Some of the best young talent in the country will have their AFL wishes granted on Wednesday and Thursday night when the 2021 national draft is held.
The AFL last week released its official draft order for the draft, which totalled 91 picks. However, it’s anticipated that only around 60 players will have their names called out across the two nights.
Here’s everything you need to know about the players, the picks and the drafts themselves.
Watch the first round of the 2021 AFL Draft on Fox Footy and Kayo from 7pm EDT on Wednesday November 24. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today >
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WHEN IS THE AFL DRAFT 2021?
The 2021 AFL national draft will be held across two nights, beginning on Wednesday November 24 from 7pm AEDT then Thursday November 25 from 7pm.
The draft will be telecast live on Fox Footy (Channel 504) — the only place to watch the picks as they’re announced on TV — as well as streaming on Kayo Sports.
The first round of the draft will be held on Wednesday night, with the rest of the selections to be made on Thursday night.
You can also follow the AFL draft live on foxfooty.com.au, with analysis of every pick and every club, along with Fox Footy’s social media channels.
Due to current COVID-19 restrictions in place across the country, the 2021 national draft will be conducted virtually within the AFL Review Centre (ARC), which will serve as the central hub. All 18 clubs will submit draft selections via an online draft system within the ARC.
A handful of the top Victorian-based draft contenders have been invited by the AFL to watch Fox Footy’s coverage of the draft at The London Tavern. A few South Australian-based players will attend a function at the Adelaide Oval, while several prospects from Western Australia will venture to RAC Arena.
The 2021 AFL pre-season draft and 2021 AFL rookie draft will be held online on Friday November 26 from 3pm AEDT.
HOW DOES THE AFL DRAFT WORK?
All 18 clubs earn draft picks, which are based on the reverse finishing order from the previous AFL season. These picks can be traded up to one year in advance, while some picks are also given out as compensation for departed free agents.
On draft night, the teams select in order, adding the best young or mature-aged players that aren’t already on AFL lists.
The only exceptions are when draft picks are traded on the night, as well as when bids on father-son and academy players that are linked to certain clubs are made. Those clubs can then choose to match the bid made by their rival, using draft points, to acquire the player.
HOW DOES THE AFL DRAFT BIDDING SYSTEM WORK?
The AFL has created the Draft Value Index, which is a system that allocates a points value to the first 73 picks in the draft.
It essentially means clubs that have existing links to draftees, either via their academy or father-son eligibility, must ‘pay’ to secure these players via multiple picks and give rival clubs the chance to bid on these players.
For clubs to secure their linked talent, they must pay and match a bid by using the draft picks/points they already hold. If they don’t have enough points at the time, they can enter draft deficit, which means their hand at the following year’s draft will take a hit. If the club opts not to match, the player goes to the club who made the bid.
If the Giants bid on Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Sam Darcy, for instance, at Pick 2, here’s how it would play out:
— The Giants bid on Dogs father-son prospect Sam Darcy at Pick 2 (2517 points), meaning the Western Bulldogs must now match the Giants’ bid using the draft picks they already hold if they want Darcy (they definitely want him).
— The Dogs firstly receive some assistance via the 20 per cent discount (automatically given to clubs for father-son bids inside the first round), meaning they now have to find 2014 points to secure Darcy.
— To match the bid, the Dogs use Pick 23 (815 points), Pick 43 (378), Pick 44 (362), Pick 45 (347) and Pick 52 (246), equating to 2148 points that is enough to cover the Giants’ bid.
— As the value of those five picks is more than the discounted Pick 2 value, the Dogs have 134 points left over. This means the last selection the Dogs used to match the Darcy bid (Pick 52) would slide back to Pick 62.
— The bid is successfully matched and Darcy is officially selected by the Bulldogs at Pick 2, but it costs the club their first five picks.
— Despite missing out on Darcy, the Giants retain their place in the draft order and select again at Pick 3, with the predetermined draft order continuing from there. That’s if, of course, the Giants don’t launch a bid on Daicos at Pick 3 …
You can read more about how the system will be used in the 2021 draft here.
WHO ARE THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE DRAFT?
This has been described as a ‘hybrid’ draft pool, for it’ll be headlined by midfielders, small forwards and rebounding defenders.
Topping the draft class is South Adelaide’s Jason Horne-Francis and Oakleigh Chargers’ Nick Daicos — two star on-ballers that have been widely regarded as the top two under-age players all season. Horne-Francis is likely to go at Pick 1 after playing more games this season — including SANFL league finals — than Daicos, who might’ve been a clear No. 1 in another year that wasn’t affected by Covid.
Daicos and 205cm ruck-forward Sam Darcy are both eligible father-son recruits and should be secured by Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs respectively within the first four picks.
