Tag: under 18

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 14

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 4.13 (37) def. by NORWOOD 10.10 (70)

By: Michael Alvaro

Woodville-West Torrens:

#14 Blake Hansen

With plenty to do in the Eagles’ defence, Hansen racked up an equal game-high 25 disposals and nine rebound 50s. The bottom-ager took on the kick-in duties while stationed in his usual defensive post, often snatching metres out of the goalsquare before unleashing a long kick. He was also shifted up onto the wing, showing the same kind of positive forward run and looking for handball receives on the outer.

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce was a strong and consistent part of the Eagles’ midfield mix, proving prominent around the contest in conditions which made clean extraction tough. He managed to get his hands on the ball plenty of times and finished with 21 disposals, seven marks, and six tackles in a pretty well-rounded display, though he couldn’t quite find the goals like he usually does up forward.

#18 William Neumann

Another strong body in midfield, Neumann seemed well suited to the conditions with his ample work over the ball and ability to break tackles with brute force. Neumann also showed some nice points of difference, with one being his overhead marking as he rose for a couple of solid grabs around the ground. He also won a free kick inside 50 and slotted a well-hit set shot goal, adding to his 20 touches and four clearances.

Others:

Dustin Launer again finished as one of the Eagles’ highest ball winners with 23 disposals, as the likes of Jack Murphy (19 disposals, nine marks) and Nathan Barkla (16 disposals, five tackles) put in solid shifts. Meanwhile, state Under 17s squad member Hunter Carter had it 14 times though midfield and snared a goal early in the final term.

Norwood:

#3 Noah Hyde

Hyde was super busy for Norwood on the outer, breaking the lines with positive run-and-carry and proving clever with ball in hand. He racked up 22 touches, seven marks and five inside 50s for the Redlegs, helping link forward in transition and breaking into some really dangerous areas. He very nearly impacted the scoreboard in a major way too, but could only register two behinds.

#9 Tyson Walls

Like Hyde, Walls helped link Norwood into attack with productive carry and clever ball use between the arcs. He looked to get creative with ball in hand; darting short kicks to his forwards, chaining possessions by hand, and working hard to have repeat impacts in his side’s passages of play. The state Under 17 squad member had another terrific outing overall, finishing with 21 disposals and five inside 50s.

#10 Taj Rahui

Arguably best afield for the Redlegs, Rahui was perhaps even better than his final statline of 25 disposals, six marks, and three rebound 50s. The bottom-ager mopped up beautifully across Norwood’s defensive half, setting a high line to help force turnovers and keep his side locked into attack mode. He handled the ball cleanly in tough conditions and was not afraid to take on tackles, with rebounding run a key feature of his game. Rahui also looked to kick through the corridor, hitting some aggressive passes through the middle to really compound his impact in a well-rounded performance.

#20 Charles Kemp

Another player who handled the ball exceptionally well in muddy conditions, Kemp clunked a remarkable seven contested marks among his total of eight overall. He used his strength well when stationed as Norwood’s deepest forward, engaging well with his opponent before snapping the ball up. As the game wore on, Kemp also worked further afield and presented strongly on the lead, proving a reliable marking target. He kicked three goals for the game, turning crumber for the last with a nice shark off hands and snap finish.

Others:

Norwood’s midfield worked hard at the coalface to set the Redlegs on the front foot, with the likes of Benjamin Belperio (24 disposals, eight clearances), Peter Minervini (23 disposals, five inside 50s, and Will Charlton (21 disposals, two goals) all returning really solid efforts. Jayden Gale was productive with nine inside 50s, while Will Bowman and Riley Verrall stood up in defence.

NORTH ADELAIDE 10.5 (65) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 15.7 (97)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Shaun Bennier

Donning the long-sleeves, defender Shaun Bennier was one of the Roosters best performers on an otherwise disappointing day for the red and whites. Starting the game deep in defence, he was seemingly involved in everything for the Roosters as West Adelaide peppered the goal-face. His long kicking was on display as Bennier was charged with the kick-in duties. He had some good battles with a couple of the West Adelaide forwards, including Tom Scully, and did well despite giving away some height. Late in the second term he was moved to the other end of the ground, with the change paying immediate dividends as Bennier booted a set-shot goal. Moving back into defence after the main break, his ball use remained clean and his rebound proved important. He finished the game with 16 disposals, three marks and seven rebounds.

#28 Max Blacker

With important midfielders Hugh Jackson, Harvey Harrison and James Willis out of the side due to state commitments, bottom-aged on-baller Max Blacker was given a more balanced role through the midfield. He found plenty of the ball and seemed to enjoy spending some more time on the inside, compared to his predominately wing-role when the Roosters are at full-strength. He used the ball fairly well for most of the game, with his disposal by foot generally careful and precise. The equal-leading disposal getter for the home side, Blacker finished with 24 touches, four marks, three tackles, three clearances and three inside-50s.

Others: 

Midfielder William Dowling (24 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three clearances, six inside-50s and a goal) was certainly one of North’s best, working hard through the middle. He was joined by Kane McAuliffe (18 disposals, four tackles, three clearances and two goals) and Adam Heath (17 disposals and four clearances) who both fought hard. The former produced one of the highlights of the game by launching a left-foot goal from outside-50 late in the game. Angus Tully joined McAuliffe as the Roosters only multiple goal-kickers, booting a couple apiece, while James White laid a game-high 12 tackles to go with 16 disposals and a goal.

West Adelaide:

#7 Kobe Ryan

Bottom-aged midfielder Kobe Ryan was once again his sides most prolific player in the triumph over North Adelaide. The Sacred Heart College student showed excellent vision and skill to hit up his targets with ball in-hand. The placement of his kicks, despite the blustery conditions, highlighted his terrific skillset. He cracked in typically hard all-game, drawing a number of free kicks simply by going in lower than his opponent. A natural ball-winner who reads the game well in-tight, Ryan was knocked off the ball at-times by bigger bodied opposition, but concluded another positive showing with 32 possessions, five tackles, eight clearances and nine inside-50s.

#37 Tom Scully

Key forward Tom Scully had a great day in attack for West Adelaide. Scully provided teammate Harry Barnett with a cop-out in the ruck at-times, but was stationed deep in attack for much of the contest. He presented up the ground well, with his size and reach clearly worrying the North Adelaide defenders. He looked capable overhead without being dominant. A highlight was his strong one-on-one mark in the third term which led to a set-shot goal. Scully was very clean below his knees and showed a willingness to get involved in the game in general play rather than simply wait for his opportunities in the air. The tall utility finished with 12 disposals, three goals, two marks and 17 hit-outs.

#40 Luke Young

Medium forward Luke Young tore open the game with a brilliant passage in the second quarter which saw him boot three goals in as many minutes. Strong overhead, Young used his size to advantage in attack, nudging his opponent under the ball to take a couple of solid grabs. He combined well with Tom Scully inside-50, with the duo proving difficult to stop in-tandem. Young would add a fourth goal in the final term to complete a terrific showing which saw him also manage 17 disposals and six marks (two contested).

#51 Harry Barnett

Big-man Harry Barnett was terrific in the ruck for West Adelaide, often getting both hands to the ball at stoppages and either clearing space or palming it down to his midfielders. However Barnett’s ability to impact the game aerially was particularly exciting. His judgement of the ball in-flight and strong hands overhead allowed him to take five grabs for the game – two of which were contested. Barnett showed off his leap and athleticism by soaring high early in the first term to haul in a spectacular grab. The teenager worked hard around the ground and booted a second-term goal. He finished the day with 9 disposals and 23 hit-outs in an encouraging performance given the less-than favourable conditions at Prospect Oval.

Others:

Small defender Charlie Pridham didn’t accumulate as much of the ball as in recent weeks, however he still had some important touches, particularly under pressure down back. The under-18 competition’s leading rebounder, Pridham managed 17 disposals, four tackles and three rebounds in the Bloods win. Midfielders Tyson Coe and Dylan McCormick produced workmanlike performances through the middle. Coe impressed with his brute strength and clean hands in-tight, finishing the game with 18 touches, five tackles, six clearances and four inside-50s. The speedy McCormick also gathered 18 possessions, to go with four tackles, five clearances and three inside-50s.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 6.7 (43) def. GLENELG 4.9 (33)

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

The blonde-haired utility spent the game in the midfield, having shown an ability to fill a role across half-back earlier in the year. Bradley was effective at stoppages, positioning himself well, reading the ruckman’s taps and often clearing the area with a quick snap. In tricky conditions, he showed a desire to break open the game with some passages of run and carry. However Bradley could have lowered his eyes to spot up shorter targets at-times instead of kicking long, particularly when going forward. He added a goal in the third term after capitalising on a Bays fumble on the goal-line and finished the day with 22 disposals, five tackles, seven clearances and six inside-50s.

#11 Jaiden Magor

Bottom-ager Jaiden Magor started the game at half-forward but rotated through the midfield as the game wore on. He didn’t accumulate the numbers of fellow on-ballers Angus Bradley or Luke Mitton, however Magor showed some glimpses which suggests he has a very bright future. He was clean at ground level and weaved through traffic nicely. His highlight of the game came tucked against the boundary line where Magor danced past a couple of would-be tacklers, located a target in the corridor and picked him off with a pin-point drop punt. He tackled hard as always and moved well across the ground but missed a couple of opportunities in-front of goal, finishing with three behinds to go with 13 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and four inside-50s.

#13 Lachlan Hayes

Lachlan Hayes was South Adelaide’s glue down back in what was arguably a best on-ground performance. The diminutive defender read the play well and positioned himself well to cut off a number of Glenelg attacking moments. Spending some time on the dangerous Harry Tunkin at-times, he not only held his own in one-on-one situations, but covered for a number of his teammates, always seeming to be in the thick of it in defence. He provided plenty of rebound from South Adelaide’s defensive-50 and used the ball well in windy and slippery conditions. The 17-year-old from the Cove Football Club finished with a team-high 27 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and 11 rebounds.

Others: 

Small midfielder Luke Mitton was combative in his on-ball role, providing some all-important energy around the contest. He gathered 20 disposals (including 18 kicks), five tackles and six clearances. Fellow midfielder Tom Wheaton managed 17 disposals, five tackles and three clearances. Talented ruckman Will Verrall fought hard against Glenelg big-man Henry Gould, with the pair both having their moments. Verrall finished with 24 hit-outs along with eight disposals. Clever forward Jack Delean booted two goals from his seven touches, including a well-taken set-shot.

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With a couple of Glenelg’s best players absent from the under-18 side due to state commitments on Friday night, Darcy Gluyas was the Bays go-to guy in the middle. He was dominant in the first term, winning 14 possession and providing some calmness and composure in an otherwise scrappy, heavily contested-style game. Wearing the long-sleeves, Gluyas spent some time on the inside and the outside and looked particularly damaging when given some time and space. He gathered 26 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s in a well-rounded display.

#29 Hayden Brokensha

Bottom-ager Hayden Brokensha played arguably his best game in Bays colours in the clubs ten-point defeat. He was deployed across half-back where he demonstrated good poise and looked quite at home. An unfortunate mistake on the Panthers goal-line led to a South Adelaide major, however Brokensha accumulated plenty of the football and showed some promising signs in the yellow and black, finishing with a game-high 29 disposals, two marks and six rebounds.

#38 Jakob Ryan

Jakob Ryan lined-up across half-forward to start the game but was moved onto the wing as the game progressed. He had a set-shot early in the game but pushed the kick across the face. He was clean by hand on a couple of occasions on the outer wing and was composed with his ball-use all day, both by hand and by foot. A classy mover who has performed well for Glenelg’s under-18s since re-joining the team a couple of weeks ago, Ryan gathered 26 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three inside-50s.

