Draft Central Power Rankings: June 2019

AFTER a massive 2018 which saw so many talented players realise their dreams, we turn our attention to the 2019 AFL Draft crop. In the second edition of our monthly Power Rankings which is posted on the first Monday of every month, we have compiled our top 20 players at this stage of the year. So much changes over the next 12 months, with only bottom-age form and the first couple of months of the seasons to go by so far. Take note that the order is based purely on opinion and ability, not on any AFL club lists or needs. For our May monthly rankings, check out this link.

#1 Matthew Rowell

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
01/07/2001 | 178cm | 75kg

Easily the most consistent player in the 2019 draft crop, having barely ever played a bad game. The inside midfielder is a tackling machine, averaging double-figure tackles at NAB League Boys level, while also racking up a massive 7.3 clearances per game. What is remarkable about Rowell is not only his ability to win the ball, but his ability to bring teammates into the game. Rowell is always looking to provide possession to a teammate in a better position, but when he needs to step up, Rowell is more than capable of finishing on his own. When at forward stoppages, Rowell has a nous of breaking away and snapping off his left as he did twice against Casey Demons on the MCG. There are plenty of candidates to the number one pick this year, but Rowell looks the 2019 equivalent of Sam Walsh – consistent across the board and just ticks all the boxes. He will spend the year playing school footy outside his National Under 18 Championships commitments before returning to the Chargers’ for their finals campaign.

May Ranking: #1

Last month: Rowell has been playing for Carey Grammar in the APS competition,  and was named best on ground in Carey’s 44-point victory over St Kevin’s in Round 2, where he booted four goals. Starred on the MCG as expected for Vic Metro in the loss to Vic Country on Saturday after a quiet start, but recovered to finish with 28 disposals and eight marks. Has not put a foot wrong this season.

#2 Noah Anderson

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder/Forward
17/02/2001 | 190cm | 87kg

In what was thought to be an anomaly last year with Henley High pairing Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine touted as potential pick one and two, Anderson and Rowell both attend Carey Grammar, making it a daunting combo for any other APS school. Anderson is different to Rowell in the sense he is taller, has the ability to break open a game in a quarter, and has a booming kick that easily travels greater than 50 metres. He has enjoyed a consistent start to the year and has not done too much wrong, with his field kicking an area he could improve on at times. When inside the forward half, Anderson is one of the most damaging prospects in the draft crop, and expect him to have an impact around goals at the National Under 18 Championships for Vic Metro. His game-breaking ability is as good as anyone’s in the draft crop.

May Ranking: #2

Last month: Similar to Rowell, Anderson has not done too much wrong, being amongst the best for Carey Grammar in their strong season thus far in the APS competition. On the MCG, he and Rowell were the two best with the tall midfielder working hard for 25 disposals, five marks, five clearances and eight tackles, most importantly with 11 of his 16 kicks being effective.

#3 Hayden Young

Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | General Defender/Inside Midfielder
11/04/2001 | 188cm | 82kg

One of the prime movers last season and a player who has the potential to be a deadly half-back. He has elite kicking skills coming out of defence, aided by the fact he has a penetrating kick that can clear 50m with ease. He just gets to the right positions and pushes up the ground where he takes a number of intercept marks. He will contest any marking contest regardless of opponent, and is a composed user in defence. He was tried in the middle early in the season, but his greatest influence is in the back half. After an okay start to the year without being anything dazzling, Young reminded everyone of his talent on the MCG, starring alongside Rowell and Anderson, taking a number of crucial intercept marks and setting up scoring plays. A hard edge with terrific kicking skills, Young is one to certainly keep in mind for Pick 1.

May Ranking: #3

Last month: If Saturday’s opening game of the Under 18 National Championships is anything to go by, Young is the clear third best prospect, if not closing the gap to two above. The standout player on the ground, Young showed off his elite kicking skills with 29 disposals, seven marks, seven rebounds and two inside 50s – both of which came in the first term along with 10 touches when the heat was on. Importantly wins a lot of his touches from intercept marks, rather than handball receives and is the best kick in the draft crop.

