Demons in danger of missing out on NGA draft bolter
Melbourne is in danger of missing out on its brightest Next Generation Academy prospect this year, with agile big man Mac Andrew shaping as a top-20 draft bolter.
Standing 200cm, the Dandenong Stingrays ruckman and forward was on Tuesday added to the NAB AFL Academy after an eye-catching start to the NAB League season.
Andrew will play for Australia's under-18 team in its clash with Geelong's VFL side on Saturday, which will be closely watched by recruiters around the country.
Under changes to the draft bidding system last year, clubs can only match bids for players from pick 21 onwards.
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Recruiters are already salivating about Andrew, with some believing he could push into the top-20 if his rapid rise continues.
"Now the first 20 picks are protected, it might be the first time in history that a bloke's jumped out of nowhere that might sit inside the top-20 and you might not end up with him," one opposition recruiter said of Melbourne's predicament.
"The fact he's been added to the AFL Academy shows the way he's started the year has been huge."
The changes to the bidding system came after the Western Bulldogs snagged exciting key forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan with pick No. 1 in last year's draft, matching a bid from Adelaide who had the first selection.
The Bulldogs' first official pick in the draft had been at No.29, with the club's ability to select Ugle-Hagan causing outcry from opposition clubs.
Andrew was born in Egypt to South Sudanese parents, qualifying him for Melbourne's NGA program.
The 18-year-old was unsighted at NAB League level in 2019 but has played the first three games for the Stingrays this year, averaging 15.7 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3 clearances, 14.3 hit-outs and 102 KFC SuperCoach ranking points.
The NAB League season is now on a month-long break, with Round 5 kicking off on May 22.
Originally published as Demons in danger of missing out on NGA draft bolter