Tag: Connor Budarick

Debutants earn spots in unprecedented times

WITH only senior leagues running this weekend at the elite level for men’s and women’s, we run through the AFL Round 1 debutants who after toiling away in the state leagues, waiting a few years at club land or impressing so much in an off-season to earn a spot, will run out for their respective teams and live out their dreams. We will add Sunday’s games once the team lists are confirmed.

Western Bulldogs: Ben Cavarra

The mature-age nuggety midfielder-forward has one of the most fascinating journeys to the big time after going through the pathways and being a poster boy for never giving up. Regarded as one of the hardest workers going around, the former Eastern Ranges’ premiership captain and then Frankston and Williamstown star at state level, Cavarra has been made to really earn his chance at the top level. It almost came last year but an injury setback ruled that out, instead playing 12 VFL games where he booted 19 goals. It followed on from some promising seasons where he reinvented himself as a forward having always been a reliable ball-winning midfielder. Possessing some elite athletic traits, Cavarra will show the AFL world that if you are good enough, you are tall enough when he runs out tonight at Marvel Stadium.

Collingwood: Tyler Brown

In another feel-good story for tonight’s game amongst all the despair in the world, Gavin Brown‘s second son Tyler will join his brother Callum out on Marvel Stadium for his debut. The former Eastern Ranges’ midfielder has that Pendlebury-like time and space and while still raw, he has that touch of class about him that will no doubt show over time. Brown is in his third season with the club and has put on six kilograms since his Under-18 year, where he weighed up 71kg. Still on the lighter side, Brown is a comfortable 188cm and his scope identified as a teenager is starting to come to the fore. More importantly, he showed during the Marsh Series that he is capable of winning the ball which was the question mark on him at junior level, because he rarely wastes a disposal. A long-term prospect but one who has earnt his spot.

Fremantle: Sam Sturt

The bolter from the 2018 National AFL Draft is ready to debut for Fremantle and those in draft circles will remember his rise from performing at school footy to really having an impact for the Dandenong Stingrays in the run home to the TAC Cup premiership. He is an elite athlete across the board with a ridiculous vertical jump. He was always going to need time to develop given he had not spent a lot of time in an elite program and was still raw, but now 12 months down he has done enough for the Dockers to give him a chance. Rewind to 2018, and remember Sturt lit up in big games, booting 11 goals in six games and was a dead-eye when it came to set shots. If he gets to control the airways, look out.

Adelaide: Fischer McAsey

An All-Australian key position defender and a more than capable forward for the Dragons at times, McAsey was identified as a player who could fill the Crows’ void of key position players. Having lost Jake Lever and Alex Keath in back-to-back years, McAsey will play in that back 50 and looks to have been given the responsibility of holding down centre half-back. In his debut game, he could face another top 10 pick in Nick Blakey who showed in glimpses what he was capable of on his debut year last year, and it sets up a tantalising match-up. His reading of the play and overhead marking is a strength, able to clunk grabs that few his age can.

GWS: Tom Green

An absolute bull at the contest, it comes as a shock to no-one that the New South Wales prospect is lining up for last year’s grand finalists in Round 1. Showing he would arguably get a gig in any AFL side from the get-go, he is an absolute star when it comes to ball-winning and clearance work. Green has been touted as the next Patrick Cripps, and while that is high praise, it is easy to see why. Last year he amassed 33.0 disposals and 10.3 clearances across four games in the NAB League for the GIANTS Academy, then produced it again through the Under-18 National Championships with a carnival average of 23.8 disposals and 8.0 clearances, as well as averaging more than four tackles across both competitions. A fantasy lock for those who enjoy playing SuperCoach or AFL Fantasy.

Gold Coast: Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell, Connor Budarick

The SUNS’ rebuild looks set to add a trio of talented players with last year’s top two picks and an Academy talent making their debuts in Round 1. Oakleigh Chargers’ premiership players Anderson and Rowell will no doubt be key inclusions through the midfield, with Anderson also likely to impact up forward. Budarick was a free get by the SUNS and an absolute steal at that, with the small utility able to play anywhere on the ground. In the clash against Port Adelaide, Budarick could take on former Western Jets’ talent Zak Butters who was another with an impressive debut season last year.

In 2019, Rowell averaged a whopping 31.7 disposals, 4.1 marks, 8.6 tackles, 8.3 clearances, 4.4 inside 50s, 1.7 rebounds and won the Chargers’ best and fairest, his second consecutive best on ground medal in the NAB League Grand Final, and made the All-Australian team. Anderson oozes X-factor and impact as the taller player who can roam through the midfield or provide a leading target inside 50. He averaged two goals a game from seven matches last year with the Chargers, also racking up 28.3 disposals, 3.0 marks, 3.6 tackles, 4.7 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s and 1.4 rebounds in a remarkable season where he too made All-Australian. Budarick was the best player in the Division 2 Academy Series captaining the Gold Coast SUNS on his way to 25.2 disposals, 6.2 marks, 8.2 tackles, 5.8 inside 50s and 2.2 rebounds in the NAB League. He is a tackling machine who earned a spot in the back pocket of the All-Australian team last year, and that is where he has been named in his debut game. Watch for his skill and tenacity.

Port Adelaide: Mitch Georgiades

A high-flying talent who missed all of 2019 with a quad injury, Georgiades is one of the surprise Round 1 bolters. He impressed over the pre-season for the Power, and from his bottom-age year back in 2018, showed off his talent with some aerial tricks. On his way to 10.3 disposals, 3.5 marks and almost a goal per game at the Under-18 Championships, Georgiades also stood out in the Colts competition with 13. disposals, 5.8 marks and 1.3 goals per game. What he offers is an unmatched aerial ability that will no doubt see him compete for the highlight reel each and every week. While he might not have had the match fitness last season, his ability to come straight into the program and already influence the coaches enough with his performance to get a gig is saying something.

St Kilda: Max King

The 200cm-plus key position forward finally makes his debut after missing the majority of his top-age year through an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and then just as he looked to debut last year, injured his ankle and missed out on his chance. That chance has now come after a confident Marsh Series where his ability to fly high, burst away from opponents and do things that players his size should simply not be able to do. The hype is high on the former Sandringham Dragons’ forward, but it is also real, having clocked a sub-three second 20m sprint at testing and booting eight goals against eventual grand finalists, Oakleigh in the first round of the season. No doubt Saints fans will be watching him more than any other player with his ability to break open a game.

Melbourne: Toby Bedford, Kysaiah Pickett

The Dees have announced two debutants for their Round 1 side, with Luke Jackson named on the extended bench but set to just miss out on selection. The two into the side are first round pick, Pickett and a member of Melbourne’s Next Generation Academy from the 2018 AFL National Draft, Bedford. Both have class, skill, speed and pressure and are sub-180cm but will add a forward pressure to the Demons side and ensure the ball is retained inside forward 50. In his top-age year in 2018, Bedford was a tackling machine at NAB League level, laying 5.2 tackles from 136. possessions whilst averaging almost a goal a game. Playing more of a pressure role up the field for Vic Country, Bedford had 6.8 tackles from 12.3 disposals at the Under-18 National Championships. Pickett was a highlight-reel forward with great pressure on the ball-carrier and despite standing at 170cm, earned a place in the League side for Woodville-West Torrens. While he only played the two games, he laid six tackles and ran at 50 per cent contested showing he was not afraid of bigger bodies. For South Australia, he booted a couple of goals from 13.7 disposals and 2.7 tackles at the championships.

2019 AFL Draft club review: Gold Coast SUNS

GIFTED one of the great stories of this year’s draft, Gold Coast came into night one with arguably the sole certainty of the entire draft in who they would select with picks one and two. They were continually busy in the first round, trading up to snare a quality slider just outside of the top 10, and then going on to nab a dual All Australian and a trio of quality academy/concession players to close out an active three days of drafting.

National Draft:
1. Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 180cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder
2. Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 191cm | 87kg | Inside Midfielder
11. Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 183cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
27. Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 189cm | 81kg | Midfielder/Defender
60. Jy Farrar (Adelaide SANFL) | 191cm | 79kg | Tall Utility

Rookie Draft:
1. Josh Schoenfeld (Gold Coast Suns)
16. Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
29. Matt Conroy (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
37. Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Northern Territory/Allies)

There is not much left to be said about Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, the best mates from Oakleigh Chargers and Carey Grammar who seemingly had their fate sealed for a matter of months prior to the big night. Together, they bring a sense of hope to the Sunshine State, made the faces of a last roll of the dice attempt to make the Gold Coast project a success. Clearly the best player in this year’s crop, Rowell rises on the big stage and collected almost every junior accolade available to him, capping his year with a 44-disposal performance in the NAB League Grand Final to claim a second-consecutive best afield medal in the showcase game. As consistent, durable, and tough as they come, he looks like being a generational player. The same can be said for Anderson, who has a touch more flair and a fantastic knack for finding the goals from midfield. He comes from good pedigree too as the son of former-Hawk, Dean.

On top of the concession which handed the Suns the first two selections, they were able to trade up on the back of being given another selection at the end of the first round, packaging it with pick 15 to move up and snare Sam Flanders. It means the Suns landed three elite talents at the top end, adding to the raft of top 10 picks from previous drafts. Flanders brings great aggression and explosiveness through midfield, but will most likely begin his AFL career as a forward who marks well and has great goal sense.

With ball winning covered for the large part, outside speed was next on the agenda with the selection of West Australian Jeremy Sharp. The Suns gave up next year’s mid-first round pick to move up the board and grab the two-time All Australian, who has runs on the board as a penetrating wingman/half-back who can carve a game up. Jy Farrar rounded out their National Draft haul at pick 60, and could be anything as an athletic utility who has risen steeply through the levels and up to SANFL League this year. He is also a relative of Carlton’s Sam Petrevski-Seton.

Gold Coast’s final and arguably more lasting concession was used to list academy products Connor Budarick and Matt Conroy, as well as NT zone member Malcolm Rosas Jnr during the Rookie Draft. Budarick was touted as a second round talent if he was available in the open draft, able to play on each line with great tackling pressure and smarts around the ball. Conroy is a developing tall who moves predominantly through the ruck, while Rosas is an electric forward/midfielder with clean hands and silky skills. With the high upside between the trio, getting them for relatively nothing is huge for the Suns’ list development. Josh Schoenfeld was also re-listed during the Rookie Draft, with some development left in the 2015 draftee.

2019 Rookie Draft selections

IN an event that took about the same time as one first night National Draft selection, the 2019 AFL Rookie Draft was held today with 33 selections made and nine passes. A total of 13 players will enter the AFL for the first time, while Williamstown’s Mitch Hibberd returns to the elite level after a sensational year with Williamstown earning him a place back on an AFL list. Among those players to find a home were Western Jets’ duo Josh Honey and Emerson Jeka, Gippsland Power excitement machine Fraser Phillips, West Australian talents Jarvis Pina, Anthony Treacy and Jake Pasini, Sandringham Dragons’ ruck Jack Bell, Bendigo Pioneers’ outside mover Brady Rowles, Port Adelaide father-son prospect Trent Burgoyne, South Australian bolter Brad Close, and arguably the most surprising omission from the AFL National Draft – dual All-Australian Mitch O’Neill.

