Tag: Jordan Ridley

Analysis | The importance of fitness testing in modern football recruiting

THERE has been plenty of debate when talking about potential AFL prospects pertaining to the differences between judging ‘athletes’ against ‘pure footballers’. There is an argument that fitness testing should be taken with a grain of salt and that the eye test is most important, but when it comes to players being drafted – especially in the first round – prospects are often at the pointy end in at least one fitness test.

For anyone still unfamiliar with the main fitness tests conducted during preseason and at the AFL Draft Combine, they are as follows:

  • Agility Test
  • 20m Sprint
  • Standing and Running Vertical Leap
  • Yo-Yo Test
  • 2km Time Trial

Last year’s number one pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan excelled in the 20m sprint and vertical leap tests, with his on-field speed off the mark and jump at the ball highlighting just why he excelled at those tests. The combine, if anything, gives reassurance that those traits are indeed elite and will help try and separate talents like Ugle-Hagan from any other key forwards in that year’s crop. Athleticism is very important in modern football, with players quicker and bigger than what most talented youngsters are used to at the development levels. One club which has seemingly identified this in modern times is the fast-rising Essendon Football Club.

Since 2014, Essendon seems to have had a clear strategy with the types of players they have looked at with their high picks. Below is a list of the Bombers’ top 40 selections since 2014 and which tests those players excelled at. In a lot of cases, they were top 10 in those tests at the end-of-year combine.

2014:

Pick 17 – Jayden Laverde
(Didn’t test but athleticism was a highlight of his game)

Pick 20 – Kyle Langford
Agility

2015:

Pick 5 – Darcy Parish
Average in most tests

Pick 6 – Aaron Francis
(Didn’t test but like Laverde, athleticism was a highlight in games)

Pick 29 – Alex Morgan (Since delisted)
20m Sprint, Vertical Leap, Agility

Pick 30 – Mason Redman
3km time trial

2016:

Pick 1 – Andrew McGrath
Vertical Leap, Agility

Pick 20 – Jordan Ridley
20m Sprint

2017:

Nil

2018:

Pick 38 – Irving Mosquito
Vertical Leap

2019:

Pick 30 – Harrison Jones
Vertical Leap, Yo-Yo, 20m Sprint

Pick 38 – Nick Bryan
Vertical Leap, 20m Sprint

2020:

Pick 8 – Nik Cox
20m Sprint, 2km TT

Pick 9 – Archie Perkins
20m Sprint, Vertical Leap

Pick 10 – Zach Reid
Vertical Leap

Pick 39 – Josh Eyre
20m Sprint, Vertical Leap

There is one big outlier here and that’s one of this year’s Brownlow contenders in Darcy Parish, who was only average in test results during his draft year. This could be seen as the biggest clue as to why athletic testing shouldn’t be so important, but it can also be argued that one of the main reasons for Parish’s form is due to improving his running capacity to an elite level.

Even their most recent mid-season selection, Sam Durham tested well for vertical leap and endurance, so its no surprise at least in Essendon’s case that athletic traits are a huge influence in whether the player gets taken. The current favourite for the Rising Star, Nik Cox has taken the competition by storm with his mix of athleticism and height, with that height another factor in the early Essendon selections. It was a matter of time before Cox got his nomination for the Rising Star award and in retrospect, we should have all seen his selection by Essendon coming considering all the traits he possesses are key indicators in the Bombers’ recent draft strategy.

Using this history, we can even try to narrow down the possible field of players that Essendon will look at with its first round pick in 2021. A trio of Sandringham Dragons instantly come to mind with Campbell Chesser, Josh Sinn and Finn Callaghan. All three players tested well for the 20m sprint and vertical leap during preseason, highlighting their power and athleticism. With all measuring at over 185cm, they even fill a midfield need for the Bombers. They have another prospect right under their noses in Josh Goater who made his Essendon VFL debut not long ago and is an athletic beast. His speed and leap tests were all elite and at 190cm, he would be another Essendon style selection.

The modern footballer is taller, faster and can run all day, and it is getting harder and harder for pure footballers to make it at the top level. If young, pure footballers can start to develop athleticism in their game, even if it’s an elite endurance base, that’s at least a start in the right direction.

Height used to be a detractor for clubs but now with the likes of Caleb Daniel, Kysaiah Pickett, Brent Daniels and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, that is no longer the same obstacle for potential draftees as it used to be – though you also need to have that speed and class. If you are small and have the athletic traits and determination to make it as an AFL player, then you will be on the right track. If you are tall and have those traits, your chances of making an AFL list are even higher.

Fitness testing is an important tool, not just for clubs and recruiters, but also for up and coming players – especially those at the very early level. I’m hopeful coaches of junior football are able to set up some of these tests to help young players find their best traits, enhance them and embrace them. Understandably, it takes time, money and effort on their part and not every junior club or parent has that available. Programs such as Rookie Me, the official fitness testing partner of the AFL, allow junior athletes to experience professional environments at an early age, proving another handy head-start for budding footballers.

Image Credit: Graham Denholm/AFL Photos

Classic Contests: Chargers bundle Bushies out in straight sets

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 11 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2015, where the two sides met in a tense semi-final.

2015 TAC Cup, Semi Finals
Sunday September 13, 11:00am
Ikon Park

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.4 | 3.9 | 5.12 | 9.13 (67)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.4 | 4.6 | 7.10 | 10.13 (73)

Goals:

Murray: J. Schache 2, C. Oliver 2, T. McMullan, L. Smith, B. Smith, L. Tiziani, H. Payne
Oakleigh:
T. Phillips 2, L. Walker 2, P. Kerr, D. Cuningham, C. Lane, L. Byrne-Jones, J. Ridley, H. Thompson

Best:

Murray: L. Tiziani, C. Oliver, M. Waite, J. Schache, H. Payne, W. Brodie
Oakleigh:
L. Byrne-Jones, K. Answerth, D. Beddison, L. Walker, P. Phillips, J. Firns

Draftees in action:

Murray: Will Brodie*, Nicholas Coughlan**, James Cousins*, Ryan Garthwaite*, Mitch King, Harry Morrison*, Clayton Oliver, Josh Schache, Jy Simpkin*, Lachie Tiziani
Oakleigh:
 Ben Crocker, David Cuningham, Taylin Duman*, Dion Johnstone*, Patrick Kerr*, Sam McLarty*, Tom Phillips**, Jordan Ridley*

* – denotes bottom-aged
* – denotes 19-year-old

It was do-or-die for the Oakleigh Chargers and Murray Bushrangers come semi-finals time in the 2015 TAC Cup season. Having finished third at 12-5, Murray had exhausted its second chance rights after losing its qualifying final to Dandenong, while Oakleigh (sixth, 9-8) comfortably accounted for Gippsland in its elimination final tie.

Despite the loss a week earlier and the lingering fact that Oakleigh had beaten them by 10 points in Round 5, the Bushrangers would come in as favourites given their superior record and the Chargers’ 0-3 run prior to finals. Both sides were producing ridiculous numbers of AFL draftees at the time too, with Murray boasting 10 in its lineup while Oakleigh laid claim to eight – both with players across all three age groups.

Ikon Park set the scene for another big day of post-season fixtures, and the opening to this bout lived right up to the finals atmosphere in North Carlton. Both sides managed 2.4 apiece in the first term, before Oakleigh found a way on top heading into the main break. The lead was three points, credit to the Chargers’ superior finishing with 4.6 to Murray’s 3.9 – a gap of three total scoring shots to the side in deficit.

Oakleigh threatened to take the game by the scruff of its neck but could not quite pull away in the second half, with low-scoring resuming in the tricky conditions and a two-goal buffer about the best the Chargers could manage. It meant the game would be set up for a grandstand finish, with the loser set to say goodbye to season 2015. Murray sured up its kicking in the final term but could not quite sneak ahead, falling five points short with its effort of 4.1 replied to with Oakleigh’s 3.3.

Among the four players two boot two goals across both sides were three eventual draftees, with Oakleigh’s Tom Phillips managing the feat, while top five picks Josh Schache and Clayton Oliver did the same for Murray. Schache and Oliver were also among the Bushrangers’ best alongside SUNS draftee Will Brodie, with GWS Academy selection Lachie Tiziani leading the way. Lachlan Byrne-Jones earned that honour for Oakleigh, while future Blues David Cuningham and Patrick Kerr found the goals once each.

While Murray’s run ended there, the Chargers would go on to complete a remarkable finals run which ended in premiership glory, beating the Eastern Ranges come grand final day after knocking over minor premier North Ballarat in the preliminary stage. Six Chargers were drafted in 2015 to go with nine the year after, while Murray also had a total of 15 players move on to the elite level over the same period.

 

Matt Balmer’s 2016 Final AFL Draft Power Rankings Part 2

EVERY month since May, Matt Balmer has ranked his players from the 2016 AFL Draft pool. With less than two weeks until the November 25 National AFL Draft, he counts down the players ranked 50-1. You can find the players Matt has ranked 50-26 here

Well what a year it has been. Looking back at May’s rankings, it’s amazing how things can change after Sam Petrevski-Seton was #1 all those months ago. We have had injuries such as Jy Simpkin and Alex Witherden breaking their legs in separate school game incidents, while names have jumped up with strong performances throughout the season and in finals.

Having seen just under 100 games throughout the season, it is always hard to come to a final order and I have ranked the players how I would if I was an AFL club going into the draft come November, ticking names off the list as they are called out.

This list is purely how I rate the players and is not a mock draft. 

#25 Cedric Cox
Outside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
19/08/1997 | 181.1cm | 78.6kg

Cedric Cox came from nowhere to find himself as one of the more exciting prospects in 2016. Cox hails from Halls Creek and after a steller interleague game in the Hampden FNL, Cox was added to the North Ballarat Rebels’ list. Whilst not a huge ball winner, his ability to rebound the ball at speed is his strength and he disposes of it well off either foot. Cox begun the All Stars match on fire, before fading badly. Pushed forward in the TAC Cup finals for the Rebels, but seems most at home playing across half back. Is the cousin of Sam Petrevski-Seton and has recently been visited by clubs in his home town in Halls Creek over the last few weeks. Might be a surprise first round selection.

