Tasmania for one night has gone back to the dark days of the 2016 AFL draft.
Under the AFL Tasmania program in the NAB League for the first time, the Devils were snubbed on Thursday night at the draft table.
A stunned AFL Tasmania football manager Craig Notman denied the exposure to the elite Victorian-based competition played its part in the downfall, having been compared far more regularly with the core AFL rising stars.
"We have great confidence in the program and we knew this year was light on at the national draft, but it is the first year in a very significant build and refresh of our talent pathway," Notman said.
"We know the hard work being done across the state will give the best opportunity for Tasmanian talent now and long into the future.
"You can't flick a switch, but we are really confident in the talent coming through, the people and programs."
Both Tarryn Thomas from North Launceston along with Launceston's Chayce Jones made the top-10 2018 picks.
This year none made the top 65. There were also 13 less selections by AFL clubs.
Most pundits had Mitch O'Neill pencilled in between the second and third-round selections - picks 23 and 54.
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He didn't make any of the first five rounds.
Notman was "shocked and bitterly disappointed".
"We are extremely hopeful of an opportunity tomorrow for Mitch - he's a quality individual and footballer, and deserves a chance," he said.
"He is a back-to-back All Australian at under 18 level, NAB League team of the year - he's done everything he can and we really feel for him.
"He is a player that rises with the level of football he plays and we know he is an AFL quality player, and if a club picks him tomorrow, they will get a good player."
O'Neill spent the night at home with his family watching the telecast nervously.
AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan believed O'Neill was unlucky.
"It is just the injury, unfortunately, in the back half of the year, but there is tomorrow for boys like Mitch," Sheehan said.
"It didn't go to plan in terms of his full season."
O'Neill from North Hobart, Jared Dakin from Launceston, Matt McGuinness from Lauderdale and Rhyan Mansell from North Launceston were four of 200 tested at national and state combines and will be eligible for Friday's rookie draft.
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