Suns move on Anthony
By Kim Hagdorn
New AFL franchise Gold Coast could extend their recruiting splurge from an historic national draft into December with a late and surprise bid for disgruntled Collingwood utility John Anthony.
Gold Coast will pluck eight of the country’s finest young talent inside the first 13 picks at their first full national draft and an option to take up to 11 young guns overall.
But it has emerged that Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna is investigating not using all draft picks and keeping a place available on his inaugural list for the enigmatic Anthony.
Gold Coast have picks at 1,2,3, 7, 9, 10,11 and 13 then 39, 49 and 105 after their initial privileged allocations for their first draft and aggressive trading of players and picks during October’s official AFL trade week.
Gold Coast is believed to be weighing up the value of what type of player could still be available at their final pick at 105.
McKenna and his Suns recruiting staff could take Anthony in the pre-season draft in December with the first pick of that final senior list selection process.
Carlton and Melbourne have also previously expressed interest in the former Pies forward.
It is understood McKenna is considering entering the race for Anthony, who will turn 23 in January and fits the new club’s recruiting model of young players for potential long term service with Gold Coast.
His aggressive playing style, all-round talents and sure goal-kicking could also add vital scoring power and a key forward to McKenna’s initial playing list.
Anthony started training with Fremantle after he walked out on the Magpies at the end of October.
He has played 43 senior games with the Pies, but only made seven appearances in 2010 and did not figure at all in Collingwood’s finals campaign when the famous club went on to win the premiership after a drawn grand final with St Kilda.
Under AFL rules relating to the pre-season draft a player will be obliged to go to a club that takes him in the selection order, providing his financial requests are suitably matched.
Gold Coast has the first selection in the December pre-season draft with Fremantle well back at number 12 after finishing in the 2010 finals and an eventual sixth place on the AFL ladder.
After Fremantle trumpeted Anthony’s arrival at the Dockers to commence training with plans of playing with the WA club, the AFL moved to clarify the strict pre-season draft regulations.
The league declared that any player who enters the pre-season draft must join the club that selects him.
“While a club and player may seek to reach an agreement before the draft, all clubs remain bound by the official selection order and any club with an active selection may select any eligible player, provided he can be accommodated within the club’s Total Player Payment limit,” the AFL declared in a statement.
“A player has the right to nominate his contract terms for the pre-season draft. If the player nominates financial terms, these must be met by whichever club selects him.”