#24 Jordan Ridley
General Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
20/10/1998 | 191.9cm | 79.7kg

Jordan Ridley is a tall rebounding defender who is composed with ball in hand. He talents were on show in the Chargers’ elimination final win over the Calder Cannons, where he floated across the Calder forwards marking the ball and rebounding it well. When he has the ball at half back, he is composed and makes good decisions to take the game forward. He has pushed further up onto a wing at times, as well as playing up forward as a key target. His composed nature means he likely plays half back in an AFL environment, but will need to add some size to his frame where is he built very strongly below his waist. Injured his shoulder in the TAC Cup Finals against North Ballarat.

#23 Josh Battle
General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192.0cm | 88.5kg

Josh Battle has one of the best ‘Footy IQs’ in the 2016 draft pool. Battle reads the play superbly inside 50 and his endurance is another one of his major assets when he gets up the ground on long leads. Battle can kick quick bags of goals and his fluid set shot routine means he kicks more than he missing, where he kicks the ball well through whether he is 20m or 55m out from goal. A Year 11 boy at Haileybury College will likely see him stay in Victoria wherever he is drafted to complete his schooling, similar to how Patrick Dangerfield and Jack Watts have done in the past. An ok mark overhead, but at 192cm it is unlikely he can play as a number one tall in an AFL environment. Can just be a straight line runner and will need to work on his agility.

#22 Sam Powell-Pepper
Inside Midfielder (East Perth/Western Australia)
08/01/1998 | 186.5cm | 90.2kg

Sam Powell-Pepper can have some moments that make you go wow. Some of these moments want you to cross his name off your list, whereas others make you more and more intrigued the more you watch. His decision making needs work, with a passage against South Australia in the Under 18 championships one to forget – as does his kicking which was below 50 per cent in the WAFL League, AFL Academy games and the Under 18 Championships. To Powell-Pepper’s credit, his kicking and decision making improved towards the latter half of the season and was much better throughout the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game. The powerful midfielder can win the ball in the contest and burst away from opposition players. Plays not too similar to a Dustin Martin.

#21 Harrison Macreadie
Key Position Defender (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 195.5cm | 90.9kg

Twelve months ago, if you didn’t have Harrison Macreadie written down as a top five prospects your ability to follow junior football would’ve been question. Whatever has led to him dropping down the rankings, i’m not too sure but after being moved schools by the Giants earlier this season his form in 2016 hasn’t been able to reach what it was in 2015. He finished the year better than he started in the NEAFL, but in the Under 18 championships he was below that expected from him. Is a good rebounder who can intercept mark the ball – but one-on-one work will need some work. May turn into a midfielder at the next level pushing onto a wing or across half back.

#20 Daniel Venables
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185.2cm | 82.1kg

Daniel Venables is an aggressive midfielder who can break through opposition tackles at ease. He has had a few injury concerns with a foot injury seeing him in a moon boot for the latter part of the season as well as a bad concussion earlier in the season. Venables has a powerful burst from the stoppages and has the ability to hit the scoreboard. Later in the season he played across half back for PEGS, but his best footy is on the inside or playing up forward. Didn’t put a full game together in 2016, but his flashes were simply outstanding.

#19 Will Hayward
Medium forward (North Adelaide/South Australia)
26/10/1998 | 184.7cm | 76.6kg

Will Hayward is the medium forward who has played tall in the SANFL U18s. His marking is outstanding and is good in the one-one-one contests for his size. He kicked nine goals in a SANFL U18s final where he truly dominated. Is clean below his knees, but may need some work on his set shot routine and technique at the next level. Booted eight goals in the Under 18 championships for South Australia but didn’t get too much recognition. Has some midfield craft and did a few nice things there in the midfield through the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game at Punt Road on Grand Final Day Eve. Could be a top 10 smokey.

#18 Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 196.6cm | 85.9kg

Todd Marshall is an athletic tall with a strong pair of dukes. Still raw only returning to AFL full time in 2016, after spending two winters in the UK playing cricket. At times his set shot goal kicking routine can see him hook the ball across his leg. Played his best game of the season in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final, where he had seven marks imposing himself on the game – but then followed that up with two quiet games in the important TAC Cup Grand Final and NAB AFL U18 All Stars contest. His flashes can be very good, but is yet to put a full game together and the consistency side of things is what is stopping him being worthy of a top 10 selection.

#17 Jy Simpkin
Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
05/03/1998 | 181.7cm | 74.7kg

Jy Simpkin is a crafty small forward who burst onto the scene with seven goals in six Under 18 championship games in 2015. Knows where the goals are- but does he become a full time midfielder at AFL level? Broke his leg at school football earlier in the season for Scotch College in their game against Caulfield Grammar. Was good to see him around the draftees after needing a second surgery after infection, helping move the magnets around in the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game. Didn’t test at the combine, but has begun to kick the football again. May stake a claim to be a top 15 selection.

#16 Alex Witherden
?Medium Defender (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
10/05/1998 | 186.2cm | 80.0kg

Alex Witherden is another talented prospect who missed a big chunk of 2016. Witherden suffered a broken leg playing school football for Geelong College against St Kevin’s College and missed the remainder of the season. A very good kid who has done all he can to ensure he’ll be ready to go when the preseason kicks off at his AFL club. His vision and kicking are two of his greatest strengths and these were on show early in the season for the Geelong Falcons. Witherden can play a role in multiple positions and will be able to fill a role where required. Is composed in traffic and is agile enough to get around opponents in close. Could be one of the steals of the draft.

#15 Oliver Florent
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
22/07/1998 | 182.0cm | 74.4kg

Oliver Florent is an exciting half forward/outside midfielder. In his usual eye catching orange boots, Florent has plenty of X-Factor around the ball inside 50. Liked his work last year for Sandringham and has continued that into this season. Outside midfielder who is a capable overhead mark. A good kick around the ground, but does have the ability to shank the odd kick on the run. Looks likely to start his AFL career as a half forward and push onto a wing. Has pushed through a family loss and finished the season on a high with a TAC Cup Grand Final win and best afield in the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game where he had 27 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s – despite coming off a five-day break on a hard Etihad Stadium surface.

#14 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 183.2cm | 83.7kg

Brad Scheer is a tough inside midfielder who just gets the job done with plenty of clearances. His strong contested work is his strength and he won the Allies the match against Vic Country in the Under 18 championships, with a snap deep in the pocket (Video can be found here). A heel injury kept him out of the combine and the NAB AFL U18 All Stars selection. Good runner around the ground, who likely receives a late first round or second round bid for the Gold Coast academy member.

#13 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 191.9cm | 77.4kg

Josh Rotham is a hybrid defender who has played both tall and small this season. Against VFL opposition was undersized playing key back for the AFL Academy, but looked best in the championships further up the ground, wonder if he becomes a midfielder in the future? Strong mark who got better as the championships went on and is one of the top handful of kickers in this draft pool. Possesses elite speed but probably didn’t come on in 2016 as some would’ve hoped.

#12 Griffin Logue
?Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 191.0cm | 93.9kg

Strong lockdown defender who doesn’t lose too many one-on-ones. Rowing background at school has helped his physic, with a strong upper body enabling to outmuscle his opponents. Pinch hit in the ruck in the final match for WA in the Under 18 championships and kicks the ball well off his left foot. Has the tendency to double grab the ball when he possesses it – but overall looks to be the best key position player in the draft pool. Could play from Round one and it’s believed the Swans have been keeping close tabs on him. His work in the 3km run to mow down Josh Battle was an outstanding bit of gut strength. Despite his height (191cm), Logue should be able to match it with strong opposition forwards.

#11 Will Setterfield
?Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 189.4cm | 79.7kg

Will Setterfield is a tall midfielder who is still finding his feet as to where he best plays his football. The GWS Giants academy member was down on form in the championships, carrying a foot niggle. Can play in multiple positions, but looks best forward of centre. Needs some consistency as can float in and out of games. Setterfield laid 16 tackles in a huge performance for the Sandringham Dragons in their elimination final against Eastern Ranges, before suffering an AC-joint injury in the preliminary final which saw the AFL Academy rule him out of the TAC Cup Grand Final and the NAB AFL U18 All Stars contest. His hands in close are very good and is firmly in the Bombers sights at Pick 1- But the million dollar question is will they bid on him at Pick 1?

#10 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 178.0cm | 76.2kg

Ben Ainsworth is a strong overhead mark and has the ability to change a game in 10 minutes. An interupted season with injury and suspension, but has had more midfield time in recent months. Booted four goals before being shut down by Andrew McGrath for Vic Country in the Under 18 championships, with one of his best games through the midfield being against South Australia. Did push through the midfield at TAC Cup level, but was against poor opposition including a junk time 15 disposals in the final term in the Power’s final TAC Cup outing. Damaging inside 50 but can be a bit goal hungry at stages. Ainsworth has declared his love to be drafted for the Brisbane Lions and seems likely to be heading interstate with a top five selection.

#9 Tim English
Ruckman (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
10/08/1997 | 204.7cm | 89.5kg

Tim English is a tall ruckman who uses his strong leap in the ruck contests. Only averaged 13 disposals through the championships, but showed plenty with his ability to find and dispose of the ball well off his right boot. Could mount a case that his kicking is better than some of the midfielders in the draft. Some think he may have the ability to play as a tall defender, such is his ability to read the play and kick the ball. Will need to add some size before he reaches the AFL, but is likely to be one of the few ruckman drafted in 2016.

#8 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 183.9cm | 79.4kg

GWS academy member Harry Perryman is a good decision maker, reads the play well. He didn’t look out of place, where he was composed off the half back flank throughout the championships. Kicks on both feet and ideally will transition into the midfield. Does lack speed that some of the other midfielders have. Caught clubs eyes in 2015 when he booted goals for Collingullie-GP in 2015 when clubs flocked to see 2015 draftee Matthew Kennedy play. Was impressive in the trial game for NSW-ACT at the start of the season and won their MVP- as well as claiming the Allies’. Expect a bid in the teens on draft night.

