The TAC Cup produced 44 of the 77 players (57 per cent) selected at the 2016 NAB AFL Draft in Sydney on Friday night.
Victoria’s premier under-age competition provided the top five picks and seven top-10 selections, with the TAC Cup having now produced at least six top-10 draft selections each year since 2011.
The Sandringham Dragons jointly led the way amongst TAC Cup clubs with seven total selections (including five first-round selections all inside the top 11), alongside fellow Grand Finallists the Murray Bushrangers and also the Oakleigh Chargers. The North Ballarat Rebels and Eastern Ranges produced five selections each, ahead of the Bendigo Pioneers with four, the Geelong Falcons, Northern Knights and Dandenong Stingrays with two each and the Gippsland Power, Western Jets and Calder Cannons with one each.
See the full list of TAC Cup players selected in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft at the bottom of the page.
Here, nableague.com.au takes a closer look at the 13 TAC Cup players selected in the first round:
Pick no.1: Sandringham midfielder/defender Andrew McGrath became the TAC Cup’s sixth consecutive no.1 draft pick in being selected by this year’s AFL wooden-spooner Essendon. The 179cm East Brighton product was a key part of Sandringham’s 2016 TAC Cup premiership team, winning the TAC Medal for the best player in the Grand Final after recording 38 disposals and eight clearances in a game-changing performance. Overall, he averaged 32 disposals, five marks and five tackles per game in 10 TAC Cup matches to be named in the back line of the TAC Cup Team of the Year.
McGrath, a talented track and field athlete, also co-captained Vic Metro to the 2016 NAB AFL U18 Championships title. He averaged 24 disposals per game in four matches at the Championships to jointly win Metro’s MVP Award and be named in defence in the U18 All Australian team. McGrath’s vision and football smarts as well as his strong character and leadership ability convinced the Bombers to invest the top pick in him.
* CLICK HERE to read nableague.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Andrew McGrath.
Pick no.2: GWS made it a Sandringham quinella by selecting McGrath’s premiership teammate and dynamic mid-forward Tim Taranto at pick no.2. The 187cm Parkdale product rose rapidly in AFL clubs’ draft estimations late in the season with some match-shaping performances in the TAC Cup finals and booted 14 goals while averaging 27 disposals, seven marks and six tackles per game in 10 TAC Cup matches across 2016.
Taranto earned selection in the forward lines of the TAC Cup Team of the Year and U18 All Australian team, averaging 19 disposals and one goal per game in four matches during Vic Metro’s successful U18 Championships campaign.
Pick no.3: Taranto’s selection saw North Ballarat Rebels goalkicking midfielder Hugh McCluggage slip through to Brisbane at pick no.3. The 185cm South Warrnambool product was one of the TAC Cup’s most decorated players in 2016, kicking 25 goals and averaging 29 disposals per game in 12 matches to win the competition’s Morrish Medal, North Ballarat’s best-and-fairest award and selection in the TAC Cup Team of the Year.
McCluggage also claimed Vic Country’s MVP Award and Coaches Award as well as being selected in the U18 All Australian team following a stellar U18 Championships campaign in which he booted seven goals and averaged 20 disposals per game in four matches.
* CLICK HERE to read nableague.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Hugh McCluggage.
Pick no.4: Gippsland Power captain Ben Ainsworth was then taken at pick no.4 by Gold Coast. The powerful 179cm mid-forward from Morwell enjoyed a sparkling 2015 season in which he was selected in the U18 All Australian team and TAC Cup Team of the Year as well as jointly winning Gippsland’s best-and-fairest award.
Ainsworth’s 2016 season was interrupted by injury and suspension, but he showed his class in bursts by kicking 18 goals and averaging 22 disposals per game in nine TAC Cup matches playing more through the midfield than he had previously. He also again represented Vic Country at the U18 Championships.
* CLICK HERE to read nableague.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Ben Ainsworth.
Pick no.5: GWS matched Carlton’s bid to secure Giants Academy member and Sandringham tall midfielder Will Setterfield with pick no.5. The 190cm Albury native showed his ability to play both inside and outside the contests in six TAC Cup matches in 2016, booting seven goals and averaging 19 disposals and seven tackles per game. Setterfield also represented the NSW/ACT Rams and then the Allies at the U18 Championships.
Pick no.7: Skilful Sandringham defender Jack Scrimshaw was snapped up by Gold Coast at pick no.7. The 194cm Beaumaris product starred for the Dragons with his vision and versatility in their TAC Cup premiership victory and averaged 23 disposals per game in his seven total TAC Cup games for 2016. Scrimshaw also overcame a serious foot injury sustained during the off-season in time to represent Vic Metro at the U18 Championships.
Pick no.9: Joining Ainsworth and Scrimshaw at the Suns was Murray Bushrangers inside midfielder Will Brodie, selected by Gold Coast with pick no.9. The tough 189cm Shepparton product averaged 20 disposals per game in eight TAC Cup matches in 2016 to be named in the TAC Cup Team of the Year, and also earned selection in the U18 All Australian team after his U18 Championships campaign for Vic Country.
Pick no.11: Oliver Florent became Sandringham’s fifth first-round pick when the mid-forward was taken at pick no.11 by Sydney. The pacy 183cm Beaumaris product kicked nine goals and averaged 20 disposals and five tackles per game in 11 TAC Cup matches this year, including the Dragons’ premiership victory. Florent also represented Vic Metro at the U18 Championships.
