PODCAST EXPLAINER | Indicative Top 10 AFL Phantom Draft

THE 2021 AFL regular season is done and dusted, meaning the indicative top 10 AFL Draft order has been confirmed. With that in mind, the Final Siren Podcast team returned this week to take an early look at which players may be in prime draft contention, putting their recruiters hats on for a top 10 phantom draft.

Draft Central Chief Editor Peter Williams took over the host chair once again as Draft Editor Michael Alvaro and Guest Analyst Declan Reeve were put on the clock representing five teams apiece. While live trading was excluded, the total number of selections was pushed out to 12 with a couple of likely father-son bids featuring in the mix.

We take you through each selection and the podcast agenda in the latest explainer.

Podcast Link: Click here!

Indicative Top 10 AFL Phantom Draft:

Pick 1 – Nick Daicos, Collingwood (North Melbourne bid matched)
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Midfielder
3/01/2003 | 183cm | 72kg

Rated first in the latest Draft Central Power Rankings, Daicos is a very realistic chance of being bid on with pick one but will inevitably end up in black and white. Magpies fans have very much been looking forward to his addition to the squad and it is easy to see why after such dominant displays in every Under 19s outing he has had in 2021. He offers remarkable consistency, work-rate and an uncanny understanding of the game, which will put him in good stead to be the quickest matched bid in draft history.

Pick 2 – Sam Darcy, Western Bulldogs (North Melbourne bid matched)
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Utility/Ruck
19/08/2003 | 204cm | 75kg

Another father-son bid and one which would not be out of place either, Darcy seems a top three lock. Akin to Collingwood with Daicos, the Bulldogs will quickly match this bid regardless of where it comes, gaining access to another top key position prospect. The 204cm talent can play on each line but has most recently excelled up forward and is near unbeatable in the air against players his age. His rate of development has been rapid, putting him well in the conversation for pick one contendership.

Pick 3 – Jason Horne, North Melbourne
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder
21/06/2003 | 184cm | 78kg

With the two father-son bids out of the way, North Melbourne can finally pick up a player they have full access to in Horne. The South Adelaide product was touted as the top 2021 prospect coming into the season and has hardly put a foot wrong to remain in contention. His explosiveness and ability to impact the scoreboard makes for a relatively complete midfield package, and he is as ready as any other prospect to play at the elite level given his build and two-year SANFL League apprenticeship.

Pick 4 – Josh Gibcus, Greater Western Sydney
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Tall Defender
4/04/2003 | 195cm | 84kg

With the likes of Phil Davis and Lachie Keeffe getting on, Giants fan Declan noted his side’s need for key defensive depth and went with the best available in this year’s crop – Gibcus. The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels talent boasts incredible aerial ability, able to read the play well and utilise his sizeable leap to clunk many an intercept mark. His distribution is also improving, and he will provide great fold for the likes of Nick Haynes and Sam Taylor in defence.

Pick 5 – Finn Callaghan, Gold Coast
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
26/04/2003 | 189cm | 82kg

Gold Coast is a team whose first pick may well be on the table, but with the absence of live trading in this phantom draft edition, the Suns went for a best available talent. Callaghan is just about a certainty to be snapped up by pick five and that is the case here, as the Sandringham Dragons riser finds a home in the Sunshine State. His evasive ability and wonderfully clean skills at 189cm makes for an exciting package, able to play either side of midfield or off half-back.

Pick 6 – Arlo Draper, Adelaide
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
20/01/2003 | 185cm | 71kg

Citing Adelaide fans’ liking for some of the local talent coming through in 2021, Michael went a touch early on another South Adelaide midfielder in Draper. The dynamic 185cm talent recently broke through for a League berth and promises to bring some class and flair to the Crows’ engine room in time, but will likely start off as a forward. He marks cleanly overhead and can find the goals, comparable to the likes of Connor Rozee in terms of raw ability.

Pick 7 – Josh Rachele, Hawthorn
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country | Forward/Midfielder
11/04/2003 | 180cm | 78kg

A pick which could effectively hit two birds with one stone, Hawthorn ended up with the mercurial Rachele at pick seven. The Murray Bushrangers talent would likely start as a forward and generate a bit of creativity around goal, with the potential to then pinch-hit in midfield and bring elements of class and speed. At his best, Rachele is arguably a top five talent and proved as much in 2019 as the Division 1 Under 16 MVP. He has that ‘wow’ factor.

Pick 8 – Ben Hobbs, Carlton
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
16/09/2003 | 183cm | 80kg

Picking for the team he supports, Michael opted for even more midfield depth in Hobbs. The hard-nosed GWV ball winner is a reliable sort, willing to do all the tough stuff on the inside with clean distribution skills by hand and punishing tackling pressure. He would offer that inside support to Patrick Cripps, while relieving pressure for Sam Walsh and releasing his running game. Key defensive depth and small forward depth could be other areas Carlton targets.

Pick 9 – Mac Andrew, Richmond
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Ruck/Tall Utility
12/04/2003 | 200cm | 70kg

A high ceiling prospect is what the Tigers get in this hypothetical, with Melbourne NGA product Andrew snapped up at pick nine. He has bolted into top five calculations on the back of his showings of pure athleticism and upside across each line, but remains quite a raw 200cm talent at just 70kg. His room for development is exciting and while the Tigers may instead look for a prime midfielder this early, Andrew could essentially fill any key position slot in future.

Pick 10 – Neil Erasmus, Fremantle
Subiaco/Western Australia | Midfielder/Forward
2/12/2003 | 188cm | 80kg

With the hurt of Adam Cerra‘s trade request still a touch raw for Dockers fans, they will unlikely have any qualms about their side picking up a local midfielder in his spot. Those same fans may also be eying some of Western Australia’s prime key forward options, but they may come into play later in the piece. Erasmus has been a real riser this year, finding mountains of the ball in the WAFL Colts and PSA competitions to consolidate his top 10 quality.

Pick 11 – Tyler Sonsie, St Kilda
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro | Midfielder
27/01/2003 | 181cm | 76kg

Seeking some class in midfield to compliment the Saints’ current engine room mix, Sonsie was taken off the board at pick 11. The Eastern Ranges standout was touted as a top five contender coming into the season, but has slid a touch on the back of injury and some inconsistency. Still, his talent is undeniable, offering slick skills and the ability to navigate out of tight spots with great poise and agility. He also made a VFL outing this year, notching 24 touches and two goals for Box Hill.

Pick 12 – Josh Sinn, West Coast
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Half-Back/Midfielder
7/01/2003 | 186cm | 82kg

Rounding out the selections is West Coast with Sinn, who perfectly fits a need for the Eagles. The Sandringham Dragons skipper has endured somewhat of a frustrating campaign, but brings some unbelievably good attributes applicable at the elite level. Likely starting as a dashing half-back, Sinn breaks the lines with his speed and penetrative left-foot kick, with the potential to roll up to the wing or through midfield.

>> Top 25: August Power Rankings

In the mix:

Declan and Michael identified Northern Knights midfielder Josh Ward as arguably the most unlucky player to miss out in this selection of picks. He has proven a consistent ball winner with a terrific appetite for the contest and developing impact away from it, and would be a player the likes of Richmond and Carlton consider.

In terms of pure Power Rankings order, Matthew Roberts was ranked 12th at the start of August and clubs may value his reliability in midfield. Tall Subiaco midfielder Matthew Johnson may have the kind of upside clubs take a chance on within the top 10, while Josh Goater is rising steadily and has a raft of athletic traits which may appeal.

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