Draft Central Power Rankings: July 2018

IN one of the most recognisable draft crops in some time, the 2018 AFL National Draft is heating up to be one of the most talked about in the lead-up with so many tall and small prospects who are already looking like genuine AFL stars. As was the case last year, on the first Monday of the month we take a look at the top 30 prospects and where we see them throughout the season. Some will rise and drop depending on performances, while others will remain steady throughout. Keep in mind that the Power Rankings are an opinion-based ranking system, without taking into account AFL club finishing positions or needs – ie. not a Phantom Draft. It is purely measuring players on our opinion of their ability. Without further ado, here are our current top 30:
#1 Jack Lukosius

Key Position Forward/Defender (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
09/08/2000 | 196cm | 84kg

June rank: #1

Lukosius started the season as the consensus number one after jumping on the scene as a 17-year-old for WWT Eagles in the SANFL Preliminary Final, booting four goals and clunking eight marks on his League debut. He has continued his form into this season, booting seven goals from five matches, including an 18-disposal, 11-mark and three-goal game against Glenelg. He also showed his versatility collecting 25 disposals, 14 marks and six inside 50s from centre-half back in a South Australia Under 18 trial match at the beginning of the year. For the AFL Academy he was utilised at both ends, looking most at home as a forward, finishing the match with 12 disposals and two goals. The thing that separates Lukosius from other talls is his foot skills, where you could argue he is one of the best kicks in the entire draft pool, hitting targets at ease off his right foot around the ground. A genuine franchise player.

Past month:

Lukosius has done everything expected of him in the National Under 18 Championships, dominating against Western Australia with 14 marks from 17 disposals and three goals, before back-up performances against Vic Country and the Allies. While he only booted the one goal against the Allies, he had 18 disposals and seven marks playing everywhere from forward to back, to the wing. An out and out star and as versatile as any player in the draft crop.

#2 Sam Walsh
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
02/07/2000 | 183cm | 74kg

June rank: #3

The best midfielder in the 2018 AFL Draft pool has started the season exceptionally well at TAC Cup level. Walsh’s smarts help him around the ground and it is very hard to keep him quiet or out of a game. Against the North Melbourne VFL team, Walsh had 22 disposals, nine marks and four clearances, working through the midfield and booting the opening goal of the game. His spread on the outside is good and he has shown he can win the footy in both contested and uncontested situations. He leads from the front and is probably the safest player in this draft pool for a club to draft. The knock was his disposal at full speed last season, but he is as consistent as they come across all areas.

Past month:

Walsh moves up to number two in our Power Rankings after an impressive National Championships carnival. It was no surprise to see him win Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, after another 30-disposal game against Western Australia. He was dominant against Vic Metro with 29 touches and in Country’s top couple of players in every game. The standout non KPP in the draft.

#3 Max King
Key Position Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 86kg

June rank: #2

The tall forward is one of the best tall prospects we have seen in recent years and is most certainly in the mix as a top five pick, despite the fact that King will not play another game this season. After booting a few goals in the opening quarter for Haileybury College at school football, King’s knee buckled from underneath him in the second quarter and he was stretchered off. Scans later confirmed that the talented forward suffered a torn ACL. Nevertheless, King is a superb prospect who is outstanding in the air (thanks to a big wingspan) and a goal-kicking option, having booted 8.5 against Oakleigh Chargers earlier in the TAC Cup last month. A real strength of King’s is his ability to collect the ball when it hits the ground, with a strong recovery helping the 201cm tall. While some say he could slip down the order due to injury, he won’t be falling outside the top 10, or even maybe the top five due to his impressive skill set.

Past month:

Recovering from an ACL injury which will see him miss the rest of the 2018 season.

#4 Ben King
Key Position Defender/Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 85kg

June rank: #4

The twin brother of Max King has started the season very well, used at both ends at all levels. While Ben is a natural key defender, he has shown at school level that he can be a valuable forward, booting 18 goals in the first two school games. Like brother Max, he is very mobile and has an outstanding leap. He recovers very well when the ball hits the ground and when he flies to mark or spoil the ball and it falls to the ground. Is one of the best tall defenders and competes exceptionally well. Reckon we might see him more as a forward as the season goes, could become a genuine ‘swingman’ if he isn’t already. After a good AFL Academy game, Ben King won the Melbourne Cricket Club’s President’s Medal as the best player.

