IN THE lead up to the 2021 NAB AFL National Draft, we’re taking the opportunity to look back on Melbourne’s recent draft years and the players that have gone on to become part of the club’s 2021 premiership.

In 2018, the club drafted premiership players Tom Sparrow and James Jordon.

Through the words of the club’s National Recruiting Manager Jason Taylor, let’s see the potential these players had when they first arrived at the club compared to their 2021 premiership season.

Tom Sparrow

Draft: Pick No.27
Taylor on Sparrow:
“He played a fair bit of footy off half-back where he showed that he’s got some traits in that area of the ground, but his better footy has been through the midfield.

“He just plays with a real ruthless nature. His second and third efforts tackling are a real feature in his game.

“He’s a good all-round athlete – good speed, power and endurance.”

Premiership season:

This year, Sparrow truly embodied the skills described by Taylor in 2018, showing his all-round ability, impacting the game as a contested midfielder, while also demonstrating strength in defence (averaging 16.9 pressure acts) and up forward (kicking seven goals). He featured in the side on 21 occasions (six as the unused medical sub) and reached career-high stats in multiple finals performances, ultimately helping Melbourne towards the premiership achieved in September. 

Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

James Jordon 

Draft: Pick No.33
Taylor on Jordon:
“He played some senior footy at Yarrawonga where he played as a forward and he was able to hit the scoreboard.

“He played a fair bit of footy [in defence], but also through the midfield.

“We think he’s got potential to really grow as a midfielder.”

Premiership season:
Following two years of hard work in the VFL, Jordon really made his mark for the Demons this year. After debuting in Round 1, the 20-year-old went on to be named in 25 games (three as the unused medical sub) across the season, becoming a consistent strength of defence through the midfield (averaging 14.8 pressure acts). He received a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in Round 8 with 23 disposals, 13 contested possessions, 28 pressure acts and eight tackles. He finished his breakout season with a spot in the Grand Final side as the medical sub and walked away with a premiership medallion.