AFL Draft Rewind: 2006

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Leading up to the AFL National Draft, we will look at the top 10 picks from then – going back 25 years, 20 years, 15 years, 10 years and five years.

In the third edition of this series – we look back 15 years ago to the 2006 National Draft.

The class of ’06 was strong and many pundits rank it second to the Superdraft of 2001 due to the depth of talent that emerged.

Here’s our look back at the top 10 from then in 2006

PICK 1 (Carlton): Bryce Gibbs
FROM: Glenelg
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 231

Last hurrah: Veteran Crow Bryce Gibbs to hang up boots after game against  old club

When Essendon and Carlton were stuck at the bottom of the AFL ladder during the 2006 season, the two sides met in Round 16 for which the media at the time dubbed the “Bryce Gibbs Cup” – it was a draw.

Gibbs spent 12 seasons at Carlton, playing between the midfield and half-back line and in Round 10, 2010 he equalled Greg Williams efforts as the Blues player to get the most disposals in a game – 45.

He would win the club’s best and fairest in 2014, and eventually, after a failed attempt to be traded to Adelaide in 2016, found himself finishing his career at the Crows from 2017-20.

Bryce Gibbs returned to Glenelg in the SANFL this season where he would win the League’s, Magarey Medal.

PICK 2 (Essendon) – Scott Gumbleton
FROM: Peel Thunder
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 35

AFL 2020: Adrian Dodoro explains Essendon draft choices, Scott Gumbleton,  David Myers, Cyril Rioli

Gumbleton would be plagued by injury, managing only five games in his first three seasons.

A steady improvement in 2010, when he was able to get a full pre-season under his belt saw him play 17 out of the first 18 games only to suffer broken ribs and a punctured lung, ruling him out for rest of the season.

He managed a few more games for the Bombers but was traded to Fremantle in 2013 where he failed to play a game for the Dockers and retired.

PICK 3 (North Melbourne) – Lachlan Hansen
FROM: Gippsland Power
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 151

Hansen's road to 150

Hansen would debut for North in Round 1 of the 2007 season, playing just three games in his debut year – including a semi-final win over Hawthorn – which would be the first victory he would play in.

At the time of his departure at the Kangaroos, then coach Brad Scott described him as “…an excellent intercept mark in the AFL and formed a solid backline alongside the likes of Robbie Tarrant, Michael Firrito and Scott Thompson,”

PICK 4 (Brisbane) – Matthew Leuenberger
FROM: East Perth
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 108

The big West Australian was taken by the Lions in the first selection of the 2006 draft and made his debut against West Coast in Round 14 of 2007, when the Lions notched up a famous victory in heritage round wearing the old Fitzroy jumper.

Leuenberger battled with a few injury issues throughout his career at the Lions, but proved to be very reliable in the ruck and was always in the conversation during trade periods.

At the end of the 2015 season, he was traded to Essendon where he would play a further 29 games before retiring at the end of 2018.

PICK 5 (Port Adelaide) – Travis Boak
FROM: Geelong Falcons

GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 306* (*Still Playing)

Port Adelaide is still very much getting bang for their buck with their first selection in the 2006 draft.

Just to name a few achievements, he would go on to become a three-time All-Australian, dual John Cahill Medalist (best and fairest) and three-time Showdown medalist.

Travis Boak played his 300th game in Round 19 of the 2021 season against Collingwood, recording 30 disposals and broke Kane Cornes record as Port’s AFL games record holder.

He is still going strong heading into the 2022 season.

PICK 6 (Hawthorn) – Mitch Thorp
FROM – Tassie Mariners
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 2

Mostly remembered as the bloke taken before Joel Selwood in this draft, Throp was a key position player who managed only two games in his AFL career.

He made a promising debut against Richmond in round 15 2007, including kicking a goal but was injured and unable to play the following week.

Throp played his second game against the Swans in Round 2, 2009 as a last minute call up but a foot injury resulted him in missing the remainder of the season.

The Hawks tried to trade him, but no clubs showed interest and he wasn’t picked up in the 2009 National Draft.

PICK 7 (Geelong) – Joel Selwood
FROM – Bendigo U18
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB  – 334* (*Still Playing)

AFL 2020: Stephen Wells reflects on recruiting Joel Selwood in the 2006  draft | Geelong Advertiser

Just about every re-draft article doing the rounds has Joel Selwood at number 1.

His list of career achievements speaks for itself

3× Premiership player: (2007, 2009, 2011)

6× All-Australian team: (2009, 2010, 2013 (c), 2014 (c), 2016 (c), 2017)

4× AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award: (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)

3× Carji Greeves Medal: (2010, 2013, 2014)

Geelong captain: (2012–)

AFLPA best captain award: (2013)

Herald Sun Player of the Year: (2014)

AFL Rising Star (2007)

AFLPA best first year player award: (2007)

AFLCA best young player award: (2008)

And let’s just chuck in the 2009 NAB Cup premiership and Michael Tuck Medal for good measure, and the fact he holds the Geelong club record for most games played (333), and still going.

PICK 8 (Collingwood) – Ben Reid
FROM: Murray Bushrangers
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 152

An ever-reliable defender, Reid managed just eight games from 2007-2009, before 2010 would become his breakout season playing 21 out of a possible 26, including the Magpies premiership that year.

Reid was selected at centre-half back in the 2011 All-Australian team.

A number of soft-tissue injuries would restrict him towards the end of his career, and he selflessly retired from football on the eve of the 2020 finals.

PICK 9 (St Kilda) – David Armitage
FROM: Morningside

GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 169

Ross Lyon's harsh words helped Armitage get to 100

Taken at pick 9 by the Saints in 2006, Armitage became a fan favorite amongst the St Kilda faithful developing a reputation for his fearless attack on the footy.

He was in-out of the side in the early part of his career, before establishing himself as a regular from 2011.

Armitage had his career-best season in 2015, averaging 28 disposals per game and coming second in the Saints best and fairest.

Struggling with injury in the later part of his career, he retired just before the end of the 2019 season after 169 games for the Saints.

PICK 10 (Collingwood) – Nathan J Brown
FROM: North Ballarat
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 130

Nathan J Brown can lay claim to have been the third player with the same name at the time of his drafting at Collingwood in 2006.

Making his debut in 2008, he would win the clubs best first-year player and celebrated his 50th game in style, which just happened to be the 2010 Grand Final replay.

At the end of 2016, Brown headed to St Kilda as a restricted free agent where he would play a further 53 games before retiring midway in 2020.