Three Northern Football Netball League players were selected in the 2017 AFL Draft.
Eltham’s Nick Coffield was taken by St Kilda at pick No. 8, Epping speedster Jack Petruccelle was snapped up by West Coast at pick No.38, while former Research junior and Panton Hill-aligned small forward Sam Switkowski was selected by Fremantle at No. 73.
Coffield had been touted as a first-round draft selection for much of the season after a dominant 2017 campaign for the Northern Knights and Vic Metro.
The 18-year-old captained the Knights throughout the TAC Cup season and finished second in the best and fairest, despite missing three games.
Coffield was dominant during the AFL Under-18 Championships and was selected at half-back in the All-Australian team after being named in Vic Metro’s best players in all four games.
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) November 24, 2017
He averaged 22 disposals at a disposal efficiency rate of 74 per cent during the Championships.
St Kilda recruiting and list manager Tony Elshaug said Coffield was one of the most versatile players in this year’s draft.
“He’s a very good player,” Elshaug said.
“He played a lot across half-back, but he also went into the midfield and played half-forward as well.
“In a number of games he went forward and kicked some goals, so he showed a lot of versatility.
“He’s got good speed, good kick, a good step and lots of flexibility.
“He may still be growing (currently 191cm) so in a lot of ways the potential is endless.”
After juggling football and basketball commitments throughout his junior career, Petruccelle burst into draft contention this year with an eye-catching campaign for the Northern Knights.
Similar to Coffield, Petruccelle can play through the midfield, and across half-back and half-forward.
He impressed across each line during the TAC Cup season and showed his versatility for Vic Metro during the Under-18 Championships.
His 2.87 seconds for 20m at the Draft Combine was ranked No.1 overall, with his speed one of the key reasons he landed at West Coast.
“Jack is a player with some real X-factor with the speed,” West Coast list manager Brady Rawlings said.
“Speed is something we’ve looked at throughout the year and whether we needed to look at that area and he’s the fastest player in (the draft).
We’ve got SIX new Eagles!
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) November 24, 2017
“We’re not too sure where he’s going to settle down in terms of position, but we feel he’s pretty versatile.
“He’s played as a half-forward, he’s played as a wingman, he’s played on ball for Northern Knights and he even played back for Vic Metro.
“We’ll see what the coaches want to do with him, but he’s an exciting player.”
Switkowski will also cross the Nullarbor after he was selected by Fremantle following three seasons in the VFL with Box Hill Hawks.
He won the Northern Knights best and fairest in 2014 and enjoyed an impressive Under-18 Championships for Vic Metro, but was overlooked in his initial draft year.
Switkowski has since played 27 VFL games for the Hawks and a further 20 games in the development league. In 2017 he kicked 19 goals in 12 VFL appearances.
Speaking to Fremantle.com.au, Switkowski said he was shocked to have been selected by the Dockers.
“I’m a little bit in shock at the moment, I didn’t really expect to be picked up so I don’t really know how to feel right now,” Switkowski said.
“I thought if something like that happened I’d be really excited and be up and celebrating but it just doesn’t really feel real yet.
“I’ve just turned 21, so I’ve missed a few drafts and I’m not going to take the opportunity for granted.
“I just want to go in there and work as hard as I can. That will be the main focus, work hard and take as much advise as I can.”
— Fremantle Dockers (@freodockers) November 24, 2017
Fremantle list manager Brad Lloyd said the club had been impressed by Switkowski’s goal sense.
“Switkowski is more of that half-forward that can kick goals,” Lloyd said.
“He can use the ball well, a good kick and a really good character.”
The Northern Football Netball League congratulates Nick, Jack and Sam on being drafted and wishes them the best of luck throughout their AFL careers.