2022 AFL Draft Preview: Western Bulldogs
WITH season proper and trade period done and dusted, AFL fans and staff alike now turn their attention towards the draft (November 28-30). The chaos has settled on player and pick swaps, and budding prospects have completed their combines, leaving a nervous wait until they learn their fate.
In the next of our club by club previews, we take a look at the Western Bulldogs’ draft hand and offer insight into how they may utilise the picks at their possession. Boasting a selection in each round and a strong hand heading into next year, anything is possible.
2022 FINISH: 8th
CURRENT PICKS: 11, 21, 39, 67, 75
FUTURE PICKS: WB R1, BL R1, BL R2, WB R4, MEL R4, GEE R4
ACADEMY/FATHER-SON NOMINEES: Nil.
FIRST PICK OPTIONS:
Much of what the Bulldogs can do hinges on what goes down within the top 10, but there is plenty of value to be had across an even first round. Not targeting one particular area of the ground, the Bulldogs will pick the best available talent.
In terms of targets, Oliver Hollands would be a handy fit should he slip past Carlton, after the Dogs lost Josh Dunkley and Lachie Hunter from their midfield rotation. In a similar vein, Mattaes Phillipou looms as a prospect in high demand, but looks to be right in the Bulldogs’ wheelhouse. He has likened himself to skipper Marcus Bontempelli, and would be another versatile addition.
Elsewhere, West Australian bolter Edward Allan is another with interest from the likes of West Coast early on, but could be available for the Dogs to swoop on. Despite offering a small sample size through injury, he tore up the draft combine and can play just about anywhere with his all-round athletic profile.
Fellow West Aussie Jedd Busslinger may also be in the mix should the Bulldogs seek long-term key defensive cover, and Lewis Hayes is another tall back in the same range who could feature. Bids on father-son talents may also be in the Bulldogs’ plans, particularly with Jaspa Fletcher around the mark.
Having prized an early second rounder off Brisbane, the Bulldogs could again go down the bidding route with Alwyn Davey Jr. Should they go their own way, another midfielder-forward in Olli Hotton, or genuine small forward in Jacob Konstanty could be shrewd selections.
The latter is said to be within first round contention, particularly with GWS lurking, and a similar thing can be said for the likes of Lachlan Cowan and Jakob Ryan. Otherwise, the Bulldogs may pounce on Henry Hustwaite, a 195cm midfielder-defender with plenty of suitors in the second round.
The Bulldogs are expected to use three picks, with 39 opening up the third round. The crop tends to drop off after that mark, though there remains some less-proven, high-upside types who the Bulldogs might consider. Unlike other years, they won’t have to worry about incorporating plans for father-son or Next Generation Academy bids.
– Will the Bulldogs stick to their guns on selecting the best available talent?
– Which top 10 slider will get to the Bulldogs’ first pick?
– Will the Bulldogs utilise their position at the start of rounds two and three to enter live trading?