2022 AFL Draft Review: Essendon
ESSENDON achieved ideal results in the way of father-son and Next Generation Academy (NGA) bids at the 2022 AFL Draft, welcoming a crop of six fresh faces to the club. We recap and review the Bombers’ haul, analysing how each player landed in red and black and what they may offer at the next level.
#5 Elijah Tsatas (Midfielder, Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
#25 Lewis Hayes (Key Defender, Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
#45 Alwyn Davey Jr (Midfielder/Forward, Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
#54 Jayden Davey (Small Forward, Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
It was widely talked about coming into Monday night’s round one proceedings, and Essendon essentially shaped the first dozen picks with its selection of Elijah Tsatas. He may not necessarily be the bullocking, big body in midfield the Bombers were perhaps after, but offers a high level of production and has the speed and skill to enact fluent ball movement from the source – a key point of difference.
Again entering the fray relatively early on night two, the Bombers would have been thrilled to see Lewis Hayes‘ name still on the board. The rangy tall defender locks down well and can impact aerially, but is also composed with ball in hand and gets involved in rebounding ball movement. Having been touted as a potential first round talent, he looks a value selection at pick 25.
Essendon would have been thrilled to not only sneak a selection in before the incumbent Alwyn Davey Jr bid, but it slid all the way down to pick 45. It took little to no time for the Bombers to match, bringing in a top 25 talent for a cut price. He was joined by twin brother Jayden Davey soon after, with both players offering terrific speed, tackling tenacity and goal sense in the front half of the ground.
In another big tick, NGA graduate Anthony Munkara was overlooked by other clubs at the National Draft and ended up at Essendon as a Category B rookie. It’s an ideal result for the Bombers, who again acquired a top talent for far less than his true value. He has enormous potential as a medium-tall forward with rare athleticism, who plays with freedom and flair.
Rounding out the Bombers’ bumper crop was mature-ager Rhett Montgomerie. The Central District defender is a sound interceptor who can play that third tall role, and he earned his shot via the rookie draft after producing a breakout SANFL season. Overall, things panned out beautifully for the Bombers with a mix of predetermined and true live selections.