AFL 3 years ago

Revisiting the 2013 AFL Draft

  • Revisiting the 2013 AFL Draft
With the 2016 AFL Draft just around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to bring back the 'Revisiting AFL Draft' series and redraft the 2013 AFL Draft.

Like some of the other redrafts, the players in this top ten will be based on their first two years in the AFL system. The players' future potential is hard to gauge this early into their careers, and will not be considered as highly compared to other redrafts I've done. I'm looking at who has impressed me the most in their first two seasons as a professional footballer.

As usual, rookie-drafted players will be omitted from the top ten; therefore leaving out the likes of Anthony Miles, Charlie Cameron and Kayne Turner.

The Bulldogs, the Pies and the Giants are the early winners of this draft and interestingly, there are three players in the top 10 of the 2013 AFL Draft who will don different colours in 2016.

Pick 1 won't feature in the new top 10, whilst the first two picks were both runner ups in the Rising Star Awards in '14 and '15.

Let's take a closer look.

2013 Draft

Pick 1: Tom Boyd (GWS)
Pick 2: Josh Kelly (GWS)
Pick 3: Jack Billings (St Kilda)
Pick 4: Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
Pick 5: Kade Kolodjashnij (Gold Coast)
Pick 6: Matthew Scharenberg (Collingwood)
Pick 7: James Aish (Brisbane)
Pick 8: Luke McDonald (F/S - North Melbourne)
Pick 9: Christian Salem (Melbourne)
Pick 10: Nathan Freeman (Collingwood)


Pick 1 (GWS) - Marcus Bontempelli

The Western Bulldogs would be counting their blessings that Marcus Bontempelli fell to them with the fourth pick in the 2013 AFL Draft. As of right now, he is undoubtedly the number 1 pick in this redraft.

Bontempelli is the prototype for an AFL midfielder. He is tall, athletic, composed and highly skilled for a 19-year-old. Like Scott Pendlebury and David Mundy, he is well on his way to being a complete, all-round and starring midfielder.

The 'Bont' is the future and the face of the Bulldogs. Along with Jesse Hogan and the second pick in this redraft, Bontempelli is the next break out star in the AFL.

37 games in to his career, he has kicked 32 goals and is averaging 19 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles and almost a goal a game. This kid is a superstar.

He was runner-up in the NAB Rising Star Award in 2014, and polled third in the Bulldogs' B&F this year. The future is bright, or 'Bont', for the Bulldogs.

Pick 2 (GWS) - Patrick Cripps

I thought it would take more than two years to ask this question...but in all seriousness, how did Patrick Cripps fall to Carlton with the 13th pick in the 2013 AFL Draft.

They say 13 is an unlucky number, but Carlton, perhaps your fortunes have turned with the incredible emergence of Patrick Cripps this year.

After playing only 9 games in his debut season due to injuries, Cripps - the tall, strong-bodied midfielder (like the Bont) ensured everyone knew his name in 2015.

Cripps was one of the few shining lights in Carlton's 2015 campaign. He emerged as Carlton's saviour and new superstar after the retirement of Chris Judd.

Cripps averaged 24 disposals, 3 marks and 5 tackles a game in 2015, and finished 8th in the competition for Contested Possessions Per Game; 14th in Total Clearances and was elite in almost every category amongst the Rising Stars (despite finishing runner-up to Hogan in the actual  Award).

23 games into his career and Cripps has already won his first B&F with the Blues. Exciting times ahead.

Pick 3 (St Kilda) - Kade Kolodjashnij

A few of you may be surprised by this selection, but Kade Kolodjashnij is one of the great young talents to come out of this draft so far.

Despite being drafted with pick 5 by the Gold Coast Suns in 2013, Kolodjashnij may have slipped under the radar due to playing up North. But I'll let his numbers to the talking.

Kolodjashnij has played 40 out of a possible 44 games to begin his AFL career. As you'll see later in the list, many of the 2013 draftees are lucky to have played 30 games to date.

Over his young career, he has averaged 20 disposals (22 in 2015) and 5 marks a game, and in 2015, he ranked 6th in Rebound 50s Per Game, and ranked 20th in Total Kicks in the league.

