AFL DRAFT VS YOUR FANTASY DRAFT
This evening, many young men will realise a dream and be drafted to an AFL club, set to play the great game of footy at the highest level. They will be hugged by friends and family, congratulated by peers and looking forward to stepping up before they can begin getting abused on social media for missing a handball or not standing between the ball, a rampaging Charlie Dixon and a lifetime of CTE.
But what about the draft itself? It’s a rather boring affair, carried out by men with the same haircut, wearing slacks, polos and a mix of furrowed brows and shit-eating grins. The AFL is seemingly trying to turn the AFL draft into a bigger spectacle each year, having not saturated the calendar with events to maximum capacity. It’s really the one day on said calendar the casual fan doesn’t worry about, whilst in comparison your fantasy league, draft day is the best day of the year.
Given we’re so far away from the drafts that matter – our fantasy drafts, it’s time to pause and take a look at the difference in professionalism, enthusiasm and execution between the two drafts and the heavy hitters involved.
Polos with club logos and slacks are the uniform of choice for the men in clubland. Adorned with sponsor logos, these cookie-cutter outfits do nothing but reinforce the simple fact that anyone could be wearing this and you couldn’t tell the difference. Whilst at your fantasy draft, there will be a mix of eclectic outfits, backwards caps, hate-blockers (sunglasses) and facial hair. Someone maybe went to the trouble of making a mock jersey/guernsey for their team. Either way someone’s pants are liable to be off by the 9th round and shoes are optional.
Corporate sponsor beverages will be the liquid of choice for the AFL draft, sports drinks covering tables and turning the nearby urinals into a rainbow. At your draft you’ll be pissed by the 2nd round. When you’ve run out of beers halfway through the draft you’ll try scab a can of Woodstock off someone before resorting to raiding the host’s mixers shelf. Nothing says you went too hard, too early like a glass of blue curacao on the rocks whilst drafting Sam Docherty in the nineteenth round, claiming ‘he could come back sooner than we think’.
NAMES AND NUMBERS
The AFL are very stringent and multiple people will be involved at clubland ensuring no mistakes. Laptops are everywhere, tech guys on standby. Draftees are assigned an individual code to be read whilst drafted. In your draft, someone will try draft Trent Cotchin three rounds after he was drafted the first time. Someone will mess up which Josh Kennedy they want to draft. When Ollie Wines gets drafted, one league enigma will realise they never even had him on their list. Sheets of Reflex paper covered with beer stains, tomato sauce and illegible writing on them will be scattered everywhere. The people who brought laptops will mock them. One of the laptop crew’s computer will shit itself and they’ll need to print a list. The clipboard and paper crew will mock them. The circle of life continues. Hakuna matata, bitches.
After each pick, the next club has a set time to make their pick in the AFL and the draft will move along with German precision. At your fantasy draft, picks will be mocked mercilessly. If someone is taking too long, they will be rightfully abused. This isn’t kept on a timer, more a ‘gut feel’ style scenario. Some weapon will complain that every player he was going to draft was stolen the pick before him every time. When a savvy selection is made, silence ensues.
In the AFL, there’s interviews, photos, phonecalls, handshakes, congratulations and articles written by #experts declaring which team won and lost what can’t be evaluated for ten years. After your draft, there’s vomit and regret.