Jourdan Canil’s Phantom Draft

bfgnprofiles

The AFL national draft is almost upon us. This year, I’ve tried to make this is most accurate phantom draft possible, so there’s only around 60 live picks as well as rookie upgrades and passes, so fans can have a clear idea of what their team will do.

1. CarltonJacob Weitering
Club: 
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Key defender
Height: 195 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Player comparison: Alex Rance

Weitering’s got the whole package. His best asset is his intercept marking. He runs off his opponent and reads the play so well. He’s strong enough to not only compete at AFL level, but immediately win contests. He’s a terrific overhead mark and positions himself well, while he’s also a terrific rebounder. He’s got a classy raking kick and he often puts the ball out into space for his team mates to run into. Athletically, he’s got a good leap and he’s got great closing speed. I firmly believe he will be one of the two or three best key defenders in the league in years to come.

2. Brisbane – Josh Schache
Club: 
Murray Bushrangers
Position: Key forward
Height: 199 cm
Weight: 93 kg
Player comparison: Tom Lynch (Gold Coast)

Probably the most promising ‘true’ key forward of 2015, Schache kicked 27 goals from 15 games as a 17-year-old. Schache prides himself on his contested marking. His size allows him to bust through packs, but he also takes the ball out at full stretch. Schache is a great player below the knees, and unlike most key forwards, he is a reliable field kick and shot for goal. Schache has speed on the lead and he also likes to use his physicality. He can kick a goal from most places on the field, and can comfortably kick it 55 metres. In terms of agility, Schache is actually quite impressive for his size. He could potentially improve on the defensive side of his game, which is for me what separates him from Tom Boyd and Patrick McCartin, who are probably less likely to become well-rounded key forwards. Schache’s conversion rate this year has been impressive and he’s stood up in key games. Definitely the second best player in the draft for mine.

3.  Sydney – Callum Mills (academy selection)
Club:
 North Shore
Position: Midfielder
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player comparison: Lenny Hayes

Mills is the complete package, and he will head to Sydney through their academy. Mills is a ridiculous accumulator, having averaged 32 disposals at 65 percent through his six TAC Cup games last year as a 17-year-old. He’s missed a lot of football this year but that won’t hurt his stocks, given he was named in the bests in five out of his six games. Mills also averaged over six tackles and six marks per game in the TAC Cup. Mills is a beast of an inside midfielder. He’s fairly balanced, getting around 50 percent of his ball on the outside, as he finds space to take uncontested marks and get handball receives. But his courage to throw himself at the ball is incredible, and makes him impossible to tag. Mills is a leader and works hard defensively.

4. GWS – Jacob Hopper (academy selection)
Club:
North Ballarat Rebels
Position:
Inside midfielder
Height:
186 cm
Weight:
82 kg
Player comparison:
Ollie Wines

Hopper is clearly the best pure inside midfielder in this draft. His extraction skills are supreme and he’s got a great understanding of where to position himself at stoppages to have an impact. Hopper is an excellent goal kicker – he heads forward and he can be effective both at ground level or as a marking target. He’s a terrific tackling presence and he never stops trying. His kicking is just okay but his vision and spatial awareness are excellent, so he doesn’t get caught out often. He’s very clean by hand in traffic.

5. Melbourne – Charlie Curnow
Club:
Geelong Falcons
Position: Key forward/midfielder
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 95 kg
Player comparison: Jake Stringer

Curnow looks like a probable top five pick. He can be a bit lazy, often looking to engage in one on one contests, rather than leading up and using space. Having said that, he’s an elite runner with a very high beep test score, so clearly he’s got a strong work ethic. He gets by in under 18s with his strength, and obviously coming off that knee injury he wasn’t able to show his running strength. He’s a great contested mark, he wins his own ball on the inside, and his skills are usually pretty good. I think his 21/30 on the kicking test at the combine was a bit misleading. He’s a below average converter on goals, and he’s not a great field kick either. He’s got a very high upside with his great frame and the ability to grow into a big-bodied midfielder, but I personally see him as a forward in the Jake Stringer role.

6. Essendon – Darcy Parish
Club: 
Geelong Falcons
Position: Midfielder
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Player comparison: Lachie Whitfield

Darcy Parish is a classy outside midfielder, who – despite his flaws – should be a top five pick. Parish is a very slightly framed player who has great speed. He runs hard to receive a handball or take an uncontested mark, then will keep zipping past others to break lines. Parish loves to kick, and he can often have 20 or more kicks in a game. Most will hit the targets, as he prefers to do short sharp chips. He’s a good decision maker and with that comes a high disposal efficiency. I think at AFL level that efficiency may drop a little as he will be encouraged to be bolder. It’s scary that a player with so much hurt factor still has so much room to grow. Parish has become more of a goal kicker, and he has put on a bit of weight to increase his core strength. He’s got room to improve his defensive efforts, as his strong tank and speed should really see him taking down few more players. I see him growing into that Lachie Whitfield mould, but perhaps with a little more pace.

