AFL

2016 AFL Draft: Top 30 Pecking Order

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As we approach the state league and TAC Cup finals, the number one draft selection is still wide open and there for the taking. Up to nine players are still in the mix, but the next few weeks of football are likely to narrow down the potential options. The top end of the draft is dominated by midfielders, but club needs and list management decisions throughout October could see some taller prospects rise up the order on Friday November 25. It is going to be a fascinating few months to come.

The list below is an order of how I rank the top 30 prospects of the upcoming draft. It is not a mock draft and I haven’t considered list management needs or the selections any particular club holds. It is based purely on player performance so far and potential.


No.1: Will Brodie (Murray Bushrangers) 189cm, 82kg

Inside Midfielder

23/08/1998

The number one draft selection is as open as it has been for years and Will Brodie has been part of the discussion for more than 12 months now. He is a popular modern big-bodied midfielder who is difficult to move and aggressive. Brodie had a brilliant U18 Championships where he dominated the stoppages and was named All Australian. He recently suffered a shoulder injury while playing for the Murray Bushrangers, but has returned to the field and is ready for a big finish to the season. He is the safest option of the top prospects.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Contested beast.

–       Consistently gets first touch at a stoppage.

–       Competitive.

–       Can rush his kicks.

  

No.2: Hugh McCluggage (North Ballarat Rebels) 185cm, 75kg

Outside/Inside Midfielder

03/03/1998

The classy midfielder has been moving up the rankings all season and is now considered the best player in the pool by some recruiters. He had an outstanding Championships, earning All Australian honours and winning the Vic Country MVP award. Since returning to North Ballarat in the TAC Cup he has lifted to yet another level, averaging 30.7 disposals and kicking 11 goals in only four matches. There is no doubt that he is the form draftee of the 2016 class. There is nothing splitting Brodie and McCluggage for me at this stage.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Capable both inside and outside.

–       Always seems to have time.

–       Has natural goal sense and gets in dangerous positions.

–       Quality user.

No.3: Andrew McGrath (Sandringham Dragons) 179cm, 75kg

Small Defender, Outside/Inside Midfielder

02/06/1998

The versatile speedster is one of my favourite players in the draft. He can impact matches as a rebounding defender or through the middle. In either position he attacks the game, but knows exactly when it is his turn to defend. I can’t remember an underage footballer who has perfected the balance of offense and defence like McGrath has. He was the Vic Metro MVP at the U18 Championships and earned a position on the All Australian team. If I was to nominate one player from this draft that I’m certain will make it at the next level, I’d name McGrath.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Elite kick and decision maker.

–       Oozes leadership.

–       Risk taker.

–       Is he big enough?

No.4: Jack Bowes (Cairns) 187cm, 78kg

Outside/Inside Midfielder

26/01/1998

The smooth moving midfielder has been a terrific representative this season for Queensland and the Allies, winning the Division 2 Harrison Medal and later being named in the All Australian team. Bowes wasn’t as dominant in Division 1 as he was in Division two, but adapted to the higher quality opposition as the competition went on. Gold Coast have first call on the Cairns product as he is part of its academy, but that doesn’t mean he won’t go high in the draft. He has recently represented the Suns at NEAFL level and hasn’t looked out of place against senior bodies.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Clean.

–       Appears to create space in contested situations.

–       Very efficient.

–       Lacks speed.

No.5: Ben Ainsworth (Gippsland Power) 179cm, 74kg

Small Forward, Midfielder

10/02/1998

After a brilliant underage season which saw him named All Australian last year, Ainsworth has found the going a little tougher in 2016 on the back of injuries and suspension. He had brilliant and quiet moments during the Championships, but everyone already knows what he is capable of. Up forward he is a match-winner with an elite marking ability and goal sense like no other. He has played his best football of the year since returning to Gippsland Power, running through the midfield and proving to recruiters that he is more than capable up the ground.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Elite overhead for his size.

–       Possesses x-factor.