#4 Lachlan Ash

Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country | General Defender
21/06/2001 | 186cm | 80kg

Along with Young, Ash is the other standout Country prospect in defence. The Murray Bushrangers runner has few flaws to his game, owning the defensive 50 with a massive amount of intercept marks and rebounds, while slicing up opposition zones with his elite kicking ability. He is a player that just catches the eye, gets himself into the right positions, and can set up teammates around the ground or in attack. He has hardly put a foot wrong this season, and while his performance on the MCG had its ups and downs, his NAB League form is not to be questioned. He will be a massive chance for the Morrish Medal if he stays fit, and is a crucial part of the Murray Bushrangers outfit. The noticeable advantage with Ash compared to a lot of half-backs is he can win his own ball, and while he might only win a third of his possessions in a contest, he is comparably low with handball receives, almost winning more touches from marking than from handballs. If he and Young both play off half-back at the National Under 18 Championships, expect Country to have plenty of run and penetration.

May Ranking: #5

Last month: If Young is the best kick in the draft crop, then this powerful user is the next best with terrific penetration and a variety of ways to hurt you coming out of defence or through the midfield. He racked up 21 disposals, at greater than 90 per cent efficiency, while also haveing five marks, two inside 50s and three rebounds for Vic Country on the weekend. Earned a spot higher in the rankings for his efforts as a clean ball user and damaging player.

#5 Tom Green

GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies | Inside Midfielder
23/01/2001 | 188cm | 85kg

The inside hard nut has drawn comparisons to Patrick Cripps in the way he excels at the contested ball, bullying his way to a truckload of possessions and clearances. He has clean and quick hands on the inside and a long kick, while having no issues whatsoever finding the pill. In the opening few NAB League games, Green racked up an average of 33 disposals and 10.25 clearances, still going at more than 60 per cent efficiency despite running at greater than 60 per cent contested. Across the board he is very consistent – similar to Cripps – in order to have an influence on the contest. He will be the top pure tall inside midfielder in the draft, with adding more scoreboard pressure the key between Green and the likes of Rowell and Anderson.

May Ranking: #4

Last month: The inside midfielder again acquitted himself very well over the weekend, backing up an impressive Academy Series by standing up against AFL-listed players in the GWS GIANTS’ win over Gold Coast in the NEAFL. Green had 28 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds while booting a goal, to be one of the most consistent players this season. He might not be as flashy as others, but just gets the job done each and every week and is readymade for AFL football.

#6 Sam Flanders

Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder/Forward
24/07/2001 | 182cm | 81kg

After playing as a damaging forward in 2018, Flanders has moved into the midfield this season and been one of the more prolific extractors. While it could be argued his greatest impact is around goals – where he seems to kick the impossible at times – he also has the nous in the midfield to find the ball at stoppages and kick long inside 50, or sweep the handball out to a running teammate. Gippsland has missed his influence and strength in attack, but he has added another dimension to a deep Power midfield. Flanders is a player who will divide draft watchers as he could be top five, or later first round depending on what you look at. He plays taller than his 182cm, and is strong overhead or at ground level. Another top-end Country prospect to watch this year.

May Ranking: #7

Last month: Rated highly for his match-winning ability, Flanders has also added a no-fuss approach to his game this season with some terrific inside work. He has some of the cleanest hands going around at ground level, with his kicking being a knock when he can blaze away by foot. He is doing everything right defensively, laying nine tackles at the MCG on Saturday, as well as 21 disposals and four marks, but will be keen to sharpen up his set shots, hitting the post on one occasion on his way to 1.2.

#7 Dylan Stephens

Norwood/South Australia | Balanced Midfielder
08/01/2001 | 182cm | 70kg

Stephens is another lightly built midfielder who despite being just 70kg has forced his way into the SANFL League side for Norwood already in season 2019. Given the Redlegs’ tendancy to restrict kids from being exposed at the top level – see Luke Valente last year – it is a credit to Stephens – and teammate Taheny, to already earn their stripes. He has held his own too, admitedly playing a very outside game, but with many bigger bodies at the Redlegs, Stephens has terrific skills and moves well in transition, able to win the ball in midfield, take off and kick perfectly inside 50. He still has to add bulk to his frame, but he showed when taking on his peers he is capable of playing an inside role as well. Expect him to be the prime mover for South Australia at the Under 18 Championships and raise his stocks with a big couple of months.

