Ex-Docker top pick in AFL midyear draft

Josh Deluca, pictured with the Simpson Medal in Dockers attire last May, has been drafted by Carlton
Josh Deluca, pictured with the Simpson Medal in Dockers attire last May, has been drafted by Carlton

AFL strugglers Carlton have filled their need for a hardened body to support Patrick Cripps with their selection of Fremantle discard Josh Deluca in the mid-season rookie draft.

But the battling Blues insist they're looking beyond immediate needs with their selection of Deluca at pick No.1 in Monday night's count.

Deluca, who played four senior games for the Dockers before being delisted in 2017, has since been plying his trade for Subiaco in the WAFL and is viewed by the Blues as capable of playing in the midfield or as a small forward.

The 23-year-old has a minor hamstring injury but should only be sidelined for a week, potentially tempting the bottom-placed Blues to bring him in before the bye.

"Josh is a mature body but we also think, at 23, he's got a lot of developing to go," Blues list manager Michael Agresta told reporters.

"We think he can help in a number of positions.

"I think it would be really narrow-minded to pick just for now. We wanted someone to grow with our group and we think Josh can do that."

Gold Coast took Mitch Riordan at pick No.2 and Melbourne selected Kyle Dunkley to round out the top three of the first mid-year draft since 1993.

Dunkley is the son of former Sydney player Andrew, as well as the brother of Western Bulldogs onballer Josh.

Deluca was one of several former AFL players handed second chances in Monday night's draft. Former Dockers teammate Cam Sutcliffe was selected by Port Adelaide and Essendon picked ex-Power player Will Snelling.

Richmond spun the biggest surprise of the night, selecting mature-aged South Fremantle star Marlion Pickett with their sole selection.

The 27-year-old Pickett has long been highly-rated in the WAFL but a history of off-field issues meant he had previously been overlooked for higher honours.

Hawthorn and Adelaide both passed on their sole selections, and Geelong, GWS and West Coast did not have spots available on their lists.

AFL MID-SEASON DRAFT

1) Carlton: Josh DeLuca

2) Gold Coast: Mitch Riordan

3) Melbourne: Kyle Dunkley

4) Sydney: Michael Knoll

5) North: Lachie Hosie

6) Bulldogs: Ryan Gardner

7) Essendon: Will Snelling

8) St Kilda: Jack Mayo

9) Port Adelaide: Cam Sutcliffe

10) Hawthorn: Pass

11) Fremantle: Dillon O'Reilly

12) Adelaide: Pass

13) Richmond: Marlion Pickett

14) Collingwood: John Noble

15) Gold Coast: Pass

16) Sydney: Cody Hirst

17) Western Bulldogs: Pass

18) Essendon: Pass

Australian Associated Press