GEELONG FALCONS talent manager Michael Turner says Birregurra’s Lewis Melican is the Colac district’s best AFL draft hopeful this year.
Melican failed to receive enough interest from AFL clubs to earn invitations to the state or national combines earlier this year, but Turner says the key defender is a “real smokey” to find an AFL home in tomorrow night’s national AFL draft, or next week’s rookie draft.
Fellow Colac district Falcons Dylan Hodge, a key-position player, and lightly-built wingman Campbell Floyd attended the AFL state combine after receiving interest from less than five AFL clubs, but Turner said Melican was the best chance.
“Out of the three Colac guys in the mix, I really think Lewie has got the best chance to get drafted,” Turner said.
“He’s a real dark horse but with 70 rookie picks this season he might get snapped up.
“He played really well with us this season and played well on some really good players, AFL clubs don’t forget that sort of thing.
“He didn’t go to the draft combine, but he did a private screening with the Sydney Swans and they’ve got a lot of rookie picks.”
The Falcons have offered Melican another year with the TAC Cup club next season, as an overage player.
Turner said Melican could develop into a potential top-40 pick if AFL clubs overlooked him this year.
“What the recruiters have got to weigh up is, do they leave him to play another year and develop into a top-40 pick and potentially miss out on him, or do they take a chance on him now,” he said.
“A club like Hawthorn or Sydney, who have already got really strong lists, could be more inclined to take a bit of a risk, but I don’t think Lewie is a big risk.
“He’ll develop into a really good player and I expect he’ll play with us and Vic Country next year if he doesn’t get an AFL spot.”
Hodge and Floyd have also received invitations to play with the Falcons in 2015.
“I don’t think Dylan will get drafted just because of the injuries he’s had this year, he’s a slim chance to get rookied but clubs will want to wait and see how he recovers,” he said.
“And Campbell has been a bit of a late developer, but he’s training very well at the moment.”