Tag: Emerson Jeka

2019 AFL Draft club review: Hawthorn Hawks

MUCH of the pre-draft talk surrounding Hawthorn was where a bid would land for Finn Maginness, with the rare opportunity to nab a quality first rounder to go with the father-son prospect presenting itself. With the bid coming a touch later than expected, the Hawks were able to make a high-upside selection at pick 12, while packaging another South Australian late-on and replenishing key position stocks in the Rookie Draft along with a low-risk Category B selection.

National Draft:
13. Will Day (West Adelaide/South Australia) | 189cm | 76kg | Medium Defender
29. Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 189cm | 82kg | Inside Midfielder
57. Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens) | 186cm | 76kg | Medium Forward

Rookie Draft:
9. Emerson Jeka (Western Jets/Vic Metro) | 198cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
PSD. Michael Hartley (Essendon Bombers)
Cat-B. Harrison Pepper (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) 181cm | 84kg | Small Utility

Seldom have Hawks fans been able to come into the National Draft excited about boasting a first round selection, but that was exactly the case this time around. In fact, it could have been two if Maginness was bid on at his true value, but the ideal result came as North Melbourne came in for the inside midfielder in the late-20s. A relative sure thing before the fact, the Hawks were quick to match the forthcoming bid and nab the athletic Sandringham product who had a terrific National Combine. Package his upside with that of Will Day at pick 12, and Hawthorn supporters may well have plenty to cheer about for years to come. with these long-term prospects. Day is still raw but can play on the outside across each line, marking well overhead and possessing a penetrating kick. He will be joined in the brown and gold by fellow croweater Josh Morris, a medium forward full of x-factor and graced by an incredible mullet. That makes for a player on each line, with the Hawks looking to maintain that all-important spine going forward while picking players with points of difference.

The Rookie Drafts saw Hawthorn boost their key position stocks, luring Michael Hartley from Essendon in the Pre-season Draft and nabbing swingman Emerson Jeka as a high value slider who was unlucky to miss out on National Draft selection. While Hartley is a proven product in the back half, Jeka could be anything and is a terrific contested marker with apt kicking technique. Harrison Pepper was the other rookie selection, a free hit for the Hawks as a Next Generation Academy prospect. He is a small utility who gives his all and bring versatility, but can work on polishing up his disposal and clean hands.

Overall, a draft based on promise and finally some top-end talent should put the Hawks in good stead long-term. Maginness adds a point of difference to the midfield, while Day is a future replacement for the likes of Isaac Smith and the recently-departed Grant Birchall, while Morris is another with high upside who puts bums on seats with his work inside 50. With key position depth a slight concern, Hawthorn now has that covered too to a degree and should be content with this diverse haul.

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

AFL Draft whispers: 2019 edition

AS with every year, the build up to the AFL National Draft always sees late draft talk emerge as the finalising of lists takes place, particularly at the top-end. We recap what is happening in and around the AFL Draft space in the closing hours.

CROWS THE KEY TO FIRST ROUND

Adelaide looms as the club to shape the first round, with the Crows weighing up between Fischer McAsey and Dylan Stephens. While McAsey seems to be the choice for Adelaide, Stephens would also fill a need. More importantly, if McAsey remains on the board, clubs like Geelong and Gold Coast, or perhaps even Hawthorn will look to shuffle up a few picks and do a deal to secure the Sandringham Dragons tall.

FREMANTLE TO PACKAGE UP VIC COUNTRY DUO

Whilst it was one of a number of rumours coming out over the past 36 hours, the Dockers are all but expected to snap up Hayden Young and Caleb Serong regardless of how the early picks pan out. With Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Luke Jackson, Lachlan Ash and Sam Flanders expected to be the first five names called out, and Adelaide considering McAsey or Stephens, Fremantle will be safe knowing they can snap up the elite kicking Young and incredibly consistent Serong.

TALL TIMBER ASSEMBLE

With Jackson, McAsey and Josh Worrell assured in the top 20, and Harrison Jones and Sam De Koning also thereabouts, up to five players 194cm or taller could land at and AFL club in that range. It is also believed that Mitch Georgiades could attract a club like Geelong in the mid 20s, which would also give some others thoughts about how early they pull the trigger on the likes of Charlie Comben, Dyson Hilder, Karl Finlay and Jake Riccardi.

GOULD AND DAY TO REMAIN IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA?

Much has been talked about the South Australian Under-18 captain Will Gould sliding down the order out of the first round, with some believing he could end up in the 30s. However the man with the elite penetrating boot is believed to be in Adelaide’s thought with their back-to-back picks in the 20s. With Gold Coast also keeping a close eye on how the draft pans out, it is now believed he will be snapped up in those picks. Meanwhile, Will Day is expected to land at Port Adelaide with the Power’s first selection, but Hawthorn could play the role of spoiler with the selection right before.

BLUES CONSIDER TRADE OPTIONS

If McAsey remains on the board at Carlton’s selection, expect the above clubs to come knocking. While Carlton is believed to have settled on Stephens at the pick, the Blues might look to move back a few picks to secure a couple of needs rather than wait for the large gap between their first and second picks.

DEES AND DOGS TO EYE OFF SMALL FORWARDS

It is not so much a whisper as it has become public knowledge, but both Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs are keen on obtaining a small forward with their respective first round selections at Pick 10 and 13. The Demons have first crack and are tipped to be favouring Kysaiah Pickett, but Cody Weightman is still very much in the frame. The Dogs will likely pick the player that slips, though Miles Bergman is another consideration – not withstanding the fact that both Hawthorn and Port Adelaide make selections between the two clubs.

HAWKS TO OPEN UP FIRST ROUND

While many pundits seem to have the top 10 close to worked out, Hawthorn is the first club that has many experts scratching their heads. Brodie Kemp is a high possibility, with Day also a consideration. They could well look at the sliding Deven Robertson, or perhaps they look at one of the number of small forwards floating around. Worrell will still be on the board and might be someone the Hawks look to for height, but depending on the Hawks’ move, that will change the drafting landscape.

SWANS TARGET SPEED

Sydney is looking to add speed to its list with West Australian Elijah Taylor and Northern Knights speedster Sam Philp among those players the Swans are considering for their two picks in the second round. While it is believed Flanders will be the Swans’ first selection, Sydney will look to bolster its midfield and forward group with Philp and Taylor.

MAGPIES, BOMBERS TARGET TALLS

While Harrison Jones might be a target for Collingwood to replenish its key forward stocks, the Magpies will need to find a way back into the first round by giving up their 2020 first rounder. If they cannot move from their second round pick, Collingwood may look to Subiaco’s Georgiades – who is now believed to be possibly off the board – while also being heavily linked to Werribee’s Riccardi at the next selection. They have to be wary of Essendon who has two picks just ahead of the Magpies, and while one is believed to be used on an inside midfielder – such as South Australian MVP Harry Schoenberg who the club has been linked to – they will likely try and snap up a tall whether that is Riccardi, Emerson Jeka or Comben.

ROOS WELL POSITIONED FOR A FEW SLIDERS

North Melbourne has traded its way into having a successful draft hand so it now holds three picks in the second round within close succession of each other. They can address multiple needs with speed, skill and perhaps a tall all on the agenda. Yesterday there was suggestion South Australian tall Will Gould might be there and while it is a possibility, Adelaide is expected to pounce first. Philp or Schoenberg are a couple of others who may come into consideration to recruit ahead of their rival clubs.

‘RUNNING MAN’ TO GIVE TIGES SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ midfielder Jay Rantall, dubbed the ‘running man’ is in first round considerations with Richmond holding the final pick inside night one. While the Tigers are expected to select Cooper Stephens or West Australian Trent Rivers with the selection, Rantall is still in the mix. The talented clearance player and fierce tackler will likely land somewhere early in the second round between Gold Coast to Adelaide’s selections with the three clubs occupying the first four picks of night two.

LIONS’ GOOD PROBLEM TO HAVE

Not often are clubs in such a good draft position that they might have to think about how to add Academy selections to the list without matching bids, but that could well be the case for Noah Cumberland, Keidean Coleman and Lachlan Johnson. The Lions have expressed interest in both Cumberland and Coleman, while Johnson has been nominated as a possible rookie. Add in the fact the likes of Will Martyn and Bruce Reville – members of the academy – have been nominated and they will have to manage their senior and rookie lists carefully.

EAGLES AND SAINTS PLAY THE WAITING GAME

Unfortunately for the two clubs that enter the draft last and with little impact in terms of picks, there is not a great deal happening. But both clubs were busy during trade week and therefore have been forced to move on many of their picks. The Eagles would look to pick up a surprise slider or a mature-age talent to continue their push for a flag, while the Saints will likely pick best available when they enter at Pick 51. Both might consider trading down for a couple of picks to ensure they can have a couple of top 70 players. St Kilda will have Bigoa ‘Biggy’ Nyuon to look forward to late in the draft or even as a free rookie selection.

