One of our Rising Star team, Jourdan Canil has bravely stuck his neck out and created a phantom draft for the first four rounds. It should be noted that plenty can change over the next few months and with the great diversity of our writers, much like the public, everyone has a different opinion. Jourdan has been the first one to put his hand up and attempt one of the hardest things to do five months from the draft. The aim is to give readers an insight into who will be available around the picks that your club has. It should also be noted that Adelaide will not have the picks designated to them, however Jourdan has used Adelaide in his phantom draft so it gives an extra pick for the first two rounds and therefore an extra player can be included.
55. GWS – Erin Wasley-Black (NT – Def/Mid)
188 cm 70 kg
Player Comparison: Matt Buntine
GWS have the option to pick the AIS player for themselves as a zone selection, or trade him off like they did with Anderson, Barry and Neade. Wasley-Black looks to be the kind of half back who can rack up the touches, but doesn’t quite have that polish yet. He’s been played all around the ground but he’s found a niche running off the half back. He reads the play well, but when he’s setting up the play he can butcher the ball. If no one wants to bid on him, I see GWS stealing him late.
56. Melbourne – Aaron Heppell (VIC – Mid/Def)
181 cm 78 kg
Player Comparison: Dyson Heppell
Surprising player comparison, no? Aaron is much like his brother except a little better defensively and nowhere near as good offensively. Seems to be much more of a bull type inside midfielder and a strong half back. He’s great one on one and in close. I’m surprised he’s less than 80 kg because he seems to be very strong in the core. He’s a great link up player when he’s outside or off the half back line. Against the Western Jets, he racked up 25 touches, seven handball receives, five uncontested marks and seven tackles. For a guy who hasn’t been talked up massively, he seems to be a very solid late second or mid-third round pick. If he can become a better ball user, then he has massive upside.
57. Western Bulldogs – Lewis Fitzgerald (VIC – Mid)
190 cm 82 kg
Player Comparison: Jackson Macrae
Fitzgerald reminds me a lot of a taller Jack Macrae in terms of footskills, reading the play and the chance to really bolt up the draft. Against the Western Jets early in the year, Fitzgerald just read the ball really well when the Jets tried to rebound and he had three or four consecutive inside 50’s. He’s a very silky kick and is adept on both sides of the body. He is the kind of link up player that you just value forward of the centre, as he just takes so many uncontested marks and works hard to find space. Fitzgerald only needs 15 or so touches to really influence a game. He’s high quality, already has an AFL body and great athletically. Not sure why he isn’t being talked up more.
58. St Kilda – Nathan Drummond (VIC – Def/Mid)
181 cm 82 kg
Player Comparison: Josh Hunt
Drummond is a solid defensive half back who can push up into the midfield. He provides rebound off the half back and links up well as he is a decent kick. He’s not overly quick or athletically gifted, but he goes hard at the ball and is solidly built. The best part about Drummond is that he’s accountable for his man, but at the same time he knows when to take the game on by himself. He could pair nicely with Nathan Wright off the half back line for the Saints.
59. Gold Coast – Louis Herbert (VIC – UTIL)
North Ballarat Rebels
187 cm 75 kg
Player Comparison: Kyle Hardingham
Herbert is an explosive utility who could become a great pick, but his light frame and abhorred ability to go missing from games frequently really puts a dampener on what could be a gem of a player. This year, he’s been used more across the half back as a Kyle Hardingham type, due to his great leap and ability to read the flight of the ball. When forward, Herbert is a great over head mark and is fantastic around goals. He’s an accurate and long disposer of the ball and has kicked bags in the past.
60. Brisbane – Cain Tickner (QLD – KPF/KPD)
194 cm 91 kg
Player comparison: Michael Hurley
Tickner is a Lions academy player like Isaac Conway but probably won’t command as much attention. He’s a key position swing man who can clunk marks and play at both ends well. The best part is that he’s already at a great size, so he can certainly push for selection from round one. He’s been hampered by injuries this year so he may not be highly sought after, but he’s one of the better key position value players.
