New Hawks recruit Jaeger O'Meara poses at Waverley Park.
New Hawks recruit Jaeger O'Meara poses at Waverley Park. Michael Dodge

Hawks finally get their man O'Meara

AFL: His Christian name means "hunter” in German, but Jaeger O'Meara has been one of the most "hunted” young footballers in VFL/AFL history.

It started midway through 2011 when the kid built like the proverbial brick outhouse burst on to the scene by dominating at the under-18 national championships and then debuting for East Perth in the WAFL.

Not surprisingly, Fremantle was desperate to get its hands on the local kid and keep him west.

But it would be the fledgling GWS Giants who would make an ambitious bid to secure his services, despite him being, for all intents and purposes, off limits to them.

As part of its formation, the Giants were handed four mini-draft picks to be used on 17-year-olds too young to be accessed in that year's national draft. The catch was they had to be traded out - preferably, from the AFL's perspective, for experienced recruits.

The Giants, though, were up to their eyeballs in a five-club mega-deal that would have resulted in those mini-draft picks being traded back to them so they could snap up O'Meara, but the league vetoed the plan.

Enter the Suns, who traded their No.4 selection in the national draft for the mini-draft pick to snare O'Meara themselves.

O'Meara would spend five years at the Gold Coast - the first playing in the NEAFL, the second and third proving his worth and the fourth and fifth recovering from a snapped patella tendon - and was seemingly in need of a "fresh start”.

With his girlfriend in Melbourne, speculation mounted that a move south would be on the cards.

O'Meara was believed to have been offered $800,000 a year by North Melbourne late in the season, and he also attracted interest from Essendon, Carlton and St Kilda.

But it was Hawthorn, largely due to its medical team, that he settled on. It's believed the Hawks were into him as early as March, but it ultimately took until the final 10 minutes of a frantic finale to the trade period to finally secure him.

It was a last day in which he rang his manager, Colin Young, 17 times before he finally got the all-clear.

After a tense stand-off that threatened to result in both clubs walking away from talks, the Hawks gave up pick No.10 in this year's draft and two second-rounders from 2017, one passed on from deal-breaker Carlton.

It wasn't quite what outspoken chairman Tony Cochrane and his Suns had in mind - they wanted mature talent - but they do end up with picks four, six, eight and 10, to be used next month, on top of experienced trio Pearce Hanley (Lions), Jarrod Witts (Magpies) and Jarryd Lyons (Crows) from other deals.

"Everyone got what they wanted,” Suns football boss Marcus Ashcroft said.

The Hawks know the risk involved with O'Meara, but also know the potential.

Remember, this is the kid who Essendon great Tim Watson once said had the makings to become the greatest midfielder of all-time.

"We've got him in the door, it's now up to them (the Hawks medical staff),” Hawthorn list manager Graham Wright said.

Armed with the first pick in both national and pre-season drafts, the Bombers had been ready to swoop.

It doesn't have quite the ring to it as the name "Jaeger O'Meara”, but Essendon may simply have to settle for Hugh McCluggage joining its ranks as the top young player of 2016.

Giants' revolving door

AFL: GWS Giants fans shouldn't get too attached to the couple of first-round selections - two and 15 - they will have in next month's national draft.

The young players aren't likely to stay long if history is any guide.

Jarrod Pickett (pick four) and Caleb Marchbank (six) joined Paul Ahern (seven) and Jack Steele (24) in being 2014 draftees to leave the Giants this trade period.

And they follow Tom Boyd (pick one) and Cam McCarthy (14) from 2013, Jono O'Rourke (two), Lachie Plowman (three), Kristian Jacksch (12) and James Stewart (27) from 2012, and Dom Tyson (three), Will Hoskin-Elliott (four), Liam Sumner (10) and Taylor Adams (13) from 2011.

The move of Pickett, Marchbank and Rhys Palmer means Carlton now has nine former Giants.

Of course, on the flip side, GWS has now added the No.1 pick from 2004, Brett Deledio (Richmond), who joins the No.3 that year, Ryan Griffen.

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