Tag: Bailey Williams

Classic Contests: Stingrays hold off Dragons in top four battle

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 5 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017 for what was a top four clash between the Country and Metro powerhouses, with plenty of future AFL draftees in action and a hotly-contested finish.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.4 | 3.9 | 9.11 | 10.12 (72)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.5 | 8.8 | 10.9 | 11.15 (81)

TAC Cup Round 17 | Saturday August 26, 2017
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, 10:30am

Draftees in action:

Sandringham – Joel Amartey, Nathan Murphy, Charlie Constable, Hayden McLean, Andrew Brayshaw, Angus Styles, Bailey Smith, Ben King, Joel Crocker
Dandenong – Oscar Clavarino, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Hunter Clark, Bailey Williams, Aiden Bonar, Will Hamill, Mitch Riordan, Lachlan Young, Tom Murphy

The scene was set at Trevor Barker Beach Oval in August, 2017 for a belting contest between two top four hopefuls stacked with high-end draft talent. Late-season contests often see sides return to full strength at the completion of the school football season and national carnival, and there was no shortage of future draftees among the two sides on this day. Both clubs would produce nine AFL recruits each from their respective matchday squads alone, spilling into the double digits overall across the next two drafts.

Taking the field in this match were also three first round draftees on either side in the form of Andrew Brayshaw, Bailey Smith, and Ben King for Sandringham, and Luke Davies-Uniacke, Hunter Clark, and Aiden Bonar for Dandenong.

Given the even spread of talent, neutrals, draft analysts, and recruiters alike came in anticipating a close contest to go with the showcase of elite players. But the Stingrays had other ideas as they build on a seven-point quarter time lead to move just short of five goals clear at the main break. A string of seven unanswered goals had the visitors sitting pretty at 44 points to the good and boasting an astonishing eight individual goalkickers within the first two terms. The likes of Davies-Uniacke, Clark, and Bonar had all managed to find the big sticks, with Sandringham desperately needing to arrest the momentum.

Up stepped Aaron Trusler at the end of the second stanza with two consecutive goals to keep the margin at a manageable distance, with his third at the start of the next term a catalyst for the Dragons’ storming comeback. Trusler’s three majors would mark the beginning of his side’s six-goal run, which extended to eight of the next ten majors as the three quarter time siren sounded. From 44 points down, Sandringham had even snuck ahead through Brayshaw, but it was cancelled out late-on by a much-needed goal to Jai Nanscawen for Dandenong.

With the ledger all-but even heading into the final term, a grandstand finish was on the cards. In a tense closing period of play, the sides managed a goal apiece to break the big runs of goals, with Dandenong unable to quite put the Dragons away but still notching the four points.

Trusler’s three-goal effort proved key in turning the tide despite his side being unable to complete the comeback job, with former Sydney rookie Angus Styles named the best in a losing effort for his 18 disposals and one goal at 100 per cent efficiency on the outside. Fremantle midfielder Brayshaw also had his say with 27 disposals and a goal, while Magpie Nathan Murphy and Swan Joel Amartey were also named among the best.

As far as other draftees go, Bulldog gun Smith collected 25 touches as a bottom-ager, Joel Crocker had it 24 times, Charlie Constable booted a goal from 15 touches, Hayden McLean shared ruck duties with Amartey while up forward, and King only managed three marks among nine disposals.

For Dandenong, it was a case of the cream rising to the top as Clark was named best afield for his 29 disposals and two goals, while Davies-Uniacke managed 21 and one goal, and future Saint Oscar Clavarino was also named among the best from defence. Among the other draftees, bottom-ager Bailey Williams managed 1.3 and 16 hitouts, while Bonar, Will Hamill, and Mitch Riordan all also managed to find the goals in games which provided a glimpse of their talent. Meanwhile, Lachlan Young booted three points from 12 disposals, Tom Murphy found it 14 times, and the VFL-listed Mason De Wit had a decent day out with 21 disposals and eight marks.

The Stingrays would go on to finish third after the 2017 regular season, one spot above the Dragons but could not manage the same finals success. After famously overcoming Eastern in what was a monumental come-from-behind win, Dandenong fell to Geelong in the preliminary final stage. The Falcons also proved a thorn in the side of Sandringham, going on to beat the Dragons in a thrilling decider made famous by Gryan Miers’ seven goals, and Amartey’s after-the-siren miss.

Classic Contests: Eight-goal first quarter sets up impressive Stingrays win

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 1 clashes in the NAB League this year between Dandenong Stingrays and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. We travel back to Round 3, 2017 when the sides met at Queen Elizabeth Oval (QEO) after both teams had received a hiding from Geelong Falcons in the opening two rounds, and the Stingrays were without a number of stars due to the AFL Academy match.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 8.0 | 12.3 | 14.3 | 16.6 (102)
GWV REBELS 1.1 | 3.3 | 9.7 | 12.10 (82)

Round 3 | Saturday, April 8, 2017
Queen Elizabeth Oval, 2pm

Heading back to Round 3 in 2017, the newly rebranded GWV Rebels (originally North Ballarat Rebels) travelled to Bendigo to take on the Dandenong Stingrays as part of the traditional Country triple header. Neither side had lit the world on fire coming into the contest, with the highly fancied Stingrays 1-1 from two games, while the Rebels sat 0-2 with a percentage of 60.34. The week before, Geelong Falcons had given the Stingrays a 77-point touch up at Kardinia Park, while the Rebels had lost by 12 points to Bendigo Pioneers the day after. It was a better result from the week before when the Falcons flexed their muscles on the Rebels, winning by 82 points at home, while across at Morwell, the Stingrays got up over Gippsland Power by 16 points.

