Tag: Jake Hinds

Draft dream not over for 2017 state combine nominees

THE draft dream is not over to the 2017 state combine nominees after the AFL today released the list of 96 players from around the country nominated by AFL clubs to attend the 2017 State Combine.


Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia will each run individual tests, with clubs sent the data to analyse before November’s draft. Recruiters will also get a chance to cast their eyes over a further 23 footballers at the ‘Rookie Me Combine,’ created due to number restrictions at Etihad Stadium. The Victorian State Combine will be held on Friday October 6th at Etihad Stadium, with the ‘Rookie Me Combine’ to run on Sunday October 8th at a venue yet to be decided.

Similar to the process for the national combine, each club nominated up to fifty players to nominate that they wanted to see test. To receive an invite to the AFL State Combine, players must receive at least three expressions of interest from AFL clubs, with players receiving 1-2 taking part in the Rookie Me Combine.

Possible Adelaide father-son Jackson Edwards headlines the list of nominees. The South Australia midfielder averaged 24 disposals and four marks throughout the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships and is one of 21 South Australian’s that will test in the state based combine.

Victorian Under 19 cricketer Ed Newman was Australia’s 13th man at the MCG on Boxing Day is one of the 11 Sandringham Dragons on the list. Newman has been a standout for Mentone Grammar in the AGSV School Football competition and made his Dragons debut on Sunday.

Former Melbourne player Dom Barry is on the verge of another AFL berth, scoring an invite to South Australia’s State Combine after being a strong performer for Glenelg this year.

The state leagues around the country have been well represented with a number of players invited to test out. The VFL has 10 players nominated to attend with Essendon VFL’s Alex Boyse looming as their best prospect. Boyse has booted 26 goals this season and the 191cm forward is one of four players nominated from Essendon’s VFL team.


Victorian State Combine (55):

Joel Amartey (Sandringham Dragons)
Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mark Baker (Northern Knights)
Oskar Baker (Aspley)
Harry Benson (Geelong Falcons)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown VFL)
James Bell (Sydney Swans Academy)
Tom Boyd (Murray Bushrangers)
Alex Boyse (Essendon VFL)

Sam Cameron (Sandringham Dragons)
Riley D’Arcy (Dandenong Stingrays)
Aaron Darling (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Davidson (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Palm Beach)
Lewin Davis (Bendigo Pioneers)
Max Dreher (Northern Knights)
Alex Federico (Northern Knights)
Bayley Fritsch (Casey Scorpions VFL)
Bailey Griffiths (Marcellin College)
Harrison Gunther (Glenorchy)
Jackson Hille (Sandringham Dragons)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Jake Hinds (Tasmania)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Dane Hollenkamp (Geelong Falcons)
Nick Hogan (Gippsland Power)
Josh Jaska (Geelong Falcons)
Daniel Johnston (Murray Bushrangers)
Riley Jones (Oakleigh Chargers)
Matthew King (Oakleigh Chargers)
Dylan Landt (Calder Cannons)
Jy Lane (GWS Giants Academy/Murray Bushrangers)
Doulton Langlands (GWS Giants Academy/Murray Bushrangers)

Quintin Montanaro (Sandringham Dragons)
Thomas Mundy (Burnie)
Tom Murphy (Dandenong Stingrays)
Geordie Nagle (Sandringham Dragons)
Joel Naylor (Northern Knights)
Ed Newman (Sandringham Dragons)
Harrison Nolan (Eastern Ranges)
Connor Nutting (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

Kai Owens (Sandringham Dragons)
Alex Paech (GWS Giants Academy/Murray Bushrangers)
Cassidy Parish (Geelong Falcons)
Ethan Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)
Callum Porter (Gippsland Power)
Aiden Quigley (Gippsland Power)
Nathan Richards (GWS Giants Academy)
Harry Simmington (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Labrador)
Derrick Smith (Richmond VFL)
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Aidan Tilley (Calder Cannons)
Laitham Vandeermeer (Murray Bushrangers)
Callan Wellings (GWV Rebels)
Seb Williams (Sandringham Dragons)