Others:

Adelaide father-son product Brodie Edwards produced another solid performance playing a variety of roles for Glenelg. Clean by hand throughout the contest, he finished with 22 disposals, four clearances and three rebounds. Harry Tunkin managed 20 disposals, three marks, four tackles and a goal and was typically busy around the ball. Archie Lovelock and Will Watts both accumulated 22 disposals, whilst key forward Harry McInnes booted three of Glenelg’s four goals for the game.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 7.12 (54) def. by STURT 15.13 (103)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#17 Tahjin Krieg

Krieg was Centrals’ best player afield and the most prolific across both sides, finishing with impressive numbers of 37 disposals, 10 marks, and five clearances. He was constantly on the move in midfield, breaking to the outer and generating plenty of forward momentum for his side. While Sturt was well on top for most of the game, Krieg proved a consistent figure and was clever in his decision making with ball in hand. Whether it was darting away to avoid tacklers or drawing the opponent one way before moving the other, Krieg found ways to manufacture room to run, with his sharp kicks the only facet which sometimes let him down.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Considering his side was dominated for much of the contest, Tuck fared well to come away with 21 disposals, eight marks, and 3.3 as Centrals’ rotating ruck-forward. He was mostly stationed forward and proved a focal point for the Bulldogs, but not always in a traditional key position sense. While Tuck presented nicely up the ground as a marking option, he was also made to work with plenty of ground balls inside 50, and showcased some dynamism when doing so. The bottom-ager snagged two of his three majors during the third term, putting through consecutive snaps with class for a man of his 193cm standing.

Others:

Ruben Carreno had plenty to do down back before being shifted to midfield, showcasing a sound short kicking game among his 25-disposal effort. Henry Ratcliff also rolled through midfield and collected 21 touches, while Jake Grubb (17 disposals, seven marks) was handy on the outer and Adam Deakin (12 disposals, six marks, three behinds) was dangerous once swung forward from defence.

Sturt:

#7 Nick Sadler

Sadler was superb for Sturt, showcasing every bit of his class from midfield with 26 disposals, six clearances and a goal. He looked as polished as anyone in possession, with his clean hands and punchy kicking helping the Double Blues gain ascendancy in the centre. The bottom-ager proved a slippery customer and utilised his speed on the ball, snatching metres or gaining ample separation to ensure his kicks were either well directed or at least penetrative. He was even busy when resting forward and speared some lovely passes to others, while also producing a highlight-reel speccy and goal at the end of the third term.

#11 Luca Slade

Sturt has some really promising Under 16 talent coming through its 18s squad, and Slade is one of them. The 2005-born midfielder-forward enjoyed plenty of minutes in the engine and looked dangerous on the break, using his speed to carry the Double Blues into attack. When stationed forward, Slade worked up to the arc and helped link his side towards goal. His smarts showed more and more as the game wore on, and Slade finished with 28 disposals, seven marks and a goal – with more than just one look at the big sticks.

#28 George Pope

Another of Sturt’s up-and-coming Under 16s, Pope continues to show promise after contributing 24 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals. The under-ager rotated through midfield but spent plenty of time forward, using his strength to bustle through tackles and release handballs under that kind of pressure. He helped the Double Blues break into attack and while his disposal by foot remains a touch raw, Pope managed to convert two terrific goals.

Others:

Sturt was served well by its forwards, as Jackson Bishop (13 disposals, four goals), Chad Reschke (15 disposals, nine marks, two goals), and Blake Fidge (14 disposals, one goal) formed a very handy trio. Cormac Dwyer was productive in midfield with 28 disposals, five clearances and a goal, while the likes of Jamie Taylor and Kai Tucker also had their moments on either side of midfield.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC

Scouting Notes: 2020 Western Australia Under 18 All-Stars – Game Two

THE 2020 Western Australia Under 18 All-Stars went head-to-head for a second time on Saturday, serving as the final chance for budding WA draft prospects to impress AFL recruiters. Potential top five selection Denver Grainger-Barras was ultra-impressive, leading Team Gold to a mighty turnaround from game one in his side’s 55-point victory. Claremont prospect Max Spyvee won best afield honours, while last weekend’s most valuable player, Joel Western sustained a nasty finger injury. Our scout, Ed Pascoe was on hand to jot down his notes on some of the big performers and familiar names who took the field.

>> POWER RANKINGS: October 2020

TEAM GOLD:

#4 Max Spyvee

Spyvee has been impressive playing for Claremont’s League side this year and he brought that form into his one and only All-Stars appearance, winning a tonne of the ball in the middle. He was one of the main catalysts in Team Gold’s rebound after a disappointing performance last week. Spyvee got involved very early, using the ball quickly and cleanly at stoppages and winning plenty of clearances. While he is slight in stature, he was a constant around the packs, winning the ball easily on the inside and working hard on the outside to follow up a lot of his grunt work. His disposal started to get a bit scrappy after the main break but he got back to his best in the last quarter, with his clean hands around the ball leading to many scoring chains. Spyvee was a worthy winner of the best on ground honours and would have surely caught the eye of the recruiters in his last chance to do so.

#7 Isiah Winder

Winder had a quieter outing on this occasion but still managed to show some of his eye-catching traits, with his kicking inside 50 his main point of difference this week. The talented Pell Thunder prospect will always lower his eyes going inside 50 and any forward leading out would love the ball in his hands. On the flip side, Winder himself provides a great forward target as he leads hard and his hands overhead are also clean. This came into effect with his goal in the second quarter, judging the flight of the ball well inside 50 and slotting the set shot goal with ease. Winder’s composure and smooth movement have been staples of his game this year, but a stronger four-quarter impact will help maximise his skillset going forward.

#13 Joshua Browne

The talented bottom-ager has had a terrific season for East Fremantle, this year graduating from the back flank to the midfield with ease – not too dissimilar to former East Fremantle player, Trent Rivers. He showed both his defensive and offensive traits in this game playing off the wing and at half-back. Browne showed a great mix between his outside run and ability to attack the ground balls to win his own possessions, which helps set him apart. The smooth mover was a hard player to catch on the run and he rarely fumbled chances to win his own ball. Browne would kick a nice set shot goal in the last quarter, drifting forward to mark 30 metres out in front of goal. His best bit of play would come afterwards with a great run, bounce, and a sublime kick into the middle which opened up the game.

#27 Denver Grainger-Barras

What a performance from the top five prospect, who wowed recruiters with his dominant first half display down back before being sent forward where he kicked two goals and showed his potential versatility. Grainger-Barras started the game extremely well, winning plenty of the ball down back and taking some ripper marks, which he does time and time again in every game he plays. His competitiveness and confidence were again on display, throwing himself into every aerial and ground level contest to give Team Black nothing every time the ball was in his area. The second half is what recruiters would have loved more than anything, as not only was he moved forward to show his versatility, but he also played well in a role he has spent little time in over the last two years. His energy brought a lot to the forward mix with some desperate spoils in the forward 50 creating scoring opportunities and his lead-up marking also impressive. His first goal came from a nice mark on the lead and set shot, while the other was a classy snap which showed his bag of tricks. With his athleticism, combativeness, and football talent it is easy to see why the Swan Districts prospect is considered one of the very best players in the 2020 draft pool.

TEAM BLACK:

#20 Matthew Johnson

Once again the talented bottom-age prospect from Subiaco found it all too easy to earn plenty of possessions, with his ability to win the ball all over the ground again coming to the fold. Although handball happy, Johnson rarely wasted a disposal and often stayed composed and confident whenever he had possession. He exploded in the third quarter, winning an absurd amount of the ball which included two nice bits of play; the first saw Johnson sell candy to a player on the mark, while the second was a nice fend-off to show just how confident Johnson is in his ability. The tall 192cm midfielder is firming as first round prospect in the 2021 talent pool and has put himself ahead as Western Australia’s leading prospect going into that draft.

#25 Heath Chapman

It was a quiet game by Chapman’s standards, especially given the rebound defender averaged more than 20 disposals for West Perth this year. Of all things, he certainly wouldn’t have expected a match up with fellow elite backman, Denver Grainger-Barras in the second half, which forced Chapman to play a more defensive game. Chapman was classy with ball in hand with only one blemish in the last quarter. A lot of his possessions put his teammates in good spots with some risky kicks into the middle. Chapman did well to take a goal-saving mark on the goal line in the third quarter, and this outing perhaps a good indicator of his defensive game, with his offensive game more than proven at Colts level this year.

#31 Kalin Lane

Spending a bit less time in the ruck compared to last week, it was great to see Lane spend more time forward to show of a few more tricks. While missing his partner in crime and Claremont teammate, Joel Western for the second half, he did well to form other partnerships with the likes of the Johnson boys, Matthew and Callum. Lane nailed his only goal in the third quarter, coming from a strong outstretched contested mark which has been a real feature for him in the last month. It is an asset which is sure to separate him from other rucks across the states. He had another chance to kick a goal in the pocket but unfortunately kicked into the man on the mark.

#37 Shannon Neale

Neale finally got to capitalise on his chances up forward, as the big 202cm ruck/forward from South Fremantle was his side’s leading goalkicker with three majors which all came in different ways. His first goal came in the second quarter, kicking a nice goal in general play off two steps. His second was from a nice juggled contested mark and set shot conversion, while the last came in the final quarter as Lane got the ball over the back and ran into an open goal. He could have had even more from another two shots on goal, with one snap just missing. Neale didn’t really influence enough in his time in the ruck, so being able to impact forward of centre was important. With his athleticism and size, he will prove a great project for recruiters.

Featured Image: Retrieved from @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

AFL Draft Watch: Bailey Chamberlain (West Adelaide/South Australia)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central  takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already garnered attention for state representation at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is West Adelaide prospect Bailey Chamberlain, a midfielder with well-balanced inside and outside traits. The 179cm prospect is exceptionally quick off the mark, able to burn opponents either on the outside or through traffic, and finish his carries with penetrative kicks.

Chamberlain managed to crack the Bloods’ Reserves grade for three appearances as a bottom-ager in 2019, and will be looking to go a step further once SANFL football returns in 2020. He will also play a key role among South Australia’s Under 18 midfield group, adding a touch of flair to the mix. Catch up on how he has been tracking thus far.

PLAYER PAGE:

Bailey Chamberlain
West Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: June 26, 2002

Height: 179cm
Weight: 70kg

Position: Balanced midfielder

Strengths: Speed, inside/outside balance, run-and-carry, penetration
Improvements: Kicking at speed

2019 SANFL Reserves Stats: 3 games | 13.7 disposals | 2.3 marks | 3.0 tackles | 4.6 clearances | 2.5 inside 50s | 0.7 rebound 50s | 0.7 goals (2)

2019 SANFL Under 18s Stats: 16 games | 21.6 disposals | 3.8 marks | 4.8 tackles | 4.6 clearances |  3.0 inside 50s | 1.8 rebound 50s | 0.3 goals (4)

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Standing Vertical Jump – 62cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 68cm/73cm
Speed (20m) – 3.08 seconds
Agility – 8.58 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo) – 20.5

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

QUOTES FROM PRESEASON

Goals… “Just trying to push for a League game really. I’ve just been working as hard as I can to try and push into that selection so hopefully I can play some good footy in the Reserves and then get the call-up… and definitely (playing State Under 18s) is my major goal this year, just to play the champs, play every game and play well.”

Strengths… “My ability to play both inside and outside. I reckon I’m a pretty versatile player in the midfield, I can play that winger role or play an inside role.”

Favourite teammates… “Definitely Riley (Thilthorpe). We’re best mates so it’s pretty good running out next to him. Taj Schofield obviously, I go to school with him so I’m pretty close with him – those are the two main ones.”

>> Get to know: West Adelaide Under 18s

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

>> 2020 South Australia U18 Squad Prediction

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western

AFL Draft Watch: Tahj Abberley (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at the NAB League Preseason Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft Watch is Brisbane Lions Academy member Tahj Abberley, a nippy small utility who was an outstanding preseason testing performer. The 179cm prospect ranked among Queensland’s top 10 in all four testing areas, utilising the speed, agility, and endurance he showcased on-field throughout his junior career. Abberley featured in all five of Brisbane’s NAB League outings and represented Queensland at the Under 16 and 17 levels and in 2020, he will be looking to crack into the Allies side while mixing up his usual midfield/forward role to feature off half-back.