2019 AFL Draft Preview: Western Bulldogs

WESTERN Bulldogs are coming off a much-needed finals series after a premiership three years ago where since that memorable day in 2016, the Dogs have not been able to maintain the rage. Showing some promising signs in the second half of 2019, the Western Bulldogs filled holes at either end of the ground by bringing in Alex Keath and Josh Bruce to fill key defensive posts, with perhaps one more needed in the defensive 50 to sure it up. They could also consider a small forward or outside player with some speed and skill to complement their exciting young list which is building towards something special.

CURRENT PICKS: 13, 53, 89, 107, 125.

NEXT GEN ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS – COMBINE INVITES: Nil.

LIST NEEDS:

Small forward with speed and skill
Tall Defender
Midfield depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

The Dogs enter the draft at pick 13 which means there should still be plenty of talent on the board. They would consider Sandringham Dragons talls, Fischer McAsey and Josh Worrell, the latter of whom should at least be on the board then. Luke Jackson could have teamed up with fellow West Australian Tim English in the ruck over the next decade to be the most exciting ruck partnership but he will most certainly be gone by the time Pick 13 rolls around given Melbourne’s intent to take him. In terms of their smaller options, Cody Weightman might be a consideration, as would Miles Bergman and Kysaiah Pickett, two of whom should be there at Pick 13 – depending on what Melbourne does – or perhaps a bid on Liam Henry if one has not already been placed.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

Potentially they could trade down on draft night if the talls are gone and pick up a couple of players to fill needs. There are a few clubs who might be able to work something out, but Geelong with picks 17 and 24 will probably be the closest to what the Dogs would want, though the Cats are more keen to move further up using pick 14 packaged with 17. Realistically they will stay where they are, take a top talent with 13 and then see what is available at 53, or split that pick for a couple of picks marginally down the order.

REMAINING CROP:

By the time pick 53 rolls around it will be hard for anyone to predict what might be on the board. In terms of talls, Emerson Jeka is a possibility, as is Callum Jamieson, both of whom could be long-term key prospects. They might look at more mature-age talent like Williamstown’s Joel Ottavi or giving former Eagle, Luke Partington a lifeline. If Ned Cahill was still on the board – which is unlikely – the Dogs would pounce, or they might eye of the likes of Jai Jackson or Riley Baldi who can hit the scoreboard and apply pressure to the opposition. If the Bulldogs opt for slightly taller forward options, South Australian duo Callum Park and Josh Morris, Western Jets’ mid/forward Josh Honey and Dandenong Stingrays’ utility Lachlan Williams might be considerations. More mature-age prospects are Sam Lowson and Jake Riccardi for a medium and taller option respectively.

2019 Draft Central Phantom Draft

THE 2019 AFL National Draft is just a couple of days away and it is clear that trying to work out which clubs favour which players is incredibly difficult given the evenness of the draft crop outside the first round. Even inside the first round, preferences will play a huge role in where players go with certain clubs battling with another one or two for certain players. In this Phantom Draft, we have done the first three rounds, but have not included any live trades which will undoubtedly come in on the night.

ROUND 1:

1 Gold Coast – Matt Rowell
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
01/07/2001 | 180cm | 78kg

The number one pick has been in little doubt for many months now, with the Oakleigh Chargers ball magnet a standout player throughout the 2019 season. He won nearly every accolade he possibly could, and never played a bad game. Rowell will have been prepared for the move north for some time now and he will be a Round 1 starter for the SUNS.

2 Gold Coast – Noah Anderson
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Midfielder/Forward
17/02/2001 | 191cm | 87kg

Like Rowell, expect Anderson to suit up in Round 1, likely playing forward as a marking target who can also rotate through the midfield. He has a high scope of improvement given he is that prototype tall midfielder who has a nice burst of speed through the middle, so expect him to be one who catches the eye quite often.

3 Melbourne – Luke Jackson
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Ruck
29/09/2001 | 199cm | 94kg

The Demons caused a bit of a stir when they announced Jackson as a potential top three pick. Not because of his ability because that was never in doubt, but the fact they were willing to risk a top three pick on a ruck which bucks the trend of recent years. A former Australian basketballer, Jackson was highly sought after by the GIANTS and Dockers among others, so the Dees had to pull the trigger at pick three. Hayden Young was the other consideration at the selection.

4 GWS – Lachlan Ash
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country | Defender
21/06/2001 | 187cm | 83kg

While at first many thought that Hayden Young might be the pick here – or Jackson if the Dees went with Young – the GIANTS have opted towards the speedy and slick half-back Lachlan Ash who provides great run and carry out of defence. Nathan Wilson left to go to Fremantle two years ago, and the inclusion of Ash allows Zac Williams to play more midfield time if required. An elite kick with terrific athleticism.

5 Sydney – Sam Flanders
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Mid/Forward
24/06/2001 | 183cm | 82kg

The Swans are believed to be tossing up between Gippsland Power teammates, Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong. Flanders provides that slight more height and elite hands on the inside, while being a match-winner up forward. He still has areas of consistency to work on, but in terms of what he could become, the ceiling is endless. At this selection, Sydney cannot do too much wrong, but Flanders will offer them plenty of highlights inside 50 in the early days before developing into a midfielder in time.

6 Adelaide – Fischer McAsey
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility
08/03/2001 | 197cm | 91kg

The Crows were weighing up four potential players at this selection, and expected this pick to be a choice between Dylan Stephens and Fischer McAsey. McAsey is the option to be that key defensive replacement for Alex Keath, while being able to play inside 50 if required as a switch man. If Sydney opt for Stephens, then Flanders would be another thought for the Crows potentially.

7 Fremantle – Hayden Young
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Defender
11/04/2001 | 188cm | 83kg

An absolute steal here at Pick 8, but that is the way it looks like panning out, with Fremantle picking up elite kick Hayden Young with Pick 8. The Dockers would consider Stephens if available, and given Stephens is still on the board, might even lean towards the Gippsland Power mid/forward. Fremantle seem pretty settled with this selection given Young could well have been gone by Pick 3.

8 Fremantle – Caleb Serong
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Midfielder/Forward
09/02/2001 | 178cm | 83kg

Another steal here with the Gippsland Power strong midfielder/forward Caleb Serong landing in Fremantle. Fremantle might have looked at grabbing West Australian captain Deven Robertson to begin with, but once it became clear Serong would be available, the Dockers have narrowed their sights on Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). He is so strong overhead he is more than capable of matching it with taller players, while his competitive nature and desire to be the best possible player will provide the Blues with a really strong option going forward.

9 Carlton – Dylan Stephens
Norwood/South Australia | Outside Midfielder
08/01/2001 | 183cm | 74kg

While the Blues were originally thought to have eyed off Caleb Serong, it looks like Dylan Stephens will be the one left on the board presuming Adelaide opt for Fischer McAsey. Stephens is the best available and also fits a need, with the outside mover capable of playing from next year. Already having played at SANFL League level, Stephens adds a high work rate and strong character to the side. Deven Robertson would be a consideration here, as would down-trading to grab a couple of first round picks.

10 GWS (matched/bid) – Tom Green
GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies | Inside Midfielder
23/01/2001 | 190cm | 89kg

There is a reason the GIANTS moved from Pick 6 to Pick 4, and that was because the Swans had committed to bid on GIANTS Academy member Tom Green. They have publicly said they are unlikely to do so now, but will still force GWS out of the draft and into deficit, but the GIANTS will happily cop that given they pick up Green to join Ash as a couple of elite talents at the club. Either could start from early on, and expect Green to have a real impact from the moment he gets out there.

11 Melbourne – Cody Weightman
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Forward
15/01/2001 | 178cm | 75kg

The Demons are set on picking up a small forward at this selection, with Cody Weightman and Kysaiah Pickett the two most talked about at this selection. The Demons have put plenty of time and effort into Weightman and might just get the nudge over Pickett, but it is a lineball call. The Dees also could consider Miles Bergman at this pick given the Dragons’ forward could develop into a taller midfielder, but the firepower up forward is what the Dees are after.

12 Fremantle (matched/bid) – Liam Henry
Claremont/Western Australia | Midfielder/Forward
28/08/2001 | 180cm | 68kg

A bid for Liam Henry was always going to come in the first round and push Fremantle well down to the back-end of the draft, but the Dockers will not be too worried in matching this bid. Having already picked up Hayden Young and Caleb Serong, they have filled three different spots in their team and the exciting Next Generation Academy prospect in Henry will provide plenty of highlights over the coming years.

13 Hawthorn – Brodie Kemp
Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Utility
01/05/2001 | 192cm | 89kg

Versatile tall Brodie Kemp is somewhat of a slider here and could well slide further to Port Adelaide or Geelong. Will eventually be an inside midfielder, but can play a third tall role at either end of the ground and had a terrific Under-18 Championships. Is overcoming an ACL injury sustained mid-year.

