Drafting for diamonds: Finding value outside the first round

WITH the first round of the AFL Draft done and dusted, we take a look at which players are still on the board and those who could provide great value on Day 2 of the draft. Below are 15 players that should pop up over the course of the night on ability, but for one reason or another might have just fallen outside the early stages of the draft.

Trent Bianco
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Midfielder/Defender
20/01/2001 | 178cm | 73kg

The exciting midfielder/defender from Oakleigh co-captained his side to a NAB League premiership this year and offers great value for a club looking to add to its skilful smalls. He will likely land somewhere in the mid 20s, and clubs may even consider trading up for him, with Brisbane one of a number of clubs keen on him. With sliders such as Deven Robertson slipping into the second round, it will be interesting to see what impacts it has on other players.

Karl Finlay
North Adelaide/South Australia | Tall Defender
14/07/2001 | 193cm | 90kg

One of the more underrated defensive options, Finlay can play tall or small and while he is that tad undersized, is a prominent rebounder. Given he has a point of difference compared to many readymade options with elite agility, Finlay can provide an intercepting force while being accountable. The South Australian is expected to come into consideration somewhere in the late second round, but may even slide to the early third round depending on where clubs pounce.

Will Gould
Glenelg/South Australia | Tall Defender
14/01/2001 | 192cm | 106kg

The quintessential slideri, Gould on ability is a first round pick and the knocks – largely on his athleticism have seen the South Australian captain drift down the boards. Expect him to not be around too long though, with a selection expected to come in the second round. He might be slightly undersized for a key defender, but is a powerful player with great leadership abilities, elite vision and an elite penetrating kick. Screams as a player who will really prove some clubs wrong once in an AFL environment, and while there are areas to work on, is highly rated by each club he has played for and will knuckle down and be a club favourite.

Harrison Jones
Calder Cannons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility
25/02/2001 | 196cm | 78kg

Initially expected to be a second round pick, the Calder Cannons tall was rumoured to be in favour with a number of clubs inside the top 20, but with Sam De Koning and Mitch Georgiades the chosen couple of talls in the teens, Jones remains on the board in night two. He could be the source of a live trade with a number of clubs, including Collingwood keen to secure him – though Port Adelaide could well use Pick 22 on him without trading it.

Finn Maginness
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
23/02/2001 | 189cm | 82kg

Hawthorn fans would have rejoiced that their father-son selection in Maginness made it through to the second round. While they will have no trouble matching the bid with the points they have, with every pick that goes by, it means their third selection in the draft will be higher. An inside midfielder who has plenty of development left, just needs to iron out his kicking and accumulation, but will be a value pick in the second round.

Mitch O’Neill
Tasmania Devils/Allies | Small Utility
21/02/2001 | 176cm | 72kg

An ankle injury has had the skilful utility impacted over the past 18 months, but it has not stopped him stepping up to become a dual All-Australian. He is only small at 176cm, but he uses the ball well and can play on any line from half-back to half-forward. O’Neill takes the game on and has plenty of eye-catching traits, but given his size and some areas that need work on, he will likely slip into the late second or third round.

Fraser Phillips
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Medium Forward
15/05/2001 | 187cm | 72kg

Possibly the highest upside of anyone, Phillips has enormous scope for the future and clubs view him as a player with the potential to move into the midfield. A clean mover with great goal sense, Phillips regularly hits the scoreboard and defies the usual medium forward tag with his ground level work and work rate up the ground. While he is a long-term prospect with areas to work on, he could end up one of the better players in the draft given his huge potential.

Jay Rantall
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
10/06/2001 | 185cm | 83kg

Rantall should be one of the first names off the board tonight with Brisbane and Adelaide among those clubs interested in the hard running midfielder. Boasting an elite endurance base and the ability to play inside or outside, Rantall is a former Australian basketballer who is capable of stepping up to the elite level after making immense progress on his game in 2019.

Trent Rivers
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
30/07/2001 | 188cm | 83kg

A consistent ball winner from Western Australia, Rivers uses the ball well and can play a multitude of positions. Expect him to play off half-back to start with at AFL level, then roam along a wing or through the middle with time. He is that taller size midfielder who has room for growth, but not a great deal of flaws across the board. Hard to read where he falls, but could be anywhere in the second round.

Deven Robertson
Perth/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
30/06/2001 | 184cm | 81kg

The most talked about slider of the AFL Draft, Robertson was touted as highly as Pick 7 to Fremantle, then with rumours that Geelong and Gold Coast were interested. Given the SUNS traded up to get Sam Flanders and the Cats opted for Cooper Stephens instead, Robertson remarkably remains on the board at Pick 22. Brisbane would be excited he is a possibility, but with live trading in play, the likes of Adelaide or North Melbourne could also trade up to try secure the West Australian captain.

Jeremy Sharp
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
13/08/2001 | 189cm | 79kg

A running outside midfielder who can play at half-back or half-forward, Sharp is a dual All-Australian which is no easy feat. Despite his upside of athleticism and penetrating kick, Sharp does have to improve his kicking consistency at times, and build an inside game, running at just over 20 per cent contested possessions across the past three years. Regardless, Sharp does move well and could be an option for a club looking at a player in transition who could be stationed at half-back and pump the ball long.

Cameron Taheny
Norwood/South Australia | Medium Forward
03/08/2001 | 185cm | 80kg

A talented medium forward who has had injury and form concerns at times, Taheny is capable of the impossible, and one of the clubs in the 20s from Adelaide, North Melbourne or Sydney would surely consider him at a pick in the range. Good in the air and an accurate shot at goal, Taheny has shown how dominant he can be with a six-goal haul in the SANFL Reserves, and while he has played League football in South Australia, still has to build his endurance to become a more consistent player. Rated by some in South Australia as a top 10 prospect on ability.

Elijah Taylor
Perth/Western Australia | Medium Forward
01/05/2001 | 188cm | 77kg

Garnering interest from quite a few clubs including Sydney, Taylor is an exciting forward who can do some amazing things with the football. Still very light, Taylor is a long-term prospect but has high upside for the future. The Swans could use their next selection on him, or a club may try and jump in front with the likes of North Melbourne and Carlton potentially in the market for a forward.

Dylan Williams
Oakleigh Chargers | Medium Forward
01/07/2001 | 186cm | 81kg

Similar to Taheny, Williams has had his fair share of injuries and form concerns, but you cannot imagine he will last too long past the second round. He was a dominant player in the TAC Cup Finals series in 2018, but his NAB League top-age year was underwhelming. Possessing ridiculous talent and upside, as well as natural footballing ability, Williams also has natural leadership, co-captaining Oakleigh Chargers this year. A genuine diamond in the rough if he can realise his potential at a club and get his body right.

Josh Worrell
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Utility
11/04/2001 | 195cm | 83kg

The Vic Metro leading goalkicker from the Under-18 Championships, Worrell is just as adept at playing in defence. While he is still a lighter build, Worrell has the size to compete on the key position players and outside of Robertson, was the next biggest surprise to remain undrafted from the first round.

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