Matt Balmer’s 2017 AFL Draft September Power Rankings

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

You can read Matt Balmer‘s August edition of his Power Rankings here:

It’s finals time – one of the most crucial times in the recruiters diaries. Last night, Oakleigh Chargers’ Jack Higgins was crowned the Morrish Medalist for the best player in the 2017 TAC Cup season, while plenty of other players right across the country are hitting form at the right time.

This list is purely how Matt rates the players at this current point of time and is not a mock draft. 

#1 Cameron Rayner
?General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 187cm | 88kg
Previous ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Powerful and explosive midfielder who makes you excited when you watch him. A similar mould to Robbie Gray combined with Christian Petracca and when up forward his contested marking overhead is one of his strengths. For the moment he is a forward first, midfielder second with his endurance being a work in progress – running an 11.10 beep test at TAC Cup testing. Not afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents.

Last month: Despite battling a thumb injury, he had one of his better games of the TAC Cup season with 28 disposals (14 contested), seven inside 50s and six clearances against Northern Knights. With the game on the line in the final quarter, Rayner put the foot down ensuring the Jets would get the win. Continued his good form with 18 disposals (12 contested), five tackles and five inside 50s against Gippsland Power. Trained well during the week, but was not risked on the weekend with some knee soreness.

#2 Luke Davies-Uniacke
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
08/06/1999 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #2

Scouting notes: Strong bodied inside midfielder who tackles hard and wins the clearances. Has had a fair share of injuries over the last few seasons but appears to be over them. Is one of the players most ready to go and could walk into AFL from day one with ease. Is powerful in the contested situations and is able to stand up when getting tackled, using his strength to dispose of the ball. Has shown at school football that he can beat the tag.

Last month: In the cold at Mars Stadium he took some time to get going, but showed off his long right boot to finish with 18 disposals and four inside 50s (including a spear pass to Riley D’Arcy). Spent a lot of time up forward against the Sandringham Dragons in Round 17 – but showed some burst of speed from the stoppages, collecting 21 disposals and laying six tackles.

#3 Adam Cerra
?Balanced Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
07/10/1999 | 186cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: The forgotten man of the 2017 draft pool after missing 2016 with a meniscus injury to his knee. The AFL Academy missed out on Pick 1 and Pick 2 in 2016 – and Cerra could be another to join that list of high draft picks. He wins the ball on the inside, with a clean kick on his right foot. He contested work and clearance winning are superb and he covers the ground well. Was one of the standouts in the Vic Metro trials in April and continued his form in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships last month.

Last month: Shoulder surgery has seen Cerra ruled out for the remainder of the season. Was sporting a sling at the TAC Cup best and fairest last night.

#4 Paddy Dow
Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 184cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Speedy inside midfielder who can push forward and hit the scoreboard. Right footed midfielder who was superb for the AFL Academy in their game against the Northern Blues – not looking out of place at the centre bounces. Runs a sub three second 20m sprint and has very good agility. Not afraid to take on opposition midfielders in the contest, attempting to speed out of the stoppages.

Last month: Returned to the TAC Cup with a best-on-ground display against Gippsland Power, with 35 disposals (21 contested), seven inside 50s and six clearances. His highlights were very impressive and is hotly tipped by many to be the number one selection. Suffered a shoulder injury in the game and hasn’t played since, but believe he has avoided surgery for the time being.

#5 Nicholas Coffield
General Defender/Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Composed midfielder who is very good under pressure. Reminds me of Hugh McCluggage where he has plenty of time with ball in hand in the contest. Clean user on his right foot and his defensive efforts are strong where he floats around and wins the ball at ease. Has a burst of speed which he often will utilise in defensive 50 when playing the role of a general defender.

Last month: Had a good head-to-head battle with Cam Rayner at times, finishing with 20 disposals and seven rebound 50s rotating from defence to the midfield. His good ball use was on display against the Murray Bushrangers, where he had 26 disposals and six clearances. The Knights were well out played by the Sandringham Dragons on the weekend, with Coffield recording 15 disposals as one of their better accumulators in the contest.

