PORT ADELAIDE has not ruled out trading back into this year’s AFL National Draft, despite having its eyes firmly fixed on a pair of its talented Next Generation Academy players.
Port currently holds picks 35, 47, 57, 59, 73 and 95 in the draft with NGA talent Lachie Jones high on its radar.
The club traded away its first round pick last year with a view to retaining enough points to match any bid that comes for Jones using later picks.
Port Adelaide’s General Manager – Football, Chris Davies says the club was as prepared as it had been during his time in the role to add some young quality at the draft next month.
“Our recruiting team led by Jason Cripps and Geoff Parker are ready and raring to go,” he said.
“We’ve positioned ourselves over the last couple of years to be in the position we are to match a bid on Lachie Jones if that was to come early.
“I think it’s a really exciting time for our club to think we could be bringing in another first-round quality player to add to the guys we brought in during the trade period.
“It’s going to set our list up for the future. And when you consider we’ve locked in most of our young talent, this is a list that’s got some potential.”
Jones has impressed most recruiters with his poise, hardness and power off half back while playing league football and winning a SANFL premiership with Woodville-West Torrens.
A bid for the teenager is expected to come inside the top ten but Davies was confident Jones would land at Alberton.
Port also has the possibility to draft the son of current midfield coach and 2004 premiership midfielder Jarrad Schofield, Taj Schofield, and has until Wednesday 25 November to register with the AFL its intention.
“We’ve also got a potential father-son in Taj Schofield but that’s not to say we haven’t scoured the draft as to what else might be out there if we have a later pick that can come in,” Davies said.
“And obviously with future picks we’ve got the opportunity to trade back into this draft if we wanted to as well.
“We’ll (notify the AFL of our intent regarding Schofield) in line with that time. We’ve been talking about Taj for a long period of time so I don’t think the answer is going to surprise people when we actually do it but it’s something we’ll work through in the AFL’s timelines.”
With the AFL finally confirming list numbers for 2021 must be a minimum of 37 and maximum of 44, Port Adelaide has been able to lock away much of its squad including Martin Frederick, Boyd Woodcock, Jarrod Lienert, Dylan Williams, Mitch Georgiades, Miles Bergman and on Monday, vice-captain Ollie Wines.
But Davies said the reduction in list size would cause some issues for the club given the need for more SANFL top-up players in a competition where the salary cap had been reduced.
“We are having to deal with list numbers coming back and that’s going to have an impact for us in the sense that we’ve also got our SANFL team, which we’re going to have to be looking for additional contracted players to play at that level and we’ve obviously got a negotiation that will have to happen with the SANFL,” he said.
“I’m not sure how much of a negotiation it will be, but the SANFL will tell us the rules around the players that we can have, who effectively top up the AFL list for our SANFL team.”
The AFL National Draft will take place as an online event on Wednesday 9 December.