Queensland’s top picks

By Beth Newman

With the draft only a day away, we have a look at some of the Queenslanders who have been picked up in the past.

This list does not include pre-season draftees, rookies or zone selections.

1. Nick Riewoldt –#1, 2000

The St Kilda captain is the sole Queenslander to have been taken first in the draft, and the Saints have reaped the rewards. After 12 years and 259 games, Riewoldt has played in three grand finals with the Saints.

In that time, Riewoldt revolutionised the centre half-forward position, with unprecedented athleticism, making the forward structure far more fluid.

While he doesn’t have a premiership medallion, the former Southport Shark has plenty of accolades as a five-time best and fairest winner, four-time All-Australian, 2004 MVP and 2002 Rising Star winner.

The only Queensland no. 1 has certainly lived up to the hype that goes with that pick.

2.  Daniel Merrett – #30, 2002

Another Gold Coast product, Merrett has become one of the Brisbane Lions’ key players. Originally drafted as a key forward prospect, the late convert flourished with a switch to the backline.

It took him until 2005 to crack the senior side but since then Merrett has developed into one of the first players picked every week. The redhead’s versatility has been a godsend for the Lions in recent seasons, with serious injuries to Jonathan Brown, as Merrett provides a strong back-up option in the forward line when required.

His best spot has proven to be at fullback, where the 28 year-old has had enthralling battles with the competition’s key forwards.

3. Kurt Tippett – #32, 2006

The Sydney Swans forward turned his back on a promising basketball career to focus on AFL, and its paid off in spades.

Selected by Adelaide at #32 in the 2006 National AFL Draft, Tippett has developed into one of the best forward/ruck players in the competition and his combination with the Crows’ Taylor Walker one of the most intimidating.

Tippett cemented his elite status with a second club in 2013, winning the Swans’ leading goal kicker award despite missing the first 11 games of the season.

4. David Armitage – #7, 2006

Armitage was the first of 11 Queenslanders selected in the 2006 draft, and has gone on to carve out a strong career with St Kilda.

The former Morningside player impressed in draft camp testing, posting strong agility and endurance results.

After taking a while to break into the Saints’ senior side as it vied for a premiership, Armitage has solidified himself as one of its vital members playing almost every match for the past three seasons.

5.  David Hale – #7, 2001

Gold Coaster, Hale, went to Arden St with the seventh pick in the 2001 draft and quickly became carving out a career as an underrated but valuable contributor to the Kangaroos side.

The ruckman/forward debuted in 2003 for the Kangaroos, with a breakout season in 2005 where he played in 23 matches.

Hale was the Kangaroos’ leading goal kicker in 2008, but played only a handful of games in 2009-10. The former Broadbeach and Coolangatta player was traded to Hawthorn at the end of 2010 and hasn’t loked back, playing as a ruck/third tall, combining well with Jarryd Roughead.

The 29 year-old had an inspired finals series this year, and his versatility was crucial to the Hawks’ preliminary final win and, ultimately, premiership.

6.  Brendan Whitecross – #29, 2007        

The former Zillmere Eagle was the hard luck story of Hawthorn’s premiership year, but he is still one of the best players the Sunshine State has produced.

After being selected by Hawthorn in 2007, Whitecross spent a season in the Box Hill reserves, before debuting in round one, 2009.

The utility had a breakout second year, winning the Hawks’ most improved award in 2009, and built on that season to cement his place in the Hawks’ starting 22.

In a cruel twist of fate, Whitecross has been dealt some tough injury blows in the past two seasons, with ACL injuries in qualifying finals of both 2012 and 2013.

Whitecross’ resilience saw him back to his best after rupturing his ACL in the 2012 qualifying final, and he’ll be hoping he can reclaim a spot in 2014 and beyond.

7. Courtenay Dempsey – #19, 2005          

Courtenay Dempsey certainly had plenty of potential when selected by the Bombers in 2005.

The utility is highly skilled and shows that off when he has a chance.

His career has been cruelled by injuries, but when he is consistently on the park, the 26 year-old is one of the more exciting players in the competition.

Dempsey had a breakout 2009, playing 20 matches for Essendon, building on that with another consistent season in 2010.

A leg stress fracture in 2008 saw him restricted to only 4 games, before bouncing back in 2012.

An ACL meant he only strung together 14 matches in 2013, but is well and truly on the road to recovery.

8.  Jamie Charman – #29, 2000

Drafted from the Northern Eagles, Charman was lucky enough to play in his hometown for the whole of his AFL career, becoming a premiership ruckman with the Lions.

The big man played with greater defensive intensity than the typical ruck and was known for his hard work on and off the field.

His best season, 2003, saw him play all 26 games for the Lions including their third straight grand final.

Injuries cut short his career, but Charman made a major mark on the Lions in his 129-game career.

9. Ben Hudson – #58, 2003

He’s come out of retirement more times than most, having played at four different clubs in his career, most recently becoming Collingwood’s most handy mature-aged rookie.

Hudson played 55 games for Adelaide in his first AFL stint, with one season struck out because of an ACL injury.

Eighty-eight games for the Bulldogs from 2007-2011 saw him really come to the fore, becoming a cult figure on and off the field.

The ruckman was sensational for the Bulldogs, with one 2008 performance causing Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson, to label him the trade of the year.

After announcing his retirement, Hudson was lured back into full-time footy by the Brisbane Lions, and stepped up as the club’s first-choice ruckman after Matthew Leuenberger was injured.

It seemed his career was over at the end of that season, but Hudson surprised everyone by going around yet again in 2013, being a coach/mature-aged rookie for Collingwood.

10. Mitch Hahn – #37, 1999

Described as courageous, with a bullocking style of play, Hahn slotted well into the Western Bulldogs’ setup.

One of the key midfield members in his 12 seasons at the Bulldogs, playing 181 games, including numerous finals when the Bulldogs pushed for a flag in the mid-2000s.

Bad luck with injury limited Hahn early in his career, but he developed into a consistent contributor for the Bulldogs.

Hahn is back in Brisbane this season as a development coach with the Brisbane Lions.

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