7. Essendon – Sam Weideman
Club: 
Eastern Ranges
Position: Key forward
Height: 195 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Player comparison: Levi Casboult

Weideman’s injury issues have made him an intriguing prospect, as he has so much that he must improve on. 2014 was an up and down year for the forward. He was able to play 15 games, but only kicked 19 goals and 15 behinds. His statline is poor, but recruiters will look to his best games to find out why he is so highly regarded. 2015 was much of the same: he struggled statistically, despite receiving very good delivery from a strong midfield group. Weideman is a terrific mark of the ball, with his contested marking a standout in pack situations. However, what is most impressive is his ability to take one grab marks on the lead, particularly in sticky situations. You know if the ball is within his long reach, then he won’t drop it. He’s a below average kick of the football, which stings to say. He’s probably one of only a handful of players in this draft class who have one truly dominant skill, but when you cannot convert simple set shots at goal, then it really hurts. Weideman plays as a true leading centre half forward, but he also has the size and skill set to play as a full forward.

8. GWS – Matthew Kennedy (academy selection)
Club:
Collingullie
Position: Inside midfielder
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Player comparison: Elliot Yeo

Kennedy is a big-bodied inside midfielder with terrific endurance and a great overhead mark. He finished with a 14.12 beep tests and some really good scores in various leaping tests at the combine. He’s very hard at the contest, and while he’s not in that elite level for racking up the footy, you can tell he’ll be able to make that transition at AFL level with development. Kennedy looks damaging in the forward line and he’s got scope to improve there. He is clean with either foot, but if he sharpens up his kicking a bit more, you can see him as a chance to be one of if not the best player in this draft class.

9. Gold Coast – Aaron Francis
Club: West Adelaide
Position: Utility
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 89 kg
Player comparison: Adam Goodes

Francis is just a shade below the top two in my eyes. He’s a terrific intercept mark, has tremendous athleticism and literally plays in every position. Francis has played his best footy as a third tall or key defender, as his intercept marking and ability to rebound are his two best assets. He’s also extremely strong around the contest, so he can win his own footy on the inside. His kicking is above average, and he is fairly quick and extremely agile, so he’s a good player on the outside too. I liked his smarts when playing as a forward. He leads up consistently and he provides a great target. When the ball hits the deck, he is too big and strong for small defenders, and too agile for bigger ones. The one query I have on him is his goal kicking, but I haven’t seen a big enough sample size of him as a forward to say whether that’s a true weakness.

10. Melbourne – Wayne Milera
Club:
Central Districts
Position: Outside midfielder/small forward
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Player comparison: Shaun Burgoyne (early career)

Milera has far exceeded expectations this year. He’s a creative midfielder/half forward with some of the best skills in this draft class. Milera is a terrific decision maker and he offers something a bit different to the rest of the midfielders in this draft class: where there seems to be one or two clear options, he’ll cut through the middle and pick a more damaging option that most players wouldn’t even consider. He’s very agile and hard to tackle, and he loves using his speed through the centre of the ground. Milera has been the best performed junior in the top flight of the SANFL, where he’s consistently found the football and chipped in for several goals on a few occasions.

11. Brisbane – Eric Hipwood (academy selection)
Club:
Aspley
Position: Key back/forward
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player Comparison: Harris Andrews

Hipwood will probably attract a top 10 bid, although his form doesn’t quite warrant it. He’s a project player who has terrific agility and a great overhead marking ability. He’s an okay user of the footy who finds it more than your traditional key backman, but he doesn’t really know his limitations. He looks a bit more at home as a key defender, although he’s showed spurts of form as a forward here and there this year. He’ll take a long time to develop, but then again, we thought that of Harris Andrews and look how quickly he’s adapted.

12. Carlton – Harry McKay
Club:
Gippsland Power
Position: Key forward
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Player Comparison: Drew Petrie

Harry McKay is a raw prospect who has shown great signs for his age. He should basically be considered a 2016 prospect, as he is only a few days off being eligible for next year’s draft. For a 200 centimetre player, McKay is very quick and agile. He can twist and turn and crumb like a small forward, he’s a terrific overhead mark, and he continually leads up the ground to present as a link up target. He’s a pretty good kick for goal too. At this stage, he’s a long-term prospect: he’s going to need to put on plenty of size to be able to compete, but he’s got as much upside as anyone in this draft class.

