The AFL draft has come and gone for another year – this time it unfolded in December due to the delayed season – and it will take years to digest the meaning of Wednesday night's drawn-out televised event where 59 young players from around the country found AFL homes.
As always, there was intense interest in the No.1 pick – Indigenous player and Western Bulldogs academy prospect Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who is heading to Whitten Oval.
But there was somewhat greater interest than normal in 2020's top selection because, for the first and last time, a player who a club had priority access to via their academy was picked. Adelaide forced the Bulldogs' hand, in some ways upholding the integrity of the draft.
In this special edition of The Real Footy AFL podcast, our scribes Jake Niall, Michael Gleeson and Daniel Cherny assess all the big moves from the draft. There's much discussion as a "rare window opened in footy" – meaning the Bulldogs were able to easily secure the stand-out player in this year's draft.
"This is an incredible coup for the Western Bulldogs," Niall said.
"I would say it could be compared to the 10-year rule. The 10-year rule [was when] North Melbourne won a premiership getting Doug Wade, Barry Davis and John Rantall to the club.
"They [the Kangaroos] weren't in favour of the rule, but the rule helped them."
"Now if the Bulldogs go on and win a flag with Jamarra Ugle-Hagan they will have taken advantage of a very brief window where this was possible, to get an NGA player as the first pick, as you say because it won't happen again."
Essendon draftee Archie Perkins was also a hot topic after his pre-draft comments about not wanting to move interstate.
Amid support for the teenager's honesty, Niall said: "I think it's hypocritical for people in our positions to criticise guys … for making comments that are truthful.
"He didn't want to go interstate, and he didn't.
"Really if he gets picked, bad luck. There's nothing to stop anyone from doing it."
Gleeson said the 18-year-old probably "mis-chose" his words.
"But he seemed to be a bit stronger than that and the AFL can't embrace those comments," Gleeson said.
"It is draft tampering.
"It's supposed to be an open draft and you're saying, 'I'm not going to go there.'
"But is that any worse than a player keeping quiet and going, 'I'm out of there after two years?'
"If you're not ready to go anywhere in the country, then you're not ready to be an AFL footballer."
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