The first term of the Round 3 clash was an absolute stampede of goals from the favourites, with the Stingrays piling on eight majors to the Rebels’ one to open up a remarkable 41-point lead at quarter time. Shellshocked at the first break, the Rebels managed to stem the bleeding a little bit in the second term, booting 2.2 themselves this time, though the Stingrays still piled on 4.3 to race out to a nine-goal advantage at half-time. The game seemed done and dusted, as Dandenong appeared to take the foot off the gas in the premiership quarter, while the away team – through the work of midfield accumulator and captain, Callan Wellings, and talented clever forwards, Jed Hill and Jordan Johnston started to get the ball back on their terms.

To that point, the Rebels had struggled with the forward line structure of the Stingrays who had a plethora of talls rotating through there from Bailey Williams to Bailey Schmidt and Riley D’Arcy. They were without three of their stars in Hunter Clark, Luke Davies-Uniacke and Oscar Clavarino, but had got the fast start and were seemingly in control. That changed in the third term when the Rebels gained ascendancy to boot six goals to two and draw within 26 points. Unfortunately it would not be enough in the end despite an even third term, with the Stingrays holding on a Rebels fightback to win by 20, 16.6 (102) to 12.10 (82).

Despite the game missing a number of key talents due to the AFL Academy clash against Northern Blues, Williams was impressive for the Stingrays with three goals from nine disposals and four marks (one contested), while D’Arcy also booted three goals from 11 disposals and four marks (one contested). Mitch Cotter was voted the top Stingray on the day, racking up 27 disposals (15 contested), eight clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds, teaming up with the slick Ali Zijai who finished with 23 disposals (87 per cent efficiency and 61 per cent contested), two marks, nine tackles, nine clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Future Gold Coast Sun, Mitch Riordan had the 14 disposals and four clearances, while North-bound Tom Murphy booted two goals from 12 disposals, five marks and five inside 50s. The key goalkicker on the day was Jai Nanscawen, with the small forward snagging four majors from 12 disposals. Bottom-agers, Toby Bedford (seven disposals, two inside 50s) and Will Hamill (six disposals) also played on the winning side.

Wellings was the standout player for the Rebels with a massive 30 disposals (18 contested), 10 clearances, four marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds in the loss, while Matty Lloyd had 17 disposals, four marks and seven rebounds out of defence. One of the Rebels’ top prospects from that year, Aiden Domic had 14 touches and five rebounds, while Johnston and Hill had a combined 13 inside 50s and booted a goal each. The Rebels had a few future draftees running around for them that day, with Lloyd Meek‘s work in the ruck impressive against the multiple talls, picking up 29 hitouts to go with 10 disposals, two marks, five tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Tom Berry (16 disposals, two marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) and Flynn Appleby (eight disposals, two rebounds) also contributed.

Fast forward to the end of the season and Dandenong Stingrays reached the preliminary finals before bowing out to eventual premiers, Geelong Falcons. The GWV Rebels ended up finishing 11th overall with five wins and a draw to their name, but only two points off ninth spot and eight points off a finals position in an even bottom six.

Classic Contests: Gippsland Power survives two-point thriller as three future stars debut

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest, we travel back in time to a thrilling clash at Frankston where three future AFL talents made their debuts in Gippsland Power’s two-point win over Dandenong Stingrays – a clash that would have happened last weekend had the COVID-19 pandemic not suspended the NAB League Boys competition.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.1 | 8.4 | 10.6 | 14.8 (92)
GIPPSLAND POWER 2.7 | 5.9 | 11.10 | 14.10 (94)

Round 14 | Saturday, July 29, 2017
Skybus Stadium, Frankston, 2pm

A see-sawing contest between two country sides at Frankston saw an absolute thriller play out with with the fifth placed Stingrays hosting the eighth placed Power. Gippsland trailed the seventh placed Eastern Ranges by eight points and were just percentage ahead of the closing Calder Cannons inside the top eight. For Dandenong, a top four spot was on offer with just percentage separating third placed Sandringham Dragons, fourth placed Murray Bushrangers and the Stingrays.

An inaccurate Power side got the jump on the Stingrays with 2.7 to 2.1 in the opening term, before Dandenong powered to the lead with six goals to three in the second term to take a 13-point buffer into the main break. Returning serve with the wind the Power again took control, this time somewhat more accurately with 6.1 to 2.2 and hold a 10-point advantage at the last change. In what became a thrilling final term full of nail-biting moments, it was the visiting side that scraped home by just two points.

Whilst they might have lost, Gippsland fans might remember the game fondly as three debutants – wearing the numbers 41, 42 and 43 all debuted. Their names? Sam Flanders, Caleb Serong and Brock Smith. Fresh off the Under 16 Championships, Flanders and Serong booted three goals apiece and shared in 21 disposals, 10 tackles and six marks, while Smith had the eight touches and laid three tackles.

