Being part of the SANFL Crows development squad has played a big role in two young footballers realising their AFL dreams and being drafted on Thursday night.
Tom Hutchesson, who played 14 games for the SANFL Crows in 2019, was picked by the GWS Giants with No. 65, while Gold Coast selected Jy Farrar, who kicked two goals on debut for Adelaide against Sturt, with pick No. 60.
It has been a quick rise to the top for both players.
In 2018, Hutchesson won the Mail Medal and was named best-on-ground in the grand final when his home team Millicent won the Western Border league premiership for the first time in 37 years.
He then joined the development squad ahead of the 2019 season, but continued to train with the Saints in the South-East while working as a carpenter.
Despite not training with the group, his pace and clean skills stood out on game day and he averaged 14 disposals, four marks, three tackles, three inside-50s and two clearances in his 14 games.
Originally from Halls Creek in Western Australia, Farrar followed in the footsteps of his cousin, Crows forward Shane McAdam, and moved to Adelaide to play for Scotch Old Collegians.
He also joined the development squad and although he only played two games for the SANFL Crows, his talent made him a stand out.
Outstanding Reward for a great player and a great program ⭐️ https://t.co/nPpidjH5Yd— Lachlan Murphy (@LachlanMurphy48) November 28, 2019
Crows National Recruiting Manager Hamish Ogilvie said it was unlikely Farrar and Hutchesson would have been drafted if they didn’t have the exposure in the development squad.
“If ‘Hutchy’ was playing up in Millicent without coming to the SANFL Crows, he probably wouldn’t be in the position he is in now,” Ogilvie said.
“The same with Jy, it’s a long journey for him – Halls Creek to Adelaide, Old Scotch and into the SANFL program.”
Ogilvie was full of praise for Adelaide’s State League coach Heath Younie for helping the players reach their goals.
“We are so pleased for Heath, the work he put into the program, getting the top-ups in, guys from all around South Australia,” he said.
“To get Hutchy up and have a chance at an AFL career, that’s just fantastic for him – he’s going to get off the tools and go to the Giants and play and that is a massive win for our SANFL program.
“That is a great feather in Heath’s cap.”