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Whispering_Jack

THE DRAFTEES by Emma Quayle

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Emma Quayle is one of the more knowledgeable writers on the AFL Draft. Recently, her second book was published - The Draftees, a sequel to her first which covered the 2007 AFL Draft, The Draft.

This time she covers the year-long journey of five potential 2014 draftees (Isaac Heeney, Jake Lever,  Tom Lamb, Clem Smith and Peter Wright) and looks at the issues and the highs and lows involved in being a potential AFL draftee, including the pressures, the disruption to normal family life and education, injuries and a raft of other matters that arise during the course of the season.

Interspersed with the diaries of the players are insights about the drafting process from the recruiting team at St. Kilda who made themselves available to Quayle at various times during the year. You get to understand their thinking and the pressure upon them to make the right calls on players.

Obviously, from an MFC supporter perspective, the book would have been of even greater interest, had one of Quayle's subjects ultimately been a Demon draft pick, but there have been some interesting snippets so far (I'm halfway through the book).

Some examples:-

Saints recruiting manager (and former Demon Tony Elshaug) and another recruiter flew to Adelaide in May to watch an South Australian Under 18 trial game and called Glenelg pair Alex Neal-Bullen and Billy Stretch the "two stand out players".

Discussion about Angus Brayshaw in the early stages of the Under 18 championships:

"Brayshaw was next. 'He was very good. He had plenty of the footy,' said Barnard. 'I don't know if it was planned, but he got more on the outside than the inside, which I wasn't expecting. He's been really combative in the games I've seen previously. He gets caught a few times but his work rate is through the roof.'

'His leadership is very good,' said Elshaug. 'He was always talking to the others. He can't do much more. I don't think he could possibly be playing much better than he is right now. He was best on ground.'"

Being a NSW/ACT representative, Isaac Heeney can only play in the second division of the Under 18 championships and expresses his frustration that the new championship format means that he couldn't do the thing that he most wanted: "take on Angus Brayshaw, Christian Petracca and the other really good midfielders ..."

The importance of buildings up a good fitness base when coming back from injury was discussed in the case of Peter Wright, an early draft favourite on his recovery and on Jake Lever who spent the entire season sidelined after a knee reconstruction.

Late in the season, one of the Saints' recruiters sat in freezing-cold weather at Ballarat watching Oscar McDonald play well at CHB in a TAC Cup game.

"He works really, really hard and he's able to accumulate possessions because of that. He's a smart player, he reads the play well and he's competitive. There's just a slight lack of athleticism that worries me at the moment".

I'm just getting to the part where the Saints recruiters discuss the top six draft prospects which included Paddy McCartin, Brayshaw and Christian Petracca - I'll cover that discussion in my next report.

 

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Cheers WJ.

Great snippets. I look forward to the next installment.

This is just like listening to my audio books. I get all the goodies with none of the hard work. 

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall for the McCartin vs Petracca conversation on the eve of the draft.

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With the Under 18 championships behind them and leading up to the 2014 AFL Draft there were six players who Tony Elshaug and his recruiting team believed had started to separate themselves from the rest, and who could wind up being worthy of the No. 1 slot.

"The first four, in no particular order, were Angus Brayshaw, Paddy McCartin, Christian Petracca and Peter Wright. The other two - Isaac Heeney and Darcy Moore - were tied to Sydney and Collingwood, with Moore the son of two-time Brownlow Medallist Peter Moore and available to the Magpies as a father-son selection.

Elshaugh talked through Brayshaw's form first, as some footage rolled on the war-room television.

'He's ready to go,' he said of the Vic Metro midfielder. 'He was ready to go three months ago when he was the best player against Collingwood's VFL team.

He was in the leader¬ship group; he's an All Australian. He had three very good games and the others weren't bad either.

He's tough, good at stoppages but he can spread and he's improved his endurance over time. He sees every¬thing around him, makes good decisions. His dad is Mark Brayshaw, who played with Claremont and North Melbourne and was the CEO there. His mum is a part-time teacher and he has brothers coming through the system as well. He's made of the right stuff.'

'Can you compare him to Josh Kelly?' asked Pelchen.

'They're very different players,' said Elshaug. 'Josh was an outside player trying to play inside, learning that. He's more of a silky-smooth player. This kid will drive it from the front and be a strong inside player.'

