National Recruiting Manager Dom Milesi gives a rundown on the Bulldogs welcomed over the 2021 draft period, and on Ryan Gardner’s elevation to the primary list.

Sam Darcy


Pick 2, National Draft

“It had been pretty well-documented for a while that Sam would end up here, but it was fantastic to officially do it on Wednesday night. Given the family history, it was so great to bring in someone as a third generation Bulldog.

“Having said that, Sam has earnt his opportunity in his own right. We’re just so thrilled – we think he’s got a lot of scope in multiple areas of the ground, but we’re also very mindful that he’s played limited footy across two years, and is managing a bit of an injury. It’s going to be very slow-going with him, but we’re going to be patient because I think it’ll be worth the wait.”


Arthur Jones


Pick 43, National Draft

“Arthur is a very exciting player – he’s originally from Mount Barker in WA, and moved up to Perth a couple of years ago. He’s got blinding speed and a fair bit of endurance as well.

“He’s a really bubbly kid and a really exciting person to talk to. He’s also related to the Krakouer family, so has got a fair bit of family history there. He came on a little bit later in the year, so is one that sort of developed slowly through the PSA system and then Colts, but some of his form, particularly the game on Grand Final day before we played, was quite exciting.

“He’ll have to hit the gym when he gets here – he’s only a light guy at the moment, but certainly has got some very exciting attributes that we’ll be patient with.”


Luke Cleary


Pick 61, National Draft

“Once again, you love seeing guys who’ve missed out keep going – Luke was one that wasn’t drafted last year as an 18-year-old, but he came back and had a really consistent year with Sandringham, and then in the Vic Metro trials across half-back.

“He’s a very steady player, his decision-making is really good, and he’s an outstanding character. You couldn’t ignore his form and consistency, so he was one we were really pleased to be able to get late in the draft.”


Charlie Parker


Pick 17, Rookie Draft

“Charlie is a mature-age player, who even though is a little bit older, hasn’t been in the system all that long. He was actually concentrating on his cricket growing up, and travelled overseas to play cricket. He joined Sturt at the start of this year, really impressed in the first month and fought his way into the senior team.

“We’re really excited about some of the attributes he’s got – he’s got real speed, endurance and a great long kick. We feel even though he’s a bit older, given his limited exposure to the pathway, he’s actually still got a fair bit of upside in him. We’re really looking forward to bringing him across and seeing how he goes in a full-time environment.”


Robbie McComb


Pick 23, Rookie Draft

“I’m sure many of the Dogs fans are already familiar with Robbie, but it’s another great story of persistence. He went and played local footy, then came and joined our VFL program – his form this year in the VFL was simply outstanding.

“He really was one of our pivotal players in the Footscray side during the year – he deserves his chance. He helps provide a bit of depth to our midfield, and I’m just really rapt to see someone like Robbie finally get an opportunity at AFL level. I’m sure he’s really going to embrace that.”


Cody Raak


Pre-selected Category B Rookie

“Cody’s another great story – particularly the work Dave Newton has done with the Next Generation Academy. It’s fantastic to get another player out of that system.

“It’s been really tough for Victorian kids that missed a couple of years (of footy) through COVID-19 and a lot of interruptions, but Cody has worked really hard at his game. He clearly adds into our defensive area of the ground, which we were looking to improve over this period. 

“It’s just great to bring in a boy who lives down the road in the western suburbs – we went and saw him earlier today, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so excited to join the Club.”


Ryan Gardner

Elevated to primary list

“’Gards’ has developed really well since he came onto the list from Footscray VFL in the midseason draft a couple of years ago. It was a shame he had a couple of injuries this year that really interrupted him, because he was really starting to show his form and consistency.

“We think he’s a great long-term prospect in our key defensive stocks, and we were really excited to put him up onto the primary list.”