Pick no.12: North Melbourne wasn’t put off by a broken leg suffered by Murray’s Jy Simpkin in April, selecting the exciting forward with pick no.12. The 181cm Mooroopna product last year played a key role in Vic Country’s title-winning U18 Championships campaign but only managed one TAC Cup game in 2016 before sustaining his season-ending injury.
Pick no.13: Game-breaking Western Jets mid-forward Daniel Venables was then taken by West Coast with pick no.13. Despite an injury-interrupted season, the 186cm Keilor product made the U18 All Australian team after starring in Vic Metro’s successful U18 Championships campaign with six goals in four matches.
* CLICK HERE to read nableague.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Daniel Venables.
Pick no.15: Adelaide selected athletic Eastern Ranges utility Jordan Gallucci with pick no.15 after he co-captained Vic Metro to the U18 Championships title alongside Andrew McGrath. The 183cm Lilydale product also made this year’s U18 All Australian team and played eight TAC Cup matches, booting 14 goals and averaging 20 disposals and six tackles per game.
Pick no.16: Port Adelaide added to their thin tall forward stocks by selecting Murray goalkicker Todd Marshall with pick no.16. The 198cm Deniliquin product, a former star cricketer, showcased his prodigious contested-marking ability and kicked 22 goals in 11 TAC Cup games in 2016, also representing the NSW/ACT Rams and then the Allies at the U18 Championships.
* CLICK HERE to read nableague.com.au’s Draft Watch profile on Todd Marshall.
Pick no.17: The final first-round TAC Cup selection was North Ballarat’s 2016 captain Jarrod Berry, who joined Rebels teammate Hugh McCluggage at Brisbane. The 191cm Horsham product booted nine goals and averaged 17 disposals per game in eight TAC Cup matches as a reliable utility and also captained Vic Country in this year’s U18 Championships after making the U18 All Australian team as a bottom-ager in 2015.
See the full list of TAC Cup players selected in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft below:
|1||Andrew McGrath||Sandringham Dragons||Essendon|
|2||Tim Taranto||Sandringham Dragons||GWS Giants|
|3||Hugh McCluggage||North Ballarat Rebels||Brisbane Lions|
|4||Ben Ainsworth||Gippsland Power||Gold Coast Suns|
|5||Will Setterfield||Sandringham Dragons||GWS Giants|
|7||Jack Scrimshaw||Sandringham Dragons||Gold Coast Suns|
|9||Will Brodie||Murray Bushrangers||Gold Coast Suns|
|11||Ollie Florent||Sandringham Dragons||Sydney|
|12||Jy Simpkin||Murray Bushrangers||North Melbourne|
|13||Daniel Venables||Western Jets||West Coast|
|15||Jordan Gallucci||Eastern Ranges||Adelaide|
|16||Todd Marshall||Murray Bushrangers||Port Adelaide|
|17||Jarrod Berry||North Ballarat Rebels||Brisbane Lions|
|22||Jordan Ridley||Oakleigh Chargers||Essendon|
|23||Alex Witherden||Geelong Falcons||Brisbane Lions|
|24||Cedric Cox||North Ballarat Rebels||Brisbane Lions|
|28||Patrick Lipinski||Northern Knights||Western Bulldogs|
|30||Sam McLarty||Oakleigh Chargers||Collingwood|
|31||Josh Begley||Eastern Ranges||Essendon|
|32||Joe Atley||Bendigo Pioneers||Port Adelaide|
|33||Willem Drew||North Ballarat Rebels||Port Adelaide|
|35||Callum Brown||Eastern Ranges||Collingwood|
|38||Sean Darcy||Geelong Falcons||Fremantle|
|39||Josh Battle||Dandenong Stingrays||St Kilda|
|42||Kobe Mutch||Bendigo Pioneers||Essendon|
|43||Esava Ratugolea||Murray Bushrangers||Geelong|
|44||Myles Poholke||Dandenong Stingrays||Adelaide|
|45||Jack Maibaum||Eastern Ranges||Sydney|
|50||Kayle Kirby||Bendigo Pioneers||Collingwood|
|54||Lachlan Tiziani||Murray Bushrangers||GWS|
|56||Ed Phillips||Oakleigh Chargers||St Kilda|
|57||Josh Daicos||Oakleigh Chargers||Collingwood|
|59||Cameron Polson||Sandringham Dragons||Carlton|
|61||Tom Williamson||North Ballarat Rebels||Carlton|
|62||Matthew Signorello||Northern Knights||Adelaide|
|63||Dylan Clarke||Eastern Ranges||Essendon|
|64||Dion Johnstone||Oakleigh Chargers||Melbourne|
|65||Patrick Kerr||Oakleigh Chargers||Carlton|
|70||Fergus Greene||Bendigo Pioneers||Western Bulldogs|
|71||Corey Lyons||Sandringham Dragons||Brisbane Lions|
|72||Ryan Garthwaite||Murray Bushrangers||Richmond|
|73||Nick Larkey||Oakleigh Chargers||North Melbourne|
|74||Harry Morrison||Murray Bushrangers||Hawthorn|
|76||Mitchell Lewis||Calder Cannons||Hawthorn|