Hampden league's 2016 AFL draft class grows to a record seven players following rookie intake

WE ARE GEELONG: Portland footballer Jamaine Jones 
will start his AFL career at the Cats. 
Picture: Rob Gunstone

WE ARE GEELONG: Portland footballer Jamaine Jones will start his AFL career at the Cats. Picture: Rob Gunstone

HAMPDEN league's 2016 AFL draft class swelled to a record seven players following the rookie intake on Monday.

Portland exports Rowan Marshall and Jamaine Jones landed at St Kilda and Geelong respectively in the second-chance draft – just three days after five south-west talents joined the elite ranks at the national draft.

Brisbane recruits Hugh McCluggage (South Warrnambool) and Cedric Cox (Camperdown), Port Adelaide selection Willem Drew (Koroit), Fremantle-bound Sean Darcy (Cobden) and Melbourne pick-up Dion Johnstone (North Warrnambool Eagles) have already started pre-season with their new clubs.

Nine of the 10 Hampden league clubs are now represented at AFL level in a playing capacity.

Cobden leads the way with five players on lists – Darcy, Ben Cunnington, Gary Rohan and brothers Jackson and Zach Merrett.

Camperdown (Cox and Easton Wood), Koroit (Drew and Martin Gleeson) and North Warrnambool Eagles (Johnstone and Billie Smedts) each have two.

Terang Mortlake (Lewis Taylor), South Warrnambool (McCluggage), Warrnambool (Jordan Lewis) and Hamilton Kangaroos (Liam Picken) each have one.

Marshall and Jones’ selections ensured Portland joined the list on Monday.

Tigers coach Luke Crane said it was a “pretty amazing” result for the club.

He expects both players to grasp their opportunities.

Marshall, 21, arrives at St Kilda following a two-year stint at VFL club North Ballarat Roosters, while Jones’ form for TAC Cup club North Ballarat Rebels piqued the Cats’ interest.

“Rowan has been a work in progress for the last few years and his VFL form this year must have been pretty good,” Crane said.

“Obviously he’s going to still develop and the big blokes take a bit of time but he’s on the right track and hopefully he gets a crack at a few senior games next year for them.

“Jamaine’s got a fair bit of pace. He’s still got a lot to learn and whatnot but under the guidance of Geelong...hopefully he really excels.”

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