PLAYER PAGE:

Tahj Abberley
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies

DOB: April 23, 2002

Height: 179cm
Weight: 70kg

Position: Small utility

2019 NAB LEAGUE STATS: 5 games | 14.4 disposals | 4.0 marks | 2.8 tackles | 1.6 clearances | 1.8 inside 50s | 1.8 rebound 50s | 0.4 goals (2)

Strengths: Speed, agility, smarts, decision making
Improvements: Contested ball

>> GET TO KNOW Tahj Abberley

PRESEASON TESTING HIGHLIGHTS:

Standing Vertical Jump – 65cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 77cm/82cm
Speed (20m) – 3.02 seconds
Agility – 7.84 seconds
Endurance – 21.1

>> FULL RESULTS:
Jumps
Speed
Agility
Endurance

SCOUTING NOTES:

2019 Under 17 Futures vs. NSW/ACT

There’s not much of Abberley, but the Lions Academy product looked unfazed by having to get stuck in. Playing through the midfield and off half-back, Abberley was clean at ground level and smart with his hands out of congestion. His four clearances bode well for more midfield minutes, but Abberley also worked well around the ground to penetrate both arcs

2019 NAB League Round 5 vs. Sandringham

The bottom-ager looked most lively inside 50 during the second half, and was instrumental in Brisbane’s best few minutes of the game. He started up the field on a wing and took a nice overhead mark in the second quarter, backing it up with a courageous effort after half time. Abberley laid a fantastic tackle on the much bigger Corey Watts which went unrewarded, but he managed to snare a goal with a calm dribbled finish out the back.

2018 Under 16 National Championships vs. NSW/ACT

Abberley was a clever user throughout the game, nipping around with good pace and agility from the midfield, forward. He started well with a goal from a free kick after sharking the ball cleanly but being taken high. His left foot was damaging too with some handy forward 50 entries helping the Maroons to push the pace.

>> MORE BRISBANE LIONS U18s CONTENT

Q&As:

Blake Coleman
Saxon Crozier
Carter Michael

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll

Allies stun Vic Metro in final U18 clash

THE ALLIES have pulled off a stunning last quarter comeback defeating Vic Metro in the dying moments at Simonds Stadium on Wednesday.

Vic Metro looked to have sealed the game when Cam Rayner put through a set shot goal, but with under two minutes to play Allies’ midfielder Zac Bailey burst forward out of the stoppage to bring the ball inside 50.

Small forward Jack Hardman roved the pack, slotting the goal for the Allies to give them a three point victory in front of a healthy crowd at Geelong. Despite the result, Vic Metro still finished on top of the Under 18 Championships table, taking out back-to-back titles.

Key Forward Jarrod Brander played his best game for the Under 18 Carnival, booting three foals and clunking nine marks.

Brander looked at home up forward as the Allies’ key target, after playing two games in defence in the Under 18 Championships and did his top five chances no harm, with 16 disposals and three goals.

Northern Territory midfielder Zac Bailey had a team high 23 disposals and his steller Under 18 Championships in the centre did his draft chances no harm.

Brisbane Lions Academy member Connor Ballenden had five intercept marks and 12 disposals, contributing to the Allies’ win playing a crucial role in defence.

He was able to intercept at ease playing as a tall defender, using his strong overhead marking ability to good use.

For Vic Metro, Nicholas Coffield was a standout with a game-high 29 disposals. Coffield again showed his composure with ball in hand and has put his hand up to break into the top 10.

After returning from injury in last week’s clash, Andrew Brayshaw collected 22 disposals and five inside 50s playing through the midfield as one of their best in the first half. Sandringham Dragons teammate Charlie Constable had 26 disposals, showing off his strong tackling pressure in the contest.

Richmond father-son prospect Patrick Naish again showed his dash and was impressive on the outside with 26 disposals.

175cm midfielder Dylan Moore did enough to suggest he could find a home inside the top 30 picks, finding the ball at ease through the carnival. Western Jet Cameron Rayner booted three goals for the contest, finishing as the leading goalkicker for Vic Metro with 12 for the carnival.

Scotch College student Will Sutherland was deployed at the centre bounces to start the first half, before looking more at home as a marking target up forward in the second half, booting two goals.

Jack Higgins took home the Vic Metro MVP for his superb carnival, while Gold Coast Suns Academy ruckman Brayden Crossley won the Allies’ MVP.

VIC METRO      2.3        3.9    6.11        10.13    73
ALLIES             1.2         3.5    6.6          11.10    76

GOALS
VIC METRO: Rayner 3, Sutherland 2, Hayes 2, Higgins 2, Brayshaw,
ALLIES: Brander 3, Dixon 3, Bailey, Crossley, Sambono, Lane, Hardman

BEST
VIC METRO: Coffield, Naish, Constable, Hayes, Moore, Brayshaw
ALLIES: Bailey, Brander, Carroll, Crossley, Powell, Ballenden

Under 18 Championships Preview: Vic Metro

VIC METRO enters the National Under 18 Championships as the short priced favourite to take out the title – but don’t be putting your house on it, with one unexpected result already taking place in the opening game of the carnival. After winning against the odds in 2016 – Metro will be fighting hard to go back-to-back but will need to be on their game to avoid a slip up in their opening fixture.

A deep midfield will allow them to float multiple players through the centre to find the best combination, with Eastern Ranges pair Adam Cerra and Joel Garner two such players who will likely have time in the guts, while Jack Petruccelle’s elite speed will provide a point of difference as he bursts from the packs getting the ball forward.

Medium forwards Cameron Rayner and Jaidyn Stephenson are elite marks overhead and as a bonus they can push into the midfield and win their own ball. Sandringham Dragons captain Hayden McLean will be one of the key targets infront of goal, while Will Sutherland and the tall King twins (Max and Ben) will have their opportunities through the latter stages of the carnival.

Noah Balta has seamlessly transitioned into a key defender and is looking the goods. His role will likely see him take the most dangerous opposition forward, where he can use his outstanding agility and big leap to his advantage.

Overall Metro will likely boast more of the top 20 than any other teams at this point in time – but as we have seen time and time again, the next four weeks are the make and break for players pushing their case in front of club recruiters.

Players to watch:

Jack Higgins – The midfielder/small forward averaged 20 disposals in his appearances for Vic Metro in last year’s carnival. Higgins is a very good goal sneak and is agile enough to get around opposition defenders. As a prolific ball winner, expect him to be one of Metro’s best performers in the championships.

Joel Garner – The captain of the Vic Metro team has had a solid start to the year at school and TAC Cup level. Has a long left foot and can play at all ends of the ground. Will mostly play as an outside midfielder, but his hands in close mean that he can be as damaging in the contest.

Cameron Rayner – The exciting midfielder can push forward and take excellent marks overhead. He has the ability to make things happen in a quick burst thanks to his power, and his X-Factor will appeal to clubs as a player who could content for the No.1 pick.

Jaidyn Stephenson – One of the better marks in the draft pool for a player sub 190cm. Stephenson will play as a target up forward and has a good burst of speed that adds another dimension to the marking forward. Played in Vic Metro’s game against Vic Country last year and looks set for a big carnival after showing midfield craft for the Eastern Ranges.

Will Sutherland – Sutherland won’t be running out for Vic Metro this weekend against Western Australia, but will likely line up when Metro play their games in Victoria. Sutherland is a good mark overhead and has pushed into the midfield for Scotch College using his great agility for a tall, attending multiple centre bounces. Clubs believe he could be worth an early selection should the talented cricketer choose the football pathway.

2018 names to keep an eye on:

Ben King – One of the top talls alongside brother Max for the 2018 draft. Ben is a natural key defender with an athletic leap, who reads the play superbly in defence. He will miss the opening game of the championships, but expect him to make an impact at some point in the Under 18 Championships.

Max King – One of the top talls alongside brother Ben for the 2018 draft and is a contender for the number one pick in 2018. The key forward has an athletic leap and can clunk some super marks inside 50. He will play school footy & miss Metro’s first game against WA this weekend, but expect him impact up forward when given the chance.

Curtis Taylor – One of the 2018 eligible draftees who were stiff to miss out on AFL Academy recognition after putting on some superb displays at school football for PEGS last year. Has recently returned for PEGS and Calder Cannons after an injury, and is currently little known by some – but is a player I’d expect to leave a lasting impression should he play in the Under 18 Championships.

FIXTURES

Round 1: BYE
Round 2: v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – June 18th 11.00am Domain Stadium
Round 3: v VIC COUNTRY – June 24th 2.30pm Punt Road Oval
Round 4: v SOUTH AUSTRALIA – June 30th 4.40pm Etihad Stadium (FOX FOOTY)
Round 5: v ALLIES – July 5th 2.10pm Simonds Stadium (FOX FOOTY)

Possible Round Two team:**

B: Ethan Penrith, Harrison Nolan, Mitchell Podhajski
HB: Ryley Stoddart, Noah Balta, Nicholas Coffield
C: Joel Garner, Adam Cerra, Lachlan Fogarty
HF: Patrick Naish, Hayden McLean, Cameron Rayner
F: Jack Higgins, Tristan Xerri, Jaidyn Stephenson

FOLL: Sam Hayes, Jack Petruccelle, Thomas North
INT: Toby Wooller, Trent Mynott, Curtis Taylor, Dylan Moore, Angus Styles

** – The Round two teams will be publicly announced tomorrow afternoon.

Predictions:

Finishing prediction: 1st – Metro have all the class around the ground and are short favourites to go through the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships undefeated. However – as we’ve already seen in the opening weekend upsets do happen and Western Australia should be able to push them at least for the first half this weekend. Anything is possible in the Under 18 Championships results wise, but it is Vic Metro’s title to lose.

MVP prediction: Jack Higgins – Higgins was a good contributor in the 2016 Under 18 Championships as a bottom ager and will likely play a key role through the midfield & as a small forward inside 50. Expect him to push forward and hit the scoreboard using his smarts around goal. Should be a key player in Vic Metro’s attempt of winning back-to-back titles.

2017 VIC METRO SQUAD

No. Name
DOB
HT(cm)
WT (kg)
Club
1 Dylan Moore 4/08/1999 175 66 Eastern Ranges/Rowville/Caulfield Grammar
2 Jack Higgins 19/03/1999 178 76 Oakleigh Chargers/ East Malvern
3 Ethan Penrith 24/10/1999 179 76 Northern Knights/West Preston
4 Lachlan Fogarty 1/04/1999 179 75 Western Jets/Spotswood/St Kevins
5 Patrick Naish 15/01/1999 180 69 Northern Knights/ Ivanhoe Grammar
6 Dylan Landt 18/11/1999 180 74 Calder Cannons/Sunbury
7 Rhylee West 12/07/2000 180 80 Calder Cannons/Strathmore/St Kevins
8 Joel Garner 21/05/1999 183 81 EasternRanges/Wandin/ Scotch College
9 Andrew Brayshaw 8/11/1999 183 80 Sandringham Dragons/Hailebury College
10 Max Dreher 12/04/1999 183 75 Northern Knights/Ivanhoe Grammar
11 Ryley Stoddart 15/10/1999 183 73 Eastern Ranges/Blackburn/Yarra Valley
12 Callum Searle 12/10/1998 185 81 Oakleigh Chargers/Waverley Blues
13 Trent Mynott 4/10/1999 185 73 Eastern Ranges/Caulfield Grammar
14 Jack Petruccelle 12/04/1999 184 73 Northern Knights/Epping
15 Angus Styles 3/05/1999 185 76 Sandringham Dragons/Caulfield Grammar
16 Thomas North 14/02/1999 186 87 Eastern Ranges/Heathmont FC
17 Adam Cerra 7/10/1999 186 85 Eastern Ranges/Wesley Grammar
18 Curtis Taylor 6/04/2000 186 74 Calder Cannons/Keilor FC/ PEGS
19 Cameron Rayner 21/10/1999 187 88 Western Jets/Essendon Doutta Stars/ PEGS
20 Jack Bytel 14/03/2000 188 79 Calder Cannons/Aberfeldie FC
21 Buku Khamis 24/03/2000 188 81 Western Jets/St Albans
22 Riley Jones 5/04/1999 191 79 Oakleigh Chargers/Beverley Hills FC
23 Jaidyn Stephenson 15/01/1999 189 76 Eastern Ranges/Ferntree Gully FC
24 Charlie Constable 18/05/1999 190 83 Sandringham Dragons/Haileybury College
25 Nicholas Coffield 23/10/1999 190 83 Northern Knights/Eltham FC
26 Mitchell Podhajski 4/01/1999 190 82 Calder Cannons/Aberfeldie FC
27 Toby Wooller 16/03/1999 193 90 Oakleigh Chargers/Old Scotch
28 Noah Balta 23/10/1999 194 92 Calder Cannons/Essendon/Doutta Stars/ St Bernards
29 Harrison Nolan 11/06/1999 195 93 Eastern Ranges/Mt Evelyn FC
30 Hayden McLean 20/01/1999 197 93 Sandringham Dragons/Beaumaris/St Bedes
31 Will Sutherland 27/10/1999 195 90 Scotch College
32 Joel Grace 23/06/1999 199 90 Northern Knighs/Sth Morang
33 Ben King 7/07/2000 201 79 Sandringham Dragons/ Haileybury College
34 Max King 7/07/2000 201 82 Sandringham Dragons/Haileybury College
35 Matthew Harman 2/06/1998 200 87 Northern Knights/Marcellin O.C.
36 Tristan Xerri 15/03/1999 201 93 Western Jets/ Caroline Springs FC
37 Sam Hayes 9/06/1999 203 93 Eastern Ranges/Ferntree Gully FC
38 Alex Federico** 26/09/1999 184 77 Northern Knights/Marcellin College
39 Marcus Lentini** 5/06/1999 183 74 Northern Knights