May Ranking: #12

Last month: Played his best SANFL League game to date on the weekend in Norwood’s big win over West Adelaide, posting up 25 disposals, six marks, five tackles, two clearances and six inside 50s. In season 2019, Stephens has averaged 17.6 disposals at 91 per cent efficiency, while averaging four marks, three tackles and 3.8 clearances. Has jumped to the top of the South Australian contingent.

#8 Caleb Serong

Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Small Forward/Midfielder
09/02/2001 | 178cm | 83kg

A tireless worker, Serong missed the opening game of the NAB League season and has been working his way back into the year finding plenty of the ball around the ground. For a smaller player, Serong never takes a backwards step and seems to find the ball in all three areas of the ground, having plenty of influence around the stoppages, particularly in the forward half. He is very strong overhead and brings his teammates into the game. Both he and close mate, Sam Flanders lead the Gippsland Power charge for draftees in what should be a big year for them. Will miss most of the NAB League season due to school and state commitments, but will be a welcome return come finals time.

May Ranking: #13

Last month: Was one of the best Country players in the Vic Country win over Vic Metro at the MCG on Saturday. So powerful on the inside for a smaller player, Serong racked up 22 touches, five clearances and laid seven tackles, pumping the ball inside 50 on four occasions as well. Is a player who can play midfield or forward and always brings the heat to the contest. Co-captain of Vic Country with Lachlan Ash as well.

#9 Will Gould

Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Defender
14/01/2001 | 191cm | 98kg

The key defender is the player likely to be the big point of difference in the top-end of the rankings, but I rate him as the standout tall in the draft. At 191cm he is a tad undersized for a key position player, but he has the ability to play small or tall, and has been working on his tank to play midfield at times. He wins plenty of the ball at half-back and averages almost eight rebounds per game at League level for Glenelg – holding his own against bigger bodies and dropping into the hole with his game smarts reading the ball in flight well. He has leadership tendancies and captained the Australian Under 18s at the MCG against Casey Demons and will be a prime candidate for the South Australian job as well. Gould has put on seven kilograms since the championships last season, enabling him to take the more monster key forwards, and while he might still be undersized, he just competes and has a massive work rate which stands out each time he plays.

May Ranking: #6

Last month: Gould has remained in the Glenelg League side in the SANFL and is holding his own with 20 disposals, 5.7 marks and 6.7 rebounds playing in defence. A natural-born leader, Gould is the standout key position defender in the draft, and while talls often drift a bit, it will be interesting to see how he performs at the National Under 18 Championships.

#10 Dylan Williams

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | General Utility
01/07/2001 | 185cm | 81kg

After having a terrific second half of the year playing as a medium forward, Williams has spent time mixed between attack and defence in season 2019. He is definitely more suited to attack where he has a high vertical leap and is dangerous around goals. He is as strong overhead as anyone and certainly impressive for a player of his size. Not a huge ball winner, Williams just needs to find four quarter consistency this season as he is the player that can boot four goals in a term and take the game away from the opposition. He also has terrific skills, and hits three out of his four targets despite finding half his possessions in a contest. When at stoppages, Williams is more than capable of winning clearances as he showed against Dandenong, bursting away and pumping the ball long. One area of improvement is his defensive work, which is why he has been played in defence at times to build that area of his game. In the wet at Craigieburn against Calder Cannons in Round 2, Williams had eight out of 12 disposals effective, running at a much higher efficiency than his teammates. Does not have APS school commitments so will play the full year at NAB League Boys level with the Chargers, co-captaining the side with Trent Bianco.

May Ranking: #10

Last month: He did not have the greatest of starts to his championship campaign, injured in Vic Metro’s loss to Vic Country, and finishing with just the four disposals and two tackles. The week before he won the game for the Chargers with two final-quarter goals to get over the Knights, also amassing 18 disposals and five marks. Still hot and cold at times, Williams has that potential that shows he cannot drift that far from the top 10.

