What a hugely exciting few days it has been for the SMJFL with eight former stars realising their dream of making it to the AFL.
Friday night’s NAB AFL National Draft was the most successful in the history of our competition, with no less than six SMJFL alumni finding homes at AFL clubs. Amazingly, four of these players were selected inside the first 11 picks.
First cab off the rank was East Brighton Vampire Andrew McGrath. The star half back had long been touted as a potential early selection, and Essendon called his name out with the very first pick of the night. In doing so, McGrath becomes just the second SMJFL/MSJFL player in history to be selected with a number one pick, following in the footsteps of Jack Watts, who was drafted to Melbourne with pick one in the 2008 Draft.
We didn’t have to wait long to see the next SMJFL player to be drafted, with GWS Giants pouncing on highly-rated Mordialloc-Braeside midfielder/forward Tim Taranto with the very next pick. This made it a historic quinella for the SMJFL, with our former players selected with picks one and two for the first time ever.
Taranto is also the second Mustang to be selected in as many years after Harley Balic made his way to Fremantle with Pick 38 in the 2015 draft.
Soon after, former Beaumaris defender Jack Scrimshaw was presented with a Gold Coast Suns guernsey after the club selected him with pick seven.
The draft was paused momentarily for the traditional unveiling of the top 10 draft picks in their new club colours. And it made momentous photo, with three of our boys up on stage beaming with pride.
Immediately upon the resumption, another SMJFL player was chosen with draft bolter Oliver Florent (Beaumaris/Cheltenham) becoming a Sydney Swan at pick 11.
Later on in the evening, a pair of former St Peters players realised their AFL dreams. Cameron Polson was the first to, chosen by Carlton with pick 59, while Corey Lyons ended up at the Brisbane Lions with pick 71.
But the good news didn’t end there for the SMJFL.
Yesterday’s Rookie Draft saw a further two ex-players make it on to an AFL rookie list. Ormond’s Lachlan Filipovic was snaffled up by Melbourne with pick 8, while East Brighton’s Oliver Hanrahan found his way to Hawthorn with pick 14.
On behalf of the SMJFL, huge congratulations to each of the players chosen in both the National and Rookie Drafts and we look forward to watching your progress your AFL careers.
The SMJFL players selected in the AFL National and Rookie Drafts were:
NAB AFL National Draft
Pick 1 – Essendon: Andrew McGrath (East Brighton Vampires)
Pick 2 – GWS Giants: Tim Taranto (Mordialloc-Braeside)
Pick 7 – Gold Coast Suns: Jack Scrimshaw (Beaumaris)
Pick 11 – Sydney Swans: Oliver Florent (Beaumaris & Cheltenham)
Pick 59 – Carlton: Cameron Polson (St Peters)
Pick 71 – Brisbane Lions: Corey Lyons (St Peters)
AFL Rookie Draft
Pick 8 – Melbourne: Lachlan Filipovic (Ormond)
Pick 14 – Hawthorn: Oliver Hanrahan (East Brighton Vampires)