Sam Walsh is the favourite to be pick No.1. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images
Sam Walsh is the favourite to be pick No.1. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images

‘Complete debacle’: AFL draft’s shambolic blunder

The AFL's 2018 draft rehearsal left a lot wanting after Marvel Stadium's internet connection crashed, rendering the event's new live trading system useless.

The planned rehearsal was meant to practics 50 draft selections in a real-time scenario but was canned midway through after the system went down.

Fairfax reported the AFL told clubs they'd fix the problem by Thursday night, but admitted they might need to resort to pen and paper as a backup.

"It was a complete debacle," a club official told The Age.

"It doesn't fill you confidence about tonight. You have enough on your plate thinking about players without that.

"They said they had done their own rehearsal but not at that time of night when people are at home and using their internet.

"The internet in the stadium crashed so it was a complete waste of time. They called it off after 31 picks because it was just pointless."

The Tigers are reportedly attempting to blindside the draft and snag hot midfielder Bailey Smith.

Richmond has pick 17 but may move to swap a future first-round pick to Port Adelaide for the South Australian side's pick 10.

But the reported plan will only work if all the night's dominoes fall as predicted.

After months of careful deliberations, Carlton's Stephen Silvagni will make a decision at the top of the AFL draft that could have repercussions for his club for the next decade.

It is understood the Blues have settled on keeping the No.1 pick, having received no significant trade interest in recent weeks.

That could change on Thursday evening at Marvel Stadium if a rival club makes a bold late bid, with live trading in effect for the first time.

But as it stands Silvagni will take the opportunity to snare the best player of what is widely regarded as the most talent-laden draft since the super draft of 2001.

But who will that be?

Geelong Falcons midfielder Sam Walsh has been the hot favourite for some time, and deservedly so having taken all before him in a stunning under-18 season. But the All Australian captain has competition.

Jack Lukosius is expected to go early. Picture: Mike Burton/AAP
Jack Lukosius is expected to go early. Picture: Mike Burton/AAP

AFL talent chief Kevin Sheehan says South Australian duo Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine and Victorian key forward Max King are also in the frame.

"I'm glad I'm not picking it because it's a really tough call," Sheehan told AAP.

"I think all of those boys at different points of the year would have been considered worthy number ones."

As the draft order stands, popular opinion has Walsh going to Carlton with the top pick, Lukosius and Rankine off to Gold Coast with the second and third selections and King to St Kilda at No.4.

Port Adelaide (with pick Nos. 5, 10 and 15), Adelaide (8, 13, 16 and 21) and GWS (9,11 and 19) will be the clubs to watch in the first round.

The Power and Crows, in particular, have the ammunition to make an offer the Suns or Saints can't refuse for a top-four pick and both are known to covet Lukosius and Rankine.

As it stands seven clubs won't be involved on Thursday night when only the first 19 picks will be read out.

Barring a trade into the first round, premiers West Coast, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Essendon, Collingwood, North Melbourne and Sydney will wait until Friday when the rest of the national draft and the rookie draft meeting takes place. As always, there will be plenty of interest around father-son bidding and selections.

The father-son nominations this year are Oscar Brownless (Geelong, son of Billy), Rhylee West (Western Bulldogs, son of Scott), Kyle Dunkley (Sydney, son of Andrew), Matthew Neagle (Essendon, son of Merv), Will Kelly (Collingwood, son of Craig), Ben Silvagni (Carlton, son of Stephen), Joel Crocker (North Melbourne, son of Darren) and Bailey Scott (North, son of Robert).

- with AAP