AWESOME FOURSOME JOIN AFL RANKS

The lives of four GGS students changed on Friday 24 November when their names were called at the AFL Draft. Jarrod Brander (Yr12 M), Brent Daniels (Yr12 P), Paddy Dow (Yr12 M) and Lochie O'Brien (Yr12 P) were all taken inside the first 27 picks of the draft. It was the first time since 2010 (Troy Davis and Billie Smedts) that the School has had multiple players drafted in the same year and certainly the first time there has been four GGS students in the same draft class.


(From L-R): Paddy, Jarrod and Lochie at Friday night's AFL Draft

All four boys came to the School on Sports Scholarships from north-west Victoria: Brent and Paddy from Swan Hill, Jarrod and Lochie from Mildura. All joined in Year 10 except for Brent, who came to Corio in Year 11. 


​Brent during his first day of training with GWS

Paddy was taken with Pick 3 by Carlton and will be joined at the Blues in 2018 and beyond by Lochie, was was selected with the tenth pick. Jarrod was drafted by West Coast with Pick 13 and joins the club he has supported since he was six. Brent was drafted by Greater Western Sydney with Pick 27, rounding-off a wonderful night for the School.

In the lead-up to the draft, The Age flagged the romantic notion that Paddy could be drafted by North Melbourne; the team with which his grandfather Peter had played 18 games in the fifties and sixties. North held Pick 4 in the draft and, in the end, Paddy didn't make it that far after Carlton took him with their first selection. "I couldn't be happier to have joined Carlton," Paddy said in his first post-draft interview. "I can't wait to get started and earn the respect of the boys."

Paddy's record during his time at GGS was nothing short of incredible. He played 27 games (of a possible 30) and won the School's 1st XVIII Best and Fairest award in all three years. 

With their second pick, Carlton went back to the GGS well, selecting Lochie to join Paddy in what they hope will be their next great midfield. Lochie's draft stocks fluctuated during 2017, starting the year as the nailed-on top-10 pick before a knee injury on the eve of the Under 18 Championships threw a spanner in the works. Lochie's season recovered and he played some of his best footy towards the end of the year but, even as recently as late October, Lochie was expected to be taken late in the first round or early in the second round. Carlton, at Pick 10, decided to take what they'd seen from Lochie at face value. AFL.com.au's Callum Twomey recently wrote that "...when O'Brien plays well, he makes things look easy and uncomplicated. He's the player forwards want to lead to." For Lochie, post-draft, he felt overwhelmed with pride for what had been achieved. “Everything you’ve worked towards the past three years comes to reality in that one moment," Lochie said of the moment his name was called.

Lochie's sporting exploits at GGS weren't reserved purely for the footy field. An outstanding athlete, Lochie won the Boys' Open 100m and 800m events at this year's GGS Athletics Carnival and was a member of the School's 4x400m relay team which won the APS title in 2016 (breaking the School Record in the process). Lochie was awarded the S.E. Bailey Cup for Sportsmanship in 2017. 

Jarrod was initially shocked when his name was called by the Eagles. The daunting prospect of picking up and moving your life to the other side of the country was a lot to consider. By Saturday morning, however, Jarrod couldn't wait to get started. "When you think about it, Perth's a great place to live," Jarrod said in his first interview as a West Coast Eagle. "It's probably not as full-on as Sydney or Melbourne either." Speaking to head coach Adam Simpson - who grew up in Victoria, played at North Melbourne for 15 seasons and was assistant coach with Hawthorn before joining the Eagles - really helped to ease his mind, while the prospect of learning behind the likes of Josh Kennedy and Jeremy McGovern is about as exciting as it gets for a young key-position player. "Being able to learn from two of the best key position players in the game will be awesome," Jarrod said.

Brent is in the unique position of being the last of the four GGS players drafted, yet perhaps the most likely to be named for his team when Round 1 of the 2018 season rolls around. Coincidentally, he has the departure of Old Geelong Grammarian Devon Smith from GWS to Essendon to thank for that. "We believe he’s the best small forward in the draft," Giants' National Recruiting Manager Adrian Caruso said. “He’s footy smart and has the skills and speed to be a damaging forward of centre player.” Smith's departure to Essendon leaves the Giants with a small forward shortage and Brent will be given every chance to press his claims to join Toby Greene, Jeremy Cameron and co in one of the league's most potent forward lines next season.