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 10 years to the 2009 National Draft
It was the draft where Melbourne didn’t tank to get picks (wink wink nudge nudge), Richmond recruited a talented young kid from Castlemaine and the last draft before it would be compromised to include the expansion teams of the Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.
The trade period before the 2009 draft was quite eventful.
Many high-profile players such as Darren Jolly, Shaun Burgoyne, Luke Ball, Barry Hall, Andrew Lovett and Josh Gibson either requesting trades or being traded.
There was, of course, the Brendan Fevola trade from Carlton to Brisbane.
The Blues decided to get rid of their Coleman Medal-winning forward after his infamous night at the Brownlow medal that year.
The Lions botched up the deal trying to trade off Daniel Bradshaw and Michael Rischtelli in the trade but Bradshaw walked out on the Lions and Rischtelli wouldn’t move.
The deal resulted in Lachie Henderson and a first-round pick in exchange for Fevola to Brisbane and for the Blues to pay $100,000 of his salary for the final two years of his contract.
All players involved had left their respective clubs 18 months later, with many saying it was the beginning of a dark period at the Gabba.
TOP 10 DRAFT PICKS: 2009 NATIONAL DRAFT
PICK 1 (Melbourne – Priority): Tom Scully
FROM: Dandenong Stingrays
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 31
Melbourne got the prized number one pick in the draft and picked the highly sought-after Tom Scully.
They considered him the future of the club and handed him the number 31 worn by Ron Barassi.
Scully impressed in his first season for the Dees, running second to Dan Hannebry of Sydney in the Rising Star Award.
His second season at the Dees was surrounded by speculation he was going to sign with new club GWS in 2012.
Scully denied it during the season, but it was revealed his father Phil Scully was also offered a recruiting job with the new club along with his son’s massive six-year contract.
Scully moved to GWS in 2012 and played there until 2018 and is now at Hawthorn.
Melbourne fans still boo him to this day whenever he plays against the Dees.
PICK 2 (Melbourne): Jack Trengrove
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 86
Another prized pick for the Dees was Jack Trengrove.
Trengove was a reliable player with plenty of promise.
He would go on to become the youngest club captain in AFL history at 20 years of age during a dark time at the Demons.
However, he suffered a break to navicular bone two rounds into the 2014 season and missed the remainder of the year.
Trengrove didn’t play a match for almost two tears returning to the Dees in a Round 11, 2016 against Hawthorn.
His comeback would mean being in/out of the Melbourne senior side and the VFL.
Trengrove would only play 79 out of a possible 88 games in his first four seasons but would go on to play seven in just another four years.
He would be delisted by Melbourne at the end of 2017 and find himself at Port Adelaide where he would play a further 3 games in his career only be again cut from the list at the end of this year.
PICK 3 (Richmond): Dustin Martin
FROM: Bendigo Pioneers
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 224 – (As of Grand Final 2019 – still playing)
Unlike Damien Barret’s weekly column on the AFL website, this was an actual sliding doors moment when Jordan McMahon slotted the winning goal after the siren to deliver a win to Richmond over the Dees in an infamous encounter where many suspect Melbourne tanked.
As a result, Richmond was in a position to recruit Dustin Martin.
Martin had some issues in the early part of his career, but turned out to be a two time Premiership player, two time Norm Smith Medalist, Brownlow Medalist, three-time All Australian, Two Time Richmond Best and Fairest, Leigh Matthews Trophy Winner and is currently one, if not the biggest superstar in the game.
Don’t argue – Richmond won the 2009 draft.
PICK 4 (Fremantle) – Anthony Morabito
FROM: Peel Thunder
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 26
Morabito was a prized recruit for Freo and played in 23 out of the Dockers 24 matches (including finals) in his debut year of 2010.
In the pre-season of 2010, Morabito ruptured his ACL resulting in him having to go a full knee-reconstruction and missing the entire 2011 season.
He would again suffer another injury playing for Peel Thunder in the WAFL in early 2012 and in January 2013 injured the same knee during a training drill.
It would be 1369 days between games when Morabito returned to play for Freo playing against Melbourne in Round 14, 2014.
Morabito would only play an additional two games after his comeback and was delisted by the Dockers at the end of 2016.
Freo also picked up a gem in Nat Fyfe at pick 20 of the 2009 National Draft.
PICK 5 (North Melbourne) – Ben Cunnington
FROM: Geelong Falcons
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 200 (As of Round 23, 2019 – still playing)
Cunnington would be North’s first pick in the 2009 draft and would go on to be one of there unsung heroes and best players in the past decade.
Cunnington regularly is in North’s best and is a two-time best and fairest winner for the club.
He is notoriously media-shy and tries to avoid them at every opportunity.
We could talk his career so far up a bit more, but he wouldn’t want that
Ben Cunnington played his 200th career game against GWS in Hobart in Round 13 this year.
A blue-chip investment for North, he’s turned out to be and still is a fine servant to the Shinboners.
PICK 6 (Sydney) – Gary Rohan
FROM: Geelong Falcons
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 106
Rohan played 18 games for the Swans in his first two seasons and played some exciting football for the Swans.
In 2012, the year the Swans last won a flag, Rohan suffered a broken leg which prevented him from playing for almost two seasons.
Rohan got to some of his best form in the 2014 season, played in two Grand Finals for the Swans and played his 100th game in Round 7, 2018 against North Melbourne at the SCG.
At the end of the 2018 season, Rohan requested a move back to Victoria for personal reasons and ended up at Geelong where he was regularly in the Cats best during the 2019 season.
PICK 7 (West Coast): Brad Sheppard
FROM: East Fremantle
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 177 (as of Semi Final 2019 – still playing)
The Eagles had a chance to pick up a skinny kid from country WA called Nat Fyfe but opted for Brad Sheppard instead.
Sheppard played 14 games in hist first season at West Coast, the year the Eagles won the Wooden Spoon.
He had an impressive 2015 season including being named the Eagles best player of the finals series in where West Coast would get smashed against Hawthorn in the Grand Final.
Sheppard was unfortunate to suffer a season-ending hamstring injury in the first Qualifying Final of 2018, subsequently missing out on playing in West Coast’s 2018 Premiership.
PICK 8 (Port Adelaide): John Butcher
FROM: Gippsland Power
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 31
Being drafted as a key position player and injuries, John Butcher didn’t make his debut for Port Adelaide until Round 21, 2011 when the Power was thrashed to the tune of 165 points against Hawthorn.
In his next match against the Western Bulldogs at Football Park, he kicked six goals from six kicks with Power fans nicknaming him “The Future”
He wasn’t the future.
Butcher struggled to gain a spot in the Port side constantly spending time at SANFL level.
He was delisted by Port Adelaide at the end of the 2016 season.
PICK 9 (Port Adelaide): Andrew Moore
FROM: Eastern Rangers
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 55
Moore was picked up by Port Adelaide as part of a trade that saw Shaun Burgoyne head to Hawthorn.
In his first season, he played seven games for the Power, mostly in the backline but missed the majority of 2010 due to osteitis
He would only play seven games the following year due to injury troubles.
Eventually, Moore would find a regular spot and form for the Power but headed to Richmond as a delisted free agent at the end of the 2015 season.
He would play five more career games for the Tigers before being delisted at the end of the 2016 season.
PICK 10 (Essendon): Jake Melksham
FROM: Calder Cannons
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 114
Melksham played six seasons at Essendon and played 114 games for the Bombers before being traded to Melbourne during the 2015 trade period.
He missed the 2016 season as a result of suspension due to the Essendon supplements saga.
He was a reasonably consistent player for the Bombers and has played some good footy for his new club Melbourne.