AFL Draft Rewind: 2010

This week we’re getting around the 2020 AFL National Draft by looking back at the top 10 picks from then – going back 25 years, 20 years, 15 years, 10 years and five years.

Click here for 25 years – 1995

Click here for 20 years – 2000

Click here for 15 years – 2005

The 2010 national draft saw the AFL’s 17th club – the Gold Coast Suns have the first three selections and four picks in the top 11 with many supporters thinking “What on earth happened.”

Three of those top Gold Coast picks have ended up being premiership players at Richmond.

The depth of talent from 2010 included the likes of Cam Guthrie, Tom Lynch, Isaac Smith, Jamie Cripps, Jack Darling, Mitch Wallis and Jeremy Howe picked up from outside the top 10 in what was a very compromised draft.

We take a look at the top 10 picks from the 2010 National Draft and how those selections fared for their respective clubs.

PICK 1 (Gold Coast Suns) – David Swallow
FROM: East Fremantle
Games Played for Club: 154* (*still playing)

Described at the time as: “Highly skilled midfielder with pace and endurance. Has had almost two full seasons of senior football in Perth and one as part of the Gold Coast’s VFL team. Ready to go.

The first pick of the compromised 2010 draft, Swallow has established himself as a staple of the Gold Coast Suns Football Club.

He would also become the first player to win the Suns best and fairest that wasn’t Gary Ablett Junior back in 2014.

Swallow signed a five-year contract extension with the Suns and was named co-captain of the club alongside Jarrod Witts at the start of the 2019 season.

With the Gold Coast Suns starting to get things together, David Swallow would have earned his spot playing finals football the hard way.

PICK 2 (Gold Coast Suns) – Harley Bennell
FROM: Peel Thunder
Games Played For Club: 81

Described at the time as: “Midfielder with extreme pace, a brilliant sidestep and a million party tricks. Can go forward and kick multiple goals.”

Harley Bennell would play 88 games in total for three clubs over 10 years.

Argubaly his best season of football would be his second in 2012 when he played all 22 of the Suns games and finsih second in the clubs best and fairest behind Gary Ablett Jnr.

Bennell had plenty of talent but his career was hampered with off-field issues and injury.

He was traded to Fremantle in time for the 2016 season but only managed two senior games as he struggled with soft tissue injuries.

Joining Melbourne at the start of the 2020 season, he kicked his first goal for the Dees against the Suns in Round 6 of this year managing five games.

Dealing with racist online trolls and a COVID breach at the end of the 2020 season, he annouced his retirement from the game.

PICK 3 (Gold Coast Suns) – Sam Day
FROM: Sturt
Games Played for Club: 137 (*Still Playing)

Described at the time as: “Huge, marking forward with a massive leap. Hugely athletic prospect who could also play as a key defender.”

The Suns number 3 pick has proven to be a loyal servant of the Club currently on 137 games with 97 goals to his name.

Day suffered a serious hip injury during a pre-season game against Brisbane which saw him miss out on the entire 2017 season and battled with injury in 2018.

He managed to get back into playing some good footy for Suns in 2019 and signed on until 2021, where he’s expected to stay with the Club looking on the rise.

PICK 4 (West Coast) – Andrew Gaff
FROM: Oakleigh Chargers
Games Played for Club: 215* (*Still Playing)

Described at the time as: “Tough, mentally strong onballer who has pace and can run all day long. Very good anticipation around stoppages.”

Gaff has very much lived up to the decription given to him when he was drafted by the West Coast Eagles in 2010.

Andrew Gaff has built a reputation for being a player that can spend time inside the contest, being damaging forward of centre and has set benchmarks for disposals, tackles, clearances and contested possessions per game.

While he is one of the West Coast Eagles and the AFL’s most elite players, Gaff will unfortunately be remembered for an off-the-ball strike on Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw which left Brayshaw with a broken jaw.

Gaff was suspended for eight weeks and missed out on being a premiership player for the Eagles in 2018.

The two-time All-Australian reportedly turned down an offer worth $8 million over seven years at North Melbourne opting to stay at the Eagles.

PICK 5 (Brisbane) – Jared Polec
FROM: Woodville-West Torrens
Games Played for Club: 16

Described at the time as: “Skilful outside midfielder who loves to run and take the ball forward. Loves a goal.”

