‘Other clubs thought he might’ve gone later’: Why draft’s biggest early bolter Leek Aleer is a risk

Leek Aleer was one of two players of South Sudanese origin taken in the first round of the 2021 AFL Draft; but he was also one of the biggest risks.

A serious ankle injury in his initial draft year of 2019, followed by ongoing ankle and foot stress issues, left several clubs concerned about selecting the intercept defender writes Code Sports’ Daniel Cherny.

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Overall there was a view that Aleer (whose first name is pronounced ‘Lek’) was gettable in the second round of the draft, at earliest, yet GWS plucked him with pick 15 on Wednesday night.

Making their second selection of the meet, and without another until pick 46 in the middle of the third round, Giants recruiting boss Adrian Caruso conceded the club wasn’t looking at taking the best player available, instead targeting talls in particular.

Aleer rebuilt his draft stocks at Central Districts in the SANFL. (The Advertiser/Morgan Sette)Source: News Corp Australia

“One of the priorities with one of our first two picks was to draft a tall,” Caruso said. “Once it got to that second pick, we felt like we could just call out Leek, even though other clubs thought he might have gone later, we were always keen.

“He was the next best tall on our list and we feel like we can address that (area).

“He’s obviously got that enormous vertical leap. But we feel like his intercept game is something that we can really add to our backline. We feel like we’ve got some really good one-on-one defenders, but his ability to roll off his man and will help us chop off some balls.”

It’s understood the Giants were considering targeting a tall with their first pick, No.3, with their recruiters split between the athletic Mac Andrew (who went to Gold Coast at No.5) and eventual selection Finn Callaghan, a midfielder.

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But Caruso’s team opted for Aleer, even knowing his ankle makes him a risk, with the club once again backing in its medical department – as it has done in the past.

“Some teams have probably gone the conservative end and some teams have probably gone the, ‘We’ll just deal with it’ and accepted it as a risk with any player. Our medical team have done a great job in the past with guys we’ve brought in who might have had question marks,” he said.

“You look back to Aiden Bonar and [Jye] Caldwell, they didn’t have any issues with us. We’ve got confidence with Leek that he can come in, get to work.”

Read the full article at Code Sports.

Soruce: https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/teams/greater-western-sydney-giants/afl-draft-2021-leek-aleer-biggest-draft-bolter-injury-risk-gws-giants-analysis-latest-news-how-to-pronounce-his-name-leek-alleer/news-story/485ec98aef100e673566c202c2cb347f

By Malvi

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