Tristan Xerri (Western Jets)

South Australian State Combine (21): 

Cameron Ball (Norwood)
Dom Barry (Glenelg)
Brodie Carroll (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Lochie Charlton (Norwood)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Mitch Crowden (Sturt)
Sam Davis (Glenelg)
Bryce Denham (North Adelaide)
Liam Denton (Glenelg)
Jackson Edwards (Glenelg)
Stefan Giro (Norwood)
Isaac Hewson (Norwood)
Curtis McCarthy (Glenelg)
Thomas Schmusch (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Smithson (West Adelaide)
Jordan Sweet (North Adelaide)
Jake Weidemann (Woodville-West Torrens)
Jordan West (Woodville-West Torrens)

Patrick Wilson (Sturt)
Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Sturt)

West Australian State Combine (20):

Christian Ameduri (East Perth)
Liam Baker (Subiaco)
Jordan Boullineau (Peel Thunder)
Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle)
Damon Cramer (Peel Thunder)
Patrick Farrant  (Swan Districts)
Jonathon Frampton (South Fremantle)
Scott Jones (East Perth)
Zac Langdon (Claremont)
Tyrese Miller (West Perth)
Lachlan Mitchell (Peel Thunder)
Gordon Narrier (Perth)
Cody Nineytte (Perth)
Will Powell (Claremont)

Aaron Redhead (East Perth)
Zareth Roe (Perth)
Liam Ryan (Subiaco)
Haiden Schloithe (Subiaco)
Chris Scott (East Fremantle)
Taryce Stewart (Swan Districts) 

Rookie Me Combine (23):

Kwaby Boakye (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
Hamish Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
Damien Burke (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
Jack Clayton (Brisbane Lions Academy)
James Ferry (Essendon VFL)
Tom Freeman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Joel Griffiths (Geelong Grammar)
Jack Hardman (Sydney Swans Academy)
Matthew Harman (Northern Knights)
Lachlan Harris (Sandringham Dragons)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Cooper Jones (Bendigo Pioneers)
Daniel Joseph (Aspley)
Francis Kinthari (NT Thunder)
Jordan Lynch (Eastern Ranges)
Josh Newman (Williamstown VFL)
Tony Olango (NT Thunder)
Kieren Parnell (NT Thunder)
Julian Patterson (Gippsland Power)
Kieran Strachan (Essendon VFL)
Sam Switkowski (Box Hill VFL)
Charlie Thompson (Oakleigh Chargers)
Aaron Trusler (Sandringham Dragons)

Under 18 Championships Preview: Allies

THE ALLIES are in their second year of a relatively new Under 18 Championship concept bringing together the best players from the Under 18 Academy Series (Previously the division two championships) to play against the division one teams.

2016 saw top ten draftees Will Setterfield (GWS Giants) and Jack Bowes (Gold Coast Suns) run out for the Allies, playing against division one sides South Australia, Western Australia, Vic Country and Vic Metro.

Last year saw the Allies bookmarked as favourites by some for the title – but struggled coming together just before the championships started, finding it hard to play as a team. This year; a camp as a group and two trial games in the lead up to the division one carnival will hopefully allow the players to adjust to their new teammates and gel as a group.

While the squad on the forefront isn’t as strong as last year, the Allies are expected to put up a fight throughout the carnival.

Greater Western Sydney’s academy has the most members of any division two side, with 12 players included, followed by Gold Coast Academy (10) and Sydney Academy (nine). Northern Territory (seven), Tasmania (six) and Brisbane Lions (four) round out the other division two sides.

Among those named are first round prospects Jarrod Brander and Charlie Spargo (GWS), both of whom were ruled ineligible to be drafted by GWS through the academy system and placed on the open market. Connor Ballenden (Brisbane) is another pegged as a first round talent as one of the best key forwards in the draft.

The squad also includes two father-son prospects for the 2018 draft with Bailey Scott (Gold Coast) who is also eligible for father/son at Geelong and North Melbourne, and Nick Blakey (Sydney – also eligible for father/son at North Melbourne and Brisbane).