Dandenong’s best was top draft hopeful, Hunter Clark who tore the game to shreds with 34 disposals (50 per cent contested), eight tackles, seven clearances, 10 inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals. Tom De Koning had 42 hitouts to go with 13 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and a goal, while Bailey Williams also dominated through the ruck with 29 hitouts to go with nine touches and three inside 50s. Future captain, Campbell Hustwaite found the ball 19 times and kicked three snags, while Mason de Wit (21 touches, five marks, four inside 50s and three rebounds) and Jai Nanscawen (20 disposals, two goals) were also busy. Other Stingrays in the match who would go on to be drafted in the future included Tom Murphy (18 disposals, two mark, four clearances and a goal) and Will Hamill (11 disposals, three marks and five tackles).

Aside from the three draftees, Callum Porter continued his superb season with 24 disposals, nine clearances, five tackles and five inside 50s, while future Power talent, Xavier Duursma had 20 disposals, three marks, eight tackles, five inside 50s and two goals as a bottom-ager. Nick Hogan (24 disposals, three marks, six clearances, four tackles, four inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal) had a team-high in disposals, while Sean Masterson had 11 disposals, three marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and four rebounds to be named in the best. Unfortunately for one of Gippsland’s draft hopefuls – Matthew McGannon – this game will be one he would not want to remember, going down with injury and missing the rest of the season bar a short return in the finals series.

Gippsland Power would end up making the finals by winning the last four games of the season and finishing seventh, but bowed out to eventual premiers, Geelong Falcons in the elimination finals, while Dandenong would progress to the preliminary finals following a remarkable come-from-behind victory over Eastern Ranges at Victoria Park, before suffering the same fate as the Power and losing to the Falcons.

VFL weekly wrap: Bombers suffer big first loss

RICHMOND occupies top spot on the Victorian Football League (VFL) ladder following Round 6, as Essendon dropped their first match of the season, while North Melbourne picked up their first win.

Essendon 8.7 (55) defeated by Casey 15.6 (96)

The undefeated Bombers entered their clash with the Demons on a high, with a huge percentage and a win expected against a Casey side who only had one victory. It was the Demons, however, who led from the first bounce to the final siren to take home the four points. The only positive for Essendon was the final term, where they booted five goals to four. Brayden Preuss dominated for the away side with 40 hitouts and two goals while Tim Smith slammed home four, and Mitch White three. Dylan Clarke was best for the Bombers with 28 disposals.

Port Melbourne 16.9 (105) defeated Werribee 14.5 (89)

The Borough continued their winning streak with a win over the Tigers at home. Port lead by as much as 50 points halfway through the second term, but Werribee did well to turn the contest into a competitive one despite ultimately going down. Tom Gribble had 27 disposals while Harvey Hooper notched up 25 and a goal. Campbell Walker and Matthew Munro kicked three goals each, as Blake Pearson slotted four.

Box Hill 12.12 (84) drew Foostcray 12.12 (84)

The lead for either side never extended beyond three goals as the Hawks and Bulldogs recorded the first draw of the season at the MCG. Dropped former Hawthorn captain Jarryd Roughead excelled, kicking five goals, and famously coaching Bulldog Reuben William on-field. Tory Dickson and Kyle Dunkley kicked three each for the Dogs. Bailey Williams continued his push for an AFL berth with 31 disposals.

Collingwood 8.7 (56) defeated by Sandringham 7.14 (56)

Sandringham crawled over the line at Victoria Park to defeat the Magpies. While the margin was never more than 19 points, the Zebras led all day until three early final quarter goals put Collingwood in front by 5 points. Sandy then got six consecutive points through a combination of rushed behinds and inaccurate kicking to register the victory. Alex Woodward did what he does with 39 disposals, while Hunter Clark had the second most touches on the ground with 28. Travis Varcoe and Sam Rowe each kicked two goals.

Frankston 7.8 (50) defeated by Richmond 19.10 (124)

Frankston remains the only team in the VFL without a win after their loss to Richmond at home. The Dolphins started brightly, leading early in the first term, but the class of the Tigers prevailed. Patty Naish kicked four goals and had 29 disposals as Mabior Chol slotted three goals. Mav Weller had 27 touches while Josh Newman was immense for the Dolphins once again, with 25 disposals and a goal.

North Melbourne 17.11 (113) defeated Geelong 14.9 (93)

North Melbourne put together a superb final quarter to overrun Geelong and record their first win of the season. While the Cats led at every break, North had the lead at one stage of every term, and finally unleashed in the last, kicking 6 goals to 2. Aaron Hall responded to his VFL demotion with 29 disposals and two goals while Lachie Fogarty was impressive for the Cats with 27 disposals and a goal. Nathan Hrovat was the star of the show however, booting six goals, including the one that gave the Kangaroos the lead in the final quarter.

Bye – Coburg, Williamstown, Northern Blues

Pic: VFL.com.au

AFL Draft review: West Coast

REIGNING premiers, West Coast Eagles were able to top up certain areas across the ground, picking up an outside midfielder, inside midfielder, small forward and a couple of key position forwards who can pinch hit in the ruck. They also managed to snatch readymade Collingwood defender, Josh Smith who has experience he can add to a young group in defence.


National Draft:


Xavier O’Neill – Outside Midfielder

Oakleigh Chargers’ midfielder, Xavier O’Neill was an initial surprise invite to the National Draft Combine, having missed selection for the National Under 18 Championships. The disappointment for O’Neill was quickly put aside as he put together a very consistent season along the wing and through the midfield, then showed off his top athletic abilities at the combine. He shared the kicking test honours and was terrific in the 20m sprint as well, with West Coast likely to use his speed and skill through the midfield. He might have been a surprise bolter on the night, but speed and skill has been a key focus for clubs in recent years, and O’Neill certainly ticks those boxes.