14 Port Adelaide – Will Day
West Adelaide/South Australia | Defender
06/05/2001 | 189cm | 76kg

Get the feeling the first of Port Adelaide’s picks will be between Day, Bergman and Kemp depending on who is available. The slick ball user from West Adelaide, Day has links to Gold Coast with his cousin Sam there, and would be a huge chance to be off the board before Port Adelaide’s second selection. After adding skilled users last year in Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma and Zak Butters, Day adds that extra touch of class coming off half-back and is a good size at 189cm.

15 Western Bulldogs – Kysaiah Pickett
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Small Forward
02/06/2001 | 171cm | 71kg

One of a couple of draft bolters, Kysaiah Pickett is well in consideration to be taken by Melbourne at Pick 10 (to become 11), but the Dogs will be all over the tenacious small forward if he drops. Miles Bergman is the other potential choice here, while if the Dees go with Pickett, expect Cody Weightman to be the strong chance for Pick 15. Pickett is still very light but loves the contested aspect of the game and the Dogs have shown through drafting Caleb Daniel, they are not worried about height but instead look at skill and Pickett has bucketloads of that.

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

Robertson was rumoured to be a possible top 10 selection, with the West Australian captain leading from the front during the Under-18 Championships to win the Larke Medal and state Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Would be a steal here for Geelong but a number of clubs along the way would be looking at him carefully. A future captain at AFL level.

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

It is thought that this selection will be between Will Day and Trent Bianco, and with Port taking Day off the board in this scenario, Bianco is the man to step up to the plate. Port would also be keen on picking up Bianco if Day is snapped up elsewhere, so the Suns will want to use this selection on him. He joins Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson from the Oakleigh Chargers program up on the Gold Coast and adds more leadership to the side coming into that team. Will provide skill and dash off half-back.

18 Port Adelaide – Josh Worrell
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Key Position Utility
11/04/2001 | 195cm | 83kg

With the skilful defender in Will Day secured, Port will look to bring in a tall to replenish some of their stocks lost over the off-season. Well aware that Geelong is in the business of finding a key position player, the Power will have to pounce at this selection rather than wait another two picks. Knowing they will likely just take the one tall, getting one here and knowing the Cats will take a tall at the next pick allows them to go best available at Pick 20. Josh Worrell can play either end and is great value here as a long-term developing tall.

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

After a couple of talls dropped in the top 10, Geelong and Port may well do a merry dance to snap up the next couple and see who will pounce on who in the back-end of the first round. With Port having the first chance at Pick 18, Geelong will either need to pounce on Josh Worrell and risk losing Deven Robertson, or take the chance and secure the developing utility in Harrison Jones. Jones is as versatile as they come and has even spent time in the ruck this year. Whilst he might be considered a bolter to land in the first round, his athletic attributes – mainly his speed and endurance – make him a player to watch.

20 Port Adelaide – Miles Bergman
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Mid/Forward
18/010/2001 | 189cm | 83kg

Port would look at teaming up Will Day with Trent Bianco at this selection – if Bianco was left on the board – to continue the influx of speed and skill, but Miles Bergman being on the board is the choice here. Bergman could well be snapped up by Melbourne, or the Western Bulldogs who are both in the market for a small forward, meaning one of Weightman or Pickett could be left for the Power to secure. Bergman has the height on the others and could well develop into a midfielder who can hit the scoreboard, and played most of the year sore but still had terrific moments in 2019.

21 Hawthorn (matched/bid) – Finn Maginness
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
23/02/2001 | 189cm | 82kg

Given Richmond is targeting inside midfielders, it is tipped that the Tigers will place a bid on Finn Maginness at the end of the first round. The Hawks will quickly match the bid to bring the midfielder into the club, and traded picks to ensure they have plenty of points available. This bid would see the Hawks lose Picks 44 and 52 (which are given up due to Academy bids, whilst Pick 56 would slide to Pick 63).

22 Richmond – Cooper Stephens
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
17/01/2001 | 188cm | 83kg

With the Maginness bid match, Richmond will focus its attention on securing that inside midfielder. Geelong Falcons’ Cooper Stephens is among a number of selections left on the board and could well be snapped up at this pick. Jay Rantall is a consideration, though Stephens is more readymade to slot straight into the line-up and will be that pure inside midfielder with time. A good size at 188cm, Stephens is one who will have an immediate impact.

ROUND 2:

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

There is every chance Rivers is at a new club by Wednesday night, but if he is not, then he will not take long at all to come off the board at this selection. The four clubs over the next five picks would all be keen on the tall midfielder who can also play other roles around the ground, and has good development left.

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

Could go as high as Richmond in Round 1, but more likely to land at either Brisbane or Adelaide in Round 2. The Lions cannot not risk him dropping to their next pick, so would need to pounce with #24 and add an extra Rebel to the mix. Elite endurance and can play multiple roles through the midfield. A former Australian basketballer.

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

Picked at this selection because of his ability to provide outside run and carry, and can fulfil that role coming off half-back. A dual All-Australian, the knocks are whether or not he can win the contested ball, but at 189cm and the ability to hit penetrating passes makes him too good to turn down. Not completely out of the question for him to slip a bit further, however.

26 Adelaide – Sam De Koning
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Key Position Utility
26/02/2001 | 201cm | 86kg

Given the Crows have picked up Fischer McAsey, they may err on collecting another key position player, but like McAsey, Sam De Koning has an ability to play at both ends, or even through the ruck. He is the last of the top 30 talls available, so the Crows might want to bundle him up with McAsey. If they end up with Dylan Stephens at Pick 6, expect De Koning to be a massive shot here – if available.

27 Geelong – Thomson Dow
Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Midfielder/Forward
16/10/2001 | 184cm | 76kg

A number of picks the Cats could make at this selection, but Thomson Dow seems very ‘Geelong’ like. Another Geelong Grammar boy to possibly go with Brodie Kemp or in this phantom, Deven Robertson, Dow is the brother of Carlton’s Paddy. While he is not as readymade as his brother, he has similar athleticism and is good inside 50 on the lead. A forward to start his career, but will eventually develop into a full-time midfielder.

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

Elijah Taylor is incredibly talented and adds more X-factor to a Swans side that will have already brought Sam Flanders earlier in the draft in this Phantom Draft scenario. Taylor is a good size at 188cm, and while staying in Western Australia might be a priority, the Swans have a good system in place to make players from interstate fit in well. Far too good to ignore at this selection, and if bypassed, chances are he will not be there at the Swans’ next selection.

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

Surely the South Australian captain could not drop this far? It is possible, and some think it might be into the 30s. He could go as high as Gold Coast at 23, or maybe even Adelaide at 26 if De Koning is off the board, but Gould will slide outside the top 20. He is an unbelievable talent, and one we have rated in the top 15 most of the year. Elite footballing qualities, once he gets into an AFL environment, he will likely prove a few people wrong. A bargain at this selection.

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

There is a feeling the Roos will pick a small forward at their selections, whether it be Cameron Taheny, Elijah Taylor or Dylan Williams. With Williams touted to slide the furthest when it is all said and done, Taheny looks to be the more readymade prospect for North, and the transition into the blue and white stripes will be made easier in this scenario coming across with Gould. Another bargain pick.

31 Melbourne – Darcy Cassar
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Utility
31/07/2001 | 184cm | 82kg

Providing some speed and dash off half-back with neat kicking skills, Darcy Cassar is a player with some top shelf traits, and just needs to iron out inconsistencies to take the next step. At his best he is contending for a top 20 spot, and Melbourne fit the need they were targeting at the top end of the draft in a skilful half-back by adding Cassar to their list in the second round.

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

An interesting selection looms for the Lions at this pick, and the likes of Harry Schoenberg and Sam Philp were considered, but given the Lions have picked up a number of exciting players with upside in recent years, Dylan Williams is one who might appeal to them. He might not fit a direct need, but at this selection he is a bargain and also has those leadership qualities – co-captaining Oakleigh Chargers – and is surely too good to pass up because he will not be there at the next pick.

33 Port Adelaide (matched/bid) – Jackson Mead
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Balanced Midfielder
30/09/2001 | 183cm | 83kg

Port has enough points to match a bid for Jackson Mead at this point in the draft, and will not have a problem matching should a team like North Melbourne put the offer out there. North is known for making bids on players that fill needs, and Mead’s range is tipped to be in this hitting zone. Expected to make his way to the Power without any fuss.

34 North Melbourne – Hugo Ralphsmith
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Midfielder/Forward
09/11/2001 | 188cm | 75kg

A few options to pick from here, but North has interest in Hugo Ralphsmith, and may well take him with one of their picks inside the top 30. If not and he is still on the board here, Ralphsmith will be difficult to pass up. Sam Philp, Harry Schoenberg and Mitch O’Neill will be considerations, but Ralphsmith may be the first choice.

35 Essendon – Harry Schoenberg
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Inside Midfielder
21/02/2001 | 182cm | 83kg

The South Australian Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner offers a solid inside presence at the selection for the Bombers, with his inside craft and ball-winning abilities among his strengths. Essendon might consider Sam Philp at this selection as well, with the Bombers and Swans potentially targeting similar types to round out their list.

36 Sydney – Sam Philp
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
04/08/2001 | 186cm | 79kg

A perfect fit for the Swans, Sam Philp is a running machine on the inside with terrific burst speed out of the contest – a 2.87-second 20m sprint – which fills a need whilst adding his contested ball winning ability. Despite missing out on Vic Metro selection, Philp offers plenty to the club that picks him, and Sydney could be that club.

37 Essendon – Charlie Comben
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Forward/Ruck
20/07/2001 | 199cm | 84kg

The Bombers need another ruck for depth, and Comben is a player who can also play that key position forward role. He is a good size and still developing, and given the likes of Collingwood and Geelong are not far away, Essendon might have to make their move at this pick to secure him.

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

A steal at Pick 38, Tasmania’s top player makes his way north and will be a welcome addition given his ability to play anywhere on the ground. He adds to the Lions’ skilful and exuberant young side and is another player like Gould who may prove a fair few wrong in the coming years.

39 Collingwood – Mitch Georgiades
Subiaco/Western Australia | Tall Forward
28/09/2001 | 192cm | 87kg

Seems to be the obvious pick for Collingwood, with Mitch Georgiades the best tall forward available at this selection and a clear need for the Magpies. Collingwood might be tempted to opt for a tall defender in Karl Finlay or Dyson Hilder, or maybe the upside of Fraser Phillips, but these are all the selections coming in the next few selections.

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

Geelong may not opt for a second tall, but Finlay is the type who has great agility and is able to play on a tall or small in defence, which in this Phantom Draft would allow Harrison Jones to play forward. Finlay is an Under 16s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winner and it would not be surprising to see him go higher and perhaps even pounced on in the 20s – particularly if De Koning joins the other talls in the first round. Like many talls, it is often a needs basis, so could slide to around here, but Collingwood would seriously consider him with their last pick.

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

Has the talent to become anything, and could end up at a number of clubs in the 30s, but the Crows could not take a chance any longer with Richmond and Carlton no doubt keen to acquire his services. Has the potential to become a midfielder long-term and just moves well and creates havoc inside 50. A player who has drawn traits similar to Jack Macrae and Scott Pendlebury at the same age – even if much rawer than those players.

42 Richmond – Dyson Hilder
North Adelaide/South Australia | Key Defender
31/03/2001 | 196cm | 91kg

With three consecutive selections, Richmond is likely to select one key position player just to add to the depth in the squad, and given they have picked up Cooper Stephens with the first selection, the additional inside midfielder need is filled. Hilder is a readymade key position option, but can work with the Tigers’ back six to become a strong negating defender who is also capable of creating offensive rebound. Another key position player who might go higher than this due to needs.

43 Richmond – Brock Smith
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Defender
13/03/2001 | 189cm | 82kg

The Gippsland Power captain is a hard nut and would be a perfect fit for Richmond given his accountability in defence and willingness to put his body on the line for his teammates. He showed in 2019 that he can also create offensive drive, and that will be attractive for the Tigers to fill that Brandon Ellis role, or play deeper and release one of the other defenders.

ROUND 3:

44 Richmond – Jack Mahony
Sandringham Dragons | Small Midfielder/Forward
12/11/2001 | 178cm | 72kg

Hard to see Mahony slipping this far, but if he did it would certainly be a bargain. Capable of playing midfield or forward, Mahony rarely wastes a kick and is able to set up his forwards with neat 45-degree passes that can be deadly for the opposition. A high footy IQ and one who will develop into a very handy player.

45 Carlton – Ned Cahill
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Small Forward
11/01/2001 | 179cm | 78kg

Has been long linked to Carlton at this selection, but will he be there? It is possible, and he fills a perfect need which allows the Blues to go best available at Pick 9. Has a lot of growth left in his game, and is more consistent than a lot of other small forwards. Adds a touch of class inside 50.

46 Sydney – Josh Shute
Sturt/South Australia | Outside Midfielder
28/03/2001 | 187cm | 74kg

While it is becoming increasingly difficult to try and predict which way clubs will go by this stage, the Sturt winger adds some terrific pace and line-breaking willingness that can attract clubs in the third round. He takes the game on and is a good size, just needs to iron out a few things and could be a real valuable contributor on the outside.

47 Adelaide – Daniel Mott
Calder Cannons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
01/05/2001 | 183cm | 80kg

While Mott is not the fastest midfielder going around, he has such clean hands and skill on the inside, which he has been developing over the past 12 months. Mott can also play outside where he uses his terrific kicking ability to advantage and replaces the wealth of midfield depth that has been lost at the Crows this year.

48 West Coast – Jake Pasini
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Defender
06/02/2001 | 193cm | 82kg

West Coast seem tipped to look local at this selection, and one of Jake Pasini, Trey Ruscoe or Riley Garcia might be a choice. Pasini is the tallest option and able to replace one of the Eagles’ key defenders in time, having worked on areas of his game such as his kicking and decision making.

49 North Melbourne – Emerson Jeka
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Key Forward/Defender
18/09/2001 | 198cm | 90kg

A number of clubs over the next few picks are still in the market for a key position player, and with North Melbourne having picked up a number of faster, outside types – as well as Gould – Jeka presents a different option for the Roos. He can play at either end and is an elite contested mark, potentially sharing the forward line with Nick Larkey in years to come, learning from Ben Brown.

50 Collingwood – Jake Riccardi
Werribee/VFL | Key Position Forward
07/11/1999 | 194cm | 96kg

One of the strongest rumours floating around the mid and later stages of the draft is Jake Riccardi to Collingwood, and the Magpies will not want to wait too much longer from here. Could well end up the first State Draft Combine invitee to go in the National AFL Draft, but the question will be whether or not the Magpies pick up two tall forwards – Georgiades and Riccardi – or if they go best available then take Riccardi.

52 St Kilda – Cooper Sharman
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Forward
25/07/2000 | 192cm | 79kg

A long-term developing forward, Sharman has great upside and would be considered by some clubs in the 40s. As accurate shot on goal as anyone else, Sharman will not immediately step in due to needing to improve his endurance, but when he does, he would add some great speed on the lead, strong overhead and convert his opportunities. Saints could go a number of ways, but they will like Sharman’s upside.

53 Western Bulldogs – Nick Bryan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Ruck
22/10/2001 | 202cm | 87kg

Arguably the hardest to place in the draft, Nick Bryan could go anywhere from the late 30s, up into the 60s, but Western Bulldogs could opt for some ruck depth at Pick 53 and has been linked here if available. A long-term prospect, Bryan is more a player who will take over in a few years and given his athletic traits, could be something special.

54 Richmond – Ryan Byrnes
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
03/05/2001 | 182cm | 84kg

A workhorse through the middle, Byrnes has transitioned from a player on the fringes of his NAB League side Sandringham Dragons, to captaining the side, representing Vic Metro and making himself all but a certain draft candidate. He has to build his kicking, but he is dual-sided and a threat out of stoppages with a quick burst here and there and often pumps the ball to the danger zone inside 50. A perfect fit for the Tigers.

55 Carlton – Darcy Chirgwin
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
25/07/2001 | 191cm | 80kg

A big-bodied midfielder tipped to slide down later in the draft, Pick 55 for Darcy Chirgwin could be another selection that makes people look silly in the future. He is a perfect fit for the Blues to provide assistance for Patrick Cripps in the midfield and is not afraid to crash and bash around the stoppages.

Others not far away had the draft extended out: Riley Garcia, Callum Jamieson, Trey Ruscoe (Western Australia), Luke Partington, Callum Park, Josh Morris (South Australia), Angus Baker, Liam Delahunty (NSW-ACT), Brady Rowles, Lachlan Williams (Vic Country), Louis Butler, Josh Honey, Lachlan Stapleton (Vic Metro), Frank Anderson, Sam Lowson (VFL)

ACADEMY/FATHER-SON SELECTIONS IN CONTENTION LATE/ROOKIE WITH COMBINE INVITES OR HAVE BEEN NOMINATED:

*Note the below does not mean the club has committed to them – although in some cases they have – it is merely a list of those clubs with players tied to the club that received combine invitations and were in the respective club’s Academy or father-son prospect at the start of the year.

