In the lead up to the first mid season draft of 2017 let’s look back at the results from the same draft two years ago. Two years of information should be enough to judge whether our picks were good, bad or indifferent but it’s not just whether we nailed a pick but also whether we held the players long enough to reap the rewards. This was our first mid season draft of the league and the first in a keeper format for a few coaches. This draft is still unique in that a lot of teams hadn’t quite settled and were rectifying mistakes from the initial draft.
I’ve gone back through the record books and collated all the scores from players while they were on the coaches lists. Therefore, 2015 games and averages is post round 9 of that year and if a player was cut at a particular trade period then so were their scores. I’m going to break it into rounds to make it a bit easier and probably gloss over the back end of the draft. I actually started out doing something like this for our first draft but 300 picks takes a lot of time to cover so I’ll tackle that at a later date.
Winners – Picken (Vipers), Lynch (Outlaws) and McDonald (Jackals). Using the total score these three stand out as the only players to contribute over 3,000 points to their respective teams. They’ve each played the majority of possible games and scored well for their respective positions. It’s difficult to split the three.
Busts – Spencer (Gators) and Pearce (Ducks). Gators began their ruck fetish early and Spencer becomes the first bust of the draft. I know at the time he would have preferred Sinclair but still eyed rucks as the most valuable asset in the draft. Pearce fooled the Ducks with a cracking start to 2015 before fading away badly in the latter part of the year. I’m sure a few coaches were also eyeing off Pearce in the first round. Simon didn’t hesitate to cut him at the end of the year which turned out to be the right call.
Of the rest, Rischitelli was an astute selection by the Titans as he chipped in for 12 games at 90ppg in a premiership year. Electing to delist him before 2016 began was also the right call. Wallis also provided great service for the Wolverines in 2015. A terribly unlucky and lean year stopped this pick being a huge winner but if Wallis continues his comeback at the rate he is going then another year is all it will take to elevate this pick. Sinclair has provided handy ruck coverage for the Badgers. McIntosh has made a reasonable contribution to the Barbarians over time but has generally disappointed considering his fast start to 2015. Adam was quick to let everyone know how silly it was that Rosa slipped to 10 but I think we can safely say that this pick was average at best – holding a 71 averaging midfielder to get a 76 averaging defender for a solitary year isn’t worth it.
Even in the first round we’ve only got a 60% retention rate with 4 players either on the free agent list or retired. It gets worse from here.
Winners and Grinners – Macmillan (Vipers). I’m reluctant to even call Macmillan a winner but as far as defenders go his output has been consistent and very reliable. Few teams wouldn’t take 75 points from their last defender in this league.
Busts – Bruce (Jackals). Similarly, there also isn’t a standout bust in this round. Bruce failed to maintain his start to 2015. Jackals made the correct call to delist him at the end of the year as he has roughly maintained the same scoring since.
Of the rest, Murphy (Scorpions) and Hooker (Wolverines) would have been the winners from this draft if not for each essentially missing all of 2016 for different reasons. Both players now reside on another list which shows that coaches still think they’re good enough to get redrafted. A huge run of defenders took place in this round with Wood (Titans), Roberton (Titans) and Oxley (Outlaws) also being taken. All three players are now free agents and were delisted some time in 2016 after a lean year. Of these though Titans must be kicking themselves for not holding Roberton who, as a defender, has averaged 106 from 9 games so far this year. Roberton is still a free agent so it’s fair to say that Titans weren’t the only ones at the time who didn’t see much potential from Roberton. Wood and Roberton both chipped in well for the Titans in 2015 and even Oxley averaged a solid 74 for the Outlaws however opportunity has curtailed Oxley and Wood’s scoring has steadily decreased.
Of the forwards, Ducks fell into a similar trap with Edwards as they did with Pearce in the first round. Edwards looked to be a handy 85ppg forward but managed only 68 across the rest of the year and a less that exciting 74 in 2016 before they delisted him in Round 16. Cripps also struggled to maintain output in 2016 largely due to structural changes and was delisted by the Gators in Round 9 the following year. Stevens (Badgers) continues to flirt with form. A bevvy of knocks, injuries, bad games at bad times and midfield depth at his clubs have restricted him to 20 of a possible 44 games.
Only two players from this round have not been delisted since and 60% of players now reside on the free agent list.
Winners and Grinners – … Lever? (Badgers). Gross. Nah despite chipping in the most points the real winners are the Ducks with Duggan as they were then able to trade Duggan in a direct swap for a Round 1 Preseason pick.
Busts – Most of these were pretty poor picks which is either a reflection of how, as a group, we have gotten better at drafting or just how all these drafts generally work. If I had to pick 1 it would be Blair as a forward who undid the Vipers good work in the first two rounds.
Gators were also able to extract value out of Scharenberg by trading him to the Scorpions at the beginning of this year for Trengove. Howe initially seemed to be one of the best picks from this round but couldn’t capitalise on an aging Hawthorn list in 2016 and was delisted by the Tits. Wellingham (Jackals) didn’t last long but that wouldn’t be the last time his name graced a team list. I was surprised to learn that Brooksby (Wolverines) is still AFL listed. Quality free agent rucks in our league are always few and far between to be fair. Ducks have been very patient with Ramsay who is still a big unknown.
Not surprisingly only 4 of the 8 picks in this round haven’t been delisted.
I’ve filtered out all the non-selections and what can be seen above is every selection beyond 30 including rookie selections.
Winners – Grigg (Vipers), Wright (Badgers) and Griffen (Barbarians). Who knew that solid midfielders would become so scarce in our league. Grigg might be the best pick of the draft considering he was taken at pick 45. Pretty sure they were chopped by the Barbarians at the same trade period. Similarly, in a league desperate for more rucks the Badgers used the last pick of the main draft to nail first year player 2m Peter. Barbs also walked away winners with Griffen who provided reasonable scores before being traded to the Jackals probably with the hope of turning defender.
Busts – Kelly (Badgers). Might be unfair to nominate busts this late but I’m doing it anyway. Kelly shares the trophy with Marchbank (Outlaws) as the player to be delisted quickest from this draft and only lasted until the very next trade period. Unlike Marchbank however, Kelly is still rubbish.
Of the rest, Dumont (Badgers) was also on the money but not enough patience was shown to wait for the North Melbourne rebuild. Dixon (Barbarians) has also come good at Port Adelaide but that didn’t save him from a Barb slashing. Hale provided some coverage for the Vipers until retirement while Lonie (Ducks), Laverde (Titans), CEY (Jackals), Ellis (Wolverines) and Goddard (Outlaws) all failed to develop and are yet to prove that they can play at an AFL level.
Only 3 of the final 13 picks have avoided being delisted which is a shocking strike rate however I don’t think many of our drafts these days go this late.
The big winners from this draft I’d have to say were Vipers (Picken, Macmillan and Grigg). Worst performing would be either the Gators who squandered pick 4 on Spencer (also Cripps and Scharenberg) or the Ducks who were fooled by Pearce and Edwards but may have redeemed it with Duggan and Ramsay (also Lonie). Also worth noting is that Titans drafted for needs and most of his picks helped him get across the line in a premiership year.
Of the 41 total selections only 18 currently reside on a UKL list and only 15 have completely avoided a chop since.
If anyone is interested I’ve put two spreadsheets up on the google UKL login. One spreadsheet shows the above information while the other contains total player’s scores since they were drafted and regardless of if/when they were delisted. The second one is a good indication on whether a pick might have been for the right player but at the wrong time. I expect to see a few of these names read out again at this coming draft.