Carlton has raised eyebrows by signing former AFL ruckman Cameron Wood, while a host of delisted AFL players have found new homes in the rookie draft.
Two former Collingwood ruckmen encountered very different fates at Wednesday’s AFL rookie draft.
While Cameron Wood was surprisingly plucked out of the VFL by his former Magpies coach Mick Malthouse for Carlton, the end of the road arrived for two-time premiership player Darren Jolly.
Jolly, who has amassed 237 games at Melbourne, Sydney and Collingwood, was reportedly of interest to Essendon and St Kilda but neither club offered a contract.
He heads a list of former AFL players unfavoured by recruiters and now contemplating their footballing mortality including Alan Didak, Mitch Thorp, Travis Tuck, James Magner, Richard Tambling and Jordan Russell.
The Blues took Wood alongside Port Adelaide’s SANFL Magpie Luke Reynolds with their first two picks, before rookie listing Heath Scotland and Irish prospects Ciaran Sheehan and Ciaran Byrne.
Sheehan and Byrne both played against the Australian Indigenous All Stars in the International Rules series in Ireland in October and now have their chance to join their opponents in the AFL.
Richmond took three players with AFL experience, Todd Banfield (Brisbane), Anthony Miles (GWS) and Matt Thomas (Port Adelaide).
Hawthorn continued strong off-season recruiting with the signing of 2012 VFL best and fairest Ben Ross.
Ross has a second chance at an AFL career after four seasons on North Melbourne’s list to 2011.
Adelaide also caught the eye with their recruitment of three youngsters overlooked in the national draft; Charlie Cameron, James Battersby and Jake Kelly – the son of ex-Collingwood defender and player agent Craig.
Former Gold Coast hard man Mav Weller was picked by St Kilda, along with highly-rated youngster and fellow Tasmanian Eli Templeton.
Joel Tippett, another Gold Coast discard, found his third AFL home at Arden Street after being picked by North Melbourne.
In a speculative move, Sydney finalised a deal for American Patrick Mitchell at pick 45.
Mitchell, a 201cm and 107kg former college basketballer, has never played AFL but will train with the Swans in the hope of making a switch.
Among those earning a second chance at their existing clubs are Brent Renouf (Port Adelaide), Neville Jetta (Melbourne) and number one pick Sam Schulz (GWS).
Earlier, GWS confirmed the selection of Jed Lamb from cross-town rivals Sydney, the only pick of a subdued pre-season draft.