Ben Williams is in a unique position heading into today’s AFL national draft.
The Melbourne-based player-manager has two potential No.1 draft picks including Perth key forward Logan McDonald.
South Australian big man Riley Thilthorpe is the warm favourite to get taken by Adelaide with pick one, but several other options are yet to be ruled out.
Williams, general manager of Players Ink sports management firm, admits he still has no idea whether McDonald, Thilthorpe, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan or Elijah Hollands will go pick one.
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The Crows confirmed last week that the race was down to four players but haven’t given much else away, in public or behind the scenes.
“I haven’t really had any indications whether Adelaide will go with Logan, Riley or someone else with that top pick as yet so we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out on draft day,” Williams said.
“It certainly builds a bit of suspense ahead of the draft.
“I’ve never been in a position like this before and I can’t remember another manager who has been in the same position in recent times, having two of their players vying to go No.1, so I’m pretty lucky.”
Williams said while his top-two draft hopes were different players, they were both worthy of the No.1 pick title.
“One is a key forward who nearly won the WAFL goal-kicking, was named in the WAFL team of the year, was runner-up in Perth’s best-and-fairest his first year of senior footy,” Williams said.
“The other is a forward-ruck who has gone up against some massive players in a really reputable state league in the SANFL and he’s done that for two seasons around a couple of minor injuries.
“They’re both so mature for their age and take things in their stride, it doesn’t feel like you’re talking to normal 18-year-olds when you’re talking to them.”
McDonald and Thilthorpe have crossed paths several times in their footy journeys, with the young Demon glowing in his praise of his fellow draft fancy.
“I’ve met Riley a couple of times through the Australian program and AFL academy stuff and he’s a really great guy, I get along with him really well,” McDonald said recently.
“Any club lucky enough to get hold of him will be going a long way to building a great club and culture. He’s a good kid and an even better player.”
Williams also manages fellow first-round hopeful and McDonald’s Perth teammate Nathan O’Driscoll.