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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

WA talent depth strong, proven by draft haul

14 West Australian prospects were drafted across the AFL national and rookie drafts, including four in Monday night’s first round.

WA state talent manager Adam Jones says he is “really pleased” with the state’s final draft result.

Jones told Sports Breakfast the haul proved there was talent in the state despite a disappointing under-18 national carnival.

“We were expecting the 10-15 range, to get a little bit closer to that number 15 was absolutely fantastic,” Jones said.

“14 boys realising their dreams is a great result.

“It’s 18 per cent of the draft, which is a fantastic result. That’s on the back of not going as well as we would’ve liked at championship level this year.

“The system isn’t broken in WA, but there’s certainly areas that we can get better and we’re continuing to look at that.”

Gold Coast grabbed four first-rounders from their academy in Monday night’s first round, which has led to a chorus of calls for the system to be revised.

Jones said WA clubs should receive greater return for investment in their own Next Generation Academy products.

“I think with the success of the northern academies, you’ve got to give a little bit of leeway to those clubs in traditional footy states,” he said.

“I think if you get rid of the protected top 40 for NGA players, it’s going to help even up the advantage those clubs are getting.

“I think there needs to be an overhaul … the more allowances they get, the more they’re going to invest in developing these young men.”

Despite their recent retention issues, West Perth big man Odin Jones was the only Sandgroper of Fremantle’s four selections, but Jones said he had no issues with their recruiting strategy.

“I had a chat with [list manager] David Walls after the draft yesterday. They were really keen on a couple of the WA boys,” he said.

“I think they tried really hard to get back into the draft to try and get Koltyn Tholstrup in that first round. I think they were eying Aiden O’Driscoll a little bit later, but he just got nabbed before their last pick.

“They did a fair bit of homework on Odin Jones leading into the draft, so we knew he was a chance to go there and really pleased that he did. Big Odin, he’s one of the most competitive big blokes that we’ve had in the program.”

Draftees will report to their new clubs on Monday to start preseason training.

IMAGE: Rookie Me Central


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