MELBOURNE national recruiting manager Jason Taylor says the club is thrilled with the talent it has added to its list at the 2018 National Draft.
The Demons secured five players in the draft at Marvel Stadium on Friday afternoon, bolstering their midfield depth with some strong competitors.
Tom Sparrow, James Jordon and Aaron Nietschke are all versatile midfield options, ticking the boxes for Taylor and the Melbourne recruiters.
“We really wanted to add to the midfield with our mix and we were able to do that with our first three selections,” Taylor told Melbourne Media.
Academy player Toby Bedford and 22-year-old Marty Hore will also be welcome additions for the Demons, providing some balance among the recruits.
But with the draft running over two days for the first time in AFL history, it took some time for everyone to settle in.
“It was some interesting times given the different format and I’d be lying if I said that I had a good night’s sleep last night, given we weren’t having our first selection until today,” Taylor said.
“And there was a little bit going on with the live trading of picks so that didn’t actually go according to plan as such because it was new to everyone.
“But once today got rolling we were really pleased with our outcomes.”
All five of the draftees spoke to Melbourne Media in the moments after their names were called out.
Pick No.27 – Tom Sparrow
Tom Sparrow is a speedy midfielder who will be making the move from South Australia to join the Demons.
“It’s a great time, I’m really happy to be a part of the Melbourne Football Club and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it early next week,” Sparrow said.
“There was always an opportunity for me to move interstate … so I was always happy to make the move and I’m really happy Melbourne gave me the opportunity to do so.”
Pick No.33 – James Jordon
At just 17 years of age, James Jordon is the youngest Demon recruit and has the valuable ability of playing in all positions on the field.
“My versatility holds me in good stead I think,” Jordon said.
“I think I play on the inside and the outside both pretty well, as well as I can play forward, backline or in the midfield.
“I feel like I’ve still got a little bit to grow which definitely helps and a bit more development left.”
Pick No.53 – Aaron Nietschke
Aaron Nietschke, another South Australian, has the ability to win plenty of the footy and is looking forward to developing into a midfielder at the club.
“At the start I’ll probably be an outside mid in a wing/half-back sort of role, but I’d love to work into the midfield as my career goes on,” Nietschke said.
“I’m just excited about meeting all the new people and just working in an elite environment – that’ll be pretty cool.”
Pick No.56 – Marty Hore
Mature-aged recruit Marty Hore finally gets his chance at AFL level after winning back-to-back best and fairest awards with Collingwood’s VFL side.
“It’s a dream come true, I’m over the moon and I can’t wait to meet all of the boys,” Hore said.
“I always thought I just need to keep chipping away and keep improving each year and I think I did that.”
Pick No.75 – Toby Bedford
With its final selection in the National Draft, Melbourne secured Academy player Toby Bedford who will apply ferocious pressure to the opposition.
“My speed and my tackling pressure are my main strengths, and my willingness to work hard,” Bedford said.
“Obviously it’s a big jump to be able to compete with these players so that’s probably the biggest challenge.”