13. Adelaide – Harley Balic
Club: 
Sandringham Dragons
Position: Forward/midfielder
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player comparison: Jackson Macrae

Balic is a really classy half forward who can pull off some incredible things. He’s a terrific overhead mark who leads to the right places. His contested marking is incredible for a medium forward. He is a really intelligent forward who pushes up to create space for his full forward to lead in to. He has a very strong body and last year he lacked opportunity in the midfield. His inside game development is arguably the biggest leap of any top talent in the draft this year. Last year I would have said he was purely an outside player, but he has learnt the nuances of the inside game in terms of positioning himself at contests. His developmental curve is extremely encouraging and it’s one of the reasons I like him more than most. The fact he is now a balanced midfielder who can find the footy, as well as being a forward with flare makes me believe he has a sneakily very high ceiling.

14. Carlton – Clayton Oliver
Club:
Murray Bushrangers
Position: Midfielder
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Player comparison: Luke Parker

Oliver is a big-bodied inside midfielder who has a few different tricks. He wins his own ball easily, and while he has a large frame, he needs to develop a bit more physically for his game to translate to the AFL. Oliver can go forward and take a strong mark, and his finishing around the goals is excellent. He is also a strong tackler and a hard worker who runs both ways. Interestingly, Oliver tested much better than most expected in the speed and agility drills, which perhaps raises his ceiling in the eyes of recruiters. He ran a 2.99 20 metre sprint which isn’t jaw dropping, but it’s pretty good for an inside midfielder. His agility time of 8.11 seconds was third in the entire AFL combine; an incredible feat that will no doubt be taken into account on draft night.

15. Brisbane – Ben Keays (academy selection)
Club: 
Morningside
Position: Forward/midfielder
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Player comparison: Christian Petracca

Keays is a gut-running type, who shows absolute class on the outside most of the time (although he does make some poor choices at times). Keays has the ability to kick it long or hit short targets with ease. He has a really strong body, and his work on the inside is outstanding: indeed, Keays’ most exciting ‘Petracca-like’ feature is his overhead marking and work as a forward. He can really dominate up forward with strength, but he can also kick freakish goals. He fends off players as he takes on the game and backs himself in to finish off with a goal. He’s increased his ability to rack up the football which has seen his disposal efficiency drop off a touch, which I think is why he hasn’t been talked about as much in that top 10 equation.

16. Richmond – Callum Ah Chee
Club: 
South Fremantle
Position: Forward/midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 69 kg
Player comparison: Chad Wingard

Ah Chee offers a bit of a different look this year, and though I suspect he has more potential than most of the players in the top 10, he probably hasn’t had the year he would have liked. Ah Chee is lightning quick, both in terms of acceleration and over a long distance. There are not too many ultra-fast players who have multiple strings to their bow in this year’s draft class. Ah Chee is an excellent distributor of the football getting a fair bit of penetration on his kicks, while his decision making has improved over the course of this year. Ah Chee is very dangerous around goals. He’s an excellent crumber, but as you’ve all seen with his mark in the AFL Academy game, he’s a high flier and a good over head mark despite his light frame. I’d love to see him build up his tank and also his core strength, as he’s struggling to win much of his own footy.

17. Adelaide – Rhys Mathieson
Club: 
Geelong Falcons
Position: Midfielder
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Player comparison: Jordan Lewis

Mathieson has a similar style to Jordan Lewis in the way he plays on the inside and outside. Mathieson is a big time accumulator, but it’s the way that he does it which really makes his 30-disposal games impressive despite being just an above average kick of the ball. Mathieson hunts the ball on the inside, throws himself at the contest, and despite not being the new prototype big midfielder, his body strength in packs is advanced for his age. He knows how to position himself on the inside, and once he has the ball, he executes handpasses in traffic and out of the bottom of a pack quickly and usually to the best outside option. Mathieson is terrific on the outside too, and this is what makes him such a likely type. Mathieson is surprisingly quick on the outside, with a solid 20 metre burst that breaks games open. He doesn’t have to run a long distance, because with the separation he creates in a short space, he gives himself enough time to launch a kick into the forward 50. Mathieson has above average skills by hand and foot, and he’s a solid overhead mark too.

18. St Kilda – Darcy Tucker
Club: 
North Ballarat Rebels
Position: Midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Player comparison: Sam Docherty

Tucker looks best as a half back in my eyes. He reads the play really well and he plays pretty wide of the contest, so he’s often in a dangerous spot on the rebound if the ball leaks out. He’s not a great individual defender, but I can see with his mindset and leadership that his defensive game will grow. As a midfielder, Tucker plays almost exclusively on the outside, but I can see scope for that developing as he seems to have good core strength. Tucker’s endurance is terrific, coming in with a 15.3 beep test. That gives me hope that he can be a midfielder, but he’s got a bit to learn in terms of stoppage set-ups and the general nuances of that position. Tucker is an excellent kick of the footy, and although he’s a bit down the pecking order, I don’t think there is a massive class difference between Parish, Ah Chee and Tucker.