–       One touch at ground level and excellent snap shot.

–       Occasionally tries to do it all on his own.

No.6: Timothy English (South Fremantle) 203cm, 86kg

Ruckman, KPP

10/08/1997

Tim English is the real riser of the group after being ineligible to be drafted in 2015. After originally starting as a midfielder, English has had a growth spurt that has seen him become genuine ruckman height at 203cm. Despite his size, English is one of the best ball users in the draft. Since returning to South Fremantle, he has managed to gather high disposal numbers in the colts and at reserves level. He also has the scope to play other positions, whether it be forward or as a tall defender. While I have never seen him play defence, it would be interesting to see how useful his ball use would be behind the ball.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Elite skills for size.

–       Competent tap work.

–       Knows how to find the ball.

–       Very under developed body. 

No.7: Todd Marshall (Murray Bushrangers) 198cm, 89kg

Key Position Forward

08/10/1998

In a draft lacking key position players at the top end, Todd Marshall will be a highly sought prospect come November. The Murray Bushrangers forward was originally part of the GWS Academy, but the AFL denied the Giants priority access and made him available to all clubs. Marshall is arguably the best contested mark in the draft and his athleticism has clubs excited. He is a consistent goal kicker with many tallies of three and four goals, but he is yet to produce a big bag. His scope is enormous though.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Very strong hands overhead.

–       Consistent set shot kick.

–       Excellent below the knees.

–       Can appear lethargic at times.

 

No.8: Harry Perryman (Collingullie) 184cm, 75kg

Outside/Inside Midfielder, Medium Defender

19/12/1998

Harry Perryman is a GWS Academy member who you love more with every game watched. He was dominant for NSW/ACT during the Division 2 Championships, proving he is equally capable at the stoppages and receiving on the outside. For the Allies he further showed his versatility by playing in defence, reading the play consistently better than most of the opposition forwards. He is more a footballer than athlete, but is smart and a hard worker.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Smart footballer.

–       Good user and decision maker.

–       Versatile.

–       Not athletically gifted.

No.9: Sam Petrevski-Seton (Claremont) 181cm, 76kg

Outside/Inside Midfielder, Small Forward

19/02/1998

Before compiling this list, Sam Petrevski-Seton was someone I naturally expected to be higher. The electric midfielder has many eye catching attributes, with his superb skills at the top of the list. He is evasive in traffic and has a habit of getting his hands on the ball when having no real right. He did have a relatively quiet Championships though, which has many wondering whether he gets enough of the pill. To his credit, he has gone back to Claremont’s colts team and found a lot of ball including a 32 disposal effort in Round 18.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Can have an impact inside and outside.

–       Possesses x-factor.

–       Elite skills.

–       Can go missing.

No.10: Jack Scrimshaw (Sandringham Dragons) 193cm, 80kg

Rebounding Defender

04/09/1998

Jack Scrimshaw is that new age tall rebounding defender who can operate at high efficiency levels. While I’m not a big fan of player comparisons and creating unfair expectation, it is difficult to not think of Grant Birchall when watching him play. He was solid during the Championships averaging 16.3 disposals off half-back, but school commitments have limited his TAC Cup exposure. It would be nice to see him have a large impact for Sandringham to finish the year and justify his status.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Very good kick.

–       Creates scoring opportunities from half back.

–       Can he play midfield?

–       Doesn’t play KPD despite being 193cm.

No.11: Harrison Macreadie (Henty) 196cm, 89kg

Key Position Defender

11/04/1998

Like many at the start of the season, I rated Harrison Macreadie a potential top three prospect, but a disappointing 2016 has seen him slide. The key defender still possesses serious AFL attributes, but he hasn’t won the ball nearly as much. Last year we saw him intercepting and moving up the ground, but he has seemingly lost some confidence and is playing mostly lock down roles. Positively, his NEAFL numbers have increased in recent weeks.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Athletic.

–       Reads the ball well in the air.

–       Gets in good positions early.

–       Lacking confidence and form.