Sandringham Dragons midfielder Finn Callaghan — a tall, big-bodied, left-foot midfielder that’s drawn comparisons to Bulldogs champion Marcus Bontempelli — rounds out a ‘fab four’ at the top of the draft class.
Two other ball magnets — GWV Rebels’ Ben Hobbs and Northern Knights’ Josh Ward — loom as early selections, while Rebels defender Josh Gibcus — think Jake Lever — and Bushrangers forward Josh Rachele — think Toby Greene — should be picked inside the top 10.
Dandenong Stingrays ruck-forward Mac Andrew, who’s tied to Melbourne through its Next Generation Academy, has probably been the biggest draft board bolter across the season. As the AFL has changed the in-draft NGA bidding rules for 2021 – clubs with existing links to multicultural and Indigenous Academy players can’t match bids inside the top 20 selections – the Dees aren’t getting their hands on Andrew, who could be selected as early as Pick 3.
Western Australia also has three top-10 contenders: Subiaco midfielder-forward Neil Erasmus,
East Perth tall forward Jye Amiss and smooth-moving Subiaco on-baller Matt Johnson.
Glenelg wingman Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera — the nephew of Essendon and Port Adelaide champion Gavin Wanganeen and the son of Terry Milera — is a chance to join fellow South Australian Horne-Francis in the top 10.
AFL DRAFT POWER RANKINGS: 1 to 25
AFL DRAFT POWER RANKINGS: 26 to 50
WHAT ARE THE BIG STORYLINES FOR THE DRAFT?
Will we see any bombshell live trades involving top-10 picks?
Multiple clubs have already tried to orchestrate moves over the past few months, yet none have succeeded. That doesn’t mean no big moves will go down on Wednesday and Thursday, though. The Giants’ Pick 2 has been in hot demand, as reported by foxfooty.com.au last month, with multiple clubs keen to trade up to that selection in order to get their hands on young gun midfielder Finn Callaghan. Gold Coast (Pick 3), Adelaide (Pick 4), Hawthorn (Pick 5), Fremantle (Pick 6) and Richmond (Pick 7) have all been heavily linked to the left-footed Callaghan, with both the Suns and Crows already making inquiries. But foxfooty.com.au understands the Giants are now poised to take Pick 2 to the draft … unless they receive a godfather, too-good-to-refuse offer from a rival team on draft night. Clubs are also keeping tabs on Adelaide, which holds Pick 4. If the Crows retain their first pick, they’re expected to take Josh Rachele. But rival teams believe the Crows would be prepared and willing to trade down the order if it meant they could still get their hands on their preferred prospect. Multiple sources told foxfooty.com.au the Crows have interest in Sandringham Dragons’ Josh Sinn and Glenelg’s Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera. The Giants also hold Pick 13 and are one of three clubs with two first-round picks, along with Richmond and the Brisbane Lions. Don’t be surprised if the latter two, or even Essendon and reigning premiers Melbourne, attempted to move up the order in the first round. One recruiter told foxfooty.com.au last month they expected the middle to latter stages of the first round to be “red-hot” due to the number of pick swaps they’re anticipating.
Will Fremantle bypass star local WA talent?
The Dockers might’ve lost Adam Cerra during the trade period, but they enter this year’s draft with one of the best hands, which includes Picks 6, 8 and 19. Importantly, the picks they hold correspond with the draft range of several WA-based young guns. Freo football boss Peter Bell last month indicated his club wouldn’t necessarily target WA talent at the draft, declaring it’d take the best available player as he pointed to the fact eight of the top 10 players in this year’s best and fairest count originated from Victoria. Yet there’s a lot of WA prospects in first-round contention this season — and they could fill a chasm on Freo’s list. The Dockers need a key forward — and East Perth’s Jye Amiss, who booted 51.14 from 13 home and away WAFL colts matches this year, is arguably the best key forward in the open draft. Subiaco’s Neil Erasmus, who was the second-highest ranked player in the WAFL colts, is a star midfielder-forward, while Subi teammate Matt Johnson has drawn comparisons to Scott Pendlebury for his composure and decision-making. All three players are in top-10 contention, while star Claremont swingman Jacob Van Rooyen could fall around the Dockers’ Pick 19. After the Dockers lost Cerra back to Victoria and Bell’s comments, their draft choices this year will be heavily scrutinised.
How crucial will the break between the first and second rounds be?