#11 Cameron Taheny

Norwood/South Australia | General Forward
03/08/2001 | 184cm | 80kg

The medium forward is an excitment machine who lit up the National Under 16 Championships in 2017. He continued that form in his bottom-age year for Norwood, booting six goals in a game last year to show off his talents inside 50. Similar to Dylan Williams, Taheny has his ups and downs, but his best is as good as anyone else’s in the draft crop. A good season could propel him into the top half of the first round, and he is a player who could turn a match on its head which will be crucial for South Australia at the National Under 18 Championships. Has already broken into the League side for Norwood and booted three goals on debut. One to watch through the year as someone who could rise.

May Ranking: #11

Last month: Has consolidated himself in the League side for Norwood along with Dylan Stephens, which has not been an easy thing to do for a forward. Taheny has benefited from a talented midfield, capitalising on his opportunities with 11 goals in three games at senior level, including a bag of five on the weekend where he also had six marks. He is knocking on the door of this top 10, and a good championships will see him leap into that group.

#12 Trent Bianco

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Outside Midfielder
20/01/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

Arguably quite underrated given his size and the ability of his highly touted Oakleigh teammates, Bianco is one of the best ball users in the draft crop this season. Like Lachlan Ash, Bianco rebounds off half-back and can go into the middle when required, a place he will no doubt spend a lot of time this season having wrapped up his Year 12 studies last year. The co-captain of the Oakleigh Chargers is an outside ball user, and finding more contested ball could be an area he looks to in season 2019, but his skills are good enough that he could easily play as that outside user, especially considering his size. A versatile player, expect Bianco to be one of the Morrish Medal contenders this season when he is not running around for Vic Metro. He had a massive game against Tasmania Devils, racking up 42 disposals, although he did have seven clangers on the day. Keeps rising and despite being smaller, just finds the ball and uses it well more often than not.

May Ranking: #9

Last month: After a massive 42-disposal game back in Round 6 for the Chargers, Bianco had a quieter 17-disposal outing against the Knights, albeit laying 10 tackles in a great defensive effort. He was subdued on the MCG by his standards, finishing with 14 disposals, four marks, three clearances and four rebounds. Will no doubt have more impact going forward, and still looms as a crucial player in the Metro side.

#13 Mitch O’Neill

Tasmania Devils/Allies | Balanced Midfielder
21/02/2001 | 178cm | 69kg

The top Tasmanian prospect was an All-Australian in his bottom-age year, and has a nice blend of inside and outside capabilities. Given his lightly built frame, expect O’Neill to stick to the outside during the National Under 18 Championships, but he can win his own ball at the same time. He reads the taps well and is able to spread to the outside, pumping the ball inside 50 to set up scoring chains. Having spent time in defence last year, O’Neill has moved into the midfield and found just as much of the ball, and is a crucial ball user on the outside. He will be the player most analysed by opposition sides when playing Tasmania Devils in the NAB League, and O’Neill will enjoy added freedom at the National Under 18 Championships for the Allies.

May Ranking: #8

Last month: O’Neill returned from his ankle injury to play the last couple of matches for Tasmania Devils in the NAB League Boys competition. Slowly building back into it, O’Neill finished with 15 disposals and two goals drifting forward against the Stingrays in Round 8, before having 20 disposals on the weekend against the Rebels in the Devils’ win. O’Neill showed his clean ball use and running ability for the Allies in the trial matches against Victoria a fortnight ago and will have the benefit of an outside role at the championships.

#14 Jackson Mead

WWT Eagles/South Australia | Outside Midfielder
30/09/2001 | 183cm | 83kg

The son of Port Adelaide inaugural Best and Fairest winner, Darren has made a promising start to the 2019 SANFL season, starting in the Reserves and impressing, showing that a League debut would be in the not-too-distint future. Mead will team up with Stephens at the National Under 18 Championships to lead the side through his penetrating kick and good skills, spreading around and using the ball well forward of centre. Not as prolific a ball winner as some others, Mead has good smarts and does not waste too many disposals. Importantly, Mead hits the scoreboard as a midfielder, and can win his own ball on the inside when required. He might play more of an inside role at the National Championships, but South Australia will be keen to give him time and space to impact the contest best.

