AFL grand final 2016: How Sydney and the Western Bulldogs built their list

by admin on July 14th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Two years ago Sydney played in a grand final that began badly and soon became a whole lot worse.
Nanjing Night Net

Two years ago the Western Bulldogs were wallowing. You know the story: their captain walked out, they sacked their coach and they realised they needed to start over. Again.

Things can change, quickly. That these teams will play each other on grand final day says it can happen from a position of strength, as well as somewhere much closer to the bottom.

Several of these Swans were there two years ago, when they were beaten by Hawthorn. But their team has changed significantly since then.

On Saturday, Callum Mills, George Hewett, Tom Papley, Xavier Richards, Isaac Heeney, Sam Naismith and Zak Jones will play in their first grand final. Aliir Aliir probably would have, had he not hurt his knee.

The Swans were able to easily secure Heeney at the end of 2014, using pick 18 to match a bid of pick two for him. Mills last year “cost” them a little more under the new bidding system.

Sydney also had first call on Tom Mitchell as a father-son, using pick 21 to match a bid of pick 16 ahead of the 2011 draft.

In all, five of the Swans’ past seven first-round picks will play against the Bulldogs (Dean Towers is still making his way; Jed Lamb is long gone) but that is only the start of this side’s story.

While seven players made their AFL debuts this year, only Mills and the rookie-listed Papley are starting out, and Mills was well known to the club having grown up in their academy.

Hewett is a second-round pick, in his third year on the list. Jack Hiscox is a second-rounder in his second year at the club.

Aliir was drafted in the third round in 2013. Harry Marsh was chosen at the same number – 44 – the year before, but had to go back to the rookie list before getting his first chance. Jordan Foote was picked as a rookie, at the end of 2014.

You could almost even include Xavier Richards, who played one game last year, his third on the rookie list. Then there is Alex Johnson; he’s been gone so long it’s easy to forget he played in the 2012 premiership as a pick 57 in just his second year.

Sydney threw the deal of many lifetimes at Lance Franklin. They got lucky with Kurt Tippett, picking him in the pre-season draft after Adelaide were banned from trading him.

They had to rebuild some of their depth – gaining Franklin meant losing Shane Mumford and a couple of others – and replaced Lewis Jetta with Callum Sinclair during last year’s trade period.

Recruiters Kinnear Beatson and Michael Agresta have fleshed their team out with late picks and even later ones. Incredibly, nine members of their grand final side started out as rookies.

The bones of this Bulldogs team were in place before everything went really bad. There can be a lag, sometimes between what a team is doing and what it has the potential to achieve given time and development, with the right people leading it.

Jake Stringer was in his second year at the end of 2014, and so was Jack Macrae. The Bulldogs blew the compensation they received for Jarrod Harbrow in 2010, trading it for Justin Sherman, but their new recruiting team, led by Jason McCartney and Simon Dalrymple, did not make the same mistake with the first-round pick they got for Callan Ward’s defection, saving it for 12 months and activating it when they finished low enough to turn it into a very good pick.

Macrae, pick six, had runs on the board. Stringer was a brave choice at five, still very much on his way back from a horribly broken leg. Throw in Marcus Bontempelli, chosen at No. 4 the next year when the Dogs could easily have made a more conservative choice, and it’s clear what you can start to piece together when you nail a few early choices.

The Dogs’ list stretches further back than the Swans does; Bob Murphy aside, most of their longest-lasting players were also their last chosen.

The club could only afford one rookie in 2001 – and picked Matthew Boyd. They chose only two in 2008 – Dale Morris was one of them. Famously, the Bulldogs needed Williamstown to pay half of Liam Picken’s rookie salary when they picked him.

Their rejuvenation really began around 2010-11 – with those players and another handful of long-termers still there to either keep or start utilising in their plans for the future – even though they dropped further down the ladder from there.

Still, since the end of 2014, 18 players have left the kennel, Ryan Griffen, Adam Cooney, Shaun Higgins, Jarrad Grant, Liam Jones, Jason Tutt and the retired Daniel Giansiracusa and Tom Williams among them. The Dogs had already traded Brian Lake to Hawthorn, at an ideal time for both him and them.

None of their four national draft picks in 2009 made it, but since then they have not missed with their early picks. Mitch Wallis and Tom Liberatore came first, as father-son selections; the Dogs were a little lucky the bidding system wasn’t in place then, though a bid for Liberatore did not come until the second round. Lachie Hunter lasted even longer, in 2012.

Clay Smith was pick 17, their first-round pick before Stringer and Macrae came along. Then came Bontempelli, the Dogs deciding from there that they were well enough placed to start using their first pick in other ways.

