One of this season’s brightest draft prospects has made his desires clear ahead of next week’s big nights.
Plus West Coast is set to keep addressing its need for speed.
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Conti gets her due with MVP Award | 00:32
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GUN ‘MADE FOR MELBOURNE’
South Australian young gun Mattaes Phillipou has declared he’s “made for Melbourne”, with both Essendon and Hawthorn looming large as destinations for the 17-year-old.
Phillipou has bolted into top-five calculations after an impressive 2022 campaign, which has been underlined by his self-expressed confidence in his ability.
His desire to be at the center of the AFL spotlight is one he communicated this week.
“I’m really excited and I’ve said to some of the clubs before ‘I’m made for Melbourne if it is Melbourne’,” he told The Advertiser.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the spotlight, play in front of big crowds, be in all the big games, and Melbourne teams get that.
“It’d be awesome playing at the ‘G every two weeks or Etihad.”
After a meeting with Hawthorn and coach Sam Mitchell, Essendon had Phillipou reschedule his flight back to South Australia in order for him to meet with Brad Scott at the club.
“It’d be awesome if I was to be drafted by Essendon,” he said.
“Brad was excellent, I really enjoyed his philosophy and I think Essendon will do great things whether I end up there or not.”
Essendon currently holds pick No.4 (expected to be pushed out to No.5 once a bid for Will Ashcroft is matched by Brisbane), while Hawthorn holds pick No.6.
Jeremy Cameron’s advice for Cadman | 01:47
EAGLES LOOK TO BOLSTER NEED FOR SPEED
West Coast is reportedly considering selecting Victorian speedster Coby Burgiel with one of its second-round picks in next week’s draft.
The West Australian reports Burgiel has piqued the interest of the Eagles after an impressive season at the NAB League level, in which he booted 12.11 and averaged 21.6 disposals and 4.3 inside 50s from nine games.
He also played well for Vic Country, averaging 17 disposals per outing at the national championships.
Eagles list boss Rohan O’Brien said the club would be open to drafting an interstate player like Burgiel, the son of former Hawthorn-listed player and US college punter Hayden Burgiel.
“It’s always a factor (the Go Home fears) – if you think you’ve got two players close together in talent and one is in WA and one is outside, you probably lean towards the local. But we’ll continue to back our club in,” he said on AFL Draft Radio.
“If we think there’s a player there that’s significantly better, then we’ll back ourselves to keep the player.”
If selected, Burgiel would continue an off-season in which the Eagles have desperately looked to add speed to their aging squad.
Jayden Hunt arrived at the Eagles this off-season via unrestricted free agency, with the speedy halfback option coming across from Melbourne.
West Coast is also hoping to snare local talent Reuben Ginbey in the draft with its top-10 pick, with Ginbey offering an impressive athletic profile to add to the side as it undergoes a period of regeneration.
“Reuben’s certainly a very talented player and he’s in our draft range, no question,” Eagles list boss Rohan O’Brien said.
But the Gold Coast Suns are also keen on Ginbey, and this week flew into WA’s South West to meet with the talented midfielder and his family.
“We thought we’d like to add another midfielder to our mix and compliment the midfield we’ve got,” Suns recruiting manager Kall Burns said on AFL Draft Radio.
“We did a quick dash over to Dunsborough (in WA’s South West) Tuesday.
“Reuben happened to be home – he’d finished up from his school in Wesley in Perth so he was back home with mum and dad, so it was a great opportunity to see him in his natural habitat at home.
“It was a great opportunity to take our welfare manager down there and meet with the family and start to discuss would it look like should that (move to the Suns) play out.
“He was great – the family were fantastic as well.
“They understand it’s a national competition. If it’s the Gold Coast, he’s a mad keen surfer so the lifestyle would suit him. They were very open to it.”
The Eagles don’t have a selection until pick 8 after opting to move back down the draft order from pick 2 in the mega four-club trade that saw Jason Horne-Francis end up at the Power and North Melbourne cough up the first pick.
The Suns will get the first shot at Ginbey should they wish, as they hold pick 5.