So the draft has been run and done! We judged each teams' picks from up on high. How did your team fare?
What we said they needed: Coachable athletes who can take the pressure of being on an elite team
Who they got: Rebecca Carmen, Eunice Cheung, Liam Haberfield, Michael ‘Henry’ Thomas
Draft Rating: A-
The Suns are probably beside themselves with their draft picks. A lot of these players were good enough to go much higher than their draft order as individuals. But once you take into account the connections between players, it’s hard to imagine better picks for the Suns, except maybe Shepherd and Sutas (who both went in the top 4).
You know card games where if certain cards become extra powerful if they are played together. That’s Carman and Thomas - excellent players in their own right but unbeatable as a combo.
Add in their Friskee teammate Eunice Cheung behind the disc and you have half a starting six right there. Liam, the second New Zealander to go in the draft, is perfect to round out the team – largely unknown, big block getting potential and no doubt eager to prove himself on a big international stage.
What we said they needed: Some crafty female disc distributors, a couple of versatile male utility types, not more height.
Who they got: Sally Yu, Shannon Bubb, Lachlan McDonald, Loughlin Murphy
Draft Score: B-
In our first roster announcement article, I said “There are two styles of Ultimate battling it out on the Dragons, epitomized by their marquee names.” Well, they must have both had a hand in the draft because the same split is evident in the picks.
Sally is an excellent #1 choice and will slot in well on this team with Dunmall and Phillips. Alongside Murphy, the picks make a statement about them going all in on the ‘huck to the tall people’ strategy.
On the other hand are Bubb and McDonald. I think this team will struggle to utilise Bubb to her fullest potential. She’s a speedy receiver and a block getter for sure but is playing with 13 new faces on a team with a quarterback/stand-and-deliver approach that will prioritise the long ball. I said they needed some crafty female disc distributors but one may not be enough…
And McDonald, well he’s definitely versatile and plays very well with others.
Basically, the talls have come out on top in the Dragons draft and I think it’ll make it hard for the disc distributors on this team to make an impact. And I think that’s a missed opportunity.
What we said they needed: Girls with game awareness, boys to compliment existing players. Players who can help unite the disparate elements on this team (not to mention the two genders), while keeping the disc flowing and playing smart.
Who they got: Alex Shepherd, Emilya Toney, Chris Kaliviotis, Bella See
Draft Score: B+/D- (depending on who you ask)
Full disclosure: I am a member of the Perth Power and I have full confidence that they are going to win the AUL in 2018.
But also, if anyone apart from Dan Rule and Sarah Brereton were coaching this team, I would be scratching my head at some of these picks.
I really love these players. Alex Shepherd is number one by name and number one by nature. You couldn’t have asked for a better compliment to both Gan and Davey. 10/10 would pick first again.
But Toney has taken time off Ultimate so is a bit of an unknown, See is tall but it’s not like this team was lacking height in the girls and Kaliviotis is one of the most consistent and reliable players at an elite level in Australia but…why are you going for consistency with a first half pick?! Surely you still need a few more deep threats or powerful throwers?
But that’s where Rule and Brereton come in. There must be a plan. Mere mortals/fans like myself can’t see it, but it must be there. Surely it can’t be a coincidence they picked players like Gan, Maserai and Daube who wouldn’t attract many draft points so they could get higher picks, right? There must be a plan.
So are they mad geniuses or just mad? Hard to tell. But I say, trust the process.
What we said they needed: Going all in on height would be fun. If not, a stronger midfield could definitely help them bridge the gap between the clay pigeon shooting machines behind the disc and those streaming towards the endzone.
Who they got: Sam McGuckin, Timocles Copland, Cath O’Neill, Ashleigh McInnes
Draft Rating: A-
They did it! RIP shorties, hello huge people!
Let’s do a quick roll call.
Sam McGuckin: tall, from Brisbane, wants you to huck it to him real bad, tick!
Timocles Copland: tall, from Brisbane (originally), can huck it to people for goals and such and also run to the endzone and catch them, tick!
Ashleigh McInnes: tall, from Brisbane, catches some crazy things in the endzone, tick!
The only person putting some the breaks on the express train leaving Huck and Hopetown is Cath O’Neill. She’ll have no problem fitting in here but it’ll be a challenge to work out how to best utilise her. Can they make it work?
What we said they needed: Either the most malleable players from around the country or maybe just more Heads of State and Ellipsis players.
Who they got: Thomas Deller, Alex “Alby” Evans, Rosa Wang, Ruby Anderson
Draft Rating: A
Honestly, if they’d picked Rod Phillips this would easily be an A+
They really couldn’t have gotten any closer to my recommendations. They picked two Heads of State players, an Ellipsis player and one of the most talented and malleable athletes in country.
Turns out Rosa Wang’s star has already risen in the Southern states (obviously the Un-Draft had a massive influence) and Victorians will soon find out what most Sydneysiders already know: Wang is siiiick. Deller’s one-man hype machine approach to Ultimate is a great fit for this team of ‘personalities’. And Anderson and Evans are both athletes who know the system well and bring plenty of potential.
Evans will be a surprise to many but probably fulfils a little of the “f*** you” factor that the Phillips pick would have achieved. Time will tell if Melbourne’s choice to leave a few Worlds reps on the table in favour of Evans was too hubristic or not hubristic enough.
What I said they needed: Some boy block-getters are a must. For females, I’d stick with familiarity and in-built connections.
Who they got: Troy Stevenson, Ben Sutas, Abbie Dawson, Caitlin Grange
Draft Rating: A+
Honestly, wow. Every other draft combination has at least one caveat but, by my criteria, this one is just perfect.
Two outstanding female athletes with excellent connections with the Canberra community and the players on this team. Not to mention with each other, as Bluebottles teammates.
Two excellent block getters in the form of Troy Stevenson from New Zealand and Ben Sutas from that recurring nightmare you have where a defender screams past you on an under cut, gets the block without laying out and then instantly throws the goal.
These are excellent picks and place Canberra at the top of the “better than the sum of their parts” list. Which, unless your Sydney or Melbourne, you’ll probably have to be to win this thing.