In the top flight

Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There are now 15 former Northern Football League players on AFL lists following last week’s AFL Draft.

Remarkably, five of those players are at Richmond, while both Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne have two NFL juniors on their list.

Below are the 15 league players drafted from clubs within the Northern Football League

Marcus Bontempelli (drafted from Eltham) – Bontempelli was the No. 4 pick  in 2013 AFL Draft, selected by Western Bulldogs. A tall and verstatile midfielder, he has drawn comparisons to Scott Pendlebury and Nick Dal Santo.

Josh Caddy (drafted from Eltham) – Caddy was selected by Gold Coast with pick No. 7 in the 2010 AFL Draft. He played 24 games for the Suns over two seasons before moving to Geelong where he played 18 games in his first season with the club.

Trent Cotchin (drafted from West Preston) – After being selected with pick No. 2 in the 2007 draft, Cotchin has gone on to become one of the AFL’s premier midfielders. The Richmond skipper has already claimed two club best and fairest awards and was runner-up in the 2012 Brownlow medal. Cotchin reached his 100-game milestone during the 2013 season.

Daniel Currie (drafted from Eltham) – Currie was first selected by Sydney with pick No. 49 in 2006 but was delisted after three seasons without playing a senior game. An impressive year in the SANFL eventuated in him being selected by North Melbourne with pick No. 56 in the 2012 draft. Currie is yet to make his AFL debut.

Dylan Grimes (drafted from Hurstbridge) – Grimes was selected by Richmond in the 2010 Pre-Season Draft. Despite an injury-plagued start to his career, Grimes was elevated into the club’s leadership group prior to the 2013 season. He has played 26 games and is one of the Tigers’ best young defenders.

Jack Grimes (drafted from Hurstbridge) – Grimes was the 14th pick at the 2007 AFL Draft and made his debut for Melbourne in 2008. He became co-captain of the Demons in 2012 and in the same season finished runner-up in the club’s best and fairest. Grimes has played 68 games at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Sam Grimley (drafted from Research) – Selected with pick No. 39 in the 2009 draft, Grimley made his long-awaited debut in Round 9 this year against the Gold Coast. He played a further two matches and was a key player in Box Hill’s VFL premiership win this season.

Brent Harvey (drafted from Preston RSL) – One of the game’s greats. Harvey has done it all in a career that has spanned 18 seasons and a North Melbourne record 326 games. A former captain, 1999 premiership player and five-time club best and fairest, Harvey has signed on for the 2014 season after averaging 24 disposals and a goal throughout 2013.

Nathan Hrovat (drafted from Mill Park) – The 21st pick in the 2012 AFL Draft, Hrovat played seven games for the Western Bulldogs in his first season. Last week he signed a contract extension, tying him to the club until the end of 2016.

Jake King (drafted from North Heidelberg) – After winning the best on ground medal in North Heidelberg’s 2005 Division 1 Grand Final win, King was taken by Richmond with pick No. 24 in the Rookie Draft. He has gone on to play 105 games and has booted 77 goals. A crowd favourite, King is known for his ferocious attack on the football.

Ben Lennon (drafted from Macleod*) – Lennon played his junior football in the Yarra Junior Football League, but played four senior games with Macleod’s seniors in 2011. He was drafted to Richmond with pick No. 12 in the 2013 AFL Draft.

Heath Shaw (drafted from Diamond Creek) – Shaw debuted in 2006 and played 173 games for Collingwood, including the 2010 premiership. He won the Michael Tuck medal in 2011 as best afield in Collingwood’s NAB Cup premiership win. At the conclusion of the 2013 season Shaw was traded to Greater Western Sydney.

Rhyce Shaw (drafted from Diamond Creek) – Shaw debuted for Collingwood in 2000 and played 94 games for the Magpies. He was traded to Sydney prior to the 2009 season and finished runner-up in the club’s best and fairest that season. Shaw has gone on to play 99 games for the Swans, including the 2012 premiership.

Nick Vlastuin (drafted from Eltham) – Vlastuin was picked up by Richmond with pick No. 9 in the 2012 draft. He debuted in Round 5 and played 18 games in his debut season, including Richmond’s first final in 12 years. Vlastuin received an AFL Rising Star nomination in Round 7.

David Zaharakis (drafted from Eltham) – Made his debut in 2009 and in his fourth match famously booted the winning goal on ANZAC Day with the last kick of the game. Has played 87 games for the Bombers and in 2011 became the youngest player in 30 years to win the best and fairest. Zaharakis won the ANZAC Day medal in 2013.

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