Five Academy graduates taken in NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft

On the evening of 2 June more than 600 amateur Australian rules players held their breath, hoping to be selected in the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

Twenty-four players from NSW and the ACT nominated for a berth at an AFL club and the chance to follow their dream.

Fifteen AFL clubs selected players in the mid-season draft, with 22 talented draftees swapping their local club colours for elite designs. Of these 22, five were from NSW.


Patrick Parnell (Pick 5) will go to Adelaide from the Albury Tigers and Murray Bushrangers. He is a GIANTS Academy graduate.

James Peatling (Pick 8) is off to the GIANTS from Pennant Hills Demons and the GIANTS’ VFL side. Peatling is also a GIANTS Academy graduate.

Lachlan McAndrew (Pick 12) will head to Sydney after impressive season at the Manly-Warringah Wolves. McAndrew is a product of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy .

Cooper Sharman (Pick 21) is off to the Saints. He was drafted from the SANFL but is a GIANTS Academy graduate, hailing from the Riverina.

Daniel Turner (Pick 24) joins Melbourne’s list. Turner has also been playing with the Albury Tigers and Murray Bushrangers. He is a GIANTS Academy graduate.


Patrick Parnell

Parnell joins the Crows with his skills the standout of his game. The versatile 19-year-old is considered an elite kick on both sides of his body, shows composure under pressure, an ability to generate run and carry and make good decisions.

Adelaide’s recruiting manager, Hamish Ogilvie, said the 178cm Parnell brings pace and skill to the Crows. “He has been playing for the Murray Bushrangers and his kicking efficiency has been a standout in that competition, his disposal efficiency has been 86 per cent in the NAB League this season, so we look forward to him joining us.”


James Peatling

Having been overlooked in two drafts, Peatling’s VFL performances for the GIANTS has seen the Pennant Hills product added to the GIANTS’ senior list for the rest of the 2021 season.

From Toongabbie, Peatling has played all five VFL games as a midfielder and half back this season, averaging 22 possessions.

GIANTS General Manager Football Jason McCartney said it’s another significant signing for the growth of the game in western Sydney:  “He’s a great story having come through our Western Sydney Academy and performing well at representative level over a number of years.

“He’s a line-breaking half back with speed and agility and we love how hard he is at the contest.”

Peatling is the latest Sydney local to join the GIANTS with Kieren Briggs (Pennant Hills), Nick Shipley (Campbelltown), Jake Stein (Penrith) and UNSW / ES’s Jack Buckley already on the list.


Lachlan McAndrew

McAndrew was drafted by the Swans as a long-term ruck prospect and will be given time to develop his ruck craft and football knowledge. 

The 210-centimetre ruck from the Northern Beaches only started playing AFL late in 2019 after playing rugby union. He was an ISS rep while attending St Augustine’s College.

McAndrew will have the opportunity to work with Dean Cox as well Swans senior ruckmen Tom Hickey, Callum Sinclair and Sam Naismith.

These experienced ruckmen will add to his always impressive list of mentors which includes former Swans player Steve Taubert and Swans Academy coach Jared Crouch who, with Sydney Swans Assistant Coach, Dean Cox, have all praised his ability to be coached.


Cooper Sharman

From Leeton, Sharman is praised by St Kilda for his natural football ability, clean hands, great foot skills and good football brain.

The 21-year-old former GIANTS Academy player has put in the hard yards, playing with Oakleigh Chargers and Woodville-West Torrens over the past few seasons.


Daniel Turner 

The final pick in the 2021 mid-season draft, Daniel Turner. He’s grown up playing with Paddy Parnell and will be excited to be among one of 2021’s premiership favourites, Melbourne.

A key defender for the Albury Tigers, and now at the age of 19 will be playing with the Demons. His hard work and impressive ability to read the ball makes him an exciting addition.


Congratulations to these five players who join 57 NSW/ACT products on AFL lists:


Adelaide Crows

Taylor Walker (North Broken Hill (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18)

Elliot Himmelberg (Wagga Wagga)

Ben Davis (UNSW-ES Bulldogs, Sydney, QBE Sydney Swans Academy)

Nick Murray (Albury)

Brisbane Lions

Ely Smith (Yarrawonga (Vic)/Sacred Heart College (Vic)/Murray Bushrangers U18 (NSW)


Zac Williams (Narrandera, Albury (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/Murray Bushrangers U18/GWS GIANTS Academy/GWS GIANTS)

Matthew Kennedy (Collingullie-Glenfield Park (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy/GWS GIANTS)

Luke Parks (St.Ives/North Shore (Sydney),QBE Sydney Swans Academy/Glenelg (SANFL)

