Matt Balmer’s June Power Rankings

DS - Josh Battle

In an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will update his Power Rankings on the first Monday of every month.

The Division One Championships begun on the weekend and make sure you keep checking AFL Draft Central for all the news from the matches.

It is just under 172 days until the draft kicks off in Sydney and there are plenty of players putting their hand up to be drafted this early in the season.

It’s been an interesting start to the year, two top Victorian prospects Jy Simpkin and Alex Witherden have both suffered season ending injuries, breaking their legs at school football games. Injuries too have affected Victorian AFL academy members Jarrod Berry and Jack Scrimshaw, with both set to face off against each other on Queens Birthday down at Simonds Stadium.

Below I have a ranking of 26 players- Why 26? From start to finish, the Division One carnival runs for 26 days.

You can read my May edition of my Power Rankings here:

I stress this list is purely how I rate the players at the current point and is not a mock draft.

#1 Jack Bowes 
Balanced Midfielder (Cains/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187cm | 78kg
Previous Ranking: #8

A bit of a jump up the rankings for smooth moving midfielder Jack Bowes. He was superb in the Division Two championships for Queensland, winning their MVP whilst averaging 25 disposals. The Gold Coast academy member doesn’t have elite speed to burst from the stoppage, but has the ability to clear the ball well by hand and foot with ease. Bowes had a quiet game for the Allies on the weekend, but I do expect him to bounce back for the televised games and finish the championships well against Division One opposition.

#2 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 181cm | 76kg
Previous Ranking: #2

The West Australia midfielder missed the first game of the Division One championships on Sunday through injury. Petrevski-Seton has played three games at Colts level with an average of 20 disposals and should return to the WA setup soon. Petrevski-Seton kicks well on both feet and at this stage is likely to be at the pointy end come November. His speed is excellent and is very agile which helps him move away from opponents at ease.

#3 Hugh McCluggage
Outside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185cm | 75kg
Previous Ranking: #5

Hugh McCluggage continues to put performance after performance on the board. McCluggage has been very good at TAC Cup level averaging 27 disposals, whilst showing good signs in the two AFL Academy matches against VFL opposition. McCluggage appears not too dissimilar to Scott Pendlebury in traffic, able to make everything appear in slow motion making good decisions by hand or foot to clear the ball. McCluggage was also one of Vic Country’s best against Western Australia yesterday, with 27 disposals and six marks.

Hugh McCluggage representing the AFL Academy in April. Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)
Hugh McCluggage representing the AFL Academy in April. Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)

#4 Harrison Macreadie
Tall utility (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 196cm | 89kg
Previous Ranking: #2

In my eyes it was a disappointing Division Two championship for Harrison Macreadie. Maybe because I expected too much from him, with the best forwards in Division Two coming from his own side, but he didn’t standout as I would have expected. Macreadie only took five marks in the carnival, which has been a big strength of his in the past. Whether he is struggling to adapt with moving to a more of a key position role rather than floating across the back flank or on a wing I’m not sure. Expect big things from him however against the Division One teams over the next month, an average run of form won’t push the Giants academy member too far down the rankings.

#5 Will Brodie
Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 189cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #3

Everything has gone quiet on Will Brodie since his return to school football in May, but rest assured Brodie has played a solid month for Scotch College. The inside midfielder works hard at the stoppages and at this stage looms as one of the first Victorians picked. Brodie dominated the two AFL Academy matches in early April with 20 & 22 disposals against VFL opposition. Brodie begun the championships with 16 disposals in Vic Country’s loss to Western Australia on Sunday.

#6 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #13

Perryman was NSW/ACT’s MVP from the Division Two championship after an impressive carnival averaging 20 disposals. Despite not having the speed of some of the others in the draft pool, he does get space between himself and opponents around the ground. Perryman has the capabilites to kick on both feet well and has had an excellent start to the year. Playing for the Allies will be another test against Division One opposition and it will be interesting to see how Perryman adapts to the stronger competition. The GWS academy member begun with 18 disposals and a goal in the Allies shock loss to South Australia on Saturday.

