AS THINGS stand, expect Carlton to hold Pick 1 and select Sam Walsh.
And why should the Blues do anything different?
Carlton need midfielders — and plenty of them — in order to support Patrick Cripps and Marc Murphy in the engine room.
Last year’s top-10 pick Paddy Dow already seems to be the player likely to enter their future starting midfield mix, but Walsh is as classy as they come.
The Vic Country midfielder convincingly won the Larke Medal as the best player in the Under 18 national championships, averaging 29.5 disposals and 7.0 tackles. His TAC Cup season was just as good, averaging 32 disposals and finishing in the top-five of the competition’s best and fairest.
The 18-year-old captained Vic Country and the AFL Academy this season, indicating his ability to not only lead from the front on the field, but as a young leader.
TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE?
With very little picks to play with, the Blues seem somewhat stuck with Pick 1.
The talk of a swap with Gold Coast is potentially fraught with danger. Why go back in the draft and give up the safe midfielder in Walsh? The only clear positive is they are able to get two selections inside the top 10, helping them grow in the future.
There’s no doubting South Australian pair Jack Lukosius and Connor Rozee would be in the Blues’ mind. But why do a deal when there is no guarantee both would be available?
Let’s say, for instance, Carlton swapped Pick 1 for Picks 3 and 6. There’s no way to assure that both Lukosius and Rozee would be available. Gold Coast could simply take Lukosius at Pick 2, while St Kilda (Pick 4) and Port Adelaide (Pick 5) could swoop on Rozee.
Using the example above, Carlton trades down the draft order for two picks. So why would the Suns, after all player departures during the off-season, want to give up two top-10 picks for just one?
Going from Picks 2, 3 and 6 to Picks 1 and 2 seems a strange move.
It seems unlikely. The Suns would need a sweetener, which means the Blues’ future first-round pick could be involved.
The more top-class players the Blues can recruit would be a real positive. But why give up a safe prospect when, for all they know, two South Australian players could leave at some point in their Carlton journies?
PHANTOM DRAFT: Who your club could take
EXTRA PREMIUM ON TOP PICKS
Put simply, the top 10 picks of the 2018 draft are worth more in club recruiters’ eyes than 2019’s top 10 picks. That means if a club wanted to trade up in the draft, it would have to give more than usual to secure a hot 2018 draft pick.
With pick swaps still able to be entertained right until draft night, it isn’t as simple as trading two picks for one.
Clubs have spoken on the record, including St Kilda list manager James Gallagher, about seeing a real gap between the top handful of picks and the latter inside the first half.
“Without being disparaging at all, we do see there being a bit of a difference between a Pick 4 or 5 or 6, and a Pick 8,” Gallagher told the Road to the Draft podcast.
“It doesn’t feel as though there’d be a deal they could put to us which would be attractive enough for us to consider but at the same time you never know what happens with Picks 1, 2 and 3.”
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WHAT ABOUT THE TWO ADELAIDE CLUBS?
The same theory applies for Port Adelaide (Pick 5) and Adelaide (Pick 8). With the extra premium on Picks 2 and 3 placed by Gold Coast, either club would have to pay ‘overs’ in a sense to score a prized higher selection.
One recruiter suggested to foxfooty.com.au it would take the Crows Picks 8, 13, 16 and even potentially Pick 21 to secure just one of these top picks, such is the premium on those selections.
Trading up isn’t supposed to be easy. And for both Adelaide and Port Adelaide, it seems likely they will have to do their homework on other prospects and let the top-two South Australian prospects, Lukosius and Rankine head to the Suns.