'He looks a bit like Josh Kennedy to me,' observed Richardson. 'He's a good size.

'He has some presence,' said Elshaug. 'He does most things well.'

'He doesn't play slow, put it that way' said Elshaug. 'He's not necessarily a quick player, but he doesn't get caught.'

'Does he look to kick quickly, or run with the ball?' asked the coach.

'Both,' said Elshaug. 'He can run with it and break away. He's got a pretty good all round game, but he's not Stephen Hill.'

'Is his endurance strong?'

'It's improved but he knows he needs to keep getting better," said Elshaug. 'If he got in the right shape and had no more injuries he’d run a good time trial at the combine, but I’m tipping he’s done most of his work already. I’m not saying he’s done, but he’s had a pretty big year to get to the point he’s at. He’s a good kid and he’s from a good family. They have strong values. His younger brother gave their mother a bit of cheek one day after a fun run, so Angus took him for a drive, dropped him off and said, "This is how far Mum had to run. See ya," and left him there. He’s been through school, he’s been through an injury. He’s handled everything that’s come his way so far. It’s hard to pick too many holes in him.'"

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After discussing Angus Brayshaw, the attention of the St. Kilda recruiters went on to Christian Petracca.

I'm going to quote the part of the book below but I think it's relevant that (as I understand it) St. Kilda coach Alan Richardson is a friend of the Petracca family. On that basis it's worth noting how detached he had to be when considering potential recruits - possibly in the same way that Todd Viney had to be a couple of years earlier when looking at the Toumpas/Wines selection. It's not easy and hindsight can be wonderful at times.

"Christian Petracca had been voted Metro’s best and fairest at the end of the tournament, and won the Larke Medal as Division l’s stand-out player. He had matured a lot in the last six months; Elshaug reported. He had worked his way into the midfield, his improved endurance helping him spend more time in there. Was he a full-time midfielder, like Brayshaw? Probably not, said the recruiting manager, but he was a different sort of player. 'He's still learning how to run both ways. It’s still a bit foreign to him, but he'll tackle and compete in his area. Will he pick someone up? Angus is better at that at this point, because he’s played in the backline, but having said that, Christian can do some things Angus can’t do. At the start of the year you wondered how he’d go with keeping his feet on the ground and he’s been questioned about that along the way, but he's grown up a lot over the year. I think he's a much more level-headed kid now. He lifted the team in a lot of games, he had a lot of good second halves and he’s strong, he has an AFL body. We think he could take a bit more care with his kicks at time. His penetration is fine but sometimes you think, Can you take more than two steps before you kick?, that’s all. He just needs to remember to take more care, but there's nothing actually wrong with it.'

'When you talk about growing up, what do you mean by that? Is he immature?' asked Richardson.

'He’s a little bit excitable,' said Elshaug. 'He’s funny, a character. If there’s a distraction, he might be the one causing it. There’s always something happening when he’s around.'

'He has incredible vision,' said the coach. 'Is he tough?'

'Tough enough,' said Elshaug. 'There was one ball we questioned at the MCG, but that was the first time he’d played against men. He got a bit cute that day, but I haven’t seen any sign of that since then.'

'Which one do you personally like, out of him and Brayshaw?'

'I like both, and they’re not far apart. That’s the truth.'

'I didn’t ask that ...'                                                   

'I'd have Petracca a bit ahead of Brayshaw, but Brayshaw’s the one where you say, "Jeez, you’re a really solid pick, nothing could go wrong with you." Not much could go wrong with Christian either, but one has a bit more safety about him, I think. It’s a fine line. I like them both. I don’t need to decide between them yet, do I?’"

 

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9 minutes ago, Whispering_Jack said:

After discussing Angus Brayshaw, the attention of the St. Kilda recruiters went on to Christian Petracca.

I'm going to quote the part of the book below but I think it's relevant that (as I understand it) St. Kilda coach Alan Richardson is a friend of the Petracca family. On that basis it's worth noting how detached he had to be when considering potential recruits - possibly in the same way that Todd Viney had to be a couple of years earlier when looking at the Toumpas/Wines selection. It's not easy and hindsight can be wonderful at times.

