#38 Sam Draper


Ive seen Draper do some really encouraging things,but also look lost at times.

I think once the ‘looks lost’ part is corrected, he will start to put his hand up for a look in.

But if we are travelling well and Belly/Smack stay injury free, he will have to wait till 2020 imo.


I do wonder who’s actually seen him to go on about “getting the body ready for AFL”. Guy was 100kg (properly distributed) at 18yo and loves pack bullocking if a tap doesn’t work out.


With Leuey now gone the challenge sits squarely with Draper to have a massive preseason and put himself in a position to play games in 2019.

The safety net is now gone and I think this could be the making of him.


Grundy was a smart, consummate footballer even as a u18. Draper may have the physical attributes, and may be learning the skills, but he has nowhere near the footy knowledge.

Grundy was up there with Nic Nat as the best ruck prospects that’ve come through the draft. ■■■■■■ me off no end when the Pois got him so cheap because a bunch of dim bulb recruiters decided that ruckmen were unfashionable and shouldn’t be taken til late. Should have gone top 5 that year.


Sammy is a very exciting talent, but people need to understand that this kid played his first game of aussie rules in 2016. So even though he is progressing at a rapid rate of knots, he needs to be given time. Those who want everything yesterday need to exercise a bit of patience.


What brought that on anyway? Was it that they decided ruckman weren’t important, or that you shouldn’t take them early? Off the top of my head first round ruck picks haven’t been any worse overall than first round tall forward picks, but no power on earth can stop recruiters taking tall forwards with top 10 picks.


Would have thought the early picks like Longer, Wood, even Leuenberger just didn’t work out, so recruiters stopped taking them so early.


But they have stopped taking tall forwards early to an extent


Sure, but neither did Gumbleton, Dowler, Thorp, Butcher, Cook, Day, Griffiths and on and on.

There are going to be 3-4 in the top 10 this year.


I think AN10 has it mostly right. You had some very high ruck picks like Fraser and Leuenberger and Gorringe etc turning out a bit meh, while the best rucks in the league were cox and sandilands who were both rookies. Conventional wisdom became that you could judge rucks as u18s and that their potential only developed after a few years, so clubs were just rookieing a couple until they filled out or betting they could pick up mature agers from the state leagues when necessary.


I think intuitively teams can compensate more for a ruckman who isn’t dominant, as compared to the absence of a dominant key forward. Just look at Carlton. Kreuzer (when fit) is a very good ruckman, but the absence of a key forward who can compete reliably and kick goals really hurts them. Teams can drive off the opposition’s ruckman and nullify the impact. Can’t do that so much up forward


That all makes sense to me, I just don’t really get why the same logic wouldn’t apply to tall forwards. Sure, it’s true that the vast majority of the good tall forwards are high picks, but at the same time there are plenty of high pick tall forwards who were/are complete junk, so it’s not clear that the talent identification is actually any better.

I suppose pragmatically it doesn’t matter whether the tall forward talent is being overrated or misjudged or whatever, if everyone takes tall forwards early and you want one, you’re compelled to take one early or miss out.


What are the odds of us being able to play Stewart of Smack as the backup ruck? Smack just seems too short


Re the tall forward argument, I think it’s because while lots of early pick tall forwards fail, there also aren’t many late pick tall forwards that end up in the top echelon. Brown is basically the only one right now - Daniher, Kennedy, Lynch, Riewoldt, etc were all early picks. You’re not seeing late pick key forwards routinely make it, unlike rucks like Nankervis, Bellcho, etc (and back to Cox/Sandilands)


I reckon that’s kind of an average year historically, but it’s fair to say this year’s top end tall forwards are rated more highly than other years.

Might do some stats, but my perception is that clubs have been less inclined to “reach” for a tall early in, say, the last 3 years. Maybe this plays out in the 8-16 range rather than the 1-10 range. I don’t know. There’s almost certainly not enough data to draw a meaningful comparison though…


I think the athletic profile of a tall forward is also more demanding. It’s joe D is very rare with the ruckman size and tall forward athletic capability.

Hence why tall forwards are so hard to find. But a big ruckman who can play a role you can accept a bit.


I am not sure though, as well as Brown you could argue Mason Cox, and definitely Taylor Walker, and possibly Jenkins and even Hooker, and I think there’s a few others who fill the role pretty well


Walker was a NSW scholarship kid, or he’d have been picked earlier. Hawkins would have been a first rounder if he hadn’t been f/s.

As for the rest, well, I’m calling my point proved. There’s some solid players there (hooker the best, but he’s mostly a backman) but nobody’s going to put them in the top bracket of tall forwards in the league. You can get role player kpfs anywhere in the draft. Elite guys almost always come from the top.


Yeah, I guess that’s probably what I was getting around the wrong way. The question is not so much how good the players are but how often the 5th or 6th highest rated key forward turns out to be the best (rarely) vs the same in rucks (frequently). If the key forward ordering is more accurate that’s going to force them up the draft order, which then combines with the perceived value of key forwards to give you Sam Day at pick 3.


While I’d agree, my (sort of) point was that the situation had changed a bit, either due to recruiters being slightly less obsessed with KP or slightly more risk averse overall, such that there are less stretches amongst the KPFs taken early these days, and the very top feels less pressure to take the big. It’s not as pronounced as for rucks, but that’s just a reflection of the distribution of risk. I doubt that watts would be taken at 1 these days, and also think it fairly likely that one of this year’s KPFs would have been taken at 1 in previous years.