61. Port Adelaide – Michael Apeness (VIC – Ruck/KPF)
199 cm 101 kg
Player Comparison: Tom Bellchambers
I have seen Michael Apeness play a few times now and he’s got the size to tear a game to shreds. Of course, sharing the forward line with Tom Boyd makes it hard for him to stand out. Apeness is a very strong contested mark and a decent shot on goal. He came to life against NSW/ACT with 33 hitouts and really giving the Metro midfielders fantastic service. He’s probably not the most agile of ruckman, but he’s come on in leaps and bounds this year. There’s a few better pure ruckman in this draft, but his versatility and performance on the big stage are impressive enough to warrant draft selection.
62. North Melbourne – Nick Holman (VIC – Mid)
186 cm 79 kg
Player Comparison: Matthew Broadbent
Holman stood out against Tasmania, yet he only had 22 touches. He plays as an outside midfielder, but he has a great tank so he’s near the contest quite a lot, applying pressure constantly. He’s a solid kick over 30 metres, but he doesn’t have a great penetrating kick. I considered going with Michael Gibbons here, but I think North will prefer that medium outside midfielder rather than having another guy who can rack it up then turn it over. Holman’s run and carry is good, but his lack of speed and ability to play inside leaves him in that fourth round to rookie category.
63. Adelaide – Andreas Roth (VIC – Fwd)
174 cm 72 kg
Player Comparison: Mark LeCras
I genuinely cannot believe the lack of love this guy gets. He is the best pure small forward in the TAC Cup, and manages to kick plenty of goals, even when all the delivery goes to Boyd, Apeness and Petracca (a great prospect for next year). He is great on the lead and knows how to get out of the big guys way while still being in a damaging position. He’s a fantastic mark for his height, yet also a magician below the knees. His field kicking isn’t that great and he’ll always be a permanent forward. I think that lack of versatility is why people don’t rate him, but if you look at the starting small forwards for Metro against NSW/ACT, it was Jack Billings, Christian Salem, Jesse Tardio and Ben Lennon, all of whom are predominately midfielders who can play forward. Roth has been starved of opportunities but performs so well consistently.
64. Carlton – Mark Orr (VIC – UTIL)
195 cm 97 kg
Player Comparison: Chris Dawes
There’s something I don’t quite get with Orr. He’s a better player than his stats say, but in all fairness, he is a seriously limited player. He’s a good mark on the lead and in the air, yet he only takes three to four marks per game. He’s a good target up forward, yet he hasn’t kicked more than one goal in a game this year. Against Oakleigh, he threatened to kick three or four, but the wind put him off horribly that day. He’s a serviceable back up ruckman, averaging around eight hitouts a game (Duon Dawam, their first ruckman, is leading the league in hitouts). He can play as a key back too, which is important. He’s strong in one on one competitions and honestly on an output basis that is where he’s done his best work. But I like him as a lead up forward. He’ll never be exciting on the stats sheet but at least the Blues will have a forward target with real size and consistency.
65. Richmond – Jake Barrett (NSW – Mid)
182 cm 78 kg
Player Comparison: Heath Hocking
Barrett just tries all day long, no matter how much they’re getting smashed by. I likened him to a more skilful Heath Hocking as he gets his own ball, can keep his player quiet and can go forward. He’s also fairly powerfully built and has great core strength. Against Vic Metro, he had 22 possessions and kicked two nice goals. He sustained a leg injury, yet continued to play on through that. I really like his attitude and he also has a high enough skill level to be considered for the main draft.
66. West Coast – Dayle Garlett (WA – Mid/Fwd)
181 cm 75 kg
Player Comparison: Lewis Jetta
Garlett is a classy outside midfielder who will be one to watch. The discipline and attitude issues will ultimately decide whether he’ll be passed over again, but he is the silkiest player in the draft. In the WAFL this season, he has been tagged frequently, yet still averages over 20 possesions and two goals a game. He carries with him explosive speed, great decision maker and a kick that has great penetration. He obviously needs to put on some weight, but that will come in time. Garlett can hit the scoreboard most games, although he doesn’t often kick bags, excluding a recent haul of six goals. I can see him being a very handy half forward whilst his body develops, and eventually should transition into a full time winger or outside midfielder.