#7 Josh Battle
Key Position Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #4

Josh Battle repayed the faith I had in him with a four goal haul in the space of six minutes against Western Australia on Sunday. Battle is someone I rate highly with a good football IQ, marking well overhead. Battle is averaging four goals a game for Dandenong Stingrays and has kicked 19 goals in four games for his school Haileybury College. At his height I don’t think he’s ever going to be a number one target inside 50, but has enough attributes to work on such as his strong hands. I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays down at Geelong in the Victorian derby on Queens Birthday.

Josh Battle in action for Dandenong Stingrays. (Photo by Jack Thomas/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Josh Battle in action for Dandenong Stingrays. (Photo by Jack Thomas/AFL Media/Getty Images)

#8 Will Setterfield
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #7

Inside midfielder Will Setterfield finished the Division Two championships off exceptionally well with 28 disposals against Northern Territory. A good carnival saw him selected in the Allies squad – but instead played school football for Caulfield Grammar on the weekend. Setterfield should return to the Allies side in two weeks and slot straight into a midfield with names such as Bowes, Perryman and Kobe Mutch. The tall midfielder has pushed forward at stages but has looked most effective in the centre of the ground. Setterfield is also tied with the GWS academy, looming as an early pick come November.

#9 Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 198cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Key position forward Todd Marshall has jumped up boards after a good Division Two champs kicking seven goals. Originally coming into the season Marshall was linked with the GWS academy, despite spending the past two winters in England playing cricket. The 198cm offspinner returned back to AFL, but was deemed ineligible for the Giants due to registration issues. In some sense this has helped him push up the order with clubs keen on a key position forward. The real test for Marshall will be against stronger opposition in the Division One championships whilst representing the Allies.

#10 Sam Powell-Pepper
Inside Midfielder (East Perth/Western Australia)
08/01/1998 | 188cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #9

The West Australian strong inside midfielder had a fantastic start to the Division One championships with 15 disposals and three goals against Vic Country. Powell-Pepper was the best player on the ground and really stood up in the absence of Sam Petrevski-Seton. A strength of his is winning the clearances and tackling hard, but needs to clean up his kicking efficiency if he is to go higher on draft night.

#11 Andrew McGrath
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #12

Could he be the first Vic Metro player picked on draft night? That’s a question that will be answered over the coming weeks. The athletic running half back has had an imposing start to the year, averaging 32 disposals at the TAC Cup. McGrath has done some great things at APS school football level for Brighton Grammar whilst collected a huge 44 disposals, 19 tackles and 14 clearances against Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup in May. With one of the best disposals efficiencies in the draft pool, expect a big championship from Vic Metro’s U16 Best & Fairest in 2014.

Andrew McGrath on the move for the Dragons. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Andrew McGrath on the move for the Dragons. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)

#12 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 184cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #17

Tough inside midfielder Brad Scheer showed promise throughout the Division Two championships. Scheer averaged 24 disposals, seven clearances and seven tackles per game. Scheer also pushed forward at stages kicking three goals. His kick to handball ratio was a bit out of whack having double the handballs to kicks, with Scheer often chosing to handball out of stoppages rather than kick. The Gold Coast Suns academy member was also quiet in his first game in Division One for the Allies, but the inside midfielder does have the ability to match it with bigger bodies as shown by his 11 disposals and two goals against Geelong VFL in best on ground honours.

#13 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #10

Ben Ainsworth has missed the past month through suspension for an off the ball incident against Calder Cannons in April. Despite the setback, Ainsworth showed a lot of promise last year and hopefully in his return to the Vic Country line up this weekend we will see him move through the midfield. Ainsworth did kick 15 goals in the 2015 Under 18 Championship, so he can perform at this level. Ainsworth has had a frustrating year with a few injury concerns and will be delighted to be returning to the fold on Queens Birthday.

