AFL 3 years ago

The sweet and sour of the AFL Drafts: Melbourne Demons

  • The sweet and sour of the AFL Drafts: Melbourne Demons
  • The sweet and sour of the AFL Drafts: Melbourne Demons
Originally created on AFL by Tiarne Swersky.

Earth to sweet and sour fans – it’s Melbourne’s turn. The good ‘ol Melbourne Demons.

It’s been a tough few years for them on and off the field, but are things about to get tougher?

Let’s talk sweets and sours. Remember how this works.The draft selections below will be labelled either sweet or sour depending on how that player’s career turned out.

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This could include playing 250 games, asking for a trade, captaining the side or being delisted after two games.

Top five sweets
1 – Nathan Jones

Formerly a pick 12 in the 2005 AFL draft, Jones is now my top sweet pick for Melbourne’s drafting since 2001.

The captain. The heart and soul. The bulldozer. The leader. Jones encapsulates everything a captain in the AFL represents.

In what has been really trying times for the club over the past few seasons, Jones has constantly been the glistening light. The almost 200-gamer puts his body on the line for his team for 120 minutes, each week.

He’s a ball winning, ferocious contested player, who wears his heart on his ‘tattooed sleeves’ and is great to watch in the heat of the battle.

Co-captain in 2014, and now sole leader in 2015, Jones has won the Demons’ past three best and fairest awards, and there’s no doubt he’ll finish with more than five of them once he retires, marking his name in Melbourne’s history books.

2 – Aaron Davey
Aaron Davey, at the peak of his powers, was the most exciting player in the AFL. Melbourne drafted him via the sixth selection in the 2003 Rookie Draft. Davey was a dynamic footballer who was an absolute sensation and beloved player for the Melbourne football club.

Like Cyril Rioli today, every time Davey went near the ball, the crowd would rise with excitement. Nicknamed ‘The Flash’ during his career, Davey’s lightning pace, his creativity, tackling and goal sense were uncanny.

He was a sensational crumbing small forward, he could run through the midfield and spend time across half back with his attacking flare and playmaking abilities.

Injuries did feature throughout his 178-game career, and in 2013, he announced his retirement. 174 goals and a best and fairest in 2009 were among his highlights.

3 – Mark Jamar
The 100-kilogram ruckman joined Melbourne when they drafted him with the sixth pick in the 2001 Rookie Draft.

In his 155-game career, Jamar has often been a forgotten ruckman in the AFL. He’s not overly athletic, he’s not the tallest, he’s not the most intimidating, or the best tap ruckman, but Jamar has been a reliable, constant force for Melbourne and their ruck stocks.

2010 was his best season, where he was named the interchange ruckman in the All-Australian team and finished third in Melbourne’s best and fairest.

Success isn’t something Jamar has been familiar with over his career, but as a rookie drafted player, to play over 150 games and shoulder the majority of Melbourne’s ruck load for over a decade, Jamar has exceeded all expectations.

At his best, put him in a top eight side with an elite midfield group and Jamar would be a more appreciated ruckman in the AFL.

4 – Jeremy Howe and Tom McDonald in 2010
With two picks in the 2010 AFL draft, Melbourne added two quality players who they hope will lead the Demons to some craved success in the near future.

With pick 33 and pick 53, they drafted Jeremy Howe and Tom McDonald respectively. There’s no doubt that Jeremy Howe is the most exciting player on Melbourne’s list. It’s often suggested that taking high-flying marks each game is in his contract, but his athleticism and specky per game ratio is breathtaking.

Howe is 87 games into his career, and already his versatility and ‘swingman’ abilities have proven to be a valued manoeuvre for Paul Roos.

There are rumours swirling that other clubs are willing to throw big money at him in the offseason, but Melbourne would be silly to not do everything they can to retain his services.

There are suggestions that 10 games into 2015, that Tom McDonald should be the All-Australian fullback and that he’s leading Melbourne’s best and fairest. And with good reason, McDonald is having a stellar season.

69 games in, and McDonald’s already Melbourne’s most trusted defensive unit. He’s ability to not give away the free kick, read the play and win the majority of his one-on-one contests would have Paul Roos and the recruiting department very happy. He also averages 16 disposals per game in his career which is a telling statistic for a fullback.

He placed third in Melbourne’s best and fairest in 2012, and his growth and leadership at still just 22 years of age is a very exciting prospect for Demons fans.

5 – Lynden Dunn
Dunn is a Melbourne journeyman. He’s played in what feels like almost every position across his 148-game career, and has excelled at some, and hasn’t at others. But one thing remains constant, Dunn’s effort and leadership never wears off.

After a slow development early on, Dunn has revived his career as a backman, although he can still push forward. He is a great reader of the play, leading to many of his saving intercept marks in defence. In 2014, he resisted free agency and remained loyal as a Demon, signing a three-year deal.

He’s another of Melbourne’s versatile weapons, and it would be great to see Dunn taste success after a trying start to his career. His 150th in a few weeks will be one that Demons fans much appreciate and respect.

