Seven more Queensland 'rookies' into the AFL syste

Queensland's ever-expanding AFL production line kept on rolling today, injecting a further seven newcomers into the AFL system via the rookie draft.

Four local teenagers - Southport pair Haydn Kiel and Joel Tippett, Morningside's Scott Clouston and Sunshine Coaster Daniel Dzufer - will get a chance to show their worth at "home" after being picked up by the Brisbane Lions.

Mt.Gravatt pair Chris Smith and Gavin Grose are heading interstate after Smith, originally from Caloundra, was taken by Fremantle and Grose joined Port Adelaide.

Also, ex-Cairns youngster Jarrod Harbrow, a Queensland U16 representative in 2004 who has spent the past two years living in Shepparton and playing with the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC Cup U18 competition, has joined the Western Bulldogs.

So, with 11 Queenslanders taken in the AFL national draft last month, it means a total of 18 Queenslanders have graduated to the AFL system this year.

Two further Queenslanders - Marty Pask and Michael West - were thrown a football lifeline by the Bulldogs via the rookie draft after they had been cut loose at the end of the season.

Also, retired Lions triple premiership fullback Mal Michael officially became an Essendon player via the pre-season draft.

And the Lions have committed for a third rookie season to Mt.Gravatt's Will Hamill.

So, there will be no less than 52 Queenslanders into the AFL system heading into the 2007 season, including retired Lions ace Michael Voss, who is still on the Brisbane list.

They are spread over 13 clubs, with only Geelong, West Coast and Collingwood not having a Queensland flavor.

Pask, a two-year Lions rookie originally from the Western Magpies, had been released by the Lions after playing eight AFL games last season.

He has caught plenty of media attention of late as the boyfriend of Australian swimming superstar Leisel Jones.

West, originally from Redland, was drafted by the Bulldogs 12 months ago but has spent much of the year in rehabilitation following a knee reconstruction in May 2005 and only played half a season with Werribee in the VFL.

Originally signed on a two-year deal, he was de-listed to give the Dogs an extra pick in the national draft but the club had committed to take him back as a rookie.

The Lions priority-listed Kiel, Dzufer, Clouston and Joel Tippett, who is the younger brother of recent Adelaide Crows draftee Kurt Tippett, as part of a Queensland concession.

Smith was taken in the first round of the rookie draft by the Dockers to become the first Queenslander to join a West Australian-based club, while Grose was chosen by Port Adelaide with their second pick in the rookie draft after a short trial with the Power a week ago.

Among those who were overlooked after being tipped as possible rookie selections were Southport's Tauri Zimmer and Dane Eaton, Broadbeach's Jesse Derrick, Mt.Gravatt's Simon Plummer and Sunshine Coaster Brody Johnson.

Also missing out were Sunshine Coaster Austin Lucy, a one-year senior list player at Essendon, and the Western Magpies' Ed McDonnell, a two-year rookie at St.Kilda, who had hoped to be re-drafted after being released at the end of the season.

A quick snapshot of the Queenslanders new to the AFL system today:-

SCOTT CLOUSTON (Brisbane Lions) Born: 2 February 1987
Height: 181cm
Weight: 74kg
Club: Morningside

At a Glance: A tall athletic utility player who is a product of AFLQ's `Rookie Search Program' and has only played two years of Australian football. Had played soccer at Brisbane Grammar School but took up football in 2005 at the University of Queensland. Switched to Morningside (AFLQ) to further his football this year and was a member of the Queensland U18 side that won the division two national championship.

DANIEL DZUFER (Brisbane Lions) Born: 21 January 1988
Height: 186cm
Weight: 81kg
Club: Zillmere Eagles / Caloundra / Suncoast Lions

At a Glance: Genuine utility player born and bred on the Sunshine Coast who has been a standout junior and was widely considered unlucky to miss selection in the 2006 national draft. Winner of the division two B&F medal at the Australian U16 championships in 2004, he toured Ireland with the AFL/AIS U17 Academy squad. Played with the Suncoast Lions in the AFLQ State League in 2004-05 before switching to the Zillmere Eagles this year. Won All-Australian selection at the U18 championships, was arguably Zillmere's best player through the 2006 AFLQ finals, and was a standout in the annual Allies U18 Challenge match in Melbourne in AFL grand final week.

