Carlton, it's time for you to go under the microscope that is the sweet and sour of AFL drafting since 2001.
The draft selections below will be labelled either sweet or sour depending on how that player’s career turned out. This could include playing 250 games, asking for a trade, captaining the side or being delisted after two games.
It’s important to remember that Carlton was stripped of their priority pick (the overall first pick in the draft after ‘winning’ their first ever wooden spoon) and first round draft picks in the 2002 National Draft after they were found guilty of salary cap breaches.
The pick went to St Kilda (who finished second last) and they drafted Brendon Goddard. Oh, how things could’ve been different.
Now to the fun part. Carlton, you’re up.
Top five sweets
1. Marc Murphy
Carlton captain. Pick 1 in 2005. All Australian, AFLCA Player of the Year and a best and fairest in 2011. He has played 195 games and scored 147 goals, all with the Navy Blues. And to think that it might not have come to fruition if he hadn’t declined Brisbane’s offer to originally draft him under the father-son rule.
Murphy has been a warrior for the Blues in his 10 seasons in the AFL. He’s battled injuries, tough tags, peaks and dips in form, and unfortunately for him, not a whole lot of team success.
At his best, Murphy is one the classiest, most skillful small midfielders in the game. He has averaged 24 disposals, five marks and four tackles a game over his career. A superstar who would get a lot more credit on a winning team.
2. Eddie Betts and Jarrad Waite
Despite the fact that these two players have moved on to other clubs, Betts and Waite were great servicemen for the Carlton Football Club. Carlton drafted Eddie with the third pick in the 2004 pre-season draft. What a gem of a pick. He went on to play in 184 games, kicking 290 goals for the Blues. He was a two-time goal-kicker at the club and a much loved fan favourite.
Waite joined Carlton in 2001, under the father-son rule. Like Eddie, he played in 184 games and kicked 252 goals for the Blues. Waite was the ultimate swingman, but a lack of finals success meant he was off to join the Roos in the off-season.
Carlton fans can’t be sour at Eddie. The club let him go. But are you sour at Waite? Regardless, these two players were huge contributors to your club and great draft picks.
3. Bryce Gibbs
In 2005, they picked Murphy and in 2006 they picked Gibbs. Gibbs was a high-profile draft prospect, and Carlton swooped on him with their second number one draft pick in consecutive years.
Gibbs has played 186 games and kicked 102 goals in his AFL career. Playing as both a midfielder and half backer, Gibbs has been incredibly durable and consistent throughout. In 2014, he won his first Carlton B&F, signed a five-year deal with the Blues and lifted his game to the elite category.
He is the vice captain at Carlton, although his leadership this year has gotten a bit of a whack. A classy, resilient player who has been a great pick for the Blues. Surely they won't trade him...right?
4. Kade Simpson
I could have gone with Andrew Walker or Troy Menzel. I could have gone with Michael Jamison, Levi Casboult, Sam Rowe or the up-and-coming Patrick Cripps. But one of the most underrated, ‘sweetest’ players that Carlton has drafted in 2001 is Kade Simpson.
He was drafted with the 45th pick in 2002 National Draft by the Blues. He’s been one of the only consistent things about the Blues over the last decade. He’s courageous, he attacks, he’s classy, he’s slim, and he’s one of the best leaders at Carlton. It’s hard to believe Simpson has notched up a 231-game, 123-goal career in such a seemingly laidback fashion. He was also Carlton’s best and fairest winner in 2013. Well done, Simmo.
5. Chris Yarran and Jeff Garlett in 2008
Along with Eddie, these three players were the original ‘Mozzie Squad’ that the Brisbane Lions now boast in their forward line. They were exhilarating, lightning quick, dangerous and most importantly, fun to watch.
Yarran was Carlton’s first pick (#6) in the 2008 draft, while Garlett was a rookie selection that same year. Before the band split up, Garlett played 107 games, kicking 183 goals for the Blues and Yarran (more of a utility player), still at the Blues, has played in 112 games.
