Taberner a top AFL draft chance

ATHLETIC forward Matt Taberner is hoping to become the latest player rolled off the Alpine Valley production line tonight.

The AFL fate of several Murray Bushrangers will be decided on the Gold Coast at the national draft, with Taberner, 19, one of the region’s brightest hopes.

But the young star, who lives at Bright and plays for Myrtleford, is not confident of joining Jack Crisp and Frazer Dale on an AFL list.

He said he was more likely to find an AFL home via the rookie draft, the path taken by former Myrtleford-raised Crisp and Dale last year.

“I haven’t got high hopes,” said Taberner, who might watch the draft by himself.

“I will just see what happens. 

“If it doesn’t happen tomorrow night I’ve got the rookie draft. 

“I think I’m more of a chance in that.”

Katamatite backman Tom Clurey has been touted as a possible first round pick (the first 23), while Benalla Saints midfielder Sam Martyn and Shepparton United’s Matt Brett are likely to come under consideration later in the draft.

In an effort to boost his draft chances, Taberner was rushed into the Bushrangers side late in the year after strong form for Myrtleford, where he finished fourth in the senior best-and-fairest award.

“The Bushrangers approached me and asked how I’d feel about coming back for the last couple of games,” he said.

“Since Myrtleford couldn’t make the finals I thought, ‘Why not’. 

“I played one final at the Bushrangers and it would have been nice to play more.”

If he’s not drafted, Taberner said he had not ruled out joining Saints teammates Hugh Wales and Lee Dale in Melbourne, with both set to try their luck in the VFL.

Bushies skipper Martyn is not even sure if he will watch tonight’s telecast.

The 18-year-old had an outstanding season, winning the TAC Cup club’s best-and-fairest, while he played for Vic Country at the under-18 nationals.

“I haven’t got any expectations,” he said.

But Martyn said Taberner could be a smokey.

“I reckon Matt Taberner is a big chance,” he said.

“He’s a late developer who’s only going to get better.”

by chris mitchell

z But draft

not Matt’s only chance

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