Matt Balmer’s July Power Rankings

 

AINSWORTH

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

The National Under 18s Championships concluded on Wednesday with many players putting their hand up for selection in late November. Some have improved their draft stocks, while others have slid down the order with average carnivals.

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


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

#1 Jack Bowes
Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187cm | 78kg
Previous Ranking: #1

Despite a quiet division one carnival, Jack Bowes remains as my number one player on my rankings. A stellar division two carnival for Queensland saw him average 25 disposals, win the Queensland Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Hunter Harrison Medal for the best player in Division two. The step up in standard saw that number reduce, but he got better in each game. Bowes’ big workload saw him rested for the final clash against Vic Country, but against eventual winners Vic Metro he finished with 20 disposals and seven inside 50s. Bowes was also named in the Under 18 All Australian team. The Gold Coast Suns academy member is smooth around the contest and doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. I’d be very surprised if the bid on draft night isn’t in the Top five.

#2 Hugh McCluggage
Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185cm | 75kg
Previous Ranking: #3

Hugh McCluggage was the biggest challenger to Bowes for the number one spot and if it was not for a quiet performance in the final round, I dare say he would be number one. Looking at his size, you would first think he is an outside midfielder, but his work on the inside has been one of his strengths throughout the championships. He averaged 20 disposals with 43 per cent of them contested. McCluggage also pushed forward booting seven goals (including two bags of three). In traffic, McCluggage is similar to Scott Pendlebury able to make everything appear in slow motion, where he makes good decisions by hand or foot to clear the ball from the pack. McCluggage was also the Vic Country MVP in division one and won All Australian honours.

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

At this stage, in my view he’s the only other contender for the number one pick. Brodie should step into an AFL environment very quickly and I cannot see him having any issues stepping up at AFL level. His clearance work is superb on the inside and he hunts the ball back to try and win it. His good work at the stoppages allows him to find plenty of the football and was one of Vic Country’s best against Vic Metro in round two. Throughout the championships, Brodie averaged 21 disposals (10 contested) and five clearances throughout the championships. At stages Brodie can hack the ball out of a stoppage but his kicking was strong throughout the carnival.

#4 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #6

Ever since the trial match in April I have been a big fan of Perryman. Perryman was one of the few from the Allies who performed well in both the division one and two carnivals. By numbers, Perryman averaged 20 disposals in division two and 16 disposals (55 per cent contested) in division one. Perryman does not have the speed of some of the other draftees, but reads the play well and makes good decisions. Perryman looked at his best across half back for the Allies, using his good kick on both feet to move the ball forward. As a member of the GWS academy, don’t expect GWS to overlook Perryman.

#5 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 181cm | 76kg
Previous Ranking: #2

The West Australian midfielder missed the opening two games of the Under 18 Championships before returning with a 19 disposal effort against the Allies. His output that day however was disappointing, going at under 50 per cent efficiency. Despite collecting 18 disposals in the final match, the agile midfielder still looked underdone with his speed and skills being down on what I expected. Petrevski-Seton does have the ability to kick on both feet which can help going forward, but he is not a huge disposal winner and needs to make his disposals count.

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

There is plenty to like about Todd Marshall and I think he will be one of the few key position players in the top 10. The NSW/ACT forward is in the open draft after earlier being tied to the GWS Academy. Marshall took some eye catching marks throughout the carnival with his best match coming against Western Australia where Marshall had four contested marks and two goals. Marshall finished with seven goals in both the division one and two carnivals. With a few clubs crying out for a tall target inside 50, Marshall is one clubs will keep an eye on. Marshall does need to work on his set shot goal kicking, where he takes a late side step before his kicks with can cause him to hook the ball in front of goal.

 

#7 Andrew McGrath
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #11

Last month I posed whether McGrath could be the first Vic Metro player picked on draft night and at this stage it looks very likely. The athletic running half-back was Metro’s MVP for the carnival averaging 24 disposals and taking the most running bounces for the carnival. McGrath also had a disposal efficiency of 81 per cent and gained 284 metres on average in the carnival. McGrath was pivotal in Vic Metro’s win over Vic Country with daring moves from the backline late in the quarter. He was not just all attacking; he also moved onto Country’s dangerous small forward Ben Ainsworth and kept him to two handballs late in the contest. McGrath also has the ability to win his own ball on the inside, with 23 disposals (12 contested) and six clearances against the Allies. He also had a huge 44 disposals, 19 tackles and 14 clearances against Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup in May. Expect McGrath to find a home in the top 10 come November.