#6 Charlie Constable
General Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #6

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who can play on the inside and across either arches. He begun the year for the Dragons in the midfield, but moved to half back with the return of Hamish Brayshaw. Missed a large chunk of 2016 with an injury, but is over those concerns. A good team player who gets to the right positions around the ground. Not super quick, but has a ‘footy brain’ and makes good decisions by foot rebounding out of defence.

Last month: Found the ball at ease out at RAMS Arena against Oakleigh, where he was able to win the ball and get into dangerous positions. Had 29 disposals, before a quieter game against Dandenong with 15 disposals and eight marks. Came back on the weekend and his work in the contest was very good, winning 22 disposals, six clearances and laying six tackles. Has shown his smarts on the inside and is a dangerous match up inside 50 as he can mark the ball at ground level or above his head.

#7Jaidyn Stephenson
?Medium Forward/Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 189cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #8

Scouting notes: Plays as a tall forward marking target inside 50 despite being medium size. Has a big wingspan which sees him pluck the ball from above his opponents reach. He converts his set-shot chances more than not, after bursting onto the scene with a terrific finals series for Eastern Ranges as an Under 16 back in 2015. Stephenson has pushed up onto the wing at times, but plays his best up forward or play as a high half forward. He moves well and holds a great endurance base to go with a really good burst of speed. Midfield craft is improving.

Last month: Has continued to show his midfield craft throughout the last month, with 25 disposals, six inside 50s and five clearances against Calder Cannons. In the cold conditions at Deakin University, Stephenson was his teams best ball winner – collecting seven more disposals than the next best Ranger, finishing the day with 25 disposals, seven inside 50s, seven tackles and five clearances. On Saturday he had a game-high 34 disposals, seven inside 50s and six clearances, able to win the ball on the outside.

#8 Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward/Defender (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 195cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #7

Scouting notes: Key Position tall that can play at either end where he reads the flight of the ball well. Is mobile up forward which allows him to make multiple leads. Missed most of 2016 through knee injury, but jumped on the scene booting over 20 goals for Geelong Grammar in the 1st XVIII competition as a Year 10 in 2015. Doesn’t look out of place in defence after playing there for the AFL Academy – as well as collecting 26 disposals in defence in the APS v AGSV school boy game last year. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Best swingman in the draft – with healthy debate which end he best plays his football.

Last month: Marked well up forward for the Pioneers against Gippsland, finishing with two goals from his 21 disposals and nine mark outing. Was starved of opportunity against the Oakleigh Chargers, with the Pioneers only registering 42 inside 50s. Finished the season with three marks against GWV Rebels.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw
?Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
08/11/1999 | 183cm | 80kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: The brother of Melbourne’s Angus started the year on fire for the Sandringham Dragons. He finds the football with a good contested possession percentage. Brayshaw is more of a handball first, kick second player in the contest but just gets the job done without standing out and flies under the radar. He makes his disposals count and is effective, with good defensive efforts.

Last month: Was the Dragons’ best against Oakleigh, winning the ball at the stoppages and was damaging going forward, finishing with 28 disposals and seven clearances. Once again was good in close, continuing to register good contested possession numbers with 27 disposals and six clearances in their loss to the Dandenong Stingrays. Once again was brilliant alongside brother Hamish on Saturday, with the pair combing for 54 disposals (30 contested), 14 tackles, 11 clearances and eight inside 50s.

#10 Sam Hayes
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 203cm | 93kg
Previous ranking: #10

Scouting notes: Showed his forward craft in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Metro using his height to mark the ball. He is a adequate kick for goal and rucks well around the ground and at the centre bounces. Leading patterns could improve – but he is still learning his game as a tall. At this stage I’d pencil him as a forward first, ruck second prospect – but still would consider him as the best ruck in the draft pool.

Last month: 30,26, 27 hitouts in the last three weeks for the best ruckman in the draft pool. Hayes has shown that he can cover the ground when needed to, providing a target around the ground or inside 50. Had a good battle with a more athletic ruck in Noah Balta, but was able to use his strength to win the hitouts in Round 16.

Sam Hayes leaps high for Vic Metro at the centre bounce.