Anzac Lochowiak -> Adelaide
Noah Cumberland, Keidean Coleman, Lachlan Johnson, Bruce Reville and Will Martyn, Tom Griffiths -> Brisbane
Cameron Wild -> Carlton
Isaiah Butters, Leno Thomas -> Fremantle
Ryan Gilmore, Josh Gore, Dirk Koenen -> Gold Coast SUNS
Liam Delahunty, Matt McGrory, James Peatling, Jeromy Lucas, Ed Perryman -> GWS GIANTS
Harrison Pepper -> Hawthorn
Matthew McGuinness -> North Melbourne
Trent Burgoyne -> Port Adelaide
Bigoa Nyuon -> St Kilda
Luke Parks, Hamish Ellem, Jackson Barling, Nicholas Brewer, Samuel Gaden, Max Geddes, Harry Maguire, Samuel Thorne-> Sydney

2019 AFL Draft Preview: Hawthorn Hawks

HAWTHORN heads into the 2019 AFL Draft with its highest pick since taking Ryan Burton with pick 19 in 2015, and may well come away with a rare pair of first round selections. The Hawks can look to replenish their key position stocks at the top end, while also looking for points of difference through midfield on top of snaring potential father-son, Finn Maginness.

CURRENT PICKS: 11, 42, 50, 54, 63, 73, 87, 92

NOMINATED ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS: Finn Maginness (F/S), Harrison Pepper (NGA)

LIST NEEDS:

Key position depth
Midfield point of difference/speed

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

Key position depth, particularly down back, looks like being the Hawks’ priority coming into this year’s draft, with pick 11 a good spot for filling that need at the correct value. All Australian swingman Fischer McAsey looks the best fit and is ripe for the taking at pick 11, but could be snapped up by the Cats should they trade into the top 10. If that is the case, Brodie Kemp is another option with great upside who can plug gaps on every line, while the dynamic Josh Worrell could also slot in up either end as a high marker. The Hawks will hope a bid for father-son gun Maginness comes after their first selection, with a pick somewhere in the teens or early-20s more likely for the athletic midfielder.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

The Hawks have been able to already secure a trade that saw them pick up two selections from North Melbourne in Pick 50 and 73, as well as a future second round selection for the 2020 AFL Draft. In exchange they gave up Pick 30, but with a potential first round bid for Maginness – and certainly top 25 – that selection was always going to be used to secure the father-son, but this way Hawthorn has greater versatility to match.

REMAINING CROP:

As is the case for most sides, the back-end of the draft is purely up to needs and preference as it looms as one of the most open pools in recent times. Should the Hawks look to further bolster key position stocks, the likes of Jake Pasini and Emerson Jeka may well be available around that 54-mark, while ruck options come in the form of Nick Bryan, Callum Jamieson and Joel Ottavi in that range. Angus Hanrahan, brother of current Hawk, Ollie would be a nice addition late-on for some outside run with Isaac Smith coming into the free agency fold soon, while Bendigo pair Flynn Perez and Brady Rowles fit the same mould if they are still on the board, and Josh Honey could offer the same kind of power going forward. Late picks are always difficult to predict, but the Hawks will undoubtedly have their favourites going in and could even take Harrison Pepper as a Next Generation Academy pick.

Draft Central Power Rankings: November 2019 – 60-41

AS the 2019 AFL National Draft is just around the corner, we work up to the November 27-28 event with a three-part Power Rankings series, counting down our top 60 players heading into the AFL Draft. We have not taken into account any draft selections or club needs, it is purely our opinion. Furthermore, given the evenness of the draft, there were plenty of unlucky players on the cusp of making it into the top 60. This edition looks at those players we have ranked 60-41.

#60 Lachlan Stapleton
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
14/04/2001 | 179cm | 73kg

The only State Draft Combine player in our Power Rankings, the Eastern Ranges ball magnet has been one of the more consistent players this year. One of the few unlucky not to get a National Draft Combine invite, Stapleton has plenty of tricks despite his size, and can win the ball inside or out. In season 2019, Stapleton averaged 22.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 5.2 clearances, 4.5 inside 50s and 7.1 tackles from 13 games, predominantly playing an inside role. His hands in close were very good, with athletic traits that are handy but could still improve such as his in-game acceleration – clocking a sub-three second 20m sprint at the State Combine, and his kicking consistency. A rough chance still, but should have done enough to find a place on an AFL list.

#59 Ryan Byrnes
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
03/05/2001 | 182cm | 84kg

Mr Consistent, Sandringham’s fearless captain has been as reliable as just about anyone in the NAB League this season. Byrnes can play inside or out, wins the ball out of a stoppage and has a trademark five-step burst to create separation from his opponent and send the ball inside 50 to leading teammates. His kicking could certainly sharpen up, but he can use either foot which makes him more of an asset, and while he is shorter compared to some inside midfielders, he has the readymade frame to compete at senior level. Almost missed out on a bottom-age year at Sandringham and has been a workhorse to put himself in a position where he could be drafted. Just a no-fuss footballer who leads by actions and will be a popular player at a club should he be selected.

#58 Emerson Jeka
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Key Forward/Defender
18/09/2001 | 198cm | 90kg

On upside, Jeka is a lot higher, but it is just piecing all of his traits together for some consistency. He is an elite contested mark, is virtually an eight-second flat agility test and near three seconds 20m sprint candidate. This athleticism is something rare in players of his size, but the inconsistencies of the past few years, as well as finding his best position – between forward and back – means he is still a raw prospect who has to develop. Given his traits, if he can be put to work and learn off a more aggressive mentor at an AFL club, then he will add more to his game. He has the physicality to really worry opposition defenders when leading out, it is just showing it on a more consistent basis. His best is winning a game off his own boot, but it just happens in seldom, so the best is yet to come from the Western Jets tall.

#57 Louis Butler
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Defender
25/04/2001 | 185cm | 74kg

An interesting prospect, Butler at his best can be a damaging half-back who floats through the middle and wins plenty of the ball. When it comes to off-field testing, Butler’s numbers do not jump off a page. But when it comes to in-game work, he moves well and has the smarts to evade opponents with ball-in-hand and open up space for his teammates. He seems a confidence player, because when he starts hitting targets, he can hardly miss, but when he sprays the odd kick early, he can be a bit more error prone throughout the game. Showed plenty throughout his school footballing, and finished the NAB League season averaging 23 disposals and three rebounds a game.

#56 Josh Shute
Sturt/South Australia | Outside Midfielder
28/03/2001 | 187cm | 74kg

A lightly built, but talented outside midfielder with some good size, Shute is the stereotypical winger who likes to run and create from the back half going forward. Shute has nice foot skills with a touch of class, as well as a high work rate that sees him push up and down the ground. His endurance could still improve, as could his impact per possession, and while standing at 73kg, Shute could add size to his frame. Overall though, Shute has a nice outside game from which clubs can work with, and is one of the more prominent wingers available in the AFL Draft crop. He could go higher than this based on his ball use and outside run, but is still a developing talent.

#55 Flynn Perez
Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Outside Midfielder
25/08/2001 | 188cm | 81kg

One of the players hardest to rate this year, Perez has missed his entire top-age season after injuring his knee late last year at a Vic Country camp. From what he showed as a bottom-ager, Perez has some neat outside traits, and class when in close. He moves well and is a creator for his team, it is just about getting some consistency in both his disposal and game. At 188cm, Perez is a nice height for a midfielder, and when adding in his athleticism, the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder is unlikely to be forgotten by an AFL club come November.

#54 Nick Bryan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Ruck
22/10/2001 | 202cm | 87kg

Considered a potential first rounder at the start of the year, Bryan has slipped down the order after an inconsistent year. He had a good finals series, particularly in the last couple of games which gave recruiters another glimpse at the highly athletic ruck. While he is far from the finished product, it is hard to imagine he will be overlooked based on his sub three-second 20m sprint and his size at 202cm makes him a valuable commodity. While he might not have the consistency of some of the other talls higher on the list, he has plenty of upside and a club could certainly find a need for Bryan should they be on the lookout for another ruck.

#53 Josh Honey
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Mid/Forward
17/10/2001 | 185cm | 82kg

Another player with great upside, Honey has the versatility to rotate between midfield and forward, and is an athlete to-boot. Honey was one of the more impressive performers at the National Draft Combine, clocking up times of 2.97 seconds (20m sprint) and 8.10 seconds (agility test). His consistency can be a worry at times, particularly when it comes to influence throughout long periods in games, with his accumulation lower than most other comparable players – 16.1 disposals per game. But when on his game, Honey has that hurt factor about him, with his clean hands and defensive pressure – 4.6 tackles per game – a feature, as well as his ability to hit the scoreboard regularly, contributing 12 goals in 14 games at NAB League level, and two from two at the Under-18 National Championships.

#52 Jake Pasini
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Defender
06/02/2001 | 193cm | 82kg

A really consistent and reliable defender, Pasini is a player who could step up and play from early on in his career. At 193cm, Pasini is a little undersized to match up against the bigger-bodied key forwards, so will likely fill out as a running defender who takes a third tall, or could play on smaller players if need be. He has the skill level to be that offensive running back, and he reads the ball in flight really well. Averaging 18.3 disposals and 4.1 marks at WAFL Colts level from seven games, Pasini also got a call-up to both the Reserves and League sides for Swan Districts where he did not look out of place in two and one games respectively. After playing for Western Australia at the Under-18 Championships as a bottom-ager, Pasini returned as a top-ager and again was able to provide a steadying influence, picking up his rebound numbers to average two per game.

