WITH the 2017 AFL National Draft done and dusted, our team takes a look at how each team fared and give an indication of how they think each player could fit into each side. This article will contain Geelong to North Melbourne, after doing Adelaide to Fremantle yesterday and Port Adelaide to Western Bulldogs tomorrow.
Pick 22 – Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets) 179cm | 75kg | Balanced Midfielder/Forward
Geelong picked up some classy midfield talent with pick 22. Lachlan Fogarty has all the tools for which to build a brilliant AFL career. His agility and breakaway speed aide his offensive game well, and his ability to win the ball is nothing short of impressive. The Western Jets bal winner is a rare commodity, playing excellent both offensively and defensively. His tackling and pressure on the ball balance out his game and his disposal accumulation sees him average around 25 per game. He was one of the most underrated players of the draft crop, but has a lot to offer and room to grow.
Pick 24 – Tim Kelly (South Fremantle) 182cm | 81kg | Balanced Midfielder
Kelly’s junior career raised a few questions about his ability and consistency, but he has since erased all doubts after turning heads for a third brilliant consecutive year for South Fremantle. His inside game, power and scoreboard impact tick all the boxes for an effective midfielder. He average of 26.3 disposals, along with 4.3 marks and 3.7 tackles, smashed his numbers from his 2016 season. His explosive power out of stoppages will be enjoyable for Dockers fans and his ability to find the pill makes him a dangerous utility for Geelong.
Pick 36 – Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons) 190cm | 86kg | Inside Midfielder
Constable’s footy IQ makes him a valuable pick for Geelong. His ability to read the play, pick his spots and find his man in high pressure football make him an easy standout. He is versatile, proving he can play forward and back, and as an inside midfielder. He may lack some of the athleticism, but with some dedication to the pitch that is easily changed. Something you can’t always change is a player’s ability to read and understand the game. It is not easy to teach. This sets him apart from the rest of the line-up and could see him develop into an important addition to the 2018 squad.
Pick 57 – Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons) | 178cm | 77kg | Small Forward
Miers is a specific talent that could have received an earlier pick if he matched a team’s criteria, so his abilities should not go unnoticed due to his late pick. He has a large tank for a small forward, and smarts in the forward line that are hard to match from this year’s crop. He was considered the best of the small forwards offered, and should excite Geelong fans if he finds himself with the footy. He knows where to run, how to earn the football and put through important goals. He is a valuable player for any club and Geelong were lucky to snatch him up so late in the draft.
Summary: Geelong was lucky to grab Lachlan Fogarty up at pick 22 after he was pegged as a top-15 contender. His versatility could see him developed anywhere from the backline, midfield or forward line. His defensive pressure is top tier, being known mostly for his outstanding tackling. Given mentoring from Geelong’s current midfield and coaching staff, Fogarty, along with inside midfielder, Tim Kelly, could become the next big stars in the years to come. They are definitely at the place to make it happen. Kelly’s inside game is outstanding and could see him moving into that role for Geelong in the later years, but for now he might do well off half-back or half-forward. Constable may not have the athleticism, but his ability to influence and read a game is outstanding. His composure and smarts make him an adaptable footballer, so Geelong should not be short of positions to test him out in. After losing Steven Motlop, Miers should be started up in the forward to be developed into a dangerous small. His read on the forward line makes him a valuable asset to some of the Geelong’s larger forwards.
Pick 19 – Wil Powell (Claremont) 184cm | 65kg | Outside Midfielder
Powell was arguably the first name read out on Friday night that caused some surprised looks around the room. There had been interest in the midfielder, and Gold Coast clearly rated him the highest, taking him at pick 19. His speed, agility and contested ball work are incredible assets for any team and have been much of what set him apart from some other later picks. He’s great off a kick and has no issue getting his head over the ball. He is a dangerous outside midfielder with a great skill set and speed that should not be underestimated.
Pick 42 – Charlie Ballard (Sturt) 196cm | 82kg | Tall Utility
Ballard’s height and movement make him a valuable addition to any team and was considered a steal after some rumours had him sneaking into the top 20. Likened to game changing talls Nick Riewoldt and Marcus Bontempelli, Ballard’s versatility makes him dangerous all over the ground. His intercept marking, competitiveness and kicking skills are his greatest attributes and could see him do some damage through some development with the Gold Coast Suns.
Pick 52 – Brayden Crossley (Gold Coast Suns Academy) 198cm | 101kg | Ruck
Crossley is a man mountain who impressed for the Suns’ NEAFL side matching it with experienced talls across the league. Crossley’s major selling point would be his physicality in ruck contests, particularly shown with boundary throw-ins. His large frame makes him a powerful opponent, along with his repeated attempts to take the footy in congestion. While he needs to work on his endurance, he has a ready-made body to play in the ruck or down forward.
Pick 55 – Connor Nutting (Gold Coast Suns Academy) | 185cm | 77kg | General Defender
Nutting is agile and competitive. He clocked in at 8.29 seconds on the agility test at the State Combine, demonstrating excellent physical ability. He is a good kick of the football, often tasked with the kick-out duties while playing at the Allies, and holds his own quite well in one-on-ones, being matched against number one pick Cameron Rayner in the National Under 18 Championships. With some dedicated training, Nutting could really take his game to the next level at the club.