#11 Joel Garner
?Balanced Midfielder/General Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 183cm | 81kg
Previous ranking: #9

Scouting notes: Speedy midfielder who plays well on both the outside and inside. He uses the ball well off his left foot, hitting targets on the run or standing still. His handballing in close is another strength and he is able to clear the ball from a stoppage with ease. Screams X-Factor at times and may have found his best position across half back. Is an outstanding leader.

Last month: Was uncharacteristically sent off on Saturday after a minor incident, but is a player that can really push himself higher with some big finals performances for the Ranges. Had 17 disposals (10 contested), eight tackles and six rebounds as one of his teams best in the cold against the Geelong Falcons, while he rebounded the ball well across half back in their Round 16 clash against Calder Cannons.

#12 Jack Higgins
Small Forward/?Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 178cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who wins a lot of the ball and has now moved into a small forward role post the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. His defensive efforts are getting better and the midfielder has the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard. His clearance work is great and he has goal smarts as a small forward, but he does lack a touch of speed compared to other small forwards. Very good contested mark for a player sub 180cm. Should be ready to go in 2018, but his full on focus on AFL in 2017, might mean he has a limited upside compared with other first rounders.

Last month: Capped off a very strong month winning the TAC Cup Best and Fairest (Morrish Medal) last night. Had a best-on-ground performance with seven goals against Bendigo Pioneers and also booted three goals from 21 disposals against Sandringham Dragons, showing his smarts in a very good last quarter when the game was on the line. Was again in the bests with 26 disposals, eight marks and 2.4 on Saturday.

#13 Noah Balta
Tall Utility (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 194cm | 92kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Athletic tall who has one of the biggest upsides of the draft pool. Balta has played predominately as a ruckman or a key forward for the Calder Cannons – but showed great signs as a defender in the Vic Metro trial and played there in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. He is a good mark, but his running patterns up forward do need some work. He possesses a rare combo of elite speed and agility for a tall player. His vertical leap is exceptional and can do things that many other talls in the draft pool cannot. Has a very long right foot kick.

Last month: Has spent most of the last month in the ruck, using his athletic traits and big leap to his advantage. Was the dominant ruck in St Bernard’s school Herald Sun Shield Grand Final, whilst days later he had 13 disposals, 13 hitouts and eight inside 50s against Eastern Ranges, where he used his long right foot kick on multiple occasions. Booted three goals against GWV Rebels, before finding plenty of the ball against the Western Jets playing as a centre half forward and in the ruck – with 19 disposals (12 contested), 14 hitouts and eight inside 50s. Could he end up a midfielder?

#14 Darcy Fogarty
General Forward (Glenelg/South Australia)
05/09/1999 | 192cm | 88kg
Previous ranking: #12

Scouting notes: Strongly built forward that can push into the midfield. Played up forward for South Australia in last year’s Under 18 Championships booting seven goals. Fogarty played a strong game in the midfield for Glenelg in their finals last year and has been tried as a third tall defender at stages throughout 2017. Has the ability to kick off either foot and can lay bone-crunching tackles. He is more of a third tall than an inside midfielder at this stage. Ruled out for the season with a meniscus tear in his knee.

Last month: Fogarty has not played over the last month, after surgery on a small meniscus tear ruled him out for the season.

#15 Hunter Clark
?Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
26/03/1999 | 186cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Has transitioned from a rebounding outside defender to a contested ball winning midfielder over the last 12 months. Coming out of defence his decision making and kicking could be better – and if he cleans this up it will help his draft stocks. Ball winning capabilities are improving on the inside and he is able to pump the ball inside 50 to a teammate. Possesses quick hands – a trait that can separate him from others in this draft pool.

Last month: The move to an inside midfielder is paying off with Clark playing two very good games in the last month. Begun as his sides biggest ball winner against GWV Rebels, with 22 disposals (14 contested), nine tackles and six clearances. Was best-on-ground by a country mile against Sandringham Dragons, finishing the day with 29 disposals, seven inside 50s and pushed forward to boot two goals. Didn’t play for Dandenong yesterday, but was running around pre-game and should slot back in for finals this weekend.