Past month:

Started the National Under 18 Championships on fire up forward with five goals against Western Australia in a best on ground performance. King then was well held by Jacob Koschitzke in Vic Metro’s narrow two-point win against the Allies, but booted the winning goal showing he can stand up in clutch moments. He managed to break away from Connor Idun a couple of times and converted two majors at the MCG in the All-Victorian clash. Could cap off a strong championships with a good performance against South Australia on Wednesday.

#5 Izak Rankine
Small Forward/Balanced Midfielder (West Adelaide/South Australia)
23/04/2000 | 180cm | 76kg

June rank: #5

Probably the most exciting prospect in the 2018 AFL Draft pool, Rankine can do some special things that a majority of others cannot. He is a lively forward who can push into the midfield and win his own footy, with his agility a key trait. Rankine was so good in last year’s NAB AFL Under 17 All Stars match that they made him switch teams at half-time! He missed the opening few weeks through suspension, but has since returned back to SANFL League footy with West Adelaide, booting four goals from 12 disposals. At this stage he is more of a forward/midfielder than a pure midfielder – and it will be interesting to see how he goes throughout the year, working on his craft with more midfield time for the South Australian side in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Past month:

Just when the midfield power of Bailey Smith or the sheer ball-winning ability of Sam Walsh was the talk of the smaller brigade, Izak Rankine comes out and produces a performance to remember against the Allies. He racked up 20 disposals, five marks, four clearances, six inside 50s and three goals – including one from the 50m arc off a couple of steps – and signalled his intentions as a top five pick in case anyone had forgotten.

#6 Bailey Smith
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/12/2000 | 184cm | 79kg

June rank: #11

Bailey Smith had a great finish to the 2017 season which saw him elevated to the NAB AFL Academy Level Two group. Smith played mostly across half back last year, but did show his ball winning capabilities on the inside for Xavier College and the Dragons, including a huge 44 disposals (22 contested) at 72 per cent efficiency, 13 inside 50s, 10 clearances, six marks and four rebound 50s match against Western. The Dragons 2018 captain is a strong leader and has really transitioned into an inside ball winning midfielder, having collected 37 disposals (22 contested) in the opening match of the season this year. In his most recent outing for the Dragons against the Jets, Smith had 28 disposals, 11 clearances and booted two goals, where he used his quick and clean hands to effectiveness on the inside. The right footer is a capable target around the ground and runs very well.

Past month:

Smith is the biggest bolter in the top-end of the list and well and truly deserved the spot inside the top six. A month is a long time in football and with each game he plays he seems to move higher. Just makes the right decisions, stands up when required and can play anywhere on the ground. In the best couple in each of his three Under 18 Championships games and is firming as a potential top five pick.

#7 Nick Blakey
Key Position Forward (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)
27/02/2000 | 195cm | 80kg

June rank: #6

Up until this time last week, Blakey had multiple options as the son of former North Melbourne and Brisbane player John. Blakey also fell into the Sydney Swans Academy, while he could have opted for the open draft. However – Blakey has made a decision to stick with the Sydney Swans Academy and the Swans are going to get a ‘goodie’. Blakey is a natural forward with a good goal sense and marks well overhead. He glides around the ground and can play in defence if required, while there is midfield potential should some of his coaches see fit. Blakey has dominated in the AFL Under 18 Academy Series against some average opposition, but he booted an exceptional goal off a few steps in the AFL Academy match against North Melbourne’s VFL side. While injuries kept him out of a lot of football last year, expect Blakey to warrant an early bid inside the top 10 at this stage.

Past month:

After being struck down with illness and missing the opening National Championships game against Vic Country, then having a quieter seven-disposal, one-goal performance against Vic Metro, Blakey showed every bit of why he is considered a top 10 pick in his performance against South Australia. Blakey led hard at the football, collecting 11 disposals and clunking six marks, copping hits left, right and centre and still not looking 100 per cent. Nonetheless he shook it off to be one of the best Allies, just needing to capitalise in front of goal, slotting 2.3 for the day.

