Gippsland show their power at the AFL Draft

Magpie mates: Tew Jiath stands with fellow Collingwood draftee Harry DeMattia. Photograph: Tew Jiath/Instagram




A FRESH batch of Gippsland Power recruits have made their way onto AFL lists following the 2023 AFL Draft.

It was once again another strong year for the Gippsland representative side, who had five players drafted into the big time.

The program has now seen 11 players make it into the system in the last two draft years, 10 from the national draft and one recruited in the 2022 Mid-Season Draft, all of which still occupy spots of their respective AFL lists.

Two of the five 2023 draftees were selected in the first round to the same team, while the remaining three were sent packing to three separate clubs.

MORWELL’s Tew Jiath headlined things from a Latrobe-Valley view.

Tew, the younger brother of Hawthorn rising star Changkuoth, was selected by reigning premier Collingwood with Pick 37.

Ahead of the draft, Jiath was recognised as a bolter, moving into potential first round contention, but subsequently dropped to the eighth pick of the second round, but nonetheless, now on a competitive list.

Jiath joins his brother Changkuoth in the AFL system – a Hawk who has played 45 games in the brown and gold.

Jiath shows similarities to his brother’s game, yet stands a little taller and displays himself as a strong intercept marker on the half back flank.

TJ was praised for his second half of the season this year, which puts a lot of eyes on him from most clubs.

It’ll be hard to break into the Magpies premiership team, but Collingwood must see something important in him that could offer them some benefit.

FOSTER’S Zane Duursma was selected by North Melbourne with Pick 4, after their bid to sign Gold Coast academy player, Jed Walter, was matched by the Suns.

Duursma shone for Gippsland Power and Victoria Country in his senior year, showing up when it mattered and making an impact as a midfielder/forward, earning himself the best-and-fairest award at Gippsland Power.

Highlights included his performance in his final Under 18 Championships game, where he had 22 disposals, 10 marks and kicked 4.2 in Victoria Country’s 31-point win over Victoria Metro.

The brother of now Essendon player Xavier Duursma, who was previously at Port Adelaide, now joins his sibling in the AFL state and is sure to make an instant impact at the Kangaroos.

We may have to wait until Round 10 next season (May 19) to see the two brothers face off, if all goes swimmingly.

Duursma became the highest selection from the Gippsland Power squad since Morwell’s Ben Ainsworth was also selected with Pick 4 to Gold Coast Suns in the 2016 National AFL Draft.

Zane also joined sister Yasmin as an AFL player, with his sister currently with the Power’s AFLW side.

We may see another Duursma in the system soon, with his brother, Willem, also on the rise.

The siblings all carry first initials in alphabetical order: W (Willem), X (Xavier) Y (Yasmin) Z (Zane).

Foster has produced a remarkable line of AFL players in recent years, with the small town of 2000 people home to the three Duursma’s, as well as current GWS midfielder Ryan Angwin.

Adding to the list is Brett Eddy (Port Adelaide), Jack Weston (Geelong) and Jordan Staley (St Kilda), who have all returned home to play in Gippsland.

THE Kangaroos must have a liking for the Gippsland Power boys, having selected Leongatha’s Wil Dawson later in the first round with Pick 22, their fourth pick of the draft.

Dawson is a big-bodied player who can rotate as a key defender and play a role in ruck, standing at 201 centimetres (6 foot, 6 inches) tall.

Following the departure of key defender Ben McKay and ruckman Todd Goldstein to the Bombers, if the Kangaroos can get Dawson ready by Round 1, he may have an early effect in their camp in 2024.

INVERLOCH’S Archer Reid was the first selection of the second round, coming through at Pick 30, heading west to the West Coast Eagles.

Gippsland had the second Reid to be drafted to the wooden-spooners, joining Pick 1 Harley Reid.

It became obvious as we got closer to draft night that West Coast were always going to select Harley Reid as the Number 1 pick, but the addition of Archer Reid is one that could be of use.

West Coast are in desperate need of talent, and only having four picks at the national draft didn’t help, but Archer Reid joins the Gippsland Power recruits of Drouin’s Ryan Maric and Maffra’s Coby Burgiel, so he is sure to feel at home.

Archer Reid joins his brother in the AFL too, Zach Reid, who currently belongs at the Bombers.

FINALLY, another big man was shipped off, this time Warragul’s Lachlan Smith to the Western Bulldogs with Pick 47.

Smith will arrive at the Kennel after a strong season as a ruckman for Gippsland Power.

He was dubbed as one of the most complete rucks in the draft, standing at 203 centimetres tall, and will provide much-needed depth to the Doggies ruck stocks.

Smith was unable to compete at the Combine, but displayed a 3.13-second 20-metre sprint, which showcases his mobility as a ruckman over two metres tall.

Shinboner: Zane Duursma was taken at Pick 4 by North Melbourne. The Foster product played one game in the 2023 Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League season. Photograph: AFL Photos