Over Half of AFL's New Talent from Victorian Football

AFL Victoria is particularly pleased to again see over half of the new talent selected in the NAB AFL Draft come from Victorian football.  36 Victorian players were selected in last night’s NAB AFL Draft, with 33 players recruited from the TAC Cup competition and three from the Peter Jackson VFL. Victorian community football and the talented player pathway produced 55% of new draftees while South Australia produced 21%, Western Australia 18%, Tasmania 5% and Queensland 1%.

AFL Victoria General Manager Grant Williams believes the results reflect the strong talent development pathways in Victoria.

“The NAB AFL Draft continues to highlight the variety of pathways in which talented players are being developed in Victoria, starting at a local community Club level and working their way up through the talented player pathway either via the TAC Cup or VFL competitions.”

Victoria produced eight out of the first 10 draft selections, with Dandenong Southern Stingrays Lachie Whitfield becoming the eleventh number one pick from the TAC Cup competition in its 21 year history, and the fourth Dandenong top pick. Whitfield joined the likes of former Stingrays Jeff White (1994), Travis Johnstone (1997) and Tom Scully (2009) all of whom had their name read out first on AFL Draft night.

“The TAC Cup competition continues to be the premier drafting ground for AFL footballers, with over 1,000 players having now been drafted over the 21 years of the competitions existence.”

“Congratulations should go to each of AFL Victoria’s Talent Managers who manage quality programs in each of Victoria’s twelve regions that field teams in the TAC Cup competition.  Also, congratulations and well done to the local community Clubs that helped start the football journey for these 33 players who will next year take the leap into the ranks of the AFL.”

The Peter Jackson VFL was seen again as a breeding ground for readymade AFL players, with all three drafted players – North Ballarat’s Dean Towers, Frankston’s Dylan Van Unen and Box Hill Hawks’ Matt Jones – aged in their early to mid 20’s.

“This year’s three VFL draftees again prove that the “draft window” does not close if a player is not drafted after their 18th year.  If a players time in the TAC Cup competition comes to an end, graduating to the VFL competition is another potential avenue for players that still dream of becoming an AFL footballer.”

One of the pleasing aspects of this year’s draft for AFL Victoria was to see the first player – Dean Towers - recruited from the AFL Victoria VFL Academy in its inaugural year.

“The AFL Victoria VFL Academy was established to enhance the talent pool existing in the Peter Jackson VFL competition by exposing players to elements of the AFL Victoria Academy structure, philosophy and resources. 

“The selection of Towers as a first round draft pick by the AFL premiership team, Sydney, highlights that the Academy is a welcome addition to the VFL competition and will, in time, fulfil its role to help develop talent at a state league level.”

AFL Victoria Draft Facts:

  • Over half of the first round draft selections (13) were Victorian
  • All of GWS Giants five draft selections were from the TAC Cup competition, with their list now containing close to 30 former TAC Cup players
  • Calder Cannons had the most draftees in 2012 with seven, including three of the top 10 players including Jono O’Rourke (2 – their highest ever draft selection), Lachie Plowman (3) and Joe Daniher (10)
  • Dean Towers became the seventh Fothergill-Round Medallist (VFL award given to the most promising under 23 player in the competition) in a row to be drafted to the AFL, joining the likes of Ahmed Saad, Michael Hibberd, Michael Barlow, Robin Nahas, Shane Valenti and Jason Davenport.
  • For the fourth year in a row Box Hill Hawks and Frankston have had at least one  player drafted in the AFL Draft or Rookie Draft
  • The last four players drafted from Frankston have all been recruited by Essendon (Marcus Marigliani 2009, Michael Hibberd 2010, Mark Baguley 2011)
  • North Ballarat has had a player drafted in the AFL Draft for the third year in a row, with Isaac Smith in 2010, Orren Stephenson in 2011 and Towers 2012.

See below the full list of Victorian draftees:



Club Drafted From/Junior Club

AFL Club


Lachie Whitfield

Dandenong Stingrays / Mount Martha Junior FC

GWS Giants


Jonathan O'Rourke

Calder Cannons / Gisborne Rookies

GWS Giants


Lachlan Plowman

Calder Cannons / Macedon

GWS Giants


Jake Stringer

Bendigo Pioneers / Eaglehawk JFC

Western Bulldogs


Jack Macrae

Oakleigh Chargers / Kew Rovers Football

Western Bulldogs


Oliver Wines

Bendigo Pioneers / Echuca Junior

Port Adelaide


Nick Vlastuin

Northern Knights / Eltham



Joe Daniher

Calder Cannons / Aberfeldie JFC



Kristian Jaksch

Oakleigh Chargers / Kew Rovers Football

GWS Giants


Aidan Corr

Northern Knights / Macleod JFC

GWS Giants


Taylor Garner

Dandenong Stingrays / Rowville

North Melbourne


Nathan Hrovat

Northern Knights / Mill Park FC

Western Bulldogs


Dean Towers *

North Ballarat / Otway Districts

Sydney Swans


Nathan Wright

Dandenong Stingrays / Berwick JFC

St Kilda


Spencer White

Western Jets / Spotswood

St Kilda


Jack Viney

Casey Scorpions / Ashburton JFC



James Stewart

Sandringham Dragons / Glen Iris JFC

GWS Giants


Thomas Clurey

Murray Bushrangers / Katamatite Football

Port Adelaide


Michael Close

North Ballarat Rebels / Harrow Balmoral

Brisbane Lions


Liam McBean

Calder Cannons / Aberfeldie



Jason Ashby

Oakleigh Chargers / Kew Rovers



Tom Temay

Sandringham Dragons / Prahran JFC



Tanner Smith

North Ballarat Rebels / Kalkee Football & NC



Mason Wood

Geelong Falcons / Geelong Amateur

North Melbourne


Josh Saunders

Geelong Falcons / Geelong Amateur

St Kilda


Tim Membrey

Gippsland Power / Tedas Junior Football Club

Sydney Swans


Lachlan Hunter

Western Jets / Williamstown JFC

Western Bulldogs


Joshua Prudden

Murray Bushrangers / St Mary's JFC

Western Bulldogs


Dylan Van Unen *

Frankston / North Ringwood



Matt Jones *

Box Hill Hawks / South Croydon



Martin Gleeson

North Ballarat Rebels / Koroit Football Netball



Nicholas Graham

Gippsland Power / Tedas Junior FC



Matthew Dick

Calder Cannons / Macedon Junior

Sydney Swans


Lewis Pierce

Dandenong Stingrays / Mount Eliza JFC

St Kilda


Rory Atkins

Calder Cannons / Maribyrnong Park

Adelaide Crows


Sean Gregory

Calder Cannons / Rupertswood AFC



Note: All players above from TAC Cup, except those from VFL marked with an asterisk


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