No.1 pick heaven sent for Saints
ST Kilda may have announced a loss of $2.4million on season 2014 earlier this week, but it will hit the jackpot tonight when it has the coveted No.1 selection in the national draft.
After watching the progress of most of the players in the draft for the past couple of years, the club said the decision would be based on a number of factors including football talent, off-field characteristics and career projection.
The fact last year's No.1 selection, power forward Tom Boyd, was recently signed by the Western Bulldogs on a seven-year deal reportedly worth $6 million after just nine games for Greater Western Sydney clearly shows the value of forwards in the game.
But St Kilda's chief operating officer Ameet Bains said suggestions the club had changed its original decision to take forward Paddy McCartin instead of midfielder Christian Petracca was pure speculation.
"There's been speculation whether we've changed our minds on various bits and pieces - that's not true, we've worked our way through and come to a decision," Bains told afl.com.au.
"We like both of them enormously. It's been a very thorough process."
Earlier this week the Saints extended the contract of superstar forward Nick Riewoldt until the end of the 2016 season, a timeframe that would allow McCartin, rated as clearly the No.1 forward in the draft, to develop his game to the point of taking over from the club champion.
Petracca, a talented junior athlete in several sports, always dreamed of playing basketball in the US.
He made the Australian Institute of Sport's under-18 national basketball squad in 2012 alongside Dante Exum, who is now with the Utah Jazz.
Not long afterwards, Petracca decided to concentrate on football, and that decision will pay off tonight regardless of what number his name is called out.
If it isn't by St Kilda at No.1, Melbourne, which has picks two and three, will not let him go past.
The Demons will also strongly consider midfielder Angus Brayshaw, and will have to work out whether it wants two great young midfielders or one and a key position player.
Top 10 picks
1: St Kilda
4: GWS Giants
6: GWS Giants
7: GWS Giants
8: Gold Coast