2021 AFL Draft review: Geelong

WITH the 2021 AFL Draft done and dusted, Rookie Me Central takes a look through each clubs’ hauls to assess the areas they bolstered and what each fresh face promises to bring to their new side. Next under the microscope is Geelong, which characteristically dipped into its local talent pool and pulled a few surprises en route to a six-player haul.

National Draft selections:

#24 Toby Conway (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
#25 Mitchell Knevitt (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
#32 James Willis (North Adelaide/South Australia)
#48 Flynn Kroeger (Eastern Ranges)
#64 Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

Rookie Draft selections:

#13 Oliver Dempsey (Old Carey Grammarians/Carey Grammar)

Geelong’s night one trade with the Western Bulldogs set up a fruitful night two, as the Cats pounced on a couple of local talents early in the second round. First up was Toby Conway, the best pure ruck in the draft and one who is different from the Cats’ current key position crop. At 205cm, his around-the-ground work is developing, but his ruck craft is strong and he can clunk contested marks. He’ll be given time to develop under Geelong’s other talls.

With Conway onboard, Geelong then nabbed another Falcon in Mitch Knevitt via the very next pick, beginning its targeted midfield regeneration. At 193cm, Knevitt is an inside ball winner with incredible range and athletic upside, which translated to a high rate of improvement this year and fantastic performances across multiple levels.

The Cats then shifted South to take North Adelaide midfielder James Willis, an explosive type who hits hard. He rounded out Geelong’s three-man second round haul, before Flynn Kroeger was added at pick 48. Another strong ball winner, the Eastern Ranges graduate was a surprise selection and one who, like Willis, missed out on a full season of football this year.

Having backed their judgement with those two picks, Geelong then reverted back to home base and snapped up a third Falcon in Cooper Whyte. A more balanced type, he offers a touch of flair through the engine room and penetrative left-foot kicking on the end of his bustling stoppage exits.

Fans will not know too much about rookie Oliver Dempsey, who was Geelong’s rabbit out of the hat this year. He is an athletic forward in the Isaac Heeney mould and albeit with a small sample size, looks like he has the potential to prove a value selection with time.

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