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Draft assessment a long game

Friends Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw are overjoyed to join Fremantle together. Good friends Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra will travel to the Dockers

Fremantle must be favourites to be the big winner when the 2017 draft is reviewed some time in the early 2030s, according to the The Age newspaper’s Daniel Cherny.

“There had been much to-ing and fro-ing from pundits about which of the Victorian midfield triumvirate – Andy Brayshaw, Adam Cerra and Luke Davies-Uniacke – the Dockers would select with prized picks two and five,” Cherny wrote in a post-draft analysis piece posted on theage.com.au

“Brayshaw had been the outsider for pick two in the days leading up to the draft.

“But as North Melbourne national recruiting manager Mark Finnigan later suggested, there was little between the first five or six players in this group, so it should not have been surprising that the Dockers took Brayshaw at No.2 before adding Cerra three picks later.

“ At least outwardly, the Dockers are chuffed they stuck to their guns in trade negotiations with Gold Coast over Lachie Weller, the deal which earned Fremantle a second top-five selection.

“The evenness of the rest of the draft becomes apparent when looking at the circumstances surrounding the very next pick.

“Collingwood took Jaidyn Stephenson at No.6, but insist Nathan Murphy would have been the next best thing for them at that spot. If the standard in this draft was easily discernible, he should have been long gone by the time Collingwood were next "on the clock" at pick 39.

“But there he was, overlooked by most of the rest, still available at the start of the third round.”

Cherny went on to write beauty, of course, “is in the eye of the beholder”. 

“But this was extreme. This was a draft class you could throw a blanket over,” Cherny opined.

St Kilda had picks seven and eight. They took Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield, one a defender who has turned into a midfielder, the other a versatile tall who has also spent some time through the middle and could probably end up there if he can improve his endurance.

Responding to his own question about whether or not Fremantle won the draft, Cherny’s response was “maybe”. 

“But try me again in 15 years,” he wrote. 

“Yes, it looks a like it now, but there are countless examples which show the inherent folly in analysing a draft in its immediate aftermath.

“As Blues list manager Stephen Silvagni noted when asked about the prospect of No.3 pick Paddy Dow playing senior football next year, it could well happen, but it's far from the be-all and end-all.

“It's a marathon, not a sprint.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs