By ZAC MILBANK
SANFL has produced a bumper haul at the 2020 AFL Draft, with five players selected in the opening round for the first time since 2010.
And with a total of 14 Croweaters selected from the 59 players chosen on Wednesday night, SANFL had its strongest percentage – 23.72 – of talent taken since 2012.
Adelaide kicked off the raid on the local products by calling on West Adelaide forward Riley Thilthorpe, the first of three Croweaters it selected inside the top 26 selections.
Having bid on eventual No.1 pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, the Crows then swooped on Thilthorpe at No.2 before picking Glenelg’s Luke Pedlar at No.11 and South Adelaide’s Brayden Cook at No.25.
But Matthew Nicks’ side wasn’t finished there as joint Ken Farmer Medallist James Rowe found his way to West Lakes at Pick No.38, following in his father Stephen’s path to wearing the Crows’ tri-colours.
Sturt sensation Tom Powell was snapped up by North Melbourne at pick No.13, ahead of Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Lachie Jones at No.16.
The Eagles’ premiership defender drew interest from Collingwood with a bid only to be matched by the Port, eager to have the boy from Bute patrolling their half-back line as early as next season.
Despite speculation linking him to the Crows, Eagles midfielder Caleb Poulter found his way to the Magpies at No.30, joining fellow South Aussie Beau McCreery, who had his name called at No.44 after impressing at League level with the Panthers in 2020.
Nippy Central District goalsneak Corey Durdin will begin his AFL journey with Carlton after being picked at No.37 while South Adelaide speedster Phoenix Spicer was somewhat of a surprise selection by the Kangaroos at No.42.
Fellow Panther Tom Highmore had his standout start to the Statewide Super League season rewarded with a berth at St Kilda (No.45) before Eagles ruckman Henry Smith got his opportunity with Brisbane at No.48.
Potential Crows father-son selection Luke Edwards was selected by West Coast at No.52 after Adelaide opted not to nominate him while Eagles premiership backman Jacob Wehr was the last player to have his name called on the night at No.59.
Woodville-West Torrens led the way in having five players – Jones, Poulter, Rowe, Smith and Wehr – chosen while the Panthers had four pack their bags in Cook, Spicer, McCreery and Highmore.
The last time SANFL had five players selected in the first round was when Sam Day, Jared Polec, Daniel Gorringe, Seb Tape and Brodie Smith were taken in 2010 while it had 25.76% of the AFL Draft pool in 2012.