#8 Tarryn Thomas
Balanced Midfielder (Tasmania/North Melbourne Academy/Allies)
25/03/2000 | 189cm | 73kg

June rank: #7

Thomas is a really exciting player whose glimpses over the last few years suggest he is going to be a special player in the future. The Tasmanian falls into North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy and therefore the Kangaroos will have first dibs on Thomas who will likely command a first round bid. Thomas is an outside midfielder who has a good burst of speed and agility, using it well off his right foot. He can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. One of the cleanest players in the draft crop, Thomas is a one-touch player and turns an inch into a mile.

Past month:

Thomas had a quieter game against South Australia with just the 12 touches and four inside 50s, but still has that touch of class. He has shared the load for the Allies after a dominant Academy Series for Tasmania, and has played both forward and midfield in the championships. Hopefully he finishes off strong on Wednesday against Western Australia.

#9 Jackson Hately
Inside Midfielder (Central District/South Australia)
21/10/2000 | 192cm | 80kg

June rank: #10

Jackson Hately is one of the few pure inside midfielders in the top half of the rankings list. While he still has some size to put on, the 192cm midfielder is strong in the contest, where he can win the contested ball, tackle hard and win clearances. Hately can also hit the scoreboard when required. The Central Districts product has had a taste of SANFL League footy, recording 21 disposals and seven tackles against Glenelg a few weeks ago. Hately was one of the standouts for the AFL Academy in their match against the North Melbourne VFL side, where he had 17 disposals, eight tackles and kicked two goals.

Past month:

Hately has enjoyed a really consistent National Championships thus far and would not have deviated too much from his initial position around the top 10. He had 21 disposals and six clearances against the Allies, and again worked well with the inside grunt of Luke Valente and the outside class of Izak Rankine. Continues to impress and no doubt will be one South Australian fans look to in the final game against Vic Metro.

#10 Ian Hill
Small Forward (Perth/Western Australia)
09/02/2000 | 175cm | 76kg

June rank: #8

Ian “Bobby” Hill is an exciting small forward similar to Rankine in the way that he can make recruiters and fans go “wow” at certain moments. While at this stage, he’s far from the finished product – he has produced plenty of glimpses that suggest he’ll be a strong player for the future. He has superb speed and agility, while his goal sense is outstanding. So far in the WAFL Colts for Perth he has been very good – having overcome a concussion earlier in the season. Hill is Western Australia’s best draft prospect and the second cousin of Fremantle pair Brad and Stephen Hill. He will be one to watch at the National Championships.

Past month:

Probably has not had the National Championships he would have liked thus far, but you can see the talent that burst onto the scene at Etihad Stadium last year is still there. He had 19 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s against Vic Country in a building performance, but it was his leadership that stood out – getting around his teammates and keeping them focused. Some people have him slipping late into the first round, but I do not buy that yet, too much class and talent.

#11 Curtis Taylor
Medium Forward/Inside Midfielder (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
06/04/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

June rank: #13

Taylor might be earlier than many others have him – it is based on the potential that the Calder Cannons product has. Taylor has plenty of X-Factor, which he showed in past years at school football for PEGS, playing alongside top draftees Cameron Rayner and Daniel Venables. Taylor at this stage is far more comfortable across half forward than as an inside midfielder, but has plenty of opportunities across the year to improve his midfield calibre. He has a good skill set and can mark well overhead.

Past month:

Taylor stands up in big games and on the MCG turf, he was the standout forward with three goals, showing his strength in the air and an ability to convert in pressure situations. With Vic Country charging late, Taylor cooly slotted the winner to hand Vic Metro the victory. Oozes X-factor and could well be a top 10 pick come November.