They’ve done that smartly, too. In 2014 it was for Tom Boyd, the sort of highly rated young key forward they never seemed to have access to, as part of the deal to get Griffen to GWS. Who did they miss out on? Had they still wanted a key forward, probably Peter Wright.

Last year they switched pick 11 for two selections in the 20s, and that deal could turn out very well,too. . Josh Dunkley will play on Saturday, with Kieran Collins waiting in the wings for a place in the back line.

Not only that, the Dogs have also found players late in drafts and as rookies. Once upon a time, rookie Luke Dahlhaus was the bright young light on the Dogs’ list, but the list now goes on and on.

Tory Dickson was a late pick, from suburban football via the VFL. Marcus Adams came from the WAFL. Fletcher Roberts was chosen in the pre-season draft. Toby McLean was a second-rounder, Jason Johannisen was a rookie and they saw things in Caleb Daniel that many others didn’t.

The Dogs paid a premium for Boyd. But Shane Biggs was a cheap pick-up; they got him for a tiny pick slide from the Swans. Joel Hamling was cheaper still, as a delisted free agent from Geelong.

Both these squads are exceptionally honest. Both play for coaches who seem to get great things out of them. While they have made their way today from very different positions on the ladder, there is a similarity about how they were sewn together.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

1999

NATIONAL DRAFT: Bob Murphy (13)

2002

NATIONAL DRAFT: Will Minson (20)

2003

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Matthew Boyd

2004

2005

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Dale Morris

2006

2007

NATIONAL DRAFT: Easton Wood (43)

2008

NATIONAL DRAFT: Jordan Roughead (31)

2009

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Liam Picken

2010

NATIONAL DRAFT: Mitch Wallis (f/s 22), Tom Liberatore (f/s 41)

2011

NATIONAL DRAFT: Clay Smith (17), Michael Talia (39), Tory Dickson (57)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Luke Dahlhaus

PRE-SEASON DRAFT: Fletcher Roberts

2012

NATIONAL DRAFT: Jake Stringer (5), Jack Macrae (6Z), Nathan Hrovat (21), Lachie Hunter (f/s 49), Josh Prudden (50)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Tom Campbell, Jason Johannisen

TRADE: Koby Stevens

2013

NATIONAL DRAFT: Marcus Bontempelli (4), Mitch Honeychurch (60)

TRADE: Stewart Crameri

2014

NATIONAL DRAFT: Toby McLean (26), Lukas Webb (27), Declan Hamilton (39)m Bailey Dale (45), Caleb Daniel (46), Zaine Cordy (f/s 62)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Lin Jong, Jack Redpath

TRADE: Tom Boyd, Shane Biggs

DELISTED FREE AGENT: Joel Hamling

2015

NATIONAL DRAFT: Josh Dunkley (25), Kieran Collins (26), Marcus Adams (35), Bailey Williams (48)

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT: Matt Suckling

2016 rookies: Roarke Smith, Jed Adcock, Brad Lynch, Luke Goetz

SYDNEY

2002

NATIONAL DRAFT: Jarrad McVeigh (3)

2003

2004

2005

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Heath Grundy

TRADE: Ted Richards

2006

2007

ROOKIE ELEVATION: KIEREN JACK

2008

NATIONAL DRAFT: Dan Hannebery (30)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Nick Smith

2009

NATIONAL DRAFT: Gary Rohan (6), Sam Reid (38)

TRADE: Josh Kennedy, Ben McGlynn

2010

NATIONAL DRAFT: Luke Parker (40), Alex Johnson (57)

2011

NATIONAL DRAFT: Tom Mitchell (f/s 21)

2012

NATIONAL DRAFT: Dean Towers (22), Harry Marsh (44)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Harry Cunningham

PRE-SEASON DRAFT: Kurt Tippett

2013

NATIONAL DRAFT: Zak Jones (15), George Hewett (32), Tony Nankervis (35), Aliir Aliir (44)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Dane Rampe, Brandon Jack

RESTRICTED FREE AGENT: Lance Franklin

DELISTED FREE AGENT: Jeremy Laidler, Tom Derickx

2014

NATIONAL DRAFT: Isaac Heeney (SA, 18), James Rose (37), Jack Hiscox (SA, 38), Abe Davis (SA, 70)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Jake Lloyd, Xavier Richards, Daniel Robinson

2015

NATIONAL DRAFT: Callum Mills (SA, 3), Tyrone Leonardis (51), Jordan Dawson (56)

ROOKIE ELEVATION: Sam Naismith

TRADE: Callum Sinclair, Michael Talia

2016 rookies: Tom Papley, Marsh, Lewis Melican, Sam Murray, Nic Newman, Jordan Foote, Kyle Galloway, Colin O’Riordan

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