Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review #587 - The Draftees: How Five Boys Made it to the AFL Draft by Emma Quayle


My Rating: 4/5

Buy: Booktopia

Meet Jake Lever, Peter Wright, Isaac Heeney, Tom Lamb and Clem Smith. In 2015, they played their first game. In years to come, they could become stars. But first they had to be drafted to a club.

Every year, hundreds of boys are put through their paces at AFL draft camps, training sessions, under-18 competitions and school footy matches. They all hope they will end the year signed to an AFL team. Meanwhile, clubs are making brutal calls on which young players will take them up the ladder. Too many bad recruiting decisions could set them back years. 

Emma Quayle, senior football writer for The Age and an expert on talent identification, tracks these five boys through 2014 – the year they nominate for the AFL's national draft. We meet their coaches and families. We ride the bumps and share the triumphs. With exclusive behind-the-scenes access to recruiters at St Kilda Football Club as they decide on their 2014 draft picks, Emma sheds light on what it takes to become an AFL footballer.

For Jake, Pete, Isaac, Tom and Clem, hearing their name called out on draft day is just the beginning of their football story. But it takes a lot to get to that start line.

Football (of the Australian variety) and reading are my two favourite things in the world (and in that order) so a book about football was ideal for me. 

The book alternates between the St Kilda Football Club's recruiters and the five young promising footballers who are preparing to hopefully be drafted to an AFL team. 

The book does pay the most attention to St Kilda but there is plenty there for fans of all clubs. Through the insight we get with the Saints we get a pretty good analysis of all the players nominating for the 2014 draft. 

I liked that the player stories were spread out through the book and were never that long as it prevented me from getting bored. 

As someone who watches the AFL draft each year (since it started being telecast anyway) I really enjoyed reading about the process of it all, especially from multiple perspectives. 

Although I thought the players chosen were all interesting, especially since they all had completely different journeys I really would have liked this guy to have been included: 

Lachie Weller wins the award for most glamorous candid pic in sport. Ever.

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