#12 Bailey Williams
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
17/04/2000 | 198cm | 95kg

June rank: #9

The red-haired Williams burst onto the scene last year with some eye-catching displays for the Dandenong Stingrays, while he was also able to represent the Vic Country Under 18 team as a bottom-ager, where he mostly played in the ruck. While Williams is a strong ruck, he is probably a better forward at the moment – in the mould of Gold Coast’s 2014 draftee Peter Wright. Williams has an outstanding leap and is a capable set shot for goal and booted a stunning bag of seven against the Western Jets in Round 4 of the 2018 TAC Cup.

Past month:

Williams has been a number of dropped marks away from a really imposing National Championships. He had a poor game against Vic Metro, but stepped up against Western Australia as all gun players do, collecting 16 disposals and booting two goals. His marking has been a bit of an issue this carnival, but his athleticism and vertical leap have been on show and has not disappointed in that regard.

#13 Ned McHenry
Balanced Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
13/07/2000 | 176cm | 71kg

June rank: #14

McHenry’s super 2017 season saw him elevated to the National AFL Under 18 Academy Level Two squad and is a player that gives his all in every game. Despite his light frame, McHenry starts at the centre bounces and can win the contested football. The Falcons midfielder is a great character and you really need to check out his work on the Geelong Falcons Facebook page and watch the ‘Ned’s Falcons files’ videos. McHenry impressed in the National AFL Under 18 Championships for Vic Country last year as a bottom-ager, averaging 18 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency and laying 5.5 tackles.

Past month:

A quieter game against Western Australia, but still managed to lay seven tackles on the weekend. He looked the goods against Vic Metro with two first quarter goals, but could not quite capitalise in front of the big sticks after that. His pressure game is as good as any and he has maintained a clear first round spot on the rankings.

#14 Connor Rozee
Outside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
22/01/2000 | 184cm | 72kg

June rank: #12

Rozee is another of South Australia’s top draft prospects and in recent weeks has pushed into the SANFL League side for North Adelaide. The midfielder has smarts around the ground, getting to the right positions and has shown his capabilities as a good runner. He rarely wastes a disposal and moves well in and around the stoppages. While he has spent some time playing as a half forward in recent times, he will likely end up as a pure midfielder with his strong skill set. Rozee has made his SANFL League debut, booting two goals in both appearances in the last fortnight. Rozee played all four games as a bottom-ager for South Australia in the 2017 Under 18 Championships, averaging 14 disposals and seven tackles.

Past month:

It has been hard to assess Rozee this carnival as he has played in a myriad of roles. He retains a spot in the mid first round, because his use by hand or foot, and his vision is spectacular. He just had the 13 touches on the weekend, but he uses it so well he hurts opposition off a dozen possessions. Just does not do too much wrong and there will be a better indication of his capabilities when he faces the strong Vic Metro midfield.

#15 Riley Collier-Dawkins
Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/02/2000 | 193cm | 88kg

June rank: #16

Based on potential – Collier-Dawkins could well be a first round prospect come later in the season. He still has some work to do in order to reach this level, but the signs early in the season are very good. Collier-Dawkins was very good in the #57 last year as a bottom-ager for the Oakleigh Chargers winning the ball as a hybrid midfield, and ‘RCD’ has had a big growth spurt over recent years, seeing him jump to 193cm (and growing!). Collier-Dawkins looks most at home as an inside midfielder – using his clean and quick hands to effectiveness, but has played on the outside at times this year, including the Vic Metro trial game where he recored 13 disposals and four marks.

Last month:

After missing a game due to injury, Collier-Dawkins returned to the MCG and had a promising performance playing between midfield and full-forward, clunking a strong mark and nailing the set shot. He had 13 disposals and three clearances that game, and while they are not big numbers compared to some others, it is his power and versatility that hold him in high regard.

#16 Xavier Duursma
Balanced Midfielder | Gippsland Power/Vic Country
07/07/2000 | 185cm | 71kg

June rank: #17

The Gippsland Power captain is one of those players that in his bottom-age year looked like an outside midfielder, but won the majority of his possessions on the inside. In 2018, it has balanced out for him to impact on the outside and he is strong through the core despite being one of the lightest midfielders out there. He is a transition player who can give-and-go and can get forward and impact on the scoreboard. The biggest thing with Duursma is he has not got an obvious weakness, and while he does not win as much of the ball as other midfielders in the top end, he has both top skill and the ability to gain meterage with each disposal.