#7 Jack Scrimshaw
Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193.1cm | 83.7kg

Sandringham Dragons’ Jack Scrimshaw is a hybrid defender that is better playing small than tall. Scrimshaw plays with plenty of X-Factor and is appealing to the eye across defence. He can dash in between packs, take some eye catching marks and pinpoint a left foot pass that looks impossible to the naked eye. His versatility is appealing to clubs as there is no position he couldn’t play, with teammate Andrew McGrath declaring he could even play in the ruck if required. Scrimshaw pushed onto a wing during the championships and in the TAC Cup he has floated forward on occasions, most notably in the TAC Cup Finals and particular the second half of the Grand Final. He does look most at home controlling the defence. Mutliple injuries have affected him over the last two seasons, but has been injury free since mid year. If Scrimshaw wants to become an inside midfielder, in the ‘Bontempelli’ category he will need to improve his competitiveness and contested ball winning abilities.

#6 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 179.7cm | 72.7kg

Sam Petrevski-Seton is an exciting midfielder who has the ability to use either side of his body. Looked a touch underdone in the championships returning from hamstring issues. Not a noted huge disposal winner, but does have x-factor about him. Isn’t a midfielder that hits the scoreboard with just one goal for Claremont this season. Performed well in the WAFL Colts Grand Final- but I was disappointed we didn’t get a chance to see him push into the Reserves or League team. His All Stars match saw him collect 23 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances where he was outstanding. Is one of the midfielders in the draft that has plenty of pace to burn.

#5 Will Brodie
?Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 188.0cm | 82.4kg

Will Brodie is a strong inside midfielder and is one of the best clearance players in the draft. Goes in hard at the ball, can’t see him being anything less than a 200 game AFL footballer. Real professional, could step into an AFL team in Round One next season. Kicking has improved from earlier in the season. Brodie had a very quiet game with just the 12 disposals in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final for the Bushrangers. He collided with the umpire in the opening quarter of the TAC Cup Grand Final, leaving his nose bloodied. Finished the day with 22 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles, but I thought bar a patch in the third term his day was largely influential. Sat out the All Stars game through injury and clubs have questioned his finish to the season and his ball winning ability. Wouldn’t be a complete shock to see him fall outside the top 10.

#4 Tim Taranto
?Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/1998 | 185.6cm | 84.1kg

Tim Taranto is an athletic forward that can play through the midfield. Very good in traffic, helped by his basketball background. Willing to give the ball off to teammates in better positions. Strong overhead mark means he has the ability to play deeper inside 50, where he has plenty of smarts and can hit the scoreboard. Has plenty of shots on goal. Taranto capped off his steller finals series with best on ground honours for the All Stars match. Four goals from 19 disposals was outstanding and his ability to play inside, along with up forward sees him push into top five selection come draft night – the only question is whether Gold Coast will nab him at four or will Carlton collect him at five that is of course is the Giants overlooked him with Pick two. Had 29, 23 and 31 disposals in his final three games in the TAC Cup for the Dragons.

#3 Jack Bowes
?Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187.0cm | 77.7kg

Jack Bowes is a silky smooth midfielder who doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. He moves well through traffic, willing to pump the ball long inside 50. Was a slow starter for the Allies but got better with each game in division one. Gold Coast Academy member. Did not look out of place playing in the NEAFL and his first diposal in their Elimination Final loss just screamed elite. Is an absolute farce that a bid might not come on the talented Gold Coast teen until Pick 9. If not for McGrath’s huge TAC Cup Finals, Bowes would’ve been my number two on my rankings and he has been a great performer right from the opening AFL Academy game at the beginning of the season to the final NAB AFL U18 All Stars game at Punt Road.

#2 Andrew McGrath
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 177.4cm | 76.7kg

Andrew McGrath is an exciting rebounder from defence. The agile runner has an elite athletics background and is not afraid to take the game on- with that comes his kicking which can be shaky at stages when he tries to break the game open. Can win his own ball on the inside too. Depth of kicking over 50m a question mark, but McGrath gives you 10m in run and a 40m kick to your advantage. Excellent leadership skills as indicated by being Co-Captain of Vic Metro and school captain of Brighton Grammar School. Can play last line of defence and shut down an opponent as indicated by blanketing Ben Ainsworth & Jaidyn Stephenson. Has had a huge year, which included a steller interschool athletics carnival that saw him blitz the 100metres running a sub 11 second time. Racked up huge numbers in the TAC Cup Finals and his 38 disposal & eight clearance effort in the Grand Final saw him earn the TAC Medal for best on ground. Should be ready for action come Round One. I am expecting him to be a Bomber come next week.

#1 Hugh McCluggage
?Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185.8cm | 75.9kg

Despite McGrath’s huge season, McCluggage remains as my Number One on my ‘Power Rankings’- which he has held since August. He appears like Scott Pendlebury in traffic, making everything appear in slow motion. Clears the ball with ease via quick hands or off his preferred right boot. A few people questioning his contested ball winning abilities, but averaged 20 disposals in the Under 18 Championships (43 per cent contested). McCluggage’s contested numbers are similar at TAC Cup level and has been able to deal with the extra attention from opponents. McCluggage had some great moments in the Rebels’ semi-final loss. McCluggage collected 25 disposals, but did lack some polish by foot. His game in the All Stars match was outstanding, with the goal kicking mid slotting four majors alongside having 17 disposals. Goal kicking midfielders don’t grow on trees, but all the mail as of late will be that Essendon may overlook the talented Rebel.

 

So that’s my players ranked 25-1, if you want to know more: Send me a Tweet @MattBalmer7 – Keep your eye out for our ‘early’ Phantom Draft online later this week.

AFL Draft Combine 2016 Day 2 results

jonty-scharenberg-2

Day 2 saw players be put under the spotlight with medicals from clubs, as well as interviews with media and AFL clubs.

Players also completed testing for hand-eye coordination and reaction time, such as Ben Ainsworth attempting to hit the coloured lights in the image below.

Friday night saw players undertake the kicking, clean hands and goal kicking tests with the following players scoring well.

Vision of SA Under 18 players can be found under the SANFL YouTube account.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/embed?listType=playlist&list=UUM4dDlrOwCdPQrV_GK8Cjag[/embedyt]

Results:

Clean hands test (score out of a possible 30)
Ben Jarman (28)
Oliver Florent (28)
Ryan Garthwaite (28)
Callum Brown (27)
Jarrod Berry (27)
Will Hayward (27)
Patrick Lipinski (27)
Sam Powell-Pepper (27)
Jack Bowes (27)
Isaac Cumming (26)
Joe Atley (26)
Myles Poholke (26)
Jonty Scharenberg (26)
Harry Himmelberg (26)
Jack Maibaum (26)

Kicking test (score out of a possible 30)
Jordan Ridley (27)
Isaac Cumming (26)
Jarrod Berry (25)
Ben Long (25)
Sam Walker (25)
Josh Williams (25)
Ben Jarman (24)
Tom Williamson (24)
Dylan Clarke (24)
Kym LeBois (23)
Willem Drew (23)
Josh Battle (23)
Jake Waterman (23)

Goalkicking test (score out of a possible 30)
Sam Powell-Pepper (30)
Harry Morrison (25)
Joe Atley (25)
Josh Williams (25)
Jonty Scharenberg (25)
Ryan Garthwaite (25)
Zachary Sproule (25)
Tim English (25)
Liam Baker (25)
Ben Jarman (24)
Tyson Stengle (24)

Stars to shine bright at the National AFL Draft Combine

ben-jarman

FOR the draft crop of 2016, the National AFL Draft Combine is the first sign that their AFL dreams are a step closer to fruition. An invitation to the AFL Draft Combine means that at least five AFL clubs have expressed interest in the player. The AFL Draft Combine is a way for clubs to determine the players’ physical strengths as well as getting one-on-one time through combine interviews.

Draftees take on each other in a series of tests that challenge their speed, endurance, reflexes and skills to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine results are taken into account by clubs when deciding between players and whether they believe they can take the next step into the AFL. A total of 81 players have been invited to the 2016 AFL Draft Combine.

Matt Balmer takes a look at who might be the standouts in the testing which runs from Friday to Sunday.


Thursday:

Players will begin to arrive at Etihad Stadium before a welcome will be held for all 81 players in attendence. Not all players will be able to test due to injuries, but they will sit in on interviews and medicals with clubs early in the combine.

Thursday also sees heights and weight taken, along with all the body sizing and measurements such as skin folds and tricept sizes. My spies have told me Ollie Florent will be a likely winner for the biggest hands at the combine.

The media will also be in attendance on Thursday afternoon with Kevin Sheehan speaking alongside Jonty Scharenberg, Jy Simpkin and Sam Powell-Pepper.

Friday:

More medicals and interviews for players when they arrive for another day. Friday night from 7pm-9.30pm will be the hand balling, kicking and goal kicking tests.

The Matthew Lloyd clean hands/handpassing test measures how well a player collects the football and is able to dispose of it using a handball. There are three targets set up on both the left and right side at distances of 6m, 8m and 10m. An official will roll out or throw a ball at the player and instruct them where to handball the ball to. This is done six times and a score from 1-5 is allocated to each handball depending on how good it is.

Who could win? Hugh McCluggage‘s hands in stoppages are outstanding, whilst Andrew McGrath has the highest TAC Cup handball efficiency with 93 per cent of his handballs hitting the target.

The Brad Johnson goal kicking test will measure a players accuracy kicking for goal. Four kicking points are designated with players taking five kicks in total; two set shots (35m out in either pocket), two snaps (20m out, one left foot and one right foot) and one kick on the run (40m out directly in front). The player has 70 seconds to complete the test. A score is then worked out from the amount of goals and behinds a player kicks.

Who could win? Vic Country forward Josh Battle has a superb kick on him from short or long range distances in front of goal. Again, Hugh McCluggage has shown he can push forward and hit the scoreboard throughout 2016.

