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 third edition of our monthly Power Rankings which is posted on the first Monday of every month, we have compiled our top 30 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. In July, despite the list extended out to our top 30, there are still a number of prospects knocking on the door. For our June monthly rankings, check out this link.
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.
June Ranking: #1
Last month: Rowell was a standout performer for Vic Metro in the AFL Under 18 Championships to no-one’s surprise. While many teammates could not lift in the opening two games, Rowell was a steady force for the Metro team and continued his form throughout the four matches. He averaged 24.8 disposals, 5.0 marks and 0.8 goals at the carnival and it is hard to see him displaced from the top spot on the list.
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.
June Ranking: #2
Last month: Much like Rowell, Anderson has not lowered his colours over the national carnival, being another standout performer with Rowell and Fischer McAsey for Vic Metro. In the four matches, Anderson has averaged 23.5 disposals, 3.3 marks, 2.8 tackles and 0.5 goals. Expect him to finish the year strongly in the NAB League once returning from his Carey Grammar duties.
#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.
June Ranking: #3
Last month: We had him up in the region for some time but his national carnival pushed his name into lights as a potential contender for Pick 1, and along with Lachlan Ash as one of the most damaging ball users in the draft crop. In three games, Young has averaged 22.0 disposals, 5.7 marks and 5.0 rebounds. He is more of an offensive defender, laying just the 1.3 tackles, but is strong one-on-one and knows how to intercept both in the air or at ground level.
#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.
June Ranking: #4
Last month: Ash had another terrific carnival game against South Australia, setting up the kick to Brodie Kemp for the winning goal. He has averaged 23.3 disposals, 5.3 marks, 3.3 inside 50s and 4.0 rebounds, getting up the ground and having an influence as well. A great choice for a team looking for that half-back with a deadly boot and terrific decision making skills under pressure.
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.
June Ranking: #6
Last month: Moves up into number five on our rankings because of his consistency through the midfield. Stepped up to be one of the dominant Vic Country midfielders, and his hands in close are every bit as good as anyone else, and he has a match-winning ability. Needs to iron out his set shots which can be inconsistent, but in terms of his talent, it is untapped and could have a higher ceiling than most. Averaging 22.0 disposals, 4.3 marks, 6.0 tackles, 5.3 inside 50s and 0.7 goals per game.
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.
June Ranking: #5
Last month: After a quiet couple of games earlier in the carnival by his standards, Green was back to his best against Vic Metro and really stood tall in the narrow two-point win at GMHBA Stadium. In his three games, Green has averaged 24.0 disposals, 3.0 marks, 4.0 inside 50s and 3.7 tackles, but most importantly, is averaging almost seven clearances per game. He is the inside distributor who the GWS GIANTS will have to fork out a pretty penny to match.
#7 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.
June Ranking: #8
Last month: One of the leading contenders for the Larke Medal should he play another blinder against Western Australia at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday. He has moved up a spot on our rankings and is averaging the third most dispsoals behind Deven Robertson and Harry Schoenberg at the championships. This carnival he has averaged 26.0 disposals, 6.0 clearances, 3.7 inside 50s, 2.0 tackles, 1.0 goals and a massive 7.7 tackles. He can win the ball inside or out and despite his size has plenty to like.
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.
June Ranking: #13
Last month: Overcoming a pesky ankle injury, O’Neill produced two best-on-ground performances for the Allies in their losses, before being solid without being outstanding in the win over Vic Metro. His ball use is what sets him aside from many other prospects, and while he does not always rack up the numbers others do, he rarely wastes a disposal. Has averaged 21.7 disposals, 7.0 marks and 3.7 rebounds at the championships, often playing in the defensive half of the ground. Could play as a running defender or as a winger at the top level, with his lighter frame used more as an outside player rather than inside one.
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.
June Ranking: #15
Last month: One of a number of bolters up the draft board for this month, the hero from Vic Country’s win over South Australia makes it into the top 10. Kemp played his first full game in the midfield for the championships after spending the first couple of matches in defence. Kemp has that nice size of 192cm that makes him a prospect with good upside given nice athletic traits and a clutch ability (winning a high-level game with the final kick). He has averaged 21.0 disposals, 7.0 marks, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 clearances across his three games at the championships.
#10 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.
June Ranking: #9
Last month: After a quiet game against Vic Metro in South Australia’s loss, Gould was one of the Croweaters’ best in their one-point defeat at the hands of Vic Country. Gould was almost the hero with a last quarter goal showing his ability to sum up the game and his burst through the middle and long-range goal came at a crucial time. Readymade player with his strength and size, and has averaged 20.3 disposals, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 marks in his three games at the carnival.