Clubs are still making Category B selections, with Matt McGuinness named as one by the Roos, which we will include in our club-by-club summaries to come later today.

ROUND 1

Pick 1 – Gold Coast SUNS – Josh Schoenfeld (redrafted)
Pick 2 – Melbourne – Pass
Pick 3 – Carlton – Josh Honey (Western Jets/Vic Metro
) | 185cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
Pick 4 – Sydney – Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 186cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder
Pick 5 – St Kilda – Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 202cm | 81kg | Ruck/Key Forward
Pick 6 – Fremantle – Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder/Western Australia) | 178cm | 72kg | Midfielder/Forward
Pick 7 – Adelaide – Ben Keays (Brisbane Lions/AFL)
Pick 8 – Port Adelaide – Jake Pasini (Swan Districts/Western Australia) | 192cm | 81kg | Tall Defender
Pick 9 – Hawthorn – Emerson Jeka (Western Jets/Vic Metro) | 198cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
Pick 10 – Essendon – Mitchell Hibberd (Williamstown/VFL) | 192cm | 87kg | Midfielder
Pick 11 – West Coast – Anthony Treacy (Claremont/Western Australia) | 182cm | 69kg | Medium Forward
Pick 12 – Brisbane – Sam Skinner (redrafted)
Pick 13 – Collingwood – Pass
Pick 14 – Geelong – Brad Close (Glenelg/South Australia) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
Pick 15 – GWS GIANTS – Jake Stein (redrafted)

ROUND 2:

Pick 16 – Gold Coast SUNS – Connor Budarick (GC SUNS Academy/Allies) | 177cm | 74kg | Small Utility
Pick 17 – Melbourne – Pass
Pick 18 – Carlton – Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 187cm | 72kg | Medium Forward
Pick 19 – Sydney – Jack Maibaum (redrafted)
Pick 20 – Fremantle – Thomas North (redrafted)
Pick 21 – Adelaide – Ben Crocker (Collingwood AFL)
Pick 22 – Port Adelaide – Trent Burgoyne (WWT Eagles/South Australia) | 177cm | 67kg | Outside Midfielder
Pick 23 – Hawthorn – Pass
Pick 24 – Essendon – Pass
Pick 25 – West Coast – Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania Devils/Allies) | 176cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder
Pick 26 – Brisbane – Corey Lyons (redrafted)
Pick 27 – Geelong – Oscar Brownless (redrafted)
Pick 28 – GWS GIANTS – Thomas Sheridan (redrafted)

ROUND 3:

Pick 29 – Gold Coast SUNS – Matt Conroy (GC SUNS Academy/Allies) | 201cm | 97kg | Ruck/ Key Forward
Pick 30 – Fremantle – Hugh Dixon (redrafted)
Pick 31 – Adelaide – Pass
Pick 32 – Port Adelaide – Boyd Woodcock (redrafted)
Pick 33 – West Coast – Brendon Ah Chee (redrafted)
Pick 34 – Brisbane – Archie Smith (redrafted)
Pick 35 – Geelong – Lachlan Henderson (redrafted)
Pick 36 – GWS GIANTS – Zachary Sproule (redrafted)

ROUND 4:

Pick 37 – Gold Coast SUNS – Malcolm Rosas (NT Thunder/Allies) | 178cm | 69kg | Outside Midfielder
Pick 38 – Port Adelaide – Riley Grundy (redrafted)
Pick 39 – West Coast – Hamish Brayshaw (redrafted)
Pick 40 – GWS GIANTS – Pass

ROUND 5:

Pick 41 – Gold Coast SUNS – Pass
Pick 42 – West Coast – Pass

Draft Central Power Rankings: October 2019

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 October edition of our monthly Power Rankings which is posted on the first Monday of every month, we extend out to the top 35 players at this stage of the year. So much can change over the next month, but the order is firming as combines are completed around the country. Take note that the order is based purely on opinion and ability, not on any AFL club lists or needs.

#1 Matt Rowell

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
01/07/2001 | 178cm | 75kg

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.

September Ranking: #1

Last month: Had a terrific finals series for Oakleigh Chargers and capped off what was a massive, yet still unsurprising top-age year with a 44-disposal and 11-clearance NAB League Grand Final to lead the Chargers to a premiership. It was his second best on ground in the competition’s ultimate decider despite losing 12 months prior, but this year there was more cause for celebration, just like when he capped off the season with a Best and Fairest victory for the Chargers off just seven games.

#2 Noah Anderson

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder/Forward
17/02/2001 | 190cm | 87kg

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.

September Ranking: #2

Last month: Became a premiership player with the Chargers this year and while he did not hit the scoreboard in two of his finals, still showed great strength on the inside, then dominated the preliminary final win over Sandringham Dragons, slotting three goals from 23 touches and four marks.

#3 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.

September Ranking: #3

Last month: Did all he could across the finals series for Gippsland, with the Power ultimately falling short once again this year. In the Power’s three finals, he averaged more than 25 touches per game, as well as four marks, five tackles, five inside 50s and booted three goals.

#4 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.

September Ranking: #4

Last month: Has not played since the last Power Rankings, but tested well at the National Draft Combine, beating his previous agility record in the pre-season but clocking a sub-eight second agility test last week.

#5 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. 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.

September Ranking: #5

Last month: Has not played, but showed off his athletic capabilities at the National Draft Combine, doing well across the board including a sub-three second 20-metre sprint which would have not come as a surprise, but still showed what he is capable of from half-back.

#6 Sam Flanders

Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder/Forward
24/07/2001 | 182cm | 81kg

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.

September Ranking: #6

Last month: Since his qualifying final demolition of four goals in 10 minutes, Flanders had two very different games, with a quiet match against the Western Jets in the semi-final racking up just 18 touches and a goal – though seven tackles – before doing well against Eastern Ranges in the preliminary final despite the loss, with 27 disposals, five tackles and four inside 50s.

#7 Tom Green

GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies | Inside Midfielder
23/01/2001 | 188cm | 85kg

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.

September Ranking: #7

Last month: Has missed the past month with a knee injury.

#8 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.

September Ranking: #8

Last month: After his League side was eliminated from the SANFL premiership race, Stephens was brought into the Redlegs’ Reserves Grand Final side where he had 26 disposals, three marks, five clearances, five tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds on his way to a premiership medal. He also tested strongly across the board at the National Draft Combine.

#9 Brodie Kemp

Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Tall Utility
01/05/2001 | 192cm | 82kg

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.

September Ranking: #9

Last month: Unfortunately for Kemp, he went down with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear in July school game and missed the remainder of the season.

#10 Fischer McAsey

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility
11/04/2001 | 195cm | 86kg

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.

September Ranking: #10

Last month: Did not play after the first final, cited in a moon boot on semi-finals day for the NAB League. Still looms as the first key position player taken despite the injury ending his year.

#11 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.

September Ranking: #11

Last month: Given East Fremantle Colts missed finals, Jackson has not been able to play since August but has enough runs on the board to give himself a first round chance.

#12 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. 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 tendencies 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.

September Ranking: #12

Last month: Had a strong finish to the year for Glenelg in the finals series, taking home a premiership medallion after 18 disposals, four marks and eight rebounds in the Grand Final.

#13 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.

September Ranking: #13

Last month: Similar to Jackson, given East Fremantle Colts missed out on finals, Rivers has not played in the past month but still looms as one of the top couple of players to be picked from Western Australia.

#14 Trent Bianco

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Outside Midfielder
20/01/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

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.

September Ranking: #14

Last month: Captained his side to a premiership in the NAB League after a terrific finals series. After being tightly held early, Bianco got off the chain to finish with 29 touches, 10 marks and six inside 50s. This followed on from his 27 touches, six marks and five inside 50s in the preliminary final win over the Dragons.

#15 Finn Maginness

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
23/02/2001 | 187cm | 80kg

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.

September Ranking: #17

Last month: After a massive 32-disposal game which included a goal against Calder Cannons, Maginnes was quiet in the Dragons’ preliminary final loss to Oakleigh, amassing just 13 touches. He competed strongly in both the 20-metre sprint (2.957 seconds) and the yo-yo test (21.4 level) to finish top 10 and show off his blend of endurance and speed.

#16 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.

September Ranking: #23

Last month: Finished off the finals series in the Under 18s side with 22 disposals, nine rebounds and four clearances in a losing West Adelaide team at the preliminary finals stage. His consistency across the year and lethal kicking skills were on show and have been real standouts this year. He also finished top 15 in the running vertical leap with a score of 83cm.

#17 Miles Bergman

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Midfielder/Forward
18/10/2001 | 188cm | 77kg

A talented mid/forward, Bergman is strong overhead and can have an impact anywhere inside 50 with a penetrating kick and eye for goals. Bergman is not a massive disposal winner, but can win a game off his own boot. He still has areas of consistency to work on, but in terms of medium forwards, Bergman has been one of the more consistent ones this year, and looms as a potential first round selection.

September Ranking: #15

Last month: Had a quiet semi-final against Calder Cannons with just four touches for the day, before being okay in Sandringham’s heavy loss to Oakleigh in the preliminary final, finishing with 14 touches, five marks, five tackles and a goal. At the National Draft Combine, Bergman topped the vertical jump with 77cm and came second in the running vertical jump with a massive 90cm.

#18 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.

September Ranking: #17

Last month: Unfortunately dislocated his knee in a school football match and has not returned since his impressive 26-disposal, six-mark, two-goal game in Round 14.

#19 Deven Robertson

Perth/Western Australia | Balanced Midfielder
30/06/2001 | 182cm | 80kg

The massive ball-winning midfielder from Western Australia was been a dominant force in the AFL Under 18 National Championships after injury last year, and has boosted his draft ranking after the carnival. He still has areas to tidy up such as kicking under pressure, but would stake a case of the most consistent player in the draft crop and you know exactly what you are going to get from him.

September ranking: #26

Last month: Robertson is done for the year, needing a shoulder reconstruction after dislocating his shoulder in the final championships game. One who has not lost out due to missing out on games with his consistency in big games the reason for his rise as others fall around him.

#20 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.

September Ranking: #20

Last month: His season is over after a shoulder injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2019 season.

#21 Mitch O'Neill

Tasmania Devils/Allies | Outside Midfielder
21/02/2001 | 178cm | 69kg

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.

September Ranking: #18

Last month: Has not played in the past couple of months after injury and his side not making the NAB League finals series.

#22 Cameron Taheny

Norwood/South Australia | General Forward
03/08/2001 | 184cm | 80kg

The medium forward is an excitement 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.

September Ranking: #22

Last month: After missing the first couple of finals, Taheny returned to Norwood for the Reserves’ Grand Final where he looked fresh, booting four goals from eight disposals in a big game up forward to help the Redlegs win the flag in the competition.

#23 Jackson Mead

WWT Eagles/South Australia | Balanced Midfielder
30/09/2001 | 183cm | 83kg

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.

September Ranking: #19

Last month: Had a couple of impressive finals before a quieter 14-disposal game in the SANFL Reserves Grand Final where his Eagles’ side went down to Norwood in the decider. A bit up and down at times, but has shown nice signs throughout the year.