The Nathan Buckley kicking test measures players kicking efficiency over six kicks. Six targets (three on each side) are set out at distances of 20m, 30m and 40m. An official will call out a target at random to the kick, who will then to proceed to hit the target. Each kick is given a score from one to five, with five being a perfect kick.

Who could win? West Australian Josh Rotham is one of the best kicks in the draft pool, his teammate tall ruckman Tim English is another who uses the ball well. Harry Morrison, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Alex Villis and Harry Perryman are others that should perform well in this test.

Saturday:

The biggest day of the carnival will see sprints, agility, jumps and the beep test held on the purpose built floor on Etihad.

Sprints will be held in the morning , whilst the afternoon will conclude with the beep test.

Who could win in the sprints? Exciting WA midfielder Shai Bolton will test extremely well in both the 20m sprint and the agility test. Back in 2014, Bolton ran a sub 3s 20m sprint and under 8s for the agility test, considered elite.

Brandan Parfitt and Cedric Cox are among others who has shown off their speed at times this season while Jordan Gallucci should perform well in the agility test. Vic Country teammates Ben Ainsworth (8.00 seconds) and Jarrod Berry (7.80 seconds) were superb in TAC Cup preseason testing, while Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish was just behind Berry running 7.81 seconds. Queenslander Josh Williams showed a remarkable dash of speed in a division two National Under 18s Championships game earlier in the season.

Murray Bushrangers tall Esava Ratugolea is another who tested well in the past (2.92s) as has South Australian excitement machine Kym Lebois.

The vertical leap test is always an interesting test with vertical jump and running vertical jump (left and right foot) measured.

Who could win in the jumps? South Australian tall utility Brennan Cox was superb in the preseason testing in the SANFL, recording over 90cm off either foot in the running vertical jump. Ruckman Tim English, Esava Ratugolea and Tony Olango could test well above their counterparts, but it was Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish who beat all comers in the TAC Cup preseason testing with a vertical leap of 81cm.

The shuttle run/beep test or multistage fitness test depending on where you’re from is another that is closely watched by clubs. Most are looking for kids to push out one last level on the test, rather than take the easy option and drop out early. Sometimes the dedication and commitment from players can lead to them ‘spewing’ up their lunch- but an effect that some clubs might put down as a big tick in their notebook.

Who could win in the beep test? Tim Taranto will be an early front runner, having run a 15.9 in the preseason. His Sandringham Dragons team mate Ollie Florent is another who might perform well. If Jack Graham tests, he could be South Australia’s best.

Sunday:

The final day of the combine will see the 3km time trial run in groups of 10-15. The 3km time trial is one of the most strutinised tests, players pushing themselves to the limit deserve a pat on the back- while those that cruse through without little effect might come under the eyes of recruiters when they pour over all their data.

The 3km time trial has gotten faster every season, with the record being broken for three years running.

Who could win the 3km time trial? Possible number one draft pick Andrew McGrath should run well, but will his heavy work load over the last few months affect him? Again Tim Taranto will be another who could perform well.


Invites:

Small Defenders/Midfielders/Forwards

Ben Ainsworth- Vic Country
Liam Baker- Western Australia
Shai Bolton- Western Australia
Callum Brown- Vic Metro
Cedric Cox- Vic Country
Joshua Daicos- Vic Metro
Zac Fisher- Western Australia
Ben Jarman- South Australia
Kym Lebois- South Australia
Andrew McGrath- Vic Metro
Brandan Parfitt- Northern Territory
Tyson Stengle- South Australia

Medium Defenders 

Jarrod Berry- Vic Country
Isaac Cumming- NSW/ACT
Taylin Duman- Vic Metro
Ben Long- NT
Bailey Morrish- Vic Country
Harry Morrison- Vic Country
Harry Perryman- NSW/ACT
Sam Walker- South Australia
Tom Williamson- Vic Country
Alex Witherden- Vic Country
Alex Villis- South Australia

Tall Defenders

Brennan Cox- South Australia
Ryan Garthwaite- NSW/ACT
Elliot Himmelberg- Queensland
Griffin Logue- Western Australia
Harrison Macreadie- NSW/ACT
Jack Maibaum- Vic Metro
Sam McLarty- Vic Metro
Jordan Ridley- Vic Metro
Joshua Rotham- Western Australia
Jack Scrimshaw- Vic Metro
Declan Watson- Queensland

Medium Midfielders

Jacob Allison- Queensland
Joseph Atley- Vic Country
Hamish Brayshaw- Vic Metro
Will Brodie- Vic Country
Jack Bowes- Queensland
Dylan Clarke- Vic Metro
Willem Drew- Vic Country
Judah Dundon- Vic Metro
Jordan Gallucci- Vic Metro
Jack Graham- South Australia
Matt Guelfi- Western Australia
Oscar Junker- Vic Metro
Hugh McCluggage- Vic Country
Kobe Mutch- NSW/ACT
Sam Petrevski-Seton- Western Australia
Myles Poholke- Vic Country
Sam Powell-Pepper- Western Australia
Luke Ryan- VFL
Jonty Scharenberg- South Australia
Will Setterfield- NSW/ACT
Daniel Venables- Vic Metro
Josh Williams- Queensland

Medium Forwards

Joshua Begley- Vic Metro
Benjamin Davis- NSW/ACT
Sam Fisher- NSW/ACT
Oliver Florent- Vic Metro
Will Hayward- South Australia
Mitchell Hinge- South Australia
Patrick Lipinski- Vic Metro
Quinton Narkle- Western Australia
Mark O’Connor- International
Brad Scheer- Queensland
Jy Simpkin- Vic Country
Tim Taranto- Vic Metro
Cameron Zurhaar- Western Australia

Tall Forwards/Rucks

Josh Battle- Vic Country
Sean Darcy- Vic Country
Timothy English- Western Australia
Jack Henry- Vic Country
Patrick Kerr- Vic Metro
Max Lynch- NSW/ACT
Todd Marshall- NSW/ACT
Mitchell McCarthy- Vic Country
Tony Olango- NT
Esava Ratugolea- Vic Country
Zachary Sproule- NSW/ACT
Jake Waterman- Western Australia

By the states:

International (1):
NSW/ACT (11):
Northern Territory (3):
Queensland (6):
South Australia (10):
Vic Country (18):
VFL (1):
Vic Metro (19):
Western Australia (12):

Matt Balmer’s October Power Rankings

Friday's Under 18 All Stars match saw the best draftees go head-to-head at Punt Road Oval.
Friday’s Under 18 All Stars match saw the best draftees go head-to-head at Punt Road Oval.

In an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will update his Power Rankings on the first Monday of every month.

Well, what a season it has been. Games are done and dusted for the season, with Friday’s Under 18 All Stars match showcasing some of the very best draft prospects for 2016. The AFL National Combine runs from Thursday to Sunday, with clubs casting their eye over the 2016 draft prospects.

U18 ALL STARS ULTIMATE REVIEW

You can read Matt Balmer‘s September edition of his Power Rankings here:


This list is purely how Matt rates the players at this current point of time and is not a mock draft. 

#1 Hugh McCluggage
Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185cm | 75kg
Previous Ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Appears like Scott Pendlebury in traffic, making everything appear in slow motion. Clears the ball with ease via quick hands or off his preferred right boot. A few people questioning his contested ball winning abilities, but averaged 20 disposals in the Under 18 Championships (43 per cent contested). McCluggage’s contested numbers are similar at TAC Cup level and has been able to deal with the extra attention from opponents.

Last month: McCluggage had some great moments in the Rebels’ semi-final loss. McCluggage collected 25 disposals, but did lack some polish by foot. His game in the All Stars match was outstanding, with the goal kicking mid slotting four majors alongside having 17 disposals.

#2 Andrew McGrath
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: Exciting rebounder from defence. Agile runner with an elite athletics background. Not afraid to take the game on- with that comes his kicking which can be shaky at stages when he tries to break the game open. Can win his own ball on the inside too. Depth of kicking over 50m a question mark, but McGrath gives you 10m in run and a 40m kick to your advantage. Excellent leadership skills. Can play last line of defence and shut down an opponent as indicated by blanketing Ben Ainsworth & Jaidyn Stephenson.

Last month: McGrath was a crucial figure for the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup finals, which saw him rack up 27 disposals v Dandenong, 32 disposals v Geelong (including 14 in the final quarter) and a mammoth 38 disposal effect in their winning TAC Cup Grand Final. McGrath moved to the half back flank after half time and 28 second-half disposals saw him win best on ground honours. Still had 18 disposals in the All Stars game but was quieter, with a five day break off a hard Etihad Stadium surface looking to take its toll. Certainly been a big year.

#3 Jack Bowes
Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187cm | 78kg
Previous Ranking: #2

Scouting notes: Silky smooth midfielder who doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. Moves well through traffic, willing to pump the ball long inside 50. Was a slow starter for the Allies but got better with each game in division one. Gold Coast Academy member. Did not look out of place playing in the NEAFL.

Last month: Bowes played just the one game in the All Stars match racking up 23 disposals. His silky smooth approach sees him work hard in the contested situations. If not for McGrath’s huge TAC Cup finals, Bowes would still be my #2. Gold Coast has a gem.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: JACK BOWES

#4 Tim Taranto
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/1998 | 186cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #12

Scouting notes: Athletic forward that can play through the midfield. Very good in traffic, helped by his basketball background. Willing to give the ball off to teammates in better positions. Strong overhead mark means he has the ability to play deeper inside 50, where he has plenty of smarts and can hit the scoreboard. Has plenty of shots on goal.

Last month: Taranto just capped off his steller finals series with best on ground honours for the All Stars match. Four goals from 19 disposals was outstanding and his ability to play inside, along with up forward sees him jump this high in my rankings. Had 29, 23 and 31 disposals in his final three games in the TAC Cup for the Dragons.

