According to AFL.com.au’s Riley Beveridge, AFL clubs will not seek a quick fix at this year's Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
The first in-season draft since 1993 will take place next Monday night where state league stars, late developers and former AFL-listed players will all be in the mix to make their way onto an AFL list.
What was previously seen as a band-aid solution for clubs now presents as an opportunity to find a hidden gem who may have blossomed in the time subsequent to their initial draft years, according to draft guru Beveridge.
“When this mid-season draft was first announced late last year, the overwhelming consensus was that clubs would take ready-made players,” Beveridge said on SEN’s The Sporting Capital.
“You’d get a club like Collingwood, who are in that premiership window and they’d think, ‘what 26-27 year old can we get in now to help us win a flag?’
“I think that opinion has changed. Clubs are now trying to use the mid-season draft as a step ahead of the national draft and think, ‘can we get the next Tim Kelly or Tom Stewart on our list?’
“These 21-22 year olds who are late developers who can come in and provide an impact for the next 10 years as opposed to the next six months.”
Speaking specifically of players he expects to find a new home at AFL level, Beveridge pinpointed a pair who have been developing in the VFL this year.
“Kyle Dunkley (Footscray) is touted to be the first pick,” he added.
“He’s the perfect example, a player who is a bit of a late developer, has had a strong first six months of this season whereas he was injury plagued through his draft year and didn’t get picked up by a club.
“If say, Carlton take him with pick one, they’ll be able to get 10 years out of him as opposed to just six months if they took a 27-28 year old.”
Beveridge continued: “One that really interests me is Frank Anderson. He’s playing for the Northern Blues at the moment.
“He’s a big-bodied midfielder. Eight months ago he was playing for South Croydon in the EFL (Eastern Football League) as a 21-year-old. He didn’t make a TAC Cup side when he was 18, he's dealt with a few injury issues.
“He got his chance at VFL level only this season and already there are about four or five clubs that are going after him.
“His remarkable rise, considering he was playing EFL just eight months aogo, has staggered a lot of people. I think he might get his chance.”
The Sporting Capital will broadcast LIVE from the AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft on Monday, May 27.
Listen to Beveridge’s chat with Jack Heverin in the player below: