2017 Draft Summary – Rounds 1-2

Another national draft was completed on Friday night with much of the footy world watching on in anticipation. As was the case last year, I’ve been following the draftees closely again in 2017, attending games and watching as many videos as possible. I’ve combined the player bio’s off AFL.com as well as providing my own thoughts on the draftees, particularity as a fantasy option next year. With each player selected in the national draft, I’ve taken into account athletic traits, physical development, fantasy numbers and potential 2018 game-time before giving a final summary. As always, if you have a question or want to know more about a certain player, let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Click here for rounds 3-7.

Pick 1 – Brisbane – Cameron Rayner

Western Jets – Victoria Metro – General Forward / Inside Midfielder – 187cm – 87kg

“Graduate of NAB AFL Academy who is a powerful medium forward or bull-like inside midfielder who excels with his speed and agility at stoppages. Is dangerous around the goals and strong in the air. Had some game-breaking moments throughout the NAB AFL U18 Championships for Vic Metro, winning All Australian U18 honours to push himself into contention as the No.1 pick. An explosive player who changes games with his pace and strength. A knee problem ruled him out of testing at the Combine.”

Fantasy Perspective: Rayner is simply the best junior player in the country. It’s been well documented that endurance is the big weakness in Cam’s current game. Fortunately this can, and likely will be improved upon in club land, however it is no-where near good enough if he wants to progress into a genuine midfielder (2km time-trial result of 7.57 min). With a power-packed, ready-made frame, Cam is expected to play from round one next year as a medium forward, restricted to stints in the midfield. Averaged a touch under 20 disposals to go with 3.1 marks, 3.6 tackles, 2.2 goals and 86 points. Watchlist.

Pick 2 – Fremantle – Andrew Brayshaw

Sandringham Dragons – Victoria Metro – Balanced Midfielder – 184cm – 82kg

“Medium-sized midfielder who has clean hands and uses the football well. Has good balance of inside and outside game and recovered from injury to play two games for Vic Metro in the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Had an outstanding Draft Combine, ranked No.1 in the new Yo-Yo test with a score of Level 22.4 then backed it up with a top-three finish in the 2km time trial with a time of 6:14.”

Fantasy Perspective: The brother of Angus ended up being taken one spot higher. Andrew is one of my favourite players in the draft class. His endurance, size and ability to win it on either side make him ready-made for AFL next year. For the Dragons and Vic Metro, Brayshaw averaged 23 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 0.7 goals and 89 fantasy points. Will play round one.

Pick 3 – Carlton – Paddy Dow

Bendigo Pioneers – Victoria Country – Balanced Midfielder – 185cm – 78kg

“A graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a hard-running medium midfielder who has good balance between contested and uncontested ball. A prolific ball-winner, he’s good in one-on-one contests and was a consistent performer for Vic Country in the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Averaged 26 disposals for the Pioneers, but a shoulder operation late in the year ended his season prematurely.”

Fantasy Perspective: Dow is different to a few of the other inside midfielders of the draft pool (Davies-Uniacke, Bonar, Constable, D.Fogarty) in that he is of ‘average’ height. Despite this, he is the best contested-ball winner of the class and has a winning blend of both speed, burst, agility and endurance. Next year he could well be deployed on a wing or even as a rebounding, run and carry half-back where his blistering pace can be utilised. Averaged 82 fantasy points last year from an average of 22 disposals, 3.4 marks, 2.9 tackles and 0.7 goals.

Pick 4 – North Melbourne – Luke Davies-Uniacke

Dandenong Stingrays – Victoria Country – Inside Midfielder – 187cm – 85kg

“A graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a strong-bodied medium midfielder with a good burst of speed from stoppages, he uses his excellent vision and decision-making to set up play. Can push forward, is also good overhead and strong one-on-one, as shown for Vic Country across the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Very impressive again in the All Stars game at the MCG on Grand Final day with his 22 possessions, but missed testing at the Combine because of a toe problem.”

Fantasy Perspective: LDU certainly has the frame that will allow him to slot straight into AFL football next year. His endurance will need to be improved before becoming a full-time mid though. Davies-Uniacke has shown great ability both through the midfield and up forward and will provide North Melbourne with the flexibility to be able to play him in either position next year before becoming one of the leaders in the Kangaroos on ball brigade. Averaged 92 fantasy points across the year and will get plenty of games early.

Pick 5 – Fremantle – Adam Cerra

Eastern Ranges – Victoria Metro – Balanced Midfielder – 186cm – 80kg

“Classy and prolific ball-winner as a medium inside midfielder who uses the ball well by hand and foot. A playmaker, he also can be dangerous around goals. Impressed in the NAB AFL U18 Championships for Vic Metro. Missed the back end of the season with a shoulder injury, which followed an injury-interrupted 2016 season as a bottom-ager with a knee complaint.”

Fantasy Perspective: Cerra is a pure balanced midfielder with the ability to win it in the contest and on the outside. This ability could see him spend time on a wing next year. Has missed a massive chunk of football over the past few years but there is no doubting his ability. Cerra was the best fantasy player of the top six players, averaging 97 points from 22 disposals, 4.9 marks, 4.6 tackles and 0.9 goals per game. As with Brayshaw, the Dockers will be giving Cerra opportunities early on.

Pick 6 – Collingwood – Jaidyn Stephenson

Eastern Ranges – Victoria Metro – Outside Midfielder / General Forward – 189cm – 75kg

“A graduate of NAB AFL Academy who is a medium midfielder or forward with line-breaking speed who is strong overhead and a long, accurate kick for goal. His 28 disposals and five-goal performance against South Australia in the NAB AFL U18 Championships was a highlight. Also topped off outstanding year with a best-on-ground performance in the All Star game at the MCG on Grand Final day as well as showcasing his athletic potential at the Draft Combine. Successfully transitioned from a forward role into the midfield late in the TAC Cup season and enjoyed a strong patch of form for the Ranges.”

Fantasy Perspective: Jaidyn’s blend of athleticism, aerial ability and speed makes him a genuine match-winner. With a few pre-seasons under his belt, Stephenson could well turn out to be a Fyfe-type inside midfielder as he is quite tall. However at this stage, his is still ‘skinny’ and won’t be a big ball winner early days. He is expected to debut next year though and will be deployed as a third-tall forward or off a wing. 80 point fantasy average for both the Eastern Ranges and Victoria Metro. The ‘Pies will be sure to monitor his heart issue closely.

Pick 7 – St.Kilda – Hunter Clark

Dandenong Stingrays – Victoria Country – Inside Midfielder / General Defender – 186cm – 80kg

“A graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a poised and smooth-moving medium defender or midfielder who uses the ball well by hand and foot. An elite ball handler and strong overhead, played well for Vic Country in the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Won the Stingrays’ best and fairest award to top off great year having averaged 27 disposals for the club at TAC Cup level.”

Fantasy Perspective: Hunter Clark is one of the more intriguing prospects. His line-breaking ability is fantastic, as is his inside game. Healthy average of 89 fantasy points for Dandenong and Victoria Country. Couldn’t have landed at a better club when it comes to game time in 2018. Won’t be the last time we hear his name.

Pick 8 – St.Kilda – Nicholas Coffield

Northern Knights – Victoria Metro – General Defender / Outside Midfielder – 191cm – 82kg

“Versatile player who can play in defence, through the midfield or up forward. Showed excellent breakaway speed from down back throughout the NAB AFL U18 Championships and as a good one-on-one contest player and strong overhead, won All Australian honours. His 2.91 seconds for 20m at the Draft Combine showcased his speed.”

Fantasy Perspective: Coffield has had a fantastic year, rising up the ranks rapidly since the start of the year. His foot skills, speed, line-breaking and evasiveness will allow him to fit right in. His is capable of spending solid time on the wing or as a running half-back next year however his frame may allow him to become a bigger-bodied inside midfielder with time. Coffield averaged 21.4 disposals and 80 fantasy points throughout the year.

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Pick 9 – Western Bulldogs – Aaron Naughton

Peel Thunder – Western Australia – Key Defender – 194cm – 85kg

“Left-footed tall defender who showed dash from defence, strength overhead and a penetrating and accurate kick in winning Western Australia’s MVP award from the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Also named in the All Australian team. Showed future potential with an outstanding start to his senior career with Peel in the back half of the year.”

Fantasy Perspective: Not often do key defenders slot straight into AFL football in their debut season, but Western Australia’s Aaron Naughton could buck that trend. His intercept marking and speed make him an ideal third-tall defender who can play the Lever-type role. WAFL numbers were solid for a KPD, finishing the year with an average of 14.8 disposals, 6.4 marks and 69 points.

Pick 10 – Carlton – Lochie O’Brien

Bendigo Pioneers – Victoria Country – Outside Midfielder / General Defender- 184cm – 77kg

“A graduate of NAB AFL Academy who is a fleet-of-foot medium midfielder with a penetrating left boot. Strong overhead and dangerous around goals. Performed well in his three games for Vic Country across the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Had an impressive Draft Combine with his 6:12 for the 2km ranked second overall.”

Fantasy Perspective: Lochie O’Brien is probably the best kicker in the draft pool which obviously appealed to the Blues, in need of some midfield class. Combination of speed and endurance are rare traits for many of the top draftees. Lochie won’t play every game, but he should feature at some stage, whether it’s off a wing or back flank where his running capacity and skills can be best utilised. Contested ball winning will need to be improved. Averaged 78 points last season.

Pick 11 – GWS – Aiden Bonar

Dandenong Stingrays – Inside Midfielder / General Forward – 189cm – 87kg

“A powerfully built, versatile tall who excels at stoppages and has a burst of speed away from congestion. Strong overhead and very competitive, he has overcome two ACL injuries to return to school and club football late in the year. All Australian at U15 level in 2014 and has massive upside. Impressed in the All Star game at the MCG on Grand Final day to be among the best players. At the Draft Combine his 2.90 seconds for 20m highlighted his speed.”

Fantasy Perspective: Bonar is another with the size to be able to play next year, however like many taken before him, Aiden’s endurance and consistency are areas requiring improvement. Like Fogarty, he is powerful but not a big ball winner, averaging 15.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, 2.8 tackles and 68 points. The Giants won’t be rushing him into anything given his troubles with serious knee injuries.

Pick 12 – Adelaide – Darcy Fogarty

Glenelg – South Australia – General Forward / Inside Midfielder / General Defender – 192cm – 95kg

“Graduate of NAB AFL Academy, Fogarty is a dynamic tall forward that can also go back or play through the midfield. Strong overhead and a fierce competitor, he was hampered by a knee injury during the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Made an impressive debut at senior level with Glenelg this year.”

Fantasy Perspective: Touted as a candidate for the number one pick earlier in the year after a super impressive 2016 season, Darcy Fogarty wasn’t able to add much to his credentials this year. Injury certainly hasn’t helped, but there was enough glimpses of the South Australian which suggests he can be a star. Although he may play some games next year, his endurance and work rate needs to be improved upon. Wasn’t a big ball winner either, only averaging 10.6 disposals and 49 fantasy points. Will be able to play next year, adding to the Grand Finalists already potent forward line.

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Pick 13 – West Coast – Jarrod Brander

Murray Bushrangers – GWS – Key Defender / Key Forward – 194cm – 92kg

“Graduate of NAB AFL Academy who is a mobile tall forward/defender and finished the NAB AFL U18 Championships with a dominant performance up forward in the Allies’ win over Vic Metro. Strong overhead, agile and a good ball user, won U18 All Australian honours.”

Fantasy Perspective: Brander’s stocks have dropped since the start of the year but he remains one of the best key position players in the pool. Can be used at either end but will likely learn the craft up forward next year in my opinion. Not one I would touch next year even though he could receive significant AFL exposure. Lack of tackling pressure will be worked upon. Average of 12.8, 4.8 marks and 56 points. Will offer support to Kennedy and Darling from round one.

Pick 14 – Sydney – Matthew Ling

Geelong Falcons – Victoria Country – Outside Midfielder / General Defender – 183cm – 75kg

“Medium defender or outside midfielder with line-breaking speed, good vision and foot skills. Represented Vic Country in the NAB AFL U18 Championships, using the ball very efficiently across the four matches.”

Fantasy Perspective: Before you ask, no, there is not a connection to Cameron, despite sharing the same surname and hailing from the Geelong area. Matthew is a damaging player who, much like Lochie O’Brien, uses his skills , agility and speed to good effect. The Falcons and Vic’ Country players looked for him to distribute the ball on the outside. Averaged 16 disposals, 3.3 marks, 2.7 tackles and 61 points. Will compliment the Swans big inside mids, but don’t think he’s one to watchlist at this stage.

Pick 15 – Brisbane – Zac Bailey

Norwood – Northern Territory – Inside Midfielder – 181cm – 81kg

“Hard-edged midfielder with a good burst of speed away from the midfield setting up many opportunities for his forwards. Had a very consistent series for the Allies winning All Australian honours in the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Starred for Northern Territory earlier in the year in the Academy series and has also played in South Australia with Norwood. Brings intensity to the contest and provides good burst away.”

Fantasy Perspective: This year, it seems the smaller midfielder/forwards are the better fantasy players. Whilst Bailey hasn’t been as productive as Jack Higgins or Lachlan Fogarty, he will likely manage a handful of games for Brisbane in 2018. At 181cm, Zac, who boarded at Adelaide’s Prince Alfred College, played the year as an inside midfielder, but a start up forward would be a more realistic as his endurance isn’t high at this stage. Averaged 21 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.7 tackles and 77 points.

Pick 16 – Western Bulldogs – Ed Richards

Oakleigh Chargers – General Defender / Outside Midfielder – 185cm – 78kg

“Left-footed medium defender who was a dominant player in APS football this year with his intercept marking and play-making across half-back features of his game. Also played seven matches for the Oakleigh Chargers. Grandson of the former Collingwood legend Ron Richards. Didn’t play in Vic Metro’s NAB AFL U18 Championships side after an interrupted lead-in through injury but his performances at the end of the season thrust him into first-round contention.”

Fantasy Perspective: As either a general defender or outside midfielder. Is another who could well fit in for a few games last year. In terms of fantasy output, Richards was below the likes of Coffield, O’Brien and Constable who played similar roles, only managing and average of 58 points. Endurance also a question mark. Recruited to fill Bob Murphy’s role off the half-back line.

Pick 17 – Richmond – Jack Higgins

Oakleigh Chargers – Victoria Metro – General Forward / Inside Midfielder – 178cm – 77kg

“Graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a prolific ball-winning small forward or midfielder who reads the game exceptionally well and is strong overhead for his size and dangerous around goals. A consistent performer throughout the NAB AFL U18 Championships, winning Vic Metro’s Most Valuable Player award and U18 All Australian honours. Also won TAC Cup’s Morrish Medal as the competition’s best and fairest player. Booted 32 goals from 14 games at TAC Cup level and is a dead-eye around the sticks. Looks likely to be able to make an impact at senior level next year.”

Fantasy Perspective: If draftees were selected off pure numbers, Jack Higgins would be right at the top. He is the best fantasy player of all draftees, averaging 25 disposals, 5.7 marks, 5.7 tackles, 1.8 goals and 114 fantasy points for Metro and Oakleigh. It’s likely Jack, who quit year 12 to focus on his football, spends time as a small forward next year, perhaps with stints in the midfield. Higgins is one of, if not the best rookie fantasy prospect ahead of the 2018 season. Despite the Tigers being well stocked up forward, Higgins will still play games.

Pick 18 – Brisbane – Brandon Starcevich

East Perth – Western Australia – Balanced Midfielder – 187cm – 84kg

“Medium forward/midfielder who improved throughout the NAB AFL U18 Championships for WA, including an excellent performance against Vic Country at Etihad Stadium. Nephew of former Collingwood premiership player Craig Starcevich.”

Fantasy Perspective: Starcevich was the a bit of a surprise selection here. The Western Australian is a big-bodied midfielder that can play on the inside but looks better suited on the outside at this stage. His speed and agility are real strong points. But despite his strong frame, his contested ball winning and production require some work. Not a big ball winner, averaging 13.3 disposals, 2.6 marks, 3.4 tackles, 0.7 goals and 60 points throughout the year. Nice player that will add to the Lions midfield depth.

Pick 19 – Gold Coast – Wil Powell

Claremont – Outside Midfielder – 187cm – 65kg

”The lean, medium-sized runner didn’t make the Western Australian team that competed in this year’s NAB AFL U18 Championships, but underwent testing at the WA State Combine. Originally from Scarborough, he represented Claremont in the WAFL’s Colts competition, averaging 14 disposals and tallying eight goals in 18 games. Powell was one of his team’s best performers in a hard-fought preliminary final victory and was again prominent in the Grand Final with 15 possessions, despite a 54-point loss to East Fremantle.”

Fantasy Perspective: Powell was the biggest surprise of draft night for me. He played 18 games for Claremont at colts level, averaging 14 disposals, 3 marks, 2.2 tackles and 56 fantasy points. Will need to add size over a few pre-seasons but his foot skills, speed and ability to also win the contested ball are nice traits to have. Not likely to see much game time in 2018 though.

Pick 20 – Richmond – Callum Coleman-Jones

Sturt – South Australia – Ruckman / Key Forward – 201cm -99kg

“Graduate of the NAB AFL Academy and a developing ruckman or tall forward who captained South Australia in the NAB AFL U18 Championships. He is a very good one-on-one player and has grown in confidence with his contested pack marking and ruck craft a feature of his play.”

Fantasy Perspective: Despite being behind Toby Nankervis  in the pecking order at Richmond, Coleman-Jones could still be used next year, likely as a key forward who can rotate through the ruck. Generally ruckmen take time but I feel CCJ could make the jump a little earlier, likely as a key forward. CCJ’s strength and contested marking are amongst the best in this years draft pool. His kicking technique will be refined at AFL level, but the SA big man averaged a strong 18 disposals, 5.7 marks, 1.5 tackles, 16.1 hit-outs and 88 fantasy points.

Pick 21 – West Coast – Oscar Allen

West Perth – Western Australia – General Forward – 191cm – 82kg

“Mobile tall forward who is strong overhead and has an innate goal sense. Provided a consistent target up forward for WA and capped off a very impressive NAB AFL U18 Championships by winning the Larke Medal as Division One’s best player overall and All Australian honours.”

Fantasy Perspective: Allen really fired during the championships for WA as an undersized key forward. His performances this year have been exceptional. His size will never really allow him to become an out-and-out key forward, however his leap, athleticism and mobility make up for this awkward size. Could even push up onto a wing with his strong endurance base.

Pick 22 – Geelong – Lachlan Fogarty

Western Jets – Victoria Metro – Balanced Midfielder – 179cm – 75kg

“Graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a creative and courageous small midfielder who has good game sense in winning the ball and he tackles aggressively. A good decision-maker and efficient user of the ball by hand and foot and is dangerous when pushing forward around goal. An excellent performer for Vic Metro in the NAB AFL U18 Championships winning All Australian honours. Missed testing at the Combine through illness.”

Fantasy Perspective: I rate Lachlan Fogarty higher than many other draft watchers. He is simply a very good all-round midfielder. And in terms of fantasy, with a final average of 111, there aren’t many better. He averaged 22 disposals and 3.1 marks but it’s his tackling (average of 9.5) and scoreboard impact (1.1 goals) that really inflates his fantasy potential. Not tall by any means but I’m hoping he debuts next year as his fantasy potential is high. Geelong may use him up forward.

Pick 23 – North Melbourne – Will Walker

Oakleigh Chargers – Outside Midfielder – 187cm – 78kg

“Medium midfielder who excels at stoppages and has been a prolific ball-winner at TAC Cup level. Good player one on one and sound decision-maker.”

Fantasy Perspective: The Kangaroos went early on Walker, who has a high potential with a mix of size, speed, agility and stoppage work. He is still 6-8kg off his optimal playing weight and will require a few seasons in the gym. Was a good ball winner at TAC Cup level, averaging 20 disposals, 4.3 marks, 4.4 tackles, 0.9 goals and 88 points.

Pick 24 – Geelong – Tim Kelly

South Fremantle – WAFL –  Balanced Midfielder – 182cm – 81kg

“Medium midfielder/forward who had an outstanding season at senior level in the WAFL running second in the Sandover Medal. Starred for Western Australia in the state match against the VFL in his team’s impressive win. Mature-aged player.”

Fantasy Perspective: The Western Australian is the first mature-ager to be taken as he heads to the cattery. Tim Kelly is the most fantasy-relevant player for next year in my opinion. Averaged 101 points at WAFL level from 26 disposals, 4.2 marks, 3.6 tackles and 1.1 goals. A smooth-mover, Kelly is good around stoppages and has been compared to Wells with his class and inside/outside balance. May be used as an outside midfielder or half-forward next year where he can rotate with GAJ. Jot this name down.

Pick 25 – Richmond – Noah Balta

Calder Cannons – Victoria Country – Key Defender / Key Forward – 195cm – 95kg

“A graduate of NAB AFL Academy who is a super athletic tall defender with elite natural leap and line-breaking speed. Is still developing his game sense but can also play forward and was used in the ruck at stages across the year where his leap shone (he also finished in the top 10 in the standing and running vertical jump tests at the Combine). Played three games for Vic Metro in the NAB AFL U18 Championships winning team.”

Fantasy Perspective: Generally super-athletic key position players are skinny and require a few sessions in the gym before being able to play AFL. However this is not the case with Noah who is already solidly built at 195cm and 95kg. His consistency and decision making will need to be worked on. Balta isn’t one I’d consider for next season, having averaged 12 touches, 3.6 marks, 2.9 tackles and 64 points, but he could play games as a forward alongside Riewoldt.

Pick 26 – West Coast – Liam Ryan

Subiaco – WAFL – General Forward – 179cm -71kg

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“Few can boast a highlights reel like this mature-age prospect. He has the propensity to sit on shoulders and take breathtaking marks. However, Ryan is not limited to that role, and can win the ball at ground level, as he would be expected to do so if drafted. Quick, evasive, and knows how to kick a goal. Looms as a small forward option at AFL level.”

Fantasy Perspective: It’s taken a bit longer than he would’ve liked, but finally Liam Ryan has made it onto an AFL list. The 21-year-old is one of the most talented small forwards in the country and last year, was the WAFL’s leading goal-kicker. Last year his WAFL fantasy average reached 75 points, largely due to his average of 3.1 goals per game. He won’t be doing that at the highest level,  however Ryan will slot straight into the Eagles side.

Pick 27 – GWS – Brent Daniels

Bendigo Pioneers – Victoria Country – General Forward / Inside Midfielder – 171cm – 70kg

“Clever small forward who reads the ball exceptionally well off hands and is a good distributor by hand and foot. Courageous and with clean hands, performed well for Vic Country across the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Also impressed at Draft Combine with his 2.95 seconds for 20m and 8.11 seconds in AFL agility run, both in the top bracket.”

Fantasy Perspective: Brent Daniel’s averaged 20.6 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.3 tackles, 1.9 goals and 85 points per game for the Pioneers and Victoria Country. He has played as a small forward and inside midfielder, using his speed and agility. Despite smaller players becoming more and more ‘accepted’, I am still of the belief that his frame is just too small for a midfield role. As a forward though, he could thrive for the Giants, replacing the departed Devon Smith. Definitely fantasy relevant next year.

Pick 28 – GWS – Sam Taylor

Swan Districts – Western Australia – Key Defender – 196cm – 87kg

“Graduate of the NAB AFL Academy, who is a tall defender, strong overhead and very composed when under pressure. Uses the ball well when setting up play from defence and is team-oriented. Had a fantastic NAB AFL U18 Championships for Western Australia, winning All Australian honours.”

Fantasy Perspective: Taylor is a lock-down key defender who worked well in tandem with the more intercept-orientated Aaron Naughton for WA. He managed to play a handful of WAFL league games for Swan Districts which suggests he is already well developed physically. Averaged 65 fantasy points from 14 disposals, 5 marks and 3.6 tackles. Will be behind the likes of Davis, Tomlinson and Corr but is ready if required.

Pick 29 – Melbourne – Charlie Spargo

Murray Bushrangers – GWS Academy – Inside Midfielder / General Forward – 172cm – 70kg

“Graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a small forward/inside midfielder and real playmaker in the mould of Brent Harvey. Only played in one game for the Allies in the NAB AFL U18 Championships before a shoulder injury curtailed his season. Was formerly a member of the Greater Western Sydney academy zone before it was realigned and he became part of the open pool.”

Fantasy Perspective: There’s a lot to love about Charlie Spargo’s game. Unfortunately we didn’t see enough of it this year as injury struck. Despite his size, Charlie’s dedication, on-field aggression and football smarts make him one guy I’d back in to succeed at AFL-level. I like him more as a midfielder but would start as a small forward. Scored 83 points in his lone Under-18 Championships game. Adds much needed speed to the Dees midfield.

Pick 30 – Carlton – Tom De Koning

Dandenong Stingrays – Victoria Country – Ruckman / Key Forward – 200cm – 90kg

“A graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a developing ruckman or tall forward. Uses his athletic ability and reach to be a dangerous marking target up forward. A left-footer, he is a reliable set shot for goal and is rapidly improving his ruck craft. Represented Vic Country in the NAB AFL U18 Championships.”

Fantasy Perspective: De Koning is another key position player who will need time. He’ll spend the year at Carlton’s affiliate side the Northern Blues, developing his contested marking. There he can be utilised down back, up forward and through the ruck. Averaged 10 disposals, 3.1 marks, 2.4 tackles, 14.2 hit-outs, 1.1 goals and 65 fantasy points last season.

Pick 31 – Melbourne – Bayley Fritsch

Casey Demons – VFL – General Forward – 186cm – 74kg

”A small forward with excellent aerial ability and unteachable goal-sense, Fritsch was excellent throughout the VFL season with the Casey Demons, winning the VFL best young player award. He is not particularly quick for a small forward but his foot skills are excellent.”

Fantasy Perspective: The 21 year-old Fritsch is still skinny and will have to add kg’s to his frame before the Dees unleash him. However he added 10kg’s last year and is . Kicked 44 goals in 19 matches for the Demons last year, proving his all-important ability to hit the scoreboard. His prowess in the air is elite and will provide Melbourne with an option up forward in about a couple of seasons time. Wouldn’t have though he’d be all that fantasy relevant in 2018 though.

Pick 32 – West Coast – Brayden Ainsworth

Subiaco – Western Australia – Balanced Midfielder – 184cm – 79kg

“Hard-working and prolific ball-winning medium midfielder who uses the ball extremely well on his preferred left side. An excellent performer for Western Australia in the NAB AFL U18 Championships providing consistent drive from the midfield, winning U18 All Australian honours.”

Fantasy Perspective: Ainsworth is one for the watchlist. Playing 23 games, Brayden averaged 22.8 disposals, 4.6 marks, 3.8 tackles, 0.6 goals and 91 fantasy points. Spent time in the WAFL colts and reserves for Subiaco. He’ll fit in nicely at the Eagles where he will probably play some senior football next year.

Pick 33 – Sydney – Tom McCartin

Geelong Falcons – Victoria Country – Key Forward – 193cm – 84kg

“Strong-marking and mobile tall forward who missed his bottom-aged year because of injury. Has been promising for the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup, also having a taste of the NAB AFL U18 Championships, playing three matches for Vic Country. Brother to Paddy at St Kilda, showed his impressive athletic traits at the Combine when he recorded an 88cm running vertical jump and finished highly in the Yo-Yo test as well (level 21.5).”

Fantasy Perspective: McCartin is an extremely athletic key forward whose endurance allows him to get up the ground, rather than staying in the forward 50. This trait is handy in terms of fantasy. However for a key forward, he only managed an average of 0.3 goals per game for the Falcons and Victoria Country. He managed an average of 9.1 disposals, 4.4 marks, 1.8 tackles and 46 fantasy points. Will add to Sydney’s tall forward depth.

Pick 34 – Father/Son Bid – Richmond – Patrick Naish

Northern Knights – Victoria Metro – Richmond F/S – Outside Midfielder / General Forward – 181cm – 69kg

“Graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a clever and creative midfielder with a good burst of speed and an innate ability around the goals. A good decision-maker and user of the football by hand and foot, and a neat step through traffic. Impressed throughout the NAB AFL U18 Championships for Vic Metro winning All Australian U18 honours. Naish is the son of former Tigers forward Chris Naish and Richmond nominated him under the father-son rules”

Fantasy Perspective: Not a bad time for Patty Naish to join the Tigers. However he won’t be featuring often, if at all, next year. He is still very skinny and there are a few others well ahead of him at this stage. Averaged a healthy 83 fantasy points which suggests he has fantasy potential. Averaged 20 disposals, 4.4 marks, 2.9 tackles and just over a goal a game for the Knights and Victoria Metro.

