BRETT Goodes is officially a Bulldog and Orren Stephenson a Tiger following yesterday’s AFL rookie draft.
Goodes, 28, was selected with the Western Bulldogs’ first pick in the rookie draft, at number four overall, after the Bulldogs passed earlier in the pre-season draft yesterday.
The two-time Roosters premiership player had been an employee at the club as a player welfare manager, a role that he will now conclude now he has joined the Bulldogs’ rookie list.
Goodes said he had been told by the club on Monday he would be selected yesterday, but admitted it was still exciting to receive the news.
“I was already training with the boys when I was told. I had a few of the staff members come up and congratulate me, which was nice,” he said.
“What’s changed? Well, I won’t have my office any more. The coach is real keen just to have a crack, so I won’t have that player welfare role anymore. I will just focus on the next few months and see how it goes.
“There are plenty of people I would thank but I’d like to say that North Ballarat really set me up with my football, with the staff and the leadership model they have. That gave me the encouragement to stay with it, to play footy at the highest level.”
Western Bulldogs recruiting manager Simon Dalrymple said Goodes would provide a high level of competitiveness and physical maturity to a developing group.
“Brett is an outstanding footballer and a ruthless competitor who brings the capacity to play in multiple areas of the ground – predominantly in the back half,” Dalrymple said.
“We see Brett’s kicking ability in the back half of the ground as being a real asset for the team.
Ex-Rooster and Geelong ruckman Stephenson was picked with Richmond’s third pick in the rookie draft (36 overall), after the Tigers selected former Melbourne half forward Ricky Petterd and former Essendon midfielder Sam Lonergan with its first two selections.
Richmond also passed in the pre-season draft, electing to put its mature-age recruits on the rookie list.
Former North Ballarat Rebel Jake Lloyd, originally from Horsham, is Sydney-bound as a rookie, selected by the reigning premier with pick 16. Lloyd was a four-time premiership player with Horsham Demons.
“I’m pretty stoked. I didn’t have any expectations of being selected,” Lloyd said yesterday. “I was sitting at home with Dad on the computer and watching the names come up, so it was pretty amazing.
“I spoke with Sydney before the draft but they kept things pretty close. I got a call straight after (being drafted), by John Longmire. He said pack your bags. That was a bit weird.”
The 19-year-old flew out to Sydney last night to begin his career as an AFL rookie.
Meanwhile Cameron Richardson, delisted by North Melbourne this year following an unfortunate run with injury, was re-drafted by the Kangaroos as a rookie.
Just eight players were added to AFL club regular lists during the pre-season draft, including Bret Thornton (GWS), Kurt Tippett (Sydney) and Dean Brogan (GWS).
Just over 40 were added to club rookie lists. The Swans recruited Brandon Jack and Xavier Richards, who will join their brothers Kieren and Ted respectively, while Collingwood rookie-listed former Adelaide, Bulldogs and Brisbane ruckman Ben Hudson, who is already a ruck assistant coach at the club.