#51 Mitch Georgiades
Subiaco/Western Australia | Tall Forward
28/09/2001 | 192cm | 87kg

Similar to Perez, Georgiades is one who is hard to read where he goes. On talent, he could be a top 30 pick, but the fact a quad injury has kept him out of action throughout his entire top-age year would be a concern. He is too talented and has too much upside to not be looked at, and with his vertical leap (85cm running) and acceleration (2.925 seconds 20m sprint), Georgiades is a headache for any defender. Once the air space is clear and there is a body in front of him, expect the high-flying forward to sit on their head and bring the ball down. While he has not been able to show any improvements this year due to injury, he could also improve his defensive attributes, with few tackles despite his obvious athletic talent. In terms of what he offers offensively however, Georgiades can be a dominant goal kicker both in the air and at ground level and be that X-factor that sets him aside from other tall forwards in this draft.

#50 Charlie Comben
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Forward/Ruck
20/07/2001 | 199cm | 84kg

A versatile player who could well end up as a key forward and second ruck, Comben is capable of playing either role to a high standard. His ruck craft itself is good, and his second efforts at ground level such as laying a follow-up tackle or providing a block or shepherd is impressive. He can float forward and lead out of the goalsquare with sticky hands and an ability to crash a pack if needed. He has had his fair share of injuries over the journey so is arguably a tad behind on his development. But the fact he has come such a long way in his top-age year means Comben has plenty of upside for the future and is one who clubs can look to for the long term if they are after a bigger body up forward who can play that second ruck role to a t. Could be the second ruck picked in the AFL Draft, depending on how clubs view his progress against Bryan’s and what they are looking for, but we have him here due to his versatility and greater consistency over the season, as well as impact at the Under-18 National Championships for Vic Country.

#49 Liam Delahunty
GWS GIANTS/Allies | Forward/Defender
13/02/2001 | 192cm | 91kg

A member of the GWS GIANTS Academy, where Delahunty ends up on draft night will be interesting considering the GIANTS’ picks in this year’s draft. With Pick 6 likely to be Tom Green, Delahunty could be matched with one of the later picks, potentially 59 or 60. If the GIANTS choose to trade up to grab a second elite talent to avoid using Pick 6 on Green, then matching Green with their few picks, they might struggle to match a bid. Either way, Delahunty has shown enough to suggest a club could use a player of his services, with his kicking ability and reliability up forward – or in defence at times. He is a strong mark and covers the ground well, and while he is undersized, he could develop into a midfielder with time if required, and given his smarts could be very handy there. He could improve his accumulation numbers from ground level with the majority of his touches coming from marks. Once he develops that area of his game, he can have an equal impact at ground level as he can in the air.

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

The Under 16s Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner from the championships two years ago, Finlay has remained consistent across all areas. While his ground balls and decision making at times could improve, his work without the ball is top notch, able to intercept at will across half-back. He will likely play as that third tall defender, and has superb agility for a player of his size, and captained his school, Prince Alfred College (PAC) during the season. He reads the play well and is a dominant one-on-one player who could play from early on in his career if given the chance, but still has those areas to work on and will undoubtedly do so. A potent defensive weapon, Finlay might be the awkward size at 192cm, but he is a two-way player, nullifying an opponent and creating drive from half-back.

#47 Noah Cumberland
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies | Forward
15/03/2001 | 183cm | 79kg

A player we at Draft Central are a fan of, Cumberland has some seriously great athletic traits. In particular his break-neck speed coming off a flank or charging down the ground, recording a 2.931-second 20m sprint and 8.208-second agility test at the National Draft Combine. Tied to the Lions’ Academy, Cumberland could well be the first Lion bid on in the AFL Draft, and his versatility and high upside would be something attractive to the club and other clubs. He is a great pressure player as well, with his aggression at both the ball and opponent, and with ball-in-hand or without. He averaged almost five tackles a game at the championships, and while he will want to lift his accumulation and kicking consistency – he averaged just the 11 touches per game – he has some great traits from which a club can develop.

#46 Brock Smith
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Defender
13/03/2001 | 189cm | 82kg

As reliable and competitive as they come, Smith is a defender who can play both offensive and defensive roles, and almost always achieve the team requirement of him by the end of the game. Rarely having a game where he does not in some part contribute, Smith will attack contests without fear for his own safety, and also provide rebound out of the back half. He ticks a lot of boxes across the board, and while he could improve his speed, and add more dimensions to his game up the ground, his flexibility to play against taller or smaller opponents is a bonus. His one-on-one strength helps him take on the stronger players, while his competitive nature helps him challenge those with greater athletic traits. His rebounding and intercept marking, as well as his penetrating kick are other features of his game, and he is a player who will be loved by teammates, but bemoaned by opposition players.

#45 Dyson Hilder
North Adelaide/South Australia | Key Defender
31/03/2001 | 196cm | 91kg

There are not too many readymade key defenders in this AFL Draft, which makes Hilder a unique prospect for clubs. If an AFL club is contending and needs a key position player who is more prepared to tackle senior footy earlier in his career, then Hilder looms as a value mid-draft option. While he is not as agile as some others, and could work on his ground ball craft, Hilder is strong in the air, and composed with ball-in-hand in defence. Much like his North Adelaide teammate Finlay, Hilder has experienced all three levels of SANFL football this year, with eight games at Reserves level his predominant grade. He was as reliable as they came for South Australia at the national carnival, and is a nullifying defender who can take an opposition forward out of the game, averaging almost five marks from 12.5 disposals per game at the championships.

#44 Cooper Sharman
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Forward
25/07/2000 | 192cm | 79kg

Another player who is difficult to rate and could go anywhere from 30 to 60 is Sharman, who had plenty of highlights this year since joining the Oakleigh Chargers program. Having made the move from New South Wales to Victoria and playing out at Balwyn, Sharman burst onto the scene with a few hauls of goals, including four against Eastern Ranges in a tight game. His goal kicking accuracy and marking is quite impressive, and while he has to build his endurance and other areas of his game to be more of a complete package, Sharman has that upside which clubs will hope to harness. For a player of his size with his smarts and X-factor, Sharman could play that third tall role inside 50 and with his athleticism, he is able to play as a leading forward out of the square.

#43 Jack Mahony
Sandringham Dragons | Small Midfielder/Forward
12/11/2001 | 178cm | 72kg

A smart player who knows how to find the ball and use it delicately to hit targets over short distances like very few can, Mahony is a bit of a unique option as a small utility. Predominantly used in the forward half, Mahony is still light, but can compete with players in contested situations, and with his footy IQ and creativity, Mahony rarely makes too many mistakes by hand or foot. In saying that, his size will always come into question as a sub-180cm player, with Mahony lacking that explosiveness that others have playing a similar role. He will likely become that half-forward who can rotate through the middle, mainly because of his ability to pinpoint players inside 50 with sharp 45-degree kicks in between a host of opponents. Importantly, Mahony does not try and go for too much outside his limitations and therefore is highly influential with the game he employs.

#42 Trey Ruscoe
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Tall Defender
03/11/2001 | 192cm | 87kg

A bit undersized to be a key defender at the elite level, Trey Ruscoe has proven to be a player who can easily play that role in the WAFL Colts, and while that is against lighter bodies, he will be challenged to do so against bigger-bodied forwards. In saying that, Ruscoe has great strength and the skills to also play as a running half-back. He has spent time in the midfield which is an area he can further develop and potentially become a readymade inside midfielder who can have an influence around the stoppages. Ruscoe is ultra-competitive and positions himself well in the defensive 50, but could play a midfield-defence hybrid role with his running capacity and versatility to play either position.

#41 Darcy Chirgwin
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
25/07/2001 | 191cm | 80kg

A good sized inside midfielder who might be somewhat underrated compared to his peers due to injury issues that ruled him out of early season games then was injured in the opening quarter of his Under-18 Championships match. What he offers to a club is a big body with an appetite for winning the ball in the contest. His disposal (24.7), clearance (5.2) and tackling (7.9) numbers are right up there with the best, and his defensive approach to the game will certainly win him over at AFL level. His outside game and athleticism could do with some work, as could his ability to hit the scoreboard, but lock him in to be a inside midfielder who can provide a presence around the stoppages, especially once he has added more size to his frame in the coming years.

NAB League Boys team review: Western Jets

AS the NAB League season finals approach, we take a look at the sides that are no longer in contention for the title, checking out their draft prospects, Best and Fairest (BnF) chances, 2020 Draft Crop and a final word on their season. The next side we look at is the Western Jets.