"Christian Petracca had been voted Metro’s best and fairest at the end of the tournament, and won the Larke Medal as Division l’s stand-out player. He had matured a lot in the last six months; Elshaug reported. He had worked his way into the midfield, his improved endurance helping him spend more time in there. Was he a full-time midfielder, like Brayshaw? Probably not, said the recruiting manager, but he was a different sort of player. 'He's still learning how to run both ways. It’s still a bit foreign to him, but he'll tackle and compete in his area. Will he pick someone up? Angus is better at that at this point, because he’s played in the backline, but having said that, Christian can do some things Angus can’t do. At the start of the year you wondered how he’d go with keeping his feet on the ground and he’s been questioned about that along the way, but he's grown up a lot over the year. I think he's a much more level-headed kid now. He lifted the team in a lot of games, he had a lot of good second halves and he’s strong, he has an AFL body. We think he could take a bit more care with his kicks at time. His penetration is fine but sometimes you think, Can you take more than two steps before you kick?, that’s all. He just needs to remember to take more care, but there's nothing actually wrong with it.'

'When you talk about growing up, what do you mean by that? Is he immature?' asked Richardson.

'He’s a little bit excitable,' said Elshaug. 'He’s funny, a character. If there’s a distraction, he might be the one causing it. There’s always something happening when he’s around.'

'He has incredible vision,' said the coach. 'Is he tough?'

'Tough enough,' said Elshaug. 'There was one ball we questioned at the MCG, but that was the first time he’d played against men. He got a bit cute that day, but I haven’t seen any sign of that since then.'

'Which one do you personally like, out of him and Brayshaw?'

'I like both, and they’re not far apart. That’s the truth.'

'I didn’t ask that ...'                                                   

'I'd have Petracca a bit ahead of Brayshaw, but Brayshaw’s the one where you say, "Jeez, you’re a really solid pick, nothing could go wrong with you." Not much could go wrong with Christian either, but one has a bit more safety about him, I think. It’s a fine line. I like them both. I don’t need to decide between them yet, do I?’"

 

I love a troubled genius. Ablett snr and Carey come to mind.

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Brilliant thread wj. DL at its finest.

Love the last extract. How brilliant is it that we ended up with both brayshaw and the trac.

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Great read, much appreciated!  Very happy that both Gus and Christian fell into our laps.  You get the impression from some of the interviews with players that Petracca is a 'character'.

Wright is an interesting case; very highly rated in his draft year but slipped in the order.

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"Paddy McCartin's the player we're going to pick," Tony Elshaug began. "After much deliberation and debate about who's going to be the best player for the next 12 years and the best player for St Kilda, Paddy's the man. He ticks all the boxes, we feel. He has power, he's aggressive, he has strong character and he's a natural forward. He knows where to lead and when to lead. He splits packs open and brings the ball to ground when he doesn't mark it. He's a great team player and he's unselfish when he gets the ball. He used to be an inconsistent set shot but he's worked hard and improved that and it's just going to keep getting better. His kicking in the field is very good. He has strong character. Everything about him stands up, so he's the one we're going with."

The Saints' decision to go with McCartin is now history but it was a close thing between he and Petracca and from the Saints' point of view, the debate about the wisdom of the choice was stilled because of the latter's ACL injury 12 months ago. This article in the Age covers the decision quite thoroughly.

 Inside St Kilda: Why the Saints chose Paddy McCartin

Alan Richardson:

Quote

I look at what's just happened with [Tom] Boyd. There's always midfielders. Let's say we can't split them and we go with [Christian] Petracca because his history suggests he might play a bit more and have a bigger impact next year. There's no doubt he might do that. But then we've got to back the truck up and get Tom Hawkins out of Geelong, or whatever the case may be. I think that certainly comes into it. But before that even comes into it, it's reassuring for Trout to say, "No, this guy is the better player, he's the best player in the draft'."

 

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Awesome WJ. Adds some insight that will be interesting to keep in the back of the mind as we watch the careers of these three players unfold.

Was Elshaug on the right train? More importantly, can both Petracca and Brawshaw get him fired? Hope so! Haha...

I missed that article by Emma last August too. Good link and thanks again.

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TC.

Could I ask for elaboration on what you read about those three or is this where i get told to buy the book?

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17 minutes ago, DemonAndrew said:

fwiw, the psychological profile of petracca came back with a close comparison to brendan fevola.

And Dayle Garlett got a perfect psychological score. Go figure.

