AFL 12 months ago

Western Bulldogs 2016 Draft In Review

  • Western Bulldogs 2016 Draft In Review

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 06: Timothy English of South Fremantle poses for a portrait during the 2016 AFL Draft Combine on October 6, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

With the 2016 AFL National Draft all done for another year, I found it a little bit surprising to see the Western Bulldogs go with an eye towards somewhat of a distant future, drafting players who probably won't play straight away, but more-so seen as players in development.

In hindsight, it shouldn't have been a surprise. With a list so talented and full of depth, the Dogs – as the premiers – could probably afford a year or two of drafting kids who have a lot of untapped potential, and if it goes according to plan, it might just be another unbelievably successful year for recruiting genius Simon Dalrymple.

Before all the academy selections, the Bulldogs held the 18th and 26th picks in the 2016 draft, and also had two late selections – one in the third round at pick 50 and the other a fourth rounder at pick 74.

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Whilst the majority of the AFL world will be talking about the number one draft pick Andrew McGrath, the Bulldogs added four new faces to the pack, with the theme of this year's draft being versatility. All four draftees have the ability to play in multiple positions around the ground and in this day and age, players that provide versatility are a must in any AFL side, especially in a side coached by the likes of Luke Beveridge

Today we go through the four draftees with a little bit of depth, and fingers crossed all four players go on to have very good AFL careers.

Pick 19 – Tim English – Ruckman, 203cm, 86kgs

 What Simon Dalrymple Said

"He needs to get a better vertical leap but he got long arms, so we see him being a really good ruckman who can give us first use, along with his work around the ground, which is rare among rucks. We want the ball in his hand because he's such a nice kick." 

What Alex Docherty (Bulldogs Centre Chief Writer) Said:

A lot of people were expecting WA-based product Tim English to go in the top 10 of the draft, but because a lot of recruiters are sceptical about drafting ruckmen so early, he was one of the biggest sliders of the draft, but the Bulldogs didn't hesitate to snap him up when they went on the clock with their first-round selection. The biggest concern in the Bulldogs list is the lack of ruck options, so by drafting English, who's considered by many as the best ruckman in this years draft, is another win for Simon Dalrymple and the recruiting team. 

What's even better with this selection is that English can virtually play as another midfielder. He's got the mobility to cover the ground and for a man his size, has got exceptional skills by foot. I don't expect him to play right away as he needs to work on building his slender frame, but a lot of Western Australians have compared him to a legendary Eagles' ruckman in Dean Cox. I'm not entirely sure about the comparison, but he could very well be the steal of the draft in about five years time.

Pick 28 – Patrick Lipinski – Forward, 189cm, 79kgs

What Simon Dalrymple Said

"A former basketballer who is a fantastic young man and plays as a mid forward. He's actually coached by Marcus Bontempelli's uncle, so there's a connection there, and he's got a great attitude."

What Alex Docherty Said

I was a little surprised with this selection, because I was expecting Lipinski to go around the third round. Not a key forward, but at nearly 190 centimetres, I think he's got the potential to play tall, and his ability to take a good contested mark solidfies that, but not only that, I think he can push up the ground to become another tall midfield option. He averaged 24 possessions in his last six TAC Cup games, which underlines his midfield potential. 

Lipinski grew up supporting the Bulldogs and was there on the day the Doggies won their second historic premiership, so one could say this would be a match made in heaven.

Pick 49 – Lewis Young – Utility – 198cm, 88kgs

What Simon Dalrymple Said

"A 198cm forward who we think can also play back, and another former basketballer. We felt that he's got some potential as a key forward or defender." 

What Alex Docherty Said

It was good to see the Dogs go big here with Lewis Young. Although he played the majority of 2016 in the SANFL as a key forward who can pinch-hit in the ruck, Young's athleticism means he could potentially be thrown to the other end of the ground in defence, which is a plus for the Dogs given that they lost Joel Hamling to Fremantle this year and they could potentially lose another key defender in Marcus Adams next year. He's got a lot to work on if he's to make it at AFL level, but having excellent athleticism is a good start.

Pick 70 – Fergus Greene – Forward – 185cm, 70kgs

What Simon Dalrymple Said

"A late developer who ran a 15.0 in the beep test, has a good vertical leap, and is a really good kick. He's skinny so he'll need some time in the gym, but he comes from a really good footy family and interviewed well." 

What Alex Docherty Said

This one was a complete shock to me, but the Dogs must see something in him. Greene has some elite endurance already as evident in his beep test in a draft combine this year and from all reports has a very good kick on him and a great mark for someone his size. I see him in a similar fashion to what I saw with the Bulldogs drafting Bailey Williams late in the draft last year – didn't hear a lot about him, but when he builds on his frame, he might just make a little bit of noise in this team.

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