#5 Will Brodie
Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 189cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder, one of the best clearance players in the draft. Goes in hard at the ball, can’t see him being anything less than a 200 game AFL footballer. Real professional, could step into an AFL team in Round One next season. Kicking has improved from earlier in the season.

Last month: Brodie had a very quiet game with just the 12 disposals in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final for the Bushrangers. He collided with the umpire in the opening quarter of the TAC Cup Grand Final, leaving his nose bloodied. Finished the day with 22 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles, but I thought bar a patch in the third term his day was largely influential. Sat out the All Stars game through injury.

#6 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 181cm | 76kg
Previous Ranking: #6

Scouting notes: Exciting midfielder who has the ability to use either side of his body. Looked a touch underdone in the championships returning from hamstring issues. Not a noted huge disposal winner, but does have x-factor about him. Isn’t a midfielder that hits the scoreboard with just one goal for Claremont this season.

Last month: Petrevski-Seton continued to find the football in Claremont’s final series in the WAFL Colts. I still would have liked him to have played higher WAFL up than he did. 21 disposals and six tackles in the Grand Final was a great effort. His All Stars match saw him collect 23 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances where he was outstanding. Is one of the midfielders in the draft that has plenty of pace to burn.

#7 Jack Scrimshaw
Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193cm, 77kg
Previous ranking: #10

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender that is better playing small than tall. Nice long left boot, where he looks best at home across the half back flank. At stages has pushed onto a wing, which might be his finishing position thanks to a strong disposal efficiency. Has had multiple injuries in the last 18 months so will need to stay fit for the rest of the season to show clubs he’s over them. His ability to weave through traffic coming out of half back is elite.

Last month: Kicking has been on the improve and is back to what it was in the National Under 18s Championships. Floated forward at stages in the TAC Cup finals, including the grand final when he moved from half back to half forward after half time. Continued to find the football since last month with his 27 disposal display against Dandenong one of his best for the year. His marking overhead has been good when floating back in defence.

#8 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Good decision maker, reads the play well. Didn’t look out of place off the half back flank throughout the championships. Kicks on both feet, ideally will transition into the midfield. Lacks speed that some of the other midfielders have. GWS Academy member.

Last month: Perryman took part in the All Stars game after spending the last few months playing for his local club. Did not find a huge amount of the ball, but I do like his composure across half-back. Certainly going to be interesting to see who/where he gets bid on come draft night.

#9 Tim English
Ruckman (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
10/08/1997 | 203cm | 86kg
Previous ranking: #8

Scouting notes: Tall ruckman who uses his strong leap in the ruck contests. Only averaged 13 disposals through the championships, but showed plenty with his ability to find and dispose of the ball well off his right boot. Could mount a case that his kicking is better than some of the midfielders in the draft. May warrant a Top five pick on draft night.

Last month: Continued to find the football and have good hitout numbers in the WAFL with disposals and 18 hitouts in his final WAFL reserves match. Had one of his quiest games in the All Stars match. Clubs will need to be patient with him, but his leap at the ruck contest is outstanding.

#10 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #7

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark and has the ability to change a game in 10 minutes. An interupted season with injury and suspension, but has had more midfield time in recent months. Damaging inside 50 but can be a bit goal hungry at stages. Does a small forward warrent a Top 10 pick?

Last month: Just the one game for the month, which was the Under 18 All Stars. Played up forward for most the game, without running through the midfield. Ainsworth finished with 15 disposals, six marks and a goal in an okay game.

#11 Will Setterfield
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who is still finding his feet as to where he best plays his football. Was down on form in the championships, carrying a foot niggle. Can play in multiple positions, but looks best forward of centre. Needs some consistency as can float in and out of games. GWS academy member.

Last month: Collected 22 disposals and laid nine tackles in the Dragons’ semi-final win over Dandenong, using the ball well and taking it forward. Unfortunately for Setterfield, he injured his shoulder in the TAC Cup preliminary final resulting in him missing the TAC Cup Grand Final and All Stars match.

#12 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender who has played both tall and small this season. Against VFL opposition was undersized playing key back, but looked best in the championships further up the ground, wonder if he becomes a midfielder in the future? Strong mark who got better as the championships went on and is one of the top handful of kicks in this draft pool.

Last month: Had just the 11 disposals playing in the back half in the All Stars. Did not get the opportunity to use his good kick very often, but I think he is going to be there abouts in the first round.

#13 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 184cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #14

Scouting notes: Tough inside midfielder who just gets the job done with plenty of clearances. His strong contested work is his strength and he won the Allies the match with a snap deep in the pocket (Video can be found here). Good runner around the ground, probably a late first round or second round bid for the Gold Coast academy member.

Last month: Gold Coast Suns NEAFL were knocked out in the elimination final and an injury kept him out of the Under 18 All Stars game.

#14 Oliver Florent
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
22/07/1998 | 183cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #25

Scouting notes: Exciting half forward/outside midfielder. In his usual eye catching orange boots, Florent has playing of X-Factor around the ball inside 50. Liked his work last year for Sandringham and has continued that into this season. Outside midfielder who is a capable overhead mark. A good kick around the ground, but does have the ability to shank the odd kick on the run. Looks likely to start his AFL career as a half forward and push onto a wing.

Last month: One of the big jumpers up the rankings with a big finals series and a best on ground performance in the All Stars match. His form in the TAC Cup previous was up and down with 20 disposals in both games in the lead up to his 24 disposal and five tackle effort in the TAC Cup Grand Final. Despite a five-day break, he put on the jets to have 27 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s (in a shortened 4×20 minute match).

#15 Jy Simpkin
Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
05/03/1998 | 182cm | 72kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: Crafty small forward who burst onto the scene with seven goals in six Under 18 championship games in 2015. Knows where the goals are- but does he become a full time mid? Broke his leg at school football earlier in the season.

Last month: N/A – Recovering well from leg surgery from all reports. Hoping to be back for the National Combine in October. It was good to see him kicking the ball around at Under 18 All Stars training on Thursday and was on the bench working the whiteboard at Friday’s game.

#16 Alex Villis
Outside Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
20/08/1998 | 182cm | 70kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Clean kick on either sides of his body. Smart footballer who knows when to pull the kick short or go long. Decision making is elite and has held his own at SANFL senior level. A lot of his possessions are uncontested.

Last month: A quiet game in the SANFL reserves final with just 12 disposals, but he took eight marks around the grounds. Used his superb kick mostly well in the All Stars match and laid five tackles. That tackle figure is one of his biggest for the season and was a good sign for someone who mostly collects uncontested ball.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: ALEX VILLIS

#17 Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 198cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #9

Scouting notes: Athletic tall that has a strong pair of dukes. Still a bit raw after only returning to AFL after two winters in the UK playing cricket. Set shot goalkicking routine needs some work to stop him hooking the ball across his leg. Has only shown patches so far in 2016.

Last month: Played the best game I have seen him play in the TAC Cup preliminary final against Oakleigh, where he took seven marks (three contested) and imposed himself on the game. Had just two kicks for two goals in the TAC Cup Grand Final after being well held by Ari Sakeson. Was again quiet in the All Stars game. His flashes can be really good, but will he make it and be able to put a full game together?

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: TODD MARSHALL

#18 Griffin Logue
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 193cm | 92kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: Strong lockdown defender who doesn’t lose too many one-on-ones. Rowing background at school has helped his physic, with a strong upper body enabling to outmuscle his opponents. Pinch hit in the ruck in the final match for WA and kicks the ball well off his left foot.

Last month: Disappointingly missed the All Stars match, as his form in the latter half of the year at WAFL level was very good from regular WAFL watchers.

#19 Patrick Kerr
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
31/07/1998 | 194cm | 93kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark, who has worked on his mobility at ground level. Speed over first 10 metres is one of the best out of all the key forwards and gets distance between himself and defenders. Speaks exceptionally well and will interview well. When he’s on, he’s hard to stop.

Last month: An okay month for Kerr, but I thought when he got on the lead and marked the ball he looked very good like he did against North Ballarat in the TAC Cup Semi-Final. Started well bagging the first goal in the All Stars match and finished with eight disposals and four marks.

#20 Josh Battle
General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #18

Scouting notes: Superb footy IQ and a great endurance base helps him get up the ground. Has the ability to change a game quickly with bursts of goals. Set shot routine is great and he’ll kick the ball through whether he’s 20m or 50m out. Solid mark overhead, but unlikely to play as the number one tall at AFL level. Year 11 boy too, so will need to complete school next year.

Last month: Was well held by Ari Sakeson in the Stingrays’ semi-final loss, kicking just two goals. Did not impact the game in the All Stars match, but showed he can nail a goal from long range. A good kick of the football and should fine a suitor in the second or third round.

#21 Harrison Macreadie
Key Position Defender (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 196cm | 89kg
Previous Ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Tall Defender that has the ability to push further up the ground. Strong rebounder, intercept marks was his strengths in 2015- but have been scarce in 2016. His form in NEAFL has still be solid and I would be very very surprised if GWS academy member Macreadie was not at the Giants, after they had a part in him moving schools.

Last month: Was solid with 15 disposals, rebounding the ball well in the NEAFL Preliminary Final. He was quiet in their NEAFL Grand Final win and believe he was rested from the All Stars game.

#22 Daniel Venables
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Aggressive midfielder who can break through opposition tackles. Powerful burst from a stoppage and can hit the scoreboard. Yet to see a full complete game from him, as he’ll flash in and out of games.

Last month: N/A – Has been injured in the past month and was sporting a moon boot at the Morrish Medal last month. Believe he will not test at the combine.

#23 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 185cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: Inside midfielder who is the brother of Collingwood’s Matt. Scharenberg works hard at the stoppages, with his best asset his ability to free his arms when tackled to dish the ball off to a teammate. Champion Data rate Scharenberg as an elite clearance and tackling midfielder. Doesn’t have a great deal of speed, but often elects to pass the ball off to a teammate rather than trying to burst away from the stoppage. Kicking efficiency of 49% through the Under 18 championships.

