IN 2018, twelve West Australians were selected in the AFL National and Rookie Drafts, with five players taken across the first two rounds. Peter Sumich, Michael Ablett, Glen Jakovich, Ash McGrath, Craig Otto, and Mark Seaby, in different capacities respectively, played significant roles in player development across 2018 and are set to have an even greater impact in 2019.
These are the players in the Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition to keep an eye on for the 2019 AFL Draft.
Despite being slightly undersized as a ruckman (196cm), Buller is competitive and aggressive in ruck contests and is exceptional at ground level. In 2018, he was a part of the WA U18s State Academy as a bottom-ager and showed plenty of promise averaging 14 possessions, eight hit-outs, four marks and three tackles with his best performance coming against Vic Country (17 possessions, 18 hit-outs, eight tackles and five marks). He also showed promise playing as a key forward for Claremont’s Colts team with eight goals from five games and averages of 10 possessions, four hit-outs, three marks, three tackles and two inside 50s.
(EAST FREMANTLE/BULLCREEK-LEEMING JFC)
The former Australian junior basketballer is one of the most exciting prospects for next year’s draft, even being mentioned as a possible top five selection. In just four games for East Fremantle’s Colts team, he kicked four goals and averaged 12 possessions, 20 hit-outs, four tackles and three inside 50s with dominant outings against Subiaco (14 possessions, 11 hit-outs, and two goals) and South Fremantle (17 possessions, 25 hit-outs and a goal). He was also exceptional for the WA U18s State Academy with two exceptional performances against South Australia (25 possessions, seven marks, and a goal and Vic Metro (seven possessions and 25 hit-outs). His athleticism, skills, and ruck craft are elite for someone his age.
(EAST FREMANTLE/BULLCREEK-LEEMING JFC)
A big-bodied midfielder who thrives at the stoppages, Rivers is an accumulator who gets the ball going forward for his team. He finished equal-second in East Fremantle Colts’ Best and Fairest after averaging 19 possessions, six marks, and two tackles across 15 games. He also polled 10 votes in the Jack Clarke Medal with sensational performances against Perth (20 possessions and six marks), and Claremont (21 possessions and seven marks). He also produced dominant outings in the Elimination Final against South Fremantle (19 possessions and four marks) and in the Semi-Final against Peel (19 possessions and two goals) – highlighting his big-game performing ability.
(EAST FREMANTLE/ATTADALE JFC)
The 2018 U18s All-Australian is a silky-skilled and smooth-moving midfielder much like former St Kilda and North Melbourne champion Nick Dal Santo. In four games for Western Australia, he averaged 18 possessions, four marks, two inside 50s and two rebounding 50s, with his best performance coming against Vic Metro (26 possessions, four marks, three inside 50s and a goal). In seven games for East Fremantle, he was named in the best on three occasions including a magnificent performance in the Elimination Final against South Fremantle (24 possessions, nine marks and eight inside 50s). At his best, Sharp is a line-breaker who uses his speed, skills and smarts to carve up the opposition. Is shaping up to be a first round selection in 2019 and potentially a top 10 pick.
(EAST PERTH/MT HAWTHORN JFC)
Cox made a name for himself in 2017’s AFL U16 Championships when he booted a goal after the siren to win the game against Vic Metro. The 2017 WA U16s Vice-Captain is a crafty small forward with explosive athleticism, dazzling skills, an incredible toughness and a great understanding of the play. In 11 games for East Perth in 2018 he booted 15 goals (winning his Club’s Leading Goalkicker Award) and averaged 13 possessions, four marks and two tackles with some sizzling performances against Claremont (17 possessions and three goals), East Fremantle (10 possessions and three goals), Swan Districts (17 possessions and two goals) and West Perth (13 possessions and two goals). He also starred in the AFL U17s Futures game with 12 possessions and three goals for Team Riewoldt.
The 2017 WA U16s Captain and MVP winner is a bullocking inside midfielder who thrives on the contested side of the game. In four games for WA’s U18s he averaged 14 possessions, seven tackles, two marks and two inside 50s with his best performances coming against the Allies (17 possessions, four tackles, and three inside 50s) and Vic Country (17 possessions and nine tackles). In just five games for Perth’s Colts team, Robertson averaged 28 possessions, seven tackles and four inside 50s, with best afield performances against East Fremantle (33 possessions, six marks, five tackles and five inside 50s) and Peel Thunder (34 possessions, five tackles and five inside 50s), and a near best-afield performance against Subiaco (36 possessions and a goal). The nephew of former West Coast champion Darren Glass has a very bright future.