#24 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.

September Ranking: #21

Last month: Has not played in the past two months with back stress fractures ending his year.

#25 Cooper Stephens

Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
17/01/2001 | 188cm | 83kg

Geelong Falcons midfielder unfortunately fractured his fibula in in Round 3. 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.

September Ranking: #25

Last month: Did not get on the park since Round 3 due to his long-term injury but was cherry ripe for the National Draft Combine Testing, finishing as the equal winner in the yo-yo test with a 21.8, as well as a top 15 finish in the running vertical leap with 83cm.

#26 Connor Budarick

Gold Coast SUNS Academy/Allies | General Utility
06/04/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

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.

August Ranking: #24

Last month: Did not play finals this year given the SUNS missed the NEAFL post-season series, but impressed at the National Draft Combine with a 21.6 yo-yo test and an 8.242 agility test. A free hit for Gold Coast with the new draft concessions and a value one at that.

#27 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.

September Ranking: #27

Last month: Did not play finals for East Fremantle given the Sharks missed out, but had a 2.966 20-metre sprint and 21.3 yo-yo test at the National Draft Combine.

#28 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.

September Ranking: #28

Last month: Given the Stingrays were knocked out in the first week of finals, Weightman has not played NAB League in the past month, but tested well in the vertical jump at the National Draft Combine with 69cm in the standing and 83cm in the running.

#29 Elijah Taylor

Perth/Western Australia | General Forward
01/05/2001 | 185cm | 75kg

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. He has been a talented player for some time, but he has started to string together impressive performances to put his name into top 30 calculations. A key player for Perth in the WAFL and stepped up during the AFL Under-18 National Championships.

September Ranking: #30

Last month: Has not played in the past month since his two goals at Reserves level, but blew away draft watchers with a 8.005-second agility test at the National Draft Combine – second overall at the combine behind Hayden Young.

#30 Harry Schoenberg

Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia | Balanced Midfielder
21/02/2001 | 180cm | 78kg

The South Australian midfielder surprised a lot of people on his way to his state’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the National Under-18 Championships. He throughly deserved it with the second most disposals behind overall MVP winner Deven Robertson, Schoenberg was crucial on the inside, while being able to go outside as well. He still has areas to work on, but he has a nice balance and is consistent as they come, playing at both Under-18 and Reserves level in the SANFL for Woodville-West Torrens.

September Ranking: #N/A

Last month: After starting the year in the Under 18s, his consistency earned him a place in the Eagles’ Reserves side and he stayed there ever since, including the finals series in the past month. While the Eagles ultimately went down in the decider, Schoenberg had 20 disposals, three marks, six clearances and six tackles in the big game. He averaged 22 disposals and six clearances across his three finals to really step up against senior players.

#31 Thomson Dow

Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Balanced Midfielder
16/10/2001 | 183cm | 72kg

The brother of Carlton’s Paddy did a good job of forging his own path this season, splitting his time between school football, NAB League and Under-18 Championships. In his five games for the Pioneers, Dow averaged 21.6 disposals, 4.4 marks and 3.0 clearances, spending time between midfield and forward. He provided a target up forward as he needed to buildup his endurance in season 2019, but has some nice athletic traits such as his agility to get out of stoppages. Still a raw prospect, he has always been in the top half of the draft calculations.

September Ranking: #N/A

Last month: Did not end up playing finals after the Pioneers were eliminated in the Wildcard Round. At the National Draft Combine, Dow ranked third overall in the agility test with a time of 8.061 seconds.

#32 Harrison Jones

Calder Cannons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility
25/02/2001 | 194cm | 75kg

The Calder Cannons and Vic Metro key position utility has played in all thirds of the ground, with the forward half seemingly his most effective role, particularly roaming further up the ground. He spent time assisting in the ruck despite being 194cm, with his leap able to match well against taller opponents. He still has plenty of development left in him, and it would not be a surprise to see a club take a chance inside the top 20 given the lack of quality talls in the 2019 draft.

September Ranking: #N/A

Last month: Jones’ year ended in the semi-finals with a loss to Sandringham Dragons, with the tall utility picking up 15 touches and laying five tackles, backing up his 11 and eight the week before. He tested well across the board at the National Draft Combine last week with running vertical jump (83cm), 20m sprint (2.963 seconds) and yo-yo test (21.4) giving him a great all-round mix of athleticism.

#33 Darcy Cassar

Western Jets/Vic Metro | Medium 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.

September Ranking: #N/A

Last month: The Jets were eliminated in the semi-finals by Gippsland Power, with Cassar picking up the 17 disposals and three marks in that game after a quiet game against Northern Knights in the elimination final where he had 11 touches and just the one rebound. His form prior to that was quite good, but just showed the consistency to iron out at the next level.

#34 Sam De Koning

Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Key Position Utility
26/02/2001 | 200cm | 85kg

De Koning enjoyed a strong Under-18 National Championships, named All-Australian at full-back after a strong carnival for Vic Country. His form at NAB League level was inconsistent at times, though he can play up either end and even through the ruck. His best position appears to be in defence however, with his intercept marking, positioning and reading of the play top notch. He looks likely to be taken in the first half of the draft with talls at a premium this year and he is a versatile one at that.

September Ranking: #N/A

Last month: Has not played since the Stingrays were eliminated in the elimination final against Calder, where he had just the seven touches and two marks.

#35 Fraser Phillips

Gippsland Power/Vic Country | General Forward
15/05/2001 | 186cm | 71kg

A talented medium forward with high upside, Phillips is a player who can do the impossible inside 50, but like many forwards, struggle with consistency. At his best, Phillips can kick multiple goals off limited possessions, and his season with Gippsland Power has been steadily improving after a slow start. He is great overhead and works hard to maintain an impact even when he is not able to do so closer to goal. Having featured in the Power Rankings earlier in the year, Phillips is still around the mark because of that high ceiling he could reach with strong development.

September Ranking: #N/A

Last month: Gippsland Power made it through to a preliminary final, with Phillips averaging 12 disposals. four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and booting four goals in his three finals. His year was consistent hitting the scoreboard in all but two of his games, including bags of five and four goals, to finish with 28 majors from 15 games.

Others in contention

Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland)
Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
Cooper Sharman (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
Sam Philp (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
Liam Delahunty (GWS GIANTS Academy/NSW-ACT)

Next month… The final edition of Power Rankings. A top 50 released with 50-26 followed by 25-1.

SUNS handed draft assistance package

PRIORITY picks in the next three drafts, provision of the Darwin region as an Academy zone, and the ability to pre-sign Academy members without bidding are among the draft concessions the AFL has handed down to Gold Coast SUNS today.

Having applied to receive the second pick in the 2019 AFL Draft to accompany their first selection as part of the process of applying for the priority pick, the SUNS received much more for the next three AFL Drafts.

The draft assistance package handed down by the AFL today gives Gold Coast the access to:

* Pick No. 1 at the 2019 NAB AFL Draft
* The first pick of the second round (currently pick No. 20) at the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.
* Mid first-round pick (currently pick No. 11) at the 2020 NAB AFL Draft.
* The first pick of the second round (currently pick 19) at the 2021 NAB AFL Draft
* Provision of the Darwin region as part of its academy zone
* Ability to pre-sign Gold Coast SUNS Academy players (including those from Darwin) without bidding.
* Increased rookie list, up to 10 players.

In essence, this means the SUNS can pre-sign any Gold Coast SUNS Academy player – such as highly rated talents Connor Budarick (2019) and Alex Davies (2020) or even Darwin’s Malcolm Rosas (2019) – without being subjected to a bidding war by an opposition club. It also gives opportunities for Academy players to be signed to the rookie list if the SUNS wish to continue to develop homegrown talent – or from anywhere in the country. They will also likely select Oakleigh Chargers’ duo Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, as well as a further two top 20 picks.

The Gold Coast SUNS will enter the 2019 NAB AFL Draft with Picks 1, 2, 15, 20, 56, 75 and 87.

Draft Central Power Rankings: September 2019

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 fourth 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 can change over the next few months, but the order is firming as combines around the country close near. Take note that the order is based purely on opinion and ability, not on any AFL club lists or needs.

We will be following up with ‘Ones to Watch’ in a separate piece later this week.

#1 Matt Rowell

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
01/07/2001 | 178cm | 75kg

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.

August Ranking: #1

Last month: Returned to the NAB League Boys with a bang collecting a whopping 34 disposals, three marks, 10 clearances, six inside 50s and seven tackles in a huge effort for Oakleigh Chargers to get over the line against Sandringham Dragons in the final round of the season. Was tightly guarded in Oakleigh’s qualifying final win over Gippsland but was a key reason the Chargers got home , picking up 29 disposals, four rebounds and laying eight tackles.

#2 Noah Anderson

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder/Forward
17/02/2001 | 190cm | 87kg

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.

August Ranking: #2

Last month: Anderson was one of the crucial match winners upon return to the NAB League Boys, booting 3.2 from 24 disposals, three marks, eight inside 50s and four clearances, taking control in the final term for the Chargers to overrun the Sandringham Dragons in the final round of the season. Finished the first final against Gippsland with 29 touches, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds in a strong effort despite not having his usual time and space.

#3 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.

August Ranking: #6

Last month: Rested for the final week of the NAB League Boys season after a hectic year that included school football, will attack finals fresh and be a key contributor for the Power in their bid for the flag. Got under the skin of some Oakleigh players in the Power’s narrow loss to the Chargers, putting together a strong 29-disposals, four-mark, five-tackle and seven-inside 50 performance.

#4 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.

August Ranking: #3

Last month: Put together a solid month with three 20-plus disposal games, and spending time forward against Geelong Falcons in between. Was crucial in Dandenong’s win over Murray in the Wildcard Round to advance through to the finals, picking up 24 touches, two marks, seven tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Was okay without being outstanding in Dandenong’s elimination final loss to Calder, picking up 19 disposals, two marks and three tackles. Drops down only because the three close to him had huge games in do-or-die or finals matches.

#5 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. 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.

August Ranking: #4

Last month: Finished his competitive season with a best-on performance for Murray in the Bushrangers’ loss to Dandenong in Wildcard Round. The co-captain was massive around the ground with his drive and elite skills and decision making. He took four marks, laid six tackles and got it down at both ends with six rebounds and five inside 50s. He now returns to play with Shepparton in his home club’s finals series.

#6 Sam Flanders

Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder/Forward
24/07/2001 | 182cm | 81kg

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.

August Ranking: #5

Last month: Had his lowest disposal game of the year with just 14 against the Pioneers in Round 17, but has been a mirror of consistency this season with all bar one previous game with more than 20 disposals, including 28 and a goal against the Devils in Round 14. Absolutely dominated the second quarter of the qualifying final against Oakleigh, racking up 12 touches and booting four goals on his way to 27 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s.

#7 Tom Green

GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies | Inside Midfielder
23/01/2001 | 188cm | 85kg

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.

August Ranking: #7

Last month: Has missed the past month with a knee injury.

#8 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.

