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Shifter’s best ever picks 31-79

Dinny Navaratnam  November 24, 2016 6:22 AM

Drafted in 1997, Simon Black has been named Sheehan's best no. 31 pick. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham)

Drafted in 1997, Simon Black has been named Sheehan's best no. 31 pick. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham)

Last year, draft expert Kevin Sheehan released his nominations of the finest top-30 selections since the inaugural 1986 draft.

His choices for the best picks from No.31-79 were released on Tuesday. Sheehan named three great Lions on this list.

Kevin Sheehan’s best ever picks 31-79

31. Simon Black (Brisbane Lions) – Drafted in 1997
With three premierships, a Brownlow Medal and a Norm Smith Medal, Black was adjudged the best ever pick No.31 ahead of another three-time premiership star and Norm Smith medallist in Paul Chapman (Geelong and Essendon). 

32. Daniel Giansiracusa (Western Bulldogs) – Drafted in 1999
With 331 goals in 265 games for the Bulldogs, Giansiracusa was picked ahead of Campbell Brown (Hawthorn and Gold Coast) and Bernie Vince (Adelaide and Melbourne). 

33. Craig Bolton (Brisbane Lions and Sydney) – Drafted in 1998
A consistent key defender with the Lions and then Sydney, Bolton was chosen ahead of 2001 Norm Smith medallist Shaun Hart (Brisbane Lions) and Jed Adcock (Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs).

34. Daryn Cresswell (Sydney) – Drafted in 1992
With 208 goals in 244 games with Sydney, Cresswell was narrowly chosen ahead of All Australian St Kilda defender Sean Dempster. 

35. Chris Bond (Carlton, Richmond and Fremantle) – Drafted in 1989
A clear standout as the best No.35 pick, Bond was a classy ball winner for Richmond and Fremantle, after originally being drafted by Carlton.

36. Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn and West Coast) – Drafted in 2001
A future Hall of Fame member and one of the most decorated players in the competition. 

37. Leigh Montagna (St Kilda) – Drafted in 2001
A two-time All Australian, Montagna edged two fellow current stars in Mark LeCras (West Coast) and Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne). 

38. Cameron Ling (Geelong) – Drafted in 1999
A three-time premiership hero (one as captain), Ling was rated above two-time Coleman medallist Brendan Fevola (Carlton and Brisbane Lions).

39. Travis Cloke (Collingwood and Western Bulldogs) – Drafted in 2004
A premiership player, and two-time All Australian, Cloke got the nod at selection 39 ahead of the well-credentialed Adam McPhee (Fremantle and Essendon). 

40. Gary Ablett jnr (Geelong and Gold Coast) – Drafted in 2001
A two-time Brownlow medallist, Ablett was rated above Michael O’Loughlin (Sydney), Jobe Watson (Essendon) and Luke Parker (Sydney).

41. Tom Hawkins (Geelong) – Drafted in 2006
Another close battle with Tom Hawkins (two-time premiership player) edging out Tom Liberatore, a 2016 premiership player with the Western Bulldogs.

42. Jack Steven (St Kilda) – Drafted in 2007
A three-time best and fairest winner at the Saints, Steven is quickly becoming one of the best midfielders in the competition. 

43. Adam Goodes (Sydney) – Drafted in 1997
Another stellar field at selection 43 with dual-Brownlow medallist Adam Goodes the standout. Also considered were Andrew Swallow (North Melbourne), Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs) and Lindsay Gilbee (Western Bulldogs). 

44. Rory Sloane (Adelaide) – Drafted in 2008
One of the emerging stars of the competition, Sloane was this year named vice captain of the Virgin Australia All Australian team.

45. Matthew Scarlett (Geelong) – Drafted in 1997
Another three-time premiership-winning Cat who is regarded as one of the best defenders of all time. Also considered was Kade Simpson (Carlton).

46. David King (North Melbourne) – Drafted in 1993
A hard-running two-time premiership player, King was rated above North Melbourne’s Jarrad Waite and Hawthorn’s Ben Stratton.

47. Tied: Brent Harvey (North Melbourne) – Drafted in 1995 and Corey Enright (Geelong) – Drafted in 1999
The AFL’s all-time games record holder in Brent Harvey and Geelong’s three-time premiership hero Corey Enright couldn’t be split. The pair share 10 All Australian caps.

48. Darren Milburn (Geelong) – Drafted in 1995
A two-time premiership defender who played 292 games for the Cats, Milburn was ranked above two other defenders in Heath Shaw (Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney) and Austinn Jones (St Kilda).

49. Nick Daffy (Richmond and Sydney) – Drafted in 1992
A goalkicking midfielder, Daffy kicked 182 goals over 166 games in the AFL, edging out livewire Ronnie Burns (Geelong and Adelaide)

50. Alastair Lynch (Fitzroy and Brisbane Lions) – Drafted in 1986 
A three-time premiership forward who amassed 306 games and 633 goals across a stellar career. Also considered was Dom Cassisi (Port Adelaide).

51. Neville Jetta (Melbourne) – Drafted in 2008
A small-running defender who has become a regular in an improving Demons outfit. 

