The 1986 VFL draft was the third formal draft to provide recruitment opportunities to clubs participating in Australian rules football's elite Victorian Football League. Held on 26 November 1986[1] after the end of the 1986 VFL season, it consisted only of the national draft itself, without a subsequent rookie or preseason draft. It was the first draft to be held since two initial drafts in 1981 and 1982, and as drafts have been held every year since, it is considered to be the first of the modern drafts.[2]

National draft

All twelve established clubs, along with one of the two teams set to debut in the competition, the Brisbane Bears, were given one pick in each of the five rounds, a total of 65 overall. Brisbane received the first selection in every round, and six pre-draft selections, as well as complete access to all players from Queensland.

The other new side, West Coast, was also granted similarly exclusive home-state rights. However, with the superior range of players available from the West Australian Football League (WAFL), the club was excluded from the draft.

The order of the remaining picks was set in the reverse of the previous season's finishing positions.

In addition, the established Victorian clubs maintained sole recruitment options on players from the relevant Metropolitan and, for the last time, Country Zones. This meant that even before the draft had started, the most sought-after footballers from Victoria were already signed, and therefore unavailable for selection.

The restricted pool of available draftees meant the majority of those chosen in the 1986 national draft came from South Australian and Tasmanian clubs. Meanwhile, although the minimum age for eligible players was 16, many were actually into their twenties, unlike the contemporary teenage selections. Also of note is the significant number of those picked either did not join the club that selected them at all, or at least did not do so straight away. Players were aligned to their drafted club for three years, but could choose to remain playing for their current club outside of the VFL.[1]

A prime example was the number one draft pick, Martin Leslie. Leslie served out the remaining two years of his contract with South Australian National Football League (SANFL) club Port Adelaide, winning All-Australian honours at the 1988 Adelaide Bicentennial Carnival in the process. Only then did he move to Brisbane, making his debut as a 26-year-old in 1989, winning the club's best-and-fairest twice and going on to play 107 games until his retirement in 1995. In contrast, the second selection overall, the similarly aged Steven Sims, opted to stay in the SANFL rather than join the St Kilda Football Club.[2]

Many of the 1986 draftees never played in a senior VFL/AFL match, including 4 of the top 10 selections and all of Geelong and St Kilda's picks.[3] Several did go on to make their name as footballers, among them Melbourne's Steven Febey and Darrin Pritchard of Hawthorn. However, the most notable of the draft's recruits was Alastair Lynch, picked by Fitzroy at number 50 overall, who eventually passed the major milestone of 300 appearances,[4] which included three victorious Grand Finals with the Brisbane Lions.

Pre-draft selections

Player Drafted to Recruited from League
Matthew Campbell Brisbane Bears North Adelaide SANFL
Stephen Connelly Brisbane Bears Central District SANFL
Ben Harris Brisbane Bears Port Adelaide SANFL
Neil Hein Brisbane Bears Norwood SANFL
Colin McDonald Brisbane Bears Woodville SANFL
Mark Mickan Brisbane Bears West Adelaide SANFL