Luke Foley – Inside Midfielder

An overager who did not even nominate for the 2017 AFL National Draft after a disappointing top-age year, came back and pieced together a really impressive season which shot his name up into draft calculations. He earned a spot in Western Australia’s state side for the National Under 18 Championships, and then dominated the Colts for Subiaco, also slotting into the WAFL Colts Team of the Year. He was predicted to go in the first two rounds and it was no surprise to see the local clearance winner and accumulator plucked out by the Eagles, as a readymade player who can walk into the premiers’ midfield, or forward line, if fit.

Bailey Williams – Key Position Forward/Ruck

Touted as a first round prospect at the start of the year, Dandenong Stingrays tall, Bailey Williams slid to the Eagles’ third selection in the second round. He has primarily played as that key position forward this season, while pinch-hitting in the ruck. He has an enormous vertical leap and a booming kick, he just needs to iron out his goal kicking which he seemed to lose confidence with over time. Williams is capable of dominating games in the air, and is a great value pick at the selection, and fits a need for West Coast.

Jarrod Cameron – Small Forward

The Next Generation Academy forward lands at the Eagles and joins brother, Charlie in the AFL. While they are on opposite sides of the country, Jarrod has similar exciting traits, and is further developed at the same age than his brother. He seemed a long shot to be drafted 12 months ago, but with a five-goal haul against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium, and a consistent back-end of the season in the WAFL, Cameron put his best foot forward and impressed the Eagles recruiters enough to match a bid. He might take some time as he fills out, but he is an exciting long-term prospect.


Rookie Draft:


Harry Edwards – Key Position Forward/Ruck

Local talent, Harry Edwards is a perfect rookie selection for the Eagles, as he is a long-term prospect. At 195cm, Edwards is undersized for a ruck, and is more likely to develop into that key position forward who can assist the number one ruck. He is quite raw and needs to develop further physically, weighing in at around 80kg. He is mobile for a ruck and has some nice athletic traits, and unlike many talls, applies defensive pressure to opponents. Edwards will need patience from fans, but is a low-risk pick in the Rookie Draft and one that could be developed further in the elite environment at Optus Stadium.

Josh Smith – General Defender

The former Pies defender only played the first game of the home and away season this year before making way for others and not being able to squeeze back into the side. Drafted as a mature-ager from Queensland initially, Smith dropped out of Collingwood’s plans as they stormed to a surprise grand final berth. Little would Smith know that the disappointment of both missing out on the decider and the disappointment for his side’s loss that day towards the opposition side, would change as the premiers would throw him a lifeline. He adds experience to the defence and puts selection pressure on other players in that group.



When a club wins a flag, there are no major changes needed, but the Eagles went about plugging holes in areas they felt they could improve. They picked up a couple of midfielders and a couple of developing talls, while matching a bid on their talented NGA player, and adding experience to their squad with Smith in the Rookie Draft.

2018 National AFL Draft selections

THE 2018 National AFL Draft selections and club by club selections as they happen today will appear here:

Round 1:

1 – Carlton – Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 – Gold Coast – Jack Lukosius – (WWT Torrens/South Australia)
3 – Gold Coast – Izak Rankine (West Adelaide/South Australia)
4 – St Kilda – Max King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
5 – Port Adelaide – Connor Rozee (North Adelaide/South Australia)
6 – Gold Coast – Ben King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
7 – Western Bulldogs – Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
8 – North Melbourne – Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston/Tasmania)
9 – Adelaide – Chayce Jones (Launceston/Tasmania)
10 – Sydney – Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans Academy/NSW-ACT)
11 – GWS GIANTS – Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
12 – Port Adelaide – Zak Butters (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
13 – Collingwood – Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
14 – GWS GIANTS – Jackson Hately (Central District/South Australia)
15 – Geelong – Jordan Clark (Claremont/Western Australia)
16 – Adelaide – Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
17 – Fremantle – Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
18 – Port Adelaide – Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
19 – Carlton – Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
20 – Richmond – Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
21 – Brisbane – Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
22 – GWS GIANTS – Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

End of Round 1:

23 – Gold Coast –  Jez McLennan (Central District/South Australia)

Round 2:

24 – GWS – Ian Hill (Perth/Western Australia)
25 – Sydney – James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26 – Western Bulldogs – Rhylee West (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
27 – Melbourne – Tom Sparrow (South Adelaide/South Australia)
28 – West Coast – Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
29 – Collingwood – Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
30 – Adelaide – Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
31 – West Coast – Luke Foley (Subiaco/Western Australia)
32 – Fremantle – Luke Valente (Norwood/Western Australia)
33 – Melbourne – James Jordon (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
34 – GWS GIANTS – Kieren Briggs (GWS GIANTS Academy/NSW-ACT)
35 – West Coast – Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
36 – Brisbane – Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
37 – Western Bulldogs – Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
38 – Essendon – Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
39 – West Coast – Jarrod Cameron (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
40 – Brisbane – Tom Joyce (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
41 – St Kilda – Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
42 – Brisbane – Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland)
43 – Richmond – Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 3:

