Jurrah is Demons' number one gun

Yuendumu flyer heads list of 11 selections

MELBOURNE has used its first pick in yesterday's AFL pre-season draft to swoop on Central Australian Liam Jurrah, boosting its stocks of Indigenous talent to an all-time high.

Jurrah was first off the blocks as pre-season draft pick number one, capping off a meteoric, 12-month rise from remote community footy to the big time.

The 20-year-old joins fellow Indigenous Demons Aaron Davey, Matthew Whelan, Austin Wonaeamirri and last month's draftees Jamie Bennell and Neville Jetta.

He is also just the sixth Indigenous player to go as number one in AFL drafts -- four of whom are from the NT: Michael McLean (1991, pre-season), Matthew Ah Mat (1993, mid-season), Des Headland (1998, national), Shannon Rusca (1999, rookie) and Clayton Collard (2007, rookie).

The 20-year-old was one of 11 Indigenous players selected yesterday; the 10 others joining nine AFL clubs as rookies.

It reinforces the fact that AFL clubs' recruiting systems are becoming a lot more integrated, and how readily clubs are willing to recruit Indigenous players, says AFL Foundation CEO, Jason Mifsud.

Indigenous footballers in the AFL now number 82: 71 are on primary (senior) lists and 11 as rookies for the 2009 season. Add to that number the two NSW Scholarship holders at Hawthorn in Thomas Kickett and Dylan Stuart.

More broadly speaking, clubs are more accustomed to managing the transition of Indigenous players," Mifsud said.

The other advantage these days is the role senior Indigenous players can play in helping the new guys coming in.

"That role modelling is a critical part of retaining Indigenous talent at a club and clubs are very conscious of that."

Liam Bedford is back in the AFL after West Coast nabbed him with the second selection in the rookie draft; he was delisted by the Cats in October. Subiaco’s Adam Cockie joins him at the Eagles, also as a rookie.

A family reunion will be held at Geelong this week when Adam Varcoe lobs at Kardinia Park as selection number 15, joining older brother, Travis.

And the Hawks have handed an AFL lifeline to agile big man Carl Peterson, a former rookie at Richmond. Peterson was delisted by the Tigers last year. He subsequently joined NTFL club St Mary's and was in the Saints' 2007/08 premiership side.

Yesterday's draft selections
Pre-season draft
1. 1st Liam JURRAH (Yuendumu) to Melbourne
Rookie draft
2. 2nd Liam BEDFORD (Geelong/Claremont, WAFL) to West Coast
3. 3rd Casey SIBOSADO (Oakleigh Chargers/NT Thunder) to Fremantle
4. 4th Wade THOMPSON (North Adelaide, SANFL) Port Adelaide
5. 6th Jeffrey GARLETT (Swan Districts, WAFL) Carlton
6. 15th Adam VARCOE (Central District, SANFL) to Geelong
7. 18th Adam COCKIE (Subiaco, WAFL) to West Coast
8. 42nd John BENNELL (Peel Thunder, WAFL) to Collingwood
9. 53rd Alroy GILLIGAN (Claremont, WAFL) to Richmond
10. 61st Carl PETERSON (Richmond/Claremont, WAFL) to Hawthorn
11. 71st Ross TANGUTULUM (St Mary's, NTFL) to St Kilda

Complete team lists for 2009
Adelaide: Tony ARMSTRONG, Jonathon GRIFFIN, Jarrhan JACKY, Graham JOHNCOCK, Andrew McLEOD (veteran), Jared PETRENKO.
Brisbane: Rhan HOOPER, Ashley McGRATH, Albert PROUD, Jason ROE, Sam SHELDON.
Carlton: Joe ANDERSON, Eddie BETTS, Andrew WALKER, Jeffrey GARLETT (rookie), Chris YARRAN.
Collingwood: John BENNELL (rookie), Anthony CORRIE, Shannon COX, Leon DAVIS, Brad DICK, Sharrod WELLINGHAM.
Essendon: Jarrod ATKINSON, Alwyn DAVEY, Courtenay DEMPSEY, Leroy JETTA, Andrew LOVETT, Nathan LOVETT-MURRAY, Patrick RYDER.
Fremantle: Antoni GROVER, Stephen HILL, Roger HAYDEN, Des HEADLAND, Casey SIBOSADO (rookie), Michael JOHNSON, Michael WALTERS.
Geelong: Nathan DJERRKURA, Steven MOTLOP, Mathew STOKES, Adam VARCOE (rookie), Travis VARCOE.
Hawthorn: Chance BATEMAN, Lance FRANKLIN, Cyril RIOLI, Carl PETERSON (rookie), Cameron STOKES, Mark WILLIAMS.
Melbourne: Jamie BENNELL, Aaron DAVEY, Neville JETTA, Liam JURRAH, Matthew WHELAN, Austin WONAEAMIRRI.
North Melbourne: Warren BENJAMIN, Matt CAMPBELL, Cruize GARLETT (rookie), Lindsay THOMAS, Daniel WELLS.
Port Adelaide: Peter BURGOYNE, Shaun BURGOYNE, Nathan KRAKOUER, Daniel MOTLOP, Marlon MOTLOP, Danyle PEARCE, Wade THOMPSON (rookie).
Richmond: Shane EDWARDS, Alroy GILLIGAN (rookie), Jarrad OAKLEY-NICHOLS, Richard TAMBLING.
Sydney: Michael O’LOUGHLIN (veteran), Adam GOODES.
St Kilda: Raphael CLARKE, Xavier CLARKE, Ross TANGUTULUM (rookie).
West Coast: Liam BEDFORD (rookie), Adam COCKIE (rookie), David WIRRPANDA (veteran).
Western Bulldogs: Jarrod HARBROW, Josh HILL, Liam JONES, Malcolm LYNCH, Brennan STACK.

* See the link above AFL > Current Players for the up-to-date list
* See also AFL > AFL Drafts: 1986-2008 for the up-to-date list

DARREN MONCRIEFF
AboriginalFootball@westnet.com.au
Wednesday, December 17, 2008



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