One of our Rising Star team, Jourdan Canil has bravely stuck his neck out and created a phantom draft for the first four rounds. It should be noted that plenty can change over the next few months and with the great diversity of our writers, much like the public, everyone has a different opinion. Jourdan has been the first one to put his hand up and attempt one of the hardest things to do five months from the draft. The aim is to give readers an insight into who will be available around the picks that your club has. It should also be noted that Adelaide will not have the picks designated to them, however Jourdan has used Adelaide in his phantom draft so it gives an extra pick for the first two rounds and therefore an extra player can be included.
Over the next four days, we’ll be publishing it round by round starting with the first round. So enjoy getting familiar with some of the names that will grace the AFL field in 2014.
1. GWS – James Aish (SA – Mid)
183 cm 72 kgs
Player Comparison: Jimmy Bartel
Aish mightn’t be the clear cut number one this year, but he is the most well rounded of the midfield group. He and Christian Salem are the two this year that have that Scott Pendlebury trait of seeming to make the opposition slow down around them so they have time and space to dispose of the ball cleanly. Aish is a fantastic user of the footy and can play both inside and out. Never mind his size, this year’s crop is full of smaller midfielders. Aish is classy with and without the ball. His ability to evade tackles is great for someone so light. His marking is pretty good, but it will probably get exposed at AFL level.
2. Melbourne – Luke Dunstan (SA –Mid/Fwd)
184 cm 82 kgs
Player Comparison: Jobe Watson
Some have compared him to Dustin Martin, but I think Dunstan will be less explosive and more consistent. Dunstan is a fantastic inside midfielder who could easily rack up 10+ clearances a game. Great foots kills and a decent user by hand. He’s the kind of midfielder who can go forward and not just provide a target, but truly dominate. Could see Dunstan slip to around 5 depending on the draft order, but a player of his calibre shouldn’t go any lower than that.
3. Western Bulldogs – Thomas Boyd (VIC – KPF)
198 cm 100 kgs
Player Comparison: Taylor Walker
Doggies should get their wish seeing as the Dees and Giants have great KPF stocks. Boyd is simply exceptional. He takes the ball at the highest point and can still win an aerial contest even when he’s getting double and triple teamed. Boyd is a very accurate set shot, decent field kick and quick enough to beat defenders on the lead. He is fantastic below the knees for a player as big as he is. He is beatable though. In round one this year, Hugh Beasley from Oakleigh just niggled and niggled at him and just played tight against him one out. Boyd struggled for the first half, with his first goal being a cherry pick. He ended up with four, eventually kicking two monster set shots. The thing is, he could very well be like Barry Hall. He could snap and lose focus, or he could become motivated and physical in the right way.
4. St Kilda – Josh Kelly (VIC – Mid)
181 cm 71kgs
Player Comparison: Andrew Gaff
Kelly is an elite endurance runner, which should see him adapt to AFL well, even with his light frame. He’s exclusively an outside player, but due to his ability to get to every contest, he can rack up the possessions. In the times I’ve seen Kelly play, he hasn’t impressed me enough to really deserve the number four position. His kicking wasn’t as amazing as it was hyped to be but perhaps it was just a quiet day. He is the ideal outside, classy player for the Saints and I would be surprised if they passed on him. Should see him start out as that Andrew Gaff wing type player.
5. Gold Coast – Jack Billings (VIC – Fwd/Mid)
182 cm 73kgs
Player Comparison: Dustin Martin
For me, Billings is under rated. He has that physicality in his tackling, breaking tackles and marking that you see in a seasoned AFL player like Dustin Martin or Adam Goodes. He is dual sided and my word he is silky on both feet. He can kick it more than 50 metres with precision like Jack Macrae. His marking is the real highlight of his game. He takes it at the highest point and clunks them even when he gets hacked. Prefer to see him play as a leading high high half forward so he can set up the play as well as hit the scoreboard.
