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2017 NAB AFL Draft Pick No. 46: Ben Paton

Josh Gabelich  November 24, 2017 8:35 PM

AFL 2017 U18 Championships - Vic C v SA

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JULY 05: Ben Paton of Vic Country in action during the 2017 AFL Under 18 Championships match between Vic Country and South Australia at Simonds Stadium on July 05, 2017 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

St Kilda has acquired Murray Bushrangers midfielder-defender Ben Paton with their fourth and final pick at No. 46 in Friday night's NAB AFL Draft in Sydney. 

After being overlooked in last year's drafts, Paton returned to the Bushrangers this season as a 19-year-old overage player and thrived in a new role in defence.

The shift from the midfield to the backline paid dividends for the tenacious teenager, with his early season form attracting the attention of the Vic Country selectors.

Paton cemented a spot in the championships and performed so strongly he was rewarded with All-Australian selection in the same defence as new teammates Oscar Clavarino and Nick Coffield.

At the end of the championships, Paton played two games for Collingwood in the VFL, impressing with his seamless transition against senior bodies.

Although it wasn't the first time he had played senior football.

In 2015, a then 16-year-old Paton played 18 games for Mitta United in the Tallangatta and District Football League, where he handled his first exposure to mature bodies so well he won the best and fairest.

Paton enhanced his standing in the draft pool at the combine in October when he finished third in the standing vertical leap, jumping 80cm, before recording the sixth fastest time in the 20 metre sprint at 2.95 seconds.

Snapshot:

Height: 185cm
Weight: 77kg
Club: Murray Bushrangers/ Vic Country
Position: Defender-midfielder