Tucker, Rioli, Hopper expected to go top 30

FUTURE STAR: Rebels' midfielder Jacob Hopper. Picture: Getty Images

FUTURE STAR: Rebels' midfielder Jacob Hopper. Picture: Getty Images

THREE North Ballarat Rebels are tipped to be early picks in Tuesday night’s AFL national draft.

Captain Darcy Tucker, Daniel Rioli and Jacob Hopper may all feature in the top 30 selections.

Tucker, a rebounding defender from Horsham Saints, has long been a hot junior prospect. 

The classy left-footer was named All-Australian in his bottom-age season with the Rebels and followed up with a solid campaign this year.

Northern Territory’s Rioli is the nephew of Hawthorn star Cyril and has been invited to the event in Adelaide, after a strong finish to the season.

The lightning-quick small forward, who was one of the best-performed athletes during October’s national combine, showed a tendency to play his best football when under the spotlight.

Perhaps the most unique story, however, is Hopper.

A member of Greater Western Sydney’s academy, the inside midfielder from Leeton is expected to be selected by the Giants as part of the new bidding process, which will make its debut on draft night.

Hopper has also been invited and looms as the Rebels’ first selection.

Several other Rebels are a chance of having their names called out, either on Tuesday night or Friday’s rookie draft.

Western Australian Yestin Eades has attracted AFL interest, as has 19-year-old speedster Tom Templeton and South Warrnambool’s Charlie Lee. 

Forward Matthew Johnston and classy midfielder Jacob Wheelahan may also feature.