44 – Sydney –  Justin McInerney (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
45 – Western Bulldogs – Ben Cavarra (Williamstown VFL)
46 – North Melbourne – Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
47 – St Kilda –  Matthew Parker (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
48 – Geelong – Ben Jarvis (Norwood/South Australia)
49 – North Melbourne – Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Queensland)
50 – Geelong – Jacob Kennerley (Norwood/South Australia)
51 – Sydney – Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
52 – Hawthorn – Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushangers/Allies)
53 – Melbourne – Aaron Nietschke (Central District/South Australia)
54 – St Kilda –  Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
55 – Brisbane – Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 4:

56 – Melbourne – Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
57 – Fremantle – Lachlan Schulz (Williamstown VFL)
58 – Richmond – Fraser Turner (Clarence/Tasmania)
59 – Fremantle – Brett Bewley (Williamstown VFL)
60 – Essendon – Noah Gown (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
61 – GWS GIANTS – Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
62 – Richmond – Luke English (Perth/Western Australia)
63 – Hawthorn – Matthew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
64 – Adelaide – Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
65 – Geelong – Darcy Fort (Central District/South Australia)
66 – Carlton – Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
67 – St Kilda – Robert Young (North Adelaide/South Australia)
68 – Geelong – Jake Tarca (South Adelaide/South Australia)
69 – North Melbourne – Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Round 5 onwards:

70 – Carlton – Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
71 – Gold Coast – Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Academy/Queensland)
72 – Essendon – Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
73 – Port Adelaide – Riley Grundy (Sturt/South Australia)
74 – Geelong – Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
75 – Melbourne – Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
76 – Port Adelaide – Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide/South Australia)
77 – Collingwood – Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
78 – Western Bulldogs – Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)

*Clubs matched bids to secure father-son or academy prospect

Club by Club Players:

Adelaide: Chayce Jones, Ned McHenry, Will Hamill, Lachlan Sholl
Brisbane: Ely Smith, Thomas Berry, Tom Joyce, Connor McFadyen, Noah Answerth
Carlton: Sam Walsh, Liam Stocker, Finbar O’Dwyer, Ben Silvagni
Collingwood: Isaac Quaynor, Will Kelly, Atu Bosenavulagi
Essendon: Irving Mosquito, Noah Gown, Brayden Ham
Fremantle: Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Lachlan Schulz, Brett Bewley
Geelong: Jordan Clark, Ben Jarvis, Jacob Kennerley, Darcy Fort, Jake Tarca, Oscar Brownless
Gold Coast: Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, Ben King, Jez McLennan, Caleb Graham
GWS GIANTS: Jye Caldwell, Jackson Hately, Xavier O’Halloran, Ian Hill, Kieren Briggs, Connor Idun
Hawthorn: Jacob Koschitzke, Mathew Walker
Melbourne: Tom Sparrow, James Jordon, Aaron Nietschke, Marty Hore, Toby Bedford
North Melbourne: Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Bailey Scott, Joel Crocker
Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Riley Grundy, Boyd Woodcock
Richmond: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Fraser Turner, Luke English
St Kilda: Max King, Jack Bytel, Mathew Parker, Nick Hind, Robert Young
Sydney: Nick Blakey, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney, Zac Foot
West Coast: Xavier O’Neill, Luke Foley, Bailey Williams, Jarrod Cameron
Western Bulldogs: Bailey Smith, Rhylee West, Laitham Vandermeer, Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes

AFL Draft preview: West Coast

THE 2018 premiers do not have too many pressing needs for their list, especially considering their premiership window is wide open.


  • Best available but:
    • Ruck depth
    • Small-medium forward
    • Key defender
    • Small-medium defender


DRAFT PICKS: 20, 22, 61, 72, 76, 94

Coming off the premiership, the Eagles do not have any significant holes in their list management – they have a well-stocked midfield, an array of gun forwards, some excellent defenders and serviceable ruckmen.

They enter the draft at pick 20 and depending if he slides, the Eagles could look to Perth product Ian Hill to fill the shoes left by the retired Mark LeCras. Hill is a similar damaging small forward to Fremantle star Michael Walters, and would add an extra spark to an already impressive forward line. They might opt for a taller forward option in Sam Sturt or Curtis Taylor if either are on the board. West Coast could be the side that pounces first on Bailey Williams if they think he can fit amongst their talls and secure a long-term ruck/forward rather than a short-term mature-ager.

With pick 22, West Coast could look at Victorian pair Xavier O’Halloran and Ely Smith. O’Halloran, a product of the Western Jets, is seen as the best leader in this year’s draft pool and is a midfielder capable of inflicting damage on the scoreboard – traits similar to Richmond’s premiership captain Trent Cotchin. Smith on the other hand is a speedy and competitive midfielder who attacks each contest with vigour, similar to St Kilda’s David Armitage.

It is expected the Eagles will receive a bid for Next-Generation Academy member Jarrod Cameron around pick 40 and will certainly match the offer, giving up their remaining picks for the Swan Districts product. Cameron is a small forward who is raw but has plenty of upside. If they look to add a tall late in the draft, perhaps they turn to James BlanckRiley Grundy or Kyle Reid who could be there in the final stages of the draft.

There is talk that the Eagles will look to add ex-Sydney player Harry Marsh or ex-Brisbane player Marco Paparone in the Rookie Draft. Marsh will add to the small-medium defensive options, especially considering Shannon Hurn is 32. Paparone will be the fourth recognised key defender at West Coast behind Jeremy McGovern, Tom Barrass, and Will Schofield.