19. Hawthorn – Kieran Collins
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Key defender
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Player comparison: Daniel Talia

Collins is the best lockdown key defender in the draft. He’s that classic disciplined Darren Glass type, where he doesn’t give his opponents any room to move. He’s got a very high football IQ and he doesn’t try to exceed his limitations. Collins is exceptional overhead and he can take plenty of intercept marks, but he’s not the type to take a massive risk and fly if he didn’t think it was the right time to do so. Collins won the handball test at the combine with an exceptional 29/30. His kicking is fine, but he’s not a great rebounder at this stage of his career. He’s not the quickest player, but his football smarts and spatial awareness make up for that. He’s also shown a little bit as a forward, but he looks like a 200 game player as a key back already.

20. Gold Coast – Riley Bonner
Club:
West Adelaide
Position: Half back
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player comparison: Grant Birchall

Bonner is your classic elite ball user off the back flank. He’s probably the best long kick in the draft, and he can use both feet to a very high level. Bonner can play on the wing or as a half forward too, but he’s played his best footy as a half back this year. Bonner isn’t super quick, but he’s agile and he runs hard all game to present as a link-up target. The biggest issue with Bonner is his complete lack of accountability, but that should get better with a few years of development.

21. North Melbourne – Jade Gresham
Club: Northern Knights
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Position: Midfielder
Player comparison: Travis Boak

Gresham is one of those players where you know what you are going to get. While he does lack that punishing hurt factor that the elite players have, he uses his limitations to the best of his ability. In other words, rather than try and boot a 60m bomb to half forward under pressure, he’ll size up his options and pass laterally to teammates who are more likely to break the lines. Skill wise, he was clearly the best tester at the NAB AFL Combine, which helps tick those boxes. Gresham is one of if not the best ball winner in this draft. Gresham is an outside-leaning midfielder, with the potential to develop an inside game in the future. He reads the ruck taps so well and knows where to run and break away. While he’s not fast, he’s smart and this helps him at stoppages. He is fearless in the way he throws himself into packs, despite being a shorter midfielder. His hands in traffic are really clean and quick. Gresham rarely fumbles and he’s got poise before disposing of the football. He has also added goal kicking to his repertoire of late, and looks to be an excellent leader already. Gresham isn’t as quick as you’d hope for a smaller player, but he is really agile and he’s got excellent endurance.

22. Hawthorn – Mitchell Hibberd
Club:
Clarence
Position: Half back
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Player comparison: Brad Sheppard

Hibberd would be a nice complementary player on any team. He’s a smart defender who is really solid in the air, he reads the flight of the ball well and he’s a good athlete. Hibberd isn’t an elite kick, but he hits targets consistently and rarely turns the ball over. He makes the right decisions and he takes the game on when he’s rebounding. Hibberd finds plenty of the ball on the outside, and he’s damaging enough to float forward and have an impact. With his size, athleticism and skills, he’s a very solid option.

23. Carlton  – Ryan Clarke
Club: 
Eastern Ranges
Position: Midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 77 kg
Player comparison: David Zaharakis

Clarke’s kicking can be wonderful, but occasionally he’ll spray it horribly. His speed is excellent over the first few steps and he really breaks lines, but he’s probably a couple of rungs slower than the absolute best. He’s an excellent distributor by hand particularly. His decision making and vision is in the top class of this year’s draft and he backs himself to hit difficult targets. Clarke is a strong runner who loves to break through the middle. He’s also got a fairly long kick too, and on the run he can impact the scoreboard from 55 out. He can go forward, but he’s probably got some work to do in that regard. Clarke’s inside game is developing. He’s got great core strength, so he breaks tackles fairly easily. He reads the tap well and he’s physical, so he throws himself at the footy. He’s not the prototype big-bodied inside beast that recruiters are infatuated with, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be a clearance machine at the top level, but he’ll be serviceable in that regard.

24. Western Bulldogs – Ben McKay
Club:
Gippsland Power
Position: Key defender
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Player comparison: Lachie Henderson

Ben McKay is the identical twin of Harry. Ben’s best skill is contested marking, showcased against Oakleigh when he took five of them. Like Harry, he is quite agile, although Ben is a bit stronger at this stage. McKay is a solid user of the footy, but he doesn’t offer too much at this stage from a rebounding point of view. He’s a solid intercept mark, but at this stage, he’s more concerned with being accountable than peeling off his man. McKay also showed he can head forward effectively, as well as providing a chop out in the ruck.

25. Western Bulldogs – Tom Cole
Club:
Bendigo Pioneers
Position: Defender/midfielder
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Player comparison: Jarrad McVeigh

Tom Cole divides opinions. Some experts really like him, whereas others just don’t quite see what the fuss is about. He’s a clean user of the football who rarely turns it over, but he doesn’t really look to take the game on. He’s got some versatility and he’s hard at the contest, winning plenty of contested possessions and clearances at TAC Cup level. Despite winning plenty of the ball for Bendigo, he wasn’t able to rack it up as much when he played for Vic Country or Geelong in the VFL. He’s a strong tackler and a hard worker.