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DHu5Xb0zzg[/embedyt]

Players to watch: 

Zac Bailey – Was one of the standouts for the Allies in their trial game against Vic Country – collecting 18 disposals, laying eight tackles and had five clearances. His work inside the contest is very good despite his small frame. Has enough speed to burst from the stoppages and can hit the scoreboard.

Connor Ballenden – The Brisbane Lions Academy member is a strong contested marking forward who plays well out of the goalsquare. Will likely provide some chop out in the ruck for Brayden Crossley and Nathan Richards throughout the carnival. Has a very fluid set shot routine and kicks more goals than he misses.

Jarrod Brander – Brander is a key position tall that can play at either end. His mobility is very good and he reads the flight of the ball well in the air. Has been kicking goals for Geelong Grammar at school football – but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play at centre half back in the Under 18 Championships for the Allies.

Jack Powell – The GWS Academy member is a good two-way runner and is a clean ball user on his right foot. Spreads well from the contest and did some good things in the NAB AFL Academy game at the MCG. Had 16 disposals in the midfield for the Allies in their practice game against Vic Metro.

Charlie Spargo – Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard despite standing at 175cm. Wins the contested ball and is willing to tackle hard to get the ball back. Played for the Allies in 2016, with a strong effort manning Vic Metro’s MVP Andrew McGrath at Etihad Stadium – collecting 15 disposals and laying six tackles.

2018 names to keep an eye on:

Bailey Scott – Good decision maker with ball in hand and wins the ball on both the inside and outside. Marks well overhead and was impressive for Gold Coast in the Under 18 Academy Series. Had 12 disposals and took four marks in the Allies’ trial game against Vic Country. Father-Son prospect to Geelong and North Melbourne, as well as being eligible for Gold Coast through their academy.

Nick Blakey – One of the leading players for the 2018 draft. Not only can play as a tall, but has the ability to push up into the midfield. Moves well and kicks it nicely on his left foot. Likely to play up forward for the Allies. Sydney Swans Academy member and father-son prospect to North Melbourne and Brisbane Lions.

Tarryn Thomas – Starred for Tasmania last year in the Under 18 Championships as an Under 16 player. Had some outstanding moments in the trial game against Vic Metro collecting 17 disposals, showing off his speed across half forward. Had very good vision and awareness to switch the ball deep inside 50 to find a free teammate at the top of the goalsquare. Is part of North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy.


Round 1: v VIC COUNTRY – June 11th 12.30pm Blacktown
Round 2: v SOUTH AUSTRALIA – June 17th 10.10am Adelaide Oval (FOX FOOTY)
Round 3: v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – June 25th 12.30pm Leederville Oval
Round 4: BYE
Round 5: v VIC METRO – July 5th 2.10pm Simonds Stadium (FOX FOOTY)

Possible Round One team: 

B: Jake Hinds, Jack Payne, Kwaby Boakye
HB: Tom Highmore, Jarrod Brander, Jack Clayton
C: Brodie Foster, Nicholas Shipley, Sam Davidson
HF: James Bell, Nick Blakey, Tarryn Thomas
F: Hugh Dixon, Connor Ballenden, Jack Hardman

FOLL: Brayden Crossley, Charlie Spargo, Jack Powell
INT: Nathan Richards, Luke Robertson, Brendan Myers, Harry Simmington, Zac Bailey


Finishing prediction: 4th – The Allies should be able to beat Western Australia and their tall forwards may cause headaches for other teams if they can win enough ball in the midfield.

MVP prediction: Charlie Spargo – The tough inside midfielder was the Under 16 Alan McLean Medalist, dominating division two back in 2015. Expect him to crack in hard and win the plenty of the ball.