Yarran has a trade target on his back. But still, these two players have produced many sweet moments for the Blues.
Brett Thornton (#11, 2001 RD), Brad Fisher (#72, 2002 ND), Andrew Walker (#2, 2003 ND), Andrew Carazzo (#2, 2003 RD), Michael Jamison (#17, 2006 RD), Dennis Armfield (#46, 2007 ND), David Ellard (#34, 2007 RD), Mitch Robinson (#40, 2008 ND), Levi Casboult (#44, 2009 RD), Zach Tuohy (#73, 2009 RD), Ed Curnow (#18, 2010 RD), Sam Rowe (#44, 2011 ND), Dylan Buckley (F/S, 2011 ND), Tom Bell (#11, 2011 RD), Troy Menzel (#11, 2012 ND) and Patrick Cripps (#13, 2013 ND)
Top five sours
1. Josh J. Kennedy
Carlton fans, if you had your time again, knowing what you know now (hindsight is wonderful), would you still trade Kennedy for Judd? Just remember he was the fourth pick in 2005.
Well either or, you can’t deny that Kennedy has developed into a superstar forward and would relieve you of a lot of the forward struggles you have battled over the years. But you got Judd. The superstar. The legend. You don’t need numbers to decide this one. The mic is yours.
2. Sam Jacobs
Despite Jacobs asking for a trade back to South Australia, this would still have to hurt.
Carlton drafted Jacobs with the first pick in the 2006 rookie draft. He played 17 games with the Blues before moving back to Adelaide.
Jacobs wasn’t a drafting blue, but I don’t remember Carlton trying very hard to make him stay. Oh well, he’s up in Adelaide and is now one of the best ruckmen in the league. Perhaps a list management issue?
3. Kane Lucas
Carlton drafted Lucas with their first selection (#12) in the 2009 AFL draft. Before being delisted and moving to West Coast in the off-season, he only managed 42 games with the Blues.
Fyfe was taken at pick 20 in the same draft.
4. Josh Bootsma
Considering the 2011 National Draft was dominated by Greater Western Sydney draft picks, Carlton would have been working hard to recruit a gem with their first pick, pick 22. They drafted Bootsma, who played in 14 games before being sacked by the club for inappropriate behaviour on social media. Not much more to say about that draft pick. Sorry Blues fans.
5. Jordan Russell
This is a harsh call, but Russell was the ninth overall pick in the 2004 national draft. So expectations were always going to be high. Russell played in 116 games with the Blues (and nine with the Pies) in eight years, but you get the feeling he never fulfilled his full potential. Not so sour, but definitely not sweet.
(Not) worthy mentions
Adam Hartlett (#25, 2004 ND), Luke Blackwell (F/S 2004 ND), Paul Bower (#20, 2005 ND), Jake Edwards (#36, 2005 ND), Shaun Hampson (#17, 2006 ND), Shaun Grigg (#19, 2006 ND), Mark Austin (#35, 2006 ND) and Matthew Watson? (#18, 2010 ND)
Both sweet and sour – Matthew Kruezer
Carlton fans, I didn’t know where to place Matthew Kruezer. The overall number one pick in 2007 for the Blues. Ruckmen, injuries, 108 games. He's up and about when he's fit, but unfortunately, that's been a rare sight over his career.
So you tell me, is he sweet or his he sour?
Carlton have really mastered the art of plucking gems from the rookie and pre-season drafts in recent years. The national draft is, unfortunately, where they run into trouble.
Letting Kennedy, Betts, Waite and Garlett go has been done to death. That’s not a drafting issue, it’s a list management one. Troy Menzel and Patrick Cripps were sensational selections and will both elevate themselves into the much anticipated, 'sweet' drafting category in years to come. Cripps has 'rising star' painted across his forehead, whilst Menzel is a young gun.
Tom Bell is showing good signs, while Rowe, Buckley, Smith, Boekhorst, Curnow and Casboult should make up the core of the Carlton line-up for many years to come.Since 2001, there's been sweets and sours, leaving them in the middle at the road.