#14 Kobe Mutch
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
18/03/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Kobe Mutch has had a steller season at numerous levels. The Bendigo Pioneers’ numbers are some of the best in the entire TAC Cup competition with 36 disposals and seven marks. Mutch has moved to more of an inside role after spending majority of 2015 on the outside and across half back. Mutch’s numbers too were good in the Division Two championships in an effort that nearly saw him claim the NSW/ACT’s MVP. Mutch collected 22 disposals and 11 tackles in the Allies opening game, where he used his smart kick on either side of his body to effectiveness.

#15 Jacob Allison
Outside Midfielder (Aspley/Queensland)
16/04/1998 | 194cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #6

Maybe I had Allison too high to start with, maybe I did not – but Allison has had an underwhelming May in my eyes. I was hoping we would see Allison move more inside at his height, but it appears his best position is off half forward where he can influence the contest and kick goals. His long kick is a strong asset to have and was okay in the Division Two Championships. I’m hoping the Brisbane Lions academy member can continue to find the footy in the Division One championships, otherwise he may slip out of the first round in November.

#16 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #11

Rotham played the AFL Academy games as a full back against VFL opposition, but I prefer him playing higher up the ground. Athletically he is good, which makes him able to rebound well out of defence. Rotham also is averaging 22 disposals and three marks per game at WAFL Colts level, indicating he isn’t just a shut down defender.

Josh Rotham representing the AFL Academy at the MCG in April (Photo: AFL Photos)

#17 Jy Simpkin
Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
05/03/1998 | 182cm | 72kg
Previous ranking: #16

About 12 months ago, Jy Simpkin was the difference in the end that saw Vic Country defeat Vic Metro in the Under 18 Championships. Simpkin’s goal after the siren (in the video below) gave Vic Country the win where he booted seven goals from six games to see him elevated to the AFL Academy. Unfortunately for Simpkin, he suffered a nasty broken leg at school football whilst playing for Scotch College and will miss the rest of the season. Simpkin predominantly played as a forward but did play through the midfield at the Murray Bushrangers in 2015. His only TAC Cup game for the year yielded 18 disposals and four goals.

#18 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 185cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: #16

Inside midfielder Jonty Scharenberg is one I am looking forward to seeing in the next month. Scharenberg has had a quiet start at SANFL reserves level. averaging just under 20 disposals. Scharenberg has been named Vice-Captain for South Australia and a good championship should keep his name in first round contention come November. Scharenberg is good at the stoppages and is likely to be one of the first South Australians drafted. Scharenberg is also the brother of current Collingwood defender Matthew.

#19 Jeremy Goddard
Ruck (Claremont/Western Australia)
27/03/1998 | 202cm | 95kg
Previous ranking: #14

Jeremy Goddard is someone who showed plenty of good signs in 2015 and has begun the year well at WAFL Colts level averaging 35 hit outs per game. 2016 will be a year with plenty of choice for ruckman to be drafted- Whether we see one as high as Brodie Grundy (Pick 18) in 2012 it remains to be seen. Goddard will share the ruck duties for Western Australia with Tim English. Goddard follows up his ruckwork well around the ground, showing his physicality laying strong tackles.

#20 Jordan Gallucci
Medium Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 182cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Expolosive midfielder Jordan Gallucci breaks into my Power Rankings for the first time after a superb performance a few weeks ago. Gallucci had 36 disposals, 11 clearances and 12 inside 50s in the Ranges’ big win over Gippsland Power. Gallucci uses his penetrating right foot to find an opponent up the ground where he has often played in the defensive half of the ground. Gallucci’s athletic abilities complement his game style and it’ll be interesting to see what position he plays for Vic Metro throughout the championships.

#21 Zachary Sproule
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
12/05/1998 | 197cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #15

Seven goals in three Division Two championship matches was a solid return for Zachary Sproule. Sproule and Marshall complement each other well for their club (Murray Bushrangers) and state (NSW/ACT). Sproule is linked with the GWS Academy and has been promising throughout the Division Two championships. Sproule gets up the ground on a long lead with a good endurance base helping him. Inside 50, Sproule is agile enough to get around his opponent and get a good amount of distance between himself and opponents.

