It was a night for celebration for the Gold Coast SUNS on Monday evening as the club broke new ground by securing four SUNS Academy players in the first round of the AFL Draft.

It’s the first time in AFL history a club has had four players from its Academy; Jed Walter, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers and Will Graham – selected in the first round of an AFL Draft.

The SUNS came armed with an extensive draft hand to match rival bids for Academy prospects, and it wasn’t long until the first bid came for key forward Jed Walter at Pick 3.

Walter is a Palm Beach Currumbin product who excites with his raw power and athleticism, while also possessing tackling pressure not often seen from a player of his height at 194cm.

The next player to join the SUNS’ senior list after matching a bid at Pick 9 was Ethan Read, another Palm Beach Currumbin junior who is a mobile and skilful ruck, but with the athletic attributes of a midfielder.

Read is listed at 202cm and ran third in the 2km time trial at the Draft Combine with an incredible time of 5:56.

After matching a bid at Pick 14, Jake Rogers was next to become a SUN.

Rogers played his junior and senior football with the Broadbeach Cats and is an evasive midfielder who can also press forward and cause damage as a small forward.

To conclude the first round of the Draft, the SUNS snared rebounding defender Will Graham by matching a bid at Pick 26 for the third Palm Beach Currumbin product taken on the night.

Graham has a history of playing in the midfield but has shown great adaptability to remodel his game as a defender in recent years with excellent ball use and a burst of speed out of the backline.

Graham also impressed in the athletic testing at the Draft Combine, finishing top three in the 20m sprint, standing vertical jump and running vertical jump.

Gold Coast SUNS National Recruiting Manager Kall Burns said it was a historic night for the club.

“We are absolutely rapt with the results of this year’s draft to be able to secure our four highly-talented local products from the SUNS Academy,” Burns said.

“A lot of work has gone into this year’s draft crop, both from a football sense in developing these players since they were 13, to also a strategy perspective over the last three years, planning how we could ensure we would be able to secure all four players through the Draft.

“Having four SUNS Academy players drafted in the first round is a phenomenal result for our Academy and is a real testament to the work we are doing to grow the game and our club in Queensland.”

Earlier in the night, the SUNS also executed live pick swaps with the Brisbane Lions, St Kilda and Fremantle in order to secure additional draft value index points.

The SUNS sent pick 24 to Brisbane in exchange for selections 30, 51, 54 and 65.

Gold Coast then traded selection 27 to St Kilda for picks 40 and 42 while the final trade saw the SUNS receive picks 46, 60 and 63 from Fremantle while sending back pick 38.

Draftee Profiles:

Jed Walter

State: Queensland

State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy

Community Club: Palm Beach Currumbin

Date of Birth: 08/06/05

Height: 194cm

Bio: A strong and powerful tall forward who has taken all before him across the past two years for the Gold Coast Suns Academy and Allies, winning All Australian honours at under 18 level in both seasons. Has a real physical presence up forward with his appetite for the contest, along with his second efforts and tackling pressure. Was a threatening target up forward for the Allies during this year’s National Championships averaging 13 disposals and seven marks as well as kicking 11 goals in four matches to be a vital cog in the title-winning team. Overall, he kicked 29 goals in eight matches this season to round off a splendid underage career.

Weapon: Aerial ability and second efforts at ground level

Ethan Read

State: Queensland

State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy

Community Club: Palm Beach Currumbin

Date of Birth 07/07/05

Height: 202cm

Bio: Mobile and skilful ruckman whose work rate and ball use are outstanding features of his game, along with his aggressive work at stoppages. A member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, he was a dominant force for the Allies at the National Championships and earned All Australian honours. Had a massive impact on all four games, averaging 21.5 disposals at 76 percent efficiency, 7.5 marks and 13 hitouts to play an important role in the Allies’ first title win. His time of 5:56 seconds for the 2km time trial at the national Draft Combine was sensational for any player much more so for one of his height. Won the Hunter Harrison Medal for his performances with the Gold Coast Suns Academy. The medal is presented to the best performed player from the non-Victorian Academy teams who compete in a selection of matches in the Coates Talent League.

Weapon: Running ability and ball use

Jake Rogers

State: Queensland

State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy

Community Club: Broadbeach

Date of Birth: 02/03/05

Height: 172cm

A tenacious livewire through the midfield, the Gold Coast Suns Academy member is a one-touch player with great vision and creativity. Showed all those traits at the National Championship by starring for the Allies where he consistently set up his team through the middle of the ground. Quick and with elite agility, he was always in the contest. Averaged 22.5 disposals at 77 percent efficiency, 5.5 clearances and 5.2 tackles to be a driving force for the title-winning team. He also impressed for the Australia under-18 team in its second match against Carlton’s VFL side at Marvel Stadium, gathering 26 disposals and six clearances to claim the medal as his team’s best player.

Weapon: One-touch hands and creativity

Will Graham

State: Queensland

State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy

Community Club: Palm Beach Currumbin

Date of Birth: 27/07/05

Height: 186cm

Adapted seamlessly to playing in defence for the Allies after predominantly playing midfield for the Gold Coast Suns Academy. A very clean ball handler with a dazzling burst of speed, he was a consistent performer across all four matches for the Allies, averaging 16.5 disposals at 80 percent efficiency. His speed and power really shone through at the national Draft Combine where he was ranked second in the 20m sprint (2.92 seconds) and standing vertical jump (78cm) as well as being third in the running vertical jump (95cm) which confirmed his elite athletic profile.

Weapon: Speed and ball use