 

#8 Harrison Macreadie
Tall utility (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 196cm | 89kg
Previous Ranking: #4

The GWS academy member was one of the most disappointing players in the championships. However, Macreadie showed signs he was slowly coming back to what many saw in 2015, in the Allies’ final three games. Macreadie rebounds well out of defence and is one of the few defenders that can play tall and small. His best game came against Western Australia, where he had 15 disposals and four marks. By foot, Macreadie is solid and a real strength of his is his overhead marking. Some might have Macreadie outside the Top 10-15, but I think he showed in glimpses what he is capable and I still expect a bid to come for him within the first round.

#9 Josh Battle
Key Position Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #7

Josh Battle had two moments of brilliance in the Under 18 championships for Vic Country. Battle bookended the championships well, with four goals in six minutes in the opening game and a four goal haul in final game against the Allies. At 192cm, he is not going to be the number one forward at AFL level but his football IQ and endurance base gives him the ability to roam further up the ground. Battle also showed a good burst of speed with a quick chase down off half forward gaining a holding the ball against the Allies. The one thing that Battle does very well is his set shot routine, Battle will kick the ball hard whether he’s 20m or 50m out and continues to show great promise inside 50. His marking too has been solid overhead and the leading goal kicker of the championships won All Australian honours.

#10 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #13

I find it hard to rank Ainsworth, on ability wise he could just be one of the best with his four goal haul in the third term against Vic Metro showing how damaging he can be. However, the season has seen Ainsworth miss games through injury and suspension earlier in the season. Ainsworth’s overhead marking is a strength, but I was disappointed in his final two games where I saw him miss multiple marks that he was normally capable of marking. The positive was to see him spend more midfield time against South Australia collecting 20 disposals and I’m hoping he does that more in his return to TAC Cup football this weekend against Sandringham. If McGrath once again gets the match up on him, it will be interesting to see if he has learnt from their last match up together.

#11 Jack Scrimshaw
Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193cm, 77kg
Previous ranking: 25

A great carnival from Jack Scrimshaw sees him jump into the first round of the rankings. Playing across half back for Vic Metro, Scrimshaw averaged 16 disposals and provided plenty of rebound with his good left boot. His efficiency for the carnival didn’t drop below 80 per cent and was an important figure for the title winners. Scrimshaw has the capabilities of playing tall as a key position defender or on the outside across half back or on the wing. Personally, I think the hybrid defender is best suited to play off half back where he can use his good left boot and football smarts to good use. The key for Scrimshaw over the next few months is staying fit, which is a must if he is to go first round and possibly push into the top 10 on draft night.

#12 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #16

Rotham’s last two games confirmed to me that he’s one of the better defenders in the draft pool. Despite spending the AFL Academy games at full back against VFL opposition, for Western Australia in the championships he was able to push more up the ground and collect more of the ball. Similar to Jack Scrimshaw, he is another who I think plays better rebounding the ball. His numbers in the final two games were great with 15 disposals in each, playing well in the backline. Rotham is one to watch and I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to rise over the next few months.

#13 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 184cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #12

Brad Scheer continues to get the job done and was one of the more consistent players for the Allies. Scheer works hard in the contested situations and his numbers in division two were superb. For Queensland, he averaged 24 disposals, seven clearances and seven tackles per game. Throughout division one he was solid, finishing with 21 disposals (14 contested), six tackles and a match winning goal against Vic Country. Scheer snapped from deep in the pocket to give the Allies the victory by two points (Video can be found here). At this stage, I think Scheer ends up a late first if not early second round bid as one of the few inside midfielders early in my rankings.

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

SEN 1116 Inside Football draft analyst Brett Anderson went early on Tim English putting him into the spotlight in his Big Board in May. Since then, English has well and truly stamped his name as the first ruckman picked come November and could be the first picked in the first round since Brodie Grundy in 2012. At 203cm, English has a great leap giving him the advantage at the ruck contests. English did not have huge hitout numbers on the account of Western Australia using him in combination with Jeremy Goddard. What English does well is his kicking. Despite his height, English has one of the best kicks I have seen for a player over 195cm and uses it well to hit up teammates ahead. English’s kicking is better than many of the midfielders in the draft pool and you could make a case that English has the ability to play in more positions than just ruck. If not for registration issues last season (Read more here), English would likely already be on a clubs list this season and there will be plenty of interest for English when he returns to South Fremantle level in the WAFL.