26. Fremantle – Ryan Burton
Club: 
North Adelaide
Position: Forward
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 89 kg
Player comparison: Brett Burton

Burton’s broken leg could see him as a big slider, so it’s really difficult to get a gauge on where he sits. Although he is in that in-between size, I can see Burton being a key forward. Burton has a massive leap, and his overhead marking is exceptional. Indeed, his game style isn’t too dissimilar to his namesake Brett Burton. Burton is a wonderful kick for goal, and he isn’t shy when it’s a clutch situation. Burton needs to improve his field kicking and forward smarts (i.e. where to lead and how to space himself). However, one thing that cannot be questioned is his defensive efforts, as he averaged three tackles per game in the championships as a 17-year-old.

27. West Coast – Luke Partington
Club:
Norwood
Position: Outside midfielder
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Player comparison: Leigh Montagna

Luke Partington looks to be a really well-rounded midfielder. He’s got a bit of speed, and he’s the type to work hard all game, so he’s always providing a link up target on the outside. He’s a pretty neat kick and a nice decision maker too. He’s become a better inside midfielder this year, using his smarts and speed to read the tap and win clearances rather than just using his strength.

28. Essendon – Josh Dunkley
Club:
 Gippsland Power
Position: Midfield
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Player Comparison: Early Jobe Watson

Dunkley is an inside midfielder who finds the goals easily, while his drive and work ethic is incredible. He uses his size to bully his opponents, which should still work relatively well at AFL level, but he hasn’t become the great extractor his skillset should allow him to. Dunkley is an incredible tackler and a strong overhead mark, with his leadership is a plus as well. Dunkley averaged 6 and a half tackles in the TAC Cup over 13 games, with an astounding 18 tackles leading the way against the Falcons as a 17-year-old. He’s a really poor kick and lacks any form of an outside game at this stage. He’s pretty sluggish off the mark too, but he’s got a pretty good tank. He showed that he can hold his own at VFL level, which is crucial for a player of his ilk.

29. Essendon – Alex Morgan
Club:
Oakleigh Chargers
Position: Defender
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player comparison: Shaun Atley

Morgan is a tremendously quick half back who has shown he is really willing to take the game on and make things happen. He’s a really nice kick on either foot and his decision making is sound. He’s got a great leap and he showed that he can go forward in spurts and provide a marking target. Morgan finds enough of the football on the outside to make it at the top flight, and he is strong enough to come in and make an immediate impact.

30. St Kilda – Bailey Rice (father-son selection)
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Half back/midfielder
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player comparison: Zak Jones

Rice is a real competitive beast who has made big strides this year. He’s a really strong contested mark for a half back, and he’s shown some real physicality when defending. He offers a lot on the rebound, and even though he’s not an elite kick, he’s very neat and rarely turns the ball over. Rice has shown that he can win his own football as a midfielder, and with increased running power, he can be a balanced midfielder. Rice throws himself at the footy and really reads the flight of the ball well.

31. North Melbourne – Aidyn Johnson
Club:
Bendigo Pioneers
Position: Utility
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Player comparison: No real comparison

It’s been hard to get a gauge on what type of player Aidyn Johnson is due to his injury troubles. Johnson is one of the fastest and most agile players in this draft class, and will probably be taken in the second round based on that. Michael Ablett and Brett Anderson rate him very highly, with his agility (fourth in the AFL Combine), speed and also the ability to create space around goals which others can’t being the really exciting features of his game. Johnson is a great volume tackler, averaging four per game last year in the TAC Cup. He’s also got that match-winning ability. He kicked four goals and laid seven tackles last year against the Falcons, and he had two other games where he was the best player for the Pioneers. He’s got a fair bit that he needs to improve on based on the ten or so games he’s played in the last two years. His kicking is a little too erratic, and he can give away clumsy free kicks. He’s also got to try and use his pace to receive more handballs on the outside, as he struggles to get more than 10-15 touches most games.

32. Collingwood – Brayden Fiorini
Club: Northern Knights
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Position: Midfielder, utility
Player comparison: Kade Simpson

I’m a big wrap for Fiorini. He’s one of the best ball users in this draft with a nice left foot kick. He’s moderately quick and he finds plenty of the football. Fiorini is a good decision maker, although as he’s tried to find more of the football this year, his disposal efficiency has dropped a bit. He’s got hurt factor, but I think due to the Knights’ style of overpossessing the football, he chips it around quite a bit and a 40 possession game isn’t overly astounding. Fiorini is a solid defender. He’s a little unaccountable, but when he’s used primarily as an offensive weapon from the back half, that is forgiven. He’s actually a fairly strong footballer who has shown spurts of courage, but I don’t think he will build too much of an inside midfield game. I can see him being used primarily as a half back or wingman at AFL level.

