The Queenslanders in AFL Draft mix
Despite an ever-changing and highly competitive environment, up to six young Queenslanders could find themselves on AFL lists by the end of the national and rookie drafts.
Labrador's small defender/midfielder Connor Budarick - an under-18 All-Australian this year - and 199cm-tall Townsville ruckman Matt Conroy have already been pre-drafted by the Gold Coast as part of the concessions given to the Suns by the AFL last month.
The likes of Morningside's Keidean Coleman, Maroochydore's Noah Cumberland and Aspley's Will Martyn could get picked up in the later rounds of the draft on Thursday night, while Josh Gore (Surfers Paradise), Sampson Ryan (Western Magpies/Redland) and Bruce Reville (Western Magpies/Redland) could find a home through the rookie draft.
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The establishment of Next Generation Academies in Victorian clubs and a perception from interstate clubs that the Lions and Suns will automatically snap up the Maroon-grown kids can all be hurdles to Queenslanders making it on to lists.
But AFL Academies Manager for Queensland and NSW/ACT Mark Browning said players, clubs and administrators were "up for the challenge".
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"We think we'll come out the other end in really good shape," Browning said.
"We've got to adapt to how the system is changing and make sure our kids are as well prepared as possible.
"Between the two drafts, I think we should land at around the six or seven mark. That would be a great result, and then you have Connor Budarick and Matt Conroy who are already with the Suns.
"In the past, clubs in Victoria might take one of our kids because they saw more upside in them but with the NGAs, they get the same discount that the Lions get for their Academy kids, so they go with the players who have been in their academy.
"We'd love the Queensland kids to stay in Queensland. That's the priority but it's important to stay engaged with the other clubs as well."
Coleman, 19, was overlooked in last year's drafts but played 18 games for the Lions NEAFL side as a small forward, kicking 11 goals to attract some attention from a number of clubs.
Cumberland gave footy away when he was 16 years old but returned two years later and has played for the Allies under-18 side and the Lions NEAFL side as a forward.
Martyn has been a prolific ball-winner in the midfield at junior level and got a taste of the NEAFL with both Aspley and Brisbane last season.
A bolter could be the 19-year-old Ryan, who stands at 205cm tall.
Originally from the South Coast of NSW, the footballer and fast bowler moved to Toowoomba on a cricket scholarship.
He was offered a game of footy when he and his family headed to the local ground and was quickly snapped by the Western Magpies colts and played the last few games of the season.
"He's a real talent," Browning said of Ryan.
QUEENSLAND'S DRAFT CONTENDERS
Keidean Coleman (forward) - Morningside
Will Martyn (midfielder) - Aspley
Noah Cumberland (forward) - Maroochydore
Sampson Ryan (ruckman) - Western Magpies/Redland
Josh Gore (midfielder) - Surfers Paradise
Bruce Reville (midfielder) - Western Magpies/Redland
Pre-drafted by Gold Coast:
Connor Budarick (defender/midfielder) Labrador
Matt Conroy (ruckman) Townsville