Hore mid-season rookie draft bid

Draft hope: Marty Hore is waiting for the mid-season AFL rookie draft before making any commitment to Echuca. Photo: AAP/Michael Dodge Photo by MICHAEL DODGE

Leitchville football product Marty Hore will consider a second half of the season appearance with Echuca if he is unsuccessful in his bid to be drafted at next month’s mid-season AFL Rookie Draft.

Hore nominated Echuca as his “home team’’ at the start of the season when he was picked up by North Melbourne and has been a star with the team in the VFL competition this season.

The 26-year-old’s number one priority is to regain a position on an AFL list, his first opportunity to do that is on June 1 when the mid-season draft is conducted.

“If nothing happens at the mid-season draft it is something I would discuss with Echuca,” he said.

Due to the 21 teams in the VFL competition North Melbourne has four byes in 2022, two of those in the second half of the season when the Murray Bombers play Shepparton United (June 18) and Tatura (July 23).

Echuca is fifth on the Goulburn Valley football senior competition ladder, with still no word on a decision from its round one appeal.

It has not lost a match this season, but the decision to fine it four premiership points has meant a lower than deserved ranking on the ladder.

The club has appealed against the severity of the decision to take away its four premiership points from its win against Rochester because of the ineligibility of players — caused in some part by an administrative misunderstanding of the new Play HQ system.

Mooroopna is unbeaten after five weeks of the season, with Rochester, Kyabram, Mansfgield and Echuca all on four wins.

The Murray Bombers opponent this weekend at Victoria Park is Shepparton Bears, who have wins against three of the bottom four teams this season — Shepp United, Shepp Swans and Tatura.

They were beaten by Mansfield (66 points) and top-team Mooroopna (53 points) in their other two matches.

Echuca and Shepparton Bears have a strong recent history, having contested preliminary finals in 2018 and 2019.

Last season, at their only meeting, the Murray Bombers were 81 point winners.

The inclusion of key defender of Hore’s ilk would certainly enhance any current favouritism held by the Echuca club for this year’s senior football premiership.

And Hore is in regular communication with co-coach Andrew Walker about the club’s current status within the competition.

“I have spoken to Walks at different stages during the year and will continue to do so,” Hore said.

“But I still want to try and get drafted and the best thing for that is by playing in the VFL,” he said.

Hore was delisted by Melbourne at the end of the 2021 season, after 14 senior appearances, but was thrown a lifeline by the Kangaroos this season.

He has played at centre half back for North Melbourne’s reserve side, which has won two of its six matches this season.

Against Geelong at the weekend Hore was North Melbourne’s best player, his 35 possessions and 12 marks at centre half back further underlining his case for a recall to an AFL list.

“We were under the pump a bit down back and a few kick ins probably got the stats up a bit,” he said.

“Realistically I probably had 25.”

Hore spent part of his afternoon opposed to AFL-listed Geelong forward Gary Rohan, who is on the comeback trail from injury.

Rohan did not kick a goal in the 19-point Geelong win.

It was a strong effort from the Kangaroos as Geelong is six spots ahead of it on the 21-team ladder.

Hore will have a chance to further impress this weekend when he plays against Casey Demons, aligned with his former club Melbourne, which is unbeaten in seven games and sits on top of the ladder.

Two weeks ago Hore’s Kangaroos fronted up against top-four VFL team Carlton, which has among its ranks Echuca mid-fielder Brodie Kemp.

It was Hore’s first game back after being concussed two weeks earlier.

He had 27 possession and eight marks in the loss, with Kemp notching nine possessions and three tackles in the 55-point Carlton win.

The AFL mid-season rookie draft is on Wednesday, June 1, and has become a vital recruiting component for clubs.

Marlon Pickett remains the most well known mid-season draftee, picked up the same year as the mid-season draft was re-introduced in 2019 — when Richmond star Shaun Grigg retired.

He has now played in two AFL premiership teams.

AFL teams need to have a spare rookie list position by May 31 to have a selection in the draft.

Nineteen-year-old Dandenong Stingrays mid-fielder Jai Culley is one of two mid-season certainties, according to good AFL judges.

The 193cm teenager kicked four goals in a Young Guns v Vic Metro match a week ago after being overlooked in the national draft.

Max Ramsden, a 202cm ruckman from Sandringham, is the other player being touted as a mid-season draftee.