33. North Melbourne – Ben Crocker
Club:
Oakleigh Chargers
Position: Forward/midfielder
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player comparison: Jack Billings

I suspect clubs see Crocker as a pure forward at the next level, which slides him down the order a little bit. He’s a really great mark overhead, and he’s strong enough to hold his own in packs. He can hit the scoreboard and he’s got the ability to rove really well, as well as being a versatile marking type. Crocker’s kicking can be a bit inconsistent as he often tries to do too much. That should improve once he knows his role at AFL level.

34. Gold Coast Suns – Daniel Rioli
Club:
North Ballarat Rebels
Position: Small forward
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Player comparison: Clem Smith (much better athletically)

Rioli boosted his stocks immensely at the AFL Combine. He showed he could jump, sprint, keep up with the best of them in the endurance tests and also be clean with the footy. Rioli’s played his best footy this year as a small forward. His crumbing work is great, and he can take a strong overhead mark too. He is clean around the goals, but he doesn’t kick too many. He was really impressive against Tasmania in the championships, and he also bobbed up and kicked four goals in a finals game, although most of them were easy opportunities.

35. Western Bulldogs – David Cuningham
Club:
Oakleigh Chargers
Position: Midfielder
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Player comparison: Luke Shuey

Cuningham is a really tough player to compare. His standout attribute is his elite speed, but he doesn’t break the lines on the outside. Instead, he’s more of an inside midfielder who just glides through traffic, with an array of side steps and spins that get him out of trouble. He likes to win his own ball, and with that speed and agility, he is really classy around the stoppages. Cuningham likes to run forward and kick goals, but he’s got to show that he can play in several positions.

36. West Coast – Mason Redman
Club:
Glenelg
Position: Half forward/midfielder
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Player comparison: Jayden Laverde

Redman is a really flashy player with a nice highlight reel, with his best asset being his overhead marking. He’s got a good leap and long arms. Redman has great acceleration which makes him excellent on the lead, although his top speed is about average. Redman is a smart decision maker and his skills are very solid. He can play in most positions, but he looks like a high half forward at AFL at this stage.

37. Port Adelaide – Kieran Lovell
Club:
Kingston Tigers
Position: Midfielder/small forward
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player comparison: Touk Miller

Lovell is a real hard nut and one of the best inside extractors in this year’s draft crop. At his height, most players wouldn’t be considered as they’d struggle to win their own ball in the middle, but clubs should be confident that he can do it at the highest level. Lovell has terrific endurance, but his speed and agility is also excellent. Lovell’s also got a good leap which helps at his height. He’ll probably play a fair bit as a small forward at the next level, which suits his game. He’s an excellent tackler, which bodes well in terms of forward pressure. He’s a very smart user of the football, and especially when going inside 50, he makes the right decision in terms of finding a teammate: however, he can also finish it off himself.

38. Fremantle – Jesse Glass-McCasker
Club: Swan Districts
Position: Key defender
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 96 kg
Player comparison: Jack Frost

Glass-McCasker is a lockdown defender who can also provide some run in defence. He’s a pretty decent athlete for his size and his closing speed is solid. He gets to the right spots in one-on-one contests and he’ll often get a fist in a marking contest. He could develop as a forward, but so far, his best footy has come as a key back.

39. Brisbane – Will Snelling
Club:
West Adelaide
Position: Midfielder
Height: 176 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Player comparison: Lachie Neale

Snelling is a real hard nut who throws himself at the football with every chance he gets. He finds plenty of football on the inside. With sub-180 centimetre players, clubs are most concerned about whether they can win the football against bigger players. Snelling proved he could still rack up the ball in the SANFL seniors, thus ticking that box off. Snelling racks up the tackles, and his work in the clearances is also quite good. He’s a great leader and his endurance base is already terrific. Expect him to play a few games next year if all goes well.

40. GWS – Harry Himmelberg (academy selection)
Club: Eastlake/GWS Academy
Position: Third tall forward
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Player comparison: Adam Tomlinson

Himmelberg is an undersized key forward who works incredibly hard and gets up between the arcs. He’s too mobile for most key defenders and too strong in the air for a medium defender. Himmelberg has improved more than most in his 19th year, and he looks to have a unique skill set that should see the Giants matching a bid in the second round for him. He’s had a really consistent year, finding the goals consistently without dominating.

41. St Kilda – Brandon White
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Utility
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 77 kg
Player comparison: Ben Stratton

White is a poor man’s Aaron Francis, but he’s got a lot of upside. He’s got a pretty good leap and he reads the play well enough to be that third tall defender that comes across in the air. He’s a really good decision maker and you trust him with the ball. He’s also got a fair bit of speed as well, and so far he looks best as a defender. White has also shown that he can win a bit of football in the midfield, whilst also showing signs as a forward.

