Updated March 25, 2018 18:16:33The best national guards recruiting class has been revealed, with the Sydney-based club making a number of high profile signings in the process.
Here are the five best:David Haines, who will play for the National Basketball Association’s Brisbane Lions, is the No. 1 rated recruit by 247Sports and is rated the No 4 prospect in the nation.
Haines is ranked No. 4 nationally, but is rated a four-star prospect by Scout.com and Scout.co.nz, as well as the No 1 rated player in the state of Queensland by 247 Sports and Scout, and the No 2 prospect in Queensland by Scout, among others.
Hahnemann High School forward Andrew Bunn is rated No. 6 in the country, while former Melbourne Storm forward Jarryd Barrett is ranked at No. 9.
Nathan Williams, who played for the Brisbane Lions last season, is ranked the No 8 recruit in the 2017 class, while Melbourne City forward Jack Steele is rated as the second-best prospect in Victoria.
James Dyson, who is ranked as the fourth best player in Victoria and a No. 11 prospect in Australia by Scout according to Scout.
The 17-year-old is the son of former Western Bulldogs forward James Dyson.
Riley Ferguson, who starred at Geelong, is rated one of the top 10 recruits in Victoria, while Mitchell Ferguson is rated among the best players in Victoria by Scout and Scout’s Composite Ranking of the Top 20 prospects in the game.
In 2017, the Cats had the No1 player in Australia at No 10, and No. 10 was the most-desired position in the 2019 draft.
They finished the season with a No1 overall pick, but were missing out on the No6 selection in the draft due to the Collingwood VFL deal.
The Cats have now landed the top pick in the 2021 draft, but the 2019 pick is not guaranteed.
They will have to wait until 2019 to select a player for the 2019 AFL Draft.
The Melbourne-based national guard program has a rich history, as the first national guard was born in 1999, and has since gone on to win three national championships in Melbourne and four state championships in the past five years.
The club currently has eight players ranked in the top 50 of the 2019 national draft, with six of those players rated in the Top 50 overall by Scout:Daniel Jones, Ben Foulk, Jake Stringer, Jack Ainsworth, Jack Russell, and Matthew Scott.
The Bulldogs have also signed a number to their national team for the 2020 season.
The club has also secured four players in the first round of the 2020 National Draft, with Josh Morris and Aaron Jones being the first pair of players in Bulldogs history to sign a professional contract with the club.
Players such as Tom Lynch, Jordan Russell and Matt White, along with James Hird and Aaron Smith have also committed to the club, with Lynch signing a deal with the Bulldogs in November.
The Club will also continue to work with the national team to secure a player to sign to the 2020 side, with Jordan Scott, Josh Morris, Tom Lynch and Jake Stringers also joining the national side for the 2021 season.
The National Guard will play in the AFL’s next national event, the 2021 NAB Challenge, on March 28.
The national guard roster will be announced on April 8.