67. Essendon – Jacob Chisari (VIC – Mid)
176 cm 76 kg
Player Comparison: Travis Colyer
There is a high chance that due to his size, Chisari won’t even get drafted, also being left out of the Vic Country squad. But there is serious upside to the small midfielder that not many others in this draft have. He is an extremely intelligent footballer. He’s not your traditional inside midfielder; instead of getting the ball and distributing it out of the pack, he will pick the ball up on the inside and then have the pace to break away from it. His acceleration is a real highlight and it allows him to to not only break free from contested situations, but gives him time and space to get a clean kick away. Chisari, like Colyer, is the type of player that will back himself to run the length of the field and blaze away, though he is a better kick. A smart, quick and skilful footballer, Chisari is worthy of a second round pick, but he could be a steal late in the draft.
68. Fremantle – Jesse Tardio (VIC – Mid)
179 cm 72 kg
Player Comparison: Sharrod Wellingham
The first few times I saw Tardio play, I wasn’t particularly impressed. He’d come off for spells every eight or so minutes absolutely spent. I didn’t really think he was that great until I realised who was on the bottom of every pack. He was hidden by bodies, but managed to grab 32 disposals. In another game he played a little more on the outside and up forward and slotted two nice goals. The highlights of his game are his tenacity, speed and his vision in setting up forward 50 attacks. The real disappointment for me is that he hasn’t performed on the big stage and he’s certainly lacking a tank. There are parts of his game that he needs to work on, but he could be a decent player.
69. Collingwood – Elijah Edwards (VIC – Fwd) NSW Scholarship
165 cm 62 kg
Player Comparison: Jeff Garlett
Edwards has been someone that the Pies have put quite some time into, perhaps hoping he’d grow a little more. That hasn’t eventuated, but one thing Edwards does have is extreme speed. He’d have everyone in this draft covered for speed by a long shot. With the ball in hand, he could easily be that 100-metre player carrying it from half back to half forward and getting the crowd going. He’s pure X-factor and whilst his skills aren’t bad, they aren’t exactly great. He doesn’t get much of the ball and is too small to be a midfielder. He’s received a lot of hype, but he’s fantastic to watch when he’s on.
70. Sydney – Matthew Boag (VIC – Fwd/Mid)
185 cm 90 kg
Player Comparison: Dayne Zorko
Boag is another like Amon who would be a main midfielder at most clubs, but the midfield at the Falcons is filled with guns. He’s a strong bodied midfielder who has great core strength and he breaks tackles easily. He’s not blessed with speed, but he’s strong, tries hard and is versatile. He’s played forward quite a bit and has been a solid goal kicker. He’s a strong inside ball winner, but his skills are good enough to help on the outside as well. Due to being over looked for the Championships and others being more athletically gifted, Boag will go late, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes top 50, or potentially not at all.
71. Hawthorn – Kurt Heatherly (VIC – Def) NZ Selection
193 cm 85 kg
Player Comparison: Ted Richards
I haven’t seen much of Heatherly but he has been talked up as being as good as worth a pick in the late first round if he wasn’t an international selection. He’s a strong key back who can link up well and is offensively talented. There’s plenty of time for him to develop so I don’t think he’ll play much next year, even though he’s at a decent size already.
72. Geelong – James Sicily (VIC – Fwd/Mid)
186 cm 75 kg
Player Comparison: Steve Johnson
Sicily is a player who I really like and who is going under the radar so far. He doesn’t carry as big a bag of tricks as Steve Johnson, but he certainly is dangerous around goals and is a live wire. He’s kicked 13 goals from eight matches this year, including three bags of three. Averaging 16 touches per game and 5.7 marks isn’t doing him justice. In the draw against Oakleigh early on this year, Sicily was the most impressive player on the ground, amassing three goals, 10 marks and 24 disposals, 18 of which were effective. He’s one of the better-rounded skilful half forwards in the draft. There are players who might be better goal kickers, but in terms of excitement and consistency, Sicily is right up there.