52. Rod Jameson (Adelaide) – Drafted in 1989
A premiership player and former leading goalkicker at the Crows who played 153 games in the AFL.

53. Michael Braun (West Coast) – Drafted in 1996
Two-time NAB AFL Rising Star nominee and 228-game veteran with the Eagles, the 2006 premiership player edged out Lindsay Thomas (North Melbourne).

54. Michael Sexton (Carlton) – Drafted in 1988
A 200-game and two-time All Australian defender, Sexton was selected ahead of Cale Hooker (Essendon) who will look to build on an already excellent career this season. 

55. Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide) – Drafted in 2006
Three-time John Cahill medallist was favoured ahead of a strong field of previous No.55 draftees including Sam Fisher (St Kilda) and Chris Newman (Richmond). 

56. Ryan O’Keefe (Sydney) – Drafted in 1999
A classy midfielder who became one of the competition’s best in 286 games for the Swans. O’Keefe pipped Andrew Dunkley (Sydney) and Cam Mooney (North Melbourne and Geelong) as the best No.56 selection. 

57. Andrew Embley (West Coast) – Drafted in 1998
A 250-game wingman, Embley was adjudged the Norm Smith medallist in the Eagles’ 2006 Grand Final victory.

58. Dane Swan (Collingwood) – Drafted in 2001
A premiership hero and the 2011 Brownlow medallist, Swan is one of the best late selections in draft history.

59. Simon Tregenza (Adelaide) – Drafted in 1987
A four-time SANFL premiership player with Port Adelaide, Tregenza went on to play 106 games with Adelaide. Also considered was Craig Bird (Sydney and Essendon).

60. Brad Scott (Hawthorn and Brisbane Lions) – Drafted in 1994
Two-time AFL premiership player and now respected coach, Scott edged out 228-gamer Adam Schneider (Sydney and St Kilda) as the best selection 60.

61. Mathew Stokes (Geelong and Essendon) – Drafted in 2005
A 200-game, two-time premiership player, Stokes edged out Michael Rischitelli (Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast).

62. Andrew Thompson (St Kilda) – Drafted in 1996
A mature-age recruit who went on to play 221 games with the Saints, Thompson received the nod ahead of Collingwood defender Ben Johnson. 

63. James Gwilt (St Kilda and Essendon) – Drafted in 2004
Selected out of suburban football club Noble Park, Gwilt became a regular under Ross Lyon as the Saints challenged for the premiership in 2010 before finishing his career at Essendon. Also considered was Tyson Goldsack (Collingwood). 

64. Cameron Bruce (Melbourne and Hawthorn) – Drafted in 1999
Despite being a late pick, Bruce emerged as a goalkicking midfielder and leader for Melbourne, playing 224 games before being traded to Hawthorn. 

65. Tom Langdon (Collingwood) – Drafted in 2013
An emerging young player at the Magpies who established himself with a standout debut season in 2014 before playing every game under Nathan Buckley in 2015.

66. Ryan Hargrave (Western Bulldogs) – Drafted in 1999
A fine key defender for the Bulldogs in 203 games, Hargrave was rated ahead of Hawthorn’s Paul Puopolo who has played 133 games since being drafted in 2010.

67. Graham Johncock (Adelaide) – Drafted in 2000
A 227-game veteran for the Crows, Johncock was a model of consistency playing across half-back or up forward.

68. Karl Amon (Port Adelaide) – Drafted in 2013
An emerging player at the Power, Amon and Essendon’s Michael Hartley look set to battle it out to become the best ever selection 68.

69. Taylor Duryea (Hawthorn) – Drafted in 2009
A premiership defender who has cemented his position in a champion Hawthorn side. 

70. Paul Williams (Collingwood and Sydney) – Drafted in 1989
A champion goalkicking midfielder who amassed 306 games with Collingwood and Sydney, while booting 307 goals along the way. 

71. Brian Lake (Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn) – Drafted in 2001
A star defender at the Bulldogs who went on to be a three-time premiership player at Hawthorn, winning the 2013 Norm Smith Medal. 

72. Brad Fisher (Carlton) – Drafted in 2002
A marking forward who played 99 games for Carlton over eight seasons. 

73. Ryan Houlihan (Carlton) – Drafted in 1999
A classy and versatile player, Houlihan bagged 127 goals in 201 games with the Blues.

74. Troy Luff (Sydney) – Drafted in 1994
A versatile player who finished with 155 games and 85 goals for the Swans. 

75. Ken McGregor (Adelaide) – Drafted in 1998
A 152-game swingman with the Crows. 

76. Rupert Betheras (Collingwood) – Drafted in 1998
A highly regarded and courageous midfielder, Betheras finished with 85 games with the Magpies.

77. Ben Dixon (Hawthorn) – Drafted in 1994
A smart mid-sized forward who booted 282 goals in 203 games for the Hawks. 

78. Richie Vandenberg (Hawthorn) – Drafted in 1997
A former Hawthorn captain who was admired for his attack on the football and leadership, Vandenberg played 145 games in the brown and gold. 

79. James Hird (Essendon) – Drafted in 1990
A Brownlow medallist, a Norm Smith medallist, five-time All Australian and five-time best and fairest at the Bombers, Hird is perhaps the greatest ever late draft pick.

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