Had the AFL not changed their rules regarding compensation picks, Essendon “would have” taken Joel Selwood in the 2006 National Draft, according to veteran list manager Adrian Dodoro.
Essendon held pick two in the draft, and selected key forward Scott Gumbleton with it, but would likely have received an additional pick based on recent history.
Just one year prior to 2006, Carlton, Collingwood and Hawthorn were all granted priority picks handing them the first six selections in the draft.
The Blues took Marc Murphy and Josh Kennedy, Collingwood took Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas and Hawthorn ended up with Xavier Ellis and Beau Dowler.
Priority picks dominated the tops of drafts for most of the early 2000s, with 2006 being the first year they were shifted to the end of the first round, where Essendon took Leroy Jetta at pick 18.
However, Dodoro says that if the Bombers were granted pick four as a priority pick in 2006, they would have drafted the future Geelong captain.
“The rules changed around the compensation picks and if we would have ended up with (pick) two and four, I can assure you that, and (Kevin Sheedy) will back this up, we would have taken Joel Selwood as well,” Dodoro told the Dodcast.
“At the time, Joel had a knee problem and there were question marks around that and there were medical concerns around the durability.
“As luck would have it, he’s gone on to have an absolutely amazing, durable career and unfortunately (Gumbleton) didn’t.”
Gumbleton didn’t end up having the career many would have hoped thanks mostly to ongoing back and hamstring problems.
Dodoro remains convinced the key forward would have been an “outstanding” AFL player had he been injury free.
“You’ve got to look at it like this: He’s 200cm, he does a 16 beep test which is absolutely freakish, he marked the ball at its highest point, he went back with the flight of the ball with courage.
“He was the prototype key-position forward. He had everything that Nick Riewoldt had at the same age, let’s not make any mistake about that.
“That’s why he went pick two and that’s why he probably broke a lot of our hearts.
“He did his medical screening and he passed it with flying colours, but early on in the piece, he had chronic hamstring problems when he ripped his hamstring really badly.
“From there, he developed some pretty severe back problems, which required two operations – and that was basically the end of his career.”
Selwood would fall to Geelong at pick seven and the rest is history.