Sport

Lachie Whitfield number one pick in the AFL national draft

Lachie Whitfield is presented with GWS jersey by Kevin Sheedy during the 2012 AFL Draft at the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre on November 22.
Lachie Whitfield is presented with GWS jersey by Kevin Sheedy during the 2012 AFL Draft at the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre on November 22. Chris Hyde / Getty Images

VICTORIAN midfielder Lachie Whitfield will feel right at home in Western Sydney after being taken at pick No.1 in last night's AFL national draft.

Whitfield said he was thrilled to have been taken as the first selection, adding he knew plenty of the young guns at the Giants having spent time with them as part of the AIS development program.

Coach Kevin Sheedy said Whitfield ticked plenty of boxes, having a combination of speed, height, good skills and good decision making.

Sheedy said Hawthorn had shown the value of taller players with pace and the Giants believed that was a winning strategy.

GWS also had selections two and three, adding Calder Cannons midfielder Jonathan O'Rourke (two) and Cannons teammate Lachie Plowman, a highly-rated defender, to their list.

They also drafted Kristian Jaksch, a defender from the Oakleigh Chargers, with selection 12, Aidan Corr, a defender from the Northern Knights with selection 14 and James Stewart from the Sandringham Dragons with pick 27.

Combined with the 11 of the first 14 picks the fledgling club had last season, the Giants have assembled what is arguably the greatest collection of young talent seen in AFL history.

List manager and former Carlton great Stephen Silvagni said he was delighted with the players the club had selected.

"We always said we wanted to select the best available talent ... we believe we have done just that," Silvagni said.

"We have recruited an excellent mix of midfielders, forwards and defenders, and with our existing talent it makes for a very exciting future."

While GWS got the top three players available, Essendon secured towering ruckman/forward Joe Daniher, rated by many as the best 18-year-old in the country, with pick 10 under the father-son rule.

Brisbane had its first selection at No. 8 and chose North Adelaide midfielder Sam Mayes who was vice-captain of the South Australian U18 team this year.

Mayes was coached by former Port Adelaide star Josh Francou who said he was convinced the youngster had everything required to become a regular AFL player.

"I think he's probably the perfect height and, potentially, the perfect build … he's almost like the perfect utility player," Francou said.

"One, his running ability's so good and secondly his height, but also his skill level - he's got very good skills. He'll develop into a very good footballer at (AFL) level."

TOP 10:

  1. Lachie Whitfield (GWS)
  2. Jonathan O'Rourke (GWS)
  3. Lachie Plowman (GWS)
  4. Jimmy Toumpas (Melbourne)
  5. Jake Stringer (Western Bulldogs)
  6. Jackson Macrae (Western Bulldogs)
  7. Ollie Winess (Port Adelaide)
  8. Sam Mayes (Brisbane)
  9. Nick Vlastuin (Richmond)
  10. Joe Daniher (Essendon)

Topics:  afl draft



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