By ZAC MILBANK
Three SANFL players have been selected in the first round of the 2019 AFL Draft, with Norwood speedster Dylan Stephens the first chosen by Sydney at Pick No.5.
Widely linked to Adelaide at Pick No.6, Stephens was snapped up one selection earlier after the Swans couldn’t resist his smooth-moving style which was regularly on display for the Redlegs this year.
Woodville-West Torrens small forward Kysaiah Pickett was the next Croweater to be called by Melbourne at No.12 before West Adelaide bolter Will Day was picked by Hawthorn at No.13.
But it was Stephens who was in awe of his impending move to Sydney, with the left-footed wingman quick to meet Swans captain Josh Kennedy at Marvel Stadium.
”Being on an AFL list is a dream come true,”said Stephens on Fox Footy Channel.
”If you had have told me two years ago I would have been going at Pick No.5 to the Sydney Swans, I would have been there in a heart beat.
”(Playing League football at Norwood) gives me a lot of confidence going into next year, knowing that I have matched it against the bigger bodies this year. I’m very happy as this year was a great experience for me.”
Pickett, who was a late invitee to the AFL Draft in Melbourne, paid tribute to his family as he came to grips with wearing red and blue in 2020 for the Demons.
”I think if I get through the pre-season and get all of the hard work done I will be able to do it,” Pickett said of his chances of playing in Round 1.
”It means a lot to my family as they have driven me and inspired me. They have always been there for me and supported me the whole way.”
Much like Pickett, Day was considered a late bolter to the point he wasn’t invited to attend the first round of the AFL Draft.
The rangy half-back will now join the club his grandfather Robert played in the 1971 VFL premiership with in Hawthorn.
Only a slight build, Day will be given time to develop his body and craft as the Hawks look to nurture him for the long-term.
Several SANFL players, such as Glenelg’s Will Gould, will now turn their attention to the resumption of the AFL Draft in Melbourne on Thursday night, with the AFL Rookie Draft conducted on Friday morning.
Norwood’s classy finisher was the first SANFL player chosen in the 2019 AFL Draft, surprisingly taken by Sydney at No.5. Initially expected to get through to Adelaide at No.6, Stephens has all of the traits of a long-term AFL footballer with his lovely left-foot kick.
”We are really thrilled to get Dylan obviously, it goes without saying,” Sydney Recruiting Manager Kinnear Beatson said.
”We’ve watched Dylan closely for a couple of years now and what attracted us to him is that he can play inside and outside as a midfielder. He played a lot of senior football at Norwood with distinction, he was an All-Australian so he really adds to our midfield which was a real focus for us.”
The Woodville-West Torrens excitement machine received a late invite to the AFL Draft for good reason, nearly sneaking into the top 10 after being snapped up by the Demons at No.12. Has an opportunity to play for Melbourne at AFL level next year such are his physical attributes.
A massive bolter, Day was still in Adelaide as he had his name read out as Hawthorn’s first choice in the 2019 AFL Draft. The former baseball short-stop may take a little longer to develop but he is considered as one of the players in this year’s pool with the greatest upside. Likened to Geelong premiership defender Andrew Mackie.