Main content

Inside the 2018 Draft Combine

SUNS TV: 2018 NAB AFL Draft Combine Recap An exclusive look of Gold Coast's 2018 NAB AFL Draft Combine

Medical team recap:

On Wednesday each of the Combine attendees underwent medical screenings in the presence of all 18 AFL Club Medical nominees. The players were assessed on their past injuries and current strength and condition, with clubs evaluating the medical risk associated with each player. These assessments are then taken into account by the recruiting team when developing a draft strategy.

“We will have a look at players that our recruiters have identified as high priorities for us and look at any further information that we require after all the background checking that we’ve done on them over the last couple of months.

A lot of it is past injury history, it’s your biggest predictor of having future injuries or worries. We look at their histories and previous imaging and heart tests. We then have the opportunity to question players about them or do various physical tests that might just elaborate on that background information that we already have.

All the clubs have the opportunity to come up and test and we might test something on a player while the other clubs watch or another physio or doctor will test a player while we watch on and discuss that with them at the time.  

- Lindsay Bull, SUNS Head Physiotherapist


List and Strategy recap:

As well as all the physical and mental testing the players undergo, they also have time throughout the week scheduled towards AFL Club interviews. The SUNS had a number of Melbourne-based Gold Coast recruiters present in the interview process, along with Craig Cameron (GM – List & Strategy), Kall Burns (National Recruiting Manager), Jon Haines (GM – Football Operations), Stuart Dew and various other football staff.

“The interviews here are a little shorter – we only have 20 minutes with each boy so we tend to get a little bit more specific. That’s a range of different things so it can be summarising their year or getting into the specifics from different people like the coaches, the psychologist and also welfare.

(We ask) pretty rounded questions. We’ll get specific ones from each department but we’re also looking to get an understanding of how the boys understand themselves and perceive how they’ve been going. Clearly we want to bring in great people to our football club who are willing to commit and also no doubt we are looking for competitors to bring in.

We’re very familiar with this bunch of boys, this may be the third or fourth time we have spoken to them throughout the journey and that’s a range of different ones – a ten-minute speed-dating interview, the 20-minute combine ones and also the more extensive one-hour, two-hour home interviews we do. 

After this, now we follow up. We’re constantly gathering information as the year progresses, it’s now up to us after the combine to review everything and do any more secondary or third interviews we need to do. Then we’ll sit down as a recruiting department and start to summarise the year and get a little bit more specific on what players may be in our area for the draft.”

- Kall Burns, National Recruiting Manager


Football Operations recap:

While this time of year is obviously heavily reliant on the recruiting team, ultimately it all boils down to the football operations and what Stuart Dew wants to see in his team next year. Dew and Haines formed part of the interviewing committee and also watched on as all the top draft prospects underwent their physical testing.

“It’s hard to gauge from 20 minutes but you do like to hear how they’ve assessed their year, how they assess themselves and what qualities they see in themselves. A little bit of self-assessment is always good and then matching it up with our reports.”

 - Stuart Dew, SUNS Senior Coach


“We’ve had interviews with a range of different players from a range of different states and clubs. It’s been a really impressive group of young men as we’d expect and we’re really enjoying the conversations we’re having with each of them.

The whole draft combine is more an opportunity for the coaching staff and high performance staff and medical staff to get a sense of the players. Our recruiting staff have obviously been working with the players for up to 18 months, two years. So they’ve got a really in-depth understanding of the players, particularly their football attributes and their family upbringing and school background and all those sort of things. 

Most of the players here have a range of different physical attributes that will allow them to test really well but part of it is about finding out what sort of people they are, what motivates them, character attributes – how do those attributes actually come out in the testing themselves as opposed to the testing results.”

 - Jon Haines, GM – Football Operations