It’s always interesting to look back on the hits and the misses of the AFL draft. Who should have been taken at pick #1? And can you believe that guy was taken at pick #47?
The 2001 class will blow you away. The talent goes deep, the champions are on showcase and the accolades are endless.
Knowing what we know today, would you still take Hodge with the number one pick and let Dane Swan slip to number 58?
Like every other redraft, I am not taking under consideration the father-son rule because it ruins the fun. Rookie-drafted players are omitted from the redraft, and therefore, the likes of Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Boyd, Ben Rutten, Nathan Bock, Marty Mattner and others rookie drafted in 2001 are excluded from the list.
I will start by listing the draft class in its real order, and then redraft them based on how their careers ended up.
Pick 1: Luke Hodge (Hawthorn)
Pick 2: Luke Ball (St Kilda)
Pick 3: Chris Judd (West Coast)
Pick 4: Graham Polak (Fremantle)
Pick 5: Xavier Clarke (St Kilda)
Pick 6: Ashley Sampi (West Coast)
Pick 7: David Hale (North Melbourne)
Pick 8: Jimmy Bartel (Geelong)
Pick 9: Luke Molan (Melbourne)
Pick 10: Sam Power (Western Bulldogs)
Pick 1 (Hawthorn) – Gary Ablett Jr
Ablett was drafted in 2001, selected under the father-son rule by Geelong with pick 40. Although Hawthorn would never of had the chance to draft him, it’s still fun to ponder what if...
Wow. Ablett. The best player in the game. Two premierships, two Brownlow Medals (three if he didn’t do his shoulder), eight All-Australians, five best and fairest honours (two with Geelong, three with Gold Coast), five-time AFLPA Most Valuable Player, 271 games and 364 goals.
Not a bad CV he's got there. What a career for the little master.
Pick 2 (St Kilda) – Chris Judd
West Coast drafted Chris Judd with the third overall pick in the 2001 AFL Draft. Judd is one of the best players to have played the game in the modern era, and one of the most decorated players since Simon Black's retirement from the game.
With is career split between two clubs, Judd played a total of 279 games, kicked 228 goals, won a premiership with the Eagles (as premiership captain), is a two-time Brownlow Medallist, a North Smith Medallist (in a losing GF), a five-time B&F winner, a six-time All-Australian and a legend of the game.
Everyone was devastated when Judd had to call a time on his career earlier this season, bringing an end to one of the best career's we've seen over the past decade and a half.
Pick 3 (West Coast) – Luke Hodge
The Hawks would be very pleased with their #1 pick in 2001 - Luke Hodge.
Here's a few minor details: Club captain since 2011, three-time premiership player (captained two of these premierships), two-time North Smith Medallist, three-time All-Australian, two-time Best and Fairest winner, 260 games and one of the best (if not the best) leaders in the AFL.
Courageous. Inspiring. The General.
What an amazing player he has turned out to be. He’s ferocious, versatile, skilful, brilliant and a star. The veteran Hawk has enjoyed a remarkable career, and all with the brown and gold.
Pick 4 (Fremantle) – Sam Mitchell
After being overlooked in the 2000 AFL Draft, Hawthorn drafted Sam Mitchell with the 36th pick in the draft. Let that sink in for a moment.
Ok, let's continue.
Like Hodge, Mitchell is a three-time premiership player (captained the side in 2008), a former club captain, a four-time best and fairest winner and two-time All-Australian.
He is the ageless AFL player. His 273-game career keeps getting better with every game. He is one of Hawthorn's greatest play makers and creators out of the middle. Mitchell is one of the most difficult players to keep quiet for four quarters, and he has been essential to Hawthorn's dominance over the past seven years.
Pick 5 (St Kilda) – Jimmy Bartel
Jimmy moves up a few places from his original draft position, as he has put together an illustrious career for the Geelong Football Club.
The former pick 8 in the 2001 AFL Draft is one of Geelong's three-time premiership players. Add in the Norm Smith in the 2011 flag, and the Brownlow Medal in 2007 and Jimmy's resume looks outstanding.
He's a two-time All-Australian, has kicked 191 career goals and has been a brilliant and consistent performer over his 13 year career.
274 games later, all in the blue and white, Bartel is a much-loved player at Geelong, and within the competition.
Pick 6 (West Coast) – Dane Swan
Collingwood drafted Swan with the 58th pick in the 2001 draft. Again, let that sink in. Pick 58! His career started off poorly, with doubts over his work ethic and commitment to the game. But from 2008, Swan has become one of the AFL’s most prolific ball-winning, goal kicking, elite midfielders.
He won the Brownlow Medal in 2011, is a premiership player, three-time best and fairest and a five-time All-Australian. draft? Pick 58. He was taken this deep into the draft as he wasn’t a highly sought after recruit in 2001.
Let's casually mention the two Anzac Day Medals, an AFL MVP award, 249 games, 203 goals and...the tattoos.
One of the best, most unorthodox characters in the game.
Pick 7 (North Melbourne) – Steve Johnson
Stevie J was pick 24, drafted by his current club, Geelong. What can you say about Johnson? He has become one the most exciting, freakishly skilled, entertaining players in the AFL.
The three-time premiership player and Norm Smith Medallist has kicked438 goals in 245 games. I estimate at least 300 of his goals have left fans in disbelief.
He's a three-time All-Australian and a truly captivating player. He does the good, the bad, the stupid, the awesome and the unbelievable all in 5 minutes. And that's Stevie J for you...
An absolute gem.
Pick 8 (Geelong) – James Kelly
Kelly was drafted pick 17 by Geelong. Not only can he boast three premierships with Geelong, but Kelly was also one of the competition’s most consistent, skilled and courageous midfielders during Geelong’s dominant run.
The veteran was named All-Australian in 2011 and has averaged 20 disposals, 4 marks and 5 tackles over his 265-game career.
He has carved out an incredible career, albeit one that has often been overshadowed by his great Geelong teammates.
Pick 9 (Melbourne) – Luke Ball
Ball was the #2 pick in the 2001 draft. He had a great career, playing 223 games with St Kilda and Collingwood, winning a premiership with the Pies after joining the club in 2010.
He was an All-Australian, best and fairest and club captain with St Kilda, before becoming an integral part to Collingwood's premiership glory in 2010.
Did he fulfill his pick 2 status? Probably not. But Ball was a courageous, incredibly selfless, in-and-out, hard-nut midfielder who put his body on the line for his team. Ball had injury concerns throughout his career and ultimately retired at the end of 2014 with a back injury.
Pick 10 (Western Bulldogs) – Nick Dal Santo
Nick Dal Santo was drafted to St Kilda with the 13th pick in the 2001 'super draft'. St Kilda received this pick in the deal which sent Barry Hall to Sydney.
In 11 years with the Saints, Dal Santo played 260 games, kicking 140 goals, earning three All-Australian selections and placing runner up three times in the grand final.
The veteran midfielder has continued his career with North, in hopes of capturing a premiership. He’s played 29 games with the Roos and has added much needed experience and leadership to their line-up.
My next three redrafted picks
Pick 11: Brian Lake (originally pick 71)
Pick 12: David Hale (originally Pick 7)
Pick 13: Leigh Montagna (originally Pick 37)
What an incredible amount of superstars and premiership-winning players this draft produced. No wonder the 2001 draft class has been known as ‘The Superdraft’.
The big winners are obvious – Geelong and Hawthorn. Take a bow.
Did I get this right? Who would you redraft for the top 10 picks in the 2001 AFL draft?