2022 AFL Draft Review: Gold Coast
GOLD Coast came away with the smallest National Draft haul, but prized a star midfielder-forward with pick six before nabbing a club-tied rookie and listing two others with AFL experience. We recap the Suns’ haul and analyse what each addition may bring to their new club.
#6 Bailey Humphrey (Midfielder/Forward, Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
Pre-listed: Lloyd Johnston (Medium Defender, Wanderers/Northern Territory)
#7 Connor Blakely (Fremantle)
#23 Jake Stein (GWS)
The Suns may have only added four fresh faces throughout this year’s draft, but signalled their intentions with each one as they push for their first-ever finals appearance. Powerful Gippsland product Bailey Humphrey was their lone National Draft selection, adding a handy point of difference in the engine room as one of this year’s most highly regarded prospects on and off the field.
Though he will likely begin his career as a forward, Humphrey offers a high level of competitiveness on-ball and has an explosive streak which catches the eye. The Suns will hope his character lends to staying power as his talent speaks for itself. In the short-term, having an effective and dangerous player inside 50 like Humphrey is ideal given the loss of Isak Rankine.
Having traded and passed on their remaining picks, the Suns turned their attention to the rookie intake and pre-listed Darwin zone prospect Lloyd Johnston. The Wanderers speedster won last season’s NTFL Rising Star award and was afforded a VFL berth in Suns colours this year. At 185cm, he has terrific aerial ability and the willingness to take the game on with ball in hand.
Rounding out Gold Coast’s haul were a couple of discarded players from other clubs. 26-year-old midfielder Connor Blakely joined from Fremantle, while athletic key defender Jake Stein heads north from GWS, with both players’ names called out during the Rookie Draft.