Callum Jamieson will be given a couple of years to grow into the ruck role with the Eagles
WEST Coast added a fourth 200-centimetre tall player to its list, recruiting local ruckman Callum Jamieson with its first selection in the NAB AFL Draft.
It was a quiet night for the Eagles, who on the back of giving up everything but the kitchen sink for Tim Kelly, only entered at pick No. 49 (Jamieson).
The only other player West Coast selected was rebounding defender Ben Johnson, who is also from Western Australia.
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Jamieson, 19, played as an over-ager for his state at this year’s NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, kicking two goals.
He had a strong season with Claremont playing in the under-18s, averaging 18 disposals and five marks a game.
National recruiting manager Rohan O’Brien said with senior rucks Nic Naitanui, Nathan Vardy and Tom Hickey on the list, the Eagles could afford to invest in a raw tall.
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“With the young rucks, we want to give them some time, three or four years to grow into themselves and their body, get used to playing against bigger bodies at a higher level,” O’Brien said.
“The timing is right to bring in another young ruckman.”
The 18-year-old Johnson is a lightly framed defender who made his senior WAFL debut at the tail end of the season, playing the two eventual Grand Finalists in what O’Brien termed “a baptism of fire”.
“We see Ben as having some speed and a good kick, great traits for the way AFL footy is at the moment.
“We’ll give him a bit of time to find his feet at WAFL level and hopefully when the time’s ready, he can give a good return.”
Despite adding two West Australians to the list, O’Brien said the “go-home factor” didn’t come into play.
“Not so much in weighting, it’s just always a good result. In a perfect world, if one player is significantly better than the other, then you have to go with the player from outside WA, but if they’re really, really close together, we try to keep up our local content if we can.”
West Coast passed on all other picks, with O’Brien saying the club was committed to adding delisted Eagles Brendon Ah Chee and Hamish Brayshaw in Friday’s rookie draft.
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