Leading up to the AFL National Draft, we will look at the top 10 picks from then – going back 30 years, 25 years, 20 years, 15 years, 10 years and five years.
In this edition – we go back 20 years to the 1999 National Draft
THE 1999 national draft was memorable for a number of reasons.
Collingwood got the prized first pick as a result of winning the Wooden Spoon that season, Geelong picked up some handy players that would go on to win a premiership, Freo did or did not tank, Richmond’s run of regrettable choices continued and Melbourne was suspended from the first, second and third-round picks of the draft after some serious salary cap breaches.
The draft was a reasonably simple operation back then consisting of trades, the national draft, the pre-season draft and a rookie draft/elevation.
TOP 10 DRAFT PICKS: 1999 NATIONAL DRAFT
PICK 1 (Collingwood – Priority) – Josh Fraser
FROM: Murray Bushrangers
GAMES FOR CLUB: 200
A number one priority pick should and always be a blue-chip investment and that’s what the down and out Magpies got by picking Josh Fraser back in 1999.
The Magpies had finished last at the end of the ’99 season, had played their last game at Victoria Park but it was the start of a new era.
Mick Malthouse was head-hunted by Eddie McGuire to become the new coach of the Magpies for the new millennium and Fraser was the bright hope of the future at Collingwood.
Fraser played 21 games in his first season and gained a rising star nomination in his first season.
He was amongst Collingwood best in the early-mid 2000s and played some excellent finals football in the 2002 and 2003 campaigns for the Magpies.
Fraser was named Collingwood’s vice-captain with Scott Burns in 2008 but played only nine games in the Pies 2010 premiership-winning year, with Darren Jolley the favoured ruckman that season.
His final game for Collingwood would be in Round 10, 2010- Frasers 200th before moving to the Gold Coast Suns for a further 18 games in his career in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Fraser is now an assistant coach at Carlton and recently appeared on an episode of Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel program – Love it Or List It.
PICK 2 (Fremantle – Priority) – Paul Haselby
FROM: East Fremantle
GAMES FOR CLUB: 208
Of course, according to those in the AFL, tanking is not a real thing and no club would ever drop games in favour of being able to gain a priority pick.
According to an article by Dwayne Russell back in 2003, it was hard for then Fremantle coach (Now Federal Politician) Damien Drum not to have the prospect of drafting a young Paul Haselby in their final game against Geelong in Round 22, 1999 at Kardinia Park.
In that match, Fremantle found themselves nine points up at half-time with the Dockers players playing some inspired football and possibly their careers.
Had the Dockers won the game, they would have lost this number two priority pick and not been able to draft Haselby.
The Cats kicked the last 11 goals of the match, resulting in a 51 point loss to the Dockers resulting in Fremantle having under 5 wins for season 1999 and able to draft Haselby.
Not that they’d officially admit it.
Hasleby turned out to be a solid pick-up for Freo. He won the Rising Star in his first season, gained All Australian selection in 2003, won four Ross Glendenning Medals for the best player in the Western Derby and played a total of 208 games.
He is now a member of the Perth sports media.
PICK 3 (Richmond) – Aaron Fiora
FROM: Port Adelaide Magpies (SANFL)
GAMES FOR CLUB: 78
When it comes to the draft, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Fiora was selected in the 1999 draft at pick three and was regarded to be one of the most talented players in the junior ranks.
Richmond’s new coach at the time the late, great Danny Frawley was stoked that a young-gun like Fiora was headed to Tigerland.
Fiora was a wingman and had good skills but was inconsistent and failed to live up to the expectations before being drafted.
He had five uninspiring seasons at Richmond and was traded to St.Kilda at the end of 2004 where he would play a further 62 games for a total of 140 in his career.
Up until recently, Fiora was a constant source of frustration for Richmond fans come draft time as a result of who Fremantle selected with their next pick…
PICK 4 (Fremantle) – Matthew Pavlich
FROM: Woodville-West Torrens
GAMES FOR CLUB: 353
Without making a massive statement, Fremantle drafted their greatest ever player (at present) with pick 4 at the 1999 national draft.