#16 Aaron Naughton
Key Position Defender (Peel/Western Australia)
30/11/19999 | 194cm | 84kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: Played as a bottom-ager in two of Western Australia’s NAB AFL Under 18 Championship games in 2016, and was named as a co-captain for the 2017 carnival where he impressed in defence. He marks well overhead and is a good reader of the play. Has an awkward ball drop which can affect his left foot kicking efficiency at times, but mostly it gets where it needs to go. Made his League debut in the WAFL and hasn’t looked out of place.

Last month: Has continued to hold his spot in the WAFL League, and it’s seen many club recruiters from Victoria making the trip over to ‘see what the fuss is about’. Naughton collected six marks in both Round 21 and 22 for Peel Thunder, and showed he can intercept the ball in the air. Had just seven disposals and five marks in their Round 23 loss to South Fremantle, but held his spot in the return contest in the Qualifying Final on the weekend – recording 10 disposals.

#17 Matthew Ling
?Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21/04/1999 | 182cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #14

Scouting notes: Left footer who is a good ball user on the outside. Has flown under the radar and likely will end up as the first Geelong Falcon drafted. Is a smart footballer and makes good decisions. Not a big ball winner, but has elite agility that allows him to step opponents around the ground.

Last month: Used his agility and his pinpoint left foot kick well in the opening term against the Dandenong Stingrays yesterday. He hasn’t found overly a large amount of the ball over the last month, but he can make his 10-15 disposals really hurt the opposition if he can get a chance on the outside. Hopefully lifts his tackling output come finals.

#18 Lochie O’Brien
Outside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
18/09/1999 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Classy outside midfielder who is likened to former Roo & Saint Nick Dal Santo. Uses the ball well on his left foot and possesses elite speed which can help him burst away on the outside at speed. Impressed last year for Vic Country as a bottom-ager playing on the wing, a position that allows for him to be a receiever on the outside where he can clear the ball via a pinpoint pass. A good decision maker and is someone you want to have the ball in their hands. If he can win a bit more contested ball he should be able to mould into a damaging wingman/half back.

Last month: Didn’t play in Round 16, missing the game with knee soreness – but came back to record 20 disposals and three inside 50s in their big win to the Oakleigh Chargers. Polled Morrish Medal votes on the weekend, with 26 disposals and six inside 50s. Has plenty of appealing traits and has carried a few niggles right throughout the season.

#19 Lachlan Fogarty
Balanced Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 179cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #22

Scouting notes: Clean and polished midfielder who wins the ball in both contested and uncontested situations. A good decision maker by hand or foot, who tackles hard to win the ball back. Has smarts and knows where the goals are. Is a consistent performer and unfairly flies under the radar.

Last month: Was very very stiff to miss out on the three votes on Saturday, after being one of the clear standouts with 24 disposals, 15 tackles, seven inside 50s and six clearances. Also laid double figure tackle numbers in Rounds 16 and 17 and had over 20 disposals. Has worked his backside off since returning from school footy.

#20 Patrick Naish
Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180cm | 69kg
Previous ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Smart and lively inside 50. Working on his contested ball winning ability, but looks suited to start as a forward at AFL level. Can play across half back, ball usage is reasonable by foot but can often go for the miracle kick rather than a simpler options. Has a good spring that allows his to leap over some of his smaller opponents. Covers the ground well. Father-son eligible for Richmond.

Last month: Had a fantastic game against Murray Bushrangers in Round 17, with 25 disposals, six inside 50s and three goals playing in the attacking half of the ground. Continued to link up and find the ball on the outside and had 17 disposals against Sandringham Dragons on Saturday.

#21 Oscar Allen
Key Position Forward (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #18

Scouting notes: Tall Utility who can play at either end but mostly looks likely to settle forward. Marks well overhead and moves well for a player over 190cm. Good decision maker and impressed inside 50 in the WA trials. Named co-captain for Western Australia in the National Under 18 Championships and was the Larke Medalist judged the best player in the carnival. Looms as one of the first WA players selected. Very good endurance base.