May Ranking: #14

Last month: Continues to play consistent football in the SANFL Reserves for Woodville-West Torrens, meaning a League call-up cannot be too far away. Mead has averaged 20.7 disposals at 74 per cent efficiency, while also averaging 3.3 marks, 4.0 clearances, 4.5 inside 50s and 2.8 tackles. Another player whose stocks will depend on how he fares at the championships.

#15 Brodie Kemp

Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Tall Utility
01/05/2001 | 192cm | 82kg

Kemp is a player that will be looked at as a long-term prospect, and one who could be moulded into nearly anything. At 192cm, he has played a hybrid role over the past few years, rotating between attack and midfield, and even some time in defence. He knows how to hit the scoreboard and has a long kick but could tidy it up when at full-speed. His ability to get to the outside and move in transition is a strength. He is a smooth mover who looks like an outside player, but wins the majority of his possessions at the coal face. Another player who will miss the majority of the NAB League season due to his school football commitments, but will be one to watch at the National Under 18 Championships.

May Ranking: #16

Last month: Moves up a place on the back of a strong showing for Vic Country at the MCG on the weekend. His kicking at top-speed is still a concern, but the way he bursts off half-back and can split through opponents with ease is eye-catching. Played in defence on the weekend despite his best role being an inside midfielder, but had 16 disposals, four marks and six rebounds.

#16 Josh Worrell

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender
11/04/2001 | 193cm | 78kg

The Sandringham Dragons defender has had an impressive past few weeks after not having to do too much in the Dragons’ obliteration of Calder in the opening round of the NAB League season. On the MCG against Casey Demons, Worrell stood tall in defence, showing an ability to remain calm under pressure and use the ball well. At 193cm, Worrell will be a player that clubs look at differently, being that few cms smaller than the current trend for key position defenders, which is fine considering Worrell’s ability to provide run and carry out of defence. He is still lightly built, but he is strong overhead and has the potential to develop into a tall midfielder or one who roams off half-back and sets up attacking plays. A player who will spend the season at Haileybury College and Vic Metro before returning to the Dragons for the finals series.

May Ranking: #15

Last month: Worrell continues to show some nice signs, not one of the best but sitll a solid contributor at times for Metro in their loss to Country at the MCG on Saturday. Had 10 touches, five marks and three inside 50s playing higher up in defence, and will be used as that rebounding type more-so than his key position nature, but will still have the defensive abilities to nullify an opponent.

#17 Connor Budarick

Gold Coast SUNS Academy/Allies | General Utility
06/04/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

The Gold Coast SUNS Academy player could draw comparisons to Ned McHenry in both his stature and defensive pressure. Budarick played as a forward last year, and has spent more time in the midfield in 2019, but will likely rotate between both at the National Under 18 Championships. Weighing in at about 70kg, Budarick is outside leaning when in the midfield and just has little bursts where he wins the football. In the exhibition match against Casey Demons, Budarick played in defence and held his own back there, but his best comes forward of centre where he lays an average of seven tackles per game, and forces turnovers close to goal. He runs hard between the arcs and will likely cost Gold Coast a top 30 pick based on his skills and work rate.

May Ranking: #20

Last month: Hardly puts a foot wrong with anything he does. Was one of the Allies’ best in the trial game against Victoria, and despite his size, still plays an important role through the midfield. He will have the freedom to play on the outside and use his slick skills to advantage. The Allies line-up against Vic Country this weekend in what should be a cracker, and Budarick will be a key player.

#18 Jeremy Sharp

East Fremantle/Western Australia | Outside Midfielder
13/08/2001 | 187cm | 79kg

One of a number of East Fremantle potential draftees, Sharp is a skilled midfielder who is capable of playing off half-back as well as along the wing. He is not a massive ball winner, but he is a terrific kick of the footy and is a run-and-carry player. Along with Jackson, Sharp is a potential top 10 player who is a good size at 187cm and has added some bulk to his frame over the off-season. He is one of just three players who earned All-Australian honours as a bottom-ager last season following a magnificent Under 18 Championships. Sharp is one of those players you want the ball in their hands going forward as he will likely pinpoint a target inside 50. One to watch if he can go to another level at his top-age championships.