#11 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.
June Ranking: #12
Last month: A mixed bag for the national carnival, had one impressive game, one disappointing game and one strong game form his three matches thus far. He still moves up one spot from last month, and when given time and space can be very damaging. Like O’Neill, Stephens is still lightly built and has been used as an outside midfielder, avearging 20.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.7 tackles and 3.7 inside 50s.
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.
June Ranking: #14
Last month: Arguably South Australia’s most consistent player in the three games thus far along with Harry Schoenberg, Mead has every chance to be the first South Australian picked in this year’s AFL Draft. Port Adelaide fans will be keen to keep him under wraps, but Mead has averaged 21.3 disposals, 3.0 marks, 3,7 clearances, 3.3 inside 50s, 5.7 tackles in the carnival so far and moves up two spots in our rankings to follow two of his South Australian compatriots.
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.
June Ranking: #12
Last month: After a quiet first game in the AFL Under 18 National Championships, Bianco has put together a few strong performances. He has been utilised as more of a winger, which has benefited him, averaging 18.5 disposals. 4.3 marks, 3.8 clearances, 3.8 inside 50s and 3.0 tackles. Predominantly outside, Bianco’s next step would be his defensive capabilities as a way to grow further, but he is still quite light compared to other players.
#14 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.
June Ranking: #10
Last month: The exciting medium forward has been battling injury and form on and off this season and while he has shown glimpses, has not lived up to the lofty expectations placed upon him. He is still a natural match-winner, and one can expect with a good finals series in the NAB League that Williams could be similar to others before him (think Tim Taranto) and shoot up into the top 10 calculations – which he would be considered in for upside.
#15 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.
June Ranking: #11
Last month: Similar to Williams, Taheny has also had injury concerns and has not been able to dominate to this stage, but still has plenty of tricks in his arsenal. In South Australia’s final game at Marvel Stadium, Taheny could be one who gets off the leash and announces himself as a genuine top 10 prospect with a big game. Huge celing for the general forward.
#16 Fischer McAsey
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender 11/04/2001 | 195cm | 86kg
Fischer McAsey is a key position defender who has played up the attacking end in previous years. He has found his place in the defence in 2019. and seems to be a settled player there not only doing well for Sandringham Dragons and at Caulfield Grammar, but stepping up for Vic Metro at the AFL Under 18 National Championships. He is considered one of the draft bolters this season, with not too many key position talls jumping up, McAsey is a player who is firmly putting his hand up as a top 10 prospect should his form continue, and he has plenty of traits to like. His intercept marking, athleticism and ball use by foot is very solid and does not have too many weaknesses across the board.
June Ranking: N/A
Last month: The draft bolter of the AFL Under 18 National Championships, McAsey earned the title of Vic Metro’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his work in defence. In his four games, McAsey has averaged 14.5 disposals, 6.5 marks, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 tackles, not only nullifying his direct opponent, but creating offensive run out of defence.
#17 Trent Rivers
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Balanced 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 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.
June Ranking: #23
Last month: Class with a capital ‘C’. Rivers is a big-bodied midfielder who uses it well on the inside or outside , and has been utilised as a winger or off half-back for the Sandgropers at the national carnival. It has allowed Rivers to use his precise decision making and foot skills to be advantage his team, and in the three games thus far, has averaged 22.3 disposals, 5.3 marks, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 tackles. Does not need many touches to impact a contest.
#18 Josh Worrell
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility 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.
June Ranking: #16
Last month: A hard player to place because he could be a top 10 pick on his best days, which he has shown capable of being just that at both ends. For Vic Metro he has filled the void up forward, booting seven goals from his first three games before going kickless in the last match against the Allies. In the national carnival he averaged 10.8 disposals and 3.8 marks, but could be an attractive prospect to clubs at either end.
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.
June Ranking: #17
Last month: The tackling machine has averaged two more tackles per game than any other player at the AFL Under 18 National Championships, laying a massive 9.7 across his three matches. He has played on the outside, and while he has not racked up massive numbers (13.7 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2.3 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s), he has a high work rate and rarely makes too many mistakes. Has dropped two places only due to others pushing a case ahead of him.