One of the biggest surprises of the night was Gold Coast picking up bolter Powell, with pick 19. He, along with Gold Coast Suns Academy player, Nutting, should add some speed pushing up out the backline and through the midfield. Crossley and Ballard are two very different talls who can help evolve the Suns’ attack out of the midfield. With time, Ballard could be evolved into a dangerous half-forward, and Crossley, a strong and competitive ruckman.
Greater Western Sydney
Pick 11 – Aiden Bonar (Dandenong Stingrays) 188.6cm | 86.5kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward
Athletic and full of X-factor, Aiden Bonar’s talent was on full display at this year’s National Combine. Not only did Bonar record a 2.90-second 20-metre sprint, but he equalled first in the standing vertical leap record at 89cm. After two knee constructions, Bonar had almost been forgotten leading up to the draft, but managed to impress recruiters during the second half of the season. When he has the ball, he makes magic happen. He missed a bit of development due to his injuries, but is still ahead of most despite he’s circumstances. He has plenty of room to grow before he hits his prime, and when he does he’s going to send fans into a frenzy. A versatile player that’s going to fit well into The Giants’ young side.
Pick 27 – Brent Daniels (Bendigo Pioneers) 171cm | 70kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward
What Daniels lacks in size, he makes up for in skill and athleticism. His use of the pill is outstanding, winning much of the ball inside. Once exclusively a small forward, Daniels has made his way into the midfield where his dangerous combination of speed and skill have made him a threat to his opponents. He has the potential to play all over the ground, but his movement out of the midfield is outstanding. He is agile and strong, and breaks tackles with ease. He could have easily been given a first round selection if he had a little more height on him, but Daniels is a valuable utility regardless. There are ways he can clean up his game and will probably be worked on during pre-season. He is an explosive midfielder and could see himself playing come Round 1.
Pick 28 – Sam Taylor (Swan Districts) 196.1cm | 87kg | Key Position Defender
Some have argued that Taylor might be the second best key position defender in the draft behind Aaron Naughton. He impressed in the National Under 18 Championships and during his time at Swan Districts in the WAFL. He plays excellent defensive footy, displaying clever positioning, great marking and strong athletic traits. He’s strong in marking contests and is good on the rebound. He has all the right tools to build a strong defensive game.
Pick 56 – Zac Langdon (Claremont) 178cm | 81kg | Small Forward
This Claremont forward comes with a decent tank and a sturdy frame. He is great off a kick and marks well overhead. He has the right build for the AFL and could be moulded into a dangerous forward for the Giants. Langdon adds another avenue up forward and complements the drafting of Bonar and Daniels.
Pick 64 – Nicholas Shipley (GWS Giants Academy) 188 cm | 93kg | Inside Midfielder
Picked up out of the GWS Giants’ Academy, Shipley had plenty of supporters when the Giants called out his name at pick 64. He is a big-bodied midfielder with a lot on offer. He is deceptively quick, knows how to use his frame to his benefit and lays some powerful tackles. While he is still under development and new to the game, he has come a long way and what he does right, he does amazingly.
Bonar could be the next big thing for the Giants. The athletic forward has a pretty full bag of tricks and the Giants fully intend to utilise him as an offensive player. He is agile and strong, and could become the next dynamic, tall forward of the AFL. Bonar, along with Daniels should really evolve the Giants forward line. With the success of the small and tall mix in 2017, Daniels should offer much more of the right kind of attack that’s proven to work. Taylor ought to find himself down back, and with some development, be playing on some key forwards in coming years. Langdon is a mature-age forward with a few more years of experience under his belt. With a star-studded cast, he and Nick Shipley could be integrated nicely into the team with the right coaching and training.
Pick 43 – James Worpel (Geelong Falcons) | 185cm | 86kg | Inside Midfielder
Worpel’s greatest quality on and off the pitch is his dependability. He’s a natural leader and shows great fierceness and resiliency around the ball. Around stoppages he is the man to go to, and his generally consistent over four quarters. His kicking lets him down a little and he will need to work on his agility, but as an inside midfielder it has not affected him all that much. He knows how to bring others into the game and has a significant scoreboard impact.
Pick 67 – Dylan Moore (Eastern Ranges) 176cm | 66kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward
Dylan Moore is a hard running, inside midfielder with a large tank and plenty of strengths. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, Moore won the 2km time trial. He averaged 25.7 disposals and 5.8 tackles for TAC Cup, and a 51 per cent contested possession rate. His clearance work is outstanding and shows no difficulty in impacting the scoreboard. Hawks were lucky to pick up Moore with pick 67.
Pick 71 – Jackson Ross (Eastern Ranges) 193cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder/Forward
Ross is a tall utility who loves to float around the ground. He has a major scoring impact, booting 45 goals throughout the TAC Cup and APS competitions. He does need to work on his consistency and tackling, but with some time, great things can happen.