Last month: Played his second WAFL Seniors game for West Perth with a similar output to his first, with nine disposals and five marks. He then returned to the WAFL Colts, but showed he was far too good for that level – recording 28 disposals, 10 tackles and seven marks.

#22 Ryley Stoddart
Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/10/1999 | 183cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is what you want in a half back flank. Kicks it well on his left foot, makes very good decisions and will get to the right positions. His defending one-on-one is okay and is not a big disposal winner, but is a player who will make his 15-20 touches hurt the opposition when he drops off. Dubbed as a Kade Simpson clone by SEN 1116 Draft Analyst Brett Anderson.

Last month: Moved more up the ground at the start of the month and had 19 disposals, five inside 50s and booted two goals at RAMS Arena against the Calder Cannons. Had a quiet day in the cold at Deakin University against the Geelong Falcons, but switched back into his defensive role against Oakleigh Chargers on the weekend – recording 19 disposals and six rebound 50s, using the ball well and working hard when being matched up on the dangerous Jack Higgins.

#23 Connor Ballenden
Tall Utility (Uni of QLD/Brisbane Lions Academy)
29/03/1999 | 199cm | 96kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: Strong contested marking forward who will fit well into the Lions forward structure. Has played through the ruck and as a key position defender to start 2017 – but his best position is coming out of the goal square. Possesses a very good set shot routine, kicking more goals than he misses. Has a long kick and reads the play well.

Last month: Has spent some time at either end of the ground when playing in the Brisbane Lions NEAFL side. Had the second most marks (seven) for the Lions against Gold Coast, finishing with 16 disposals, three rebound 50s and three inside 50s. Had seven disposals and three marks in their tight win over GWS Giants.

#24 Nathan Murphy
Medium Utility (Brighton Grammar/Sandringham Dragons)
15/12/1999 | 188cm | 84kg
Previous ranking: #29

Scouting notes: The Victorian Under 19 cricketer has been one of the better forwards in the APS Victorian school football season. Murphy has over 20 goals after moving forward post a concussion suffered against Haileybury College in Round 2. Was a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons program for 2017 and was strong as a third tall in defence on debut. The tall utility can play at either end and has a big booming right foot kick. Goalkicking accuracy is one area which can be cleaned up but Murphy’s focus has largely been cricket over the last few years. Often has a tendency to mark the ball behind his head and Murphy has a very large wingspan.

Last month: Has been swung around the ground more times than James Anderson swings a new dukes ball. Started forward against Oakleigh Chargers, but was moved back to strengthen their defence. Got to good positions playing mostly in defence against Dandenong Stingrays, but played his best game for the month able to use his long right foot against Northern Knights on Saturday. Murphy had 25 disposals, nine marks, five inside 50s and four rebound 50s in a strong performance that may help him push his name into the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars squad (if he isn’t already).

#25 Jack Petruccelle
?Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
12/04/1999 | 184cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: The fastest player in the TAC Cup with a 20m sprint time of 2.82s. He is willing to take oppoisition players on and burn them off along the wing. Also possesses a very good leap. His kicking on the run is a work-in-progress and needs work, but his eye catching displays are continuing to get better and more consistent. Comes from an elite basketball background. His contested ball numbers are very good.

Last month: Returned from a week off with 27 disposals (15 contested), eight inside 50s and seven clearances against Murray Bushrangers in a strong performance from the midfielder. Showed his good contested ball winning abilities and showed his ability to get the ball moving inside 50.

Jack Petruccelle in action for Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

#26 Aiden Bonar
?Inside Midfielder/General Forward (Haileybury College/Dandenong Stingrays)
08/03/1999 | 190cm | 89kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Build like a brick sh!thouse. After recovering from two ACL surgeries on his knee, Bonar has presence about him around the ground, mostly playing up forward as a third tall – but has pushed into the midfield for longer periods with each game he plays. His pressure is very good and he can lay bone crunching tackles. Has a good burst of speed and is strong overhead. Suggestion is he’ll end up a full time midfielder. Possesses a big upside.

