Sam Draper has impressed the Saints.
Sam Draper has impressed the Saints.

St Kilda makes bold bid for untried Bomber

RUCKMAN Sam Draper is yet to play an AFL match but one rival has seen enough to want the untried Bomber.

The Herald Sun has confirmed the Saints have pitched an extraordinary four-year offer worth an average $450,000 a year for the soccer convert.

Draper, 20, has suffered knee tendinitis and is out for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. It  required a full reconstruction in May.

He is expected to resume playing football early next season, but it is clear the Bombers have a huge fight on their hands to retain him.

Essendon is unlikely to match the huge offer for a player with zero AFL games, but will attempt to re-sign Draper with a deal in line with its existing pay structure.

The Saints, however, are determined to bolster their tall stocks and have launched the extraordinary effort to offer Draper a contract he cannot refuse.

Sam Draper in action for Essendon during last year’s VFL qualifying final. Picture: Getty Images
Sam Draper in action for Essendon during last year’s VFL qualifying final. Picture: Getty Images

An industry source said the offer was unprecedented for an untried player and the most ambitious and potentially risky move of this year's player movement market.

There remains huge uncertainty surrounding the future of coach Alan Richardson for next season as he confronts a must-win game against Richmond this weekend.

Draper was in line to play ruck for Essendon's senior team the week after he went down with the serious knee injury.

The Bombers rate the 203cm big man highly and have admired his development and work ethic in the football program.

The club is adamant Draper is on track to take over from Tom Bellchambers as the club's No.1 ruckman.

While the knee has set him back, Essendon expects him to play a senior role from next year.

Draper played a preseason clash earlier this year. Picture: Michael Klein
Draper played a preseason clash earlier this year. Picture: Michael Klein

He is out of contract at the end of the season after being taken by the Bombers with pick No.1 in the 2017 rookie draft.

St Kilda has been linked to several talls including North Melbourne veteran Todd Goldstein and Fremantle's Griffin Logue.

The Saints are planning to be aggressive in the exchange period and look unlikely to land GWS Giants' gun on-baller Stephen Coniglio.

The Saints already have talented young big man Rowan Marshall but could part ways with Billy Longer.

St Kilda also took gun key forward - ruckman Max King with pick No. 4 in last year's draft.

Draper is managed by Michael Doughty.

News Corp Australia


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