Go-home factor "overblown": Jones
WAFC State Talent Manager Adam Jones says that he believes the influence of the ‘go-home factor’ for AFL draft prospects is overblown.
The debate reached a flashpoint in last month’s trade period, with top draft pick Jason Horne-Francis requesting a trade back to his home state of South Australia after just one season with North Melbourne, eventually securing a move to Port Adelaide.
“I certainly think, more than ever, when clubs are weighing up two prospects and they’re reasonably similar talents, they’ll definitely go the local,” Jones said.
“A bit of work we’ve got to do over the next few months is actually do some research on the prevalence of the go home factor, because I actually don’t think it’s that bad, but it’s just the big names that have occurred recently with really high draft picks that are putting the fear into clubs.”
West Coast, who hold picks 8, 12, 20, 26, and 71 in the draft, appear to be looking locally, having been heavily linked with WA prospects Reuben Ginbey, Jedd Busslinger (both East Perth), and Ed Allan (Claremont).
Allan, the son of former Fremantle captain Ben, has come from the blue to be in first round contention, with his season interrupted by a back injury.
“It’s a rapid rise, and I guess not too surprising from our point of view, and it was probably the preseason where we thought Ed’s going pretty well and he might have a pretty big year,” Jones said.
“He was able to train up for the National Combine, did really well, he got the second all time 20m sprint time at 2.81 [seconds] and did really well in the endurance as well.”
The Eagles may not have the chance to grab Ginbey, with the midfielder linked to Gold Coast in recent weeks, but Jones said fans should be hoping he got through.
“He’s a fantastic prospect, him and Ed have some similarities in that they’re the modern day tall midfielder,” he said.
“They’re both outstanding athletes and terrific characters, and good footballers as well.”
Busslinger’s season was ended early by a shoulder injury, but Jones didn’t believe it would affect his draft stock.
“The second half of the year, he hadn’t played a lot, but he still managed to get All Australian off two games in the national championships,” he said.
“He’s done enough to be recognised, you hear he’s the best key defender nationally, so it’s going to come down to which club really wants a key defender.
“West Coast have those two picks, some say they might be taking both midfielders, but jeez, if you walked away with Reuben Ginbey and Jedd Busslinger, or Ed Allan for that matter, you’d be super happy as a West Coast supporter.”
While WA is expected to have strong first round representation, expectations may have to be tempered for prospects on the fringe, with this year’s class considered to be more shallow than recent years.
“The slightly worrying thing is we’re hearing it’s going to be quite low numbers overall, which might reduce the WA contingent,” Jones said. “I suspect we’ll get a minimum of around eight, and if we can get upwards to 13 plus, it’d be a good year, considering low numbers.”
The first round of the AFL Draft will get underway on Monday the 28th of November, with the remainder of the draft to be completed the following night.