The burden of being the number one pick in an AFL national draft is heavy, as proven by players like Jack Watts and Tom Boyd. However, for others like Sam Walsh, it only takes a few games to prove their worth. With Harley Reid expected to be the next top pick for West Coast, it’s a good time to look back at the history of this prestigious title.
In this ranking of all 39 number one picks, the following players fall at the bottom of the list:
39. Aaron Cadman (GWS, 2022)
Last year’s top pick showed promise but needs time to truly develop.
38. Richard Lounder (Richmond, 1987)
Lounder, a ruckman, had a short-lived AFL career with just four games.
37. Stephen Hooper (Geelong, 1990)
Knee tendonitis limited Hooper to just 21 matches before being delisted.
36. Anthony Banik (Richmond, 1989)
Banik suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome after a promising start.
35. Alex McDonald (Hawthorn, 1988)
McDonald played 107 games but had to retire early due to hip problems.
34. John Hutton (Brisbane Bears, 1991)
Hutton showed early promise but was delisted at the end of his debut season.
33. Martin Leslie (Brisbane Bears, 1986)
Leslie, an older pick at 26, had a decent stint in Brisbane but never reached his full potential.
32. Clive Waterhouse (Fremantle, 1995)
Waterhouse became a cult hero for the Dockers but didn’t live up to expectations.
31. Paddy McCartin (St Kilda, 2014)
McCartin struggled with injuries and concussions, leading to a premature retirement from the Saints.
30. Jonathon Patton (GWS, 2011)
Patton’s career ended amid accusations of inappropriate behavior, tarnishing his promising start.