Clubs last year had to make all their selections on the one night. This year, the draft will be held across two nights, with only the first round to be conducted on the first night. Teams, therefore, will have a good sense of the landscape by the end of the first round, which will allow them to strike pick swaps in the near-24-hour break. The pick that will be in high demand between the first and second draft nights will be Fremantle’s Pick 19, which is the first selection of the second round. The Dockers will undoubtedly field multiple offers from rival teams for the prized pick. Clubs expect an array of second-round picks to be traded across the two draft nights, with Geelong tipped to beat Collingwood and Sydney in the race for the Western Bulldogs’ first selection (Pick 23). Carlton had also been open to offers for its Pick 25 — but that was before Liam Jones’ sensational retirement last week.
WHO ARE THE ELIGIBLE ACADEMY AND FATHER-SON PROSPECTS?
Collingwood: Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers, son of Peter Daicos)
Melbourne: Taj Woewodin (East Fremantle FC, son of Shane Woewodin)
North Melbourne: Jackson Archer (Northern Knights, son of Glenn Archer)
Port Adelaide: Jase Burgoyne (Woodville West Torrents, son of Peter Burgoyne)
Western Bulldogs: Sam Darcy (Oakleigh Chargers, son of Luke Darcy)
Next Generation Academy nominations (can only be matched from Pick 21 onwards)
Carlton: Domanic Akuei (Northern Knights)
Fremantle: Eric Benning (Claremont), Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle, can only be matched from Pick 41 onwards as Motlop is metro-based)
Hawthorn: Paul Haasbroek (Eastern Ranges)
Melbourne: Mac Andrew (Dandenong Stingrays), Andy Moniz-Wakefield (Nightcliff)
St Kilda: Josiah Kyle (Dandenong Stingrays), Mitchito Owens (Sandringham Dragons), Jack Peris (Sandringham Dragons), Marucs Windhager (Sandringham Dragons)
Western Bulldogs: Cody Raak (Western Jets)
Northern Academy nominations
Gold Coast Suns: Jason Baird (Wanderers), William Bella, Jed Foggo (Palm Beach Currumbin AFC), Austin Harris (Broadbeach AFC), Thomas Hofert (Labrador AFC), Antonio James (West Adelaide), Jack Johnston, Jamie Jones (Nightcliff), Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder), Brinn Little (Palm Beach Currumbin AFC), Max Pescud, Bailey Reeves, Ned Stevens, Jaeden Watts (West Adelaide)
GWS Giants: Jack Driscoll, Joshua Fahey (Queanbeyan Tigers), Samuel Frost, Joshua Green (Tuggeranong Hawks), Harrison Grintell (Narrandera), Fraser Kelly (Tuggeranong Hawks), Patrick Voss (Turvey Park)
Sydney Swans: Angus Anderson (Sawtell Toormina Saints FC), William Edwards (North Shore Bombers), Kye Pfrengle (St George AFC), Liam Puncher (North Shore Bombers), Felix Rogers (North Shore Bombers), Pierce Roseby (North Shore Bombers)
WHAT IS THE AFL DRAFT 2021 ORDER?
See below, featuring the pick, club and draft value index (DVI) attached to the selection.
Note: With live-trading, the draft order is subject to change.
1. North Melbourne
2. GWS Giants (via Collingwood)
3. Gold Coast Suns
4. Adelaide Crows
6. Fremantle (via Carlton)
9. St Kilda
10. West Coast Eagles
12. Port Adelaide (via Sydney Swans)
13. GWS Giants
14. Brisbane Lions
16. Sydney Swans (via Port Adelaide)
17. Melbourne (via Western Bulldogs)
18. Brisbane Lions (via Melbourne)
19. Fremantle (via Gold Coast Suns)
20. North Melbourne
21. Hawthorn (via Collingwood)
22. Geelong Cats (via Gold Coast Suns)
23. Western Bulldogs (via Adelaide Crows)
27. Richmond (via Fremantle)
28. Richmond (via St Kilda)
29. West Coast Eagles
30. Geelong Cats (via Essendon)
31. Sydney Swans
32. Geelong Cats (via GWS Giants)
33. Adelaide Crows (via Brisbane Lions)
34. Geelong Cats
