Tassie pair high on AFL draft list

THE draft credentials of Launceston duo Jesse Lonergan and Jackson Thurlow were yesterday highlighted after being named in Kevin Sheehan's annual  top 30.

The AFL national talent manager is seen as the expert in the country when it comes to junior footballers hoping to have their AFL dreams realised.

He describes Tassie Mariners skipper Lonergan as ``a star at the stoppages using his speed, power and clean hands to great effect''.

The midfielder, who will be 18 next week, is seen as someone who attacks the ball aggressively and is clean with his ball handling and distribution. 

He also has explosive power and is very competitive, always showing great intensity around the contest and strong second efforts.

Sheehan says Lonergan's good mate Thurlow's greatest strength is that he's a terrific decision maker and he knows when to attack and when to defend.

The 18-year-old also executes superbly by foot.

The medium defender, who made this year's under 18 All Australian team, reads the play exceptionally well,  cuts off opposition forward moves and provides a running option on the way out.

Sheehan releases his top 30 in alphabetical order, with both Tasmanians expected to go as either late first-round or second-round picks.

``I believe that they all (his top 30) have excellent chances of having exciting careers but the beauty of AFL talent identification is that selections are never clear cut and only father-son selections and upgraded rookies can be certain of their destination,''  Sheehan said yesterday.

``It now comes down to opinions -  human judgments on which players, in the view of the individual clubs, have what's necessary to make a difference at the elite level.

``There will be passes late in the draft to leave room for pre-season draft selections in late December.''

Among the other Tasmanians in draft contention this year are North Launceston's Toby Nankervis, Mark Walsh and Mitch Van Den Berg and mature-age hopefuls Brady Jones, Jaye Bowden and Jesse Wells.

The national draft will be held on November 22 on the Gold Coast.

Launceston draft hope Jackson Thurlow.

Launceston draft hope Jackson Thurlow.


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