Talented ruck Jackson a key to AFL draft

Jason Phelan
Luke Jackson could be the first ruckman since 2011 picked in the top 10 of the AFL draft

In a first round likely to be dominated by midfielders, talented former basketballer Luke Jackson looms as a key figure at the top of this year's AFL draft.

Gold Coast are poised to swoop on Victorian midfielders Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson with the first two picks of Wednesday night's first round at Marvel Stadium, leaving Melbourne with a big decision to make with the third overall selection.

Recruiters were left kicking themselves for letting Brodie Grundy slip to Collingwood at No.18 in 2012 and AFL talent chief Kevin Sheehan says clubs at the top end of this draft will be reluctant to make the same mistake with gifted Western Australian Jackson.

"Brodie was a basketballer at a similar age (to Jackson), then switched to footy and becomes one of the most valuable players in the game," Sheehan said.

"Luke Jackson's draft position will be interesting.

"Who invests early? He's been talked about in the top 20 and now they're talking about top five, so that's something to look for.

"Eighteen months ago he was playing basketball for Australia and having college scouts look at him.

"He was considering whether to head across to the US to pursue a professional basketball career, so it's great for the AFL that he's chosen our game."

Jackson is one of few tall prospects likely to be taken in a first round Sheehan concedes is heavy with talented onballers.

Vic Metro key defender Fischer McAsey is another viewed as a top-10 pick, with Adelaide believed to be keen on securing him at No.6.

However, clubs holding multiple top-20 selections - Fremantle, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Geelong and Port Adelaide - are well-positioned to move up the order for a player they covet.

After the introduction of live trading, much interest will be centred on the potential for another shock draft night trade like that orchestrated by Carlton with the Crows for Liam Stocker last year.

Sheehan said there will still be plenty of quality players available on Thursday night when the draft continues with the second and subsequent rounds.

"History tells us that there will be good players at all picks right through until about 40," he said.

"We believe there are some great players available (this year).

"There's a good balance of midfield players, ruckmen, some intercept marking defenders as well (later).

"With live trading on the night there's a lot that can happen, so we wait with baited breath to see what unfolds."

Gold Coast's Jack Martin will be hoping to find his way Carlton while injury-plagued former Dockers midfielder Harley Bennell could be thrown a lifeline at the national draft or Friday's pre-season and rookie drafts.