Polec would make his AFL debut against Melbourne in Round 3 of the 2011 season.

In only three seasons at the Lions, he managed 16 games when the homesickness kicked in Polec requested a trade to a South Austraian team joining Port Adelaide for the 2014 season.

He was traded to North Melbourne along with his Port teammate Jasper Pittard and is currently on 141 AFL Games .

PICK 6 (Richmond) – Reece Conca
FROM: Perth (WAFL)
Games Played for Club: 104

Described at the time as: “Solid midfielder who can win the footy and use it well on the outside of packs. Good athletic attributes in all areas and can take a mark.”

In his first season at Tigerland, Richmond coaches saw young midfielder Reece Conca having a simlar debut season along the lines of the then second-year player Dustin Martin.

Richmond fans also took note of his embrace of the players after a goal and the term “Conca Cuddle” was phrased.

There were high hopes for Reece Conca with some commentators suggesting he would be as vital in the Tiger midfield as Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin.

Conca would be troubled by constant hamstring injuries and struggled to get a regular spot in the Richmond lineup and he wouldn’t complete a full pre-season until 2016.

An ankle injury to Conca in Round 6 game aginst Adelaide in 2017, saw Conca miss six weeks of footy and he would find himself locked in the Richmond VFL team.

Struggling to get a regular game of seinor football, he opted to move to Fremantle as an unresticted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

PICK 7 (Gold Coast) – Josh Caddy
FROM: Northern Knights/Eltham
Games Played for Club: 24

Described at the time as: “Bulldozing midfielder who is good overhead, which helps him have equal presence when he goes forward.

Taken as the seventh selection in the 2010 draft, Josh Caddy wouldn’t play until Round 23 – the second last game of 2011 due to injury.

Caddy tried to seek a trade back to a Victorian club at the end of the 2011 season due to family reasons but he would stay on at the Suns before his wish was granted at the end of 2012.

Geelong would take in Josh Caddy where he would play 71 games as a Cat from 2013-16 before being traded to Richmond and would become a two-time premiership player, missing out on a third in 2020.

PICK 8 (Essendon) – Dyson Hepell
FROM: Gippsland Power
Games Played for Club: 172

Described at the time as: “Tall, attacking player both from defence and through the middle. Likes putting his long, left-foot kick to use.”

Heppell has become a loyal and inspirational servant of the Essendon Football Club in a tough era for the Bombers.

In his 172 games, Heppell won the 2011 Rising Star, an All-Australian and Essendon best and fairest winner in 2014 and has been captain of the club since 2017.

He pushed hard to get back into the Essendon side during the 2020 season but could only manage two games before needing surgery on his ankle.

Bombers fans will be hoping he can return fully fit in 2021.

PICK 9 (Gold Coast) – Dion Prestia
FROM: Calder Cannons
Games Played for Club: 95

Described at the time as: “Midfielder with pace and power off the mark, as well as a thumping kick. Knows how to work his way through traffic.”

In his time at the Gold Coast Suns, Dion Prestia developed a reputation for being one of the Clubs elite and was vice-captain from 2014-2015.

Prestia would fall victim to what appeared to be a curse on midfielders in 2015 with a knee injury.

2016 would be his final year at the Suns was mounted with speculation that he would return to Victoria and at seasons end he accepted an offer to join Richmond on a five-year deal.

Three premierships and a Richmond best and fairest later, he’s proven a handy pick up for the Tigers.

History would suggest that the Gold Coast Suns have somehow become a junior feeder club for Richmond in recent years.

PICK 10 (Gold Coast Suns) – Daniel Gorringe
FROM: Norwood
Games Played for Club: 22

Described at the time as: “Competitive ruckman with brilliant skills, particularly beneath his knees. Great ruck technique, then plays like an onballer.

Daniel Gorringe spent five seasons at the Suns and failed to secure a regular senior spot with the club playing only 22 games.

He signed with Carlton as a delisted free agent in time for the 2016 season where he would manage just four games in two seasons before retiring at the conclusion of 2017.

Post football he developed a following on social media mostly for mocking his efforts in the AFL and had a stint in the Big Brother house in 2020.

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