#15 Will Setterfield
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #8

There was plenty of promise after a solid NSW/ACT carnival for Will Setterfield. However, Setterfield didn’t reach great heights in division one and has such slipped down my rankings. Carrying a foot niggle through school football in June, before looking a touch off the pace in his games for the Allies saw him rested from the final match at Geelong. Setterfield averaged just the 12 disposals and will be looking to get a good run at the second half of the year battling injuries throughout the season. Setterfield should play an important role on the inside for Sandringham Dragons in their pursuit of a TAC Cup flag.

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

There isn’t much more the All Australian forward Tim Taranto could have done in June. A superb carnival saw him average 19 disposals and kick four goals. A basketballer background helps him move in traffic and has plenty of smarts inside 50. Taranto’s best position is across half forward where he can impact the contest and hit the scoreboard. Taranto also had the most score involvements for the carnival with 38 and is one that could rise into the top 10 with a good TAC Cup finals series.

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

Smart small forward Jy Simpkin booted seven goals in six games in the 2015 Under 18 Championships. He also booted the match winner against Vic Metro goaling after the siren down at Simonds Stadium. Unfortunately for Simpkin, he suffered a nasty broken leg in the opening round of school football for Scotch College and will miss the season. A secondary surgery was required a few weeks ago due to infection. Simpkin showed enough signs in 2015 to get him drafted where he played predominantly as a small forward. In his only TAC Cup game for the year, Simpkin had 18 disposals and four goals.

#18 Daniel Venables
Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #26

Aggressive midfielder Daniel Venables was a crucial figure in Vic Metro’s opening two wins with crucial passages in the final quarters. Venables is powerful at the contested and bashes through packs in an attempt to get the ball forward. He had a carnival that yielded an average of 13 disposals, six tackles and booted six goals in four games. Venables also made the All Australian team setting him up for a big second half of the season. Venables singlehandedly got the Western Jets over the line from the goal square nursing a knee injury in the opening TAC Cup round kicking three goals. The knee injury has hampered him during the early stages of the season but he looks in full swing and should be a key figure for the Western Jets in the last few rounds as they attempt to grab a spot in the TAC Cup finals.

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

Alex Villis is my highest ranked South Australian and was awarded All Australian honours. Villis played off half back and the wing averaging 15 disposals. His decision making is superb and has a good kick off both feet where you wouldn’t be able to tell which is his preferred. Villis has even slotted in to Norwood’s senior team in the SANFL and held his own. Villis is definitely one to keep an eye on as we move into the second half of the year.

#20 Kobe Mutch
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
18/03/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #14

Kobe Mutch was very much so an outside midfielder in 2015 but has transitioned more inside this season. Mutch kicks well on both feet and his numbers at TAC Cup level averaging 36 disposals and seven marks are excellent. Mutch was also very close to winning NSW/ACT MVP in the division two carnival and was also superb for the Allies averaging 22 disposals. I’m not sure however where the GWS academy member fits in and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants overlook Mutch as I cannot see him breaking into their stellar Best 22. I am looking forward to seeing if Mutch can continue his dominance at TAC Cup level for the Pioneers and finish the season off well.

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

I have been a big fan of Patrick Kerr’s since his great form in the second half of 2015. Kerr kicked 12 goals last year in the TAC Cup and showed plenty of promise. Kerr has been kicking bags for St Kevin’s at school football and earned All Australian honours at U18 level. Knocks on Kerr coming into the season were his athleticism and agility inside 50 but Kerr looks to have rectified these knocks over the last few months, collecting the ball better at ground level and showing he is not just a straight line runner. Kerr kicked 4.4 and 3.3 in two of the championships games and there is no doubt he could of kicked more if he’d brought his kicking boots with all the shots convertible. Kerr marks strongly on the lead and he can get space between him and his opponent. If Kerr can continue his good foundations from the championships there is no reason he cannot put himself into first round contention.

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

Zach Sproule is one of the better movers out of the key forward group. Sproule has a really good endurance base and it allows him to move further up the ground. Sproule played as a lead-up centre half forward for both NSW/ACT and the Allies. Sproule is agile inside 50 and has enough pace to get a solid distance between himself and opponents. Sproule kicked seven goals in the division two championships and six in the division one carnival. His marking was good for the Allies, averaging three per game with most of them coming further up the ground.

#23 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 185cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: #18

A solid carnival from inside midfielder Jonty Scharenberg. Scharenberg averaged 24 disposals (10 contested) and five clearances in the carnival and was named on the interchange bench in the All Australian side. Scharenberg uses his clean hands around the stoppages to free the ball by lifting his arms around the tackle and getting them free to dish the ball out to a teammate. Champion Data rank Scharenberg as an elite clearance and tackling midfielder as well as an above average disposal and contested possession player. Scharenberg does not have a great deal of speed but does make good decision by hands. Scharenberg is also the brother of current Collingwood defender Matthew.

