Making the picks count
Simon Conway - @SimonConway12
22 April 2017 12:54 PM
The Bombers have stockpiled some top end prospects in recent seasons, but it’s the ability to secure talent late in the draft that can set clubs apart.
That’s the view of Essendon List and Recruiting Manager Adrian Dodoro.
He’s secured first round picks Andrew McGrath, Darcy Parish, Aaron Francis, Kyle Langford and Jayden Laverde in the last three years.
But equally the Bombers have benefitted from landing quality players with their later picks.
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (rookie draft), Michael Hartley (pick 68, 2015), Shaun McKernan (rookie draft) and Mitch Brown (pick 54, 2015) have all landed at the Club in the last three seasons.
While Cale Hooker (pick 54, 2007), Martin Gleeson (pick 53, 2012), Orazio Fantasia (pick 55, 2013), Patrick Ambrose (rookie draft) and Mark Baguley (rookie draft) are some of the success stories from earlier years.
“There is some real simple principles involved in recruiting – that is, get the best talent and put it on your list ... and everyone is scrambling for those really talented players,” Dodoro told Bomber Radio.
“They’re the ones at the top end of drafts so we always want to be at the front end of the draft and get multiple picks.
“But if you want to get a strategic advantage then … we’re really looking at the back end of the draft and putting some resources into finding some gems.
“The guys that come out of your back end of the drafts are probably ‘doubley’ as valuable as the front end because the ones at the front end are identifiable for everyone to see.”
Dodoro said the success of Hawthorn in recent years is proof of the power of bringing a group through together.
That philosophy helped shape his decision to pick Andrew McGrath with the first selection in last November’s National Draft.
“What we wanted to do with the pick last year was find a young man that could come in and be a ten year player with Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, Aaron Francis and Joe Daniher,” Dodoro said.
“If we’re going to be successful, you saw it with the Hawthorn dynasty, so many of those boys came through together, so their synergy was first class.
“If you’re going to be a premiership team down the track, you’ve got to have your core players coming through together.”
Adrian Dodoro says Essendon’s emerging young players, including McGrath, have the leadership qualities to drive the Club forward over the next few seasons.
“One thing Andrew McGrath will do is he’ll shape our Club the same way a Zach Merrett shapes the Club,” Dodoro said.
“He’s a leader and you want people like that shaping the direction of your Football Club.
“Footballers are more than just commodities on the field these days, their value off the field is immense.
“You see the way leadership group’s drive standards, and our mantra is ‘elite standards’, and that’s one thing this man will do – he’ll drive elite standards for hopefully 15 years with Joey, Zach, Parish, Aaron Francis, Langford and Laverde.
“That’s where I think the exciting future is for us.”