Last month: Could not have done much more to get Glenelg over the line in the SANFL reserves final. Despite having 27 disposals and five clearances, his contested possession numbers were down and the Tigers could not get the win. Played his one and only SANFL Under 18s game for Glenelg in the Grand Final, in their after the siren win over North Adelaide. Scharenberg had 34 disposals, 12 tackles and five clearances in a strong performance. Had 20 disposals in the All Stars game, but his kicking is a work in progress.

#24 Jordan Gallucci
Outside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 182cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: Explosive midfielder whose kicking can be hot and cold. Has plenty of zip at the contest, but just where does he play his best football? Is willing to use either foot to take the ball inside 50. Strong leadership skills as indicated by being selected as co-captain of the Vic Metro side.

Last month: Started well in the first half in the All Stars game, but thought he was very quiet after that. Finished with nine disposals and three marks and it is certainly going to be interesting to see where he gets drafted come November.

#25 Shai Bolton
Outside midfielder (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
8/12/1998 | 177cm | 67kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Electric speed and an elite side step, the Flashy West Australian will end up with one of the best highlight packages in this years draft crop. Consistency is his biggest issue and with flash in and out of a contest. At times can just bang the ball on his boot without looking.

Last month: Ninteeen disposals and four goals in South Fremantle’s semi-final loss. Caught the eye of those who haven’t seen much of him in the All Stars game at Punt Road, where he had 16 disposals. Bolton had some eye catching moments on the wing and his agility is traffic is elite. Another who will test well for speed and agility at the combine.

#26 Zachary Sproule
Key Position Forward/Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
12/05/1998 | 197cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #22

Scouting notes: Key Position Forward who can get up the ground on long leads thanks to a good endurance base. Agile inside 50, but more of your true leading centre half forward. Takes most of his marks outside 50, but kicked 13 goals in the Division One & Two carnivals combined. When playing back has looked ok one-on-one despite his light frame.

Last month: Looks to have been working on playing at both ends and kept Josh Battle to one goal in August. Floated between both ends yesterday but for me he looks more at home inside 50.

#27 Will Hayward
Medium forward (North Adelaide/South Australia)
26/10/1998 | 186cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Medium forward who plays tall. His marking is outstanding and good in one-on-one contests for his size. Booted nine in the SANFL Under 18s in the finals. Not a big ball winner, but leads well and marks the ball well overhead or down below his knees. Kicked eight goals in the Under 18 championships, but didn’t earn a lot of credit for his craft.

Last month: Kicked nine goals in North Adelaide’s preliminary final. Took 10 marks (including five on a lead) and was a clear best player for the Roosters. Started well in the Grand Final, finishing the day with four goals. Showed good signs in the All Stars game with 14 disposals and two goals.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: WILL HAYWARD

#28 Jordan Ridley
General Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
20/10/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #30

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is composed with the ball in hand. Can push up further onto a wing and is capable overhead. Build strongly below his waist, but should be able to build that physic in his upper body with a few preseasons under his belt.

Last month: Collected 22 disposals and was strong across half back for the Oakleigh Chargers against North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup Semi-Final. It was a fast finishing final quarter, but unfortunately he suffered a shoulder injury late in the game. Has not played since.

#29 Cedric Cox
Outside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
19/08/1997 | 184cm | 70kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Neat outside midfielder who can play at both ends of the ground. Looks best suited to half-back, where he can use his speed to burn off his opponents. Is a dual footed kicker and is willing to use both his left and right foot in any situation.

Last month: Played mostly forward for the Rebels in their semi-final loss. Some of his moments are great, but was reasonably quiet. Had four disposals in almost as many minutes to open the game in the Under 18 All Stars, but faded badly throughout the game. A lot to like about some of his flashes. Expect him to test well in speed and agility.

#30 Dylan Clarke
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #29

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder who crashed in hard and wins the clearances. Kicking technique needs some work and it has seen him kick at under 50% in the TAC Cup this season.

Last month: Seventeen disposals and a goal in the Under 18 All Stars for Clarke. Did not have a clearance for the game and he was mostly playing forward in a team that was chocker block with inside midfielders.


Our Draft Profiles are still being posted online, so keep on eye on the website where we take you through over 150 names eligible for the 2016 NAB AFL Draft.

Remember to check out our YouTube account for vision on the draftees.

As always, if you have any questions or want to know more, send me a tweet @MattBalmer7.

Top talent on show on AFL Grand Final weekend

MB - Will Brodie

In a new initiative announced by the AFL, the best Under 17 and Under 18 talent will play games on the Grand Final day long weekend under the eyes of recruiters and fans.

The Under 18 All Stars game will be played at Punt Road Oval at 1.30pm, broadcast on Fox Footy on Grand Final Eve (Friday 30th September). The Under 17 game will be played as a curtain-raiser to the AFL Grand Final beginning from 10am with a live stream on AFL.com.au.

For more information on the initiative click here:

Under 18 squad:

Under 18 squad ALL STARS

Under 17 squad:

Under 17 squad

Week 2 finals preview

SD - Andy McGrath

WITH the first week of finals done and dusted, there is no turning back for any side now, with every match a do-or-die clash.

Last weekend we farewelled the Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges as Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers advanced to the semi-finals.

In the qualifying finals, Murray Bushrangers and Geelong Falcons advanced through to the preliminary finals at the expense of the Dandenong Stingrays and North Ballarat Rebels who now face sudden-death semi-finals against the successful metropolitan teams


Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons

The minor premiers looked completely in control during their first quarter against the Murray Bushrangers, but were eventually overrun by the Bushies in the last three quarters.

Sandringham almost looked like making a shock exit late in the match against Eastern Ranges and indeed trailed for most of the game.

But a couple of late goals saw the Dragons get home by two points in a thriller.

This weekend is expected to be another beauty with both teams having legitimate claims to victory.

Sandringham has a star studded midfield, while Dandenong has consistent players all over the field.

The five questions that need answering:

1 Can the likes of Myles Poholke, Tom Glen and Tom Jok win enough inside ball to topple the Dragons classy midfield?

2 Will the inclusion of Sam Fowler who missed last week’s qualifying final be one that helps get Dandenong over the line?

3 Can Josh Battle repeat his six-goal haul from last week?

4 Who will the Dragons move to full back if their first choice defender is beaten? Would Andy McGrath have the ability to play on Battle?

5 How will the teams adjust to a game expected to be vastly different to the ones they played last week given their opposition’s styles?

Dandenong Stingrays:

The star: Josh Battle

Underrated: Myles Poholke

Danger man: Sam Fowler

Watch for: Dan Allsop

Sandringham Dragons:

The star: Andy McGrath

Underrated: Hamish Brayshaw

Danger man: Tim Taranto

Watch for: Will Setterfield

How does the match play out?

I anticipate both sides will take a disciplined approach to the match, with a lower scoring game my tip.

Sandringham will attempt to win plenty of the ball through midfield, while Dandenong’s defence is the best in the league and those players will read the play and come off their men to spoil other contests.

The key will be whether Dandenong can keep the ball in their own hands’ long enough to keep it off Sandringham’s premium ball users.

The Stingrays midfield should aim to nullify the likes of McGrath and Ollie Florent who are two of their better ball users, while keeping Tim Taranto on a tight leash.

Dandenong has the more damaging forward line, with Battle, Sam Fowler, Dan Allsop and Tom De Koning all able to kick bags on their day.

Sandringham’s defence will have its work cut out trying to reduce one-on-one contests, particularly with Battle and De Koning.

Up the other end, the Dragons’ forward line is also capable of kicking a big score, but it will need to make the most of its opportunities against the stringent Stingray’s defence.

Sandringham’s Lachlan Filipovic is likely to win the ruck battle against Dylan Atkins to give his mids first possession, but the Dandenong midfield is willing to do the hard stuff.

Tip: Dandenong by 2 points

I could certainly see Sandringham winning this contest, but as good as the Dragons’ midfield is, I feel the Stingrays have the more consistent line-up across the field.

Therefore I will tip the Stingrays in a thriller, but the result could honestly go either way.


North Ballarat Rebels vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Oakleigh Chargers’ dream of a three-peat and four premierships in five years is still alive, with a preliminary final awaiting them if they can defeat the wounded Rebels.

The Rebels have been sensational in the second half of the year, but have limped into this semi-final on the back of a string of injuries in the past fortnight.

James Gow was a late withdrawal last week with appendicitis and both Jarrod Berry and Jacob Wheelahan are omissions through injury this week along with Todd Clode who was suspended in last week’s fiery clash.

North Ballarat still has their stars in Hugh McCluggage, Willem Drew and Cedric Cox through the midfield, but will require players such as bottom-age prospect Trent Reed to step up on the big stage.

Oakleigh got through last week’s thumping win over Calder Cannons unscathed and will be fresh to take on the Rebels.

The five questions that need answering:

1 How will North Ballarat cope with the losses of Berry and Wheelahan?

2 Can Patrick Kerr have a bigger influence on the match this weekend?

3 Will we see a highlight reel of sensational runs down the field given both sides contain a great deal of pace?

4 Can the likes of Shannon Beks and Sam White stand up and deliver for the Rebels to kick them a winning score?

5 Will Oakleigh adopt a similar style to Geelong last week and place a defensive midfielder on Hugh McCluggage?

North Ballarat Rebels:

The star: Hugh McCluggage

Underrated: Tom Williamson

Danger man: Cedric Cox

Watch for: Willem Drew

Oakleigh Chargers:

The star: Patrick Kerr

Underrated: Taylin Duman

Danger Man: Jordan Ridley

Watch for: Josh Daicos

How does the match play out?

I predict Oakleigh will try and run North Ballarat off its feet. The Chargers will look to try and get a big score on the board early and dent the Rebels’ confidence.

On the other side of the coin, North Ballarat will look to limit the amount of effective inside 50s and not get caught on the counter attack.

North Ballarat’s midfield is stronger, Oakleigh’s forward line is stronger and both teams’ defences you could throw a blanket over.

Lloyd Meek should get the better of Ned Reeves in the ruck and with Todd Lawrence assisting, expect the Rebels to have first hands to it.