#24 Griffin Logue
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 188cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Another new addition my rankings is West Australian Griffin Logue. Logue jumped onto the scene with a superb championships playing as a key position defender. Logue has a rowing background from his school and has a strong upper body winning a large chunk of one-on-ones. He kicks on his left foot and was one of the few who was stiff to miss the All-Australian team. Logue also pushed through the ruck in the final match for Western Australia and was impressive throughout June.

#25 Jack Graham
Inside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
25/02/1998 | 183cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: N/A

South Australian captain Jack Graham had an exceptional carnival averaging 25 (11 contested) disposals and five clearances. The inside midfielder won All Australian honours as well as the Larke Medal for the best player in the division one championships. The hard at it midfielder was too strong for his opposition and his body as already developed. Graham’s disposal by foot is shaky, where he can often just hack it out of a pack without looking for a target. At stages he will also tuck it under his arm and run 10-15m before shanking the kick ahead. Graham is not the most agile of footballers but you cannot fault much of his clearance work on the inside.

#26 Dylan Clarke
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #24

You cannot question Dylan Clarke’s ball winning capacity. At TAC Cup level, he is averaging 28 disposals and four tackles per match while for Vic Metro he averaged 24 disposals (13 contested) earning him All Australian honours. What you can question is his kicking skills. Clarke’s kicking in the championships was poor and is the one skill that will likely see Clarke drop down the draft order. Clarke does have a good endurance base to play on the outside but is predominantly an inside midfielder with his good clearance work. Clarke needs to clean up his kicking a lot more to ensure he finds his way up the order. Clarke is also the brother of 2015 North Melbourne recruit Ryan.

#27 Jordan Gallucci
Medium Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 182cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #20

An okay carnival for Jordan Gallucci. Gallucci played in multiple positions through the midfield but looked his best across half back in the final match against Western Australia. In the final match, Gallucci had 15 disposals transitioning the ball out of the defence. Coming into the championships I thought his kicking was a strength, but it was disappointing to see his carnival kicking well below average. Gallucci is explosive and does have good pace to out run his opponent. Vic Metro’s co-captain also won All Australian honours, averaging 15 disposals and 422 metres gained (ranked second) in the carnival.

#28 Sam Powell-Pepper
Inside Midfielder (East Perth/Western Australia)
08/01/1998 | 188cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #10

The biggest drop from my rankings is powerful midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper. Powell-Pepper is good around the clearances and tackles hard but his decision making and kicking is poor. At stages, he often just hacked it forward not looking for a teammate and he is probably going to be another who slides due to their poor kicking. Powell-Pepper had his best game in the opening round with 15 disposals and three goals against Vic Country. He did play across half-back last season for WA, but I see him as a half forward who will push into the midfield at stages but needs to clean up his kicking efficiency to play further up the ground.

#29 Declan Watson
Key Position Defender (Aspley/Queensland)
17/09/1998 | 194cm | 80kg
Previous ranking: N/A

At this stage, I have Declan Watson as my highest ranked Brisbane Lions academy member. The Key Position Defender kicks well for a tall and there were plenty of positives from both division one and two. Watson slotted in to the NEAFL team a fortnight ago and will likely see more NEAFL action in the next few months. Throughout the championships Watson averaged 15 disposals and won multiple one-on-one contests. Another positive of Watson is that he is a good ball user from defensive 50, kicking well on his right boot. In the division two carnival, Queensland often had Watson kicking out from full back.

#30 Jacob Allison
Outside Midfielder (Aspley/Queensland)
16/04/1998 | 194cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #15

A below par last two months sees Allison go from #6 to #30. I had hoped at his height he would move inside, but it doesn’t seem likely to be his role. Allison looked to play his best role as a leading half forward and can then used his long kick to bring the ball deep inside 50. His numbers were okay, but the bottom age All-Australian looked a touch off the pace and thus has moved down the rankings. Like Watson, he is another that will likely see some NEAFL action over the next few months.


 

Plenty of changes from the championships and so many more I would have liked to sneak in. Remember to check out our YouTube account for vision on the draftees. Here are five names to keep an eye on until next time.

Luke Bunker– Inside Midfielder (Vic Metro)

Matt Guelfi– Inside Midfielder (Western Australia)

Sam Walker– Medium Defender (South Australia)

Jack Maibaum– Key Position Defender (Vic Metro)

Reece Piper– Small Defender (Vic Country)

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

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