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Rendell: Local lads a bonus

Mitch Grigg was one of three South Australians selected by the Crows at the Draft

Crows national recruiting manager Matt Rendell says selecting three South Australians in the 2011 AFL Draft was an added bonus for the Club rather than a deliberate ploy. 

Adelaide took Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Sam Kerridge with its first pick at No.27, but looked closer to home with its remaining picks, drafting Norwood onballer Mitch Grigg (pick No.41) and Woodville-West Torrens pair Nick Joyce (pick No.46) and Cameron Ellis-Yolmen (pick No.64).

On Friday, Rendell dismissed suggestions the Club had targeted local players in reaction to the departures of homesick forward Jack Gunston, ruckman Ivan Maric and defender Tony Armstrong in trade week.

“It was no reaction [to those players] at all,” Rendell said.

“The reason was that 20 out of the first 26 picks were Victorians.

“We would’ve had some Victorians rated at the top [f our list], but in the second part of the draft after pick No.26 a lot of South Australian and West Australian players came into it.

“That was the reason we had so many South Australians on our list.

“It’s an added bonus and we think a good fit for us.”

However, Rendell did profess to targeting a certain type of player at the draft.

All four recruits are hard-bodied midfielders ranging between 182 and 189cm tall.

“We thought we addressed the key-position stuff in the trade week very well [recruiting Lewis Johnston, Tom Lynch and Josh Jenkins], so we were basically looking to stock up mids,” he said.

“We think we’ve got four principally tough midfielders with good endurance, who play for keeps; play with intensity and play to win.

“It’s probably an area we needed to bolster and we were lucky to get the four that we’ve got.

“They’re finals players.

“They’re the blokes you want running around for you come finals time.

“Throw them in with Brad Crouch, Patty Dangerfield, Rory Sloane, Jared Petrenko and Scott Thompson … I think other teams will have trouble getting the ball off them.”

Rendell revealed the Club had seriously considered taking another local, Norwood defender Alex Forster, with its first pick but opted to take the impressive Kerridge instead.

“Taking out the 15 players I would’ve had in front of Sam, who I knew weren’t getting through to No.27, Sam was our first choice,” he said.

“I had him just in front of Mitch Grigg, Alex Forster and Brad McKenzie and the like.”

Once tipped to be a mid-first round draft pick, Grigg slipped through to Adelaide’s second pick because of concerns over his pace.

Rendell said the long-kicking left-footer’s other attributes made up for his speed.

“I thought Mitch was the most standout player at the Under-18 Championships,” he said.

“People thought he was too slow, but I said to ‘Sando’ [coach Brenton Sanderson], ‘are you happy picking a slow, tough midfielder with an elite kick?’

“He said he was happy with it, so I said, ‘well I’m picking him if he’s there’”.

Ellis-Yolmen was also expected to be gone before Adelaide’s last pick, prompting suggestions the Club had landed a couple of draft bargains.

“They haven’t done anything yet,” Rendell said in response.

“If any of them play 40 games in the next two years then I’ll have a smirk on my face.”

Rendell will now turn his attention to December’s rookie draft, where Adelaide is expected to use all five available picks.

He said the Club would consider taking a mature-age rookie, adding that Central Districts midfielder Lee Spurr, who was surprisingly overlooked in the national draft, would be looked at.

“It’s an interesting one because I know quite a few clubs spoke to Lee,” he said.

“I think he’ll get picked as a rookie. There are just no guarantees in this caper.”