** – Emergencies

Vic Metro 46-man U18 training squad announced

VIC Metro will be aiming to win back-to-back titles after naming a strong Under 18 training squad for the upcoming NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

The squad will be coached by Martin Allison, who is taking over the reigns from David Flood. Allison is the new AFL Victoria Metro Talent Pathways Manager and previously coached the Vic Metro Academy back in 2013.

He will be joined by former Western Bulldogs player Steve Wallis and current Director of Coaching at Eastern Michael Rizio – who were part of last year’s assistant coaching set up, while Carlton AFL Women’s and Sandringham Dragons forward coach Jackson Kornberg and Uni Blues (VAFA) senior coach Quinton Gleeson will join as Metro assistants.

Vic Metro’s midfield will be led by talented Eastern Ranges duo Adam Cerra and Joel Garner, while Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights) and Cameron Rayner (Western Jets) will provide some much needed X-Factor in the side.

SQUAD:

 

 

Matt Balmer’s 2016 Final AFL Draft Power Rankings Part 1

EVERY month since May, Matt Balmer has ranked his players from the 2016 AFL Draft pool. With less than three weeks until the November 25 National AFL Draft, he counts down the players ranked 50-1 over the next two weeks. Today will be 50-26, before next Monday’s final rankings from 25-1.

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.

#50 Zac Fisher
Inside Midfielder (Perth/Western Australia)
15/06/1998 | 175.2cm | 70.3kg

Bite sized inside midfielder who jumped onto the radar with a big performance against the Allies in the first television game of the National Under 18s Championships on Fox Footy. Fisher’s awareness is one of his strengths and it is highlighted in the final quarter of the Western Australia game against the Allies, where he pulls the kick from the half forward flank into the centre 45 metres out from goal. His run and carry work through the midfield is good and he using his quick hands to clear the ball from the stoppages which is a strength. Kicking efficiency needs work and it was below 50 per cent in the WAFL this season. He played senior football all season for Perth and is not worried by bigger bodied opponents. Probably starts up forward in an AFL environment, before playing through the midfield if he can add to his frame.

#49 Josh Begley
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
03/07/1998 | 185.5cm | 96.1kg

Josh Begley is one of the bolters of the draft who begun the year playing at Upper Ferntree Gully, before Eastern Ranges added him to their squad where he bagged six goals on debut against Tasmania. Coming off no preseason, Begley bagged 27 goals this season playing up forward. He did move into the midfield, where he used his strong frame to good success. His work in close at the stoppages is very good and is willing to tackle hard to win the ball back. Will need a few preseasons under his belt to work on his body shape, but fits in as a likely Christian Petracca type of player. Skinfolds have reduced dramatically in the last few months and looms as a likely second rounder.

#48 Harry Morrison
Outside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
12/11/1998 | 181.5cm | 77.6kg

It’s been a tough two-year block for Harry Morrison. Morrison suffered an ACL injury in 2014 that resulted in him missing the Under 16s carnival, before an injury to his back saw him miss the Under 18 carnival this season. His form throughout the season at the Murray Bushrangers has been solid, without starring in any particular games. He looks best suited to playing across half back or on a wing – thanks to his outstanding kick and his decision making. Morrison is composed with the ball in hand across half back, reading the play well before disposing of it well off his right boot. Morrison is not the quickest player out on the ground and it may be an area of focus if he can get a run at it without injuries.

#47 Corey Lyons
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
31/05/1998 | 180.5cm | 77.1kg

The brother of current Gold Coast Sun Jarryd could not have done much more to be drafted in 2016. He continued to give it his all, right up until the final game of the TAC Cup season after a steller finals series. Lyons is an inside midfielder who is not blessed with speed, but tackles hard and wins the clearances. A knock on him has been his kicking efficiency which has been 57 per cent in the TAC Cup. Chances were limited in the National Under 18 Championships in a strong Vic Metro side, but his best position will be on the inside at AFL level despite his small size. Has the running ability to play outside and across half forward.

#46 Brennan Cox
Key Position Defender/Forward (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
13/08/1998 | 192.6cm | 91.6kg

All Australian Brennan Cox has had a strong season playing virtually in every position. Cox held down the fort for South Australia at full back in the National Under 18 Championships and often floated between forward and back, with some stints in the ruck for Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL. He played both Reserves and Under 18s football in South Australia, where he showed off his good leap and marking up forward and his intercept marking and one-on-one work in defence. Despite his early season testing results, he at times can appear slow moving around the ground. Is one of the handful of best defenders in the draft pool.

#45 Callum Brown
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
27/04/1998 | 177.0cm | 72.2kg

Callum Brown is the son of Collingwood great Gavin and begun the Under 18 championships with a big performance. His work in close is very good and he picks the ball up as well as anyone from ground level. After playing mostly as a small forward for the Ranges in 2015, Brown spent most of the season on the inside. Whilst his aggression and work rate is very good, he can let down with his kicking. He is a player that tends to kick short and does not have much hurt factor when he disposes of the ball. His kicking efficiency can also be affected at times when he goes to kick the ball on either side of his body. Expect a bid in the 30 plus region for Brown.

#44 Declan Watson
Key Position Defender (Aspley/Queensland)
17/09/1998 | 191.4cm | 82.8kg

Declan Watson is a strong one-on-one defender who does not lose too often to his opponent. Watson intercepts well in the back half and kicked the ball out of for Queensland in the Under 18 championships. Whilst he isn’t a big ball winner, his work stopping his opponent is very good. Watson will need some time to develop with a light frame, but all signs point to him being the first Brisbane Lions academy member being bidded on come November 25.

#43 Ryan Garthwaite
?Key Position Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
30/06/1998 | 192.0cm | 83.2kg

Ryan Garthwaite finished the year outstandingly well as the Murray Bushrangers’ best defender in their TAC Cup Grand Final loss to Sandringham Dragons. Garthwaite collected 24 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s in one of his best games of the season. Garthwaite is a strong lock down defender that is also mobile enough to play up the ground across half back. His intercept mark work is some of the best in the Under 18 system (averaged 6.5 marks in the TAC Cup) but injuries meant an underdone Under 18 carnival. His kicking action can appear strange with both hands dropping the ball onto his foot, but the ball does get to where it needs to go, more often than not.

#42 Jack Graham
?Inside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
25/02/1998 | 180.3cm | 81.1kg

South Australian inside midfielder Jack Graham won All-Australian honours and was the Larke Medalist for the best player in Division One in the National Under 18 Championships. Has had a few injuries that has meant he missed a few games across the season, including a quad injury which kept him out of finals for North Adelaide. Graham is a contested ball winning hard nut and is strongly built from the waist down. My only concern is, will his body shape be able to adapt for AFL level where he likely trims off a little to work on endurance? His ball winning ability on the inside is very good and should appeal to clubs with a late second round pick.

#41 Louis Cunningham
Outside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
24/02/1998 | 181.8cm | 76.6kg

Little known Oakleigh Charger Louis Cunningham impressed in 2016. Showing his dash across half back, Cunningham stood out not only for his bright orange boots, but his pinpoint left foot pass that could break the game open rebounding out of defence. His attacking flair impressed me on multiple occasions when he would have the ball sprinting out of the back half and kicking it long forward. Deserves a chance on an AFL list.

#40 Willem Drew
Inside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
01/10/1998 | 188.0cm | 79.3kg

Willem Drew is one of the best pure inside midfielders in the TAC Cup. Averaging 7.4 tackles and 6.9 clearances per game, Drew was a crucial cog in the North Ballarat Rebels midfield alongside Hugh McCluggage. Whilst his ball winning is great, he has not had inside form at National Under 18 Championships level or in the NAB U18 All-Stars game, making it hard to judge where he sits in the draft overall. Drew does have some areas of improvement, where he can just hack the ball out of a stoppage at times – this resulted in a kicking efficiency of 55.7 per cent in the TAC Cup. He is slow to accelerate and isn’t blessed with pace, meaning the clear a stoppage he often needs to handball to ball out to a teammate.

#39 Myles Poholke
?Inside Midfielder/General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
10/07/1998 | 183.7cm | 81.9kg

Strong midfielder Myles Poholke has the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard. Poholke had 18 disposals and two goals for Vic Country in their narrow loss to Vic Metro in the National Under 18s Championships. Whilst he is not a huge disposal winner, he played in a team that had one of the lowest disposal averages as a team week in week out. Poholke’s bursts can see him collect six disposals in as many minutes, before fading as he did at times throughout the year. His consistency does need work but his running ability and endurance has improved from what they were earlier in the season. His strength at the contest is very good and that can help him win one-on-one contests.

#38 Kobe Mutch
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
18/03/1998 | 186.1cm | 83.6kg

One of the best ball winners in the 2016 draft pool is Kobe Mutch, but just where does he play his best football? He has multiple traits that make him so attractive, but without being elite in one category. His work rate around the ground is very good and he spreads very well from the stoppages and looks to get involved. Mutch is a good clearance player when he plays through the centre of the ground and is able to link the ball up with teammates on the outside. An average kick can see Mutch lean back at times and float the ball when going forward, allowing for it to be intercepted by opposition. He is willing to kick the ball on either side of his body and is a smooth mover.

#37 Jack Maibaum
?Key Position Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
27/03/1998 | 191.9cm | 91.0kg

Key defender Jack Maibaum won All-Australian honours after a great National Under 18 Championships playing as Vic Metro’s number one tall. Maibaum has floated between forward and back at both Melbourne Gramamr (school) and Eastern Ranges (TAC Cup). Up forward he is mobile enough to lead further up the ground, whilst in defence he has played mainly a role shutting down the opposition best forward. Not a big disposal winner, but his efforts in one-on-one situations are very good and he gives his all week in week out. At 192cm, is he big enough to play as the number one key back?

#36 Josh Daicos
Outside Midfielder/Small Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26/11/1998 | 177.8cm | 72.2kg

Josh Daicos is the highest ranked Father/Son prospect in my rankings. The son of Peter has had a good year in the TAC Cup providing X-Factor when playing up forward. At times he has pushed through the midfield and played across half back, but looks most at home. Against the Northern Knights, Daicos played in defence for the first half before moving forward- providing deadly booting a couple of goals to get the Chargers over the line. Some of his moments up forward are eye catching and looks agile on the field, wearing bright boots as he has for most of the season. His footy brain is very good but he can fade in and fade out of matches very quickly. Expect a bid in the 30-45 range.