No. Name
HT (cm)
WT (kg)
1 Charlie SPARGO 25/11/1999 173 73 Murray Bushrangers/Albury
2 Jack HARDMAN 31/12/1999 173 67 Swans/UNSW
3 Brodie FOSTER 3/3/1999 178 74 Suns/Surfers Paradise
4 Laine FITZGERALD 16/1/1999 179 78 Bendigo Pioneers/Balranald
5 Zac BAILEY 23/9/1999 180 68 Southern Districts
6 Jack POWELL 15/7/1999 180 75 Giants/Ainslie
7 Sam DAVIDSON 6/5/1999 180 70 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
8 Luke SKRIVANIC 8/4/1999 182 74 Swans/Pennant Hills
9 Jacob DAWSON 3/11/1999 182 80 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
10 James BELL 10/2/1999 183 75 Swans/UNSW
11 Brendan MYERS 10/2/1999 183 80 Giants/Wagga Tigers
12 Adam SAMBONO 24/4/1997 184 69 Darwin Buffalos
13 Bailey SCOTT 9/7/2000 184 70 Suns/Broadbeach Cats
14 Jack CLAYTON 25/2/1999 184 77 Lions/Wests Juniors
15 Jake BROWN 19/3/1998 185 76 Swans/St George
16 Thomas MUNDY 23/11/1999 185 79 Burnie
17 Jy LANE 21/3/1999 185 78 Murray Bushrangers/Corowa
18 Jake HINDS 7/5/1999 186 78 Launceston
19 Doulton LANGLANDS 29/7/1999 187 80 Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
20 Nicholas HUTCHINSON 21/5/1999 187 80 Hobart City
21 Damien BURKE 21/1/1999 188 83 Suns/Cape York Eagles
22 Tarryn THOMAS 25/3/2000 189 71 North Launceston
23 Luke ROBERTSON 7/5/1998 189 85 Swans/North Shore
24 Kwaby BOAKYE 16/3/1999 188 88 Suns/Broadbeach Cats
25 Harry SIMINGTON 28/3/1999 189 85 Suns/Labrador Tigers
26 Nicholas SHIPLEY 25/6/1999 190 90 Giants/St George
27 Matthew GREEN 5/5/2000 190 67 Sporties Spitfires
28 Harrison CARR 9/2/1998 190 87 Swans/North Shore
29 Michael CARROLL 18/6/1999 191 85 Swans/Pennant Hills
30 Caleb GRAHAM 12/9/2000 192 82 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
31 Tom HIGHMORE 24/2/1998 192 82 Giants/Marist
32 Zac BUECHNER** 5/3/1998 192 90 Clarence
33 Jarrod BRANDER 11/2/1999 194 89 Bendigo Pioneers/Wentworth
34 Nicholas BLAKEY 27/2/2000 194 75 Swans/UNSW
35 Hugh DIXON 26/2/1999 195 92 Kingborough Tigers
36 Jack PAYNE 15/10/1999 195 93 Lions/Noosa
37 Alex PAECH 17/6/1999 196 99 Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
38 Connor BALLENDEN 29/3/1999 199 95 Lions/Wests Juniors
39 Brayden CROSSLEY 16/8/1999 198 105 Suns/Labrador Tigers
40 Nathan RICHARDS 11/2/1999 200 102 Giants/Griffith Swans
42 Timakoi BOWIE 4/4/1999 175 80 Suns/Cape York Eagles
43 Jarrod OSBORNE 29/12/1998 180 79 Swans/Manly
44 Ben SLOAN 27/8/1999 189 80 Lions/Mt Gravatt
45 Rodney BAIRD 1/3/1999 192 72 Palmerston
46 Daniel JOHNSTON 1/12/1999 196 97 Murray Bushrangers/Barooga
47 Tony OLANGO 2/9/1998 200 80 St Mary’s
 ** Zac Buechner was a late inclusion for Tasmania Chayce Jones

South Australia defeated in first Under 18 trial

SOUTH Australia have been defeated in their first of two trial matches in the lead up to the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, going down to a fierce Tasmanian team by 21-points at Football Park on Saturday.

The Mariners led at all the main breaks and their attack on the ball was stronger than SA, winning the contested ball and cracking in hard at the contest.

