TIME flies when you’re having fun — and goes even quicker when you’re building a list. 

While it seems like the trade period has just come and gone, the attention quickly turns to the upcoming draft, which is officially one month away. 

Head of List Management Nick Austin spoke to Carlton Media about the Club’s expectations leading into the three-day November event: the first round will be selected on November 24, the remainder of the NAB AFL Draft the following day, before the rookie draft takes place on November 26. 

Here’s what Austin had to say on all things Navy Blue.

What’s the go with pick No.25?

“We’re really comfortable picking at No.25,” Austin said.

“We feel like with this draft and the lack of exposure, there’s going to be a blanket thrown over a group of players probably from pick No.7 onwards. We’ve done a lot of work in that 10-40 range and we feel like we’re sitting in a really good spot to get a player we really like and will add to our group.”

09:25 Mins
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Austin: Consolidate the list

Head of List Management Nick Austin spoke to Carlton Media to wrap up an active trade and free agency period.

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How many players will the Blues be selecting, and what’s the focus?

“We’ll definitely use our first pick in the draft and work through some upgrades potentially at the back-end,” he said.

“We think that it’s a really good draft for midfield depth and around-the-square types. We’re still looking to improve that running capacity around the midfield and their ball use, as well as someone who can go forward and have an impact in the front half.

“We want to look at that mid-forward group and improve that running capacity and ball use.”

What about the rookies?

“We were given a lot more freedom [moving players] from the primary to the rookie list last year. It has gone back to normal, where players in that situation will have to actually come off your list and be re-drafted,” he said.

“List spots are at an absolute premium… we’ve committed to both players [Lochie O’Brien and Matthew Cottrell] to select them in the rookie draft. We had our two mid-season picks in Alex Mirkov and Jordan Boyd, who both have contracts for next year and are two guys that will take list spots that weren’t here this time last year.

“We see them - who haven’t had a pre-season at the level - as virtually our back-end rookie picks from a new face point of view. They’ll get their first opportunity to come through the group in a full-time capacity this summer with a new coaching group, which is really exciting for us.”

Could a trade involving pick No.25 take place before or on draft night?

“We feel like pick No.25 is a good place to pick,” he said.

“We’ve had a few offers for it at the moment, but unless it’s something really appealing to us where we can improve next year’s hand with a slight shift back this year, we’re pretty comfortable.”

Thinking 12 months into the future…

“Strategy-wise, we want to go to the draft next year and keep our picks together, especially at the top end,” he said.

“We’ve had a couple of years where we added players through the trade period, especially in that 22-26 age gap where we felt there was a real need. We also felt there were specific roles and traits that we brought in.

“Now it’s time to consolidate the list. We’ve had a good group come through via the draft that due to hubs, scratch matches, Covid and injuries, haven’t had a good look at it yet.

“We’ll give that group every opportunity with a new coaching group to move forward: we’ll know a lot more about our list in 12 month’s time and be in a position to go to the draft.”