Worthy mentions
Brad Miller (#55, 2001 ND), Jared Rivers (#26, 2002 ND), Colin Sylvia (#3, 2003 ND), Matthew Bate (#13, 2004 ND), Clint Bartram (#60, 2005 ND), James Frawley (#12, 2006 ND), Colin Garland (#46, 2006 ND), Jack Grimes (#14, 2007 ND), Stefan Martin (#3, 2007 PD), Austin Wonaeamirri (#19, 2007 RD), Neville Jetta (#51, 2008 ND), Rohan Bail (#64, 2008 ND), Liam Jurrah (#1, 2008 PD), Jordie Mckenzie (#1, 2008 RD), Jack Trengove (#2, 2009 ND), Luke Tapscott (#18, 2009 ND), Joel McDonald (#1, 2009 PD) and James Magner (#42, 2011 RD)

Top five sours
1 – Tom Scully

No surprises here. Think of the sourest lolly you’ve ever tasted and Tom Scully to Melbourne fans would still be worse.

Drafted number one in 2009, then famously handed the treasured #31 Melbourne Guernsey, Scully played 31 games with the Demons before saying sayonara and joining GWS on a hefty contract.

He’ll play his 100th with the Giants later this season, and Scully has developed into a quality midfielder, despite the early controversy.

To Melbourne fans, he’ll always be, well, sour. The other descriptions are ‘hated’, or ‘moneybags’, but I’m sticking with sour.

2 – Luke Molan
You know it’s a sour draft pick, when the player doesn’t even have an AFL profile on the internet for you to read up on.

From what I do know, Molan was Melbourne’s top draft pick in 2001 (pick 9). He was a forward whose career was injury plagued and was delisted after playing 0 games in 2004.

Melbourne fans, I would suggest to not look back on the whole 2001 draft. It may hurt more than seeing Tom Scully wearing orange at the MCG.

3 – Cale Morton
For a former pick four in the AFL Draft, no matter who you are, 76 career games is not good enough. Therefore Cale Morton, you leave a sour legacy within Melbourne’s drafting since 2001.

Morton had makings of being a great utility player for Melbourne. He had height, athleticism and was a good user of the ball early on. Unfortunately for Melbourne fans, Morton’s inconsistency in form and what looked like a lack of appetite for the contest for led him to having a poor AFL career, considering where he was drafted.

73 games with the Dees and three with the Eagles before they delisted him after one season.

4 – Bell and Smith in ‘02
When you have pick 14 and pick 15 in a national draft, you’d hope the two players you drafted would have more than a combined 70 career total in games when they finish up. But that’s not the case for Melbourne, who drafted Daniel Bell (#14) and Nick Smith (#15) in 2002.

Bell had an OK career with the Demons. He played 66 games but will most likely be remembered for the sickening clash with Collingwood’s Ben Johnson in 2007 where there were fears Bell had broken his back. He was delisted in 2010.

Smith on the other hand was a ruckman who struggled with injuries and a lack of opportunities, but ultimately after just four games in three years, was delisted in 2006.

5 – Jordan Gysberts
Lucas Cook with pick 12 in 2010, or Jordan Gysberts with pick 11 in 2009? Let’s go with the pick 11. Melbourne received that pick in the trade exchanged with Carlton for Brock McLean. Great trade. But not so great draft selection.

The midfielder had a fairly mediocre stint with the Demons, playing only 19 games in two seasons. He was traded to North Melbourne in 2012 (Cam Pederson came to Melbourne in that trade) and played 0 games with the Roos and was delisted in 2013.

(Not) Worthy Mentions
Steven Armstrong (#25, 2001 ND), Aaron Rogers (#26, 2001 ND), Brock McLean (#5, 2003 ND), Christopher Johnson (F/S #36, 2003 ND), Simon Buckley (#53, 2005 ND), Ricky Petterd (#30, 2006 ND), Addam Maric (#21, 2007 ND), Sam Blease (#17, 2008 ND), James Strauss (#19, 2008 ND), Jamie Bennell (#35, 2008 ND), Lucas Cook (#12, 2010 ND), Rory Taggert (#36, 2011 ND) and James Sellar (#54, 2011 ND).

Both sweet and sour: Jack Watts
Don’t worry footy fans, I haven’t forgotten the one, the only, Jack Watts. I’m not prepared to label him sweet, nor am I prepared to label him sour. So this one is completely up to you.

Here are the numbers: Overall number one pick in 2008. 103 games, 77 goals.

Here are the descriptions: Utility. Athletic. Great set shot. Good mark. Frustrating. Lacklustre. Bust.

Sweet or sour? All yours, Melbourne fans.

Final words
There has been a lot of discussion on Melbourne’s drafting troubles. But one thing I’ve definitely noticed is Melbourne’s ability to draft quality defenders. Their drafting of midfielders and forwards is where the question marks start to appear.

But the future well and truly looks bright. Success on the field, in years to come, will be the telling factor in Melbourne’s drafting fate. Can this young group of players, along with the old-timers, push it’s way into the top eight for the first time in years?

Keep me posted, Melbourne.

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