Past month:

After a big month at the National Championships, Duursma did have a quieter game against Western Australia. He still managed three clearances, but had the 13 touches and did not have as much impact as his impressive game against Vic Metro where he had seven inside 50s, five clearances, six marks and five tackles from 19 disposals. One to watch in the back-end of the TAC Cup season because he has that potential to be a first rounder.

#17 Riley Bowman
Ruckman/Key Position Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/02/2000 | 198cm | 82kg

June rank: #15

There is a little bit of Tim English in the way Riley Bowman moves around the ground. The athletic ruckman has a decent leap on him, he is also a good user of the ball by foot. While Bowman is very raw and will need developing by any club that takes him, he has shown enough this year to suggest he needs to be tracked closely during the season. He worked hard in the ruck for the AFL Academy against the bigger North Melbourne opponents, at times going up against big Brayden Preuss. Bowman is averaging 16 hitouts in the TAC Cup this season.

Past month:

Perhaps the best ruck of the National Championships along with Allies’ Kieren Briggs, Bowman did his draft chances no harm with a really promising month of performances. He was rested in the first game and has shared the ruck load throughout the final three games, impressive against Vic Metro with 20 hitouts and a goal from 10 disposals and three marks. Played second fiddle to Mark Marriott in the final match against Western Australia, but that was more about his versatility to play anywhere on the ground, than anything else.

#18 Rhylee West
Inside Midfielder | Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
12/07/2000 | 180cm | 81kg

June rank: #21

An inside midfielder with lightning hands, West has the ability to impact in close or in the air. He has a vice-like grip and is one of the best contested marks of the midfielders in the competition. Rarely beaten one-on-one, West’s next step is just working on doing the fundamentals perfectly as there have been times where he can over-use the football or overcomplicate a situation. No doubt Western Bulldogs fans will keep a close eye on him.

Past month:

West has been one of the big performers for Vic Metro in the National Under 18 Championships and finds himself inside our top 20. Working in tandem with Bailey Smith and doing a lot of the grunt work on the inside to allow Smith to go forward, West is the one player challenging Smith for the Metro Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. He played forward at St Kevin’s and does have the versatility and strength in the air to have an impact inside 50.

#19 Chayce Jones
Balanced Midfielder | Launceston/Tasmania
14/01/2000 | 180cm | 74kg

June rank: #24

A classy midfielder who can also hit the scoreboard, Jones has been going about his business very nicely. The Tasmanian was overshadowed by the efforts of top 10 pick Tarryn Thomas at the Under 18 Academy Series, but his ability to win clearances and burn off his opponents is eye-catching. He often gets forward and hurts opposition teams on the scoreboard, and is always dangerous at ground level. Just the 180cm, but is versatile and slot in anywhere.

Past month:

Jones has been really consistent in the National Championships and is another player who has done his draft chances no harm. He had 21 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s against South Australia, and while there were some who stood out more, Jones continues to find the football and cover ground well. His best game of the carnival came against Vic Country, finishing off with two goals from 28 disposals, five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s and four rebounds while laying six tackles.

#20 Luke Valente
Balanced Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
08/05/2000 | 186cm | 80kg

June rank: #22

The Norwood midfielder has a nice balance of skills and grunt, able to play on the inside or out and is set to play a pivotal role for South Australia at the National Championships. Valente was nominated captain of the Croweaters and his leadership shines through on the field. Known for his ball-winning abilities and clearance expertise, Valente is not overawed by bigger bodies and would be one player who is AFL ready from round one.

Past month:

Valente is knocking down the door of South Australia’s MVP Award for the carnival despite the class of Izak Rankine and the sheer eye-opening ability of Jack Lukosius. He is often the player that does not receive the hype those guys do, but his role through the middle is vital. He had a sensational game against the Allies, racking up six clearances and 28 disposals, and most importantly, had 15 kicks showing he can use it well by hand or foot in transition.

