Late Mail: All the first round stipulations

AS night one of the 2022 AFL Draft approaches, there are plenty of late whispers flying around. Clubs are readying to pick up the phone and get busy during live trading, while others sweat on when potential academy and father-son bids roll in. We run through some of the key permutations set to dictate round one.

Starting from the top, Brisbane is claiming ignorance as to whether Brisbane will place a bid for Will Ashcroft, though it seems Aaron Cadman will be taken outright as the number one draft pick. From there, North will be left to bid on Ashcroft, before snapping up George Wardlaw and Harry Sheezel.

Essendon’s pick four looms as the key pivot point within the top 10, whether the Bombers keep it or not. Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs have been pegged as a potentially aggressive players in the first round, with the Dees wielding two future first round selections and pick 13, which may tempt the Dons’ recruiting staff.

While clubs in the same range like North Melbourne and Gold Coast have said no, Essendon is perhaps a little more open to a trade. The Bombers could consider moving back down the order to snap up a player like Elijah Hewett, who is shaping as night one’s great slider – all the way back to West Coast’s second rounder.

Should Essendon keep the pick, it looks like the race is down to two players. Oakleigh Chargers speedster Elijah Tsatas has edged ahead of South Australian hybrid Mattaes Phillipou, though both offer points of difference with their athleticism and size.

That selection has a ripple effect down the order, though it seems Gold Coast is set on Bailey Humphrey. It gets interesting when Hawthorn is put on the clock, with the club split on whether to take Essendon’s inverse of Phillipou or Tsatas, or snap up Cameron Mackenzie instead.

Geelong is next and local talent Jhye Clark has been heavily linked should the likes of Tsatas be unavailable, but could also go for Reuben Ginbey, who West Coast has in its sights. The Eagles have some more big decisions to make, as clubs like Geelong, Sydney and Melbourne have also shown great interest in Ed Allan.

They are also said to be well into Matthew Jefferson, who is linked to Melbourne at the very next pick given the Dees’ need for a developing key forward. The potential to grab Hewett as far back as the second round may dictate what West Coast does beforehand.

Other players poised to be in high demand include Jakob Ryan, who is likely in Collingwood’s sights at the back of round one. Lachlan Cowan will also be in the frame for the Pies, Sydney and GWS, along with the likes of Josh Weddle and Brayden George.

All three of the above clubs could also play villain in the way of bidding. While Jaspa Fletcher is likely to attract interest in the top 12-15 picks, Adelaide father-son Max Michalanney is also a chance to be bid on within the first round, especially with Collingwood showing late interest. They are also being linked to Isaac Keeler in round two.

Though there was previously said to be interest in the same range, Essendon looks likely to make a selection before a bid on Alwyn Davey Jr is lodged, and the same can be said for Giants Academy talent Harry Rowston. Both players could slide past pick 30, and Anthony Munkara may even land at Essendon as a Category B rookie.

As is the case with North Melbourne tied Cooper Harvey, Essendon will use its final pick on Jayden Davey – the twin brother of Alwyn Jr. More Category B and club-tied rookies will be covered tomorrow after the first round goes down.

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