6. Brisbane – Dominic Sheed (WA – Mid)
184 cm 79 kgs
Player Comparison: Chris Judd
For me, Sheed is the perfect replacement for Polec who is rumoured to be on the way out. Sheed is the real quality over quantity guy, which should really set up the Brisbane midfield with Mayes and Rich. Whilst not of the Billings/ McDonald kicking calibre, Sheed is probably an 8.5/10 in terms of footskills and is nifty by hand. He is a great decision maker and solid athletically. Not overly quick, but shouldn’t be exposed at AFL level because he knows his limitations and where to run.
7. Port Adelaide – Trent Dumont (SA – Mid)
Player Comparison: Ollie Wines
No doubt Port will seriously consider Dumont with their first pick. The other SA boys in Scharenberg and Robertson could also be around the mark at this point, but considering the immediate success they’ve had with Wines, Dumont should please them. A really strong inside ball winner who already has an AFL body. His skills and pace aren’t anything to write home about, but they will be developed at AFL level. Chuck him in the midfield with Wines and Boak and you have three excellent clearance players.
8. North Melbourne – Luke McDonald (VIC – UTIL – NM F/S)
187 cm 77 kgs
Player Comparison: Shannon Hurn
Plenty has been said about McDonald’s kicking, and it’s true. He could nail a target from 60m away easily. McDonald is a great size, but unfortunately lacks that defensive talent at this point. Hopefully playing in the VFL should allow him to become more accountable in the back half especially against big bodied opponents. McDonald has incredible pace and should form a formidable half back duo with Shaun Atley. North fans have their playmaker. The question is whether he can break forward tags. Against NSW/ACT he had 24 touches but nothing that made him standout whatsoever. I haven’t been as impressed with him as others have, but nonetheless he’ll go to the Roos with their first pick.
9. Adelaide*- Matt Crouch (VIC – Mid)
North Ballarat Rebels
182 cm 75kgs
Player Comparison: Joel Selwood
Crouch’s draft position shouldn’t be too affected by his recent injury. He managed to rack up 32 disposals even with an injured hand so clearly he doesn’t need to be at 100% health wise to dominate. He is the kind of player a coach will absolutely love and while he might have been an Adelaide Crow, the Kurt Tippett saga may rob them of him. Unlike Brad, Matt is more of an inside midfielder. He tackles extremely hard and is at the bottom of every pack. He can rack up the ball and knows how to use it, even though you wouldn’t say his kicking and handballing are highlights. While he’s not the athlete that Brad is, he can still punch out some solid numbers.
10. Carlton – Christian Salem (VIC – Mid)
182 cm 83 kgs
Player Comparison: Scott Pendlebury
Considered Cameron Conlon here but I think his injury might allow him to slip a little. Looks like a human wrecking ball but is far from it. Whilst Salem can win the inside ball with his tenacity and strength, but the real highlight of his game is his rare ability to find time and space when it shouldn’t be there. In his first TAC Cup game this season, Salem dominated the first half to the point where I literally couldn’t take notes on any other player because he was the only one catching my eye. In heavy traffic, he manages to evade a tackle and spot up a player perfectly, even with immense pressure around him. Salem can hit the scoreboard too, although his game isn’t suited to the forward line. His outside skills are fantastic and he is a fantastic tackler. To be quite honest, I think he is a better player than Josh Kelly, but Kelly is a superior athlete. Against New South Wales/ACT, Salem was played in the forward pocket and kicked three goals. Yet when he moved up the field, he just played with such composure and measured his kicks so well.
11. Richmond – Marcus Bontempelli (VIC – Mid)
191 cm 83 kgs
Player Comparison: Luke Hodge/ David Myers
Plenty of people rate Bontempelli as extremely high quality. I don’t quite feel as though he is as skilful as some of the smaller midfielders, but his size should help him justify his position at 11. I rate him similarly to Luke Hodge based on two aspects of his game. The 100m stretch- Bontempelli can run for 40 metres then roost it 60 metres. Secondly, he reads the play so well and is an intelligent footballer. With his sort of size, he could play as a third tall. But I feel he is a dead ringer David Myers, in that he plays very similarly, yet he is much better suited as that midfield type rather than a small key position player. Bontempelli has the skills to be a great outside player and his size allows him to win clearances at TAC Cup level. Whether he can translate his inside game at AFL level remains to be seen.