August Ranking: #9

Last month: Had held his spot in finalist Norwood’s League side and continues to be a solid contributor, averaging 18.1 touches, 4.5 marks, 4.7 tackles and 3.2 inside 50s per game. To end the regular season, Stephens recorded more than 20 disposals in three of his four matches. He then stepped up over the weekend for Norwood to keep their premiership dreams alive with a terrific goal to accompany his 14 touches, two marks, three tackles and two clearances.

#9 Brodie Kemp

Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Tall Utility
01/05/2001 | 192cm | 82kg

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.

August Ranking: #8

Last month: Unfortunately for Kemp, he went down with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear in July school game and will miss the remainder of the season.

#10 Fischer McAsey

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility
11/04/2001 | 195cm | 86kg

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.

August Ranking: #10

Last month: Was quiet in Sandringham’s tight loss to Oakleigh failing to kick a goal, but backed up with a big 14 disposals, five marks and two goals in the Dragons’ massive 103-point thumping of Geelong Falcons in Wildcard Round. Had a quieter game playing down back against Eastern in the qualifying final. Glided through the air to take a number of intercept marks but also dropped a few, finishing with 11 touches, four marks and three tackles.

#11 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.

July Ranking: #24

Last month: Continues to dominate the WAFL Colts, with three consecutive matches of 20-plus disposals and 27-plus hitouts, then went forward in the most recent game against Perth, booting two goals from 16 touches, four marks and 31 hitouts. Has risen back to where he was at the start of the year as others fall and his consistency remains the same.

#12 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. 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 tendencies 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.

August Ranking: #12

Last month: Racked up a season-high 27 disposals in Glenelg’s loss to Sturt in Round 18 heading into finals, also having five marks and 10 rebounds and continuing to impress.

#13 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.

August Ranking: #16

Last month: Racked up a season-high 30 disposals in the final round of the regular season for the Colts, while laying seven tackles and booting 2.2 from six marks. Rivers has not dropped below 25 disposals in a remarkable display of consistency this season.

#14 Trent Bianco

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Outside Midfielder
20/01/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

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.

August Ranking: #14

Last month: Picked up 28 disposals, five marks and six rebounds in a match-winning effort for the Chargers against the Dragons in the final round of the season, and while he did not have his usual influence in the first final, stepped up to kick the match-winning goal in the pouring rain to win the Chargers the match against Gippsland. He still finished with 24 touches, two marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds.

#15 Miles Bergman

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Midfielder/Forward
18/10/2001 | 188cm | 77kg

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.

August Ranking: #N/A

Last month: Has had the biggest month of just about anyone, dominating in the Herald Sun Shield to win best on ground for St Bede’s College in their narrow win over St Patrick’s, then continued that form in NAB League with a goal against the Chargers from 13 disposals, four marks and six tackles, then ran riot against the Falcons with four goals from 18 touches, eight marks and four tackles. Showed in Sandringham’s narrow loss to Eastern in the qualifying final that he does not need many touches to hurt the opposition, booting two goals from 13 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and three inside 50s.

#16 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.

July Ranking: #17

Last month: Unfortunately dislocated his knee in a school football match and has not returned since his impressive 26-disposal, six-mark, two-goal game in Round 14.

#17 Finn Maginness

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
23/02/2001 | 187cm | 80kg

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.

August Ranking: #23

Last month: Carried his AFL Under-18 Championships form into his NAB League back-end of the season, having an impact through the middle and up forward, booting five goals – including three in the tight loss over Oakleigh in the final round – and racking up a combined 50 disposals in the two other games with the majority of his time spent in the middle. Is averaging more than five clearances per game since returning to the competition and could be the first Dragon picked in a tight contest with McAsey and Bergman. Did have a quiet game in the first final against Eastern, picking up 14 touches, but laid the 10 tackles showing his strong work defensively.

#18 Mitch O'Neill

Tasmania Devils/Allies | Outside Midfielder
21/02/2001 | 178cm | 69kg

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.

August Ranking: #11

Last month: Has missed the past month due to injury.

#19 Jackson Mead

WWT Eagles/South Australia | Balanced Midfielder
30/09/2001 | 183cm | 83kg

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.

August Ranking: #13

Last month: Had a couple of okay weeks in the League side with 11 disposals per game average, before dropping back to the Reserves and starring with 27 touches, six marks, seven inside 50s and four clearances in Woodville-West Torrens’ huge win over North Adelaide in the final round of the season. Was a late withdrawal in the final round of the season

#20 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.

August Ranking: #19

Last month: His season is over after a shoulder injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2019 season.

#21 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.

August Ranking: #15

Last month: Has not played in the past month with that back injury still troubling him.

#22 Cameron Taheny

Norwood/South Australia | General Forward
03/08/2001 | 184cm | 80kg

The medium forward is an excitement 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.

August Ranking: #18

Last month: After three goalless games in the SANFL League, Taheny dropped back to Norwood’s reserves where he had 11 touches and booted a goal, importantly laying five tackles in the Redlegs’ 23-point victory over West Adelaide in the final round.

#23 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.

August Ranking: #26

Last month: With school football done and dusted, Day returned to the West Adelaide Reserves, picking up 26 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s, three rebounds, three tackles and a goal in the Bloods’ loss to Norwood in the final round of the season. Picked up 20 touches, nine marks and seven rebounds in a strong performance off half-back for West Adelaide in the Under 18s first final, now playing off in a preliminary final next weekend.

#24 Connor Budarick

Gold Coast SUNS Academy/Allies | General Utility
06/04/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

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.

August Ranking: #21

Last month: The talented small had 12 disposals, two marks and four tackles in his final game for the year with the SUNS missing out on NEAFL action. The week before he had 13, with his best game of August coming against Brisbane Lions, racking up 18 touches, three marks, five tackles and booting a goal in the 25-point loss.

#25 Cooper Stephens

Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
17/01/2001 | 188cm | 83kg

Geelong Falcons midfielder unfortunately fractured his fibula in in Round 3. 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.

August Ranking: #25

Last month: It was confirmed recently that a return for Stephens is not worth the risk, which means the Falcons co-skipper will be on ice for the remainder of the year as he has been for the majority of it. He might have slipped down the order a bit, but he could end up a value pick given what he showed last season as as bottom-ager.

#26 Deven Robertson

Perth/Western Australia | Balanced Midfielder
30/06/2001 | 182cm | 80kg

The massive ball-winning midfielder from Western Australia was been a dominant force in the AFL Under 18 National Championships after injury last year, and has boosted his draft ranking after the carnival. He still has areas to tidy up such as kicking under pressure, but would stake a case of the most consistent player in the draft crop and you know exactly what you are going to get from him.

August ranking: #28

Last month: Robertson is done for the year, needing a shoulder reconstruction after dislocating his shoulder in the final championships game.

#27 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.

August Ranking: #29

Last month: Finding his feet in the WAFL League competition, picking up 22 disposals and nine marks in the Round 19 clash against Perth as he showed he belongs in senior football.

#28 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.

August Ranking: #20

Last month: Very raw but talented, Weightman looked like he was going to tear the game against Murray Bushrangers apart in the Wildcard Round, but after a strong first half, was ruled out of the second half with concussion as the Stingrays got up in a tight one. He finished with one goal from 12 touches after being inaccurate the week before against the Falcons with three behinds from 16 touches playing mostly through the midfield. Did not play the first final due to the concussion sustained in the Wildcard Round.

#29 Cooper Sharman

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Forward
25/07/2000 | 190cm |

The Oakleigh Chargers product is the definition of a draft bolter, with clubs keeping him under wraps until he made his Chargers’ debut in the NAB League against Gippsland Power. He has since strung a few games together at the level and has plenty of exciting traits, both athletically and game-based. He knows where the goals are, is a reliable set shot and a great overhead mark. Looks damaging every time he goes near it. Is still raw and has areas to work on, but could certainly be the Sam Sturt of 2019.

August Ranking: #22

Last month: Had his first genuine test against a full-strength Sandringham Dragons’ outfit and held his own by booting two long-range goals from seven disposals and two marks, and is an X-factor heading into finals. The week before he booted two majors against the Jets from 10 touches and three marks, showing off his aerial ability against Emerson Jeka in one-on-one victories. Was quiet in the first final against Gippsland Power with his first time going goalless, while having the 13 touches, six marks and four inside 50s, but spent time in defence as well. His handball behind his head to set up a Reef McInnes goal right before quarter time was elite.

#30 Elijah Taylor

Perth/Western Australia | General Forward
01/05/2001 | 185cm | 75kg

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. He has been a talented player for some time, but he has started to string together impressive performances to put his name into top 30 calculations. A key player for Perth in the WAFL and stepped up during the AFL Under-18 National Championships.

August Ranking: #30

Last month: Booted two goals from 10 touches stepping up to the Reserves side at Perth over the weekend, backing up his two-goal effort from 16 touches at Colts level the week before.

Morrish Medal Preview: Tight contest predicted for 2019

IT is hard to pick a winner in this year’s Morrish Medal count which will take place on Sunday, with a number of potential draft prospects putting their hands up for the NAB League Boys’ top award. We will run through some of the key contenders from each side and our predictions.

Bendigo Pioneers:

The Pioneers are unlikely to have a winner because of the shared effort between their best players week-to-week. Thomson Dow will poll well at either end of the season, but missed far too many games due to school football, while the likes of Riley Wilson, Josh Treacy, Aaron Gundry and James Schischka will steal votes off each other depending on who the umpires liked on the day. Not having a huge amount of wins means there will not be a great deal of three-votes either.

Calder Cannons:

There is a chance a Cannon could don the Morrish Medal, but it will rely on one of Daniel Mott or Sam Ramsay picking up the votes when both are in the team. If they end up splitting them like it will likely occur, it means they might fall short of an individual win. Brodie Newman should poll some good votes early in the season as well, while Ned Gentile will arguably grab some later in the season, and maybe roll into the higher votes with Mott and Ramsay.

Dandenong Stingrays:

Much like Hugh McCluggage before him, Hayden Young would be a chance given he has only missed due to the championships. Later in the season he was thrown around in different roles which might detract some votes, but his early season form was terrific and will still poll some later in the year, but more likely single votes. Ned Cahill is the other Stingray who will likely poll strongly in the vote count, while Jack Toner and Lachlan Williams might grab some lower votes for consistency.

Eastern Ranges:

The club that will be the most interesting to watch because they genuinely have three players that could win it in Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton and Zakery Pretty. All three have been consistent throughout the year, with our preference leaning towards Mellis just for the reason of hitting the scoreboard more often and has hardly had a bad game. In our prediction we had Mellis picking up 18 votes, including four best on grounds, while Pretty finished with 15 – two best on grounds – and Stapleton on 10 – mostly picking up the ‘two’ votes because others had huge games while he was consistent. Though they will likely steal votes off each other, if the umpires favour a particular player, then that player will likely take control given Eastern will roll in the votes this year.

Geelong Falcons:

Hard to see the bottom side polling enough votes to present a winner this year. Jesse Clark would be the Falcons’ top hope, and we have him on 11 for the season, but they are likely to be single votes given most games were losses. After Clark it is extremely even with the Charlie trio – Charlie Sprague, Charlie Harris and Charlie Lazzaro among the next in line.

