AFL Draft: Round 1 – All according to script, until…

THE DUST has settled on night one of the 2022 AFL Draft, which largely went according to the script. That was until Sydney entered the equation, wreaking havoc in the back-end of the first round with consecutive bids, only to trade down the order.

>> PICK BY PICK: 2022 AFL Draft – Round 1

Proceedings got underway as GWS snapped up key forward Aaron Cadman with pick one, leaving North Melbourne to bid on Brisbane father-son Will Ashcroft. The Lions only had to part with a series of picks between 34 and 41, before North was back on the clock.

As expected, the Roos went with Vic Metro squad members Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw. Essendon was next up and opted against trading out of the top five, instead taking Elijah Tsatas of the Oakleigh Chargers.

The selection of midfielders rolled on, with Bailey Humphrey landing at Gold Coast, Hawthorn pouncing on St Kilda NGA product Cameron Mackenzie, and Geelong sticking local for its coup of Jhye Clark. That left Reuben Ginbey for West Coast’s taking, and St Kilda snared the slider in Mattaes Phillipou.

Carlton, a club which is often vested in live trading, kept its hand in tact and hit a key list need in calling out Oliver Hollands‘ name. The midfielder is an elite runner who is likely to provide the Blues with balance on the outside.

Perhaps in a call back to the Josh Dunkley trade, the Western Bulldogs submitted an early bid on Brisbane father-son and academy nominee Jaspa Fletcher. It was duly matched before the Dogs got to bring in West Australian key defender Jedd Busslinger.

Things began to get a little interesting as West Coast again went local, though not with the expected prospect in Ed Allan. Eagles fan Elijah Hewett, who was pegged as a first round slider was their man, adding an explosive streak to his new side’s midfield stocks.

With Matthew Jefferson also overlooked for the pick, that left Melbourne to prize the rangy key forward, and that’s just about where the script was flipped on its head. Enter Sydney, who threw GWS and Adelaide curveballs with bids on Harry Rowston and Max Michalanney respectively, before dipping out of the first round.

The Giants lost pick 17 in the process, and the Crows’ draft hand was all but wiped as they quickly matched for their father-son gun. With the damage done, Sydney traded for Hawthorn’s pick 27 and two future selections, leaving the Hawks to acquire athletic tall defender Josh Weddle.

Collingwood was next and snapped up a relative steal in West Australian utility Allan, who had been courted as a potential top 10 selection. Though they opted out of pick 18, the Swans were left to deliver one last jab to their local rivals, snatching Jacob Konstanty from under their noses.

The Giants then saw out a dramatic final half-hour of the first round, taking little time to secure West Australian pocket rocket Darcy Jones with pick 21. They also hold the first pick in round two, and will let the dust truly settle before making a call on whether to trade or keep the selection.

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