AFL Draft preview: St Kilda

ST KILDA had a disappointing year after such high expectations coming into 2018, and Saints fans were left wondering how they had slipped to the bottom four. They enter the draft with pick four, followed by a couple of mid-draft selections and a couple of late selections, meaning they can fill needs, as well as target what they ultimately crave – outside run and skill.

List needs:

  • Outside midfielder
  • Ruck
  • Forward depth

Draft Picks: 4, 36, 46, 67, 79

At pick four, St Kilda are ultimately choosing between Sandringham key forward, Max King, and North Adelaide skilful midfielder, Connor Rozee. The Saints need the skillset that Rozee offers, but given King could well have challenged for pick one had he not injured his knee, it is more than fair to say he is best available at the selection. He could team up with Paddy McCartin in attack with the pair being different types of marking forwards, while Rozee could play from round one on the wing or a flank. There has been some talk of a trade down to pick six, but given that means both of King or Rozee will be gone by that selection, it does not seem beneficial to the Saints. Talking to some Saints fans, the obvious pick is King’s Dragons’ teammate, Bailey Smith, though King and Rozee appear to be the Saints’ preferred players at the selection.

For the Saints’ mid-draft selections, they must target outside run and skill, with the clear standout being Dandenong’s Will Hamill. The Saints love picking a Stingrays player, and Hamill fits the bill both athletically and skilfully. If they look further abroad, Tasmania’s Fraser Turner is a value option, while Laitham Vandermeer brings the speed and skill, and Jack Ross brings the consistent efforts and bigger body. Tom McKenzie or Will Golds are others who might come into consideration here, with the Saints likely to pick up two midfielders they can put on wings in the future. There has been some talk of Bailey Williams sliding, and while the chances of the athletic ruck/forward being there at 36 are very slim, the Saints would have to consider him at the pick.

With the later selections it is a bit of a gamble, but St Kilda could opt for Riley Bowman if they choose to top-up through the National Draft, or they look to the Rookie Draft for a mature-ager. They might be the side that bids on Irving Mosquito at some stage to keep Hawthorn honest, while they might also look to Brayden Ham or Joe Ayton-Delaney with later picks for their run and carry. If they consider going a hybrid forward, perhaps a Zane Barzen or Oscar Chapman might be on their radar.

2018 AFL Draft Central Phantom Draft

WE are now just three days away from the first pick being called in the 2018 AFL National Draft, and at AFL Draft Central, we have put our heads together and put forward our Phantom Draft, based on how some of the picks can fall. A few things to note:

  1. The pick numbers are different to the currently assigned picks due to bidding. We included bidding so Sydney matched a bid on Nick Blakey, Collingwood matched bids on Isaac Quaynor and Will Kelly, Western Bulldogs matched bids on Rhylee West and Buku Khamis, GWS GIANTS matched a bid on Kieren Briggs, and so on and so fourth. That is why the pick numbers are not the same as the current pick numbers for clubs
  2. There was no live trading that took part – we did not want to overcomplicate the process, so we just opted for a nice simple Phantom Draft
  3. We have only included the first four rounds, so don’t fret if you only see clubs like Essendon having two picks, or Fremantle not picking up Jason Carter – we looked at list spots and anticipated numbers, so Carter was going to be Fremantle’s next pick outside the first four rounds.
  4. We have not included any rookie upgrades in the Phantom Draft, most of which will likely come outside the first four rounds anyway.
  5. No coaches were assigned to individual teams, instead it was a group effort with a variety of supporters chipping in their thoughts based on their contacts as well as club needs, with multiple South Australian and West Australian writers also involved – this is opinion-based.



#9 Connor Rozee
#15 Jackson Hately
#19 Luke Valente
#26 Bailey Williams
#66 Hugo Munn
#73 Zane Barzen

Adelaide went with a distinct South Australian feel to it, taking the Croweaters’ three best midfielders from the National Under 18 Championships in Connor Rozee, Jackson Hately and Luke Valente. Rozee and Hately in particular could well go earlier, with St Kilda (pick four) and Gold Coast (pick six) considering the silky midfielder. It was an easy choice when Rozee was at pick 9, as was Hately who the Crows would be rapt to get at that selection. With the midfield sorted, Adelaide opted for talls after that, snaring Dandenong tall, Bailey Williams with #26, as well as local forward, Hugo Munn, and the exciting Zane Barzen from the Murray Bushrangers who can play a medium-tall role at half-forward.


#21 Curtis Taylor
#34 Ely Smith
#35 Connor McFadyen
#53 Tom Berry

A few fan favourites made their way to Brisbane in the draft, with Cam Rayner’s best mate Curtis Taylor seeming a good selection at pick 21. With Xavier Duursma off the board, Taylor is another one the Lions are rumoured to like, and he adds a point of difference inside 50 with plenty of scope. Then they targeted big bodies, with Ely Smith and Tom Berry – brother of Jarrod – while also matching the bid on Academy prospect, Connor McFadyen. They are at the stage where they do not need to fill too many holes, and just beefed up their midfield and forward lines with some bigger bodies who have versatility as well.


#1 Sam Walsh
#61 Tyron Smallwood
#64 Sam Fletcher
#69 Ben Silvagni

Carlton was tricky to pick for late, after clearly selecting Sam Walsh with the first pick. Walsh is the standout midfielder in the draft crop, and Blues fans should be thrilled to have him coming on board, as a safe, 200-game player and future captain. He is joined by mid/forward, Tyron Smallwood who just oozes X-factor and looks like great value late, as well as inside midfielder Sam Fletcher who bleeds for any club he plays for. Wrapping up the draft with father-son selection Ben Silvagni, Blues fans should be pretty pleased with the value they have received considering their late picks.


