AFL looks at Gold Coast for long term home of draft
THE AFL draft could soon find a permanent home on the Gold Coast with officials starting talks with the Queensland Government on a new long-term deal.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou was at Metricon Stadium yesterday for the official launch of tonight's draft along with Queensland Major Events minister Jan Stuckey, who revealed premier Campbell Newman's Government was open to extending the deal which expires after tonight's draft which is being held at the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre for the fourth year running.
Demetriou has been a long-time supporter of the Gold Coast as the AFL draft's permanent home and reiterated that view yesterday.
"It is a really wonderful fit having the draft on the Gold Coast," he said.
"It really is a fantastic place to be this time of the year and hosting one of our premier events, the national draft."
Minister Stuckey said the Queensland Government was also pleased the draft was in the state, adding: "We'll be sitting down in the near future to discuss the future, we welcome the AFL draft here on the coast."
One of those expected to be taken high in the draft tonight is South Australian key position player Matthew Scharenberg.
Once described by Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams as the best schoolboy talent he had seen since Wayne Carey, the 190cm 18-year-old is capable of playing both forward and back.
He had an outstanding NAB AFL Under-18 Championships which saw him collect back-to-back All Australian selections in 2012-13.
Scharenberg was also the runner-up in the Larke Medal for the best player in Division One and his ability to read the play and strong hands make him an unstoppable force in the air.
He said he was not worried about being touted as a possible top-five pick and was just trying to concentrate on getting better.
"Being talked about as an early draft pick, I don't really look into that much, I never really have," Scharenberg told AFL.com.au.
"I just want to focus on playing footy and improving my game."
Scharenberg played four times with Glenelg in the SANFL before a foot injury curtailed his season last year.
He said those games have helped him prepare for what lies ahead if chosen to play in the AFL. He also said the fact he could play forward or back could work in his favour.
"I think versatility could be a strength," Scharenberg said.
"I guess you hear people say it's pretty important, especially in the modern game, to be able to play in a number of positions and that's something I can do pretty well."