South Australia were at understrength missing a large contingent of their likely best 22 for the championships – with players such as Darcy Fogarty (Glenelg – League) and Mitch Crowden (Sturt – League) playing through the various SANFL levels.

Tasmania themselves were missing bottom-age AFL Academy member Chayce Jones who will likely miss the rest of the season after a nasty ankle injury last weekend. Allies squad member Thomas Mundy (foot) also didn’t play.


In defence tall Harrison Petty was impressive for South Australia, able to mark the ball well inside defensive 50.

Eagles small James Rowe booted three goals up forward, at times working further up the ground through the midfield at the contests.

Possible draftee Nathan Kreuger booted a sole goal in a quiet performance and it will be intriguing to see where on the ground he is played in the championships.

Inside midfielder Jakob Heitmann was SA’s best for the day, winning the ball in the centre of the ground and pressuring the opposition players.

For Tasmania, Jake Hinds was outstanding all day in a consistent four-quarter performance.

Speedy overager Harrison Pearce booted four goals and his return to form after having his 2016 season derailed by a broken leg has been impressive.

North Melbourne Next Generation 2018 Academy member Tarryn Thomas kicked three goals, continuing to put his hand up to receive a bid as a first round selection in next year’s AFL Draft.

Ruckman Tim Auckland also showed some good signs, while forward Zac Buechner booted two goals. 

Tasmania have six representatives in the Allies squad, and will take on Vic Metro and Vic Country in next Sunday’s final practice matches in Melbourne, before announcing the final squad.

South Australia will have another hit out against North Adelaide on Friday evening, before their first game in the Under 18 Championships against Western Australia at Domain Stadium on Saturday 10th June.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA    1.3    4.4     6.6    11.6 (72)
TASMANIA                   2.3    7.5    11.5    14.7 (91)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Heitmann, Petty, Weideman, Rowe, Hately, Smithson
TASMANIA: Hinds, Auckland, Clifford, Tyrrell, Gadomski, Hanson

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Rowe 3, Smithson 2, Kreuger, Charlton, Hately, Stidiford, Ballard
TASMANIA: Pearce 4, Thomas 3, Buechner 2, Gunther 2, Mansell, Cowen, Hanslow

More of Peter Argent’s images here

Allies announce strong under 18s squad

FOLLOWING the conclusion of the AFL National Under 18s Division Two Championships, the Allies have announced their squad for the upcoming division one championships. Greater Western Sydney’s academy has the most members of any division two side, with 12 players included, followed by Gold Coast Academy (10) and Sydney Academy (nine). Northern Territory (seven), Tasmania (six) and Brisbane Lions (four) round out the other division two sides.

Among those named are first round prospects Jarrod Brander and Charlie Spargo (GWS), both of whom were ruled ineligible to be drafted by GWS through the academy system and placed on the open market, as well as Brayden Crossley and Bailey Scott (Gold Coast) the latter of which is also eligible for father/son at Geelong and North Melbourne, Connor Ballenden (Brisbane) and Nick Blakey (Sydney – also eligible for father/son at North Melbourne and Brisbane).

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DHu5Xb0zzg[/embedyt]

From Matt Balmer’s top 25 Power Rankings, the Allies have Brander (#1), Ballenden (#8), Spargo (#11) and Jack Powell (#15) in the squad. A number of the GWS Academy members are on TAC Cup lists including Brander and Laine Fitzgerald (Bendigo Pioneers); and Alex Paech, Daniel Johnston, Doulton Langlands and Spargo (Murray Bushrangers).

The squad will play their final practice games on Sunday 28th May.