The Thornlie junior is an exciting medium half-forward who has plenty of tricks to make opposing defenders extremely nervous. In 17 games for the Perth Demons’ Colts, Taylor averaged 13 possessions, three inside 50s, two marks and kicked nine goals with his best games coming against East Fremantle (14 possessions and a goal, East Perth (16 possessions and two goals) and Swan Districts (16 possessions, seven marks, three inside 50s and a goal). At his best, Taylor is a very hard match-up due to his size, explosive athleticism, damaging skills and elite decision-making – factors that will help him with his development into senior football. He is a raw prospect who has plenty of growth and an x-factor.
(SUBIACO/WEMBLEY DOWNS JFC)
The son of former Subiaco and Western Bulldogs sharpshooter John Georgiades, Mitchell is one of the most exciting forwards in WA’s State-Based AFL Academy. Blessed with a great set of hands, excellent skills and an elite reading of the play, Georgiades is a young forward with tremendous upside. In just six games for Subiaco’s Colts’ team, he averaged 13 possessions, six marks, two inside 50s, two tackles and booted eight goals with his best performance coming against South Fremantle (12 possessions, seven marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and two goals). He was also instrumental for Western Australia’s U18s team, where he averaged 10 possessions, four marks, two tackles and kicked three goals across four games, with his most notable against the Allies (13 possessions and two goals). He is already shaping up to be one of the most explosive forward options in next year’s draft pool.
(SWAN DISTRICTS/CAVERSHAM JFC)
The 2017 WA U16s Leadership group midfielder is a small midfield dynamo who has excellent speed, agility, skills and reading of the play. He made his WAFL Colts debut as a 15-year-old in 2016 and since then has gone on to become one of the premier midfielders for the 2019 AFL Draft. In 24 games for Swan Districts’ Colts team, Garcia has kicked 14 goals and averaged 20 possessions, three tackles and three marks. In 2018 he finished ninth in the Jack Clarke Medal and sixth in Swan Districts’ Colts’ Best and Fairest after some exceptional performances including best afield performance against Perth (32 possessions and a goal) and Claremont (31 possessions). However his performances in the 2018 finals series should have recruiters monitoring him closely after he averaged 22 possessions, three marks, two tackles and kicked four goals across four games.
(SWAN DISTRICTS/CAVERSHAM JFC)
A no-nonsense defender, Pasini has an excellent aerial ability and a powerful kick on him, making him an attractive defensive prospect. In 16 games for Swan Districts’ Colts team, Pasini averaged 11 possessions, three marks and three tackles while more often than not, he held the opposition’s key forward to minimal impact. This was especially evident in the Semi-Final against Subiaco where he held the 2018 WAFL Colts Leading Goalkicker Jack Mayo goalless while he recorded nine possessions and took five marks. He was also excellent for Western Australia with excellent defensive efforts on Sam Flanders (Vic Country) and Matthew Walker (Allies) in his two games. The club that picks up Pasini will have a defender who goes about his business quietly and with no fuss.
OTHERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
Liam Henry (Claremont/Cottesloe JFC)
Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle/Booragoon JFC)
Jack Sears (Peel Thunder/South Mandurah)
Tristan Hobley (Subiaco/Kingsway JFC)
Jaxon Prior (West Perth/Sorrento-Duncraig JFC)
TESTING DAY STANDOUTS:
Jonathon Garlett was one of the best performers at the inaugural WA talent testing and education day, held at Aquinas College. The Geraltdon Towns product was electric in the 20m sprint (2.84 seconds) and agility test (8.17 seconds), while also showcasing the explosiveness that helped him to a national high jump medal – posting 91cm in the running vertical jump and 85cm in the standing. Swan Districts duo Ben Taylor and Kade Wallrodt also caught the eye, with Taylor showing a good mix of speed and enduarance with a 2.98-second 20 metre sprint and 21.1 yoyo test score. Wallrodt also had a sub-three second 20 metre sprint time, as well as a solid agilty score of 8.40 seconds. Of the WA-based AFL Academy members, Perth’s Deven Robertson proved his hard work in the off-season would pay off, with good scores across the board and particular improvement in the 2km time trial. Fremantle Next Generation Academy prospects Liam Henry and Brandon Walker were also impressive, as was 2018 Under 16 standout Logan McDonald – putting in early claims as ones to watch for the 2020 draft.