Last month: Was outstanding in the triple header at MARS Stadium, showing off his contested marking up forward. Bonar finished with 18 disposals, seven marks (four contested), five inside 50s and booted two goals. Laid five tackles against the Sandringham Dragons, setting up and early goal – while he spent a lot of time through the midfield against Geelong Falcons on Sunday with 20 disposals (12 contested), five inside 50s and four tackles.

#27 Zac Bailey
Inside Midfielder (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 180cm | 68kg
Previous ranking: #26

Scouting notes: Has a great burst of speed and he isn’t afraid to collect the ball and burst out of a stoppage getting distance on himself from his opponents. The right footer is usually a clean kick but can have the odd poor game by foot. Wins the contested ball and tackles well.

Last month: Was one of PACs best through the midfield against Scotch in South Australian school boy football. In the 2017 South Australian State Championship game against Henley High, Bailey was able to break free at the stoppages and was damaging getting the ball forward. He won best-on-ground honours for his performance on the night.

#28 Dylan Moore
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175cm | 66kg
Previous ranking: #28

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who isn’t afraid of winning the contested ball. His ground ball numbers are very good and is a big ball winning midfielder. Moore can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. Has a decent jump for a small midfielder which he can show off up forward. Has a very good endurance base but is one of the few players sub 180cm who don’t possess elite speed. Is a smart footer and just gets to the right position to win the ball. Clearance work is super.

Last month: Continues to find the footy with 30 disposals, eight inside 50s, six clearances and six tackles in a superb game against the Calder Cannons, showing off his good hands in close. Had 10 contested possessions from his 16 against Geelong Falcons, while he had 31 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s against Oakleigh Chargers on Saturday just getting to the right places to win the ball.

#29 Charlie Spargo
?Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
25/11/1999 | 175cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #30

Scouting notes: Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard. Despite his size he wins the ball in the contest and tackles hard. Is one of the few midfielders who has a good goal sense and is a hard match-up when deep inside 50. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Has had shoulder surgery which will rule him out for the season.

Last month: Missed the entire month recovering from shoulder surgery. Was invited to the National Combine and will still interview with clubs there.

#30 Nathan Kreuger
Tall Utility (South Adelaide/South Australia)
25/06/1999 | 196cm | 86kg
Previous ranking: #25

Scouting notes: A raw talent who has had some incredible moments over the last 12 months. His work in the South Australian trials were good last year and early this year. Can play as a tall at either end, but most excitingly moves well athletically enough to play as a flanker. Uses the ball well off his left foot and there are some moments that get you really excited about this kid. Can play through the midfield but showed his strength up forward for South Australia in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Last month: Had 11 disposals and booted a goal in South Adelaide’s draw with Woodville-West Torrens. Suffered a knee injury in their game the following round, but returned on the weekend in the South Adelaide Under 18s in their first final recording nine disposals, three marks (two contested) and laid three tackles.

#31 Jordan Houlahan
Medium Forward (Sturt/South Australia)
19/02/1999 | 185cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Medium forward who possess a very good leap and is a straight kick in front of goal. The AFL Academy member will likely adjust to AFL life in a similar role to Sydney Swans 2016 draftee Will Hayward. Has come back from a shoulder reconstruction and was a solid performance up forward in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Last month: Houlahan has booted 14 goals over the last four weeks in the SANFL Reserves, including a bag of four goals in Sturt’s final against North Adelaide to go with his 16 disposals and seven marks. His 16 disposal, five inside 50s and five goal game against Glenelg was very impressive in Round 16.

#32 Jackson Ross
Outside Midfielder/Medium Forward (Haileybury College/Eastern Ranges)
22/06/1999 | 192cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Booted 29 goals playing as a centre half forward and on the wing for Haileybury College in the APS school competition. Comes from an elite tennis background and is still quite raw in football terms. Has a long kick and is able to use it on either side of his body. Very athletic and has a National Combine invite.

Last month: Booted five goals against Calder Cannons in Round 16 in a very strong performance, and whilst was quiet in the game against Geelong Falcons the following week – he did some good things on Saturday with nine disposals and three tackles. There’s plenty to like about Ross and a big finals series could push him up clubs boards.

