Williamson’s nervous wait

It was a nervous wait for Tom Williamson, but the versatile Rebel will find himself at the Carlton Football Club in 2017 after being taken at pick 61 in the AFL national draft.

Williamson was expected to feature somewhere in the latter stages of Friday’s draft, but draft day can often be riddled with surprises and heart-break stories of players missing out. 

But after hearing 60 names come before him, the combination of joy and relief swept the Williamson household.

"Tom Williamson is a great story,” North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Partington said.

"The Carlton footy club know he's going to be a good player in time.

"I had him late in the draft, purely because he's a young body, athletic body and a team could put him away for one or two years while he develops ... but I thought a club would have a dip at him.”

Williamson won the agility test and tested extremely well in the 3km time trial at the AFL national draft combine. While his TAC Cup season was not as consistent as some of his other teammates who were drafted higher, he had shown that he had all the attributes to one day be an imposing player at AFL level.

The Carlton footy club know he's going to be a good player in time ... a team could put him away for one or two years while he develops. - North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington

Carlton backed up that statement by taking the athletic utility with its fifth selection in the draft.

Partington believed that given a couple of preseasons in the AFL system, Williamson has the tools to either play as an attacking defender or play through the midfield - positions he had played to good effect through the 2016 season.

Partington also said it was great to see five North Ballarat Rebels find their way onto an AFL list.

He believes this year’s draft reflects the impressive program the Rebels boast in what has become a great "breeding ground" in his eyes.

But it was equally a difficult night, given some Rebels were left disappointed to not hear their names read out. However, Monday’s AFL rookie draft provides a second chance for the draft hopefuls.

"It went to plan. It's a bittersweet night, you always want more (players to be drafted). But I'm happy with the result and hopefully a few more boys might be looked at closely during the rookie draft on Monday.”

TOP 10 PICKS

1-ESSENDON: Andrew McGrath (Sandringham Dragons)

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3-BRISBANE LIONS: Hugh McCluggage (North Ballarat Rebels)

4-GOLD COAST SUNS: Ben Ainsworth (Gippsland Power)

5-GWS GIANTS: Will Setterfield (Sandringham Dragons)

6-CARLTON: Sam Petrevski-Seton (Claremont)

7-GOLD COAST SUNS: Jack Scrimshaw (Sandringham Dragons)

8-FREMANTLE: Griffin Logue (Swan Districts)

9-GOLD COAST SUNS: Will Brodie (Murray Bushrangers)

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