#35 Luke Ryan
General Defender (Coburg/VFL)
07/02/1996 | 185.7cm | 82.9kg

Luke Ryan is the best state league prospect across Australia and seems likely to be a first round pick. Upon watching him, he looks to be ‘skinny’, but up close and testing wise he sits at a touch under 83kg. The general defender rebounds the ball and isn’t afraid to intercept mark. He is very good athletically, but from the games I have seen him play- he does collect a lot of the ball uncontested due to dropping off his man. A shoulder injury saw his season end early but was still able to win the Fothergill-Round medal as the best Under 23 player in the VFL.

#34 Sam Walker
?Medium Defender (Glenelg/South Australia)
16/03/1998 | 185.1cm | 79.2kg

I’m a big fan of rebounding defender Sam Walker. The South Australian has an exquisite left boot and hits targets at will when steaming from defence. Walker’s National Under 18 Championships saw him average 14 disposals and was named in the All Australian side. His disposal efficiency was elite from the carnival and continued his form back in the SANFL. Walker has pushed further up the ground at times, but looks most suited in defence with his great rebounding ability. Had the match up on Will Hayward in the SANFL U18 Grand Final in the wet and performed well.

#33 Isaac Cumming
Outside Midfielder (North Adelaide/NSW-ACT)
11/08/1998 | 184.2cm | 73.8kg

Someone mentioned to me back in June to keep an eye out on Isaac Cumming – and sure enough he was right. Cumming finished the year outstandingly well after a quiet performance in the under 18s carnival for both the Allies and NSW-ACT. Cumming provided a spark coming from defence in the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game on Grand Final Eve and was able to break the lines. Not a big disposal winner but uses the ball well and can be damaging across half back or on a wing.

#32 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 183.2cm | 80.6kg

Jonty Scharenberg is the brother of Collingwood’s Matt, but is a completely different player. The Glenelg midfielder is an inside midfielder who is a good decision maker will ball in hand. His handballing to opponents out of a stoppage is outstanding and one of his best traits. Scharenberg collected 34 disposals in his only SANFL U18 apperance for the season in the Grand Final and was Glenelg’s best on the day. His clearance work in the Under 18 championships was very good, but kicking is a major knock on him with a kicking efficiency of 49 per cent in the carnival. Scharenberg doesn’t have a burst of speed either to get away from opponenents, often relying on his football IQ to dispose of the footy.

#31 Zach Sproule
?Key Position Forward/Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
15/05/1998 | 195.6cm | 88.5kg

GWS Academy member Zach Sproule has played multiple roles in 2016. He played up forward alongside Todd Marshall, kicking seven goals in the Under 18 championships for NSW-ACT. Sproule played a similar role for the Allies but played the second half of the season in defence for the Bushrangers, playing on opponents such as Josh Battle throughout the year. A strong mark, Sproule has the running capabilities to play furthur up the ground as a roaming half forward thanks to outstanding endurance. Is still lightly framed but his set shot kicking routine is very good. His mobility should appeal to clubs looks for a tall at either end with plenty of development left in them.

#30 Dylan Clarke
?Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 185.7cm | 83.4kg

Dylan Clarke is the younger brother of North Melbourne 2015 draftee Ryan. Clarke has had a stellar season for both Eastern Ranges and Vic Metro. The competitive midfielder is a hard nut at the ball and averaged just under eight tackles and seven clearances per TAC Cup game for the Ranges. Has a good endurance base which means he can play on the outside if required, but his strong build will allow him to transition into senior football rather quickly through the midfield. Clarke’s knocks have been hit kicking technique and it was under 50% in both the TAC Cup and the Under 18 championships for Vic Metro. Likely second round pick.

#29 Jordan Gallucci
Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 180.0cm | 77.5kg

The athletic Jordan Gallucci has fluctuated around in my ratings all season. He showed plenty of promise in 2015 with many expecting him to have one of the better kicks in the draft pool. Unfortunately Gallucci could not find his feet as to where he best played his football, mixing between half back, midfield and periods up forward. For me I think he is best suited on the outside, rebounding across half back or on the wing. His kicking has struggled at times this year, at the 61 per cent (when combing TAC Cup & Under 18 championships). His athletic traits in speed and agility are outstanding, where he can burn opponents off running forward. Can win his own football in the midfield and his clearance work when on the inside has been strong.

#28 Patrick Kerr
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
31/07/1998 | 193.4cm | 93.2kg

The grandson of Carlton’s Laurie Kerr is one of the best key forwards in the 2016 draft. Kerr was at his best booting four final quarter goals to get Vic Metro over the line against South Australia in the Under 18 championships. Kerr has terrific hands overhead and marks well on the lead. When Kerr is on, he’s hard to stop and can really take the game away from opposing sides. Kerr is a strong leader and works hard on field & is a great character, speaking well to all those who have a chat with him. His speed over the first 5-10m is good which allows him to get distance between him and opposition. Kerr has worked hard on his agility, but it still was one of the worst at the National Combine. May appeal to the Blues at Pick 25 due to the family history.

#27 Jarrod Berry
Medium utility (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
05/02/1998 | 191.0cm | 81.8kg

A large majority have Berry in their top 10-15 names, but not for me. Berry has left me wanting more all season with each game I have seen him play. Multiple injuries did not give Berry an ability to be consistent across the season and play constant football. Berry has the best leadership abilities out of any player in this draft, his vocal work out on the ground is clear and it will hold him in good stead in the AFL. But where does he play his best football? He has the size to play inside midfielder, showed his good capabilities overhead up forward at stages late in the season as well as rebounding the ball out of defence. His kicking does need some work and for me I would be playing him in the attacking half of the ground. The utility will have plenty of suiters and should be a first round selection.

#26 Shai Bolton
Outside Midfielder (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
08/12/1998 | 174.7cm | 68.8kg

Excitement machine Shai Bolton has one of the best highlight packages in 2016. His fast side step is Cyril Rioli-like and he moves as well as anyone when getting around opponents. His speed is outstanding and is a hard match up when playing up forward. Bolton’s first half in the NAB AFL U18 All-Stars shows he has the capabilities to play up on a wing and his eye-catching moments make you take notice. What does need to be improved on is his kicking, which thanks to a high ball drop and style it can result in some bad kicks. Will need to work on his endurance in an AFL environment where he could well become a very damaging playing on the outside.

So that’s my players ranked 50-26, if you want to know more: Send me a Tweet @MattBalmer7 before my final 25-1 is released next Monday night.

Alex Takle’s Phantom Draft

Wright-Lever

1. Brisbane Lions – Peter Wright (Calder Cannons)
Height: 203 cm
Weight: 103 kg
Player comparison: Matthew Kreuzer

Peter Wright is a huge young man who is a genuinely good footballer. He may not have the explosiveness and ability to rip a game apart like Tom Boyd last year, but he is a strong marking forward and a very capable ruckman. Wright is not extremely fast but he has strong hands and is good on the lead, especially for his size, and possesses a good work rate to make multiple leads. His reach makes it very difficult for defenders to get hands on the ball and he takes his marks out in front. His goalkicking is very good and he kicks more than he misses, due to an uncomplicated action and a good follow through. He has played well as a ruckman, although he is more of a competitor rather than a guy who you could put in the ruck and expect to jump all over the opposition. His follow up on his taps is great for a big guy and he is usually lurking to put on a block or get a quick kick away. He is a good fit for the Lions here as he provides the extra flexibility McCartin doesn’t.

2. St Kilda – Patrick McCartin (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 95 kg
Player comparison: Taylor Walker

McCartin is possibly the best pure forward in the draft and the Saints would be pleased to add him as a long-term replacement for Nick Riewoldt. His marking is his best asset and he clunks marks on the lead, in the air and with defenders hanging off him. He shields his opponent from the drop of the ball and takes it with his arms outstretched. His goalkicking has improved from last year, where it was very hit and miss. He appears to have more confidence when kicking for goal now and is kicking through it which is delivering better results, although I’m still not completely confident in him slotting it every time. He doesn’t need a lot of opportunities to impact a game, but in saying that, his work rate needs to improve so he can get involved more often. McCartin is a diabetic and needs to come off to check his blood sugar but it hasn’t held him back, which shows how driven he is.

3. Greater Western Sydney – Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges)
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 92 kg
Player comparison: Dustin Martin

Petracca is a highly intriguing footballer who has worked extremely hard to get where he is today. Last year, he was a dominant forward: a man-child who monstered his opponents through sheer size and strength, despite being severely undersized for a key forward. His game was effective at junior level but there were concerns over how it would translate to the AFL, with recruiters wanting to see him play in the midfield. Petracca worked hard over summer to drop weight and the results have been enormous. He has been arguably the best player in the Championships, running through the midfield, racking up possessions and winning clearances with ease. His agility is top class and he is very explosive which allows him to pick up the ball and get out of a sticky situation in a couple of quick steps, before delivering the ball forward. His kicking is accurate but not excellent. He hits targets but it isn’t speared in: instead, it tends to be kicked to an area of advantage for his teammate. His defensive game will need work, as will his running patterns as he is still new to the midfield, but there is plenty to work with.

4. Melbourne – Sam Durdin (West Adelaide)
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Player comparison: Lachie Henderson

Durdin came into this year with an injury and only returned to football at the beginning of the Champs, but he is beginning to show why he is so highly rated. His marking ability and versatility are his main strengths and his exposure to senior football for West Adelaide has only helped his development. He can take a great grab, as he reads the ball well in the air and hits the ball at pace, taking it at its highest point. He can play at both ends of the ground, as well as in the ruck, although I prefer him as a defender who can swing forward. His kicking is good for a big guy and he provides plenty of drive off half back, cutting off the ball with his excellent marking and moving it on accurately. His athleticism is excellent, which was highlighted in the Champs game against Vic Country where he beat his opponent to a bouncing ball on the wing and outran him, tapping it forward to keep it inside the field of play and then looping a handball over an opponent to set up a goal. This athleticism and x-factor, combined with his marking and skills, makes him a very good prospect, particularly when he puts on some weight.

5. Western Bulldogs – Caleb Marchbank (Murray Bushrangers)
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Player comparison: Brian Lake

After a wretched run with injuries, Caleb Marchbank has exploded onto the scene in 2014 with his form in the Champs and for the Bushrangers propelling him into top ten contention. His marking is his biggest strength, as he reads it so well and he has a good leap. He loves to leave his man and impact other contests, and isn’t afraid to take risks with the ball in hand. While the likes of Durdin and Goddard are versatile, athletic talls, Marchbank is more of a defender than athlete. He still has the versatility to go forward and chip in with a goal but his ability to shut down an opponent is very good.

6. Carlton – Angus Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Player comparison: Travis Boak

Brayshaw is an excellent mix of inside and outside who has a really strong build and a tenacity on the ball which makes him stand out. He played exceptionally well for the AIS/AFL Academy team against Collingwood reserves, where his hardness and second and third efforts caught the eye. He doesn’t give up if he doesn’t get the ball: he fights for it and dives on it again or chases hard to give himself the best chance of winning the ball back. His tackling is fantastic as he runs really hard and barrels them, taking them to the ground. Despite this, he probably projects as more of an outside prospect because he doesn’t win a heap of his own ball and is not an excellent extractor, but he has good skills particularly by foot, so he is quite damaging on the outside.

7. Richmond – Connor Blakely (Swan Districts)
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player comparison: Blake Acres

Blakely is a rangy inside midfielder, with a number of athletic attributes which make him stand out. He has fantastic agility which allows him to dance around footballers and helps him get the ball out, even when under pressure. He gets his hands free and fires it out to his runners.  Compared to other inside midfielders, Blakely is pretty good by foot and off both sides. He doesn’t really bomb it long out of packs, instead choosing to give it off by hand or burst out using his lateral movement and acceleration before spotting up a short target. He is a good tackler and a good clearance player who has been Western Australia’s best throughout the Champs. He has had exposure to senior WAFL football for Swan Districts where he has held his own, averaging 17 disposals and two tackles a game. He is a taller midfielder and is quite skinny yet still finds a way to have an impact as an inside mid, so when he adds some bulk to his frame, he will be a very good player.