Gippsland Power”

Similar to Eastern, watching how the Gippsland votes will play out is something worth keeping an eye on. We have Riley Baldi topping the list with 10 votes, one ahead of Sam Flanders and Brock Smith, but given the consistency and nature of the performances by those players, it will be hard for umpires to separate them. Fraser Phillips and Ryan Sparkes might steal the odd vote off the trio as well.

GWV Rebels:

Jay Rantall is one of the front-runners for the award because he is likely to pick up a host of three-votes, strong in the Rebels’ early wins and tight losses. He racks up big numbers and is eye-catching which helps, though Mitch Martin (who we have reaching double-figure votes) could also pick up votes from him. Cooper Craig-Peters and Riley Polkinghorne are others who should poll in a few games given their consistency.

Murray Bushrangers:

Another team that has an even contribution from its top-end with Jye Chalcraft, Lachlan Ash, Cam Wild and Jimmy Boyer the four names to keep an eye on in this space. Chalcraft is the one we have polling the most, and with Ash missing a number of games due to Vic Country and AFL Academy commitments, the other trio are potentially going to benefit on Morrish Medal night. Depending on how the votes go, they could steal them off each other or if one can monopolise them, then they will be a serious contender.

Northern Knights:

Two names emerge from the Knights as genuine contenders in Josh D’Intinosante and Sam Philp. The pair did not play for Vic Metro and therefore have more games to poll in, and similar to Jackson Davies, will pick up three or two votes in matches when they have really stood out. We know small forwards have traditionally polled well, so D’Intinosante is a chance, though the umpires might lean towards the contested mid in Philp.

Oakleigh Chargers:

With all the school football and injuries at times to co-captains, Trent Bianco and Dylan Williams, it is hard to get a read on how Oakleigh’s votes will poll. There is little doubt that had Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell played full seasons we could be looking at a one-two from Oakleigh. We still have Anderson polling nine votes and Rowell seven despite playing just four games each to be the highest vote getters. But also on seven are Bianco, Fraser Elliot, Lochlan Jenkins and Reef McInnes, signifying how hard it is to work out who will secure the votes mid-season.

Sandringham Dragons:

Liam Stocker won it last year, and now a player who also did not have school football commitments could get the job done in 2019 with Ryan Byrnes. He missed some games due to injury, but is a genuine chance to take home the Morrish, with realistically only Angus Hanrahan the other player likely to steal votes when the school footballers were away. They will end up with a lot of players having votes on the night, but these two stand out above the others.

Tasmania Devils:

Did not win enough games to get too many three votes, but Matt McGuinness and Oliver Davis are the two players who will compete for the most votes at the league’s newest club. Jackson Callow will pick some up for his work up forward, while Mitch O’Neill will steal them when he got out on the park.

Western Jets:

Lucas Rocci is predicted to be the Jets’ highest voter, finishing the season in a blaze of glory to take up Darcy Cassar‘s role, who will ironically be the one polling votes early in the season. Those two will pick up the key votes either end of the season, with Josh Honey and Daly Andrews the other two who might come into consideration from the umpires.

TOP CONTENDERS: (Based on our prediction)

Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges) 18 votes

R1: 0 – Okay first game, but just the 17 touches in a dominant day for Noah Anderson. Oakleigh likely to take top votes.
R2: 3 – Was a clear best on ground in the win over the Jets, racking up 35 touches and booting three majors.
R3: 3 – Had the 29 touches and three goals in an easy win over the Knights. James Ross the one who could steal the three-vote with 30 disposals in defence.
R5: 1 – Was solid with 24 touches, but Zak Pretty had a mammoth day out against the Suns with 37, while Lachlan Stapleton racked up big numbers.
R6: 0 – Was solid with 21 touches, but was shaded by Pretty and Stapleton on the day, but more so the Power with Riley Baldi, Brock Smith and Sam Flanders all in contention for votes.
R9: 3 – Safe as houses for the three votes with a mammoth 39 disposals and seven inside 50s.
R12: 3 – Another likely best-on-ground performance after 33 touches and a goal – 10 more touches than any other player in Eastern’s win over the Devils.
R13: 2 – Narrow win over the Bushrangers, a chance for the three votes with 22 touches and two goals, but Jye Chalcraft was superb that day with 29.
R16: 2 – Amongst it for votes, Zak Pretty, Hayden Young and Jack Toner all possibilities, though Mellis had 24 touches in a strong game.
R17: 1 – Tightest of wins over Eastern, Daniel Mott, Sam Ramsay and Lachlan Stapleton the big vote threats.

Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels) 16 votes

R1: 0 – Rebels fell short of victory against Stingrays, a number of others on both sides ahead of Rantall for votes.
R2: 3 – Was a key reason the Rebels snuck home, but votes could go to Cooper Stephens who was terrific in the one-point loss.
R3: 3 – A clear best-on-ground performance with 31 touches and two goals, but a loss to the Bushrangers might prevent him from picking up the three.
R5: 3 – Stood out against the Thunder with 27 disposals and two goals. Riley Polkinghorne and Toby Mahony could be vote threats.
R6: 0 – Just 14 touches in the loss to the Suns, won’t poll in this game.
R7: 3 – The Rebels lost by 32 to the Knights which might cost him the votes, but he had a massive 36 touches, 10 more than any other player.
R8: 0 – A game-high 30 touches, but the Rebels were thrashed by the Power with a raft of players likely to collect all the votes. Will be the one to get one if Rebels get a look in, though.
R14: 0 – Comfortable win over the Falcons, but Mitch Martin was superb, while Noah Gribble and Jesse Clark will get chances for the Falcons.
R15: 2 – Expect Sam Ramsay to pick up the three in the Cannons’ tight win over the Rebels, though Rantall was just as good despite the loss.
R16: 3 – Turned it on when required against the Pioneers with 21 touches and two goals in a low-possession game. Jack Ginnivan’s 19 and four might earn the three votes, while Josh Treacy was also in contention.
R17: 0 – Finished the game with 20 touches but just five in the first half will hurt his vote chances. Feeling is he misses out, but could pick up a vote.

Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons) 16 votes

R1: 2 – Massive win to the Dragons over the Cannons, Byrnes among the best with 27 touches and a goal, but Charlie Dean booted five goals.
R2: 3 – Accounted for the Knights and was the standout midfielder for the Dragons. Adam Carafa had 29 touches for the Knights, while Dean was inaccurate with 4.3.
R3: 0 – Okay but Matt Rowell, Trent Bianco, Jack Mahony and Finn Maginness are likely to poll votes ahead of him.
R5: 3 – A smashing win over the Lions with 26 disposals, seven inside 50s and a goal. Louis Butler’s 31 is a threat to steal the ‘three’.
R7: 1 – Went down to the Ranges and Zak Pretty and Cody Hirst both impressed. Best of the Dragons though with Angus Hanrahan the other a chance to sneak a vote.
R8: 3 – Should poll the three votes here in the Dragons’ narrow win over Bendigo thanks to 31 touches, three marks and a goal. If Miles Bergman kicked straighter (1.5) it might be a different story.
R11: 0 – Went down to the Ranges and Darcy Chirgwin dominated upon return.
R13: 2 – Loss to the Jets, with Lucas Rocci picking up nine rebounds, and Finn Maginness also impressive, but should poll one or two.
R14: 0 – Tight win over the Stingrays, Angus Hanrahan and Hayden Young the clear standouts. Fischer McAsey with three goals likely to poll as well.
R15: 2 – Massive game to Angus Hanrahan (33 touches, three goals) will earn him the three votes, but Byrnes was next best with 28 and one.
R17: 0 – Just the 13 touches and plenty in line for votes ahead of him in the massive game against Oakleigh.

Josh D’Intinosante (Northern Knights) 16 votes

R1: 0 – Went down to the Jets, and Josh Honey, Sam Philp, Adam Carafa and Ryan Sturgess among those in contention, though he could grab a minor vote.
R2: 0 – Went down to the Dragons by 43 points and was inaccurate with 1.4.
R3: 0 – Held his own with 21 touches and a goal, but Knights were smashed by the Ranges and Philp was Northern’s best. Mellis and Ross the top vote getters.
R5: 3 – The difference in the Knights’ win over Bendigo, booted a goal from 30 touches, six marks and eight tackles.
R6: 3 – Again the standout player with two goals from 25 touches, Lachlan Potter and Jackson Davies two that could steal votes.
R7: 2 – They won by 32 but Jay Rantall had a field day, while ‘JD’ finished with 1.3 from 20 touches.
R8: 0 – Narrow loss to the Chargers and others were better, just the 16 touches and one behind.
R9: 0 – Loss to the Cannons and Philp and Davies good again, unlikely to pick up a vote.
R10: 0 – Massive win over the Stingrays, but not among the best despite two goals.
R11: 2 – A chance to pick up the three, but will likely go to Philp. Both had the 30 touches, with D’Intinosante slightly inaccurate with three behinds.
R13: 0 – Seven-goal win and he booted four majors – a chance for votes, though Carafa, Philp, Davies and Potter were all impressive.
R14: 3 – Six goals from 18 touches – Lock in the three votes, Eddie.
R15: 0 – Just the 13 touches and one goal in the 37-point loss to Bendigo.
R17: 3 – Booted 4.2 from 13 touches on the weekend in a low-disposal winning game, with Carafa, Ewan Macpherson, Ryan Sturgess and Josh Watson all potential for votes though.

Jye Chalcraft (Murray Bushrangers) – 16 votes

R1: 0 – Just 10 disposals and a behind in a quiet outing at RAMS Arena.
R2: 0 – A chance for votes with two goals from 26 touches in the tight loss to Bendigo, but Lachlan Ash and Cam Wild were impressive, as was Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp.
R3: 1 – Jay Rantall had a great day with 31 touches and two goals, while Ash starred with 28. Chalcraft next best in the seven-point win.
R5: 0 – 22 touches and a goal, but Wild had a good day as Hamish Ellem (22 touches, nine marks and 3.3) should get the ‘three’.
R6: 0 – Booted two goals but just 14 touches in the loss to the GIANTS as Tom Green monstered them and Jeromy Lucas and Ed Perryman had big numbers, while Ash was best for the Bushrangers.
R7: 3 – Finally got the win and Chalcraft was important with 26 touches in the midfield. Wild (27 and one goal) and Dylan Clarke (23 and two) the two biggest threats.
R8: 0 – Well beaten by the Cannons and just 13 touches.
R9: 0 – Okay with 17 disposals and a goal, but Bushrangers were smashed by Chargers so no votes, and Wild and Jimmy Boyer both better.
R10: 0 – Boyer, Clarke and Charlie Byrne in the running for votes as Murray accounted for the Devils. Chalcraft not far behind with 20 touches.
R11: 3 – 27 disposals and six inside 50s, competing for the top votes with Wild.
R12: 3 – 33 disposals, four inside 50s and five tackles in a low-scoring win over the Pioneers, Boyer booted 1.4 from 27 disposals as his biggest challenger for votes.
R13: 3 – Topped the disposals comfortably with 29, though Ranges won by four points and Mellis and Pretty both had 22, with Mellis booting two goals.
R14: 0 – 18 touches and a goal in a 20-point loss, others ahead of him for votes.
R15: 2 – Big win over the Jets, but will be competing with Wild, Ash and Boyer for votes.
R17: 1 – Loss to the Rebels, but had 22 touches and was one of Murray’s best with Wild and Josh Rachele, might be behind Cooper Craig-Peters as well though.