#33 James Worpel
?Inside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
24/01/1999 | 185cm | 84kg
Previous ranking: #27

Scouting notes: Cracks in hard winning the ball in the contest and is one of the best clearance players in the 2017 draft pool. Question marks are on his kicking, where at times he will just bomb it out of the packs but he did show in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships that he was able to stop and find a target without rushing. Tackles well but has areas to address to be a first round selection.

Last month: Was good at the contest with 23 disposals and nine tackles against Murray Bushrangers in the triple header at MARS Stadium. In the wet, he opted to bang the ball long against Eastern Ranges to get territory completing the day with 24 disposals, eight inside 50s and seven clearances. His hands in close were very good on Sunday against Dandenong stingrays, finishing with 10 contested possessions, seven tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s.

#34 Ed Newman
?Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Mentone Grammar/Sandringham Dragons)
12/03/1999 | 183cm | 80kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Was one of the best player in the AGSV school boy competition for Mentone Grammar and was Australia’s 13th man on Boxing Day and Newman is a high level underage cricketer. Possesses a very clean left foot kick and is smart at the contest. Can play across half back and rebound the ball if required.

Last month: Made his TAC Cup debut with 10 disposals and three clearances against Oakleigh Chargers. Against the Dandenong Stingrays, he won the first centre clearance and propelled it long inside 50. He finished the day with four centre clearances to go with his 21 disposals and six marks. Didn’t play on the weekend due to sickness, but should be a certain starter in TAC Cup Finals.

#35 Oscar Clavarino
Key Position Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/05/1999 | 195cm | 86kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Key Position defender who should fill out in an AFL environment. His best can be very good and has held down the key post for Vic Country in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships over the last two years.  His intercept work is getting better and has become more sure of himself when dropping off his man. Kicking can be shaky under pressure – but is another element to his game that has improved throughout the season.

Last month: Played the best game I’ve seen him play with nine marks (three contested) and 17 disposals against Geelong Falcons on Sunday. Also moved up forward late. Also showed his intercept work against the Sandringham Dragons the week before.

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    1. Harry’s been good this year in the TAC Cup, winning the ball & laying plenty of tackles. His defensive efforts are notable which are impressive. At 180cm, Benson has a state combine invite – so there are a few clubs interested. A good finals series may help him push himself into draft calculations.

  1. What are Brisbane Lion’s preferences at Pick 1? Also who will they possibly select with Port Adelaide selection (currently 14)? Why hasn’t Luke Davies-Uniacke name been mentioned in relation to Lions first selection. Vic Country boy just like Paddy Dow, but in my opinion stronger. What is your opinion?

    1. I think the four in the mix for the Lions pick are Adam Cerra, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Paddy Dow & Cameron Rayner. The Lions have the worst contested possession numbers in the AFL – and Paddy Dow had the best out of the four from the U18 Championships, as well as having the most clearances so he probably makes sense. I think players like Garner, Higgins, Clark will appeal at the Lions’ second selection (Port’s pick). Davies-Uniacke is in the mix, but think they opt for Dow if they pick a Country kid just due to his sheer numbers & the fact that he has real elite burst from the stoppages.

  2. How is Callum Coleman Jones fairing for the draft. National combine invite but no where to be seen in top 35? Was a top 10 pick at the start of the year?

    1. For me I’ve always pegged Coleman-Jones as a third round + prospect. Good mark and athletic around the ground – but there’s a healthy discussion whether he’s a forward or ruck at the next level. I’m not too sure and for me I get put off by his kicking which is a knock on him. I still think he’ll find a home maybe later, but a lack of talls in the draft will make it interesting.

  3. Hi Matt
    Young Hugh Dixon has been performing strongly in the TSL kicking goals and taking great marks. He seems to have footy smarts and his kicking is very good. Where do you think he will go in the draft

    1. Hugh’s two main strengths are his marking and goal kicking. The strength of the TSL isn’t comparable to the other competitions around the country & the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships – but you can only do what you can do & his form has been good as of late. Probably has a few things to work on in terms of his athletic ability & the results from the combine will give a better gauge. Likely to fall late-Rookie at the moment, but we’ll see how he tests.

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