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The mid-season draft intrigue around Essendon, plus potential plans of Hawthorn and Carlton


There are a number of interesting names in the mix for next week’s AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

Some 210 plays have nominated for the June 1 mid-season draft with former AFL-listed players and those dominating the state leagues up for selection.

AFL Media draft guru Cal Twomey says there is a bit of interest around Essendon, who hold pick 3, and who they might choose with such names as Jai Culley (Dandenong Stingrays), Josh Carmichael (West Adelaide) and Wade Derksen (Peel Thunder) in their sights.

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“Essendon is the interesting one for me with pick 3,” he said on SEN Breakfast.

“There’s always something happening with the Bombers around draft time.

“The Bombers were keen to have a look at Jai Culley in their VFL side this week. It would have been an audition of sorts for them to get the 193cm midfielder into their side, but that won’t be happening.

“So Josh Carmichael, Culley and a couple of others (including) Wade Derksen are in the mix for the Bombers.”

Some ex-AFL players are also being considered, says Twomey.

Former Brisbane Lions big man Connor Ballenden, who is playing in the SANFL with Woodville-West Torrens, is on the radar of Hawthorn who are in the market for a ruckman.

Former Gold Coast midfielder Jacob Dawson, who has been racking up the numbers in the VFL with Southport, is also attracting interest.

Sam Durdin, who played 22 games for North Melbourne, has been in good form for Glenelg which has Carlton looking, while ex-Bulldog Will Hayes is in the mix.

“Of the former AFL listed players who might be in the mix, Connor Ballenden, he’s put financial terms on his head,” Twomey added.

“He’s the only player in the 210 nominees who’s done that. He’s got some interest there from the Hawks, they’re one of the clubs that have looked at him.

“Jacob Dawson, the former Suns midfielder, he’s put an 18-month contract on his head so that’s suggesting some interest in him.

“And Sam Durdin as well, a first-round pick formerly for North Melbourne, also getting some interest after playing for Glenelg in the SANFL. Carlton being among the clubs linked there.

“Will Hayes, formerly of the Western Bulldogs, now playing at the Blues’ VFL side also caught the attention of some clubs.

“There are some names coming about ahead of next Wednesday’s mid-season draft.”

The Mid-Season Draft kicks off at 6:30pm AEST on Wednesday, June 1.

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