#22 Jarrod Berry
Medium Defender (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 80kg
Previous ranking: N/A

After sitting at #21 for my last rankings, the expansion to 26 players allows for Jarrod Berry to slot in. Berry has been named as the Vic Country captain for the Division One championships and showed good signs in his return from injury on the weekend. The rebounding defender missed nearly a month of football with an AC joint issue. I think Berry’s best role is across half back but at his size I wouldn’t be surprised to see him push into the midfield throughout the carnival. To play off half back however, I do think he needs to sharpen up his kicking skills just a bit.

#23 Brandan Parfitt
Inside Midfielder (Nightcliff/Northern Territory)
27/04/1998 | 177cm | 72kg
Previous ranking: #20

Brandan Parfitt’s speed and agility makes him a hard opponent to match up in the centre. Parfitt won All-Australian honours in 2015, as well as claiming the Northern Territory’s MVP. His 2016 Division Two championship was great, racking up 25 & 26 disposals in his two games. Parfitt was solid in the two games for the AFL Academy against VFL opposition, mostly playing on the outside. Parfitt’s kicking does need some work but I think he’ll provide some X-Factor to the Allies line up when he returns from injury.

#24 Dylan Clarke
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #19

A quiet month for Dylan Clarke at APS football sees him move out of the teens. Clarke is one of the best ball winners in the TAC Cup, averaging 28 disposals and four tackles per match this season. The inside midfielder works hard to win the ball back, laying crunching tackles before using his good left foot to propel the ball forward. Clarke can play on the outside with a good endurance base and I think he’ll line up on the wing for Vic Metro this weekend. Clarke also provides a tough match up forward, where he has the ability to bob up and kick a bag of goals. Clarke is also the brother of 2015 North Melbourne recruit Ryan.

Eastern Ranges midfielder Dylan Clarke in the 2015 TAC Cup Grand Final (Photo: AFL Photos)
Eastern Ranges midfielder Dylan Clarke in the 2015 TAC Cup Grand Final (Photo: AFL Photos)

#25 Jack Scrimshaw
Key Position Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193cm, 77kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Athletic defender Jack Scrimshaw makes it the second Haileybury College student to make my Power Rankings. Scrimshaw has had an injury plagued year and a half, but finally returned to school football in May. Scrimshaw put some really strong performances together and was pivotal in their win against Caulfield Grammar, playing more midfield time that usual. Scrimshaw has the ability to play on a tall or a small in defence, using his good left foot to effectiveness when coming out of defensive 50. A rib injury kept him out of school football on the weekend, but I expect him to line up for Vic Metro this weekend and if Scrimshaw stays fit it wouldn’t surprise me to see him higher this time next month.

Jack Scrimshaw training with Collingwood. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Jack Scrimshaw training with Collingwood. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

#26 Daniel Venables
Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Explosive midfielder Daniel Venables single handedly got Western Jets over the line from the goal square in the opening round of the TAC Cup. Venables kicked three goals that day, despite being hampered by a knee injury. Venables numbers have not been superb in the TAC Cup, but he has showed some signs that he could move up the rankings. I saw his school game on Friday, where he spent majority of the game playing forward, kicking one goal in PEGS’ heavy loss to Ivanhoe. He has power in the midfield and is aggressive in his pursuit of getting the ball forward. One to keep an eye on throughout the championships.

Daniel Venables breaks the tackle in the Jets opening TAC Cup win. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Daniel Venables breaks the tackle in the Jets opening TAC Cup win. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)

There are always players stiff, unfortunately injured Alex Witherden is at #27 and his movement will be on the depended of others above form. June is always the month where players step up, just something about playing in front of a television audience gets them up and about. Perhaps it’s time we had a ‘Game of the Round’ on the TV, but that’s a thought for another time…
Have any questions or want to know more? Send me a tweet @MattBalmer7

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