Playing 353 games, kicked 700 goals, six-time best and fairest, Freo captain from 2007-15, 8-time leading goal kicker, six-time All-Australian, the only captain to take Freo into a Grand Final in 2013.
Pavlich was a pretty decent pick-up for Fremantle.
There was always talk that one of the SA Clubs would try and lure him back from South Australia, but it wasn’t to be – he was a one-club Fremantle player and Pav finished his career in style as the Dockers beat eventual premiers the Western Bulldogs in Round 23, 2016 by 20 points.
He is now the sports newsreader on Channel 9 Perth and part of the FOX Footy commentary team.
PICK 5 (Fremantle) – Leigh Brown
FROM: Gippsland Power
GAMES FOR CLUB: 63
Brown was drafted by Freo as their third top-10 pick in this draft and played 21 out of 22 games in his debut year of 2000.
He played a further 21 games in seasons 2002, 2003 for the Dockers and even won best clubman at the Fremantle best and fairest in 2001.
Brown played 63 games at Freo for 20 goals before being traded to North Melbourne in 2002 for pick 13 where the Dockers drafted Byron Shammer.
Leigh Brown would play 118 games for North and spent his final three seasons at Collingwood where he would be an integral part of the Magpies 2010 Premiership team.
He retired at the end of the 2011 season with a premiership medal, 138 goals and a total of 246 games.
PICK 6 (Brisbane) – Damian Cupido
FROM: Eastern Rangers
GAMES FOR CLUB: 13
Cupido had plenty of potential, but he failed to gain a regular spot in a Brisbane Lions team that was about to become one of the most dominant in history.
He was traded to Essendon at the end of the 2002 season and played some of his best football in the 2003 season where many regarded him as an exciting and dominating player.
Injury got the better of him in 2004 and in 2005 he was struggling to get a game with the Dons, finding himself playing for their VFL team’s reserves side.
Cupido has become a somewhat a journeyman of recent years playing at up to 11 clubs all around Australia.
PICK 7 (Collingwood) – Danny Roach
FROM: Tassie Mariners
GAMES FOR CLUB: 1
One game, one tackle.
That was Danny Roach’s AFL career.
Danny Roach played his only AFL Game on a Friday Night in Round 4, 2001 when Richmond defeated the Magpies at the MCG by 15 points.
He spent the entire 2000 season playing for the Collingwood reserves and couldn’t hold his spot on the list at the end of the 2001 season.
PICK 8 (Geelong) – Joel Corey
FROM: East Perth
GAMES FOR CLUB: 276
Despite one pick in the top 10, many would argue Geelong won the 1999 draft.
Their first pick, and the first one to be drafted under Mark “Bomber” Thompson would be Joel Corey.
Corey turned out to be a dual-Carji Greeves Medalist (Cats B&F), two-time All-Australian and a three-time Geelong premiership player.
Along with Corey, Geelong recruited the likes of Paul Chapman (pick 31), Cameron Ling (pick 38) and Corey Enright (pick 47)
They also received Cam Mooney from North Melbourne and pick 47 (Enright) for Leigh Colbert in the trade period.
The Cats got the cream in this one.
PICK 9 (St.Kilda) – Cadyn Beetham
FROM: Oakleigh Chargers
GAMES FOR CLUB: 37
There was much hype about the Saints picking up this talented youngster at pick nine.
The midfielder was highly regarded but injury got the better of him.
He struggled for form in 2002 and announced his retirement from AFL footy but has had a very successful career at VAFA level.
PICK 10 (Hawthorn) – Luke McPharlin
FROM: East Perth
GAMES FOR CLUB: 12
McPharlin played only 12 games for the Hawks and joined the first goal, first kick club in his debut match against Port Adelaide in Round 5, 2000 at Football Park.
Suffering from homesickness, McPharlin jumped at the opportunity to return home to Perth and play for the Dockers.
He went on to have a fine career at Fremantle where he played 244 games, retiring at the end of the 2015 season and has honours including winning mark of the year in 2005 and The Footy Show’s Screamers singing contest (yes, he can sing)
McPharlin sits second on the Fremantle Football Club’s all-time games played list.