35. West Coast Eagles (via Port Adelaide)
36. Collingwood (via Western Bulldogs)
38. Collingwood (via Richmond, free agency compensation for Mabior Chol)
39. Sydney Swans (free agency compensation for George Hewett)
40. Collingwood (via North Melbourne)
41. Brisbane Lions (via Collingwood)
42. North Melbourne (via Gold Coast Suns)
43. Western Bulldogs (via Adelaide Crows)
44. Western Bulldogs (via Adelaide Crows, free agency compensation for Jake Kelly)
45. Western Bulldogs (via Hawthorn)
46. Collingwood (via Carlton)
47. North Melbourne (via Richmond)
48. Collingwood (via Fremantle)
49. Melbourne (via St Kilda)
50. Geelong Cats (via West Coast Eagles)
52. Western Bulldogs (via Sydney Swans)
53. GWS Giants
54. GWS Giants (via Brisbane Lions)
55. St Kilda (via Geelong Cats)
56. Essendon (via Port Adelaide)
57. Melbourne (via Western Bulldogs)
58. Collingwood (via Melbourne)
59. Hawthorn (via North Melbourne)
60. Fremantle (via Gold Coast Suns)
61. St Kilda (via Adelaide Crows)
62. Port Adelaide (via Hawthorn)
64. Hawthorn (via Richmond)
65. St Kilda (via Fremantle)
66. St Kilda
67. West Coast Eagles
68. Fremantle (via Essendon)
69. Sydney Swans
70. GWS Giants
71. North Melbourne (via Brisbane Lions)
72. Port Adelaide (via Geelong Cats)
73. Port Adelaide
74. Adelaide Crows (via Western Bulldogs)
75. North Melbourne
76. Adelaide Crows
81. St Kilda
82. West Coast Eagles
84. Sydney Swans
85. Port Adelaide
86. Gold Coast Suns
87. Adelaide Crows
89. Sydney Swans
90. Gold Coast Suns
2022 FUTURE DRAFT PICKS TRADED (pre-draft)
OUT: Round 4 to Collingwood
IN: Round 3 via Port Adelaide
OUT: Round 3 to Collingwood
OUT: Round 3 to Geelong Cats
IN: Round 3 via Brisbane Lions, Round 3 via Hawthorn, Round 3 via Richmond, Round 4 via Adelaide Crows
OUT: Round 2 to Gold Coast Suns, Round 3 to Gold Coast Suns, Round 4 to Gold Coast Suns
IN: Round 4 via Geelong Cats
OUT: Round 2 to Gold Coast Suns, Round 3 to Hawthorn, Round 4 to Gold Coast Suns
IN: Round 3 via Carlton, Round 4 via Hawthorn
OUT: Round 4 to Fremantle
Gold Coast Suns
IN: Round 2 via Collingwood, Round 2 via Fremantle, Round 3 via Collingwood, Round 4 via Collingwood, Round 4 via Fremantle
OUT: Round 4 to Hawthorn
IN: Round 3 via Fremantle, Round 4 via Gold Coast Suns
OUT: Round 3 to Fremantle, Round 4 to Geelong Cats
OUT: Round 1 to Sydney Swans
IN: Round 4 via Richmond
OUT: Round 2 to Richmond
IN: Round 3 via Sydney Swans
OUT: Round 3 to Brisbane Lions
IN: Round 2 via North Melbourne
OUT: Round 3 to Collingwood, Round 4 to North Melbourne
IN: Round 1 via Melbourne
OUT: Round 3 to Port Adelaide
West Coast Eagles
AFL DRAFT VALUE INDEX
Pick — Point value — Points needed to match with discount
1 — 3000 — 2400
2 — 2517 — 2014
3 — 2234 — 1787
4 — 2034 — 1627
5 — 1878 — 1503
6 — 1751 — 1401
7 — 1644 — 1315
8 — 1551 — 1241
9 — 1469 — 1175
10 — 1395 — 1116
11 — 1329 — 1063
12 — 1268 — 1014
13 — 1212 — 970
14 — 1161 — 929
15 — 1112 — 890
16 — 1067 — 854
17 — 1025 — 788
18 — 985 — 788
19 — 948 — 751
20 — 912 — 715
21 — 878 — 681
22 — 845 — 657
23 — 815 — 618
24 — 785 — 588
25 — 756 — 559
26 — 729 — 532
27 — 703 — 506
28 — 677 — 480
29 — 653 — 456
30 — 629 — 432
31 — 606 — 409
32 — 584 — 387
33 — 563 — 366
34 — 542 — 345
35 — 522 — 325
36 — 502 — 305
37 — 483 — 286
38 — 465 — 268
39 — 446 — 249
40 — 429 — 232
41 — 412 — 215
42 — 395 — 198
43 — 378 — 181
44 — 362 — 165
45 — 347 — 150
46 — 331 — 134
47 — 316 — 119
48 — 302 — 105
49 — 287 — 90
50 — 273 — 76
51 — 259 — 62
52 — 246 — 49
53 — 233 — 36
54 — 220 — 23
55 — 207 — 10
56 — 194
57 — 182
58 — 170
59 — 158
60 — 146
61 — 135
62 — 123
63 — 112
64 — 101
65 — 90
66 — 80
67 — 69
68 — 59
69 — 49
70 — 39
71 — 29
72 — 19
73 — 9
Picks 74 and onwards — 0