McCluggage must get off the chain and get plenty of it, with Cox and Williamson other good ball users who can hurt the opposition.

As good as the likes of Willem Drew and Callan Wellings are, they are better at extracting it and getting it forward rather than using outside pace or footskills.

Likewise, Oakleigh will look to Jack Higgins and Taylin Duman, with Lachie Walker and Campbell Lane at the coal face.

If Oakleigh’s forward line gets as much supply as it did last week, it is hard to see the Chargers losing here.

North Ballarat need to win the midfield convincingly and get plenty of forward 50 entries to have any chance of victory.

Tip: Oakleigh by 35 points

It pains me to predict such a large win given the Rebels were a genuine premiership contender, but given their omissions and the strength of Oakleigh, it is hard to see North Ballarat really pushing the Chargers.

Hopefully the Rebels can prove me wrong and make a real game of it and even upset the apple cart as they have earned it this year.

Matt Balmer’s September Power Rankings

SD - Andy McGrath 2

In an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will update his Power Rankings on the first Monday of every month.

TAC Cup Finals kicked off over the weekend, with a plethora of top talent on show. Around the country, finals in WA & SA saw a few relatively unknown names put their hand up. The GWS Giants NEAFL team is flying and a few of their top academy talents are playing well at the pointy end of the season.

Last night, Hugh McCluggage took home the Morrish Medal for the best player in the 2016 TAC Cup season. McCluggage averaged 29 disposals and two goals and was a worthy winner of the medal.

You can read Matt Balmer‘s August edition of his Power Rankings here:


This list is purely how Matt rates the players at this current point of time and is not a mock draft. 

#1 Hugh McCluggage
Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185cm | 75kg
Previous Ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Appears like Scott Pendlebury in traffic, making everything appear in slow motion. Clears the ball with ease via quick hands or off his preferred right boot. A few people questioning his contested ball winning abilities, but averaged 20 disposals in the Under 18 Championships (43% contested). McCluggage’s contested numbers are similar at TAC Cup level and has been able to deal with the extra attention from opponents.

Last month: Collected over 25 disposals in each of the final two TAC Cup games of the regular season and was included in the best- Surprisingly though he didn’t poll a vote in those rounds in the Morrish Medal. Had 20 disposals and kicked two goals (including a goal of the day contender in the first term) on Saturday and was dealt with a lot of attention from the Geelong Falcons opposition. His first half was outstanding, but he struggled to get his hands on the footy when Geelong ran away with the game.

#2 Jack Bowes
Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187cm | 78kg
Previous Ranking: #2

Scouting notes: Silky smooth midfielder who doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. Moves well through traffic, willing to pump the ball long inside 50. Was a slow starter for the Allies but got better with each game in Division One. Gold Coast academy member. Didn’t look out of place playing in the NEAFL.

Last month: Bowes was a crucial figure throughout the last month for the Gold Coast Suns NEAFL side. He had 31 disposals, eight clearances and eight inside 50s, stamping his authority in the first few minutes with a superb centre bounce clearance in their elimination final. Played mostly forward of centre and his last month included a bag of three goals.

#3 Andrew McGrath
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Exciting rebounder from defence. Agile runner with an elite athletics background. Not afraid to take the game on- with that comes his kicking which can be shaky at stages when he tries to break the game open. Can win his own ball on the inside too. Depth of kicking over 50m a question mark, but McGrath gives you 10m in run and a 40m kick to your advantage. Excellent leadership skills. Can play last line of defence and shut down an opponent.

Last month: Struggled to get into the game against Oakleigh but finished off strongly. Made a meal of Bendigo with 40 disposals and nine clearances in a heavily one sided contest. Was arguably the best player on the ground in the first half in their elimination final yesterday against Eastern. McGrath broke through packs with the TAC Cup Radio commentators calling “oooo ahhh Andy McGrath” on multiple occasions. McGrath had nine clearances and again was forced to play on the last line of defence on dangerous bottom-ager Jaidyn Stephenson for most of the second half and kept him goalless.

#4 Will Brodie
Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 189cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder, one of the best clearance players in the draft. Goes in hard at the ball, can’t see him being anything less than a 200 game AFL footballer. Real professional, could step into an AFL team in Round One next season. Kicking has improved from earlier in the season.

Last month: Was superb in the Bushrangers one point loss against Dandenong, with 26 disposals and 10 clearances. He won the ball at will in the contest and dished it out well to a teammate. Had six disposals in as many minutes in the last quarter yesterday to ensure the Bushrangers will be going to a preliminary final. Kicking was a bit off at times yesterday but collected 19 disposals and 10 clearances.

#5 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Good decision maker, reads the play well. Didn’t look out of place off the half back flank throughout the championships. Kicks on both feet, ideally will transition into the midfield. Lacks speed that some of the other midfielders have. GWS Academy member.

Last month: Has spent the whole last month back at Collingullie-GP in the Riverina Football League. Perryman has kicked 12 goals in the last four games and should find a bid in the top 20 on draft night.

#6 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 181cm | 76kg
Previous Ranking: #6

Scouting notes: Exciting midfielder who has the ability to use either side of his body. Looked a touch underdone in the championships returning from hamstring issues. Not a noted huge disposal winner, but does have x-factor about him. Isn’t a midfielder that hits the scoreboard with just one goal for Claremont this season.

Last month: Continues to dominate in the WAFL Colts- One must truly ask why he hasn’t played higher. The standard of the WAFL Colts is pretty weak which can make some of his stats questionable.

#7 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark and has the ability to change a game in 10 minutes. An interupted season with injury and suspension, but has had more midfield time in recent months. Damaging inside 50 but can be a bit goal hungry at stages. Does a small forward warrent a Top 10 pick?

Last month: Begun the month under lights in the VFL booting two goals, before returning back to Gippsland Power. Kicked 10 goals in the last three games, along with averaging 31 disposals. He did however, have two of these games against two of the weakest TAC Cup sides and filled his boots in the last term with 15 disposals against Bendigo. Has midfield potential but I’d like to see more time in the AFL U18 All Stars match.

#8 Tim English
Ruckman (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
10/08/1997 | 203cm | 86kg
Previous ranking: 10

Scouting notes: Tall ruckman who uses his strong leap in the ruck contests. Only averaged 13 disposals through the championships, but showed plenty with his ability to find and dispose of the ball well off his right boot. Could mount a case that his kicking is better than some of the midfielders in the draft. May warrant a Top five pick on draft night.

Last month: Keeps performing at WAFL reserves level for South Fremantle, including slotting in for a WAFL League game. Had 20 disposals and 29 hitouts on the weekend in their qualifying final.

#9 Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 198cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: 7

Scouting notes: Athletic tall that has a strong pair of dukes. Still a bit raw after only returning to AFL after two winters in the UK playing cricket. Set shot goalkicking routine needs some work to stop him hooking the ball across his leg.

Last month: Kicked three goals from within 20m of goal against Dandenong but relatively quiet since then. A few whispers that niggles and the large body of work this season has been hard on Marshall’s body. Just the five disposals yesterday but hopefully the week off can refresh Marshall.

#10 Jack Scrimshaw
Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193cm, 77kg
Previous ranking: 8

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender that is better playing small than tall. Nice long left boot, where he looks best at home across the half back flank. At stages has pushed onto a wing, which might be his finishing position thanks to a strong disposal efficiency. Has had multiple injuries in the last 18 months so will need to stay fit for the rest of the season to show clubs he’s over them. His ability to weave through traffic coming out of half back is elite.

Last month: A solid last month at TAC Cup level for Scrimshaw, but I worry a few may have overrated his kicking. Throughout the championships his numbers were superb, whilst at TAC Cup level he’s had multiple clangers from each game and has kicked at 42% in the last three games. There were times yesterday when he looked a million dollars weaving out of defence, but some brain fades such as him playing on from 15m (and missing the chance) left me wanting more.

#11 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender who has played both tall and small this season. Against VFL opposition was undersized playing key back, but looked best in the championships further up the ground, wonder if he becomes a midfielder in the future? Strong mark who got better as the championships went on.

Last month: Rotham’s last month at WAFL Colts level has been superb. Numbers wise they have been great, appearing to get further up the ground and his final match saw him have 31 disposals.

#12 Tim Taranto
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/1998 | 186cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: 12

Scouting notes: Athletic forward that can play through the midfield. Very good in traffic, helped by his basketball background. Willing to give the ball off to teammates in better positions. Strong overhead mark means he has the ability to play deeper inside 50, where he has plenty of smarts and can hit the scoreboard.

Last month: Continues to do all the right thing and is someone who I feel could jump into the Top 10. Looked a bit goal hungry at stages against Bendigo when the Dragons were hunting for goals. His numbers have been good, but it’s his contested marking that continues to get better. Was a slow starter yesterday against Eastern, but it was the second half that saw him collect 17 disposals along with four centre bounce clearances for the game ensuring the Dragons got over the line.

#13 Will Setterfield
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who is still finding his feet as to where he best plays his football. Was down on form in the championships, carrying a foot niggle. Can play in multiple positions, but looks best forward of centre. Needs some consistency as can float in and out of games.

Last month: Played his best game with 29 disposals against Bendigo Pioneers. Setterfield laid 16 tackles to go with his 19 disposals against Eastern on the weekend, but floated in and out of the game. You’d see him involved in a few passages of play before not being sighted for another 20 minutes. Collected most of his clearances around the ground at the stoppages.

#14 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 184cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Tough inside midfielder who just gets the job done with plenty of clearances. His strong contested work is his strength and he won the Allies the match with a snap deep in the pocket (Video can be found here). Good runner around the ground, probably a late first round or second round bid for the Gold Coast academy member.

Last month: His form subsided earlier in the month at NEAFL level but it all came together with 18 disposals and six clearances in an improved effort in the NEAFL elimination final.

#15 Patrick Kerr
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
31/07/1998 | 194cm | 93kg
Previous ranking: 14

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark, who has worked on his mobility at ground level. Speed over first 10 metres is one of the best out of all the key forwards and gets distance between himself and defenders. Speaks exceptionally well and will interview well. When he’s on, he’s hard to stop.

