There’s less than a week until the 2020 NAB AFL Draft, but there are still plenty of decisions to be made, according to Head of Player Personnel Scott Clayton.
“We're asking more questions, medical reports are coming in, psych reports are coming in. So the process is really thorough,” Clayton told North Media.
“And for the first time in 12 months, we just saw the Victorian group training out at Craigieburn. I've actually seen some players in the flesh from this state for the first time. So clearly there's still work to be done.”
It’s been a draft year like no other for both players and recruiters, who are having to make decisions off less games and less data than ever before.
“We’ve done the work and we're excited about the draft pool,” Clayton said.
“We've positioned ourselves beautifully. We’re obviously coming off a low ladder position, but this is the one upside of that,
“The process of this group probably goes back three years. We've watched some of them as 16-year-old’s and then last year as 17-year-old’s.
“Before I got here, the guys (recruiters) had done so much work on this group in their 17th year. And of course, then this year has been a year like no other, but we've got there.”
In recent years, there has been a standout number one pick, with the likes of Sam Walsh and Matt Rowell being held in extremely high regard in their draft seasons.
But NGA ties at the top of the order make the top picks harder to call in 2020.
Clayton is confident that there is plenty of talent at the top, with North ready to utilise pick two.
“It's like everything, I suppose, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Clayton said.
“(Jamarra) Ugle-Hagan who is NGA-tied to Western Bulldogs, there's a lot of opinion that he is an absolute standout, which is hard to disagree with. And clearly they'll get him when they match a bid.
“Then you've got the added intrigue of Adelaide (pick one) and there's a very high-ranking South-Australian, and there's a Western-Australian.
“So certainly the four first four could go any way. But I think that the first 10 or so are all very, very credible early picks.”
Pick swaps and live trading of picks has played a part in recent drafts, and Clayton expects that to continue in 2020.
“Pick swaps are massive right through the trade period when you can involve players as well,” he added.
“You're always trying to improve your draft position and trying to bring in players.
“And that was part of our jigsaw puzzle. We bought in AFL talent and that was always the plan.
“In getting ready to position our picks as best we can, we've had an open mind on manoeuvring those and that will go right up to draft night.”