Others: (Based on our predictions)

Zakery Pretty (Eastern Ranges) – 15 votes – Could take some of the Mellis votes if the umps prefer clearance midfielders.
Sam Philp (Northern Knights) 15 votes – Could take some of the D’Intinosante votes.
Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons) 14 votes – Misses quite a few games, but when at his best he is looking at high votes.
Lucas Rocci (Western Jets) 13 votes – Had a purple patch in the second half of the season, have him for four best-on-grounds.
Tom Green (GWS GIANTS) 12 votes – Four games, four BOGs, absolute domination.
Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham Dragons) 12 votes – Might take votes off Byrnes, and guaranteed some threes after huge games.
Sam Ramsay (Calder Cannons) 11 votes – Battling with Mott for Cannons votes.
Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays) 11 votes – Should pick up plenty, but run home not as much.
Connor Budarick (Gold Coast SUNS) 11 votes – Like Green, was massive in the Academy Series games.
Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons) 11 votes – Should monopolise most of the Falcons’ votes.
Mitch Martin (GWV Rebels) 11 votes – Toss up between him and Rantall for votes at the Rebels.
Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern Ranges) 10 votes – May take votes off Mellis and Pretty, particularly if the umps like tackling midfielders.
Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power) 10 votes – Has plenty of competitors for votes at the Power, but seems to do it all.
Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers) 10 votes – Stands out even in average games, but missed a fair chunk due to Vic Country and AFL Academy.

Our Predictions after Round 5:

Tom Green (GWS) – 9 votes
Jay Rantall (GWV) – 8 votes
Ryan Byrnes (SD) – 8 votes
Connor Budarick (GC) – 8 votes
Mitch Mellis (ER) – 7 votes
Lachlan Ash (MB) – 7 votes

Our Predictions after Round 10:

Tom Green (GWS) – 12 votes
Ryan Byrnes (SD) – 12 votes
Zakery Pretty (ER) – 12 votes
Jay Rantall (GWV) – 11 votes
Connor Budarick (GC) – 11 cotes
Daniel Mott (CC) – 11 votes
Mitch Mellis (ER) – 10 votes
Sam Philp (NK) – 10 votes

Draft Central Power Rankings: August 2019

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 fourth 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 few 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.

#1 Matt Rowell

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
01/07/2001 | 178cm | 75kg

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.

July Ranking: #1

Last month: Since finishing off his national carnival commitments with Vic Metro where he was rewarded with All-Australian selection, Rowell headed back to school football where he won the APS shield with Carey Grammar. At the national carnival, Rowell averaged 24.8 disposals, 5.0 marks, 5.3 clearances, 6.0 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s. He is expected to return to the Chargers’ line-up for the final game of the NAB League Boys season in the huge clash against Sandringham Dragons.

#2 Noah Anderson

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder/Forward
17/02/2001 | 190cm | 87kg

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.

July Ranking: #2

Last month: Anderson stepped up at the national carnival to earn All-Australian selection, and while he was quieter in Metro’s final game early, he finished full of steam to be one of the best. Across four games Anderson averaged 23.5 disposals, 3.3 marks, 5.3 clearances and 3.0 inside 50s. Since the carnival, Anderson helped Carey Grammar to an APS shield and will return to Oakleigh Chargers in the final round of the NAB League Boys competition when they tackle Sandringham Dragons.

#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.

July Ranking: #3

Last month: All-Australian selection in defence after a strong national carnival (averaging 22.0 disposals, 5.3 marks, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 tackles) was terrific reward for the Dandenong Stingrays’ leader, as Young returned back to NAB League level in the past couple of weeks. While Dandenong has not managed to get a win on the board, Young’s influence in the defensive half has made a massive difference, spending time up the ground. In his three games since the national championships, Young has a averaged 25.7 disposals, 4.7 marks, 5.3 inside 50s and booted 3.4.

#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.

July Ranking: #4

Last month: After a shaky start to the final game against Western Australia, Ash had a massive second half to have a real impact on the contest for Vic Country. While Country ultimately fell short in its quest for the title, Ash had shown enough to win All-Australian selection. The elite user averaged 23.0 disposals, 5.0 marks and 5.0 rebounds per game in his four outings. He has since returned to the Murray Bushrangers, where he averaged 25 disposals, 4.5 marks, 4.0 tackles, and playing large proportions of his games up forward, booted 3.4.

#5 Sam Flanders

Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder/Forward
24/07/2001 | 182cm | 81kg

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.

July Ranking: #5

Last month: Retained his spot in the fifth place on the rankings, earning All-Australian honours at the national carnival where he averaged 22.5 disposals, 4.5 marks, 6.0 tackles, 4.5 clearances and 4.8 inside 50s. Flanders has shown he is capable of playing midfield or forward, with a high level of X-factor particularly around goal. In his two games back for Gippsland Power, Flanders has averaged 24.5 disposals, 4.0 marks, 3.0 tackles and 4.5 inside 50s.

#6 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.

July Ranking: #7

Last month: Wrapped up the national championships with the Vic Country MVP, picking up 30-plus disposals in a massive game against South Australia at GMHBA Stadium, before a quieter outing against Western Australia in the final game. He averaged 23.5 disposals, 5.5 marks. 8.5 tackles and 5.3 clearances in a solid few weeks for the tough midfielder. Will return to Gippsland Power in the final round of the NAB League Boys season ahead of finals.

#7 Tom Green

GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies | Inside Midfielder
23/01/2001 | 188cm | 85kg

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.

July Ranking: #6

Last month: Earned All-Australian honours and the Allies’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the national championships, averaging 23.8 disposals, 2.8 marks, a massive 8.0 clearances and 4.5 tackles in his four matches. He has since injured his knee and will miss between four to six weeks, luckily avoiding surgery.

#8 Brodie Kemp

Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Tall Utility
01/05/2001 | 192cm | 82kg

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.

July Ranking: #9

Last month: Capped off a starring national carnival with All-Australian selection and almost delivering Vic Country’s title with crucial last quarter goals. He has proven to be a clutch player in big moments, averaging 20.0 disposals, 6.5 marks, 2.3 tackles and booting three goals at the championships. Unfortunately for Kemp, he went down with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear in a recent school game and will miss the remainder of the season.

#9 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.

July Ranking: #11

Last month: One of South Australia’s best across the national championships, Stephens showed off his slick foot skills and leadership to earn a place in the All-Australian side. He averaged 23.5 disposals, 3.5 marks, 4.3 tackles and 3.5 inside 50s to be an important link on the outside for the Croweaters. He continues to shine in the SANFL League, returning to the competition and most recently having an impressive 26-disposal, eight-tackle, four-mark and one-goal game in the Redlegs’ big win over North Adelaide.

#10 Fischer McAsey

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility
11/04/2001 | 195cm | 86kg

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.

July Ranking: #16

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. In addition to this, McAsey had a big day out for Sandringham during a bye week for school football, booting three goals from 18 disposals and 10 marks to be the difference in the Dragons’ narrow seven-point win over Dandenong Stingrays.

#11 Mitch O'Neill

Tasmania Devils/Allies | Outside Midfielder
21/02/2001 | 178cm | 69kg

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.

July Ranking: #8

Last month: Had an impressive carnival with the Allies, averaging 20.3 disposals, 5.5 marks and 4.3 rebounds playing between half-back and on the wing. Unfortunately injured himself returning back to NAB League duties, going down in the game between Tasmania and Eastern. Should not have too much bearing on his draftability with his first round expectations still there.

#12 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. 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 tendencies 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.

July Ranking: #10

Last month: Recorded the most rebounds of any player at the national championships, posting up 7.3 rebounds per game in his four matches, as well as 21.5 disposals and 4.5 marks to earn All-Australian honours. Gould has become a well-established member of SANFL title favourites’ Glenelg’s line-up and has become a consistent performer against AFL listed players such as his efforts against Adelaide reserves recently.

#13 Jackson Mead

WWT Eagles/South Australia | Balanced Midfielder
30/09/2001 | 183cm | 83kg

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.

July Ranking: #12

Last month: Finished the national carnival with 21.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, 5.0 tackles, 3.0 clearances and 3.8 inside 50s in a prominent month of football for the potential father-son prospect. Has since returned to the SANFL where he has made his League debut for Woodville-West Torrens, picking up 10 disposals, four marks and booting a goal.

#14 Trent Bianco

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Outside Midfielder
20/01/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

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.

July Ranking: #13

Last month: A late withdrawal from Oakleigh’s game against Western on the weekend due to a quad issue, Bianco was best on ground in the Chargers’ upset win against Eastern Ranges upon his return to the NAB League. He picked up 34 touches, eight marks, four tackles, six inside 50s and 10 rebounds in a dominant performance off half-back and through the midfield. It followed up his work at the championships where he averaged 18.5 disposals, 4.3 marks, 3.8 inside 50s and 3.8 rebounds.

#15 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.

July Ranking: #14

Last month: Since returning from the championships, Williams helped Oakleigh get over the line with two crucial goals at moments during the win against Eastern. He just had the eight touches and three marks, but then was impacted by a back issue, forcing him to miss the Chargers’ last game against Western.

#16 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.

July Ranking: #17

Last month: Does not do a lot wrong and always looks classy with ball-in-hand, Rivers averaged 21.8 disposals, 5.0 marks, 2.5 tackles and 3.0 rebounds for Western Australia and was one of the best in the Sandgropers’ win over Vic Country for the title. Named on the bench in the All-Australian team for his great work at the carnival and has since continued his form at WAFL Colts level for East Fremantle, including 28 disposals, five marks, five tackles and two goals in his most recent outing on the weekend.

#17 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.

July Ranking: #21

Last month: Finished the carnival on a high with a big game, particularly early for Western Australia in the Sandgropers’ win over Vic Country. Not as high disposal winner as others, he still had 17.5 disposals, 5.3 marks, 4.0 tackles and booted three goals from his four games in the championships, and rarely wastes a disposal with a high work rate.

#18 Cameron Taheny

Norwood/South Australia | General Forward
03/08/2001 | 184cm | 80kg

The medium forward is an excitement 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.

July Ranking: #15

Last month: Has continued to play a role in Norwood’s SANFL League side, improving the defensive side of his game with five tackles from 10 disposals in his last outing against North Adelaide. At the championships he averaged a goal a game from 14.0 disposals and 2.7 marks, with his upside, rather than current output the aspect that sets him aside from other forward prospects.

#19 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.

July Ranking: #18

Last month: Became a goal scoring hero for Vic Metro at the national championships, booting seven goals from four games as well as having 10.8 disposals and 3.8 marks per game. Unfortunately for Worrell and Sandringham Dragons, his season is over after a shoulder injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2019 season.

