Local draft record tipped

By Paul Pickering and
BEACONSFIELD’S Arryn Siposs, Kooweerup’s Shaun Marusic and former Bunyip junior Michael Ross are among a strong contingent of Dandenong and Gippsland TAC Cup graduates set to figure in next week’s AFL national draft.
Siposs, whose rapid rise from the Beaconsfield juniors a year ago has caught the eye of AFL recruiters, will join hundreds of draft hopefuls from around the country waiting for their names to be called next Thursday (18 November).
The draft selection meeting will be held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, with the Gold Coast Suns holding nine of the first 13 picks.
Gippsland skipper and national under-18 championships MVP Dyson Heppell (from Leongatha) is tipped to go inside the top-five selections, while Dandenong tall forward Tom Lynch (Sorrento) is another likely top-10 pick.
Stingrays co-captains Luke Parker (Langwarrin) and Mitch Hallahan (Sorrento) and livewire Power forward Jed Lamb (Yarram) could also be snapped up inside the first round, which this year finishes at pick 25.
Siposs, Andrew McInnes (Devon Meadows) and Jake Batchelor (Frankston Bombers) are all strong chances to be drafted, having attended the recent draft combine in Canberra, while Power vice-captain Tim Northe (Traralgon) leads the rest of the Gippslanders.
Dandenong region manager Darren Flanigan believes there’s a realistic chance the 2010 Stingrays crop could break the club record for most players recruited onto an AFL list.
The Rays have had six draftees on three occasions, most recently in 2000, and could be looking at a similar figure being either drafted or rookie-listed this year.
Two players, Adam Treloar and Dylan Shiel, have already been signed by Greater Western Sydney under the new club’s list concessions, and Todd Elton may join them as early as this week.
“You’d like to think the six that went to the draft camp would be reasonably certain of getting on a list, whether it’s a main list or rookie list,” Flanigan said. “So if we get those six, plus the three that go to GWS, that’s a club record in itself.”
Siposs and Lynch are two of the better stories, having missed out on a spot on the Stingrays list as bottom-age players last year.
The former was playing – and kicking bags of goals – for Beaconsfield in the Dandenong and District Junior Football League, before emerging as a mobile, strong-marking forward at TAC Cup level this year.
Lynch, who has grown about six inches over the past 18 months, is now widely rated as the second best key-position prospect – behind Gold Coast-bound South Australian Sam Day – in the draft pool.
Power region manager Peter Francis said the likes of Northe, Marusic, Ross, Dean MacDonald (Morwell), Ryan Pendlebury (Sale) and Brayden Salton (Drouin) are all solid chances of being picked up by an AFL club.
“Tim Northe is in the same mould as Jarryd Blair (Collingwood and ex-Gippsland midfielder) – very determined, beautiful skills, tough as nails,” Francis said.
“Shaun Marusic is probably in the same category as Pendlebury and those others that have already been mentioned.
“Ross is a real quality player, a beautiful mover and was one of the real class acts this year. I have no doubt he’s good enough to play AFL football.”