We're only one sleep away from the AFL draft and with the Western Bulldogs not entering the draft until pick 20, Bulldog fans are intrigued to find out who exactly the Dogs will draft with that very first selection. They also get pick 21 after giving up pick 11 to Carlton in exchange for the two picks.
I have gone through several phantom drafts across the internet, done the research and have come up with some possible options for who the Dogs could and may just select tomorrow night.
What The Club Needs
After the controversial departure of Michael Talia to Sydney, a key defender must be a high priority for the Bulldogs. They had enquired about Jake Carlisle in the trade period but was never seriously considered. The Dogs should draft a key defender to not just fill the gap left by Talia, but to increase pressure for spots for guys like Joel Hamling, Fletcher Roberts and Zaine Cordy.
An athletic ruckman prospect to suit Luke Beveridge's game plan could be on the agenda this year after failing to secure Matthew Leuenberger, Stefan Martin and Matthew Lobbe at the player exchange period last month. Will Minson is struggling and if Jordan Roughead and Tom Campbell break down with injury, then a ruckman who provides depth would be handy.
The Potential Draftees
Ben is a key defender from the Gippsland Power who is also capable of going down forward, and at 199cm and 95kg, He's often hard to beat in a marking contest and should be asserting himself into the Bulldogs' back six ahead of Joel Hamling and Fletcher Roberts in 2016 should he get drafted there.
Not a very good user of the ball by foot and his agility is going to need some work if he is to match with some of the AFL's best, but the upside is that he's very raw in terms of development after taking some time off the game earlier in the year, he will get plenty of time to develop into a very good player.
He Plays Like
I see a bit of Jake Carlisle about him, without all those misdemeanours of course. His marking is, without question, his strongest attribute and can play both ends of the ground like the new Saint. Thank goodness he doesn't have the same attitude as Carlisle. We could all do without that.
At 194cm and 100kgs, Dandenong Stingrays' product Kieran Collins is already considered to be a man-child. He is one that, if he gets through to the Bulldogs at pick 20, would be one of the bargains of the draft.
He's got the strength and speed to match power forwards either in a one on one or on a lead, has got an amazing ability to read the play, has some very strong hands and is a very good user of the ball. You'd probably expect him to go way before pick 20, but you can never say never at the AFL draft.
There is not much that is of a concern to Collins, his defensive work is exceptional. But unlike Ben McKay, Collins isn't capable enough to be a threat towards goal just yet, often struggling in the forward 50 when put down there.
He Plays Like
Collins comes to mind of former West Coast premiership star Darren Glass. A no-nonsense defender who always seems to get the job done against the big power forwards.
A 190cm defender from Tasmania, Mitchell Hibberd had spent last year on the sidelines with injury, but bounced back big time in 2015 and should get picked as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder.
A running defender who provides good size at 190cm and 85kgs, an elite runner and is a very good decision maker. He tested very well in the draft combine and performed strongly in the U/18 championships. Could easily develop into another midfielder in due time.
The big concern is Hibberd's injury history. In the past two years, he's had to endure serious shoulder and knee injuries and could take some time to physically develop into an AFL-made body.
He Plays Like
I see a bit of Robert Murphy in him, with the way he can get himself out of trouble and still make a good decision by foot, would be convienient if the Dogs select him as Murphy is coming towards an end of a very illustrious career at Whitten Oval.
Another 190cm defender from South Australia who can possibly play in the midfield later in his career, Riley Bonner is a gifted athletic prospect that the Bulldogs would love to get their hands on.
Having already played senior football at the SANFL, his pace and skill with the ball in hand is undeniably good his raking left foot a feature of his game. He's got the ability to run and rebound from the defensive 50, and can play on either tall or small forwards.
His one-on-one work in defence needs some work, but that will develop when he gets drafted. He did not test at the draft combine, nursing a foot injury, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for him.
He Plays Like
He's been compared to Hawthorn premiership player Grant Birchall. Plays in the same position, same sort of size defender, both have elite kicking skills and have the speed and agility to rebound from the defensive 50.
A 197cm key defender from Gippsland that has the potential to be something big in the future. His best football is as a defender, but has the versatility to play anywhere on the ground, from full forward.
Has got the strength to play as a key position player, some solid hands and is one of the more competitive players in this years draft class. Skinner is projected to go anywhere from early second round to rookie-list.
Skinner suffered a severe knee injury in the second-half of 2015 and will miss a chunk of 2016. The concern to re-do his knee will always be there, but once he gets back on the park, he'll be justHe Plays Like
He reminds me of Leigh Brown when he was playing in Collingwood's premiership year in 2010. You could put him anywhere on the ground and he'd do the job well.
Draft Night is Tomorrow Night.
Who would you like at the Kennel?
Who do you reckon the Bulldogs will draft?