#38 Sam Draper


14 out of 23 for 2017 and 18 out of 22 for 2018.

I’d love to see him play a full season but missing four games last year is as close as he’s come throughout his career.

I agree his best footy is ahead of him but I’d imagine he’d miss at least a game or two next season. Hell, I’d happily rest him for a week in the second half of the year if it meant giving Draper a taste for it (and assuming the club thought he was ready).


Bellchambers did play 5 VFL games in 2017. Also he played 20 games this year.


Yep, my mistake, it was 20 this year.


Darcy Fort is the go, 25, plenty of senior VFL/SANFL experience and with a full time summer his endurance would take a step up.

The problem is he would stifle Drapers development at VFL level, but I’m all for making them compete for the spot.


I’d like the idea of Fort as a gorilla sized KP defender.

After Hooker, we don’t have one - Hartley, despite being 198c, is not it.

Majak Daw did that role quite well at North this year - playing on gorilla forwards and then playing #2 ruck.


Not entirely sure that would be the case because ultimately they both should also be working on their fwd craft.

So when not in ruck or on bench trying to impact fwd. crashing packs. taking grabs. slotting goals.

Belly is great at it. And Mason Cox certainly showing the way for the big boys coming in to do so.


Leuenberger would’ve been there in any case. It won’t stifle Draper’s development to have to fight for the primary spot, the opposite.




I think the question with fort is, with a lot of clubs on the lookout for a back up ruck option, what is he worth on draft day? Is he there at 66? Does he make it to the rookie draft.



I think they hand;ed Draper beautifully this season. Started the season as the second ruck in the VFL and had a couple of big stints in the ruck in a couple of games during the first half of the season. Then became the main man from mid season.
Essentially it helped manage his load (whether deliberate or not) to make sure he got through the whole season.


Can you remember a >24yo ruck going main draft? Not for many, many years, at the very least.


Ryan Abbot 2016?


if you watched his rookie combine agility test you’d think “definitely can play KP”

If you watch a bit of Fort playing in the SANFL you’d have serious doubts though I reckon. Maybe it’s just the bits I’ve seen, but doesn’t look like he’s involved enough (or moves well enough) in general play to be a KP option.

Happily be wrong (and take @aceman s advice), but I have questions about his ability to maintain the intensity post ruck contest enough to translate to AFL ruck, let alone KP.


Turns out yes you are right.(well, I haven’t checked his age exactly, but he went pick 69 in 2016, would’ve been 25 or so).
Before that I can’t see one, gone back to 2010. So I think it’s pretty safe to say Fort will still be on the board at 66. Realistically, probably makes it to rookie draft.


Draper’s progression/development has been startling, complimented by his physical strength and intimidation. I know Essendon are gunning for a flag now BUT this kid should be playing seniors/some games next year. He’s ready. “Languishing” in the reserves would be doing him a disservice.


Think he needs some work still. Im froathing as much as the next guy but his around the ground positioning needs time


Have to disagree with the “languishing in the reserves” comment. That is where you develop your craft, especially as someone reasonably new to the game as Draper is. The great Roger Merrett from memory played several years in reserves before becoming a regular player.

Impressed with his physical transformation as well. He is looking very fit. Thought he was a plodder to begin with.


Its paying massive dividends with Langers now. in the meantime we have Bellcho and Clarke. Draper is clearly the future prospect the club is working towards.


Very true…this is where other codes get it wrong they molly coddle the future stars only they fall short when they have to play with the big boys
…he needs to be bashed up so to speak roughed up by the rucks in the VFL which will only benefit his progression…the guys only been in the system how long?

ill be keen to see him against fark carlton in the JLT!


Him and Clark should be taking the JLT series workload. Draper given plenty of opportunity against the oppositions best ruckman.