1. You’ve got to be Josh-ing

Is Josh the new ‘it’ name of the AFL? A total of six players named Josh – including four selected in the first round – found their way on to AFL lists. There was Josh Rachele (No.6), Josh Ward (7), Josh Gibcus (9) and Josh Sinn (12), who were all taken on the first night. Then on the second evening it was Josh Goater (22) going to North Melbourne and finally Greater Western Sydney Academy product Josh Fahey (42) landing at the Giants.

Josh Ward, Josh Sinn, Josh Rachele and Josh Gibcus at Marvel Stadium, a day after being drafted.

2. The second night’s most prized possession

Fremantle bucked the trend by keeping the opening pick on the second night of the draft to grab local slider Matthew Johnson. Since the draft was split over two nights three years ago, the opening selection of the second round has proven to be a great trade tool. Gold Coast moved up to get South Australian Jez McLennan (2018) and Brisbane traded up for Deven Robertson (2019) before the draft reverted to one night last year.

WHO DID YOU PICK? Every club’s selection for the 2021 NAB AFL Draft

3. From Africa, with love

It was a landmark draft for diversity with three players born in Africa chosen in the first round. South Sudanese-born Mac Andrew was taken by Gold Coast at No.5 and Leek Aleer, also originally from South Sudan, by Greater Western Sydney at 15. Ruckman Andrew is the highest drafted player ever born in that country. Neil Erasmus, taken by Fremantle with the 10th selection, was born in South Africa before finding a home in Western Australia.

4. The feelgood draft story of Garrett and Greg

In a draft that primarily featured players aged 18-20, there were two notable mature-age selections: Garrett McDonagh joined Essendon, while West Coast pounced on Subiaco flag hero Greg Clark. The pacy, big-kicking McDonagh, 25, has bounced around the VFL system ever since first nominating for the draft in 2014, most recently playing for Richmond’s reserves after a few years back at local level with West Preston. Clark, 24, captained Western Australia at under-18 level and looks ready-made to slot in the Eagles’ midfield.

5. Suns give former Cat a second chance

Charlie Constable was the only recycled player to be picked up, with Gold Coast giving the former Geelong midfielder a second home at pick 63. Constable played 12 games over four years for the Cats, battling to break into their powerful midfield before being delisted. Conversely, the Suns were on the lookout for another midfielder after trading Will Brodie to Fremantle and embarrassingly losing Hugh Greenwood to North Melbourne after delisting him with the hope of redrafting him.

DRAFT HUB All the latest news, video and more

6. Brisbane’s Ballarat connection

Brisbane continued its love affair with country Victoria, and more specifically Ballarat, with its selection of speedster Kai Lohmann. It’s no secret many years ago the Lions began leaning towards country Vic products to combat the ‘go home’ factor after it lost a number of players last decade. Lohmann joins Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry, Tom Berry and Harry Sharp on the list after all being drafted from Ballarat.

Brisbane draftee Kai Lohmann poses for a photo at Marvel Stadium on November 25, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

7. Stay home factor?

After a few years of COVID-19 restrictions driving state border closures, are clubs tending towards sticking with local products? Fremantle’s first three selections – Jye Amiss, Neil Erasmus and Matt Johnson – all came out of the WAFL, the latter sliding nicely into the Dockers’ hands as the first pick of the second round. Geelong skipped its ‘go-home’ trading stage and directly drafted three Geelong Falcons in Toby Conway, Mitch Knevitt and Cooper Whyte, while West Coast brought in locals Brady Hough, Rhett Bazzo, Jack Williams and Greg Clark.

8. Relatively quiet on the trading front

Clubs had a full day to hit up Fremantle for its prized pick No.21, the first selection of the second round, but the Dockers held firm and decided to draft local product Matt Johnson. It took a while for the trade portion of the draft to kick into gear, with one deal between Port Adelaide and West Coast landing the Power Josh Sinn in the first round. It was fairly quiet thereafter, with pick swaps generally coming in the third and fourth rounds. At one stage, the AFL blocked an attempted pick swap between Melbourne and Adelaide as it involved selections previously swapped between the clubs in the trade period.

9. Melbourne’s golden run continues

Coming off a premiership win, Melbourne wouldn’t have been expecting to have a big NAB AFL Draft, coming in at the back end of every round. But the football gods have continued to smile on the Dees, with the club landing Blake Howes at pick No.39. Melbourne had been linked to Howes with its first pick, No.19, but opted for Jacob Van Rooyen. There would have been nerves aplenty as club after club then overlooked the hard-running midfielder in Howes, before the Dees landed their man.

10. Generation next

There were plenty of family connections in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft. Father-sons Sam Darcy (Luke) and Nick Daicos (Peter) joined the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood respectively on Wednesday night, with Tom Brown – the son and brother of Cats Paul and Millie – being picked up by Richmond. Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (son of Terry and nephew of Gavin) also joined the Saints. The family affair continued on Thursday night: Sam Butler (brother of Dan) went to Hawthorn, Jesse Motlop (son of Daniel) was picked up by Carlton and the Warner brothers have been reunited at Sydney, with Corey joining Chad. Hawthorn pounced on Jai Serong (brother of Caleb) just one pick before Fremantle, while father-sons Jackson Archer, Jase Burgoyne and Taj Woewodin joined North Melbourne, Port Adelaide and Melbourne respectively.