Hindsight, in all it’s gloriousness, is 20/20.
In seasons gone by, hits, steals and misses on AFL draft night has oft been a topic of discussion. While the early first round picks get all the fame and glory, others slide under the radar and are forced to wait idly by to hear their name read out on draft night.
Let’s look into players league-wide who were chosen with later draft picks, who have turned out to be bargain pickups.
Aliir Aliir (Sydney) pick 44
The Kenyan-born Aliir has broken into the Swans’ best 22 this season as one of their most impactful players.
Aliir not only stops his man, he is capable of taking impressive contested marks under pressure and rebounds with lightning pace. Extremely poised and underrated disposal too.
Ben Brown (North Melbourne) – pick 47
North Melbourne’s Coleman medal leading forward was unbelievably overlooked for three seperate drafts before arriving at an AFL club. Prior to being drafted in 2013, Brown represented home state Tasmania in the 2010 Under 18 National Championships.
His journey to the draft took a horrific turn when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament which resulted in the key forward being passed up as a potential draftee. It was a long road to recovery, plagued with groin injuries, but Brown returned to Glenorchy in 2012.
Shifting back into the limelight, Brown moved to Melbourne in 2013 where he played for Werribee in the VFL. Catching the eye of a handful of clubs later in the year, North Melbourne selected him with their pick 47 in the National Draft.
James Sicily (Hawthorn) – pick 56
The 2016 rising star nominee saw good form with club Western Jets, so the question still remains as to why he slid so far down the pecking order. The colourful Sicily plays his game on a razor’s edge, but a slide down the draft order suited the Hawthorn Hawks to a tee.
To date, the defender-turn-forward-turn-defender again has slotted seamlessly into the Hawks side and has found his calling as a core member of their defense. Highly touted for his smart reading of play, and even smarter decision making, the 2013 pick 56 is a fast emerging competition star whose name always surfaces among the tabloids.