2017 National AFL Under 18s Championships Allies Squad:

NSW-ACT (GWS Academy): Nicholas Shipley, Brendan Myers, Jack Powell, Nathan Richards, Jarrod Brander, Alex Paech, Daniel Johnston, Laine Fitzgerald, Doultan Langlands, Jy Lane, Tom Highmore, Charlie Spargo
NSW-ACT (Sydney academy): Luke Skrivanic, Nick Blakey, James Bell, Michael Carroll, Harrison Carr, Luke Robertson, Jarrod Osborne, Jake Brown, Jack Hardman
Northern Territory: Rodney Baird, Zac Bailey, Matthew Green, Jeremiah Scrutton, Tony Olango, Adam Sambono, Dominic Grant
Queensland (Gold Coast academy): Brodie Foster, Brayden Crossley, Harry Simmington, Jacob Dawson, Bailey Scott, Sam Davidson, Damien Burke, Timakoi Bowie, Caleb Graham, Kwaby Boakye
Queensland (Brisbane Lions academy): Connor Ballenden, Jack Payne, Jack Clayton, Ben Sloan
Tasmania: Chayce Jones**, Tarryn Thomas, Hugh Dixon, Thomas Mundy, Jake Hinds, Nicholas Hutchinson
** Jones has been ruled out through injury and has been replaced by Zach Buechner (Tasmania)

15 Division Two names to watch out for in 2017

NSW/ACT's Jack Powell. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images)
NSW/ACT’s Jack Powell. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The Division Two state carnival wrapped up a fortnight ago with NSW/ACT running away as winners. With clubs having the ability to trade future draft picks, Matthew Grundy casts his eye over 15 of the top talent to watch out for next year from the Division Two states.


Charlie Spargo 
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
25/11/1999 | 175cm | 75kg

Nearly 18 months out from the 2017 draft, Charlie Spargo is already touted as one of the best players for next year. Spargo has spent most of 2016 inside 50 for the Bushrangers and for NSW/ACT, kicking five goals in the TAC Cup. His Under 16 championships last year was impressive, where he won the Alan McLean Medal as the best player in the Division Two carnival and the MVP for NSW/ACT. Spargo averaged 29 disposals and kicked five goals in the two games and is tied with the GWS Giants academy. Spargo has AFL ties in his blood, his father Paul played 90 AFL games for Brisbane Bears and North Melbourne. Spargo is a high impact player and has a good burst of pace in the midfield, showing spark around the contest. Despite playing just the one game for NSW/ACT in this years Under 18 championship, he was selected in the Allies squad. Spargo also had 13 disposals on NEAFL debut earlier in the year and is a name to listen out for over the next 18 months.

Jack Powell 
Balanced Midfielder/Small Forward (Ainslie/NSW-ACT)
15/07/1999 | 179cm | 73kg

Jack Powell is another NSW/ACT player tied with the GWS Giants. Powell spent most of his time in the Under 16 championships last year playing forward, with an impressive three goal haul against Tasmania . Powell has gradually moved into the midfield, where he averaged 18 disposals in the Under 18 Division Two carnival in 2016. Powell’s strong performance saw him picked in the Allies squad where he was selected in their opening game. The hard working midfielder was one of the Rams’ best players in their TAC Cup clash against Dandenong Stingrays in April. Powell had 26 disposals and kicked two goals that day in a strong showing. The tough Canberra based midfielder has the uncanny ability to win lots of the football and push forward to kick goals.

Nathan Richards
Ruckman (Griffith/NSW-ACT)
01/02/1999 | 197cm | 99kg

Giant ruckman Nathan Richards has the potential to be one of the best ruckman in the 2017 draft pool. Linked with GWS, Richards has a basketball background that helps him at the stoppages where he impressed as the NSW/ACT number two ruckman in the Under 18 championships. Playing second fiddle to Max Lynch, Richards gave the midfielders good supply with his tap work. Richards rucked well in the U16 championships, including a best on ground display against Queensland. Richards positions himself well at the stoppages, but does need to work on his impact around the ground.

Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
11/02/1999 | 193cm | 93kg

Key Position Forward Jarrod Brander looms as one of the early tall prospects for the 2017 draft. Brander is currently on a scholarship to Geelong Grammar in Victoria, where he kicked 28 goals as a Year 10 in the First XVIII competition. Brander kicked four goals in the U16 Championships playing inside 50 for NSW/ACT, making it into the Level One AFL Academy. Brander suffered a knee injury and has missed a large portion of this season recently returning to school football. Brander is one to keep a real close eye on next season.