National draft selections

Round Pick Player Drafted to Recruited from League
1 1 Martin Leslie Brisbane Bears Port Adelaide SANFL
1 2 Steven Sims St Kilda West Torrens SANFL
1 3 Steven Febey Melbourne Devonport TFLSL
1 4 Richard Anderson Richmond Norwood SANFL
1 5 Michael Taylor Geelong Port Fairy Hampden FL
1 6 Richard Cousins Footscray Central District SANFL
1 7 Chris Lindsay North Melbourne West Torrens SANFL
1 8 Grantley Fielke Collingwood West Adelaide SANFL
1 9 Andrew Payze Essendon West Torrens SANFL
1 10 John Brinkkotter Sydney Barooga Picola & District FL
1 11 Jason Taylor Fitzroy New Norfolk TFLSL
1 12 Dominic Fotia Carlton West Torrens SANFL
1 13 Clayton Lamb Hawthorn West Adelaide SANFL
2 14 Scott Adams Brisbane Bears Clarence TFLSL
2 15 Andrew Wickham St Kilda Latrobe North West FU
2 16 Matthew Febey Melbourne Devonport TFLSL
2 17 Trent Nichols Richmond Sandy Bay TFLSL
2 18 Mark O'Keeffe Geelong Warrnambool Hampden FL
2 19 Matthew Mansfield Footscray Glenorchy TFLSL
2 20 Brenton Harris North Melbourne South Adelaide SANFL
2 21 David Robertson Collingwood North Adelaide SANFL
2 22 Kieran Sporn Essendon West Adelaide SANFL
2 23 Lyndon Dakin Sydney Longford Northern Tasmanian FA
2 24 Matthew Armstrong Fitzroy Hobart TFLSL
2 25 Doug Smart Carlton North Adelaide SANFL
2 26 Darrin Pritchard Hawthorn Sandy Bay TFLSL
3 27 Adam Garton Brisbane Bears Glenelg SANFL
3 28 Darren Mansell St Kilda Penola Western Border FL
3 29 Craig Walker Melbourne North Hobart TFLSL
3 30 Matthew Sexton Richmond Sandhurst Bendigo FL
3 31 Glen Keast Geelong North Gambier Western Border FL
3 32 Wayne Mahney Footscray Port Adelaide SANFL
3 33 Malcolm Shippen North Melbourne Moulamein Kerang & District FL
3 34 Craig Kelly Collingwood Norwood SANFL
3 35 Peter Reid Essendon Sturt SANFL
3 36 Donald Thompson Sydney Albury OMNFL
3 37 Chris Duthy Fitzroy Glenelg SANFL
3 38 Simon Minton-Connell Carlton North Hobart TFLSL
3 39 Matthew Queen Hawthorn Glenorchy TFLSL
4 40 Stephen Williams Brisbane Bears Port Adelaide SANFL
4 41 Brett Jaffray St Kilda Latrobe NWFU
4 42 Anthony Lovell Melbourne Glenorchy TFLSL
4 43 Andrew Gray Richmond St Patricks APS
4 44 Tim Britt Geelong Dunnstown Central Highlands FL
4 45 James Pyke Footscray Norwood SANFL
4 46 Gary Brooker North Melbourne Casterton Western Border FL
4 47 Brendan Hogan Collingwood Assumption College APS
4 48 Stephen Riley Essendon North Adelaide SANFL
4 49 Craig Elias Sydney Eastlake ACTFL
4 50 Alastair Lynch Fitzroy Hobart TFLSL
4 51 Andrew Hering Carlton Wynyard North West FU
4 52 Robin McKinnon Hawthorn West Adelaide SANFL
5 53 Michael Templeton Brisbane Bears Woodville SANFL
5 54 Paul Page St Kilda Kennington Bendigo FL
5 55 Darren Jarman Melbourne North Adelaide SANFL
5 56 Greg Whittlesea Richmond Sturt SANFL
5 57 Michael Billman Geelong Boort North Central FL
5 58 Perry Meka Footscray Lemnos Goulburn Valley FL
5 59 Wayne Morrissey North Melbourne Northern United Warrnambool
5 60 Wayne Tanner Collingwood Norwood SANFL
5 61 Andrew Underwood Essendon Sturt SANFL
5 62 Laurie Menhenut Sydney Tocumwal Murray FL
5 63 Peter Winter Fitzroy West Adelaide SANFL
5 64 Darren Newlan Carlton Golden Square Bendigo FL
5 65 Tony Symonds Hawthorn Glenelg SANFL


  1. ^ a b "VFL clubs release draft list Swans swoop on Eastlake's Elias". The Canberra Times. 27 November 1986. p. 24. Retrieved 20 October 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ a b Quayle, Emma (17 November 2006). "When the draft blew in". The Age. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  3. ^ Paton, Al (28 October 2013). "Draft rewind: We rewrite the top 10 of the 1986 and 1987 AFL drafts". News Corp Australia Network.
  4. ^ Nicholson, Rod (22 November 2008). "The hidden gems of the draft". Sunday Herald Sun.