Safe to say, he is a weapon off the half-bank flank for the Suns. He might not be flashy or a superstar yet, but Kolodjashnij's composure, kicking efficiency and the ability to launch the Suns' attack from the defensive half at 19 years of age shouldn't be underestimated.

If this kid was playing in Victoria, you'd hear a lot more about him and his talents.

Pick 4 (St Kilda) - Lewis Taylor

Brisbane's Lewis Taylor wears the number 28 jersey for the Lions because, well, he was drafted 28th overall by Brisbane in the 2013 AFL Draft.

Taylor's first 44 AFL games (along with 28 goals) has him leading the very prestigious title as one of the steals of the 2013 AFL Draft.

Taylor is one the competitions shortest players, registering at a modest 173 cm's. Early on in his career, he has been compared to Boomer Harvey, with his ability to zig zag in and out of traffic, turn on the jets, kick goals on the run and display his raw pace and talents on the football field.

Along with Zorko and Rockliff, Taylor is quickly becoming the heart and soul of the Brisbane Lions. He is an exciting player who gets the crowd cheering when ever he nears the ball.

He has averaged 19 disposals, 4 marks and 2 tackles a game over his young career, and won the Rising Star Award over Marcus Bontempelli in 2014.

Despite concerns about Brisbane's young talent wanting to leave the club, the Lions have an absolute gem in Lewis Taylor. Sign him to a long-term!

Pick 5 (Gold Coast) - Jack Billings

Jack Billings was drafted third overall in 2013, selected by St Kilda. Like Lewis Taylor, Billings is a small, tough midfielder/small-forward who is an excitement machine when he gets going.

Despite only registering 25 AFL games in his first two seasons, there is a reason why Saints fans were outraged when Essendon asked for Billings in exchange for Carlisle. The fans love him, the club loves him, and with another preseason and some experience under his belt, Billings could be the next superstar to come out of the young crop of Saints players.

Billings is a smart, quick and promising talent who will spend most of his early career up forward until he builds the endurance and strength to compete in the midfield.

He has averaged 17 disposals, 5 marks and 2 tackles a game so far, and those numbers are destined to rise as he'll look to play a full season next year.

The AFL world got a glimpse into Billings' talents when he carried the Saints on his back, gathering 22 disposals, 7 marks and kicking 4 goals on the way to a stunning comeback win against the Bulldogs earlier this year.

Pick 6 (Collingwood) - Josh Kelly

The Greater Western Sydney Giants drafted Josh Kelly with the 2nd pick in the 2013 AFL Draft. Kelly is a very classy and a highly skilled midfielder who is fast becoming a rising star for the Giants.

Despite playing just 36 AFL games, Kelly has impressed already with his great decision making, his composure under pressure and his elite kicking skills.

He has kicked 20 goals as a midfielder, and has averaged 18 disposals, 4 marks and 3 tackles over his career.

With an array of young talent at the Giants over the past few years, we haven't seen enough of Kelly and his talents. But put Kelly into any Victorian side, and fans would be salivating at his talents and future potential by now.

In 2016, with the departure of Adam Treloar, we should see Kelly given more responsibilities to thrive and lead the Giants' midfield to finals glory.


Pick 7 (Brisbane) - Zach Merrett

If you're not an Essendon fan, Zach Merrett is another name that may have slipped under the radar from the 2013 AFL Draft pool.

However, Zach Merrett has been one of few feel good stories to come out of Tullamarine since the ASADA saga broke in 2013. Merrett was drafted 26th overall in 2013 by the Bombers.

Like Billings and Taylor before him, Merrett is a promising and young small-forward/midfielder type, whose speed, evasiveness and creativity has him as one of the exciting young talents in the competition.

To date, Merrett has played 37 games and kicked 15 goals. He has averaged 19 disposals, 4 marks and 5 tackles to begin his career. Before his foot injury, Merrett, along with Colyer, were the two players who brought speed and excitement to the Bombers line-up.

Merrett is a little pocket rocket who looks ready to explode once he starts playing in the midfield.

Don't sleep on Zach Merrett - he's a gem and an exciting prospect for Essendon's future.

Pick 8 (North Melbourne) - Ben Brown

Ben Brown made his way to North Melbourne via the 2013 AFL Draft. But it wasn't with pick 8. No...Ben Brown was selected with the 47th pick in 2013.

