Tasmania is set to rebound strongly from last year's disappointing draft performance, says North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford.
The AFL talent pathway has been thrown upside down in 2020 with coronavirus putting a line through the NAB League and leaving the TSL to provide the backdrop for Tasmania's draft prospects.
The state's top 18-year-olds appear no worse off with Northern Bomber Jackson Callow and Southern trio Ollie Davis, Patrick Walker and Sam Collins all invited to test in the national combine.
Tassie Devils' 2019 co-captain Davis and leading goalkicker Callow both polled TSL player of the year votes in multiple games this season, while Collins played every game of North Hobart's campaign.
Whitford believes the 2020 and 2021 drafts will play out very differently to 2019, which saw Tasmanian players snubbed for the second time in four years.
"The talent pool this year is vastly different to last year and it runs deep," Whitford said.
"The 17-year-olds that will play next year like your Noah Holmes and these players, they've got some real talent.
"Now they're in the TSL program it's great exposure - everyone in the state knows who they are now.
"Everyone knows who Ollie Davis is, he's a gun, he's a fantastic young player, so that's really good for our comp because they're getting exposure through our competition."
An ankle injury kept Callow from testing at the combine but the former Prospect Hawk remains among the state's leading chances for December 7's national draft.
As well as adding a new defensive role to his game in 2020, the St Patrick's College student has handled the increasing number of interviews and meetings with AFL clubs with aplomb.
"I like it," Callow said.
"It doesn't really matter where you go - as long as you get the opportunity, if you get lucky enough to go it's a dream come true but you've just got to be yourself to every club.
"You can't be different, you've always got to be the same person to everyone because they're all going to speak to each other."
Technology has enabled Callow to remain in contact with his potential suitors during the COVID period.
"It's a good experience as well with public speaking and being in interviews - at the moment it's a Zoom interview over the computer," he said.
"At the start of the year we had face-to-face speed dates with each club and now we're starting to get to proper meetings - they go for about an hour with the club and head recruiter, it's really cool."
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