Michael Gibbons (Lavington (NSW)/Murray Bushrangers U18/Williamstown (VFL)

Will Setterfield (Albury (NSW)/Scots School (NSW)/Sandringham U18/GWS GIANTS Academy/GWS GIANTS)


Max Lynch (Jindera Bulldogs (NSW)/Albury (NSW)/Murray U18)


Lachlan Schulz (Moama (NSW)/Bendigo U18/Williamstown (VFL)


Isaac Smith (Wagga Tigers (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/Redan (Vic)/N Ballarat (VFL)

Tom Hawkins (Finley (NSW)/Melbourne Grammar (Vic)/Sandringham U18)

Gold Coast

Jacob Townsend (Leeton-Whitton (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy/GWS GIANTS/Richmond/Essendon)

Jarrod Witts (St Ives (NSW)/Sydney University (NSW)/Collingwood)


Jake Stein (St Dominic’s College, Penrith (NSW)

Phil Davis (Marist College, Canberra/St Peter’s College (SA)/North Adelaide (SANFL)/Adelaide)

Jacob Hopper (Leeton-Whitton United (NSW)/North Ballarat U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Isaac Cumming (North Broken Hill (NSW)/North Adelaide (SANFL)/GWS GIANTS Academy/WSU (NEAFL)

Tom Green (Canberra, Eastlake (ACT)/Marist College (ACT)/GWS GIANTS Academy (NEAFL)

Jeremy Finlayson (Culcairn (NSW)/Sydney Hills (NEAFL)/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Matthew Flynn (Narrandera (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Zach Sproule (Albury (NSW)/Murray U18/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Harry Himmelberg (Mangoplah-CUE (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/Eastlake (NEAFL)

Kieren Briggs (Pennant Hills (NSW), GWS GIANTS Academy)

Nick Shipley (Campbelltown (NSW) St George (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Will Shaw (Deniliquin)

Harry Perryman (Collingullie-Glenfield Park (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Daniel Lloyd (Killarney Vale (NSW)

Jack Buckley (University Of NSW-Eastern Suburbs (NSW)


Luke Breust (Temora (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18)

Michael Hartley (Penrith (NSW)/Sydney Uni (NSW)/Coll Rks/Coburg (VFL)/Ess)

Jacob Koschitzke (Albury (NSW)/Albury High School (NSW)/Murray U18)


Charlie Spargo (Albury (NSW)/Murray Bushrangers U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Aaron vandenBerg (Tathra (NSW)/Ainslie/Canberra (NEAFL)

Port Adelaide

Todd Marshall (Deniliquin Rams (NSW)/Murray Bushrangers U18)


Ryan Garthwaite (Lavington Panthers (NSW)/Murray U18)

Ivan Soldo (Canberra)

St Kilda

Jack Steele (Belconnen (NEAFL)/NSW-ACT U18/GWS GIANTS Academy, GWS)

Dougal Howard (Wagga Tigers (NSW)/Murray U18/Port Adel)

Thomas Highmore (Tuggeranong/Marist/Eastlake/Canberra Demons (ACT) GWS GIANTS Academy/South Adelaide (SANFL)

Paul Hunter

Sydney Swans

Isaac Heeney (Sydney Swans Academy/Cardiff (NSW)

Harry Cunningham (Turvey Park (NSW)/NSW-ACT U18/Wagga (NSW)

Sam Naismith (Gunnedah, Sydney Swans Academy/North Shore (NSW)

Callum Mills (Sydney Swans Academy/North Shore (NSW)

Braeden Campbell (Pennant Hills, NSW, Sydney Swans Academy)

Dane Rampe (Eastern Suburbs (NSW)/University Of NSW (NSW)

Nick Blakey (University Of NSW-Eastern Suburbs (NSW) Sydney Swans Academy)

Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy/University Of NSW-Eastern Suburbs (NSW)

Marc Sheather (Pennant Hills, Central Coast/Sydney Swans Academy)

James Bell (Shellharbour, Sydney Swans Academy/University Of NSW-Eastern Suburbs (NSW)

Sam Wicks (Manly-Warringah (NSW)/Sydney Swans Academy (NEAFL)

West Coast

Jarrad Brander (Wentworth (NSW)/Geelong Grammar (Vic)/Bendigo U18/GWS GIANTS Academy)

Western Bulldogs

Taylor Duryea (Wahgunyah (Vic)/Caulfield Grammar (Vic)/Murray Bushrangers U18 (NSW)

Joshua Bruce (Eastlake (NEAFL)/GWS GIANTS/St Kilda)