Alex Paech
Key Position Utility (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
17/06/1999 | 195cm | 104kg

Alex Paech is one of the most intriguing prospects for the 2017 draft. Paech weighs over 100kg and out muscles his opponents at both ends of the ground. Paech has played mostly in defence for the Bushrangers this season in the TAC Cup but can work forward and through the ruck. Paech was named in the best twice for NSW/ACT in the Under 16 championships enabling him to be selected in the Level One AFL Academy. His second and third efforts are good in defence and he rebounds the ball well. For Paech to improve his mobility expect him to trim down throughout the next 18 months prior to the draft where he could be one of the best swingmen in the system. Paech is yet another NSW/ACT player linked with the GWS Giants and their academy.

Alex Paech (Photo: Murray Bushrangers)
Alex Paech (Photo: Murray Bushrangers)

Jack Hardman
Small Forwad (Warners Bay Bulldogs/NSW-ACT)
31/12/1999 | 173cm | 72kg

Jack Hardman is one of the few NSW/ACT players who are tied with the Sydney Swans academy. Hardman is an exciting small forward who has impressed for NSW/ACT. Hardman averaged 17 disposals and kicked five goals in the two TAC Cup games for the Rams earlier this year. Despite not playing a match for NSW/ACT in the Division Two championships, he is the leading goal kicker for his club team (Warners Bay Bulldogs). It wouldn’t surprise me to see Hardman play a game with the Sydney Swans NEAFL team at some point this year. Hardman’s X-Factor is exciting and is a tough opponent for any defender in the pocket.

Jack Hardman v Calder Cannons (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images).
Jack Hardman v Calder Cannons (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images).


Connor Ballenden
Key Position Forwad (University of Queensland/Queensland)
29/03/1999 | 198cm | 95kg

One of the best key forwards in the 2017 draft will have a massive price tag if he plays as well as he has so far this year. Ballenden has shown real strength up forward this year, including two goals and nine marks in the Queensland trial match against Vic Country earlier in the year. Ballenden was superb in the Under 16 championships last year, winning the Queensland MVP kicking six goals for the carnival. A five-goal haul in the Under 18 championships against Tasmania this year ensured his selection in the Allies squad. Ballenden takes the ball out in front of his body using his body to his advantage. Ballenden’s set shot technique is good and he works hard on the lead. Ballenden has all the potential to being the a top five selection in 2017. Ballenden is a member of the Brisbane Lions academy and should make a dynamic duo with Josh Schache in years to come.

Connor Ballenden- AFL Media
Connor Ballenden- AFL Media

Jack Clayton
Medium Defender (University of Queensland/Queensland)
25/02/1999 | 184cm | 74kg

Multi-talented sportsman Jack Clayton is one of the best kicks out of the 2017 draft prospects. Clayton is a strong cricketer, dominating the Under 17 championships with the bat- But has begun the season well apart of the Level One AFL Academy. Clayton is a rebounding half back who uses his strong kick to his advantage. In his only game for Queensland in the TAC Cup this year, he collected 16 disposals at a superb efficiency of 75 per cent. Clayton also played a role in the defensive 50 throughout the Under 18 championships, often tasked with the kick outs. Throughout the championships he averaged 12 disposals at an efficiency of 71 per cent.

Jack Clayton in the U18 championships v Tasmania. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
Jack Clayton in the U18 championships v Tasmania. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)

Brayden Crossley
Ruckman (Labrador/Queensland)
16/08/1999 | 198cm | 100kg

Gold Coast Suns academy member Brayden Crossley is one of the best talls in the 2017 crop. Crossley is predominantly a ruckman, but does have the capabilities to play forward. A strong Under 16 championship last year saw him just miss out on AFL Academy selection, after kicking four goals and being named in the best in all games. Crossley also become the NEAFL Rising Star in Round 7 this year, collecting 21 disposals and 17 hit-outs. Crossley is a tough and skillful ruckman who has many traits needed to be drafted, after starting 2016 well.

