The GIANTS have added two first-round talents and an Academy gun to their list at the 2021 NAB AFL Draft before adding a versatile defender to the rookie list.
Coming into the draft on Wednesday night with pick two, the GIANTS placed a bid on Western Bulldogs Father/Son prospect Sam Darcy. The Bulldogs matched the bid.
At pick three, the GIANTS selected elite Victorian wingman Finn Callaghan.
Callaghan is a left-footed medium midfielder who burst onto the scene with dominant performances for the Sandringham Dragons, showcasing his natural talent and athleticism.
He plays inside where he excels at stoppages or on the outside on the wing using his penetrating kicking to give good service to his forwards. Callaghan has unique aerial ability as well as goal sense.
“It’s rare to find a player with a set of attributes like Finn, he’s pretty special,” said GIANTS National Recruiting Manager Adrian Caruso.
“The combination of speed and agility with good running power gives some flexibility to the roles that he can play for us and the point of difference he adds to our current midfield mix.
“Importantly, his strong work ethic and the mindset will allow him to adapt to a few different roles until he is physically ready to step into our midfield.
“There’s no secret many clubs behind us were trying to trade up to our selection with Finn in mind but the recruiting team was strong all along in not having any interest in passing him up.”
With the club’s second pick of the night - pick 15 - the GIANTS selected Leek Aleer, a key defender with rare talent.
High-marking and extremely athletic, Aleer is a tall defender who has been a revelation at senior level in the SANFL.
Born in Kenya to Sudanese parents, the 20-year-old broke the all-time record at the National Draft Combine for the running vertical jump with a leap of 107cm.
“Leek is going to provide something unique to our backline with his rare athletic package,” Caruso said.
“Finding a young key back who we can develop was something we prioritised, and Leek’s resilience and character give us confidence that he will give himself the best chance possible to nail a spot alongside Sam Taylor down the track.
“After suffering a major injury in 2019 he has built his way back to perform extremely well for Central Districts in the SANFL this year, however we see him as more of a long-term prospect than someone we will look to fast track into our backline.”
The GIANTS then selected Canberra-born Academy product Josh Fahey on night two of the NAB AFL Draft.
At pick 42, the Bulldogs bid on Fahey with the GIANTS immediately matching the bid and making the 18-year-old a GIANT.
Fahey is a medium defender/wingman who takes the game on using his speed, step through traffic, and prodigious elite left foot to break the game open.
He starred for the Australian NAB AFL Academy team against Geelong’s VFL side in April, winning the AFL Commission Chairman’s Medal as Australia’s best player
Fahey was part of the GIANTS’ VFL program in 2021, playing five games around border restrictions and relocations.
“We have tracked Josh since he was around 13 through the Academy and are delighted to finally welcome him into the club,” said National Recruiting Manager Adrian Caruso.
“He is a hard-running half-back who really breaks lines with his speed and his kicking ability.
“He has really worked hard on his game in tough circumstances in the last two years without many opportunities to play and we see enormous upside in him as he enters a full-time program.”
In Friday's Rookie Draft, the GIANTS selected versatile defender Cooper Hamilton.
"Cooper is a player we think adds some flexibility to our list in the roles he can play," Caruso said.
"We see him playing down back to start with, but his elite endurance base might help him play in some higher roles down the track.
"He is a well-rounded player and we know he will bring a strong work ethic to give himself the best chance to succeed."
The GIANTS also re-listed 2020 draftee Jacob Wehr.
All four draftees will start at the club next Monday as the GIANTS’ first-to-fourth year players return for day one of pre-season training.
Pick 3 - Finn Callaghan
Drafted from: Sandringham Dragons, NAB League/St. Bede's College
State: Victoria (Metro)
Date of Birth: 24/04/03
Pick 15 - Leek Aleer
Drafted from: Central Districts, SANFL
State: South Australia
Position: Key defender
Date of Birth: 21/08/01
Pick 42 - Josh Fahey
Drafted from: GIANTS Academy, NAB League/Queanbeyan FC
Date of Birth: 11/11/03
Rookie - Cooper Hamilton
Drafted from: Bendigo Pioneers, NAB League/Colbinabbin FC/Caulfield Grammar
State: Victoria Country
Date of Birth: 24/09/03