42. Melbourne – Nick O’Kearney
Club: 
Calder Cannons
Position: Midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 70 kg
Player comparison: Brent Stanton

I like O’Kearney more than most, and I think that comes with accepting that he is a limited role player. His ball winning is incredible, as he averaged 25 disposals in the TAC Cup as a 17-year-old, and he showed he can do that again as an 18-year-old. Despite playing in a star-studded Calder team, O’Kearney took out the Cannons’ best and fairest as a 17-year-old, and may do so again. O’Kearney reminds me a lot of Brent Stanton, in that he is a terrific two-way runner. He gets 65 percent of the ball on the outside, but he’s improved his inside game as well this year. O’Kearney captained Vic Metro in the Under 16s and he has natural leadership qualities. However, despite his leadership and high production, there are clear knocks on his game. His kicking is pretty average for someone who is predominately an outside midfielder. It has improved a little bit, but not enough to be a top 25 pick in my eyes.

43. North Melbourne – Mitch Brown
Club:
Sandringham Zebras
Position: Key defender/forward
Height: 196 cm
Weight: 93 kg

Brown was excellent in aerial contests for the Zebras this year. He reads the play well and his marking is really solid. He holds his own in defence, and did a pretty solid job as a top-up defender for the Bombers at the start of the year. Brown also managed to kick more than 20 goals playing as a swingman.

44. Hawthorn – Kurt Heatherley (rookie upgrade)

45. Port Adelaide – Cameron Hewett
Club:
North Adelaide
Position: Inside midfielder
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 76 kg
Player comparison: No clear comparison

Hewett isn’t a real standout in any area, but he’s got the intangibles. He reads the play well and he makes the right decisions. He’s clean with the ball in hand and he’s accountable when he plays in defence. Hewett’s best skill is his ability around the clearances, where he puts his body in the right position to win the footy. He’s up towards that ‘tall midfielder’ height, but at 76 kilograms, he’ll take a little while to get that weight on to be able to compete effectively in the middle.

46. Melbourne – James Harmes (rookie upgrade)

47. Western Bulldogs – Gach Nyuon
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Ruckman
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player comparison: Jason Holmes

Nyoun is a supremely athletic ruckman who has developed far quicker than most would have imagined. He equalled Nic Naitanui’s absolute running vertical leap at the combine, then backed it up with a 2.95 20 metre sprint. He’s obviously a long-term project at his weight, but with those physical talents, a club will take him in the national draft. He’s also smart enough with the ball in hand. He’ll usually just handball off to a better user, but his kicking isn’t too shaky either.

48. Richmond – Stephen Tahana
Club:
North Adelaide
Position: Small defender
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Player comparison: Mark Baguley

Tahana is an unselfish, disciplined small defender who will stick to his role. He’s got some speed and a bit of flare, so he’s an effective rebounder. He’s also a really clean user of the footy, without being outstanding. He doesn’t find much of the footy, which is a concern, but his team-first attitude will appeal to recruiters. He’s one of the only defensive-minded small backs, and with his skill and speed, he certainly offers a different option in the second or third round.

49. Sydney – Greg Clark
Club: 
Subiaco
Position: 
Midfield
Height: 
193 cm
Weight: 
86 kg
Player comparison: 
Tom Lynch (Adelaide)

I like Clark as a link-up third tall forward type. He’s very clean in traffic, and he’s got a great kick around the body. He’s an okay mark, but he’s got great endurance so he burns off opponents. He probably hasn’t had the year he would have liked. Despite apparently meant to be the second bright spot for WA behind Ah Chee, Clark went completely under the radar behind the 17-year-olds. I think he’s going to take time to adjust to AFL level, and clubs are going to have to put a lot of work into finding his best position. I can’t see him as a midfielder at AFL level, as he is too slow on the outside and really struggles on the inside, despite the size advantage. He doesn’t rack up the ball and he isn’t an elite user, therefore he’s stuck in that 30-40 range. I’m not as sold as others on whether he’ll make it at AFL level, but that size advantage is enough to take a punt on him.

50. Gold Coast – Adam Saad (rookie upgrade)

51. Essendon – Shaun McKernan (rookie upgrade)

52. Carlton – Nash Holmes
Club:
Gippsland Power
Position: Midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Player comparison: Toby Greene

Holmes looks to be a really solid value pick a little later in the draft. He’s a really competitive, gut-running inside midfielder. He hunts the football on the inside, and his skills are pretty clean when he gets it out to the running ball carriers. He’s got a really high endurance base, so most of his disposals come from work rate, which should translate well at the top flight. Holmes also tackles really well, and again that’s through his constant work rate.