#21 Liam Stocker
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
23/01/2000 | 183cm | 83kg

June rank: #19

Stocker is a player who could definitely find himself as a first round prospect by November. Stocker is a strong midfielder who wins the football on the inside and spreads well from the stoppages. His clearance work is very good, while he can play on the outside where he can use the ball very well off either his right or left foot. Stocker will have the entire season at TAC Cup level, having finished school at Haileybury College in 2017.

Past month:

Stocker was unfortunate to miss the National Under 18 Championships due to a broken jaw he sustained against Gippsland in the TAC Cup. He has now returned to the TAC Cup and picking up some good form, named the Dragons’ best in their win over Oakleigh Chargers in Round 10 and had a sensational 30-disposal game against the Eastern Ranges on the weekend. He is an inside midfielder who uses the ball well and could well enter the top 20 again with some consistent form and his injury behind him.

#22 Zak Butters
Outside Midfielder/General Forward (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
08/10/2000 | 178cm | 70kg

June rank: N/A

The lightly-built outside midfielder who spends a lot of time forward, is a little on the small side, but plays taller than his 178cm. He has that touch of class that shines through when he wins the football, and his first few steps are lightning. Butters spreads well across the ground and can win the ball on the wing and be on the receiving end of a pass inside 50 moments later.

Past month:

An underrated performer for Vic Metro at the National Under 18 Championships, he has showed his great speed and acceleration on the outside, while also being used in transition from half-back through to half-forward. Butters has averaged 17 disposals, two clearances and three inside 50s across his three games so far at the championships. He is rising and could well be the first Western Jet taken.

#23 Mitch Riordan
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/01/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

June rank: #18

Riordan is a player who flies under the radar a little bit, but continues to improve. While his numbers aren’t as big as some of the other Stingrays players, their game plan very rarely sees any player get above 25 disposals, with a team input seeing an even performance across the board. Riordan is strong in the contest and is a decent ball user off his right foot. He wins the contested ball and is a good tackler, working hard to win the ball back. Riordan averaged 16 disposals and three tackles in the TAC Cup at the start, but he will spend the month leading up to the National AFL Under 18 Championships at school level for reigning APS Premiers Haileybury College.

Past month:

Riordan injured his hamstring against Vic Metro on the MCG – his second injury of the carnival – marking an unfortunate end to his series. The talented inside midfielder did show some signs playing off half-back, but has had limited time on the ground to show his wares against the nation’s top players. Hopefully he can get fully fit and have a big end to the TAC Cup season once he returns from injury.

#24 Jye Caldwell
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
28/09/2000 | 184cm | 78kg

June rank: #20

Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Grammar product Jye Caldwell is a good midfielder who has some strong tricks. Injury forced him off the ground early in the AFL Academy match against the North Melbourne VFL team, but he has returned to football and is one who showed some talent in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Country, averaging 18 disposals. Caldwell tackles well and can win both the contested and uncontested ball.

Past month:

Caldwell saw just the one game in the National Under 18 Championships – against the Allies – and spent less than half the time on the ground, succumbing to an early injury. The versatile midfielder who predominantly plays on the inside will be disappointed he has missed the Championships, but will be keen to return in the back half of the TAC Cup season and help the Bendigo Pioneers.

#25 Xavier O’Halloran
Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
11/07/2000 | 186cm | 82kg
 
June rank: N/A
 
An inside midfielder at TAC Cup level, his consistent form this season is as good as anyone in the competition. He lead the Western Jets in style with his contested work, acceleration and clearance ability among his top strengths. His leadership was recognised at state level, earning the Vic Metro captaincy over fellow captain Bailey Smith.
 
Past month:
 
The Vic Metro captain did his draft credentials no harm with a consistent National Under 18 Championships playing up forward and through the midfield. He showed his versatility with a two-goal game against Vic Country on the MCG, and when in the midfield has that nice few steps and lowers the eyes when kicking inside 50. One player who keeps rising up the boards and will be important in the title decider against South Australia on Wednesday.
 