Say what you will about Ben Brown, but his first 33 games and 50 goals have been pretty impressive. To put it into perspective, Tom Boyd, the number one pick in this draft has played only 23 games and kicked 24 goals. He's even struggled to break into the Bulldog's team this year.

But back to Brown.

Brown, a 200cm key position forward has emerged as a genuine forward threat for the Kangaroos. Despite his awkward running and goal kicking style, Brown has been one of the more heart-warming and likeable characters to come out of this draft. With his 'Sideshow Bob' haircut, it's hard to miss Ben Brown on the field.

He is young, athletic and he provides a great spark for North. If Brown continues to emerge and develop, he may take over the number one forward role when Drew Petrie eventually retires.

Pick 9 (Melbourne) - James Aish

After being drafted by Brisbane with the 7th pick in 2013, James Aish has had one of the more controversial starts to an AFL career.

Despite a breakout first season, it seemed James Aish was destined to leave Brisbane even before he arrived. Fast forward two years and he is now wearing black and white, but Aish has had a promising first two years with the Lions before making the move.

Aish played 21 games in 2014, before adding only 11 this year due to injuries. Over his 32 games, he has averaged 17 disposals, 4 marks and 3 tackles a game.

Like Josh Kelly, Aish is a highly skilled midfielder and winger, whose decision making and kicking abilities have him highly regarded in the competition. There was a reason many clubs were inquiring about his availability in the off-season.

There is no doubt Aish will thrive under Collingwood's system. If he gets into the Pies best 22, he will make an immediate impact. There's a lot of pressure on him to perform, but I think he is an elite talent, and in a couple of years, he will move into the top 5 of the 2013 Redraft.

The ball is in your court James.

Pick 10 (Collingwood) - Cameron McCarthy

Cam McCarthy was drafted with pick 14 by the Giants in the 2013 Draft. If the 2015 trade period has taught us anything, it's that Geelong and Collingwood have serious recruiting skills, and that Cam McCarthy is a hot property. To cut a long story short, McCarthy was homesick and wanted a trade to Fremantle. GWS stuck to their word and didn't trade the contracted McCarthy.

GWS rates McCarthy and it's not hard to see why.

21 games and 36 goals. McCarthy is an unorthodox forward prospect who was given a chance by coach Leon Cameron and grabbed onto it in 2015.

McCarthy's best asset is his marking ability. He plucks the ball from anywhere and everywhere, and is a reliable marking threat for the Giants. He is an accurate kick at goal, registering 35 goals and 14 behinds this year.

If McCarthy settles back into Western Sydney life and doesn't let his homesickness affect his professionalism; well, then McCarthy could become GWS's main man as Jonathon Patton continues to recover from his knee issues.

Big call, but McCarthy takes the final spot in this redraft over former GWS player, Tom Boyd.

My next five redrafted picks:
Pick 11: Tom Boyd (originally pick 1)
Pick 12: Dom Sheed (originally pick 11)
Pick 13: Tom Langdon (originally pick 65)
Pick 14: Billy Hartung (originally pick 24)
Pick 15: Darcy Lang (originally pick 16)

Final Words

Despite losing the 10th pick in this draft - Nathan Freeman - Collingwood were one of the real winners in this draft. Scharenberg looks like he can play, and Derek Hine and his team managed to pluck Langdon and Jonathon Marsh from deep into the draft. Add pick 7 James Aish, and Collingwood can be pretty happy with their 2013 work.

GWS is another that would be thrilled. Kelly and McCarthy are two players who have started promisingly, and despite losing Tom Boyd to the Bulldogs, they added experience with Ryan Griffen in the trade and still drafted well.

St Kilda will now have two of the top ten picks from this draft (Freeman and Billings) in 2016, whilst Brisbane, despite losing Aish, added Lewis Taylor and key position players, Darcy Gardiner and Daniel McStay in 2013.

We are two years into seeing how the players of the 2013 AFL Draft develop, and so far, it's a pretty damn exciting class of players. I haven't even mentioned the likes of Ben Lennon, Jarmon Impey, Christian Salem or Mitch Honeychurch who will be on the rise in 2016.

Let's see what this redraft will look like in another 5 years. 
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