Pick 35 – St.Kilda – Oscar Clavarino

Dandenong Stingrays – Victoria Country – Key Defender – 196cm – 85kg

“A graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who is a tall defender with excellent closing speed and strong hands overhead. Accountable and a strong performer in one-on-one contests, he uses the ball well, setting up his team from defence. An impressive NAB AFL U18 Championships performance earned him All Australian honours.”

Fantasy Perspective: Clavarino’s stocks have dropped since the start of the year, but he remains a solid defensive prospect. His speed and strength are areas of improvement. Will join Stingrays teammate Hunter Clark and provide the Saints with all-important key position depth. May be called upon for a debut later in the year.

Pick 36 – Geelong – Charlie Constable

Sandringham Dragons – Victoria Metro – Inside Midfielder / General Defender – 191cm – 86kg

“Versatile tall midfielder who can go back or forward and wins contested football on the inside. Distributes the ball well, particularly by hand, and is strong in one-on-one contests. Had a very consistent NAB AFL U18 Championships for Vic Metro winning All Australian honours after averaging 26 disposals in the carnival.”

Fantasy Perspective: Charlie Constable is much better than pick 36 suggests. His versatility will give the Cats the option to play him almost anywhere. Yet another who has a bigger frame, allowing him to feature prominently next season. His kick:handball ratio isn’t great for fantasy (average of 8.9 kicks and 14.9 handballs) but, nevertheless, Constable was a productive player, averaging 89 points. Geelong could use him in a variety of positions next year. Definitely one to watch.

Pick 37 – Melbourne – Harrison Petty

Norwood – South Australia – Key Defender – 195cm – 82kg

“Tall defender who is strong overhead and provided strong rebound for South Australia in the NAB AFL U18 Championships. Won the South Australia MVP award as well as U18 All Australian honours.”

Fantasy Perspective: Petty has come from the clouds to be one of the draft pool’s best key defenders. His intercept marking and foot skills, combined with a lack of strength just yet, could allow him to start off as a third-tall defender. Numbers (15.7 disposals, 7.2 marks, 2.6 tackles and 74 points) were good for a key position player. Could allow Tom McDonald to spend more time up forward.

Pick 38 – West Coast – Jack Petruccelle

Northern Knights – Victoria Metro – Inside Midfielder / General Defender – 185cm – 78kg

“Versatile-sized player with elite speed and vertical jump who is relatively new to the game, being from a basketball background. Impressed at TAC Cup level this year and played in a variety of roles, showing his flexibility, for Vic Metro in this year’s NAB AFL U18 Championships. His 2.87 seconds for 20m at the Draft Combine confirmed his outstanding speed and was ranked No.1 overall.”

Fantasy Perspective: Petruccelle has pace, real pace. His leap, overhead marking and ability to win the contested ball make him a lucrative selection for the Eagles.  Jack’s foot skills and endurance needs improvement which will restrict him next year. Could still play some games though. Production was relatively low for an inside midfielder, averaging 12.4 disposals, 2.7 marks, 3.3 tackles and 57 points.

 

*Each players statistics have been compiled from different leagues around the country and combined to produce the players overall average stats. Average fantasy points do not take into account free kicks or behinds.

8 Comments

  • Im a big Rayner fan dont get me wrong but I think Davies Uniacke is the best player in the draft, the smooth moving of bontempelli but is more of a bull then bontempelli was. Id say it will be a bontempelli vs petracca comparison and im taking bont (LDU)

  • The brother of Angus, although he wasn’t taken as high, could well end up becoming the better player.

    Last time I checked I thought Angus went 3 ?

  • Super hyped to have some viable Geelong options next year.. all 4 could potentially see game time. Many thanks for all that work !

    ps – you mentioned the bulldogs in the Charlie Constable writeup

  • Fantastic summary, mate. Love your (hard) work.

    LDU seems most likely for Round 1 for me.

    • He’s my tip for the rising star. Think all of the top midfielders (Brayshaw, Cerra, Dow, LDU, Clark) will play lots of games next year.

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