3 minute read
Tasmania have produced three players in the first 17 picks of the AFL draft in a promising sign ahead of the state's introduction into the competition in 2028.
Tasmania have produced a historic draft haul ahead of the state's entry into the AFL as the competition's newest club in 2028.
Launceston midfielders Colby McKercher (North Melbourne, pick two) and Ryley Sanders (Western Bulldogs, six) were snapped up early in Monday night's draft.
At pick two, McKercher was the highest a player living in Tasmania has ever been selected since the draft was implemented in 1986.
Another northern Tasmanian product, James Leake was drafted by GWS at pick 17 in further positive news for the Apple Isle.
McKercher and Sanders spent the day training together in Melbourne before being drafted.
"It's phenomenal," Sanders said.
"To see Colby go as high as he did, he's just a superstar.
"It's a pretty cool moment to see two boys from Launnie (Launceston) go top six.
"I think it's just amazing for Tassie footy.
"It gives a lot of young Tasmanian kids a belief that they can still get drafted even though it's been a bit lean in recent years."
After years of lobbying, Tasmania were this year officially awarded the AFL's 19th licence.
Since the announcement, there has been a focus on development in the island state after years of neglect towards football.
Basketball club Tasmania JackJumpers has been an instant success after entering the NBL in 2020, drawing some attention away from football.
"So proud," McKercher said after he was drafted by the Kangaroos.
"I've a lot of awesome people back home, friends and family.
"I'm just super grateful to be a part of something like this I'm hoping I'm doing the Tasmanians back home proud."