May Ranking: #17

Last month: The talented mover and ball user is one who will retain a place in the top 20 until he can have a crack at the championships, because he showed some terrific signs last year, and in the WAFL so far this season. Plenty of guys pushing up in the West Australian side, and will have an important distribution role over the next month.

#19 Cooper Stephens

Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
17/01/2001 | 188cm | 83kg

The Geelong Falcons midfielder unfortunately fractured his fibula in in Round 3 and will miss a few months, hoping to return in time for a big second half of the year. Stephens is a huge loss for Vic Country as Falcons Talent Manager Mick Turner said he would not take part in the National Under 18 Championships next month.  Stephens is a neat user of the ball, recording 65 per cent by foot, and in the two games before his injury, Stephens averaged 26 disposals, 3.5 marks, 4.0 clearances and ran at more than 60 per cent contested possessions. The question mark will be how he returns from his injury, but with the injury not being season-ending, expect him to come back and be a crucial player in the final couple of months for the Falcons.

May Ranking: #18

Last month: Has been injured, but was named vice-captain of Vic Country despite not being able to play in the national championships. Might slide over the next month, but hopefully will remind recruiters of his talent later in the year.

#20 Luke Jackson

East Fremantle/Western Australia | Ruck
29/09/2001 | 197cm | 93kg

The athletic West Australian ruck picked Australian Rules over basketball last year despite donning the green and gold on the court. Jackson plays like an extra midfielder when moving around the ground and has been plying his trade at Colts level in the WAFL given the strength of ruck stocks at East Fremantle. Jackson looms as a potential first round pick, even though rucks are traditionally taken later. He would be viewed as a long-term prospect, and certainly if his two National Under 18 Championships games from 2018 are anything to go by, he has plenty of talent at his disposal. Clubs will like the fact he is not out of the contest once the ball hits ground level, and was solid against Casey Demons’ bigger-bodied rucks on the MCG. The standout ruck in the 2019 draft crop in a crop that does not have as many top-end talls as last year.

May Ranking: #19

Last month: Like many of his highly-touted East Fremantle teammates, has not played over the past month at WAFL level, but was dominent in his last match a month ago with 17 disposals, 28 hitouts, five marks and two goals proving quite a handful. All eyes will be on Jackson when he takes on fellow talented ruck Nick Bryan at the championships.

#21 Nick Bryan

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Ruck
22/10/2001 | 202cm | 87kg

The super athletic ruck has come on in leaps and bounds this year, and posts a 2.91-second 20m sprint and 78cm running vertical leap, making him an elite speedster, let alone for his size. He has not spent as much time in the elite system with the AFL Academy as others, and still needs to keep building his tank, but Bryan has a huge upside, which is what will attract recruiters to him. He is also capable of going forward and impacting the scoreboard when required, and was plucked out to play in the AFL Academy game against Casey Demons, taking on mature-aged rucks and holding his own. At 202cm, he is the right size for a ruck, and could well be the first ruck chosen this year, depending on how he and Luke Jackson go at the national championships.

May Ranking: N/A

Last month: Has been playing school football for St Kevin’s since the APS competition started, and then had went out and competed for Vic Metro at the MCG on Saturday. He had his colours lowered by a red-hot Charlie Comben on the day, but Bryan still showed enough to suggest he will be vital in the upcoming championships. He will have a terrific duel against Luke Jackson next round, and will be keen to put in a strong effort against the other standout ruck in the draft crop.

#22 Darcy Cassar

Western Jets/Vic Metro | General Utility
31/07/2001 | 183cm | 79kg

As a bottom-ager last year, Cassar thrived as a half-forward/wing who would move the ball in transition and show power in his running to be able to impact for his side going inside 50. He is capable of hitting the scoreboard while playing in the forward half, but as he has shown so far in season 2019, he is just as adaptable in defence. Cassar has spent the season in the backline for the Western Jets, averaging a massive 28.2 disposals, 6.8 marks and 6.9 rebounds per game. He has added that element to his game, and expect him to be a versatile player at the national championships for Vic Metro, playing up whichever end is required of him, while also being able to play in the midfield.

