THE NATURE of this year has made a lot of things harder, just ask AFL recruiters.
With limited football being played at junior level in 2020, Wednesday night’s National Draft holds an added element of intrigue.
But despite the challenges, Melbourne’s National Recruiting Manager Jason Taylor is confident in the research his team has done.
“We’ve just put our heads down and gone about our business, and the guys have done a fantastic job,” Taylor told Melbourne Media.
“We’ve seen a lot of these players from the under 16s and last year as bottom agers, and then we’ve had a lot of vision come our way.
“Also, over the pre-season we had really good opportunities to see them in multiple games.
“There was a lot to keep us busy and we had to rely really heavily on our experience throughout this year and collectively we spoke about it and we thought it was a really good opportunity to get a competitive edge.”
While Taylor is satisfied with the vision he has seen, there is a possibility some clubs will rate players differently this year.
And with that comes an opportunity to find some draft steals.
“You’re always hopeful of that and I think in a general year, everyone looks at it slightly differently, which gives opportunities to each club,” he said.
“I think given the circumstances … maybe the first 15 or so might be pretty much the same for all clubs, beyond that it could open right up.”
The Demons currently hold picks 18, 19, 28, 50, 89, 103 and 114 for the 2020 National Draft, but with the possibility of live trading, those numbers could change.
“As a club we’ve always got to look at those opportunities,” Taylor said.
“Tim Lamb’s been on the phone with all clubs really, just looking at potentials on the night.
“We’ll just weigh all that up as it comes through, and if we get any phone calls on the night, we’ll … make decisions around that.”
Either way, the Dees are in a strong position to land some top-end talent, which will complement last year’s additions of Luke Jackson, Kysaiah Pickett and Trent Rivers.
“That’ll be six players that we’ve been able to target and bring in through the last two drafts under (pick) 32,” Taylor said.
“That’s a really good opportunity to keep replenishing underneath and keep getting better.”