After the 2009 NAB National Draft the Northern Territory had three draftees come from its ranks and should expect more to go in the Rookie Draft in two weeks time.
Of the three drafted last night, two came from the AFL Northern Territory State Academy Program namely Anthony Long (Essendon) and Troy Taylor (Richmond) and the more notable draft choice of Shane Thorne (Western Bulldogs) came from the NT Thunder State League team after it’s inaugural season in the QAFL.
"AFL NT and the Northern Territory Football Club are extremely pleased with the outcome so early in the piece," said NT Thunder CEO Stuart Totham.
"This was an objective for two or three years down the track, once the club was established and had grounding, but to get a draftee this early in the piece is fantastic for Territory footy."
Thorne, who is known as an x-factor among his team mates from the Wanderers Football Club as well as the NT Thunder has pace to burn and agility to match with superb kicking skills.
After finishing 6th in the NT Thunder best and fairest for 2009 and named the Most Improved player on the list, Thorne has earned his stripes and deserves this chance after nearly giving away football to become a family man after the birth of his daughter two years ago.
"NT Thunder has provided Shane with another opportunity to play AFL football, he was nearly lost to the system and now we have an avenue for mature players like him to prove their wares in the QAFL as another avenue to the AFL," said Totham.
Murray Davis, now the Head Coach of the NT Thunder, has seen first hand the effect and the diligence that Thorne has put into his game and stresses this is only the start and opportunities for Thunder players are going to come thick and fast after a very impressive first year.
Davis said "It’s really pleasing to see Shane get an opportunity with the Bulldogs. I’m sure he realises there is a lot of hard work ahead of him. It’s been testament to Shane’s attitude, hard work & the support around him that has seen him rewarded with a chance to showcase his skill & talent in the AFL.
To be selected at age 23 speaks volumes for what persistence and some sacrifices can result in. When most players were enjoying an off-season or preparing for the NTFL Shane was working with a select squad to prepare for this moment.
The State Academy has also achieved great results as well for 2009 with two of their U18 NT Thunder players being picked up with Troy Taylor going to Richmond and Anthony Long heading to Essendon.
"Our talent staff, such as Jarrod Chipperfield, Tim Lawrence and Head Coach Brett Hand have done a fantastic job in 2009," said Totham
"Specifically, they need to be commended on the resurrection of Taylor’s career and more importantly his life, and this mentoring role should not be underestimated."
The Northern Territory should receive some more good news in the next coming weeks with the Rookie Draft. Players such as Liam Patrick (Wanderers FC), Relton Roberts (Wanderers FC), Deon Gordon (NT Thunder U18), Mitchell Taylor (NT Thunder U18), Scott Taylor (NT Thunder U18), Roland Ah Chee (NT Thunder U18) are all in contention to be rookie listed for 2010.
The 2009 NAB AFL Rookie Draft will take place at Midday (NT Time) on Tuesday 15 December 2009.