Young Lion backed to be best of the new batch
AFL draftees have plumped for No.1 pick Cam Rayner to be the best of the new bunch in 2018.
More than 100 youngsters from around the country are in Melbourne for a two-day AFL Players Association induction camp.
The draftees were addressed by speakers including AFLPA president Matthew Pavlich, Richmond premiership player Kane Lambert and retired stars Leigh Montagna, Drew Petrie and Andrew Swallow.
Polled by the AFLPA, 21 per cent of 2017 draftees said Lion Rayner would win best first-year player honours, followed by Luke Davies-Uniacke (North Melbourne, 14 per cent) and Paddy Dow (Carlton, 6 per cent).
Geelong's Tim Kelly (pick No.24) was the top pick as the player most likely to surprise the competition, followed by Liam Ryan (No.26, West Coast) with 7 per cent.
Luke Hodge (9 per cent), Nat Fyfe (7 per cent) and Joel Selwood (6 per cent) emerged as the existing stars most admired by the new crew.
Rayner said the camp had already been an eye-opening experience.
"Hearing from AFL legends such as Matthew Pavlich, Leigh Montagna and Drew Petrie today really demonstrated that doing something off field is the key to a long and successful career," he said.
"I'm just really excited to get stuck into it."
AFLPA general manager of player development Brett Johnson said the camp provides an opportunity for all draftees to understand the support available.
"The key focus of this camp is to ensure the players understand what the AFLPA has to offer them during and after their AFL careers and how these programs and services can help them maximise their time in the game both on and off the field," he said.
"With the average AFL career being just over six years, we encourage the draftees to jump right into their off-field development to ensure they're prepared and equipped for what a career after football might look like."