#20 Cody Weightman
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | General Forward 15/01/2001 | 177cm | 73kg
For the first two months of our Power Rankings, the electric small forward has been on the periphery of making it, and after a terrific national carnival – where he booted four goals in two of his three games – Weightman makes it into the Power Rankings in July. He has a high ceiling given he can create goals out of nothing and score from general play or set shots and has a powerful kicking action to boot. Just 177cm and 73kg, Weightman is another light prospect who has plenty of development left in him. Could be another player who lights up NAB League finals as he is a big game player.
June Ranking: N/A
Last month: After four goals in two of his three national championship games, Weightman slots into the top 20. There is not much of him, but he is likely to win the leading goalkicker award for the carnival , and has averaged 13.3 disposals, 4.7 marks and 3.0 inside 50s in his three games with one to go. Weightman will be keen to finish off on the right note in the final game at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday against Western Australia.
#21 Liam Henry
Claremont/Western Australia | Outside Midfielder/Forward 28/08/2001 | 179cm | 67kg
A member of Fremantle’s Next Generation Academy, Henry is another lightly built midfielder who can go forward and impact a game inside 50. Henry has nice skills and slick athletic traits that help him work his way out of congestion while making good decisions with ball-in-hand. He does need to find a bit more of the football at times which is the next step, but he is a player who will rarely waste a possession and one who Fremantle fans would be excited to have on their list. Still has scope to develop further, and grow into his body at just 67kg and another sub-180cm midfielder. One who would be keen to finish off the year strongly – although perhaps Fremantle would prefer he kept it in check. A highly talented player.
June Ranking: N/A
Last month: Has been solid in the AFL Under 18 National Championships, averaging 15.0 disposals, 5.0 marks, 3.7 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s and 1.0 goals per game from his first three matches. He could be one who thrives at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday in the final game of the championships when the Sandgropers play for the title against Vic Country. Another player some clubs might rate really highly depending on needs and where they see his scope for potential.
#22 Jack Mahony
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Small Forward/Midfielder 12/11/2001 | 176cm | 70kg
One of the top performed and highly rated players at Under-15 level, Jack Mahony remains a top prospect despite others putting their hand up since. He might only stand at 176cm, but the Sandringham Dragons midfielder/forward has plenty to like about what he can offer to an AFL club. His kicking is as good as anyone in the draft crop, but more for his vision and decision making more so than a penetrating boot like others. He is a unique playmaker in the sense that he can set others up inside 50 with centimetre-perfect passes to leading teammates over any distance. Has more impact in the forward half, particularly as the player with the last disposal going inside 50. Hits the scoreboard himself as well which is important, and can run all day through the midfield if need be, though his size may limit him at the elite level.
June Ranking: N/A
Last month: Mahony has stepped up at the AFL Under 18 National Championships, playing consistently across the board, but impressing in the final game at GMHBA Stadium last Friday. He was one of Metro’s best, booting three goals – including two in the final term – and setting up countless others for teammates with his swift decision making and ball use in the forward half. In his four games for Metro, Mahony averaged 18.0 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.5 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s and 2.8 clearances, as well as averaging a goal per game. He loves the contested stuff, winning the ball at the coalface more than half of the time.
#23 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.
June Ranking: #20
Last month: The standout ruck across the AFL Under 18 National Championships, averaging a massive 36.7 hitouts as well as 13.0 disposals, 2.0 marks, 3.0 tackles and 4.3 clearances. While smaller players have knocked him down a couple of players in these rankings, the athletic tall is almost certain to be named All-Australian ruck as the only pure ruck to be averaging double-figure disposals at the carnival. Like with most big men, he could be a draft bolter, or slide, depending on team preferences.
#24 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.
June Ranking: #18
Last month: Sharp will be keen to bounce back with a good performance after a bit of inconsistency by foot in Western Australia’s win over the Allies. He creates space and can be penetrating when given the area to do so. He averaged 21.3 disposals, 4.0 marks, 2.0 clearances and 2.0 rebounds, as well as booting a couple of goals in his first three games. Will be a key runner at Marvel Stadium for Western Australia if they can get up, and burst onto the scene at that very venue last year, making the All Australian side as a bottom-ager.
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.
June Ranking: #19
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.
#26 Will Day
West Adelaide/South Australia | General Defender 17/01/2001 | 187cm | 70kg
The underrated South Australian utility has been one of the big improvers this season, showing off some nice signs at school football and then South Australia at the AFL Under 18 National Championships. Like Weightman, Day has been on the periphery of our Power Rankings the past two months, and after some solid performances at the national carnival, makes the list for July. Day has shown signs similar to last year’s bolter, Jez McLennan who had a good carnival and emerged as a top 30 prospect with nice foot skills and composure. Day can kick on either side of his body and is a good size at 187cm despite still being very light at 70kg.