Position: 7th
Wins: 8
Losses: 7
Draws: 0

Points For: 916 (Ranked #10)
Points Against: 973 (Ranked #7)
Percentage: 94.1
Points: 32

Top draft prospects:

Darcy Cassar

After bursting onto the scene as a 16-year-old two years ago, Cassar has shown his versatility over the past two years to be able to play in all thirds of the ground. He has settled at half-back this year and lifted his disposal count with some huge numbers in the NAB League Boys this season. He still showed his potential in the forward half during the National Under-18 Championships and while inconsistency plagued him at times, showed enough to suggest he will be a player that can develop strongly in the future.

Emerson Jeka

The key position utility played at both ends this year and similar to Cassar had some inconsistent performances. At his best he was almost ripping the game from the opposition – such as the last quarter in the Victorian trials where he was clunking marks left, right and centre – but it is closing the gap when the game is not favouring the talls to maintain intensity and impact on the ground. He is still one of the better talls in the crop and has a good athletic base to build on, with his contested marking one of, if not the best in the crop.

Other in the mix:

The Jets finished the year with the three National Draft Combine invitees, so along with Cassar and Jeka, Josh Honey is the other one who has impressed enough clubs to earn a place at the combine. Overager Daly Andrews put in a consistent season this year to remain a chance after earning a Rookie Me Combine invitation.

BnF chances:

Given his season, it is hard to look past Morrish Medallist Lucas Rocci who after making the switch from attack to defence has been superb as captain of the side. Competition leading goalkicker, Archi Manton will polll well, as will overage ruck Will Kennedy, Andrews and Jonah Horo.

2020 Draft Crop:

The Jets have a number of bottom-age prospects who became the cream on top of their 2019 blue collar team with exciting forward Eddie Ford having one of the best leaps in the game. Along with Ford, each third is covered with a talented prospect including midfielder Lucas Failli – who while undersized provides plenty of grunt on the inside – and Cody Raak who used the ball well in defence with an ability to play tall or small. The fourth player to earn a place in the Under-17 Futures game highlighting his talent this year was Liam Conway who will be one to also keep an eye on next year.

Final word:

Western Jets played a strong defensive game this year, often engaging in low-scoring dour battles that highlighted their strengths in the back half. They struggled to put up big scores at times with the likes of Manton and Aaron Clarke being the main targets, but were happy to keep the game low scoring, backing their defence to restrict their opponents. They had the least amount of overall combine invitations this year, but took home the season’s ultimate individual awards with Rocci (best and fairest) and Manton (leading goalkicker). They have a bit more flair about them next season and will develop further in Ryan O’Keefe‘s second season in charge after nailing the defensive aspects of football this year.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Semi-finals

THE cream is rising to the top as the NAB League finals series narrows down to the final four contenders after a pair of hard fought semi-finals. With a host of national and state combine invitees in action, we cast our eye over the weekend’s action to highlight the best-performing invitees in our opinion-based notes.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons

Sandringham:

By: Ed Pascoe

#2 Darcy Chirgwin

It was not a huge game from Chirgwin disposal wise but he was still a key cog in the Sandringham midfield where they out-worked their opponents. Chirgwin’s ball use was improved on last week and he made some good composed decisions at stoppages, he used his body well at stoppages and tackled hard when he did not have possession. Chirgwin finished the game with 17 disposals and eight tackles.

#4 Finn Maginness

Maginness was his teams best player playing a great four quarter performance with his work on the inside and workrate around the ground proving unstoppable for the Calder midfielders. The Hawthorn father-son prospect set the tone early winning the hard ball and proving impossible to tackle keeping his feet and firing out handballs, he was too strong to take down and his running too powerful for the Calder midfielders to go with him on the outside. Maginness kicked a classy goal in the first quarter faking his opponent and then kicking the goal on the run, his disposal by foot has never been a strong suit but he was able to hit some good targets especially inside 50. MAginness finished the game with 32 disposals, 5 tackles, 7 inside 50s and a goal.

#5 Ryan Byrnes

Byrnes, despite a slowish start, really hit his straps half way through he first quarter and never looked back, playing a huge game through the midfield in winning plenty of the ball and firing the it inside 50. Byrnes has been Sandringham’s player of the finals so far and the captain played his role well, winning the ball on the inside and working hard around the ground while showing great composure with ball in hand and moving it quickly inside 50 when needed. Byrnes finished the game with 32 disposals and 10 inside 50s.

#6 Miles Bergman

Bergman had a very quiet game by his standards and was well held by Calder’s Ben Overman. Bergman’s poor game was not through lack of effort since he still led hard to provide an option up forward, it was disappointing that Sandringham did not move him into the middle in the last quarter to try and get him some touch going into their preliminary final next week. Bergman finished with four marks and four disposals.

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith

Ralphsmith was the player to take the game away from Calder early kicking three first quarter goals and despite not adding to that tally, still finished the game as one of Sandringham’s most influential players. Ralphsmith was unstoppable both in the air and at ground level taking some strong marks in the pack and on the lead and also swooping on the loose ball which is how he kicked two of his three goals in the first quarter. Ralphsmith seemed to lack a bit of composure after the first quarter just attacking the goals from very situation where he could have looked for his teammates more, still he would continue to show his exciting traits as he finished the game with 19 disposals, eight marks and kicked 3.3.

#13 Louis Butler

Butler again won plenty of the ball in defence providing important rebound for his side. Butler is one of the most consistent defenders in the NAB League having no trouble finding the ball and he proved that again and although it is mostly his attacking side that is highlighted he showed his improved defensive side with some strong tackles. Butler’s ball use was again good but still had some turnovers which he will need to better avoid if he is to get his side into a grand final. He finished the game with 25 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s.

#36 Oscar Lewis

Lewis played a different role for Sandringham playing mostly forward and despite not hitting the scoreboard still contributed well. The evasive left footer was energetic up forward both with and without the ball always looking to create with the ball and try and lock the ball in when he did not have it. Lewis finished the game with 12 disposals and seven tackles.

Calder:

By: Peter Williams

#1 Daniel Mott

The standout four quarter contributor from the Cannons who looked sore towards the end of the game but never stopped trying. He was frustrated with himself when he coughed up a handball on the deck to Dragons’ skipper Ryan Byrnes, but kept pushing hard and was one of the few ball winners from his side in the first term. He produced a lovely kick inside 50 to hit-up Mason Fletcher up one end in the third term, and intercepted a ball in the final quarter but his set shot just missed. He had another snap on goal late and it was bouncing through but touched by Corey Watts on the line.

#8 Sam Ramsay

After a quiet first term, Ramsay found the ball with ease, racking it up in the second half and becoming the main man with Mott tiring. He was working hard to try and create run and carry in the back half and open up the game. At times made mistakes going down the middle such as being chopped off by Byrnes late in the game, but he was doing his best to keep his side alive in the finals series. The biggest disposal winner from the Cannons and equal most on the ground, which was remarkable after only a few in the first quarter.

#21 Harrison Jones

Showed clean hands with a quick handball early in the second term, but the shot on goal from his teammate missed. He had a chance of his own from 55m out straight in front with a huge roost but just fell a few metres short and was rushed across the line. In the third term, Jones tried to create something going forward but ended up spraying the kick inside 50 out on the full, but the next kick was a low drilling kick inside 50. Jones also dropped back into defence at times, taking a nice intercept mark later in the game and switching play.

#38 Brodie Newman

The captain tried hard throughout the game in an often under-siege defence. He was having to back-up his teammates in the air and at ground level trying to maintain composure there, and was doing one percenters throughout the match. He went forward in the final term to try and spark something, doing well in a one-on-one contest against Watts to force a stoppage.

#43 Lachlan Gollant

His day started with winning a free kick for being thrown to the ground with his kick going out on the full, but it got better from there. Not a huge disposal game with just the 14, but his defensive work was very impressive. On a number of occasions he put his body on the line when he had to go and protected the ball drop zone, as well as applying shepherds and bumps when required. In one instant he won the ball, handballed off then shepherded for a teammate to run off half-back, then later on was tackled, had to cough up the ball quickly, but ran down an opponent with a terrific tackle.

#48 Nathan Stewart

Played out of defence and pushed up the ground to be solid overall in the scheme of things. He created some run and quick hands out of the back 50 and along the wing, including a great tackle on Jesse Castan on the wing to win a free kick.

Gippsland Power vs. Western Jets

By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland:

#2 Caleb Serong

It was another consistent four quarter effort from the highly rated Serong, who again topped the Gippsland disposal tally with 27. His stoppage work was a highlight as usual, as his clean hands and strength often gave Power first use with seven clearances. He kicked a lovely running snap goal in the second term, but he could have had an even greater scoreboard impact. He took a leaping overhead mark inside 50 during the third term, but didn’t connect well with the set shot. After keeping the ball in front from a stoppage in the last, he collected to run inside 50 and just missed on his left foot, but still showed the penetration he gets on his non-preferred. A double 50 metre penalty late was a lowlight, but he plays his best footy on the edge.

