Chosen ones

November 28, 2016

Will Brodie (right) with Gold Coast Suns coach Rodney Eade is the number 9 Draft pick for the Gold Coast Suns football club during the AFL Draft in Sydney, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

Goulburn Valley’s finest young footballers have been snapped up by AFL clubs at last night’s national draft.

Years of hard work saw the names of seven Murray Bushrangers read out in Sydney, as their aspirations to play elite football became closer to reality.

Shepparton’s Will Brodie was the first of the region’s talents to land at an AFL club, with Gold Coast jumping on the classy inside midfielder using pick number nine.

The highly touted teenager was one of four players in the top 10 to join the Suns, where he will take the field alongside Shepparton United product Michael Barlow.

Brodie tweeted that he was excited at the prospect of moving up north.

‘‘Couldn’t be happier to be a part of @goldcoastsuns! Can’t wait to get started,’’ he wrote.

Shortly after Brodie’s name was called his Scotch College and Bushies teammate Jy Simpkin found out he would be staying in Victoria.

Taken at pick 12, the Mooroopna talent will be seen in North Melbourne colours, with the goal sneak an asset to the side’s forward line and becoming a teammate of Katamatite’s Sam Wright and Rochester’s Shaun Atley.

Simpkin has not played since breaking his leg in April and was hesitant it might affect where he would place in the draft, but an impressive underage year had the Kangaroos keen on the humble teenager.

Rounding out the Murray Bushranger talents in the top 20 selections was Deniliquin’s Todd Marshall.

The tall forward came onto the scene late after focusing on cricket in younger years, but his potential to develop as a key forward was a drawcard for Port Adelaide

A member of the Greater Western Sydney Academy before he opted out of the program to enter the open draft, Marshall was selected with pick 16 last night.

The Power also selected Rochester’s Joe Atley with pick number 32 and the Bendigo Pioneers captain now joins brother Shaun in the AFL system.

The region’s talent has a strong presence with Shepparton’s Jarman Impey, Katamatite’s Tom Clurey and Echuca’s Ollie Wines already at Alberton Park.

But Marshall and Simpkin were not the only proven goal kickers to find an AFL home.

Geelong called out Cobram product Esava Ratugolea’s name with pick number 43.

With a Fijian background, the 195cm player was guaranteed an AFL career with Richmond as part of its indigenous and multicultural academy had he not been picked in the national draft.

But the power forward was unsurprisingly snatched up before then, as he looks to form a formidable forward line in tandem with Finley’s Tom Hawkins.

After a nervous wait Benalla’s Harry Morrison found out he would join Hawthorn.

Taken at number 74, the talented half-back joins cousin Brisbane Lions star Tom Rockliff in the AFL system.

Murray Bushranger Lachlan Tiziani (Albury) has become a Greater Western Sydney Giant with pick number 54 as Ryan Garthwaite (Corowa-Rutherglen) will don the yellow and black next year.

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