Sydney Swans General Manager of List Strategy and Recruitment Kinnear Beatson says the club will be taking a ‘best available’ approach early in the draft, as they finalise their preparations ahead of tonight’s AFL Draft.
Beatson, who is in his 17th year at the club, has been working tirelessly behind the scenes with the Recruitment and List management team to determine who will be joining the red and white for the 2024 season.
“At this stage we will probably only have only two selections, 12 and 45, but they will move depending on bids for Academy Players and father and son players,” said Beatson.
“What’s changed in the last couple of years is the capacity to trade selections, to move forward and back depending on what their needs are. We’ve already made some enquiries about trying to move forward 12 but that looks unlikely.”
Beatson admits a strong free agency and trade period that saw four senior players (Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, James Jordan and Joel Hamling) join the red and white, has allowed for some flexibility in their draft movements.
“Because we were able to have a pretty successful free agency and trade period we were able to top off a lot of needs there with a ruckman, key defender and midfield support with Taylor (Adams) and (Jordan) James coming in,” said Beatson.
“Pick 12 is always fraught with danger not to take the best available talent, and there’s a fair mixture there. We’ll see who’s there at that selection, whether we hold it or trade it out. Ultimately, it would be the best player available.”
“We’ve got selection 45, but we’ve also got Caiden Cleary who’s an All Australian (from the Under-18 Championships) out of our QBE Sydney Swans Academy. Caiden will seriously come under consideration on the night. That may come from a bid from another club, and we might look at matching that, or we might risk taking him with our own selection or have another selection at 45 and go to the list at 37.”
Drafting on character as well as talent is a priority for Beatson, who says it plays a crucial role determining who will fit into the Bloods culture and perform well both on and off the field.
“From my experience, my biggest mistake is not taking into account their character enough. If they don’t have a strong work ethic, if they don’t have a strong desire to train and improve invariably, they won’t turn into the player you hoped. They’ll still play some AFL football but not to the level you hoped so character is vitally important,” Beatson explained.
“We do a lot of work in ringing schools, families etc, for character assessment of these young men, and they’re the aspects that you cover. Their want to improve, their attendance at training, do they turn up early to training? Do they do the extras? Do they seek out coaches for further information? All those things will give you an indication of their desire and competitiveness.”
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