12. West Coast – Nicholas Robertson (WA – Mid)
187 cm 79kgs
Player Comparison: Brent Stanton
Considered Scharenberg at this pick purely because he’d be free with Waters and Hurn copping forward tags. Robertson is a hard two way running outside midfielder. Like Stanton, his skills aren’t sublime but they are pretty good. You know with Robertson that he will try his best to get to every contest and based on that, he can get plenty of the ball. He’s a tall midfielder which is all the rage. Wouldn’t mind seeing him try and become a better mark and inside player, but I think if he puts on too much size he’ll lose that running capacity. Double edged sword, really.
13. Essendon – Ben Lennon (VIC – Mid/Fwd)
187 cm 79kgs
Player Comparison: Ryan O’Keefe
The thing with Lennon is that he is great at everything and can play everywhere. Whilst that versatility is great, we are yet to see him settle down and truly dominate. Lennon for me, is best suited as the Ryan O’Keefe type- can play as a marking forward or an inside ball winner who can also kick well. I love Lennon’s kicking ability, even though it’s probably not in the upper echelon of this draft class. Lennon isn’t renowned for being at the bottom of a pack, but he can do it if needed. His size makes him a good link up marking target. He has some serious pace and is a great all-rounder. Makes him one of the safer ‘best available’ options.
14. Fremantle – Cameron Conlon (VIC – KPF/Ruck)
198 cm 87 kgs
Player Comparison: Kurt Tippett
Something about Conlon that I really like, although at the same time I have question marks over his game. Feel he could turn out to be a Tyrone Vickery type player. Conlon is a great contested grab. Obviously with him being six to eight centimeters taller than most key backs, he can do that quite easily. He takes the ball close to the highest point and reads kicks into the 50 well. He’s a good kick at goal from the set shot. Not overly great below the knees so he’s not the type that would kick snaps from his own crumbs. Can play in the ruck, but he’s more of that Joe Daniher type key forward. He’s a perfect fit for Freo.
15. Collingwood – Matt Scharenberg (SA – Def/Mid)
Player Comparison: Harry O’Brien
I don’t rate that athletic third tall as much as others do, which is why I have Scharenberg at 15. Scharenberg is the running half back who reads the play well and takes intercept marks. His drive from the half back is great and his disposal is pretty decent so he can set up the play. If he had a lethal kick then I think he’d demand a top ten spot. Or if he could develop into a genuine tall outside midfielder then he’d also be right up there. Plenty of great SA talents this year, so hopefully he can dominate at champs and be the third name in that list of good SA players rather than fourth or fifth.
16. Sydney – Dwayne Wilson (SA – Mid)
Player Comparison: Steven Motlop
More of a pure outside midfielder than Steven Motlop, but the damaging kick and raw pace are similar. He’s got a great penetrating kick and is a more accurate shot on goals than Motlop. Could see him used on a wing more often than as a half forward, but it really depends on where he goes. Obviously needs to put on some more size but that should come in time. Worst case scenario he could become a Leroy Jetta type- doesn’t get a lot of the ball but he is extremely quick, applies forward pressure and kicks goals.
17. Hawthorn – James Tsitas (VIC – Mid)
180cm 76 kgs
Player comparison: Brett Deledio
Tsitas is quick and is a quality endurance athlete. I’d say he’s the third best athletic gifted and skilful midfielder ihttp://www.boundforglorynews.com.au/wp-admin/post-new.phpn this draft behind Kelly and Freeman. Tsitas is a great user of the footy, although he’s not a huge kick. Tsitas can rack up the ball as he pleases, notching up 32 against Tasmania. He’s an ideal small link up player who can give a side plenty of drive. His size isn’t too much of a knock, but the quality of midfielders in this draft could see him go from anywhere between 15-25.
18. Geelong – Darcy Gardiner (VIC – KPD)
192 cm 84 kgs
Player Comparison: Ted Richards
The best key defender in the draft. Could go forward if he needs to, but the cats have pretty solid key forwards developing. Gardiner is a great, strong mark and reads the play quite well. He is decent by foot, but probably nothing to write home about. I doubt he’ll become an attacking key back, but he should be able to become that defensive general and is reliable enough to be a link up target.
Tomorrow: Round 2