53. Carlton – Jack Silvagni (father-son selection)
Club:
Oakleigh Chargers
Position: Key defender/forward
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player Comparison: Ryan Schoenmakers

Silvagni missed a fair bit of the year with a shoulder injury. He showed some really great signs, with a six goal effort for Vic Metro, but struggled in other games when he played on bigger opponents. He’s an excellent mark overhead and on the lead. He’s probably a bit behind the eight ball in terms of development, so don’t expect to see much out of him for a few years. He showed some great signs as a defender as well, as he reads the ball really well in the air and shows some terrific football smarts. Silvagni is a skilful kick of the football.

54. Fremantle – Kurt Mutimer
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Half back/midfielder
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player comparison: Daniel McKenzie

Mutimer wins plenty of contested ball, but his endurance base keeps getting better, so he looks like he’ll end up being a more well-rounded player. Mutimer is a really nice user of the football on his left foot, with terrific vision and sound decision making skills. He’s also a strong mark overhead, which reminds me of Daniel McKenzie. Mutimer’s also got some really great speed, with his 20 metre burst a real highlight. He’s the type of guy who is constantly working on his game and he seems very coachable.

55. West Coast – Josh Schoenfeld
Club:
Peel Thunder
Position: Midfielder
Height:  186 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Player comparison: Brad Ebert

Schoenfeld is the best runner in this year’s draft crop. He set a new record in the three kilometre time trial at the combine, as well as having the best beep test score. Schoenfeld is a tidy user of the football, but he’s very conservative player as it stands. Schoenfeld is also a good mark overhead and he can push forward. He’s clearly more of an athlete than a footballer at this stage, but his rate of development skills-wise is encouraging.

56. Collingwood – Blake Hardwick
Club:
Eastern Ranges
Position: 
Small forward/inside midfielder
Height: 
181 cm
Weight: 
78 kg
Player comparison: 
Mitch Hahn

Blake Hardwick took out the TAC Cup goal kicking by a large margin. Hardwick plays out of the goal square, where he beats his opponents consistently on the lead. He’s got some nice acceleration off the mark, but his top speed isn’t terrific. He’s a smart small forward who knows exactly where to lead, and marking is his strong suit. Hardwick is a sure bet to take a mark on the lead, but he’s also equally adept overhead and in contested situations. He’s a wonderful set shot kicker, kicking 56.29 this season. He’s got the physical tools to become a decent inside midfielder but he hasn’t really got the tank as of yet.

57. Geelong – James Parsons
Club:
Eastern Ranges
Position: Utility
Height:
 189 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Player comparison: Martin Gleeson

He’s a pure outside midfielder who likes to run and spread, and Parsons could be a very solid wingman at AFL level. He’s got some good running patterns, while his best asset is his kicking. He is a long kick who weights it really well, and he’s fairly good on both sides of the body. As a high half forward, Parsons brings class in terms of delivery to the key forwards. He is fine when kicking on the run, although he can struggle a bit when there’s defensive pressure applied. Parsons has gone forward with effect this year. He’s been able to kick two or three goals on several occasions, and while he’s not a lead-up forward type, he’s able to find space in general play. He reads the drop of the ball well and towards the end of the year, he became an excellent intercept mark overhead. I think this is a crucial skill for Parsons, and that development makes me think that he’ll be better in the AFL system than first thought.

58. St. Kilda – Jack Sinclair (rookie upgrade)

59. Adelaide – Jake Kelly (rookie upgrade)

60. Sydney Swans – Sam Naismith (rookie upgrade)

61. North Melbourne – Pass

62. Fremantle – Ethan Hughes (rookie upgrade)

63. West Coast – Pass

64. Hawthorn – Pass

65. Collingwood – Jack Frost (rookie upgrade)

66. Brisbane – Pass

67. Gold Coast – Keegan Brooskby (rookie upgrade)

68. Essendon – Pass

69. St Kilda – Pass

70. Melbourne – Aaron vandenBerg (rookie upgrade)

71. Collingwood – Pass

72. Collingwood – Pass

73. Geelong – Sam Skinner
Club:
Gippsland Power
Position: Key defender/forward
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 96 kg
Player comparison: Leigh Brown

Skinner was in that second round range before he did his knee and missed the whole year. He’s a really versatile player who has showed a little bit as a forward while displaying plenty of good football in defence. He could also be used as a pinch hit ruckman. He’s got great strength and his marking overhead is very solid. Skinner is one of the most competitive players in this draft class and he’s a real professional.

74. Port Adelaide – Sam Gray (rookie upgrade)

75. Western Bulldogs – Pass

76. Richmond – Kane Lambert (rookie upgrade)

77. Geelong – Michael Luxford (rookie upgrade)

2 comments

    1. Hey mate, I’m not a Blues man myself. Don’t think the Crows are as keen on Oliver considering they have CEY, NVB, Sloane, M Crouch, Gore etc who play that same role. Balic offers more versatility and his creativity and marking would certainly fit right in on a half forward flank

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