8. West Coast – Jayden Laverde (Western Jets)
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player comparison: Steve Johnson

Laverde oozes x-factor. He is tall, pacey and good with the ball in hand. He loves to take the game on and run, creating chances for his team off half back. He attacks the ball hard and hits it at pace, and combined with his fast moving sidestep, he is very hard to tackle. He has a booming right boot on him and he can really pierce open defences with it when given time. He has a big enough body to be able to go into the midfield and win clearances or act as a receiver. He can also play as a forward as he did against South Australia in the final Champs game. He is a good mark overhead but he can also use his pace to work his opponent up the ground and turn him around, and there are few defenders who will catch him when given a metre or two head start. A downfall in his game is he sometimes tries to do too much with the ball and doesn’t give the first option which causes trouble, especially given the vulnerability when running off half back as it leaves his team prone to turnovers.

9. North Melbourne – Jarrod Pickett (South Fremantle)
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 68 cm
Player comparison: Lewis Jetta

Pickett is an excitement machine who loves to run and carry. He is really damaging when he gets it on the outside because he is lightning quick and has the composure to be able to hit a target at pace, a skill few players have. He doesn’t win a lot of the ball – mainly because he is an outside user and doesn’t really win his own ball – but he is still an asset because he makes things happen. He is good by hand and releases players to run by. He draws players towards him when he runs and knows when to give it, rather than biting off too much. He is a goalkicker and loves to run forward. He is more suited to crumbing but has a good leap so he can fly, as he showed in the Champs game against Vic Metro when he flew from three back to pull down a great mark. I’d like to see him improve his consistency and play some senior football this year to put his name up there as a top selection.

10. Adelaide – Hugh Goddard (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 196 cm
Weight: 93 kg
Player comparison: Sam Day

Goddard is a jack of all trades but a master of none. He is so versatile in that he can play at both ends of the ground but he hasn’t torn a game apart at either end. He is a good forward, where he can use his athleticism and work rate to run his opponent around with multiple leads and is very good below his knees for his size. However, he isn’t a fantastic mark and doesn’t have the big physical presence most key forwards have so he is more of a second target. His field kicking is solid but unspectacular, and can be shaky at times when he pokes at the ball. His second and third efforts are excellent and he does all of the little things well like blocks, smothers and even dancing around when manning the mark. I prefer him as a defender because he is big bodied and strong enough to hold his own in a wrestle, but also quick and athletic enough to go with a quicker forward on the lead. He has done the job on some good forwards over his junior career and I think this is where his strengths can be best utilised.

11. Gold Coast – Paul Ahern (Calder Cannons)
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 77 cm
Player comparison: Harley Bennell

Ahern is a speedy outside midfielder who does a lot of damage across half forward. He is a real goalkicking midfielder who has a sense for the goals. He usually kicks at least a goal a game for Calder, and his three goal performance for Vic Metro against Western Australia highlighted what he can do. He is fast enough to get away from congestion, as well as being a good kick and strong decision maker. He doesn’t win much of his own ball and he doesn’t tackle, but this is not because he doesn’t chase or defend: rather, it is more because of his size and the way he gets buffeted off the ball in contested situations. He is well suited to a role across half forward where he can use his pace and skills to create, but he is also capable of having stints in the midfield.

12. Collingwood – Darcy Moore (Oakleigh Chargers)
Height: 199 cm
Weight: 93 kg
Player comparison: Drew Petrie

Collingwood supporters will tell you they are getting a steal here with their father-son pick, but I feel this is about right: Moore should go around this mark, behind the likes of Wright, McCartin, Durdin, Marchbank and Goddard. He is versatile enough to play at both ends but I prefer him as a forward. He reads the ball well in the air and takes it out in his hands each time. He is athletic and smart on the lead, and never runs underneath the ball. His second efforts when the ball hits the ground could improve and so could his competitiveness and consistency, but there is a lot to work with here. Moore will make a good second option for Collingwood behind Travis Cloke in a few years when his body matures.

13. Geelong – Lachie Weller (Broadbeach)
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 71 cm
Player comparison: Steele Sidebottom

Weller is the brother of St Kilda’s Maverick but he plays completely differently. He lacks the hardness of his brother but he is much more classy and skilled. He is good off both sides of the body and his hands are good, particularly at releasing runners. He is more outside than inside because of his light frame but he can win his own ball at times: however, he is simply better suited to the outside where he can use his long, accurate kicking.  He is unlikely to be found at the bottom of the pack, but he is still a good clearance player, using his smarts to position himself where he will be able to get the ball and slamming it forward to a teammate. He often looks like he is under pressure but he is a smart player with good vision, as well as being a step ahead, so his kicks usually go to a teammate and making few clangers. Weller will continue to develop as he grows and becomes bigger bodied, allowing him to win more of his own ball.

14. Gold Coast – Jordan De Goey (Oakleigh Chargers)
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player comparison: Tom Rockliff

De Goey is primarily a big bodied inside midfielder, however I also like him roaming across half forward. He is very clean by hand, picks it up with one grab and is hard to move off the ball which makes him a solid inside mid. He is quick off the mark and hits the ball really hard, and he is really aggressive at the stoppages. I like him as a half forward because he is athletic and has a good work rate, which allows him to play that high half forward role really well. He can take a good grab for his size and is a one grab player. His kicking is good, and he puts it to a spot where it will be to the advantage of his teammate rather than trying to pinpoint a pass. He has a good set shot technique and really kicks through it and he has the ability to kick goals from anywhere in the forward half, including outside the arc. His work rate is super and he works really hard up and down the ground, as shown in the Champs game against South Australia where he pushed hard up the ground to start and finish a slingshot scoring chain.

15. Port Adelaide – Liam Duggan (Western Jets)
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 76 kg
Player comparison: Matt Suckling

Duggan is a superb ball user with a lethal left foot. He roams around the half back line as the designated kicker, and for good reason because he can kick penetrating 50 metre passes off his left boot. Off his right side he is awkward – like any left footer – but his left is so good and when he gets time and space he is very dangerous. His actual defensive work is not fantastic and at times his pressure and tackling can be a little below par, and one on one he is a little vulnerable, but his attacking attributes make up for it. Duggan loves a give and go, and is usually seen lurking on the outside calling for the handball because he can do damage with the ball in hand. He has shown an ability to go forward and kick goals too, as seen against Northern Knights when he kicked three last quarter goals to win the match for the Jets.

16. Fremantle – Tyler Keitel (East Perth)
Height: 194 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Player Comparison: Jarryd Roughead

Keitel, a former javelin thrower, is big, strong and explosive and can play at both ends. He is primarily a forward, where he can use his marking to advantage. He is good on the lead and his follow up efforts are pretty good for a big man too, as he has good skills below his knees for such a big guy. He keeps the ball in front of himself so he can feed it to runners. He has a nice set shot routine and I can’t see too much reason why he can’t kick 30 goals a year at AFL level. He is also a good defender, reading the flight of the ball well and taking big grabs in front of the forwards.

17. Sydney – Isaac Heeney (Cardiff)
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player Comparison: Dayne Beams

Heeney is a competitive beast and one of the best midfielders in the draft, making him a steal for Sydney. He is strong and hard at the ball, and can win it himself. But he can also use his big tank to accumulate possessions on the outside. He has good vision and composure inside the contest and doesn’t make too many mistakes as a result, because he always seems to be a step ahead and his ability to kick off both feet should be noted as he can go both ways when breaking clear and still hit a target. When Heeney wins a hard ball, he bursts out of the contest and gets an easy possession with no pressure. He has the ability to go forward and can take a nice grab thanks to his leap but he is a midfielder first and foremost.

18. Hawthorn – Peter Bampton (Norwood)
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Player Comparison: Brad Crouch

When you are playing SANFL footy and being amongst your team’s best players at the age of 17 you are bound to have a good career. Bampton is an inside extractor who is the most AFL-ready prospect in the draft this year. He regularly racks up 20 or more possessions for Norwood and a number of them are won in contested situations. He is good below his knees and can pick up the ball and fire out a handball in one smooth motion. He has great endurance and it allows him to work hard over the ground and keep getting to contests. Injury stopped him from playing in the Championships but teams will know what he can do as he has runs on the board. The only problem he has is that he has no other strings to his bow. Other than being a very solid inside midfielder he doesn’t have anywhere else he can play, and has limited improvement left in him. Despite being nearly at his ceiling he is a ready to go player who would be among the rising star favourites for next year if he gets an opportunity.

19. Essendon – Jake Lever (Calder Cannons)
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Player Comparison: Troy Chaplin

Lever was talked about as a top three selection coming into this year before an ACL injury caused him to miss this season. But Lever has taken it in his stride, with his work ethic being up there with the best on the AIS Academy tour to Europe. He is a key defender who reads the play really well and takes a number of intercept marks. He loves to run and carry and link up as his team rebounds off half back and he is a composed ball user, especially for a big guy. He is probably best suited as a third tall defender where he can leave his man and ghost across into the dangerous areas and cut off forward thrusts.

20. Brisbane Lions – Matthew Hammelmann (Morningside)
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 88 kg
Player Comparison: Josh Jenkins

Hammelmann is a big, tall key forward who can go through the ruck and do a serviceable job in there. He is really strong on the lead, and hits the ball at top pace and takes it as far out in the hands as possible which makes it extremely hard to defend him on the lead. He needs to take advantage of his opportunities on goal as he seems to get a few opportunities a game but only kicks one or two goals. He is still skinny and not really a big physical presence but as he fills out he has a lot of potential to be a handy second forward.

21. St Kilda – Alex Neal-Bullen (Glenelg)
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Player Comparison: Luke Parker

Neal-Bullen is a really nice inside midfield prospect who has been playing senior football at Glenelg this year. He has a good turn of pace which helps him to accelerate away from the pack and he uses his hands well to get it out to his runners. He seems to have a knack for getting first hands on the ball at contests and sending kicks forward, although they often tend to be tumbling kicks that bounce end on end and are difficult to mark but that is because he is under so much pressure when he gets it. When he has time to use it he is a nice kick, although he generally takes low risk options. Rather than taking risks by pulling the trigger up the middle of the ground, he feeds it laterally to those with the skills to do so. He is a bit of a rough gem who has a lot of potential if he can clean up his work around the stoppages.

22. Greater Western Sydney – Harrison Wigg (North Adelaide)
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Player Comparison: Matt Suckling

Wigg is one of the better ball users in the draft. He has burst onto the scene during the Champs, as his play off half back has really been a big part of South Australia’s success. He took most of the kick ins and was involved in many coast to coast scores as he sent 55-metre bullets down the field. He only needs to have ten touches to make a real impact and cut a team open, as his kicking releases his team of pressure and piles it on to the opposition.

23. Melbourne – Ed Vickers-Willis (Sandringham Dragons)
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player Comparison: Andrew Mackie

Vickers-Willis is a player who can play as a defender or midfielder and do a job, whilst still accumulating possessions. He is the type of player you don’t really seem to notice but he is quietly setting up across half back, chipping the ball around or giving quickfire handballs out. His kicking action is a little ugly and can be inconsistent but he doesn’t try to do too much with the ball so he gets away with it. He seems to lack a bit of composure and misses targets he shouldn’t when under small amounts of pressure but his defensive attributes make up for this. He is a willing tackler, who will throw himself at the ball carrier and at the very least, slow them down. He is quick over the first few steps which allows him to stay close to forwards on the lead and when he spoils he really thumps it clear. He can lose his man at times in one on ones and looks a little shaky when one out in the square. Overall, Vickers-Willis is a solid medium defender who can also play on smalls.

24. Western Bulldogs – Corey Ellis (Western Jets)
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 76 kg
Player Comparison: Jared Polec

Ellis is a great ball user with a raking left foot capable of piercing defences. He is a smart ball user and puts it to the advantage of his teammates, generally allowing them to run into the path of the ball and putting it where he wants them to run. He is light bodied and not really a major contested ball winner but he is still an effective clearance player as he is a guy who teammates like to give the ball to because of his disposal. He is a good tackler and chases hard, not letting them get out of the pack easily. There is a lot of improvement ahead for Ellis and he has a number of very draftable attributes.

