Tasmania has enjoyed a fast start to the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, with two players selected inside the top 10 for the first time since 1996.
Tarryn Thomas, selected at pick nine by North Melbourne, was quickly followed by Chayce Jones, who was taken by the Adelaide Crows at pick nine, ensuring two Tasmanians were taken within the top 10 for the fourth time, and first in 22 years.
Thomas, a member of North Melbourne’s Next Generation Academy, was tipped by many to be a hot target by many clubs, meaning the Kangaroos would have to match any earlier bids by rival clubs, and this proved to be exactly what happened, with Adelaide placing a bid for his services at pick eight.
North Melbourne matched the bid and confirmed what many had been anticipating for years, Tarryn Thomas was to be a North Melbourne player.
“I have been in the Next Generation Academy since 2014, so I can’t wait to finally get started at North Melbourne,” Thomas said.
“It was 50/50 as to where I was going to go, I was just glad to have my name read out – it is a big relief.
“I can’t wait to get stuck into the preseason and learn from the likes of Jack Ziebell and Jy Simpkin.”
It’s official, Tarryn Thomas is a Shinboner!
We matched Adelaide’s bid, to select the Next Generation Academy midfielder at pick 8.
Welcome to Arden Street, Tarryn. #BeAShinboner
— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) November 22, 2018
Thomas became the first Tasmanian to be drafted in the top 10 since Kade Kolodjashnij in 2013, but fans didn’t have to wait long for a second player to be drafted, with the Crows snapping up Jones with pick nine immediately after Thomas’ selection.
Jones, captain of Tasmania’s successful under-18 Mariners side in 2018, overcame a nasty ankle injury in 2017 to impress throughout his draft year, culminating in this moment.
— Adelaide Crows (@Adelaide_FC) November 22, 2018
Jones was adamant that the reality of his selection was yet to fully sink in.
“It was unbelievable to start and it is still a bit surreal that it’s happened. It’s all happened really quickly and now I can’t wait to get started,” he said.
Although aware that Adelaide, among other clubs, had interest in his services, Jones’ name being read out as Adelaide’s selection still caught him by surprise.
“They showed interest at the combine but I didn’t have any idea until tonight and when they read my name out, I was absolutely stoked.
“I’m so proud to be selected and for the club to welcome me is amazing.”
Jones and Thomas have formed a strong bond over the years, with both players just as happy to see the other selected.
“Chayce and I have played against each other and become friends by playing with each other as part of the Tassie Mariners and Allies,” Thomas said.
“Chayce is a good mate and I’ve known him for most of my life, so I’m just over the moon for him and so proud of him.”
— AFL (@AFL) November 22, 2018
The remainder of the 2018 NAB AFL Draft will take place tomorrow from 12pm, with the NAB AFL Rookie Draft set to commence at 6pm.