Harry Simington 
Medium Forward (Labrador/Queensland)
28/03/1999 | 188cm | 87kg

Forward Harry Simington is also a Queensland player linked with the Gold Coast Suns. As a medium forward, Simington has a great ability to mark the ball and provide spark inside 50. In his one and only game at the Under 18 championships, Simington had 17 disposals and six marks, kicking two goals in Queensland’s strong win. Simington has also shown glimpses at NEAFL level in his five games this year. The mobile target leads up the ground well, converting his multiple chances.

Jacob Dawson
Balanced Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
16/08/1999 | 181cm | 77kg

One of the best performed bottom age midfielder for Queensland was Jacob Dawson. The Gold Coast academy member was named in the best twice in the Under 16 championships and he carried that form into this season. In his only TAC Cup game he had 19 disposals and seven tackles at 89 per cent efficiency. The midfielder was also good through the Under 18 championships, averaging 17 disposals and five tackles. Dawson is strong at the clearances added with his slick and strong skills, makes him a strong all round midfielder that could prove to be a top prospect in 2017.

Jacob Dawson (right) at the Division Two championships. (Photo: AFL Queensland Facebook)
Jacob Dawson (right) at the Division Two championships. (Photo: AFL Queensland Facebook)

Northern Territory

Dominic Grant
Inside Midfielder (Wanderers/NT)
29/01/1999 | 189cm | 77kg

Tough inside midfielder Dominic Grant is a member of the Level One AFL Academy and shows plenty of energy around the contest. Grant’s tackling pressure is superb and had a strong Under 16 championship for NT, named in the best twice. Playing as a half forward and pushing through the midfield, Grant had 17 disposals and five clearances in this years Under 18 championship. Grant has been playing SANFL football for North Adelaide in the Under 18 competition and will be pushing to play in the SANFL reserves at some point this year.

Dominic Grant (#17) against Queensland. (Photo: AFL NT Facebook)
Dominic Grant (#17) against Queensland. (Photo: AFL NT Facebook)

Xavier Cubillo
Outside Midfielder (Wanderers/NT)
26/01/1999 | 174cm | 72kg

Hardworking outside midfielder Xavier Cubillo is another player worth watching. Cubillo had a solid Under 16 championships named in the best twice. Cubillo has showed promise in the TAC Cup, averaging 13 disposals and four marks providing plenty of run on the outside for NT. He also had the chance to play as a bottom ager in the Under 18 championships, collecting nine disposals and two inside 50s on average. The gut running midfielder is one to keep an eye on throughout the next 18 months as one of the better prospects to come out from NT.

Xavier Cubillo in the Division Two Under 18 championships. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
Xavier Cubillo in the Division Two Under 18 championships. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)


Jake Hinds 
Inside Midfielder (Launceston/TAS)
07/05/1999 | 183cm | 78kg

Despite being bottom age, Jake Hinds was one of the best performing Tasmanians in the Under 18 championships. Hinds moves well around the contest and also has the ability to play in multiple positions. Despite a relatively quiet Under 16 championship he hit back and averaged 15 disposals in the Under 18 carnival. Hinds was one of the few bright lights in the Tasmanian team and is definitely a name to watch over the next 18 months.

Hinds playing for Tasmania in the Division Two carnival. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
Hinds playing for Tasmania in the Division Two carnival. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)

Lachlan Clifford 
Inside Midfielder (Kingborough/TAS)
18/02/1999 | 178cm | 73kg

Ball magnet Lachlan Clifford has shown promise as a small midfielder. Despite his size, Clifford wins a large chunk of contested ball providing plenty of energy around the stoppages. In the TAC Cup, Clifford has averaged 22 disposals and 15 tackles in his two games showing his ability to match it with bigger and strong opponents. Despite a poor Under 18 championship for Tasmania, Clliford averaged 13 disposals, six tackles and five clearance on the inside. A knock on Clifford is his disposal efficiency and he will be working hard on cleaning that up before next years Under 18 championships.

Lachlan Clifford tackled against Eastern. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media)
Lachlan Clifford tackled against Eastern. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media)