Trade period is over and it’s time for the list management and recruiting staff to give their full attention to the draft.

Undoubtably, the team’s preparation is already months old but, to this point, that preparation has largely been conducted individually.

The recruiting team meets with three weeks to go 'til draft night and now is the time to compare notes, thoughts and, ultimately, devise rankings of this year’s draft class.

Individual opinion is strongly encouraged, challenging each other’s assessments is the purpose and the reason for why valuations have been kept close to respective chests through the majority of the year.

Players were previously broken up into groups of six to 10 and now the process begins.

Each player has been packaged up in fifteen minutes-plus of film each.

Press play on each video and let the chorus of running commentary begin – praise, criticism, hesitation, wow – any or all of the above reactions.

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But their on-field work is just the start of analysing the man in question.

Notes from previous interviews come out from each recruiter, then the psychologist’s notes from the same interviews, the medical team’s thoughts, the school teacher’s, the local coaches’, family friends’, maybe even the milkman’s.

The feedback is incredibly broad, ranging across every aspect of the aspiring footballer's life – it’s a barrage of facts.

Recruiters take turns showing an almost passionate belief in certain players and, when that belief isn’t necessarily shared with colleagues, a salesman hat is put on.

Naturally, there is strong disagreement at stages - sometimes the colleagues come around, sometimes they don’t.

One thing that is striking is the weight placed on interviews.

There’s an unwillingness to assign players a ranking until they have been interviewed, that process could transform where he sits in the scheme of things, for better or for worse.

If negative comments become too constant, there’s a swift move on to the next player.

The minor things on the footage are picked up.

An outsider, less in the know, might get sucked into the quantities as opposed to the quality within those kicks, marks or handballs. An insider knows to look at things like the kick mechanics, ability to judge the flight of the ball, non-dominant hand handballing.

It’s near-on ridiculous how much these guys can tell you about every single player they’re going through – in so many different aspects of their life but obviously primarily footy.

As you move further down the order, labels of query tend to float almost synonymously alongside respective names – competitiveness, character issues, discipline.

Another thing you can’t forget is that, ultimately, the recruiters haven’t seen nearly as much as they’d like to have of these players.

The comment “you’d need to see him as a 19-year-old” is a reasonably persistent one as we delve lower into the draft order.

Once the recruiting team’s top 50 is finally set at the end of a long few days of deliberation, everyone seems remarkably content despite the mountain of debate that has gone before them.

As the day comes to a close, the question is asked ‘what’s next?’.

Names quickly find their way onto the board - they need to be interviewed, most of them for a second, third or fourth time, just to finalise their respective spots.

Some of those interviews will be to affirm the kind of character traits that the team would gladly bring in to the club, ensuring their confidence in calling that name out.

Others might be just to revisit one answer to one question from a previous interview that may be bugging the recruiters, just sticking on their mind and creating a sense of hesitation that they’re not sure what to do with – put a cross through his name or alleviate the permeating concerns. 

But, a big step in the recruiter’s preparation checklist has been ticked off now and the sights continue to be set on the next bunch of players who will form the club’s 2020 draft crop.

Stay tuned.

03:06 Mins
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Mark McKenzie on all the latest draft news

Hear from Mark McKenzie on the latest from the upcoming draft.

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