#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.

July Ranking: #20

Last month: Won the leading goalkicker award at the national championships which is no easy feat, booting nine majors in four games from his 11.0 disposals and 3.5 marks. Always looks damaging around the ball and is captain of Haileybury College where he has been playing since the championships finished up. He will be a welcome addition for Dandenong Stingrays in the final few weeks of the NAB League season.

#21 Connor Budarick

Gold Coast SUNS Academy/Allies | General Utility
06/04/2001 | 176cm | 70kg

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.

July Ranking: #19

Last month: The tackling machine laid a massive 9.3 tackles per game at the championships to accompany his 15.5 disposals and 2.3 marks. He can play anywhere on the field and was named in the back pocket where he stood out during the Division 2 series. Budarick was named the Harrison Medallist for his work with Gold Coast SUNS Academy, and has plenty of neat tricks that help recruiters overlook his size.

#22 Cooper Sharman

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Forward
25/07/2000 | 190cm |

The Oakleigh Chargers product is the definition of a draft bolter, with clubs keeping him under wraps until he made his Chargers’ debut in the NAB League against Gippsland Power. He has since strung a few games together at the level and has plenty of exciting traits, both athletically and game-based. He knows where the goals are, is a reliable set shot and a great overhead mark. Looks damaging every time he goes near it. Is still raw and has areas to work on, but could certainly be the Sam Sturt of 2019.

July Ranking: N/A

Last month: In four games, Sharman has booted nine goals for the Chargers, only narrowly missing his first set shot on the weekend. He averages the 13.5 disposals,5.0 marks and 2.5 inside 50s, and while his defensive game is an area of improvement, it was noticeable against Western that it was a focus of his, laying four tackles – the same amount he had in his first three games with the Chargers. The wildcard for Oakleigh in the final two months.

#23 Finn Maginness

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
23/02/2001 | 187cm | 80kg

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.

July Ranking: #30

Last month: Really showed off his defensive capabilities at the national championships, averaging 18.3 disposals, 3.5 marks, 7.5 tackles, 4.3 inside 50s and 3.8 clearances to continue to prove a point after missing out on the Vic Metro Academy. Will likely play a key role in Sandringham’s finals campaign with a number of others injured.

#24 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.

July Ranking: #23

Last month: Still the number one ruck in the draft crop, but like all rucks and even talls most of the time, tend to slip with the improvement of other players. Earned All-Australian honours and was runner-up in the Larke Medal voting, and is now back at East Fremantle where he had 25 disposals, 36 hitouts, and four marks in a big game for the Sharks on the weekend.

#25 Cooper Stephens

Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
17/01/2001 | 188cm | 83kg

Geelong Falcons midfielder unfortunately fractured his fibula in in Round 3. 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.

July Ranking: #25

Last month: It was confirmed recently that a return for Stephens is not worth the risk, which means the Falcons co-skipper will be on ice for the remainder of the year as he has been for the majority of it. He might have slipped down the order a bit, but he could end up a value pick given what he showed last season as as bottom-ager.

#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.

July Ranking: #26

Last month: Built nice form at the national carnival to average 18.8 disposals, 5.0 marks and 3.3 rebounds off half-back. A nice mover who has high upside expect him to finish the SANFL year strongly now school football is finished.

#27 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.

July Ranking: #22

Last month: Mahony averaged 18.0 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.5 tackles and 1.0 goals per game at the recent national championships, but it is the way he uses the pill that helps him stand out. In the forward half of the ground, Mahony reads and assesses his options quicker than most and has a playmaking role that impacts the contest. Unfortunately he recently broke his hand and will miss four to six weeks.

#28 Deven Robertson

Perth/Western Australia | Balanced Midfielder
30/06/2001 | 182cm | 80kg

The massive ball-winning midfielder from Western Australia was been a dominant force in the AFL Under 18 National Championships after injury last year, and has boosted his draft ranking after the carnival. He still has areas to tidy up such as kicking under pressure, but would stake a case of the most consistent player in the draft crop and you know exactly what you are going to get from him.

July ranking: N/A

Last month: Has forced his way into the rankings after an ultra-consistent national championships, where he collected every award he could with the Larke Medal, Western Australia MVP, All-Australian jumper and captaincy of the All-Australian team. Just does his job week in, week out and is a fierce tackler with 6.8 tackles per game during the championships, as well as picking up the most ever disposals. Unfortunately, Robertson is now done for the year, needing a shoulder reconstruction after dislocating his shoulder in the final championships game.

#29 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.

July Ranking: #24

Last month: Sharp was named in the All-Australian team for his performances over the national championships, averaging 21.0 disposals, 5.8 marks and booting three goals from his four games. In his return to WAFL League, he picked up 20 disposals, six marks, three tackles and a goal before a more modest six dispsoals, three marks, two tackles and goal last week. It comes after he dominated at school footy, booting seven goals in just over a half for Aquinas College, playing forward to break a tag

#30 Elijah Taylor

Perth/Western Australia | General Forward
01/05/2001 | 185cm | 75kg

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. He has been a talented player for some time, but he has started to string together impressive performances to put his name into top 30 calculations. A key player for Perth in the WAFL and stepped up during the AFL Under-18 National Championships.

July Ranking: N/A

Last month: Finished equal third in the goal kicking at the national championships, booting six majors from four games. He also averaged the 12.3 disposals and 2.5 marks, showing some terrific athletic traits and X-factor inside 50.

Ones to watch:

Despite having to restrict the list to 30, there are plenty of players on the radar in an even draft, with the likes of Kysaiah Pickett, Darcy Cassar, Fraser Phillips and Nick Bryan just narrowly missing out having been in the top 30 of our Power Rankings previously and are every chance to still find a home in that space. Others who came into consideration from Victoria included Greater Western Victoria Rebels’ Jay Rantall, Dandenong Stingrays’ Sam De Koning and Ned Cahill, Bendigo Pioneers’ Thomson Dow, Calder Cannons’ Harrison Jones and Sandringham Dragons’ Miles Bergman. Others who have shown form, have past runs on the board or would be also in consideration in he first half of the draft include Western Australia’s Mitch Georgiades and Trey Ruscoe, South Australia’s Dyson Hilder and Harry Schoenberg, and Brisbane Lions’ Noah Cumberland.

Victoria leads way with National Combine invitees

VICTORIA has dominated this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine List, with 44 of the 79 invites hailing from the state, including a remarkable 11 players from Sandringham Dragons. Vic Metro led the way despite finishing on the bottom of the table at the National Under-18 Championships, with 23 players making the list, followed by title runners-up Vic Country (21), while overall winners Western Australia (16), and South Australia (13) both reached double-figure invites. Of the Allied states, Queensland had three nominees, followed by New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) with two, as Northern Territory and Tasmania both had the sole nomination each. Players must have been invited by at least four clubs to receive an invite to the national combine, which will be held from Tuesday, October 1-Friday October 4. The state combine lists are usually released over the next few months.

Among the list are five Northern Academy-aligned players with GWS Academy’s Tom Green and Liam Delahunty, Brisbane Lions’ Noah Cumberland and Will Martyn, and Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick. Also receiving invites are father-son prospects Jackson Mead (Port Adelaide) and Finn Maginness (Hawthorn), and the Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Liam Henry.

Sandringham’s haul of 11 players includes Darcy Chirgwin (Vic Country) as well as double-digit Vic Metro representatives, Jack Bell, Miles Bergman, Louis Butler, Ryan Byrnes, Oscar Lewis, Maginness, Jack Mahony, Fischer McAsey, Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh Worrell. Oakleigh Chargers and Gippsland Power was the next most with six apiece, Dandenong Stingrays with five and Bendigo Pioneers with four.

In Western Australia, East Fremantle dominated the 16 nominees, picking up six as Jai Jackson, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Trey Ruscoe, Jeremy Sharp and Chad Warner all named. In South Australia, Woodville-West Torrens had four representatives with Mead, Josh Morris, Kysaiah Pickett and Harry Schoenberg all receiving an invite. Just seven players came from the Allies squad, with Green and Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill the top prospects.

A couple of players proving that missing out on representative selection is not the end of the AFL Draft dream are Northern Knights’ Sam Philp and Oakleigh Chargers’ Cooper Sharman. Philp has been in great form in the NAB League Boys competition, whilst Sharman has been plucked from under former AFL coach Rodney Eade’s nose to bolt up into draft calculations.

2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine list
NSW/ACT

Liam Delahunty (GWS Academy)
Tom Green (GWS Academy)

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Malcolm Rosas (NT Thunder)

QUEENSLAND

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Academy)
Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions Academy)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Will Day (West Adelaide)
Karl Finlay (North Adelaide)
Will Gould (Glenelg)
Dyson Hilder (North Adelaide)
Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens)
Callum Park (Glenelg)
Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harry Schoenberg (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Shute (Sturt)
Dylan Stephens (Norwood)
Cameron Taheny (Norwood)

TASMANIA

Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania Devils)

VIC COUNTRY

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power)
Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons)
Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power)
Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)
Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers)
Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers)
Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)
Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)
Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers)
Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)
Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Isaac Wareham (GWV Rebels)
Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

VIC METRO

Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)
Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)
Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
Josh Honey (Western Jets)
Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)
Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)
Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)
Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons)
Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
Sam Philp (Northern Knights)
Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons)
Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
Cooper Sharman (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ryan Sturgess (Northern Knights)
Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Worrell (Sandringham Dragons)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Riley Garcia (Swan Districts)
Mitch Georgiades (Subiaco)
Liam Henry (Claremont)
Jai Jackson (East Fremantle)
Luke Jackson (East Fremantle)
Callum Jamieson (Claremont)
Ben Johnson (West Perth)
Ronin O’Connor (Claremont)
Jake Pasini (Swan Districts)
Jaxon Prior (West Perth)
Trent Rivers (East Fremantle)
Deven Robertson (Perth)
Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle)
Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle)
Elijah Taylor (Perth)
Chad Warner (East Fremantle)

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – South Australia vs. Allies

SOUTH Australia held firm late-on to finish off its national carnival with a 17-point win over the Allies at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday. Michael Alvaro was on hand to note down some of the prominent players, with all notes opinion-based of the individual writer.

South Australia:

#1 Kysaiah Pickett

The exciting Eagles product proved his worth once again after missing SA’s last game through suspension, collecting 22 disposals and booting a goal. While he is an obvious threat at ground level with his pace and clean hands, Pickett also has good spring and competed well above his head when required. He started well with a ground ball get against three opponents in the first term, wheeling away from them and shooting the ball inboard to Callum Park. Despite spending a lot of time up on the wing, Pickett snared a goal deep inside 50 in the second term with an easy finish into the open goal on the run. It always felt like he was about to do something special when near the ball, and he did as much with a high-flying mark on the wing in the same quarter. Was otherwise a pretty typical display from Pickett, zipping around to mop up at ground level and proving a tackling menace at both ends.

#3 Corey Durdin

Was by no means a big game from the bottom-ager in terms of his disposal output (just seven), but he continues to show little bursts of form in a forward role. There isn’t much of him at 173cm, but Durdin cracks in against bigger bodies and tackles hard – boding well for his inside midfield craft. Showed his class with a snapped goal from a forward stoppage in the first quarter, and caught the eye with a clean pick up and spin on defensive wing in the following term. Should enjoy more midfield time in his top-age year.

