What it’s really like being a No.1 draft pick in the AFL

He also handles almost weekly sleds from competitors, calling him the worst first choice ever – but insisting he’s one of the lucky ones, especially from Aaron Hamill and Andrew Thompson to Nick Krivalt and Great role model for Lenny Hayes.

“Of course, as a young child, you don’t want to be a bust like everyone else,” Goddard said. “Over the years, countless opposition players have told me that I’m the worst No. 1, and at that age, I don’t say much. [Former Melbourne captain] Brad Green is one of them.

Brendon Goddard (left) with Saints champion Robert Harvey and his fresh-faced teammates Nick Kerry Walter and Luke Ball.

Brendon Goddard (left) with Saints champion Robert Harvey and his fresh-faced teammates Nick Kerry Walter and Luke Ball.Credit: Dominic O’Brien

“The Brisbane Lions are ruthless…Michael Voss, at Gabba, told me if I touched the ball in the center square he would kill me, the only time that happened was when Jonathan Brown was in my career Later in career, but then I was older and wiser. You were an easy target for sledding and physical abuse.”

Goddard’s St. Kilda coach at the time, Grant Thomas, like many before him and since, told his new batch of draft picks that they were No. 1 (Goddard), No. 22 (Matt Ferguson) or the 46th pick (Leigh Fisher) doesn’t matter.

Of course, regardless of the good intentions, the reality is quite different.

Jason Horne-Francis, who openly wants No. 1 pick in his draft year But has since admitted he understood why his stepfather warned him of dangerLearned the hard way, as Jamarra Ugle-Hagan did a year ago, and Tom Boyd, Jack Watts, and even Tom Scully did long ago.

Tom Boyd played a pivotal role in the Western Bulldogs' Premier League campaign in 2016.

Tom Boyd played a pivotal role in the Western Bulldogs’ Premier League campaign in 2016.Credit: Graham Denholm

Watts, No. 1 in 2008, will forever be associated with his Queen’s Birthday debut, Three Collingwood players tackled Sherrin on his first contact.

A year later, Sculley followed Watts to historically abysmal Melbourne and enjoyed more individual success, but stayed there for just two years and 31 games. Before accepting a $6 million six-year deal to join expansion club GWS.

Boyd took a different approach: Requesting a trade and leaving the Giants after just one season, like Horn Francis in North Melbourne, to become a Bulldog on a seven-year contract worth nearly $1 million a year.

He’s one of the AFL’s most-watched footballers, from his high-profile trade to his form and then playing an integral role in the Western Bulldogs’ drought-ending banner in 2016, Retired only five years after he was drafted for physical and mental health reasons.

Both Frazier and Goddard, who returned to their old AFL clubs for developmental work, say the scrutiny of No. 1 picks or young players in general has never been greater — and at a much younger age.

Thanks to the rise of social media, a saturated journalism industry and even recruiters taking their scouting to another level, they say. In the case of Horn-Francis, especially the booing he received Coming from a club he’s never been linked with, like everyone else in football, is where their interests lie.

Nick Daicos (left) is enjoying a stellar start to his career.

Nick Daicos (left) is enjoying a stellar start to his career.Credit: AFL photos

“For whatever reason, in people’s minds, Jason didn’t directly live up to what was expected of him, so they created a false narrative around him as a person and as a footballer,” Fraser said .

“He’s a 19-year-old kid and he’s going to be a very talented player. It’s a tough environment in the AFL – you can do all the bridging classes, but nothing really prepares you. Figure it all out needs time.”

Frazier has been in the front row during his coaching career with No. 1 overall pick Sam Walsh and prodigy Nick Dykes, who was drafted in the same draft as Horn-Francis but was chosen as father and son with Collins. Wood connected. Daicos will be a strong contender for the No. 1 pick in the open draft.

Their instant and stunning success was the exception to the rule, not the example of top draftees, he said should Do.

Goddard is glad he made the point. He is one of the best first picks ever after 334 caps, two All-Australian honours, best and fairest club and captain of his second club, Essendon. But he remembers riding the Pines extensively in his early seasons, when high rotations were a foreign concept. Goddard was attracted to Riewoldt, the Saints’ other No. 1 pick, and they grew up together, full of anticipation.

“At the end of the day, not many people remember your first two or three years,” Goddard said.

“The club know what they’ve done to me and they’ve always told me to be patient, always have the big picture and believe that I’ll get there eventually.

“Everyone handles it differently, but I have a thick skin.”

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