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 fourth edition of this series – we look back 10 years ago to the 2011 National Draft.
To call the 2011 draft compromised would be an understatement.
Prior to their first season of senior football in the AFL, the then newly formed Greater Western Sydney Giants received the first selection in each round, and picks 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 in the first round.
Along with that the Giants had plenty of other avenues to build their list during the draft and trade period of that year.
So with eight out of the first 10 players becoming Giants, we take a look back at the top 10 from then – 2011
PICK 1 (GWS) – Jonathan Patton
FROM – Eastern Rangers
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 89
Patton was taken at number 1 for the Giants, but missed the first 11 games of the 2012 season with a knee injury.
He suffered ACL injuries that would re-occur throughout the early part of his career, before finding that much sought-after number 1 draft pick form in 2016, kicking four in that famous prelim final loss to the Western Bulldogs.
2017 was the best season of his career when he dominated the competition with his contested marking and strength, kicking a career high 45 goals – ending the campaign as the club’s leading goalkicker.
Injury got the better of him again in 2018, he tore an ACL and missed all of 2019 before requesting a trade to Hawthorn prior to 2020.
Patton was the subject of an off-field indiscretion regarding inappropriate text messages, and retired from football in early 2021.
PICK 2 (GWS) – Stephen Coniglio
FROM: Swan Districts
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB: 134* (*Still Playing)
The current Giants skipper was a classic case of having to choose between playing footy or cricket come draft time.
He choose footy and has become a stalwart for the Giants since their inaugural season, and despite rumours he would leave in 2019 as a free agent for a Victorian club or back home to WA, he remained loyal to GWS, signing a seven-year contract and becoming captain in 2020.
His first season as skipper was captured in the Amazon documentary “Making Their Mark”
PICK 3 (GWS) – Dom Tyson
FROM: Oakleigh Chargers
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB- 13
Tyson would have the honour of wearing the green vest as the substitute in GWS first AFL game against Sydney in Round 1, 2012.
He would play ten games in his debut season, with back and leg injuries getting the better of him for most of 2012.
Leading into 2013, Tyson tore his PCL during the pre-season, and played just the three games for the year.
He was traded to Melbourne at the end of the year, playing 94 games for the Demons, before being traded to the Kangaroos in 2019, adding a further six matches to his tally before being delisted in 2021.
PICK 4 (GWS) – Will Hoskin-Elliott
FROM – Western Jets
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 52* (*Still playing at Collingwood – 102 career games)
Will Hoskin-Elliott made his debut for the Giants in their first ever game against the Swans in Round 1, 2012 kicking one of the clubs five goals for the match.
Hoskin-Elliott’s best season at the Giants was in 2014 when he kicked 26 goals in 20 games, but soft-tissue injuries got the better of him, playing only 11 matches in 2015.
In his last game for the Giants, Hoskin-Elliott took a contender for the 2016 mark of the year.
He was traded to Collingwood at the end of 2016.
PICK 5 – (GWS) Matt Buntine
FROM – Dandenong Stingrays
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 67
The Giants 5th pick in 2011 managed just 67-games in 11 seasons battling injury constantly throughout his career.
Buntine was part of the clubs emerging leaders group in 2014, and was a classic case of reinventing yourself and persistence during his time at the Giants.
He was delisted at the end of the 2021 season and has signed with Melbourne’s VFL club, the Casey Demons.
PICK 6 – (Port Adelaide) Chad Wingard
FROM – Sturt
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 147* (*Currently playing for Hawthorn)
Just one of two from the top 10 of 2011 not to go to GWS, Wingard would play 147 games for the Power when they recruited the local South Australian.
During his time at Alberton, Wingard would be twice an All-Australian and won the 2013 John Cahill Medal (Port’s best and fairest) along with being the clubs leading goal kicker in 2015 (51) and 2016 (38)
He was also known for loving a long sleeve jumper, something he couldn’t do at Hawthorn.
During the 2021 period, Wingard was adamant he wanted to stay at the Hawks and he got his wish.
PICK 7 – (GWS) Nick Haynes
FROM – Dandenong U18
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 166* (*Still Playing)
Haynes would make his debut in Round 10, 2012 playing as a midfielder in the early part of his career.
A move to the backline has seen him cement himself as a staple of the Giants defence and has proven to be amongst the clubs best in recent years.
In 2020, Haynes was named All Australian and was joint best and fairest winner for the club along with Lachie Whitfield.
PICK 8 – (Brisbane) Billy Longer
FROM – Northern Knights
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 9
The second of the non-GWS Giants in this top 10, Longer managed just nine seinor games with the Brisbane Lions before requesting a trade back home to Victoria.
Longer ended up at St Kilda, managing to string some consistency in seasons 2014 and 2015, but retired at the end of the 2019 season after experiencing concussion issues.
He played a total of 66 career games from 2012-2019 across two clubs.
PICK 9 – (GWS) Adam Tomlinson
FROM – Oakleigh Chargers
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 140
Tomlinson was an integral part of the Giants lineup in the clubs first decade, making his debut in the clubs first game in Round one, 2012.
At the end of the 2019 season, Tomlinson exercised his options as a free agent and joined Melbourne after eight seasons as a Giant.
He would suffer a season-ending knee injury in the Demons Round 7 win against North Melbourne which resulted in him missing the rest of the season, including the Demons drought-breaking premiership.
PICK 10 – (GWS) – Liam Sumner
FROM – Sandringham U18
GAMES PLAYED FOR CLUB – 12
Sumner managed to play just 12 games in four seasons at the Giants, despite being in the top 10.
Another from the Giants/Carlton feeder club program, Sumner was sought after by Stephen Silvagni and played a further 20 games for the Blues before being delisted at the end of 2017.