THE NAB AFL Draft is right around the corner.
As clubs and draft hopefuls count down the days until December 9, here is everything you need to know about the big night.
When is the NAB AFL Draft?
This season's NAB AFL Draft will be held on Wednesday, December 9. You can watch each pick live as it happens throughout the night on AFL.com.au, the AFL Live Official App and Fox Footy.
How will the NAB AFL Draft operate?
This year's NAB AFL Draft will be a one-night, virtual event in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite suggestions it could be held in a similar format to the Brownlow Medal, with players separated in different locations across the country, it will instead follow a similar format to October's NAB AFLW Draft that was held entirely online. As was the case throughout the recent Trade Period, the AFL Review Centre (ARC) will be central to live trading and selections being submitted, with draftees likely to be involved in the broadcast of the event via video links. The Pre-Season and Rookie drafts will be held the following day, on Thursday, December 10.
Will there still be Academy and father-son bids?
Yes, there will be. One of this season's most high-profile draftees, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, is tied to the Western Bulldogs' Next Generation Academy while a host of other potential early selections are also already bound to certain clubs. It's led to a change in the system, whereby from next year there will be a 'protected zone' inside the top 20 picks where bids on NGA prospects cannot be matched. The phase-out will continue in 2022, where bids on NGA prospects can only be matched outside of the top 40 selections. However, crucially for the Bulldogs and a number of other clubs, that rule tweak will not come into effect this year. It means normal 'bidding' and 'matching' processes on NGA and father-son draftees will apply next month.
What picks do Geelong have?
Geelong will currently enter the draft with selections 51, 96 and 114.
Will my team go to the NAB AFL Draft with these picks?
Not necessarily. Teams are still able to complete pick swaps right up until the NAB AFL Draft, while live trading is also still in place for this year's one-night event. A number of potential deals are still in the works, with Greater Western Sydney considering bundling its multiple selections (including any range of picks No.10, 13, 15 and 20) to get higher up the order. Gold Coast is still looking to improve on its pick No.5, while Collingwood has publicly and repeatedly put its future first-round selection on the table in an effort to improve its current standing of picks No.14 and 16. Keep an eye on more trades in the lead-up to the draft.
Who are the best players at this year's NAB AFL Draft?
There are a number of quality tall prospects headlining this year's draft crop, with key forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (tied to the Western Bulldogs' Next Generation Academy) among them. Perth tall forward Logan McDonald has enjoyed a stunning season in the WAFL, while West Adelaide key forward Riley Thilthorpe and Swan Districts key defender Denver Grainger-Barras are other quality key-position prospects. Murray Bushrangers youngster Elijah Hollands and Oakleigh Chargers onballer Will Phillips are among the best midfield prospects.