL Draft (P9)
9 Taylor Duryea 198 Traded from HAW (2018)
10 Bailey Williams 171 2015 AFL Draft (P48)


Statistics Summary 

B&F Winners:

  • 39% came from top 20 AFL Draft selections
  • 28% came from AFL Draft selections after pick 20
  • 22% were traded players from another club
  • One player was from the Rookie Draft and one was from the Pre-season Draft

Each clubs top 10

  • 35% came from top 20 AFL Draft selections
  • 27% came from AFL Draft selections after pick 20
  • 19% were traded players from another club
  • 12% came from the Rookie Draft
  • 5% were free agent signings

Trades and Free Agents