GAVIN GROSE (Port Adelaide) Born: 2 September 1988
Height: 193cm
Weight: 86kg
Club: Mt.Gravatt

At a Glance: A born-and-bred Brisbane product who is an athletic key defender with a thumping left-foot kick. A Mt.Gravatt player throughout his career, he has been something of a late developer, having represented Queensland for the first time this year at U18 level after narrowly missing State U16 level in 2004. Made his senior AFLQ debut with Mt.Gravatt midway through the 2005 season and became a key figure for the Vultures after the national U18 championships this year. Was a standout in the annual Allies U18 Challenge match in Melbourne in AFL grand final week and was considered unlucky not to be selected in the AFL national draft.

JARROD HARBROW (Western Bulldogs) Born: 17 July 1988
Height: 178cm
Weight: 70kg
Club: Murray Bushrangers / Cairns

At a Glance: A lightning fast 18-year-old midfielder originally from Cairns who moved to Shepparton two years ago and has played the 2005-06 season with the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC Cup. Was a standout with Victorian Country at this year's national U18 championships and starred for the Victorian side in the annual Allies U18 Challenge in Melbourne in AFL grand final week.

HAYDN KIEL (Brisbane Lions) Born: Born 1 January 1988
Height: 178cm
Weight: 79kg
Club: Southport

At a Glance: Small utility player originally from Bendigo who moved to Queensland as a 10-year-old in 2000 and settled on the Gold Coast. A nephew of ex-St.Kilda utility player Peter Kiel, he has represented Queensland at U15 (2003), U16 (2004) and U18 (2005-06) level. Capable of playing as a small defender, a small forward or in a run-with role through the midfield, he was a member of Southport's 2005-06 AFLQ premiership sides. Is another player considered unlucky not to have been taken in the national draft.

CHRIS SMITH (Fremantle Dockers)
Born: 18 March 1988
Height: 184cm
Weight: 80kg
Club: Mt.Gravatt / Caloundra

At a Glance: A medium-sized utility player originally from Chirnside Park, on the outskirts of Melbourne, he moved to Queensland as a 10-year-old in 1988 and settled with his family on the Sunshine Coast. Played originally with Caloundra before switching to Aspley in 2005 and Mt.Gravatt in 2006. Queensland U16 captain in 2004, he represented Quensland at U18 level in 2005-06.Was Queensland's leading goal-kicker in the 2006 national U18 championships, including seven goals in a big win over NSW at Geelong, and was a standout in the annual Allies U18 trial match in Melbourne in AFL grand final week. Has a strong football heritage - his great uncle Les Smith played in the 1952 AFL grand final with Collingwood, and his grandfather Malcolm McRae also played at AFL level with Fitzroy and Essendon in the 1930s.

JOEL TIPPETT (Brisbane Lions) Born: 26 October 1988
Height: 198cm
Weight: 86kg
Club: Southport

At a Glance: Super-athletic tall utility player who has only played one year and less than 20 games of football. Younger brother of Kurt Tippett, a second-round pick to the Adelaide Crows in last month's AFL national draft, he, like Kurt, was a former State junior basketballer who followed his older brother in switching to football. Played 10 senior games with AFLQ premiers Southport this year, including one final, and represented Queensland at U21 level. Was eligible to play for Queensland at U18 level next year under the `Rookie Search' program but was taken by the Lions on the strength of his enormous and largely untapped potential.

The full list of Queenslanders in the AFL "family" is:-

Adelaide (2) - Ben Hudson, Kurt Tippett.

Brisbane (18) - Marcus Allan, Jamie Charman, Robert Copeland, Josh Drummond, Pat Garner, Scott Harding, Rhan Hooper, Joel Macdonald, Daniel Merrett, Wayde Mills, Albert Proud, Cheynee Stiller, Michael Voss, Scott Clouston (R), Daniel Dzufer (R), Haydn Kiel (R), Joel Tippett (R), Will Hamill (R).

Carlton (1) - Shaun Hampson.

Essendon (2) - Courtenay Dempsey, Mal Michael.

Fremantle (1) - Chris Smith (R).

Hawthorn (2) - Michael Osborne, Brent Renouf.

Kangaroos (5) - David Hale, Brad Moran, Daniel Pratt, Gavin Urquhart, Ben Warren.

Melbourne (3) - Clint Bizzell, Brad Miller, Ricky Petterd.

Port Adelaide (1) - Gavin Grose (R).

Richmond (3) - Trent Knobel, Luke McGuane, Andrew Raines.

St.Kilda (6) - David Armitage, Sam Gilbert, Brad Howard, Max Hughton, Nick Riewoldt, Brett Voss.

Sydney (1) - Jesse White.

W/Bulldogs (7) - Jason Akermanis, Mitch Hahn, Jarrod Harbrow (R), Paul O'Shea, Marty Pask (R), Michael West (R), Tom Williams.


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