#18 Isaac Quaynor
#25 Will Kelly

A bit of a straight forward draft for Collingwood with Isaac Quaynor and Will Kelly both heading to the club. The Magpies had no problems matching the bids, though there is a chance they go into deficit for 2019. Either way it will not stop them matching the pair who sure up the club’s defence. Collingwood will use a third pick – likely to be in the late 80s by the time bids and passes have shuffled up the order, with the Magpies contemplating a roughie from Western Australia – perhaps the unlucky Jack Mayo or Patrick Farrant to help strengthen their tall stocks.


#37 James Rowbottom
#57 Riley Bowman

Just the two picks inside the four rounds for Essendon, but no fear Bombers fans, along with a potential Shaun McKernan rookie upgrade, the Bombers are likely to take one or two more selections. They could target someone like a Nick Hind who has speed to burn and already knows the club well having played for the Bombers’ VFL side. But in the two selections Essendon did make, they went for the inside strength of James Rowbottom, and the ruck depth provided by Dandenong’s Riley Bowman, a couple of need-based selections for the Bombers in the Phantom Draft.


#18 Ian Hill
#36 Sydney Stack
#45 Tom Lewis
#56 Damon Greaves
#72 Aaron Nietschke

Fremantle went local for its picks, going West Australian for three, and a couple of South Australian boys as well. Fremantle fans seem divided on whether or not to select Ian Hill with the first rounder, but do not let an injury-interrupted season put you off, he is a genuine star. The Dockers also selected fellow West Australian, Sydney Stack to add class to the side, as well as half-back Damon Greaves. Fremantle are also rumoured to be interested in Sturt midfielder, Tom Lewis, while also taking a punt on the consistent Aaron Nietschke with the final selection in this Phantom Draft. They then can select Jason Carter with a later selection or as a free hit in the rookie draft.


#14 Riley Collier-Dawkins
#49 Josh Kemp
#50 Charlie Sprague
#63 Oscar Brownless

Geelong made four picks in our Phantom Draft, picking up big-bodied inside midfielder, Riley Collier-Dawkins and two hybrid forward options in Josh Kemp and Charlie Sprague, before picking Oscar Brownless with their final selection. The father-son prospect can play midfield or forward, while Kemp adds a defensive element to the forward 50, and Sprague adds the attacking element which gives them plenty of scope for the future.

Gold Coast:

#2 Jack Lukosius
#3 Izak Rankine
#6 Jye Caldwell
#31 Jez McLennan
#33 Jacob Koschitzke
#71 Matt McGannon

Gold Coast always had a strong hand coming into the draft, and much like we expect in the real thing, selected Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Jye Caldwell with their first three selections. They add to their talent inside 50 and strength through the midfield. Later in the draft, the SUNS sured up their defence, picking half-back flankers, Jez McLennan and Matt McGannon, alongside All-Australian key position defender, Jacob Koschitzke. It means the SUNS picked up a tall at either end and added bucket loads of skill on the flanks.


#10 Jordan Clark
#13 Chayce Jones
#22 Ned McHenry
#23 Kieren Briggs
#51 Tom Sparrow

GWS GIANTS filled a number of needs in selecting players with varying skill sets and versatility that enables them to play a number of roles during a match. Jordan Clark and Chayce Jones are your clean, outside ball users who can slot practically anywhere on the field, Ned McHenry is your forward pressure player who loves the physicality of the game, and Tom Sparrow late represents value as a burst midfielder. The GIANTS also matched a bid of Academy prospect, Kieren Briggs who slots into the ruck ranks which have been wearing thin given Rory Lobb’s departure.


#52 Noah Gown
#60 Irving Mosquito

They will have another selection late, but along with Next Generation Academy member, Irving Mosquito, Hawthorn took a punt on key forward, Noah Gown. The Gippsland Power teammates reunite at the Hawks and immediately add to the forward half of the ground with Jarryd Roughead coming to the twilight of his career, while Mosquito adds that forward pressure. Both are players who with the right development could certainly be great value players at these selections.


#29 Xavier O’Halloran
#32 Will Hamill
#38 Toby Bedford
#54 Will Golds

Melbourne has one of the more well-rounded teams and we targeted best available, with a focus on speed and outside run. Vic Metro captain, Xavier O’Halloran adds leadership and can play midfield or forward, while Will Hamill and Will Golds are classy outside ball users. Hamill will likely play off half-back and Golds off a wing, while Next Generation Academy player, Toby Bedford will cause headaches for opposition coaches inside 50.

North Melbourne:

#11 Tarryn Thomas
#30 Bailey Scott
#62 Angus Hanrahan

North Melbourne had the three selections in the first four rounds, and will also be picking up Joel Crocker with the club’s last selection. In the first four rounds, they matched bids on Next Generation Academy prospect, Tarryn Thomas, and father-son prospect, Bailey Scott. Both are top talents who will be great inclusions to a midfield that could do with a dose of outside speed and versatility. Angus Hanrahan late is a developing forward who can play midfield and add another dimension inside 50.