25. Carlton – Sam Bevan (Claremont)
Height: 195 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Jesse White

Bevan is a light-bodied key forward but he does some really nice things that make you think there is something to work with. He can mark well on the lead, as he gets separation from his opponent and bursts away, however he is rather poor in the air for a big man and doesn’t take many big contested grabs or have much of a physical presence. He is a good kick for goal and despite not getting many chances, he usually ends up with one or two goals a game.

26. Richmond – Aidan Anderson (Swan Districts)
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player Comparison: Steven Motlop

Anderson is a small forward who has a great goal sense. He has been playing senior football this year for Swan Districts and averages a goal a game in senior company. He plays taller than he is and can take some good contested marks but his follow up when the ball hits the ground is excellent. He is quick and clean below his knees and a good kick for goal on the run, whether it be a snap or running directly at goal.

27. West Coast – Alec Waterman (Claremont)
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Player Comparison: Dom Sheed

Waterman is a father-son selection who is probably a late first round talent but the Eagles are likely to get him in the second round thanks to their finishing position. He is a hard at it midfielder with clean hands and a good ability to win the ball on the inside. He is more of an accumulator than a dominant ball winner, and he can get a lot of ball without you realising it. He is a little slow but his clearance work makes up for it. He gets it out of the contest by hand and then follows up and runs to the next contest. He is a little one paced but his endurance and work rate are very good allowing him to keep working to contests.

28. North Melbourne – Dean Gore (Sturt)
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Player Comparison: Luke Dunstan

South Australia usually seem to have one dominant, big bodied inside midfielder and this year that man is Dean Gore. He has been playing senior footy all year and has held his own, being possibly the best performed out of all of the juniors playing league football this year. He is a clearance machine who is continually sending the ball forward. He really clears the danger when he kicks it, booting it long down the line, but rarely takes the time to look for a better option which can cause problems. When he gives it off by hand he is really creative and chooses good options, also working hard to block and protect his man after he gives them the ball. He is big bodied and strong through the core and legs so he is rarely knocked off the ball and it helps him to be one of the best clearance players in the draft.

29. Adelaide – Daniel Capiron (Dandenong Stingrays)
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Heath Shaw

Capiron is a classy defender who is good in the air, can blanket an opponent but also provide plenty of drive off half back. He is a good decision maker and a good kick, although a lot of his kicks across the backline are safe, short passes and switches. He doesn’t often pull the trigger and try to take risks but it is not really necessary in his role as a defender. His defensive work is good and he has the ability to play on both talls and smalls due to his size and athleticism.

30. Gold Coast – Henry Carey (Sturt)
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Player Comparison: Luke Breust

Carey is an athletic medium forward with a fantastic leap. He is light bodied but he doesn’t let that stop him and when he can get a jump at the ball he is hard to beat. Even at his size, he can take contested marks, as seen in the Champs game against Vic Metro where he marked over the top of three Vic Metro defenders.  He is smart and works hard, making multiple leads and working his opponent over until he can find space. His set shot is okay but can be a little hit and miss, as he moves the ball around a lot in his run up which creates more margin for error. Carey has been playing some reserves footy lately and has been finding more of the ball, especially around the 50 where he can spot up targets or go himself. He has a lot of potential as a small to medium forward with a lot of improvement left in him and has a really high upside.

31. Collingwood – Billy Evans (Bendigo Pioneers)
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Player Comparison: Mitch Wallis

Evans is a hard as nails inside midfielder who has starred for Bendigo this year. He wins a lot of the ball, averaging 23 disposals for Bendigo and a large number of them are won in contests. He is big bodied which helps him dominate in clearance situations and his tackling is strong, as he picks up 3-4 each game. He is a goalkicking midfielder which teams love and works hard both ways. He has shown a lot of improvement this year after looking a long way off it last season and has a lot more improvement to come.

32. Geelong – Touk Miller (Calder Cannons)
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Dion Prestia

Miller is small put he is an effective ball winner and a good user of it, especially by foot. He has a raking boot that allows him to kick it 55 metres to a teammate and he is very dangerous when hovering around the 50 as he is a threat from almost everywhere. He puts it to his teammates advantage most times but he can over-kick the ball. He will win a hard ball and burst his way out of the pack and then follow up on it and try to get it again. He is just such a hard worker and has worked hard to make sure his lack of size doesn’t affect him as a footballer. He shows leadership potential, as he was named captain of Vic Metro for the Champs. Miller is quite fast too, and puts a lot of pressure on the ball carrier and tackles hard when he catches them. He has the potential to be a good role player at AFL level.

33. Port Adelaide – Jarrod Garlett (South Fremantle)
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 67 kg
Player Comparison: Lewis Jetta

Garlett is incredibly quick and a real line breaker who seems to do something exciting every time he gets it. He is really clean by hand and gets his hands up to avoid being trapped. He has good lateral movement and gets himself out of trouble easily before turning on the speed and bursting away. He has the ability to pick the ball up off the ground at top pace and keep going at top speed and can dance around players while running at close to top speed. His kicking is fair but he tends to over-kick the ball a lot, possibly the result of trying to kick at top pace. He can kick off both feet equally well. If he can clean up his kicking he can be a really good player, as he is essentially a more consistent version of Pickett but a poorer ball user.

34. Fremantle – Clem Smith (West Perth)
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 67 kg
Player Comparison: Mitch Robinson (more defensive)

The negatives are often talked about more than the positives with Smith but I feel that is unfair on the kid. He may not be a good kick, rather he is a very poor kick, and he may be small but he is extremely quick and hard at the ball which is a lethal combination. He is exceptionally quick and this helps him chase down opponents and he averages a high number of pressure acts each game, because even though he may not catch his opponents he causes them to kick hurriedly. He loves to lay a crunching tackle or a big block and his teammates feed off that stuff. If he can learn how to kick he will be a very good defender, but due to his pressure and attack on the ball you can carry him in your team without the elite kicking skills many defenders possess.

35. Sydney – Jack Hayes (Woodville-West Torrens)
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player Comparison: Jake Carlisle

Hayes is versatile enough to play at both ends and has played through the ruck at junior level and shown an ability to win a lot of the ball. He projects best as a defender, where he can use his closing speed and spoil. He doesn’t give his man an inch and is seemingly always there with a fist. He is brave enough to leave his man and kill the ball in dangerous contests, a trait that the good defenders have. He doesn’t seem to back himself much to mark the ball and prefers to punch but it could be a confidence thing as he had been playing up forward and in the ruck before the Champs and he is generally a good mark when playing up forward. He can play up forward where he uses his work rate to work around centre half forward and accumulate the ball, whilst bobbing up for a couple of goals but he is an in-between size at AFL level.  I’m interested to see where he plays when he goes back to the Eagles and I’d like to see if he makes the transition from reserves to senior SANFL footy.

36. Hawthorn – Jordan Cunico (Gippsland Power)
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Player Comparison: Mark LeCras

Cunico is a pacy outside player who has a real turn of speed and loves to use it. He is very dangerous when left alone because he can break the lines with his pace and use his excellent kicking to set up forward thrusts. He is light bodied and can be pushed off the ball but when out on the wing or flanks with more space and time he is very damaging. He likes to float around the forward line where he can really set up attacks and can impact the scoreboard.

37. Brisbane Lions – Liam Dawson (Aspley)
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Player Comparison: James Kelly

Dawson burst onto the scene last year as a defender for Queensland, with his form earning him plaudits and an AIS Academy invitation. He is a good user of the ball and can accumulate possessions through the midfield with ease. He can make some mistakes with the ball and put his teammates under pressure by being slow to make decisions but he is still learning to play in the middle at a higher level and he is generally a good decision maker when coming off half back. Injury ruined his chances of showing what he can do on the big stage of the Champs but it should allow the Lions to take him with a later pick. Whatever happens, it is hard to see the Lions passing on him.

38. St Kilda – Dylan Winton (Peel Thunder)
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Player Comparison: Lynden Dunn

Winton is an intriguing prospect as he has been playing as an undersized centre half back with average disposal but an ability to read the play well and cut it off in dangerous spots. However he is unlikely to play there at AFL level due to being a little short, but he is still a good medium sized defender. He is a poor kick and despite being able to play through the midfield and find the ball, I don’t like him there because his disposal is too hit and miss. He is rather slow and one paced, but is smart and knows where to go to get the ball and doesn’t let his lack of athleticism limit him.

39. Greater Western Sydney – Sean McLaren (Sandringham Dragons)
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 92 kg
Player Comparison: Jackson Trengove

McLaren is a versatile tall who can play through the ruck and at both ends of the ground. I like McLaren as a tall defender, who can hold down a key defensive post but can pinch hit in the ruck, like Port’s Jackson Trengove. While his defensive game is still developing, he has shown great promise here, using his long arms to reach in and spoil and reads the ball well in the air to take intercept marks. He doesn’t provide much when his team is attacking but as a defender you are more concerned with your players beating their man first, which is what McLaren does. He is quite a capable ruckman, and his taps are generally to advantage and he follows up well. He is a player for the future and one that can be developed a number of ways.

40. Melbourne – Billy Stretch (Glenelg)
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 71 kg
Player Comparison: Xavier Ellis

Stretch has copped a lot of attention this year and has found a lot of criticism coming his way which has been very harsh on a kid who has some great assets. He is a skinny kid who floats across half forward or on the wing and loves to get the ball in his hands and run. His kicking lacks polish but is not as bad as has been reported early in the Champs. He is a good linkman across the forward half, but I don’t see him as a real game changer. Stretch isn’t likely to be in and under, winning his own ball but he knows his limitations and positions himself in spots where he can be dangerous and help his side. He often sits 30 metres away from the play, sweeping up loose kicks and pumping it back into dangerous spots. His exposure to senior football at Glenelg can only help him. Demons fans have put a lot of pressure on Stretch to be a great player, and wanted to get a steal through the father-son system but Stretch is just a good solid second round prospect with one or two attributes that make him a good player – his speed and decision making, but not a whole lot else.

41. Western Bulldogs – Zaine Cordy (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Andy Otten

Cordy has shown some real improvement this year for Geelong Falcons to the point where he is being talked about as a main draft father-son selection to the Bulldogs, when at one point it looked like they could pick him up in the rookie draft. Last year he was playing as a third tall, mopping up around the contests but not taking the best opposition forwards, despite his size but this year he has stood next to some quality players but come off better. He is athletic and moves well for a big guy, and is clean below his knees. He has a powerful kick and is a strong mark and has a lot of attributes which could lead to him being a solid AFL defender if he can continue developing and put it all together.

42. Carlton – Kyle Langford (Northern Knights)
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Player Comparison: Nat Fyfe

Langford is a versatile tall who can play at both ends. He plays as a forward for Northern Knights, where he can showcase his elite marking. Despite being a skinny kid, he is one of the best marks in the TAC Cup and rarely drops one. He protects the drop of the ball and hits it hard, not giving his opponent much chance. He has a good set shot technique and generally takes advantage of his opportunities. He wins a lot of ball working up the ground, and is often found floating up around the wings. He played as a defender for the majority of the Champs where he did jobs on a number of quality forwards. He is a little slow to make decisions, and can put himself under pressure leading to turnovers. His disposal is average and he doesn’t have any real weapons. His versatility makes him a good prospect and I see him as a third tall forward who may end up in the midfield as a tall midfielder with great marking ability in a couple of years.

43. Richmond – Brad Walsh (Peel Thunder)
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Player Comparison: Sam Mitchell

Walsh is a tough inside midfielder with great leadership qualities. The captain of the AIS Academy team leads by example and was the MVP for Western Australia in the Champs. He reads the ball really well off the hands of the ruckman and moves it on quickly. He is a good tackler and a really good clearance player. He has a good sidestep and can burst out of the pack to deliver the ball but doesn’t take the game on much. He accumulates the ball and can rack up big numbers at under 18 level and averaged 16 disposals in his three senior games last year. He is similar to Bampton in that he doesn’t have a lot of improvement left in him but he is a solid, AFL ready player.

