The Giants have questioned Carlton's choice of Sam Walsh as pick No.1. (AAP Image/James Ross)
The Giants have questioned Carlton's choice of Sam Walsh as pick No.1. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Draft Blue emerges after Giants swipe

GWS national talent manager Adrian Caruso has thrown Carlton's No.1 draft selection up for debate with a bold declaration excitement machine Izak Rankine was the real superstar from this year's draft class.

With the dust still settling on the 2018 AFL national draft, Caruso on Tuesday suggested the Blues may have blundered by letting Rankine slip through to the Gold Coast Suns - who had the No.2 and No.3 picks.

Rankine was eventually taken with the third selection on Thursday night at the Marvel Stadium talent carve-up after Carlton picked highly-rated Geelong Falcons midfielder Sam Walsh with the prized top pick.

Caruso provided an extensive summary of the Giant's draft recruitment haul on Tuesday - one day after the club released a behind-the-scenes video showing the club nailed its draft day trade gambles.

He was also happy to declare Rankine would have gone to the Giants if they had the No.1 pick.

"I would have taken Izak Rankine, but it's easy to say that," Caruso said.

"If you actually had the No.1 pick and you were weighing up (Sam) Walsh and Rankine, in the end would you just go the safe bet in Sam Walsh?

The top 10 draft picks of 2018.
The top 10 draft picks of 2018.

"That would have been the hard one, but I think I'm pretty bold, so I probably would have stuck with Izak Rankine... it's hard to find players who have that level of ability."

However, the Giants scout also praised the Blues for their blockbuster trade with the Adelaide Crows which rocked the game on Thursday night.

Blues list boss Stephen Silvagni swapped 2019 first-round picks with Adelaide to claim highly-touted midfielder Liam Stocker at pick No. 19.

How the two clubs fare next season will have a large say in who has 'won' the trade - the Crows will get the No. 1 pick if the Blues finish last - but much depends on what sort of player Stocker turns into.

Caruso says the intent behind the Blues' gamble is exactly what's required from re-building clubs.

"I thought the Carlton trade was a really good trade," he said.

Geelong Falcon Sam Walsh was a contentious No. 1.
Geelong Falcon Sam Walsh was a contentious No. 1.

"They've backed themselves to have a really good year next year, so trading out their future first rounder to get Adelaide's back and then getting in a player this year that they wanted.

"I think they've actually copped a bit for it but I actually don't mind it because if they rate the player and they want to get him in now and they back themselves to be good next year, then I don't think that's a bad one."

Caruso also proudly backed-in his team's haul of four picks inside the first 25 players selected this year.

The club-released video below shows the first round of the draft played out almost exactly as the Giants recruitment team predicted - allowing them to make their own dramatic moves on the second day.

Having already taken Jye Caldwell with the No.11 selection, Jackson Hately with the No.14 pick and Xavier O'Halloran at No.22, the Giants rolled the dice to grab Ian Hill at No.24 following a trade with the Crows.

The Crows traded out pick No.24 to GWS, who swooped on Perth speedster Hill. Adelaide got pick No.28 in return (which became 30 after father-son bids) as well as the Giants' 2019 second-round selection.

GWS matched a bid by West Coast for Giants academy player and Sydney local Kieren Briggs with pick 34.

"The Giants causing a bit of havoc, as is their right," Fox Footy's Tom Morris said.

Giants list manager Jason McCartney told the Giants his club was able to score some potential stars with their later-round picks.

"Obviously last night really set the draft up for us," he said.

"The ability to bring in Jye, but also Jackson and then Xavier, just provided a little bit of flexibility for what we needed to do today.

"The other key component was that we thought a bid might come for Kieren Briggs might come last night and it didn't. That allowed us to go to work this morning and try and bring our pick No. 28, get that inside of where we thought a bid might have come from an Adelaide or potentially Sydney.

"So to do that we went to the futures, used a pick from the future and got us the ability to get that small forward in Ian Hill and then from there when a bid came later for Kieren Briggs we were able to match that and then Connor Idun was still on our list and we were able to work into a posotion to also add him to our list."

- with AAP

News Corp Australia

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