High hopes for Jets draft hopefuls

Cody Raak. (Shawn Smits)

Tara Murray

Western Jets coach Robbie Chancellor believes a number of his players have put themselves in good positions to be taken in the upcoming AFL draft.

After a second straight season of interrupted football due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players haven’t had the lead up to the draft they would have been hoping for.

The national and rookie drafts will be held over three days later this month.

“It’s a little bit disappointing,” Chancellor said of the impact of the last couple of years.

“It was so hard for the boy’s group. I don’t think we performed our best, there was a lack of continuity. We’d get some momentum and the carpet kept being pulled out from under us.

“We were the only team to beat Sandringham. We were a bit disappointed that we didn’t finish off the season.”

Chancellor said a number of players had shown some good signs that he believed AFL clubs would be interested in despite the shortened season.

Forward Paul Curtis is the player attracting the most attention and seems likely to get drafted this year. Experts predict he could go as high as in the top 30.

Chancellor said he had a really good season to have him sitting in a good spot.

The others at this stage would be later round or rookie draft picks, if they were to get selected.

“Liam Conway is an inside midfielder,” he said.

“Cody Raak spent most of the year in the team of the year. Massimo D’Ambrosio and Harrison White both did enough to be in the mix.”

Chancellor said D’Ambrosio and Curtis were the only players eligible to return to the Jets next season. He said they weren’t expecting to see Curtis return to the club.

Chancellor said they would work with the others to find them spots on VFL lists at Werribee and Williamstown if they weren’t drafted.

He said the impact of the last few years would change the VFL in the coming years.

“For boys like White, Conway and Raak, it’s not the end of their journey if they don’t get drafted this year,” he said.

“The lack of footy has stunted the development of many players. What I’m looking forward to is seeing some really good players playing state league football in the next couple of years.

“They will take a little bit longer due to the lack of footy.”

The Jets boys side is set to start their 2022 pre-season this month.