Six Peter Jackson VFL players have graduated to the elite level after being selected in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft in Sydney on Friday night.
Geelong VFL trio Tom Stewart, Timm House and Ryan Abbott have all been added to the Cats’ AFL list, Footscray finals heroes Ben Long and Mitch Hannan were selected by St Kilda and Melbourne respectively, while Coburg’s 2016 Fothergill-Round Medallist Luke Ryan was taken by Fremantle.
vfl.com.au takes a closer look at those selected from Victoria’s premier senior competition:
Pick no.25: Ben Long to St Kilda
The 183cm forward burst onto the radars of AFL clubs with some electrifying performances in Footscray’s run to the 2016 VFL premiership. 19-year-old Long, originally from Darwin, booted six goals in the Bulldogs’ big preliminary-final win against Collingwood before kicking two majors in his team’s VFL Grand Final triumph over the Casey Scorpions. Overall, he recorded 13 goals in seven games after making his VFL debut in Round 18.
* CLICK HERE to read vfl.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Ben Long.
Pick no.40: Tom Stewart to Geelong
The 190cm key defender played in 18 of 19 matches for the Geelong VFL team in 2016, having only joined the club from Geelong FL powerhouse South Barwon over the off-season. 23-year-old Stewart earned selection in the VFL Team of the Year back line and finished second in Geelong’s best-and-fairest award after averaging 17 disposals, six marks and three rebound-50s per game.
Pick no.46: Mitch Hannan to Melbourne
The 189cm high-flying Footscray forward wowed crowds with his aerial ability across 14 matches in 2016 after making just four appearances for the Bulldogs last year. 22-year-old Hannan, a former St Bernard’s player, kicked 19 goals, averaged 11 disposals and four marks per game and was part of the club’s VFL premiership victory this year.
Pick no.66: Luke Ryan to Fremantle
The 185cm rebounding defender won the 2016 Fothergill-Round Medal for the VFL’s most promising player under 23 following a stellar 10 games for Coburg. 20-year-old Ryan, a former Calder Cannons player, was selected in the VFL Team of the Year back line after averaging 19 disposals at 85 per cent efficiency, six marks and six rebound-50s per game.
* CLICK HERE to read vfl.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Luke Ryan.
Pick no.68: Timm House to Geelong
The big-bodied 194cm key forward booted five goals on debut as the 23rd player in Round 9 this year before going on to kick 19 total goals in 12 matches for the Geelong VFL team. 21-year-old House, a Western Australia native, was picked up by the VFL Cats over the off-season after playing for Newtown & Chilwell in the Geelong FL.
Pick no.69: Ryan Abbott to Geelong
The 200cm ruckman played just four matches in 2016 – his first year on the Geelong VFL list – before becoming the third local product (from Grovedale) to be picked up by the AFL Cats in the draft. 25-year-old Abbott averaged nine disposals and 17 hitouts per game from his limited opportunities.
See the list of VFL players selected in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft below:
|25||Ben Long||Footscray||St Kilda|
|40||Tom Stewart||Geelong VFL||Geelong|
|68||Timm House||Geelong VFL||Geelong|
|69||Ryan Abbott||Geelong VFL||Geelong|