June Ranking: #19
Last month: A promising start to the national carnival for Day, playing all three games and destined to play at Marvel Stadium against the Allies on Wednesday. He has averaged 18.3 disposals, 4.7 marks and 3.8 rebounds, using the ball wisely while remaining composed in defence. Could build on the defensive side of his game – averaging just the one tackle per game so far – but has some really damaging offensive traits that catch the eye.
#27 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.
June Ranking: #22
Last month: Has not had the greatest of national carnivals, ending up missing out on the final game after averaging 16.0 disposals, 2.0 marks, 3.0 inside 50s and booting just the one goal playing forward – that came in the first match against Vic Country. Still making the list on potential and upside, Cassar will be keen to finish off the year strong and show the signs he was showing pre-championships in defence for the Western Jets.
#28 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.
June Ranking: #24
Last month: Another player who has class with a capital ‘C’ and was a point of difference in South Australia’s dogged win over Western Australia in Round 1 of the championships, booting the goal of the carnival with clean hands and unbelievable skill from the tighest of angles. He missed the Round 4 game against Vic Country after being suspended for a game following the Vic Metro match, but will return for South Australia’s final game against the Allies on Wednesday. He is not a huge accumulator of the footy – just averaging the 9.5 disposals, 2.0 mark and 2.5 tackles but he does not need much of the football to be a damaging prospect inside 50.
#29 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.
June Ranking: #21
Last month: Is rated on upside because of the rarity of his athletic traits for a 202cm ruck to be able to run as quick as he can. Bryan has a really high ceiling for clubs to develop, but slots in as the number two ruck behind Luke Jackson at the championships. Has been okay without being overly impressive, but has still managed 22.0 hitouts from 9.3 disposals and 2.5 marks. Heads back to school footy and will be keen to assert himself in the NAB League once back in the competition.
The underrated midfielder missed out on being included in the State Victorian Metro Academy, but has not let that get him down, performing strongly across the NAB League and school seasons, and working his way up the boards with some strong performances against the best players around the country. He has a nice sidestep that can get him out of trouble and wins a lot of the ball in close, with a few areas to iron out such as his kicking, but he has some great developing traits and plenty of future development. Most importantly, he can win the ball on the inside and extract it out, but can also play an outside role too.
June Ranking: N/A
Last month: Has been one of the most noticeable players at the national carnival behind the big two midfielders of Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson. Maginness has averaged 18.3 disposals, 3.5 marks, 7.5 tackles, 3.8 clearances and 4.3 inside 50s across the four games at the carnival, and is one of the most prolific tacklers showing a strong defensive side.
Names to watch:
Deven Robertson (Perth/Western Australia)
The massive ball-winning midfielder from Western Australia has been a dominant force in the AFL Under 18 National Championships. He has averaged 30.7 disposals, 5.0 marks, 6.3 tackles, 4.3 clearances, 3.3 inside 50s and 4.3 rebounds in his three games across the carnival. He still has areas to tidy up such as kicking under pressure, but could be one who rises up the boards with another strong performance against Vic Country and finishing off the year strong in the WAFL.
Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
Clearly possesses high-level talent, Phillips just needs to take hold of a game and put together a performance he has been building in the NAB League. He has quite a few nice traits and has plenty of X-factor inside 50, he has just been overshadowed by the likes of Weightman at the national championships. He will still be firmly in recruiters’ minds with a strong finish to the NAB League Boys season where he could stake a case to be the leading goalkicker for the competition there.
Harry Schoenberg (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
One of those players who has risen up thanks to strong performances across the championships and will be keen to continue that form in the final game against the Allies on Wednesday. Works hard on the inside and is a handball-first midfielder out to teammates running on the outside, having averaged 27 disposals in his three games so far for South Australia.
Elijah Taylor (Perth/Western Australia)
Taylor has X-factor and plenty of scope for the future as a medium forward. He always looks damaging when in possession and a worry for opposition defenders when not in possession. He is still raw compared to other forwards, but his ceiling is quite high and no doubt clubs will keep him on their radar.
Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies)
Makes the list based on his traits that would be attractive to clubs. Not a huge ball winner, Cumberland has terrific closing speed and can burst away from stoppages, whilst also applying plenty of defensive pressure with a terrific tackling technique. Cumberland laid a match-winning tackle against Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Friday, and can play anywhere on the field with scope for the future.