2022 AFL Draft Preview: Brisbane
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 Brisbane’s draft hand and offer insight into how the Lions may utilise the picks at their possession. Much of that will be out of their hands, though, with a pair of father-son guns set to arrive in the first round.
2022 FINISH: 4th
CURRENT PICKS: 34, 35, 36, 38, 55
FUTURE PICKS: GEE R2, MEL R3, BL R3, WB R3, FRE R4
ACADEMY/FATHER-SON NOMINEES: Will Ashcroft, Jaspa Fletcher
Brisbane has known for some time now that its first pick will involve Will Ashcroft, the player viewed by many as the best in this year’s draft crop. Having already mobilised to ensure they have the necessary draft points to match a likely bid within the top two, the Lions will be thankful that GWS seems to be leaning in favour of taking Aaron Cadman first off the board, leaving the bidding duties to North Melbourne. Either way, matching will wipe out the majority of Brisbane’s points, and the Queensland club will have to get creative at the trade table thereafter.
In terms of what Ashcroft offers, he’s a prospect whose list of accolades speaks for itself. He led Sandringham and Vic Metro to respective titles, was named best afield in the NAB League grand final, earned captaincy honours in the NAB League team of the year and All Australian squad, was Vic Metro MVP and the Larke Medalist, and proved a standout candidate for each award. His professionalism, consistency, and ball winning acumen are off the charts, meaning he’ll likely have little trouble slotting into a strong Brisbane midfield in year one.
Boasting five future picks to potentially work into draft night trades, Brisbane will likely be forced to do so in hopes of escaping points deficit in 2023. That’s essentially down to the fact that after Ashcroft, a bid for fellow father-son gun Jaspa Fletcher is tipped to come late in the first round, or early in the second.
The balanced midfielder produced an outstanding season in his own right, captaining the Lions Academy and Allies teams en route to earning All Australian selection. His first preseason is set to be interrupted due to injury, but having been around the club as early as last preseason and during his rehab, the Lions will have no issue in doing what they must to secure his services.
Aside from its two father-son coups in the National Draft, Brisbane has some other key listings to attend to. The club has committed to redrafting Nakia Cockatoo and Ryan Lester, and has lured Conor McKenna back from Ireland. Darryl McDowell-White Jr, the son of Darryl White, will also come in on the Lions’ Category B list.
It is worth noting, too, that despite representing the Lions Academy and Allies this year, Shadeau Brain is not eligible to be taken by Brisbane as an Academy player, given he has not spent the necessary amount of time in the pathway program. The medium forward earned a National Combine invite this year though, so will have interest from other clubs.
– Will Brisbane go into points deficit next year?
– How can Brisbane trade to obtain more draft points?
– Where will the bids fall for Brisbane’s father-son guns?