New rules and a new club will ensure today's rookie draft is one of the most unpredictable in years, says AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan.
The pre-season and rookie drafts will be held at 8am. Only Melbourne, Richmond, Fremantle, Sydney, West Coast, Port Adelaide and Essendon have selections in the pre-season draft.
The Demons are expected to draft Joel Macdonald, Fremantle will select Adam McPhee and Sydney Daniel Bradshaw. West Coast are likely to choose either Subiaco's Simon White or Peel's Ben Howlett.
While the pre-season draft will be over quickly, all teams have vacancies on their rookie lists. West Coast have four selections in the rookie draft and Fremantle two.
The Gold Coast will have the first five picks in what is their first drafting experience. The Guy McKennacoached club already has announced one of its selections will be used on former North Melbourne midfielder Daniel Harris.
The 27-year-old has played 149 games and qualifies for a rookie contract under new rules which allow clubs to select two players aged over 23.
In the past, clubs could select only one mature-aged rookie and that player could not have spent any time on AFL lists. The new rule will keep the door open for de-listed players.
Sheehan said clubs would be keen to select players who they knew could handle the rigours of AFL.
"It's a great safety net for clubs," he said. "This year was the first time that clubs were able to upgrade a player from the rookie list mid-season without having to wait for an injury.
"That makes a 23 or 24-year-old a very attractive option. We wanted to give the clubs the flexibility with their lists. That makes this draft a very different sort of talent pool."
Melbourne have committed to selecting de-listed players Michael Newton and John Meesen after axing them before their contracts had run out. The Power will reselect contracted forward Glenn Dawson. Richmond will use the mature-age rookie list to continue Graham Polak's career.
WA again is expected to feature prominently. East Perth's Mark Hutchings, West Perth's Josh Donaldson, Swan Districts duo Clint Garlett and Lance Daly, Claremont's Ryan Neates and Joel Coyne, South Fremantle's Anthony Collica, Perth's Cameron Kickett, East Fremantle's Kyle Hardingham and Peel's Chris Luff are among youngsters being assessed by clubs.
WA Football Commission highperformance coach Rob Wiley said: "History says that a lot of good players will be picked up in the rookie draft.
"WA has been seen very highly because of the success of our players who come through the rookie draft. Hopefully, clubs continue to see that."
Hawthorn, Adelaide, Sydney and Port Adelaide have rewarded their NSW scholarship holders with rookie contracts. Brisbane, Sydney, Richmond, Carlton and Collingwood have signed players from overseas. Port Adelaide have recruited former basketballer Daniel Bass.
· Collingwood vice-captain Scott Pendlebury trained yesterday after a weekend bashing left him concussed and bloodied.
The 21-year-old midfielder received facial cuts and damage to his teeth in the incident early on Sunday at Lakes Entrance.
A 20-year-old man will face court next March on assault charges.