The Geelong Falcons’ Sam Walsh is tipped to go pick No.1 in the AFL draft. Picture: Tony Gough
The Geelong Falcons’ Sam Walsh is tipped to go pick No.1 in the AFL draft. Picture: Tony Gough

Why Walsh is a risk-free No.1 pick

CARLTON will secure one of the most risk-free No.1 selections in recent history if it picks midfielder Sam Walsh instead of trading away the first overall pick.

AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan yesterday said it was impossible to find a chink in the armour of Geelong Falcons midfielder Walsh, a brilliant midfielder considered a future club leader given his outstanding character.

Blues list manager Steve Silvagni has conceded Carlton could weigh up trading away that pick as South Australian clubs attempt to push up the draft order but it seems unlikely ahead of the November 23 national draft.

Tom Boyd, Jon Patton and Jack Watts are just some of the No.1 picks in the past decade who have so far failed to live up to their potential.

But Sheehan says Walsh is considered bulletproof given his brand of midfield play, consistency and off-field leadership.

"He does everything right on and off the field, he is very coachable, he takes on information well. He is professional way beyond his years.

"He is a great teammate and leader and when the NAB AFL Academy group voted on their best player on and off the field every player had him in their votes.

"That is just unheard of and another indication of the great leadership status he holds amongst kids his age."

Walsh, a 183cm and 74kg midfielder, still needs to put on bulk but has the ideal mix of outside pace and inside grunt to be able to stand up to the rigours of senior football.

""He has a lighter body at the moment but he has that running ability and he is a wonderful kick and decision maker but he reads it so well so his stoppage work is outstanding and he has great hands.

"Once he develops more strength he will be able to play more inside as well with that skill set."

"He has rarely missed a game, I can't think of one that he has missed so he is also amazingly resilient."

As many as 10 father-son and academy prospects will be taken in the national draft, with Steve Silvagni's son Ben and Dustin Fletcher's son Mason expected to be secured late in the draft or as rookie picks.

South Australian Connor Rozee has emerged as the top-10 bolter, the midfielder thriving late in the year after a mid-season shoulder injury and a chance to go in the top three selections.