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On 23 January 2016 at 10:38 AM, DemonAndrew said:

fwiw, the psychological profile of petracca came back with a close comparison to brendan fevola.

Fevola's psychological profile became an issue because he was horribly mismanaged and coddled by Carlton.

I'm confident the club understands the dangers involved and won't make similar mistakes.

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On January 23, 2016 at 10:38 AM, DemonAndrew said:

fwiw, the psychological profile of petracca came back with a close comparison to brendan fevola.

Great work WJ.  The Age article is also brilliant, she just wrote out the conversation without imposing all her own observations.  I enjoyed the comment about Brayshaw could be captain of Melbourne in five years.

There were rumors about trac falling out of favor after the psyc evaluation, he certainly seems to have shown great character during rehab.  Be interested to know if her book talks about this anywhere.   Great passages though, appreciate the posts

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On 23 January 2016 at 10:38 AM, DemonAndrew said:

fwiw, the psychological profile of petracca came back with a close comparison to brendan fevola.

 

On 23 January 2016 at 10:56 AM, dazzledavey36 said:

And Dayle Garlett got a perfect psychological score. Go figure.

Maybe all that this says is that psychological profiling is an even less exact science / art /craft than is recruiting?

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On 23/1/2016 at 10:38 AM, DemonAndrew said:

fwiw, the psychological profile of petracca came back with a close comparison to brendan fevola.

this is where the culture of the club & the leadership around the footy dept, & the senior list gets important. 

 

the Blue boys had nada,  but  'Jack Illiot'  to show the wayz.  Brendon gave what Brendon got.

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2 hours ago, No10 said:

Great work WJ.  The Age article is also brilliant, she just wrote out the conversation without imposing all her own observations.  I enjoyed the comment about Brayshaw could be captain of Melbourne in five years.

There were rumors about trac falling out of favor after the psyc evaluation, he certainly seems to have shown great character during rehab.  Be interested to know if her book talks about this anywhere.   Great passages though, appreciate the posts

there's nothing like some hardship to put an out of control ego back in its box for a while.  Jakovitch may have been different, if he had his hardship right at the start of his career.

 

don't know of Petracca's ego,,, but IMO having early knee injuries did nothing to hurt Sean Whites attack at the contest & his hunger to win !

2 hours ago, monoccular said:

 

Maybe all that this says is that psychological profiling is an even less exact science / art /craft than is recruiting?

we are born with a personality of sorts,  then the next 3 years will form the characteristics.

all characters come with flaws.

 

the environment & the persons development from there will carve the outcome for them.

 

IMO this is why we have failed in past 17 years to really develop many of our talented recruits, & even the good ones may have only achieved 60% of their potential.  players won't chase,  won't put the head down,  won't contest,  won't tackle. only want to win kicks & kick goals.  let their opponents run free.

 

hello, melbourne of the past 12 years.

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On 1/20/2016 at 5:04 PM, binman said:

Brilliant thread wj. DL at its finest.

Love the last extract. How brilliant is it that we ended up with both brayshaw and the trac.

agree with all of the above.  Petracca, due to his interrupted start to his career and the associated expectation and so forth will, whether or not we like it or he likes it, have a intense scrutiny placed on his performances.  The only way he can succeed is to be a star.  Happy days for us if he is.  I dont agree that him being a bit of a young clown is a problem.  Good on him.  All I care about is his game day performances.

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Happy (only for Petracca's sake) to see CP5's response to the desperately unlucky Damien Cavka's early retirement from the game.
More harsh reminders like this of how precious and fragile his opportunity is, can only bode well for us in my eyes.

Edited by Mach5

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It turned out a great read. We know now that all of Emma Quayle's subjects were drafted by AFL clubs and have gotten through the first seasons with their respective clubs.

We also know that St KIlda maintained their preference for Paddy McCartin ahead of Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw and selected him as the #1 choice even though the pundits were going for Petracca (who was first in the Herald Sun phantom draft on the eve of the draft meeting). I got the impression that the person who pushed hardest for him was Tony Elshaug who concluded he was the best player in the pool and that he might one day have egg on his face over that decision.

McCartin made limited appearances, Petracca none due to his ACL and Brayshaw played 21 games (and was rested once).

Melbourne's other selections in the draft, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch and Oscar McDonald all received games and there's no reason at this stage to believe that our selections will become anything other than a bumper crop for the club.

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