By Ant Wingard
As the football season draws closer, Queensland clubs from both the NEAFL and QAFL competitions have staged the 2018 QAFL Mini Draft this week.
The mini draft exists to align every Queensland NEAFL primary listed player to a QAFL club, with representatives from the clubs tasked with selecting players in reverse ladder order and who have no previous alignment to their list.
In the circumstance where a NEAFL player is not selected by their team on any given weekend, they will be available for selection for their aligned QAFL club that weekend.
The five Brisbane-based clubs had the opportunity to select players from Aspley and Redland, while the four Gold Coast teams indulged on Southport’s plethora of talent.
2017 wooden spoon winners Sandgate enjoyed the biggest reap of the mini draft with ten new players aligned with the Hawks program.
Conversely, the Western Magpies will welcome only two players in 2018 – an outcome of existing alignments of NEAFL players with the Magpies from years previous.
Eight former AFL players have been aligned to QAFL clubs in 2018, including former North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow, who we could potentially see suiting up for Wilston Grange, and Matt Hammelmann, who could return to Morningside from where he was drafted.
NEAFL Operations Officer Brad Howard praised the initiative between the two competitions.
“It’s pleasing to see negotiations between the NEAFL and QAFL clubs continue effectively to ensure players continue to play regularly at a quality level,” Howard said
“When you have a list of 40 or so players and only 23 can feature each week, it’s inevitable that some players will miss out.
“Having the mini draft system in place offers NEAFL players an opportunity to develop their game, while also boosting the quality of players in the QAFL competition.”
The NEAFL competition is set to commence next Friday. March 30, and the QAFL to follow suit on April 21.
Download the full QAFL Mini Draft player alignments QAFL Mini Draft Numbers 2018.