#26 Isaac Quaynor
Medium Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro/Collingwood NGA)
15/01/2000 | 179cm | 82kg

May rank: #23

Collingwood fans would be excited to see a Next Generation Academy Member come through the ranks next season. The AFL Academy defender is a run-and-carry player and despite being just 179cm, plays much taller and has even opposed key position players before. Expect him to develop into a medium tall defender, and with no second round pick following acquisition of Sam Murray last off-season, the Pies will be more than happy to match a bid given it will come after their first round selection.

Past month:

Quaynor injured himself in the second National Championships game against the Allies and missed the Vic Country match at the MCG. He was one of the best against Western Australia and the Allies pre-injury, and provided great rebound out of defence. Not playing against South Australia, the next time we will see Quaynor is back in a Chargers jumper for the second half of the TAC Cup season.

#27 Zac Foot
Balanced Midfielder/Utility | Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country
25/12/2000 | 180cm | 71kg

June rank: N/A

The exciting, speedy outside midfielder can win his own ball on the inside and use the football well wherever he plays. He has great agility and goal sense when forward, and can break the lines from defence. Just building consistency in his game, but he clearly has plenty of tools which clubs will look at come November. A great story too after initially missing the cut at the Stingrays, to making it all the way to Vic Country.

Past month:

Foot had a quieter game against Western Australia, with the 12 touches, two inside 50s, two rebounds and four tackles, but he works hard in transition and is a real metres-gained player. He makes the list on the future ceiling he provides, and his ability to do damage by foot on the inside or outside. Keep his name down as a bolter if he has good form in the back half of the year.

#28 Zane Barzen
Tall Forward/Inside Midfielder | Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
29/10/2000 | 193cm | 77kg

June rank: #25

Barzen is one of the dark horses in the 2018 draft pool, and similar to Riley Collier-Dawkins in the sense that you draft him on potential scope. In his bottom-age year, Barzen showed his class up forward, with the ability to hit passes inside 50 that very few could. He plays that high half-forward role well, and with increased fitness and miles in the legs, Barzen could transition to more midfield minutes in the future. He is strong overhead and has an impact up forward, and only needs a dozen possessions to hurt the opposition.

Past month:

Barzen has shown the signs of what he is capable of throughout the National Championships, without setting the world on fire. He went back to the Bushrangers for a week missing the MCG clash against Vic Metro, then returned to boot a goal from eight disposals and four marks. A quiet carnival overall, but still needs miles in the legs and showed he can play anywhere on the field if required. Just that hybrid tall who uses it well by foot.

#29 Joe Ayton-Delaney
General Defender | Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
25/03/2000 | 180cm | 68kg

June rank: N/A

Ayton-Delaney is a bit of a smokey for the top 30 in the draft and is definitely a name to watch out for throughout the year. In his flashy red boots, Ayton-Delaney rebounds the ball well at speed from half-back and has shown he can play further up the ground on the wing or through the inside. He links up well and breaks the lines, using it well by foot – against the Stingrays in round five he had 25 disposals, hardly missing a target. He is a player with plenty of potential and it will be interesting to see where he ends up at the pointy end of the season.

Past month:

After missing the second game against the Allies, Ayton-Delaney returned to run out on the MCG for Vic Metro in his side’s win over Vic Country. He was one of the best out of defence, picking up 20 disposals, five marks, three rebounds and two inside 50s, showing his strong work in transition from the back half to the forward 50.

#30 Luke Foley
Inside Midfielder | Subiaco/Western Australia
08/10/1999 | 187cm | 75kg

June rank: N/A

Foley is an overager who plays on the inside and can win a truckload of clearances, while laying some strong tackles. He has impressed for Subiaco in the WAFL Colts, and earned a place in the Black Swans side for the National Under 18s Championships.

Past month:

The hard working clearance midfielder has been consistent for Western Australia since coming into the team for the National Championships. He racked up five clearances and six inside 50s from 18 disposals, but also took six marks and laid six tackles against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium. The overager continues to stand out and is readymade for AFL football, and is one to closely watch over the next few months.

Keep an eye on:

  • Angus Hanrahan (Vic Metro)
  • Dillon O’Reilly (Western Australia)
  • Jez McLennan (South Australia)
  • Ely Smith (Vic Country)
  • Fraser Turner (Tasmania/Allies)

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