Last month: Kerr missed the opening match with a finger injury but slotted back in kicking a goal against Murray the following week. Kicked two against an underwhelming Calder side and was largely kept out of the game. Will be looking to bounce back this weekend against North Ballarat Rebels.

#16 Jy Simpkin
Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
05/03/1998 | 182cm | 72kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Crafty small forward who burst onto the scene with seven goals in six Under 18 championship games in 2015. Knows where the goals are- but does he become a full time mid? Broke his leg at school football earlier in the season.

Last month: N/A- Recovering well from leg surgery from all reports. Hoping to be back for the National Combine in October.

#17 Alex Villis
Outside Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
20/08/1998 | 182cm | 70kg
Previous ranking: 18

Scouting notes: Clean kick on either sides of his body. Smart footballer who knows when to pull the kick short or go long. Decision making is elite and has held his own at SANFL senior level. A lot of his possessions are uncontested.

Last month: Suffered a knee injury a few months back and only returned yesterday for Norwood, collecting 24 disposals and 10 marks.

#18 Josh Battle
General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Superb footy IQ and a great endurance base helps him get up the ground. Has the ability to change a game quickly with bursts of goals. Set shot routine is great and he’ll kick the ball through whether he’s 20m or 50m out. Solid mark overhead, but unlikely to play as the number one tall at AFL level. Year 11 boy too, so will need to complete school next year.

Last month: Suffered a calf injury early against Murray in August and was affected for the whole contest. Booted one goal against Geelong, but it was yesterday’s effort that had everyone talking. Battle flicked on the switch kicking six goals in three quarters moving well further up the ground, but it was unable to be enough to give the Stingrays the win.

#19 Harrison Macreadie
Key Position Defender (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 196cm | 89kg
Previous Ranking: #9

Scouting notes: Tall Defender that has the ability to push further up the ground. Strong rebounder, intercept marks was his strengths in 2015- but have been scarce in 2016.

Last month: Macreadie’s numbers haven’t been superb at NEAFL level, but watching a fair few of their games he still does a lot of things right. Might be another defender suited to playing further up the ground than a shut down one-on-one defender.

#20 Daniel Venables
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Aggressive midfielder who can break through opposition tackles. Powerful burst from a stoppage and can hit the scoreboard. Yet to see a full complete game from him, as he’ll flash in and out of games.

Last month: N/A- Has been injured in the past month and was sporting a moon boot at the Morrish Medal last night.

#21 Griffin Logue
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 193cm | 92kg
Previous ranking: 22

Scouting notes: Strong lockdown defender who doesn’t lose too many one-on-ones. Rowing background at school has helped his physic, with a strong upper body enabling to outmuscle his opponents. Pinch hit in the ruck in the final match for WA and kicks the ball well off his left foot.

Last month: Continues to fit in well against bigger bodies in the WAFL seniors and you could make a case that he’s nearly ready to go from Round One next year.

#22 Zachary Sproule
Key Position Forward/Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
12/05/1998 | 197cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: Key Position Forward who can get up the ground on long leads thanks to a good endurance base. Agile inside 50, but more of your true leading centre half forward. Takes most of his marks outside 50, but kicked 13 goals in the Division One & Two carnivals combined. When playing back has looked ok one-on-one despite his light frame.

Last month: Looks to have been working on playing at both ends and kept Josh Battle to one goal in August. Floated between both ends yesterday but for me he looks more at home inside 50.

#23 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 185cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: Inside midfielder who is the brother of Collingwood’s Matt. Scharenberg works hard at the stoppages, with his best asset his ability to free his arms when tackled to dish the ball off to a teammate. Champion Data rate Scharenberg as an elite clearance and tackling midfielder. Doesn’t have a great deal of speed, but often elects to pass the ball off to a teammate rather than trying to burst away from the stoppage.

Last month: Spent August in the SANFL League team including a big 28 disposals game against Eagles. Returned to Reserves level for the finals yesterday, collecting 18 disposals.

#24 Jordan Gallucci
Outside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 182cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Explosive midfielder whose kicking can be hot and cold. Has plenty of zip at the contest, but just where does he play his best football? Is willing to use either foot to take the ball inside 50. Strong leadership skills as indicated by being selected as co-captain of the Vic Metro side.

Last month: Has had a solid last month and I think he’s going to provide some good value in the second round if that’s where he falls. Laid seven tackles against Gippsland and North Ballarat. Kicked 1.4 for Eastern on the weekend, but took the ball inside 50 on eight occasions as one of the Ranges’ best.

#25 Oliver Florent
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
22/07/1998 | 183cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: 25

Scouting notes: Exciting half forward/outside midfielder. In his usual eye catching orange boots, Florent has playing of X-Factor around the ball inside 50. Liked his work last year for Sandringham and has continued that into this season. Outside midfielder who is a capable overhead mark. A good kick around the ground, but does have the ability to shank the odd kick on the run.

Last month: Continues to do some good things and when he gets into the game he’s great to watch. Can have some very exciting moments in the forward half of the ground. Laid eight tackles on Sunday but was mostly kept out of the game.

#26 Kobe Mutch
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
18/03/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: A balanced midfielder who has improved his contested possession work this season. Mutch has gone from an outside midfielder, to one that has spent a lot more time on the inside. By the numbers his season has been superb, but he needs to work on his hurt factor with disposal. Kicks well on both feet. GWS Academy member

Last month: N/A- Missed the last month of football through injury. Is going to be very interesting to see where the bid comes in on draft night.

#27 Jarrod Berry
Medium Forward (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
05/02/1998 | 191cm | 80kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Outstanding leader that can play in multiple roles. Kicking can be a bit off at times and I personally think he’s best suited to playing in the forward half of the ground.

Last month: Had a strong game in the cold up at Eureka Stadium against the Knights kicking three goals and collecting 18 disposals. Came off twice with the blood rule on Saturday in the Rebels’ final and I’m told he spent Sunday in hospital with a kidney injury. At odds to play this week.

#28 Alex Witherden
Medium Defender (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
10/09/1998 | 186cm | 80kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is usually a reliable kick. According to AFL.com.au’s Cal Twomey, Witherden has grown and might be closer to 190cm.

Last month: N/A- Recovering well from leg surgery from all reports. Was out at the Falcons’ final on Saturday and was willing on his teammates. Hoping to be back for the National Combine in October.

Alex Witherden (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media).
Alex Witherden (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media).

#29 Dylan Clarke
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder who crashed in hard and wins the clearances. Kicking technique needs some work and it has seen him kick at under 50% in the TAC Cup this season.

Last month: Was great for the Ranges against Gippsland and North Ballarat finding plenty of the ball and laying nine tackles in both games. Had 22 disposals and five clearances for the Ranges as one of their better players on Sunday.

#30 Jordan Ridley
General Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
20/10/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is composed with the ball in hand. Can push up further onto a wing and is capable overhead. Build strongly below his waist, but should be able to build that physic in his upper body with a few preseasons under his belt.

Last month: I honestly had him further back coming into this weekend, rating him as a third rounder but I couldn’t ignore his outstanding match on Saturday despite weak opposition. Ridley had 28 disposals and 12 marks and went to the right places to find the ball. Was able to stop and think when he had the ball at half back and made good decisions with the footy.


Our Draft Profiles are beginning to be posted online, so keep on eye on the website where we take you through over 150 names eligible for the 2016 NAB AFL Draft.

Remember to check out our YouTube account for vision on the draftees.

As always, if you have any questions or want to know more, send me a tweet @MattBalmer7.

Scouting notes: Oakleigh v Calder

IMG_6765Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

Oakleigh Chargers 23.10 (148) defeated Calder 5.12 (42)

 Oakleigh Chargers:

 #2 Ed Phillips– A lively performer right throughout the day booting two goals and collecting 19 disposals. Phillips provided plenty of spark and was left largely unopposed throughout the contest able to run at will for the Chargers. Played mostly inside 50.

 #6 Campbell Lane– The best 19-year-old on the ground. Linked up well with his teammates and was able to propel the ball forward with his best work coming in the first half.

 #8 Toby Wooller– Bottom-ager who showed good signs inside 50. Took 10 marks for the match, finishing with 2.2. Is strongly built from the waist down and has a good vertical leap. One to watch throughout the finals and will have a spot in the Vic Metro Under 18 squad next season.

 #15 Jordan Ridley– Arguably his best game of the season, collecting 28 disposals and 12 marks. His composure in the back half of the ground was outstanding and he set the Chargers up coming out of defence. Could be the big bolter if he continues to show form throughout the finals.

 #21 Lachlan Walker– Walker just knows how to win the football. Had 25 disposals (16 contested) and propel the ball inside 50 at will for the Chargers. He worked hard at the clearances and in the past the knock has been him just bombing it forward on his left boot- but he was much better today.

 #33 Nick Larkey– A lack of talls in defence for Calder saw Larkey collect the ball at will. He finished with five goals and nine marks in a strong showing. Has the height and size, but is built like a stick. Looks better suited forward and through the ruck than in defence.

 #42 Louis Cunningham– A really nice left footer across half back for the Chargers. Was strong in their win against highly rated Sandringham a few weeks back and looked to continue on from that effort. 18 disposals and 10 marks for his afternoon as the Cannons let him run free at will across their forward line.

Calder Cannons:

 #14 Zach Guthrie– Played a role early in defence for the Cannons but largely struggled like most of his teammates. Was very quiet in the second half, finishing with 14 disposals for the day.

#28 Ben Ronke– Arguably Calder’s best player for the day. Showed off his speed with a big 30m sprint in an attempt to chase down an opponent on the wing. Ronke won the ball at the clearances in the centre and was able to get the ball inside 50 for Calder. One of the few Cannons who can hold their head up high.

 #47 Jackson McDonald– Flashed in and out of the contest. When he had the ball in hand he was good, but struggled to get to the right areas and find the football. Has shown some good form throughout this year.