#7 Dylan Stephens

The classy mover arguably left his best championships performance for last, racking up a game-high 33 disposals – including nine clearances. Stephens worked tirelessly through midfield for SA, winning the ball in all areas of the ground and proving clinical by foot on his left side. He looked dangerous early when breaking forward, getting hand-offs in areas where he could unleash a long-range shot on goal, despite not quite finding them. While a lot of his best work was done when breaking away from congestion, Stephens also showed an ability to win his fair share of inside ball. His typically pin-point kicking was somewhat compensated as he threw the ball on his boot quickly on occasion in those situations, which is a rare area he can polish up on. Much of his game was one of accumulation, but Stephens’ cleverness shone through at times, with a tap over his opponent and gather on the run at defensive 50 proving shrewd, and his agility in traffic outstanding throughout.

#8 Jed McEntee

Looks to have a really nice mix of class and grit, doing some clever things on the outside while digging in desperately to win the ball at ground level. Had more impact than his stats suggest, and first came into the game with a big tackle on the wing in the opening term. McEntee went on to pop up with little bursts of agility through traffic up the ground, while also running hard forward to mark inside 50 on two occasions, but missing both set shots. He made good on that with his involvement in Jackson Mead’s third quarter goal, diving to get a hand on the ball as an opponent looked to pick it up, winning it, standing up to burst through would-be tacklers and flicking out to Kysaiah Pickett, who moved it on to Mead for a terrific team goal from nothing.

#9 Cameron Taheny

Looked dangerous in the opening stages, showing his typically strong hands overhead and darting a neat kick laterally in his first influential play of note. The dangerous forward spent a lot of time up the ground on a wing, but still proved worthy inside attacking 50 with a slow dribbled goal from a turnover in the first term. Tended to opt for a lot of space on the attacking side when matched up on Mitch O’Neill up the ground, and it allowed him to find over half of his 21 disposals uncontested. It clearly worked in his favour as Taheny used his skills and the time afforded to make a couple of darting hit-up passes toward the forward 50 arc in the third term. A good day for the dynamic SA prospect.

#10 Joshua Shute

Shute managed to accumulate 21 disposals as one of SA’s better outside movers on his customary wing. While his running game was not as obvious as in his other carnival outings, Shute showed good pace when called upon and worked hard to penetrate the arcs at either end by foot. Is one whose stocks have risen after some solid representative action, and has noticeable traits as a rangy outsider.

#12 Will Day

Put in another slick display off half-back, building into the game with a purple patch in the second term. Is a good height while being quite light on, but still held up well in contests to add to his more prevalent outside traits. Only had the two rebound 50s but made some typically neat kicks as he won the ball up the ground. Half-backs are dime a dozen, but Day is starting to set himself apart.

#15 Harry Schoenberg

Was arguably one of the biggest improvers across the national championships, finishing off an outstanding carnival with 27 disposals to earn his state’s MVP award and be named All Australian. Plays a more unheralded role given the class of his centre bounce partners, but well and truly did it all from midfield with five marks, five clearances, four tackles, and a goal. That goal came on the run from range in the second term to spark South Australia’s dominance, and Schoenberg enjoyed a short game of kick to kick with Will Day later in the quarter to pad his stats. He almost snared another goal on the fly in the third term but missed, but just seems to win the ball wherever he goes. Hands out and kicks forward well, making him a rounded midfield prospect.

#18 Jackson Mead

Another strong showing from the potential Port Adelaide father-son, and he started beautifully with a couple of spearing hits through the corridor to find teammates leading up to the forward 50 arc. Mead would go on to rack up the ball well and continued to push forward in damaging fashion on the outside when allowed the time and space. Showed a bit of cheek to throw the ball at his opponent as he was shoved out of bounds, and capped a solid game with his neat checkside goal in the third term. Mead used his frame to win the ball between the arcs, but bit off a bit too much when moving through congestion as he was caught holding the ball just before his goal. Rightly earned All Australian honours, but Port fans will want to keep that on the down-low.

#19 Luke Edwards

One of few bottom-agers in the SA squad but was again impressive in spurts, making him a leading father-son prospect (Adelaide) for next year. Found a spot in the back six throughout the carnival, but will become a good midfielder in time with his clean hands and strong frame. Edwards had a shaky moment early with a pretty bad turnover by foot on defensive wing, but would make amends later in the game with some clean gathers off the deck and improved composure inside defensive 50 as the game wore on. Also had a nice bit of play when recovering from a spilt mark, putting in a quick first few steps to get away from danger. Has a handy bit of versatility and will have impressed many.

#20 Lachlan McNeil

Another less heralded midfielder pre-championships, McNeil was again one of his side’s leading ball winners as a hard-working cog on the inside of SA’s engine room. His impact is not always noticeable, but McNeil’s touches and tackles at the stoppages proved vital in allowing the likes of Stephens to work the ball forward in space. Can work on polishing up his disposal at times, shown by a kick and handball under pressure in the final term, but is a great role player in the midfield mix.

#24 Will Gould

The two-time All Australian defender is an absolute unit, and used his frame to good effect throughout the game. You just always feel nervous for his opponents as he closes in, exemplified best as he threw his body around early and laid a crunching bump on the much smaller Errol Gulden later in the third term, who he has 30kg on. On top of his physicality, Gould is also surprisingly damaging by foot – playing as one of SA’s designated kickers from defence. Given his ability to stand up in tackles, Gould is often cool in a crisis and has the confidence to take the game on by playing on from kick-ins. He did so in the second term, and got busy in the following quarter inside defensive 50 with some neat touches to keep his side composed. He hits the ball hard from that centre half-back position, and that boded well for his 10 rebound 50s from 25 disposals. His ability to play tall became obvious with a couple of marking efforts from the side too, and he looks a dynamic prospect.

#33 Dyson Hilder

Was swung forward in this game and while Hilder did not find whole lot of the ball (eight disposals, two marks), he still had some nice moments with efforts in the air. He was unlucky not to claim a couple more marks in the second term, flying well for one on the forward 50 arc and having one taken away from him with a free kick inside 50. He did manage to hold on for a mark in the final quarter among a decent pack, booting his only goal for the game with the resultant set shot. Enjoyed a promising carnival, formerly forming a solid partnership with Karl Finlay down back.

#35 Karl Finlay

Assumed his usual role as the leading key defender for SA, and did so to great effect to be one of his side’s best in the first half. Only had the four marks from his 11 disposals but it seemed like he had more, starting with a strong take going back on the defensive arc. Finlay followed it up with a couple of spoils in aerial contests in defence and up on the wing, putting in similar efforts in the second quarter. His attack on the ball and consequential rebound on the fly was excellent for a player of his size, and he could be that intercepting defender at the next level – rather than a key position back.

Allies:

#1 Errol Gulden

The bottom-aged Sydney Academy member was again impressive, buzzing around the forward half and proving damaging as he wheeled craftily onto his left side. He started in ideal fashion with a well-read crumb off hands inside 50 and clinical finish for his side’s first and only goal in the opening term. While his spearing passes on the left look good when they come off, Gulden has a tendency to look for those low-percentage kicks across the 50 arc and did turn one over in this game. Can pick his shots better, but is so damaging when he hits them and you would not want to smother his natural talent. Finished with 14 disposals (12 uncontested).

#2 Hewago Paul Oea

The Papua New Guinea-born forward made his usual impact, but also did well to find more disposals than his carnival average (15). His defensive pressure and damage on the outside was terrific, while also flicking out effective handballs when under a touch more pressure. Better known as ‘Ace’, much of the Suns Academy member’s best work was done over the back when streaming forward, sending the ball inside 50 on five occasions and finding Noah Cumberland well to supply him with one of his two goals.

#3 Connor Budarick

Named All Australian in the back pocket, Budarick’s Academy Series MVP award was largely earned for his work through the midfield, and his handball-heavy 21 disposals ensured a solid end to his national carnival. The Suns Academy skipper continued to do the dirty work as the anchor at centre bounces, laying eight tackles and winning over half of his possessions in contested situations despite only standing at 175cm. He is all heart, but has the speed and finishing qualities up forward to make him even more desirable for the Suns. Found the goals with the first major of the second half after cleaning up from Tom Griffiths’ tackle on Will Gould.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Rosas continued his electric end to the national championships, combining harmoniously with the Allies’ brigade of zippy smalls to give the opposition defenders headaches. While there is not much of him, the Darwin product has a good knack of prizing the ball free with opponents around, but works even better in space and has the speed to find it. Was one of the more influential Allies with his 15 disposals and three inside 50s, and could have had an even better game with better finishing. Still managed to post two goals after his first-half woes in front of the big sticks and offers some real silk forward of centre.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

The hard-nosed Tasmanian earned second All Australian honours with another solid outing, collecting a respectable 16 disposals on the wing. He often started with a fair bit of separation from his opponent when the centre bounces went up, and it showed as he found a touch more uncontested ball than usual. Did not have as profound an impact as he has shown he can over the last two games with his role on the outer of midfield, but always manages to attract the ball and works hard both ways to help out his defenders and provide for forwards.

#12 Ashton Crossley

The Lions Academy member is a contested ball beast, complimenting fellow big-bodied midfielder Tom Green well at the stoppages to have arguably his best game for the carnival. Is a handball-happy kind of player in his extraction role, and that was no different in this game with his 16 handballs from 22 disposals – with six clearances to boot. Played his role well and provided a physical edge, but can work on polishing up his disposal and running game.

#16 Ben Jungfer

Another inside type in the Allies midfield, Jungfer was slightly down on his usual disposal output with 10. Still fulfilled his role of prizing the ball free and winning it at the coalface, with eight of his possessions contested and three of them ending in clearances. Just gets the ball going forward when allowed to throw it on the boot, and got it moving inside 50 when he could.

#20 Matt McGrory

Was one who stepped up in patches and looked to have built into the game nicely after a relatively quiet opening. Is usually employed out on the wing, but had a couple of good moments under pressure with kicks going inside 50 and showed glimpses of his class that had been more few and far between in previous outings. Showed some promise with his 14 disposals and consolation goal in the final term.

#22 Tom Green

Again led the way for his side as their leading ball-winner (23 disposals, 18 contested possessions, six clearances), bossing stoppage proceedings but having less impact around the ground than he did in his previous outing. Used his big frame to stand up in tackles and keep the ball alive in typical fashion, while laying seven of his own on South Australia’s nippier midfield types. Rightly earned All Australian honours and pushed his case well for top 10 selection come the end of the year as the pool’s leading inside midfielder.

#46 Noah Cumberland

Cumberland just continues to get better and found form at the right time during the carnival. Loves to kick long down the line and get his side going with some rugby-like dash, but was caught out for running too far early on as he tucked the ball under his arm. While he shows moments of his rawness, Cumberland also proved classy with his two goals, and particularly with his nicely weighted set shot in the third term. Had 18 impactful disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s as one of his side’s best. Will be an interesting prospect for the Lions to consider going forward.