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“I didn’t know he played for North!”  No. 1 pick to seek Adam Simpson after Eagles lifeline in midseason draft

The West Coast gave its rebuilding a boost by trapping big-bodied midfielder Jai Culley with the No. 1 pick in the AFL Mid-Season Draft.

The 193cm Culley was in the frame to be a first- or second-round selection in the national draft later this year after being overlooked in 2021.

But the lowest-ranked Eagles got the better of the 19-year-old thanks to their hellish season in which they lost their last seven games by an average of 79.7 points.

Culley, who works part-time at a take-out chicken shop, admitted this week he knew nothing about the playing career of Eagles manager Adam Simpson, who scored 306 games for North Melbourne and also was club captain.

“I know his name but I didn’t know he was playing for North Melbourne or anything,” Culley told the AFL website after being selected by West Coast on Wednesday night.

“I’m damn happy. I can’t wait to meet all the boys.

Jai Culley in action during the 2022 NAB League. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

North Melbourne picked 23-year-old defender Kallan Dawson with their No. 2 pick, while Essendon picked defender Massimo D’Ambrosio with the No. 3 pick.

Adelaide selected 25-year-old midfielder Brett Turner with the No. 4 pick, while GWS completed the top five with the selection of athletic striker Wade Derksen.

St Kilda had been linked with striker Hugo Hall-Kahan.

But when Sydney swooped with the No.11 pick, St Kilda moved on when they finally got their turn at the No.14 pick.

A total of 17 players have been selected, with Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Brisbane and St Kilda being the only clubs not to select a player.

Sam Durdin, who played 22 games for North Melbourne after being picked No.16 in the 2014 National Draft, was given a second chance after Carlton won the No.13 pick.

Durdin, who was dropped from the roster by the Kangaroos at the end of 2020, will help bolster Carlton’s injury defense.

Carlton also gave former Western Bulldogs midfielder Will Hayes a lifeline when they selected the future 27-year-old with the No. 22 pick.

Hawthorn took ruckman Max Ramsden with pick six before doubling up with James Blanck at pick 20.

Ramsden grew up supporting the Hawks and his former classmates Ned Long and Josh Ward are already at Hawthorn.

“I’m over the moon,” Ramsden said.

“I always hoped to go to the Hawks but I wasn’t too sure, there were a lot of clubs talking.

“Last year, I just nominated (for the national draft) because I was hoping to have a chance at this draft.

“A couple of my friends said I had to do it (to be eligible for the mid-season draft).

“I was playing football at school last year so I didn’t think I had a chance last year. But it’s been a really good run and I think I’ve improved a lot.

Fremantle used the No.15 pick to select in-form WAFL striker Sebit Kuek, who has scored 14 goals in his last four games for East Perth.


1 West Coast – Jai Culley (Dandenong Stingrays)

2 North Melbourne – Kallan Dawson (Williamstown)

3 Essendon – Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets)

4 Adelaide – Brett Turner (Glenelg)

5 GWS – Wade Derksen (Peel Thunder)

6 Hawthorn – Max Ramsden (Dragons of Sandringham)

7 Gold Coast – Oskar Faulkhead (Bendigo Pioneers)

8 Port Adelaide – Brynn Teakle (East Fremantle)

9 Collingwood – Joshua Carmichael (West Adelaide)

10 Richmond – Jacob Bauer (North Adelaide)

11 Sydney – Hugo Hall-Kahan (Sandringham Dragons)

12: Geelong – Zane Williams (Woodville-West Torrens)

13 Carlton – Sam Durdin (Glenelg)

14 St Kilda – Pass

15 Fremantle – Sebit Kuek (East of Perth)

16 West Coast – Pass

17 North Melbourne – Pass

18 Essendon – Jye Menzie (South Adelaide)

19 Adelaide – Pass

20 Hawthorn – James Blanck (Box Hill)

21 Collingwood – Pass

22 Carlton – William Hayes (Carlton VFL)

23 Fremantle – Pass


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