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Gault shuns mid-season draft

Swan Districts ruckman Corey Gault has explained his reasoning behind opting out of the mid-season draft next month, citing a lack of interest from AFL clubs.

The 28 year old has won two best and fairests and represented his state on two occasions since being delisted by Collingwood at the end of 2016, many pundits tipping Gault for a return to AFL action at the mid-season draft next Wednesday June 2nd.

Gault told Sports Breakfast on Friday that despite plenty of media attention he was yet to receive a phone call from an AFL club, and subsequently did not nominate for the draft by the cut-off date of Tuesday May 25.

"I actually haven't had any contact with any AFL clubs, my thought process is until I sit down and have a chat with them it's hard to gauge their interest, where they see me in their future plans, whether it's just a six month thing," he said.

"Not only them asking me questions about where I'm at as a footballer, I'd like to ask them a few questions. Without being able to sit down and go through those things, there's no reason for me to nominate."

Gault, who has played 72 games for Swans since returning to the club he was initially drafted from in 2011 said he wasn't willing to move for a short term deal having established a stable job and life in Perth.

"I don't know what the percentages are, but from memory there are only 4 or 5 players from that initial mid-season draft that are still on a list," he said.

"It is a bit of a stop gap, with where my age is at the moment I probably want a bit more of long term security. I guess that's the way the mid-season draft goes and that's the way the AFL industry is."

Despite his own pessimism towards the process, Gault said he saw positives in the mid-season draft for state based players but wanted more security for those selected.

"There is merit to it, but I'd love to have more security for players," he said.

"I know that you can nominate whether you want a 6 or 18 month contract, but that security for a couple of a years would be nice just to allow you to integrate yourself in to the team, because that's a process as well.

" I know they are expecting you to play straight away, but even that integration when you are coming from state league or NAB League football you still need that time to find your feet. It takes a good year or so to be able to do that.

"If you get thrown out after six months because you haven't been able to stamp yourself as an AFL player, that's a pretty tough gig."

Gault has been the premier ruckman of the WAFL competition so far in 2021, averaging 19 disposals, 5 marks and 35 hit outs per game after winning Swans best and fairest in 2020.

The former Magpie has rucked solo for most of the season after the departure of Nathan Blakely in the off-season, an opportunity Gault says he is thriving upon.

"I love going about it for most of the game, I found having to go forward and then back in to the ruck they are completely different positions, where as I find ruck is far more natural for me to play," he said.

"Rucking for most of the game you can really grind it out and work over an opponent, whereas when you split it forward-ruck 50-50 the mindset you need to have is very different for each position."

"As a ruckman you can become like a nomad and follow the ball. I really enjoy playing in the ruck."

Swans host East Fremantle in a crunch clash as part of round 8 of the WAFL on Saturday, both teams heading in at 3-3 and both clubs season in the balance.

Gault said his side realised how crucial a win was for his side in the context of the season.

"Our next two games are big for us. We have really set ourselves for this game as a season defining one, an eight point game.

"Hopefully we can get a really good result."

The Swans-Sharks clash is 91.3 Sport FM's broadcast match, coverage starting from 2PM with bouncedown at 2:30.

IMAGE: The West Australian.


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