Sunshine Coaster Jake Crawford was among six Queenslanders taken in today’s AFL Rookie Draft

Tuesday, 7 December, 2010

Sunshine Coaster Jake Crawford has been rewarded for two years of diligence and commitment to the Gold Coast Suns with selection in today’s AFL Rookie Draft.

Crawford, a strapping teenage key position utility from Pomona, was among six Queenslanders claimed in the last player in-take prior to the 2011 AFL season.

He will be joined at the Gold Coast by 2007-08-09 Brisbane Lions rookie Joel Tippett, who played the second half of the 2010 season with the Suns in the VFL after recovering from career-threatening stress factures in his back.

The Lions, too, threw a career life-line to Queenslanders Albert Proud and Broc McCauley, who were taken back by the club after being delisted last month.

As was widely tipped, long-time Melbourne player Brad Miller found a new home at Richmond after being taken as a mature-age rookie that will see him provide cover for boom full forward Jack Riewoldt and provide some welcome leadership for a young playing group.

Completing the Queensland draftee list, as per a commitment from last month, Mitch Hahn returned to the Western Bulldogs as a mature-age rookie.

So, with Alik Magin and Jack Stanley pre-listed Gold Coast rookies, this means there will be a total of 54 AFL players in the AFL system.

Gold Coast (16) and Brisbane (9) will head the Queensland representation, which sees only Fremantle, Geelong, Port Adelaide and West Coast without a Queenslander.

Gold Coast Football Manager Marcus Ashcroft said Tippett and Crawford were exciting additions to the club’s playing group, and praised their determination and extraordinary tenacity.

“Both players have had to work really hard to earn the right to play for our club,” he said.

“Joel is a great athlete who has worked really hard to overcome stress fractures in his back. He showed incredible commitment to his rehab, got himself fit enough to play seven VFL games for us earlier this year, and his preseason has been really strong. He’s worked very hard for his opportunity.”

“Jake’s also a terrific story. He’s strong, super-fit, competitive defender from Pomona on the Sunshine Coast who’s been with us almost from the very start.

“He played during our TAC Cup campaign and played five VFL games for us. Until now he’s never been on a contract, so it’s been a long, tough journey for Jake and his determination should really be applauded.”

Brisbane Lions List Manager Rob Kerr said that with the recent departure of some of the club’s more experienced players, the inclusion of 22-year-old Proud add some depth to the list.

“We always wanted to add a mature-aged player to what is a young midfield group. It was down to Albert and a couple of others, but what it came down to is that the past couple of weeks he has worked really hard,” Kerr said.
“He’s had a strong wake-up call coming off the senior list, and he realises now that it’s make or break time for him career-wise.”
Kerr said McCauley had started his 2010 season well before he was injured, but had worked well during an injury-free pre-season after being offered a no-guarantees trial with the club.
Miller will join the Tigers after nine years and 133 games at Melbourne, while Hahn, a shock de-listing by the Bulldogs in October, accepted a rookie-list spot for 2011 in the hope of adding to his 181-game career at Whitten Oval.

Queenslanders on the playing lists of AFL clubs for season 2011 are:-

Adelaide (2): Brad Moran, Kurt Tippett.

Brisbane (9): Claye Beams, Jamie Charman, Josh Drummond, Daniel Merrett, Andrew Raines, Bryce Retzlaff, Cheynee Stiller, Broc McCauley (R), Albert Proud (R).

Carlton (1): Shaun Hampson.

Collingwood (3): Dayne Beams, Lachlan Keeffe, Josh Thomas.

Essendon (1): Courtenay Dempsey.

Gold Coast (16) Joey Daye, Charlie Dixon, Jarrod Harbrow, Tom Hickey, Karmichael Hunt, Rex Liddy, Marc Lock, Lewis Moss, Zac Smith, Jack Stanlake, Rory Thompson, Joel Wilkinson, Jake Crawford (R), Alik Magin (R), Joel Tippett (R), Jack Stanley (R). 

Hawthorn (4): David Hale, Michael Osborne, Brent Renouf, Brendan Whitecross.

Melbourne (4): Rohan Bail, Joel Macdonald, Ricky Petterd, Jake Spencer.

North Melbourne (3): Daniel Pratt, Gavin Urquhart, Ben Warren.

Richmond (2): Luke McGuane, Brad Miller (R)

St.Kilda (3): David Armitage, Sam Gilbert, Nick Riewoldt.

Sydney (1): Jesse White.

W/Bulldogs (5): Ben Hudson, James Mulligan, Sam Reid, Tom Williams, Mitch Hahn (R).

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