May Ranking: N/A

Last month: Played in attack for Metro on the weekend in their loss to Vic Country. He set up the opening goal to teammate Josh Honey, then kicked one of his own in the first term. Was quieter from then on, but still showed glimpses and his season form this year has been nothing short of exceptional..

#23 Trent Rivers

East Fremantle/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
30/07/2001 | 189cm | 84kg

It is a good year for East Fremantle, with prospects basically growing on trees, and Rivers is another touted top 30 prospect along with Jeremy Sharp and Luke Jackson. Rivers is a natural-born leader who thrives on the contest and is as consistent as they come, racking up more than 20 disposals in most outings. He loves to tackle and put his body on the line, and is a crucial key to the inside midfield of Western Australia at the national championships. Unlike a lot of other top-end midfielders this year, Rivers has the size on him, standing at 189cm and 84kg, and readymade for senior football.

May Ranking: N/A

Last month: Was named in Western Australia’s leadership group last week and is perparing to tackle Vic Metro at home next weekend. Was close to making the top 20 last month and is thereabouts this month with the extension to 25.

#24 Kysaiah Pickett

WWT Eagles/South Australia | Small Forward
02/06/2001 | 170cm | 68kg

Arguably the most naturally gifted player in the draft, the nephew of Port Adelaide and North Melbourne premiership player Byron, is small in stature but big on X-factor and his ability to do the impossible. He is clean at ground level, has high-level goal sense, and despite being so lightly built, was able to force his way into the Woodville-West Torrens League side courtesy of a massive six-goal game against North Adelaide in the first round of the SANFL Reserves competition. Adds an extra dimension to the South Australian forward line and will be one that could light up the big stage over the next month.

May Ranking: N/A

Last month: Pickett has managed two League games for the Eagles, booting a goal on debut against Sturt, before seeing what it was like playing on AFL-listed players in the Eagles’ loss to Adelaide.

#25 Fraser Phillips

Gippsland Power | General Forward
15/05/2001 | 186cm | 71kg

A lightly built medium forward, Phillips has some really exciting traits that he has begun to show more often than not as he builds his consistency. He started the season slowly, but has built into his role at Gippsland Power, and can launch goals from just about anywhere inside 50. He is clean at ground level, has a nice turn of foot and great goal sense, as well as applying defensive pressure whenever he gets a chance. A good size who will develop as he adds more bulk to his frame to compete more one-on-one against stronger defenders.

May Ranking: N/A

Last month: Coming into the national championships, Phillips averaged 13.3 disposals and 2.0 goals at NAB League Boys level, but his past two games were particularly eye-catching with 24 disposals, five marks and two goals against GWV Rebels, following on from a deeper forward role with four majors against Calder Cannons. Building form nicely, he had a quieter game on the weekend for Vic Country, but while he did not win a heap of the ball, never stopped putting in effort – laying six tackles and winning a crucial late hardball get to set up a goal.

Names to watch:

 

Charlie Dean (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

The key position forward made a promising start to his year at the Dragons, and could have been a potential leading goalkicker this season had it not been for APS football commitments with Wesley College. Works hard up the ground.

Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

Had a big role in the second half for the Country side in the win over Vic Metro, and just has great game sense and nous around goals.

Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

The underrated midfielder just keeps on going strong and was solid in Metro’s loss to Vic Country. A player to keep tabs on as the season develops.

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

Has some really nice traits with a penetrating kick and ability to impact forward of centre. Could easily be considered top 25.

Will Day (West Adelaide/South Adelaide)

Talented half-back returning from a hamstring injury to play school footy with Sacred Heart. Able to use both sides of his body well.

Liam Henry (Claremont/Western Australia)

Had a good start to the season in Western Australia and is a member of Fremantle’s Next Generation Academy (NGA).

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