Essendon GM of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro has revealed how a last-minute backflip led him to select Zach Merrett in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft.
Speaking on new podcast mini-series Dodcast (below) launched today, Dodoro said plans to select a tall with pick No. 26 were thrown out the window in the dying seconds.
“The thing about that draft is that we felt our list management strategy was to bring in a tall,” Dodoro said.
“We got to that pick, and to be honest, I thought we were going to take Rory Lobb. I actually rang Rory before the draft and said, ‘You’re a really good chance to come to the Essendon Football Club’.
“But then, I remember speaking to ‘Bomber’ (then-Essendon coach Mark Thompson) on the Gold Coast about an hour before the draft, and he said to me, ‘What’s your gut feel?’ I said, ‘My gut feel is this Zach Merrett kid is going to be a star’.
“There’s an expletive that came over the broadcast (during pick 26). I actually changed my mind there and then. I said something to the words of, ‘Bugger it, I’m taking Zach’.
“I remember (then-GWS recruiting manager) Stephen Silvagni was going to take Zach Merrett with the next pick. He looked at me and took Rory Lobb with that pick.”
Dodoro’s faith in Merrett has been vindicated, with the star midfielder already an All Australian and two-time Crichton medallist at the age of 24.
Those on-field accomplishments come as no surprise to Dodoro, who was blown away by Merrett’s professionalism in his pre-draft interview.
“The thing that stuck out for me was that when we interviewed Zach, I’ve never known a young man to actually come to the interview with notes,” Dodoro said.
“He actually came so prepared that he knew every sponsor of our club and every Board member. He came there to interview us.
“I thought, ‘How professional is this young bloke’. It wasn’t a con job, it wasn’t anything other than who he was as a person. He is so diligent, it’s just not funny. He’s professional beyond his years, and that was the thing that really stood out for us.”
This news is brought to you by Orchard HRO, the club's official recruitment and list management partner.