By Justin Robertson
FOUR Gippsland Power players have been snaffled up in the AFL National Draft on the Gold Coast.
It capped off a very successful 2010 campaign for the Morwell-based club, having made the TAC Cup final from eighth spot and boasting five Vic Country representatives and an all-Australian.
Power regional manager, Peter Francis, said it was one of the better years for the club … on and off the field.
“It’s great for the region,” he said. “Everyone from medical staff, coaches, players – a credit to them, they’ve all done a sensational job this year and our draft picks have reflected that.”
Midfielder Dyson Heppell went at pick eight to Essendon, while flashy forward Jed Lamb went to Sydney with pick 21.
Heppell – the former Power captain – capped off a dream year, winning the club’s best and fairest and the MVP for player of the tournament for Vic Country at the under-18 NAB State Championships. He was also joint winner of the Morrish Medal with Sandringham skipper Jackson Sketcher and, was drafted by Essendon, the club he has barracked for all his life.
Lamb made his mark during his time at the Power as a potent and classy goalkicker, but also as a ball winner. He claimed most accurate boot during the AFL Draft Combine and has been likened to Geelong’s silky forward Steve Johnson.
“It’s no surprise these two went as high as they did,” Francis said. “They played well this season and represented their state – Dyson made All Australian – and deserved where they ended up.”
Half forward dynamo, Dean MacDonald, was picked up by Richmond, and Francis said he’ll be a great asset to his new AFL club.
“He joined us as a 15-year-old schoolboy and really knuckled down this year,” he said. “He’s strong overhead and, with those dancing feet, he’ll definitely provide the Tigers with some x-factor.”
Michael Ross rounds off the quartet, taken at pick 80 by Essendon and will join Heppell at Windy Hill.
“I’m really pleased for Michael, he’s just a class player who can play midfield, wing or down back,” Francis said. “Essendon got a very good player.”
By Justin Robertson