Port Adelaide:

#5 Ben King
#12 Zak Butters
#17 Xavier Duursma

Just the three early picks for Port Adelaide, selecting Ben King with pick five after brother Max was gone, while Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma add versatility and clean skills. Butters has great class and will play off half-forward or along a wing until he bulks up, while Duursma is equally lightly built and will play off a flank at either end or along a wing in time. Both know how to use the ball exceptionally well and have plenty of upside for the future.


#20 Liam Stocker
#42 Jack Bytel
#55 Tom McKenzie
#59 Harry Reynolds
#67 Brayden Ham

Richmond will look to target bigger bodies at the coalface, so expect a couple of these types of names to land at the Tigers. Liam Stocker has long been linked to Punt Road, while Jack Bytel seems a no brainer at pick 42. Tom McKenzie adds a different type of midfielder with their next pick, having speed and the ability to play off half-back as well. Reynolds is similarly able to play off half-back or through the midfield, and has that prototype body size. With the final pick, Richmond took a punt on overager Brayden Ham who has elite athletic traits and can play anywhere on the ground.

St Kilda:

#4 Max King
#40 Fraser Turner
#47 Durak Tucker
#58 Zac Foot
#70 Joe Ayton-Delaney

St Kilda fans have been keen to secure midfielders, and while it still looks like Max King will be the first selection, they cannot be unhappy with a genuine franchise key forward who as an added bonus, supports the Saints. Throw in the outside run of Fraser Turner and Zac Foot, while Joe Ayton-Delaney comes off a half-back flank and might not make it to pick 70, but he was there in this draft and would be fairly quickly swooped upon. Durak Tucker is another player who will add some composure down back with nice athleticism and offers value at pick 47 if the Saints are so inclined to pick up the West Australian.


#6 Nick Blakey
#43 Laitham Vandermeer
#44 Tom Joyce
#48 Jack Ross

Sydney made four rather savvy selections in the draft, taking Academy prospect, Nick Blakey after matching a bid inside the top 10, then selecting three very different players with the three selections remaining in the 40s. They picked up overage speedster, Laitham Vandermeer, small inside bull,  Tom Joyce, and dual balanced midfielder, Jack Ross, all of whom are arguably more readymade than many of their contemporaries at the same draft region.

West Coast:

#24 Sam Sturt
#27 Luke Foley
#41 Jarrod Cameron
#65 Mitch Podhajski
#68 Dillon O’Reilly

West Coast heads to the draft coming off a premiership, so targeting players who can fill depth for future years is important, and we looked at a variety of players to fill certain roles. They pick up draft bolter, Sam Sturt with their first selection, as well as overager, Luke Foley who remains in his home state. They were forced to match a bid for Jarrod Cameron at pick 41, but that seems straight forward, while picking up the readymade Mitch Podhajski, and local key forward, Dillon O’Reilly.

Western Bulldogs:

#8 Bailey Smith
#28 Rhylee West
#39 Jacob Kennerley
#46 Buku Khamis

The Western Bulldogs got their two club-tied players through matching bids with father-son midfielder, Rhylee West and Next Generation Academy prospect, Buku Khamis. The Bulldogs also picked up the man they have been heavily linked to in Bailey Smith with their first selection and outside runner, Jacob Kennerley with their second round pick a #39. All could contribute during the 2019 season if the coaching staff are so inclined, so it is a readymade draft haul for the Dogs.

*Among those taken in the next 20-odd picks included the likes of Hayden Sampson, Oscar Chapman, Daly Andrews, Mitch Riordan, Noah Answerth, Lachlan Sholl, Will Kennedy, Joel Crocker, Jason Carter, Riley Grundy and Kyle Reid, with some mature agers including Nick Hind, Brett Bewley and Darcy Fort also there.

AFL Draft preview: Hawthorn

HAWTHORN has the weakest draft hand in the league after trading some of their picks for ready-made players such as Chad Wingard in the hope of staying at the top of table. But with an ageing list, Hawthorn will be looking to inject some more speed and another key forward to help-out Jarryd Roughead into their side.

List needs:

  • Key forward
  • Defensive small forward

Draft selection: 53, 90

Entering into the draft at pick 53 Hawthorn will be hoping to acquire a key forward who will be able to help out in their attacking 50. It will depend who is available but if the likes of Will Kennedy and Dillon O’Reilly are still there they will be a valuable asset to the Hawks. Both Kennedy and O’Reilly have a good goal sense, strong hands and an ability to read the flight of the ball. Though it might take some time for them to fully develop and compete at AFL level they have plenty of upside and will be a good inclusion for the Hawks. Other possibilities for Hawthorn is Hugo Munn or Murray Bushrangers forward Hudson Garoni who has proved he can be a handful to maintain up forward.

If by some chance Bailey Williams slides he will be hot on Hawthorns list with his silky skills, gut running and impressive ability to hit the scoreboard. Williams has strong hands under pressure taking plenty of contested grabs and has proven his versatility spending some time in the ruck.

Next Generation Academy member Irving Mosquito has given Hawthorn fans plenty to be excited about with comparisons between cult hero Cyril Rioli. Mosquito has plenty of speed to burn and is deadly around the goals with his quick and clean hands and ability to get into damaging positions. The Gippsland Power player is lively across the ground and applies plenty of pressure to trap the ball inside attacking 50. He would be a great pick up for the Hawks who will be looking to replace the likes of livewire Rioli and the ageing Paul Puopolo who is coming into the twilight of his career.