Hawthorn picked up a nice batch of players despite having late picks in the draft. Worpel is a tough inside midfielder who can help link up the play and create for some good scoring opportunities. Dylan Moore’s large tank should see him run out full matches easily, and his quick reactions to play make him a dangerous opponent. Jackson Ross is a good height for a wingman, and will be a good target across the ground. All the boys also have big scoring impact and should have these strengths utilised offensively. They all could use a bit of training, but could be well on their way to playing 2018.
Pick 29 – Charlie Spargo (Murray Bushrangers) 171cm | 70kg | Small Foward / Inside Midfielder
With their first pick coming in the middle of the second round, the Dees wasted no time in calling out Spargo’s name when their time came. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in endeavour, and while he missed this season with a shoulder complaint, he caught the eye last year as a smart, slippery and courageous small forward who can run through the middle.
Pick 31 – Bayley Fritsch (Casey Demons) 187cm | 80kg | General Forward
One who’s name would not be all that familiar to Under 18 watchers, the Dees plucked Fritsch from their VFL affiliate as a long-kicking, classy medium forward who can get up onto a wing. Although he is not quick, he has excellent hands, and his 44 goals in this season saw him picked in the VFL Team of the Year. A position the Dees needed to fill and they did.
Pick 37 – Harrison Petty (Casey Demons) 195cm | 82kg | Key Defender
With their key defensive stocks needing reinforcement, the Dees scored a coup securing 2017 All Australian and SA MVP Petty. His defensive positioning, marking and reading of the ball in flight are great strengths, and his kicking is above average for a young tall. Perhaps lacking pace, his positive traits negate his speed deficiency fairly well, and physical strength will come with time in the gym and maturity.
Pick 48 – Oskar Baker (Aspley Hornets) 182cm | 76kg | Outside Midfielder / General Defender
After being cut by the Brisbane Lions Academy and missing out last year, Baker went back to the NEAFL and set about proving everyone wrong. The 19 year old has elite speed and loves to race down the wing and take the game on, shown amply by his NEAFL Goal of the Year. Good by foot, he’s ready to go right away.
A team on the cusp of a long-awaited finals return, the Dees are in the window of fine-tuning rather than overhauling their list. Having gained the highly sought-after Jake Lever in the off-season, they were looking for specific role players and did very well in finding them. Expect Fritsch and Baker to be right in the selection mix early in 2018. With Tom McDonald’s move forward, a development key defender was required and Petty was too good to pass up.
Pick 4 – Luke Davies-Uniacke (Dandenong Stingrays) 187cm | 85kg | Inside Midfielder
A complete midfielder and rightfully in the pre-draft pick one discussions, the Haileybury product was not expected to remain on the board at the Roos’ pick. Strong, polished and a great leader, LDU had an excellent season for the Stingrays, Vic Country and in the APS, where he was simply dominant. A big game performer, he does his best work at the stoppages, but is far more classy than the stereotypical inside type. A gem of a player.
Pick 23 – Will Walker (Sandringham Dragons) 187cm | 78kg | Midfielder / General Forward
A bolter in every sense of the word, Walker is one who came from a long way back to go early in the second round. Likely not even viewed as a strong rookie chance at the start of the year, the soccer convert is slippery at half forward and bursts strongly from the contest when he lobs in midfield. While his kicking remains a work in progress, it is more in the nature of ‘lowering his eyes’ than a flaw in technique. One with tremendous upside.
Pick 62 – Kyron Hayden (Subiaco) 186cm | 87kg | Inside Midfielder
The similarities with Port firebrand Sam Powell-Pepper are hard to ignore, with both WA products being strong on the inside, and agile and aggressive at the contest. Where Hayden falls behind is in his endurance; though he’s ready-made physically to play AFL football, he needs time to build a tank capable of impacting a game in his bruising style at the pace required at the top level.
Pick 72 – Tristan Xerri (Western Jets) 201cm | 93kg | Ruckman / Key Forward
More a ruckman than a forward, Xerri becomes the first AFL footballer to have a surname beginning with X. A somewhat raw prospect, he is a decent kick for a very big kid and has worked hard to improve his forward craft. Will be given time behind Goldstein, Preuss and Daw.
Pick 77 – Billy Hartung (Hawthorn) 177cm | 78kg | Outside Midfielder
With their final pick, the Roos threw a lifeline to surprise Hawthorn delisting Hartung. Known for his superb running power, he adds dash and some experience to a midfield decimated by retirements over the past couple of years. At 22 he’s likely to be in the mix immediately.
North Melbourne targeted a number of areas in the draft, picking up two speedsters and two inside midfielders, while filling a key position void with a developing tall. Hartung is ready-made to go and while his deficiencies have been made public, he has one of the biggest tanks in the AFL and certainly offers the Roos line-breaking speed. Davies-Uniacke has the strong burst out of a stoppage and is ready-made as well, while Walker can add a point of difference up forward. Hayden will further add to that inside presence once he builds his endurance, while Xerri will spend considerable time in the reserves, having already played at Werribee so it will be a familiar surrounding.