While the ultra-professional nature of the draft now means it’s virtually impossible to not succeed on at least some level with a draft pick, at times it hasn’t been so simple, and that terrible idea of potential simply fails to deliver. Some may be cruelled by injury, others simply a bad option. Regardless, all have been bad for the drafting club in one way or another.
10 – Ben Edwards (Fremantle, Pick 7, 1995 Draft)
Ben Edwards was Freo’s second pick for their first draft. And was delisted by the start of the 1996 season without playing a game. Well done Fremantle. Jared Crouch was the very next pick, and Simon Prestigiacomo, Paul Licuria and Daniel Chick all featured later in that draft.
9 – Brandon Hill (West Coast, Pick 10, 1998 Draft)
Hill played a grand total of zero games for West Coast after simply not being good enough and was delisted in 1999. A pick which did so little for the club makes one wonder how much better the mid-2000s Eagles would have been if they had any of Lenny Hayes, Josh Carr, Jude Bolton or Brady Rawlings at their disposal.
8 – Brock McLean (Melbourne, Pick 5, 2003 Draft)
The man who would be captain, instead Brock McLean plays for Carlton now. While still an accumulator and a perfectly decent midfielder, McLean is noted for now being dreadfully slow more than anything else. While Melbourne did get some good years out of him, and since received a first-round pick from Carlton for the trade, he was not the leader that the Dees now have been crying out for. Particularly when players like Troy Chaplin, David Mundy and Brent Stanton were still available.
7 – Luke Molan (Melbourne, Pick 9, 2001 Draft)
Luke Molan played a grand total of zero games for the Dees. His own career was beset by injury problems and he was delisted by the end of 2004. You can’t fault a guy for being injury-plagued. However, you can fault the Demons when you look at some of the other names later in that draft – names such as Nick Dal Santo, Rick Ladson, James Kelly, Steve Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Paul Medhurst and Dane Swan.
6 – Aaron Fiora (Richmond, Pick 3, 1999 Draft)
Fiora’s story is one of continued struggle and failed development. Rated as a top youngster, Fiora never really showed his talents at Richmond, where he continually struggled. Indeed, the football public only saw the best out of him at his next club, St Kilda, where he was traded to in 2004 by Richmond. One can only imagine what the Tigers would have been able to do with a Luke McPharlin, a Darren Glass or a Bob Murphy though.
5 – Xavier Clarke (St Kilda, Pick 5, 2001 Draft)
While the much-touted draft of 2001 did have some super picks, there were some that weren’t great. St Kilda’s pick of Xav Clarke did reward them with a perfectly serviceable midfielder who did well for quite some time, although injury-prone. However, that failure to live up to potential coupled with some of the other players in that 2001 draft meant that Clarke’s pick ended up being rather poor for a St Kilda side needing to lift.
4 – Jarred Oakley-Nicholls (Richmond, Pick 8, 2005 Draft)
The infamous JON was Richmond’s first pick in the 2005 Draft. After playing a grand total of 13 games, he was delisted with injury problems as well as simply struggling with fitness and form. What the Tigers could have done with some of the later names in that draft, such as Mitch Clark, Shaun Higgins, Travis Varcoe or Nathan Jones by comparison must torture the long-suffering Richmond faithful.
3 – Caydn Beetham (St Kilda, Pick 9, 1999 Draft)
Beetham did have some great performances for St Kilda, notably picking up 2 Brownlow Votes in a game against Carlton in 2001 and being nominated for the Rising Star. Yet he was troubled as a footballer, with former coach Tim Watson noting that he rebuffed assistance from senior players and by the end simply didn’t care about football. It’s impossible to fault anyone in such a situation, but one must ask what could have been for St Kilda if they had a Paul Chapman or a Daniel Giansiracusa drafted instead.
2 – Richard Tambling (Richmond, Pick 4, 2004 Draft)
However, Richmond topped their own draft debacle with an even worse one. Richard Tambling was the first non-priority pick of the 2004 Draft. Now, Tambling is by no means not a serviceable player – but he has had nowhere near the impact of what should be expected of a #4 pick. Furthermore, he was noted as a perennial target for sledges towards underperforming Tigers – so much so that he has since been traded to Adelaide.
1 – Clive Waterhouse (Fremantle, Pick 1, 1995 Draft)
If you look up Clive Waterhouse on Wikipedia, it reads that, ‘his main attributes on the field were his pace, long kicking and ability to do the impossible, but often not to do the expected, which often ended in comical results’. It’s a good summary – Waterhouse had the ability to do the incredible, but seemingly not the steady, with the big forward only playing 106 games in nearly 10 years with the Dockers due to injuries and homesickness. Just imagine what Freo could have done with the player who went at pick 2, Matthew Primus.