By ZAC MILBANK
Eleven South Australians – including Eagle Mattaes Phillipou and Redleg Max Michalanney in the opening round – have been selected in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft.
After Phillipou (St Kilda) and Michalanney (Adelaide) were snapped up on Wednesday night, a further nine SANFL draftees were chosen on Thursday evening, led by West’s Harry Barnett (West Coast) and Glenelg’s Jakob Ryan (Collingwood) in the 20s.
The next South Australian selected was a surprise as Sturt’s mature-age forward Tom Emmett landed at Fremantle with pick No.41.
It sparked a run of four selections in the 40s as North Adelaide ball magnet Billy Dowling (Adelaide – 43), Roosters’ high-flier Isaac Keeler (St Kilda – 44) and West tall forward Harry Lemmey (Carlton – 47) soon followed.
Three more tall prospects rounded out the SANFL selections as raw Norwood bigman Phoenix Foster landed at Geelong at pick No.52 before Port Adelaide drafted local by snaring Bloods’ marking target Tom Scully at No.53 and Panthers’ project defender Kyle Marshall at No.59.
Phillipou, the only Croweater invited to Melbourne on Wednesday as part of Fox Footy Channel’s live coverage, was forced to sweat as interested clubs Essendon and Hawthorn went in a different direction before St Kilda pounced at pick No.10.
Adelaide was forced to match the bid of Sydney to secure father-son choice Michalanney, who headed to West Lakes with the 17th selection.
After receiving plenty of attention from the Bombers and the Hawks in the week leading up to the AFL Draft, Phillipou landed nicely for the Saints, who will be coached by Ross Lyon in his second stint with the club next season.
”I’m sure I am going to learn a lot,” Phillipou said of playing under Lyon’s guidance on Fox Footy Channel.
”Growing up you always used to say that Ross Lyon has got the Dockers in shape so it’s pretty funny to now be coached by him.”
St Kilda draftee Mattaes Phillipou
''I know dad was pretty emotional yesterday which is pretty rare for him as I have never seen him get emotional.''
Phillipou paid tribute to his family, particularly his dad Sam, who has played an integral role in him getting to the point of lining up with the Saints.
”I know dad was pretty emotional yesterday which is pretty rare for him as I have never seen him get emotional,” Phillipou said.
”It means a lot for the family, not just dad but for mum and all of my friends as well so I am really excited.”
Several South Australians will be eagerly anticipating their names being called for the second instalment of the AFL Draft tomorrow night, which begins at 6.30pm SA time.
Glenelg’s running defender Jakob Ryan, who has attracted interest from Collingwood, and West Adelaide ruckman Harry Barnett are expected to be among the first Croweaters to find AFL homes on Tuesday evening.