44. Essendon – Abaina Davis (UNSW-Easts)
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 90 kg
Player Comparison: Jack Riewoldt

Davis is zoned to Sydney through their academy but given their depth in the key forward position I’m tipping he will go to the highest bidder and he should garner plenty of interest. He does some really exciting things, and has a knack of making something out of nothing. He is athletic and fast for his size and uses his attributes to work his opponent around in the absence of a real marking game. He can jump and takes the ball at his highest point but at times can misjudge them in the air and I’d like him to clunk them a little more often. I feel that he can be a little selfish but that can be a good trait in a forward.

45. West Coast – Dan Howe (Murray Bushrangers)
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Player Comparison: Andrew Mackie

Howe is a 19-year-old skilled, running defender who is good off both sides and does some really exciting things. He is not afraid of getting hurt and his attack on the ball is fantastic, going back with the flight or flying into packs trying to outmark forwards. He backs himself to mark the ball rather than spoiling which is a good quality to have in a defender. By foot he is rather safe and takes the low risk options usually. He takes a lot of intercept marks because he reads the ball well in the air but then he goes back quickly and hits a short pass or a switch rather than pulling the trigger and going back up the line. He is a composed defender who has played up the ground as a forward and also in the midfield where he played a key role in the Bushrangers’ win over Sandringham. Howe can step in and play a role and will not disappoint fans, but probably won’t develop into a number one defender to man the big forwards.

46. North Melbourne – Tom Lamb (Dandenong Stingrays)
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Player Comparison: Marco Paparone (less disciplined)

Lamb is an interesting prospect because he is not quite tall enough to play as a tall forward but he plays as a quasi-tall who roams around on the wings, in a role similar to Matthew Richardson late in his career. He is extremely athletic and his agility is up there with the best. He does some things that make you get excited, like a one handed pick up and take off with the ball before delivering a pinpoint pass, but it seems as though he is more interested in doing the flashy things like this than doing the one percenters and the “boring” things on the field. He is quite inconsistent and not a huge possession winner or great ball user, especially considering the position he plays. He is very fiery and is noted to have a bad temper, and was kicked out of a prestigious Melbourne school. His marking is not good enough for him to play as a key forward at that size and he may not be able to make an impact in this sort of role at AFL level but he is picked on natural talent and potential.

47. Adelaide – Jake Johansen (Port Adelaide)
Height: 171 cm
Weight: 63 kg
Player Comparison: Brent Harvey

Johansen is a tiny midfield dynamo who has been playing senior football at Port Adelaide in the last two seasons. Whilst he plays as a midfielder for South Australia, he plays as a small forward, roaming around forward 50 and using his pace and skill to set up teammates. He is a smart player who knows where to run to get the ball and has good acceleration to get away from the contest. He is not a particularly penetrating kick and you don’t notice his kicking as being either good or bad, it just gets from point A to point B. He is clever around the contest and when he can’t pick it up one grab he will knock it on to his advantage and back himself to beat his opponent to it with his speed. He is small but strong and doesn’t get knocked off the ball as much as you would think due to his strong core and low centre of gravity. Despite being small he is a big time accumulator due to his workrate and can play a role as a small forward or high half forward working up the ground at AFL level, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him passed over due to his size.

48. Gold Coast – Jackson Nelson (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Jasper Pittard

Nelson is a skinny outside ball user who roams around the backline or on the wing. He is quite fast and has good agility and a nice sidestep which helps him to get out of sticky situations. He is clean with the ball in hand and makes good decisions. He is beginning to win more of his own ball and his tackling is good as he is very tenacious and he picks up a few tackles a game. He has been beginning to run into some really good form after a slow start to the season so a shoulder injury suffered in the final game of the Champs will put a dent in his draft hopes but I feel that he has enough attributes to get picked up.

49. Collingwood – Lukas Webb (Gippsland Power)
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Patrick Karnezis

Webb is a midfielder/forward who is good in the air and is good around the stoppages. He reads the ball really well in the air as a forward and protects the drop of the ball well. He is a good set shot for goal and is a good contributor to the Gippsland forward line. He is not a massive ball winner but he is good in traffic and has good composure. He is a good decision maker and loves to take the game on and keep it going forward. He has a lot of development to go but could be a handy midfielder and I’d like to see him continue his Champs form for Gippsland.

50. Geelong – Daniel Butler (North Ballarat Rebels)
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Player Comparison: Jarryd Blair

Butler is a small, elusive forward who applies lots of defensive pressure and hates to let the ball out. He is a good ball user and has good weighting to his kicks. He is quick and likes to take the game on before delivering the ball. Despite being small he can find the ball and win his own footy but he is better on the outside with his speed and acceleration. He needs to hit the scoreboard a little more but he is certainly draftable with a later pick due to his work ethic and pressure.

51. Port Adelaide – Jack Cripps (East Fremantle)
Height: 196 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Player Comparison: Rhys Stanley

Cripps is a big, athletic tall forward who can take turns through the ruck. He is a good mover and works really hard, covering more ground than most guys his size. He can take a good grab and has a good vertical leap. He plays in bursts at the moment but he has a lot of potential if he can put a few passages of play together and find more of the footy. He is an effective tap ruckman but more of a forward than ruckman.

52. Fremantle – Dillon Viojo-Rainbow (Western Jets)
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Shannon Hurn

After Harrison Wigg, Viojo-Rainbow is probably the best kick in the draft. He has an excellent left boot which can send the ball to its target almost immediately. He kicks it low and flat and gives defenders little chance. Struggles a little defensively and seems to have trouble reading the play and predicting where his opponent is going to move to so I see him as more of a wingman who can use the ball effectively and be a real creative weapon.

53. Sydney – Teia Miles (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Player Comparison: Luke Ball

Miles is a half back who plays with no frills. He doesn’t care for the fancy stuff and he just attacks the ball really hard. He is a solid clearance player in the midfield for Geelong, throwing himself at the ball and getting in and under. His kicking needs work as it is neither long nor penetrating but he knows his limitations. He is a smart player who does the little things well and leaves the flashy stuff to others.

54. Hawthorn – Caleb Daniel (South Adelaide)
Height: 167 cm
Weight: 66 kg
Player Comparison: Trent Cotchin (smaller)

Daniel is tiny but he is so elusive and poised. He never gets tackled and dances in and out of contests with ease, shrugging off opponents and assessing his options before hitting low bullets to his teammate. He has terrific goal sense and kicks goals from anywhere, as seen in the Champs where he picked the ball up in a pack and kicked the ball over his head while facing the wrong way, resulting in a goal. He has a long penetrating kick but often chooses the short options which release his running teammates. Despite his size he is a fantastic player and I feel he deserves a chance, although if he isn’t picked up he will be one of the band of players deemed ‘too small for AFL’ that dominate at state level.

The five gamebreakers you must keep an eye on

Christian-Petracca

There is one simple fact about the 2013 draft – you cannot deny the amount of dangerous players who were taken. Players with explosive skills who change the game instantly were almost common in last year’s draft class. Ben Lennon, Jay Kennedy-Harris and Mitch Honeychurch are the type that come to mind.

In 2014, the TAC Cup hosts some of the most exciting talent, and although 2014 is supposedly the ‘year of the talls’ (and it certainly is), there are many guys who play more explosive, eye catching roles. The top five soon-to-be fan favourites look like this:

Christian Petracca – Eastern Ranges
Petracca is without a doubt my personal favourite player to watch and has been for a year now. I believe he is the most talented player of 2014 and on output alone he is well ahead of the likely number one pick, Hugh Goddard. Simply, I would not hesistate to take Petracca with pick one if I was a recruiter and here’s why:

He is 185 cm and 96 kg, yet he runs all day and puts in the effort every second of the game. He plays like a third tall forward, yet he dominates as a key forward and has no trouble being the main man, or the second or third option. He takes stronger contested marks than just about anyone and he is undefendable. The only AFL player I can think of who could adequately match up on each of his characteristics is Luke Hodge. Petracca has built his engine up to play far more midfield time, and after seeing him in early January, he looks imposing physically, yet also fit.

The new AIS recruit has spent this summer training with the Hawks, and after winning the Premiership at Eastern last year, Petracca lives for and understands the requirements for success. Petracca’s 2013 season can be summed up with his Preliminary Final against the almost unbeatable Geelong Falcons – five goals, five behinds, 23 possessions, 78% disposal efficiency, 11 marks (nine of those were contested) and a whopping 206 Supercoach points.

If 41 goals in 17 games in a forward line that hosted Tom Boyd, Michael Apeness and occasionally Dan McStay isn’t convincing enough, then go watch the Ranges play.

Angus Brayshaw – Sandringham Dragons
The 184 cm AIS midfielder looks to be a step above most midfielders in terms of polish and awareness. It was hard to judge him last year as a broken arm restricted him to just five games, in which he averaged 19 possessions. However, if you take out one game where he got the ball just three times, he averaged over 23 possessions a game.

Yet James Brayshaw’s nephew can hang his hat on other things too. In a midfield that boasted Josh Kelly, Christian Salem, Zach Merrett and Tom Langdon, Brayshaw was restricted to playing off a back flank. He showed promise though, as he averaged seven tackles a game. His defensive work was matched by his offensive running, with an average of over six handball receives per game and a bit over four uncontested marks per game.

The most impressive part about Brayshaw though would be the things that do not show up on the stat sheet. His awareness and ability to evade tackles is impressive. He is slick in traffic and dangerous with the footy in hand as his decision making is second to none. His disposal efficiency needs work, but do not be fooled – Brayshaw is not a bad kick, but rather a risky, take the game on sort of kick. He will create wonderful scoring chances with his great vision, but his execution can occasionally be poor.

Liam Duggan – Western Jets
180 cm and almost your typical classy, rebounding half back. Yet Duggan is more than just a tidy left foot kick. He is a risk taker with his long kicks, yet in 2013 his disposal efficiency was at 67%. Not incredible by any stretch, but when you look at other players disposal efficiency in TAC Cup, it is really not too bad. He is not one for cheap stats either. His 17 disposal per game average does not justify his AIS status but it is the quality of possessions that do.

Duggan is very quick and evasive. He should move up onto the wing this year and create offensive opportunities. Coming equal third at the Jets with 40 rebound 50s sums up his game style. He’s got a fair bit of bulking left to be done and it will take quite some time before he becomes a definite star, but Duggan is no doubt the key to the Jets’ success.

Patrick McCartin – Geelong Falcons
McCartin is the epitome of exciting. His contested marking and brute strength is incredible. Honestly, while Goddard and Wright look like fantastic key forwards, McCartin’s highlight reel and potential just seems to be that much more exciting than the other two. In the National Championships, McCartin bore a striking resemblance to early 2000’s Jonathan Brown, where his courage and reading of the flight were phenomenal. His 28 marks across four games was impressive, but what’s more was his 12 contested marks, an astounding second in the carnival.

With Goddard set to move down back, McCartin should own the forward 50 and aim to kick 45 plus goals for the year. Obviously his other commitments are going to see him miss a bit of footy, but his 21 goals in eight games this year is promising. His five goal haul against Western Australia was important, but if we are to use one game to show why McCartin is a game breaker, look no further than his personal demolition of the Bendigo Pioneers: seven goals, two behinds, 20 disposals and 13 marks. Yeah, not bad.

Darcy Moore – Oakleigh Chargers
Son of Collingwood great Peter Moore and an almost certain father-son selection, the towering and athletic Darcy remains an enigma. He’s 196 cm and fairly solid with a highlight reel to captivate all draft watchers. But the Carey Grammar key forward / back has so much to prove. Moore has only played six games in total with the Chargers due to injury. In those games, he struggled to impact the game at all. His athleticism is what makes him a game breaker though. Capable of flying for extraordinary marks as well as being able to evade tackles like a much smaller player, Moore is the type of guy who will stun crowds, but he will need to show it consistently as there are plenty of other talls who are ahead of him so far on output.