ON AFL Grand Final Day, some of the top prospects for the 2019 National AFL Draft strutted their stuff on the biggest stage. Split in two sides named after AFL champions, Jimmy Bartel and Nick Riewoldt, there were a number of impressive performances throughout the 22-minute quarters.
#2 Caleb Serong
The tough Gippsland Power midfielder was unlucky not to win best on ground honours with his fantastic game through the midfield. Serong was a consistent performer able to win the contested ball through the midfield but also become a factor in transition forward of the ball creating many scoring opportunities with his skill by hand and ability to find space. Serong was everywhere in the second half and he finished as his teams top disposal winner, he also hit the scoreboard to round out his game nicely.
#3 Matt Rowell
After winning the TAC Grand Final Best on Ground award, the Oakleigh Chargers prospect backed up his award-winning form taking out best on ground honours in the All-Stars game as well. Rowell was huge in the first half with his attack on the ball and explosiveness out of the stoppage really catching the eye. His explosiveness was on show kicking a goal on the run and burning off multiple opponents on the way. Rowell is not the tallest midfielder, but his attack and strong body allowed him to beat the taller and stronger midfielders he went up against and he could not be caught once getting the ball using his speed and power to get separation.
#16 Lachlan Potter
The Northern Knights speedster showed off his trademark speed and agility on multiple occasions. Despite being run down once, he had a nice run after taking a good mark in front of his opponent, but he would end up making a mistake bouncing the ball and he may never have been caught if not for that mistake. Potter’s run and defending was a standout where he often played in front and used the ball well coming out of defence.
#17 Elijah Taylor
The Western Australia prospect had a slow start in the first quarter but he would show his fantastic movement through traffic and agility in the second quarter where he really caught the eye. Taylor would continue to impress with his slick movement and composure under pressure and would be rewarded on the scoreboard with a nice finish on his opposite foot showing his class.
#18 Jeremy Sharp
The All-Australian from Western Australia was a ball magnet on the wing often getting to the right spots and using his run and dash to find space. Sharp looked impressive with his clean hands and quick ball movement on the outside, he often worked hard into defence and would take the risk with long switch kicks that often hit their mark. He kicked a nice running goal in the first quarter where he settled nicely with a drop punt.
#22 Cooper Stephens
The Geelong Falcons midfielder has a presence at the stoppages winning plenty of the ball at the coal face and opting to use the ball by hand when winning clearances. Stephens favoured using the ball by hand but his ball use by hand was fantastic often quick and putting his teammates in better positions than himself. His team looked at its best through the middle when Stephens was involved at stoppages.
#23 Mitchell Georgiades
After winning an under 18s premiership with Subiaco, Georgiades again played well to give his team success where he was arguably the best forward for the day. Georgiades took plenty of lead up marks and he worked hard up the ground to provide a target, he kicked two goals, one coming with a set shot snap goal in the second quarter and a running goal in the third quarter. He missed a chance in the last quarter only managing to register a behind from the set shot. Georgiades was a hard worker and proved a great target for his team going forward with his impressive marking ability and ball use.
#31 Will Gould
The All-Australian from South Australia, Gould was named captain for his team and he led from the front with his kicking from defence a real feature. Gould was confident coming out of defence, he never wasted time and took the first option and despite the risky kicks they always paid off using his long penetrating kick. Gould set the tone for his fellow defenders who also played with confidence and used the ball well.
#1 Rhai-Arn Cox
The WA live-wire did not get a huge amount of the ball but certainly showed his elite talent. Cox was involved early in a nice bit of play winning the ball through the middle with a good long handball before running forward to get on the end of the passage of play he created although he missed the set shot. Cox jumped at every contest showing his natural spring. His two goals were in the third quarter coming from a set shot and an easy goal running into the goal square.
#6 Trent Bianco
The Oakleigh Chargers ball magnet was his team’s top disposal winner, gathering plenty of the ball at half-back and using it well on both sides coming out of defence. Bianco’s composure and skill was a standout down back where he often chose the right option and did it with little fuss. His ability to weave through traffic and pick the right option was terrific along with his ability to kick well on both sides.
#8 Mitch O’Neill
The Tasmanian prospect battled an ankle injury heading into the game but it did not stop him from winning plenty of the ball through the midfield. O’Neill showed great composure and agility around the ground and he was one of his team’s better ball winners and more consistent four quarter players. O’Neill’s kicking let him down on a few occasions, but that might have been caused from the discomfort with his ankle.
#17 Deven Robertson
The ball magnet from Western Australia, Robertson looked set for another big possession game winning plenty of the ball through the midfield, he won some clearances and worked well in transition. He was moved forward in the second half taking some nice lead up marks and using the ball well especially by hand, Robertson was one of his teams better performers especially with his disposal.
#22 Tom Green
The GWS Academy member was his team’s captain and he led from the front, cracking into contests for the whole four quarters with his impact in the first quarter the most noticeable. Green often won first possession at stoppages leaning towards using a handball. His clean hands and attack on the ball where a standout. Green kicked a fantastic goal in the last quarter with a dribbler in the pocket from a tight angle.
#23 Noah Anderson
The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder was one of his teams most impactful players kicking two goals from the midfield both from snaps on his left and right boot in the fist half. Anderson did not get a huge amount of the ball but he was generally clean with his hands through the midfield and often got to dangerous positions.
#25 Brodie Kemp
The Bendigo Pioneers utility was used in multiple positions throughout the day starting the game down back and showing good composure. Kemp was moved into the midfield at half-time where he looked at his best showing off his impressive movement for his size and ability to baulk the opposition. Kemp went forward in the last quarter taking a mark and converting a lovely set shot goal in windy condition from outside 50 on a tight angle.
#35 Luke Jackson
The basketball convert from Western Australia played mostly in the ruck using his impressive leap and strong fame to his advantage, he did not win a lot of the ball but generally hit his targets. Jackson went forward in the second half winning a free kick in the third quarter and converting a goal. He also took an impressive mark in the last quarter which only resulted in a behind.