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 Collingwood’s draft hand and offer insight into how the Magpies may utilise the picks at their possession. The Magpies tried to trade up the order during the trade period, and could still do so on the night, boasting Pick 16, as well as a couple in the mid 20s.
2022 FINISH: 4th
CURRENT PICKS: 16, 25, 27, 51, 79
FUTURE PICKS: COL R1, COL R4
ACADEMY/FATHER-SON NOMINEES: Nil.
FIRST PICK OPTIONS:
Collingwood has been linked to a multitude of players at the Magpies’ first pick, with just about every position under the sun covered. Realistically the Magpies can afford to go for best available, but might have to opt for a tall to ensure they pick up the one they have at the top of their list. A couple of South Australians should be high on the agenda, with North Adelaide’s Isaac Keeler arguably the highest upside player in that range.
Keeler has to work on his endurance, but his athleticism for a big man and ability to slot goals from outside 50 makes him an attractive prospect to any clubs. With the loss of Brodie Grundy, the Magpies might bring in either him, or All-Australian ruck and fellow Croweater, Harry Barnett. Both are long-term talents, as is key defender Lewis Hayes up the other end. He was linked to the Pies early to be that key defensive role left by Jordan Roughead and provide support to Billy Frampton.
Among the other names considered for the pick include running defender Lachlan Cowan, small forward Charlie Clarke, midfielder/defender Henry Hustwaite and rebounding defender Jakob Ryan. Clarke seems more likely to end up at the GWS GIANTS at this stage, with both Hustwaite and Ryan potentially available at the next selection. Cowan is the most likely favoured selection if available, and could well be if opposition teams opt for more midfield and tall options in the preceding picks. However with the close proximity between picks, it will be a juggling act to see who is there.
The other option for the Magpies is to package up picks and move up the order, potentially trying to package Pick 16 and Pick 25 for a selection on the edge of the Top 10. With Oakleigh Chargers jet Elijah Tsatas potentially sliding, and the likes of Jedd Busslinger and Matthew Jefferson as key talls in that range, the Magpies might see the value in forfeiting one of their Top 30 picks to upgrade their first selection. A dream pick would be to grab Collingwood supporter Jhye Clark if he happened to slide and they traded up.
A lot of those names mentioned above could very well be there in the 20s, which is why it will be a juggling act for Derek Hine and his team. Hustwaite and Ryan should both come into consideration if still there, and the Magpies supporters are certainly expecting a tall of some kind, and perhaps even two. Another name who is flying under the radar despite being a first round potential pick is Olli Hotton, who could follow in the footsteps of his father, Trent.
If the Magpies have gone tall early, they might look at Dandenong Stingrays inside midfielder Mitch Szybkowski as a strong choice to fill that onball depth. Another Magpies supporter growing up, the club has chatted to him and he should be there at their third pick. If Collingwood lose a pick by trading up and have to utilise a later selection, then Gippsland Power ruck Max Knobel or Norwood tall Phoenix Foster might come into the thinking.
A fan of picking up South Australians, the Magpies could be closely watching the movements of exciting mid-forward Harrison Magor and if they opted for the smaller roles in the early stages, could be the ones to pull the trigger on any of the other South Australian talls such as Harry Lemmey or Tom Scully. Athletic Oakleigh tall Max Gruzewski is another to consider for the Magpies, while an outside the box choice could be small forward Joe Richards who was mentored by Pies premiership player Ben Reid at Wangaratta this year.
– Can the Magpies trade up the order into the Top 10?
– How many talls will Collingwood pick up in this year’s draft?
– With so many Collingwood supporters in the draft pool, will the Magpies be able to pull out the younger photos of the draftees in their black and whites?