#4 Sam Flanders

Not as influential as the week before, but the explosive Flanders still produced some eye catching moments throughout the afternoon. His first half was a tad quiet, but was highlighted by a big torp that caused some panic inside 50. He got involved in the third quarter, escaping from a strong tackle at a stoppage, released to a teammate, before getting the ball back and kicking inside 50. His best moment came later in the third when he superbly read the drop of the ball off a pack to gather cleanly and run into an open goal. A solid 18 disposal outing.

#6 Riley Baldi

The inside midfielder was back to his ball winning best for the semi-final, getting involved offensively and defensively. He set the tone in the first quarter with a heavy tackle in the defensive 50, before executing a rundown tackle later in the term. He was smart at the stoppages, reading the drop first as he often does and extracting to the advantage of his side. Baldi spread hard to the flanks and was used to on multiple occasions to deliver inside 50, with a composed left foot pass to Ryan Sparkes during the third term the best of them. He finished the day with 23 disposals to be one of many good contributors.

#10 Leo Connolly

Connolly’s excellent form continued on Saturday as he again took the game on with great intent from the back half. He took a great contested intercept mark in the opening minutes of the game, using smart body work to keep his opponent at bay. He was then on the end of multiple running plays, baulking around opponents and cutting through the corridor with dare before generally executing a pin point pass. He is Power’s go to man in the back half and he rarely lets his teammates down with those dual sided elite skills. Connolly finished with 19 disposals for the game of which most produced long metres to advantage.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

Another Gippsland Vic Country representative who had a more profound impact in the second final, running up and down the wing and hitting the scoreboard. He produced a long metres gained movement in the second term and ran to dangerous positions. What I loved was that he created an option forward, hitting a lovely long set shot into the wind during the third term. Sparkes pushed inside 50 again in the final quarter, finding space in the right hand pocket and finishing well from a difficult position. As usual, he impacted aerial contests at every opportunity with courage and finished with a respectable 19 disposals to go with the brace of goals.

#16 Josh Smith

Again, it was extremely tough conditions for the talls, but Smith always finds a way to impact the contest. He threw his body around in the ruck and at ground level, on occasions looking hell bent on steamrolling through some of the Western midfielders. Some were smart enough to get out of the way, others were not so lucky. You can never question his endeavour, providing an excellent double effort on the wing in the first quarter. While he didn’t dominate, he managed to kick a nice running goal in the third term and played his role.

#17 Charlie Comben

Comben returned to the side after missing the Qualifying Final and was better than his disposal tally of eight suggested. He again provided moments that suggests why he is generating so much attention from a draft prospective. He started in the ruck and won his fair share of hit outs, before often resting forward to provide a target. He clunked an excellent overhead mark in the first quarter inside 50 and provided a second aerial highlight later in the third. At ground level he fought aggressively, laying a physical tackle on Daly Andrews in the first term. An excellent snapped goal under pressure in the final term capped off an underrated performance.

#19 Fraser Phillips

The medium forward had an ok day without setting the game alight. He started with a lovely hit up inside 50 in the opening quarter, but missed a gettable left foot snap shortly after by his lofty standards. It was a difficult wind to penetrate through though, as he kicked another snap across the face later in the day. He took a nice chest mark in the third quarter and kicked truly to finish with a goal and 15 disposals.

#37 Harrison Pepper

The Vic Country representative played arguably his best game of the season, picking off balls from half back for fun and rebounded with vigour. He read the drop of a pack ball brilliantly in the first term, in which he hit up a teammate inside 50 that started things off for him. A great smother, pick up and intercept in the second term earned an applause from the crowd, as he continued to find himself with the ball when it mattered. He was efficient and made really sound decisions, ending with an impressive 25 disposals and seven rebounds.

Western:

#7 Daly Andrews

Andrews was one of the best players on the ground, for either side. Starting at the centre bounces, Andrews was dynamic inside and out, providing an early match highlight by kicking a monster goal from outside 50 in the opening minutes. He was able collect cleanly on numerous occasions, sometimes getting his arms high to release or cut through traffic with ease and kick long. The 19-year-old continued to find the ball in the second half, despite Power holding control and he was able to kick a second goal in the final term. He finished with 26 disposals to end his campaign on an individual high.

#18 Emerson Jeka

The big key position forward made the most of his limited opportunities to be one of the Jets better performers. Playing on the miserly Tye Hourigan, Jeka had to fight for everyone one of his disposals. He took a Jonathon Brown style contested chest mark on the wing in the first half, coming over the top of the pack with presence. Not long after he marked on the lead, turned quickly and superbly hit Archi Manton lace out inside 50. Jeka hit the scoreboard in the final term for well earned snapped goal to end with 11 disposals.

#20 Darcy Cassar

The highly rated half back probably hasn’t had the finals series he would have hoped, but was still solid for the Jets on Saturday. With ball in hand he made good decisions and used it well, often getting in space behind the contest. Cassar struggled for options up the line and often had to retreat via handball to ensure his side held possession, finishing with 17 disposals.

Gippsland powers into final four with eight consecutive goals

GIPPSLAND Power has moved through to a NAB League Boys preliminary final after a 35-point win over Western Jets in a wind-swept game at Ikon Park today. After Western booted the first two goals of the game, Gippsland piled on the next eight to all but end the contested. A four goals to three final term saw the Jets win the last stanza, but it was not enough to get the victory.

The game started with Western stealing the early momentum thanks to a long-range bomb from Daly Andrews. The Jets’ overager launched a set shot from 55m which sailed home in the wet, before an Aaron Clarke snapped around his body and thanks to a great block from Archi Manton, the ball bounced through for a second major. By that stage, the Jets were 13 points up after six and a half minutes. But for the next 38 and a half minutes, could not seem to break the Power’s defensive structure as Gippsland began to get its running game going.

Harvey Neocleous booted a couple of majors either side of the break with a nice Caleb Serong snap in between off a loose ball. To end the half, Nicholas Proud booted a standard goal from a luckier free kick and then was unlucky not to be paid the mark in the square a moment later. The likes of Harrison Pepper (15 disposals), Leo Connolly (11) and Ryan Sparkes (11) were getting their hands on the ball coming out of defence and running along the wings, while Serong (11) was doing as he pleased working into the game with some impact up forward. For the Jets, Andrews had a case for best on ground with 13 disposals, four tackles and two inside 50s, doing a terrific job on Sam Flanders at the stoppages, restricting him to six touches in the first half. Emerson Jeka and Charlie Comben both looked up and about, with the Jets having an injury concern after Comben accidentally pushed Jets captain, Lucas Rocci into the behind post. The courageous leader came from the field and was okay playing on despite the heavy knock. At half-time, the margin was out to 13 after the Jets had scored the first 13 points of the game to lead by five at quarter time.

Gippsland continued on the dominance after the main break, booting four goals in the premiership quarter to race out to a 39-point lead. The Jets had the first scoring shot of the quarter and their first since the opening term with a bouncing snap from Manton, but soon the Power going going. After a missed snap from 15m out, Fraser Phillips hit the scoreboard with a great set shot after a nice play down the field involving Sparkes and Flanders. Speaking of Flanders, he turned his quiet first half around with a massive third term, picking up nine disposals and going berserk around the stoppages. Josh Smith also added his name to the goal kickers list with a snap around his body, before Sparkes nailed his own goal and Gippsland was in total control.

Both teams finished the game with a number of goals in the last term as Jeka snapped for the jets’ first in more than an hour but by then it was too late. Manton booted his first major after two attempts, while Andrews benefited from a frustrated Serong who gave away back-to-back 50m penalties and sent forward. But the Power were still booting majors themselves with goals to Sparkes and Comben from snaps, and Neocleous with his third running in from 10m out. With the game winding down, Manton doubled his goal total with a smart dribbler from the pocket. In the end it was Pepper with the most touches, ending with 24 as well as three marks, four tackles, four rebounds and three inside 50s, while Serong had 22 disposals, four marks and five tackles. Andrews was the standout for the Jets with 23 disposals, five tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Rocci (23 disposals, seven rebounds) and Lucas Failli (16 disposals, five rebounds) were also impressive.

GIPPSLAND POWER 1.2 | 4.4 | 8.6 | 11.9 (75)
WESTERN JETS 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.3 | 6.4 (40)

GOALS:

Gippsland: H. Neocleous 3, R. Sparkes 2, C. Serong, N. Proud, F. Phillips, J. Smith, S. Flanders, C. Comben.
Western: D. Andrews 2, A. Manton 2, A. Clarke, E. Jeka.

BEST:

Gippsland: H. Pepper, R. Sparkes, C. Serong, S. Flanders, R. Baldi, C. Comben
Western: D. Andrews, L. Failli, L. Rocci, B. Cootee, B. Cootee, W. Kennedy