No.12: Patrick Kerr (Oakleigh Chargers) 194cm, 93kg

Key Position Forward

31/07/1998

Patrick Kerr is a player I’ve rated highly since his first game for Oakleigh in 2015 against the Falcons, kicking four goals in an eye catching display. Kerr announced himself during the National Championships though, kicking nine goals and averaging 2.3 contested marks in three games. It earned him an All Australian gong and a higher public profile. There are concerns about his athleticism, but he is quicker than given credit. He has mainly played school football this season, kicking a stack of goals.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Very strong overhead mark.

–       Leads hard and is deceivingly quick.

–       Can he play other positions?

–       Is prone to set shot yips despite being a generally good kick.

No.13: Jacob Allison (Aspley) 194cm, 79kg

Utility

16/04/1998

The Brisbane Lions Academy prospect is a player who has dropped down many scout lists after a poor 2016, but I’m finding it difficult to forget his brilliant All Australian underage season. His greatest asset is his thumping right boot, which can cover 60 metres with minimal effort. He is strong overhead and can play many positions, but it just hasn’t come together this year. He has shown promising signs in recent times for the Lions NEAFL side, averaging 16 disposals over the last three games. Brisbane won’t want Allison going too well, as at this stage he is looking a bargain selection and is unlikely to be this high come draft day.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Elite long kick.

–       Has shown promising stoppage skills.

–       What is his best position?

–       Lacking form and confidence.

No.14: Tim Taranto (Sandringham Dragons) 186cm, 82kg

Medium Forward, Midfielder

28/01/1998

Tim Taranto is the player who has bolted up the charts on the back of his Championships form. Taranto averaged 18.8 disposals and kicked four goals on his way to earning All Australian honours. He generally started forward before becoming one of Vic Metro’s vital midfield rotations. He is smart up forward in creating opportunities for others, while in the midfield his agility and bigger body make him dangerous at the stoppages. He has a long list of skill sets, which gives him a greater opportunity to make it at AFL level.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Does a lot of things well.

–       Minimal weaknesses.

–       Strong, but possesses athleticism.

–       Doesn’t have any particularly outstanding assets.

No.15: Josh Rotham (West Perth) 192cm, 79kg

Rebounding Defender

25/02/1998

There has been plenty of noise coming from Western Australia regarding the prospects of Josh Rotham and while he still hasn’t reached his ceiling, there has certainly been enough to take notice. Rotham has played KPD, loose man and even on the wing at stages. His intercept marking is an obvious highlight, while his athleticism and pace is exciting. He’s averaged 21.7 disposals at colts level and was recently promoted to West Perth’s reserves for two matches against senior bodies.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Reads the ball brilliantly in the air.

–       Athletic and exciting.

–       Takes the game on.

–       Looks exposed when playing tall in defence.

No.16: Daniel Venables (Western Jets) 186cm, 81kg

Medium Forward, Inside Midfielder

19/11/1998

Daniel Venables was one of the most hyped players coming into the Championships, but he hasn’t quite been able to justify it on the field. A couple of early three-goal efforts for the Western Jets got us all excited, but 12.5 disposals per game and six goals in four Vic Metro outings was slightly underwhelming. They were solid numbers, but left us wanting more. In saying that, his explosive and powerful attributes are likely to see him drafted in the first round alone, not to mention a knack of getting involved when the match needs to be won.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Explosive and powerful.

–       Strong at the stoppages and can create space.

–       Difficult match up forward.

–       Inconsistent and needs to win more of the ball.

 

No.17: Will Setterfield (Sandringham Dragons) 190cm, 80kg

Inside Midfielder

05/02/1998

The tall inside midfielder is difficult to judge after a season interrupted by injury. He struggled with a foot complaint during the National Championships and wasn’t able to produce his best football. He has shown enough to suggest he’ll be selected high in the draft. Setterfield is hard to miss around the stoppages at 190cm and can produce high clearance numbers. His form for Sandringham will be assessed closely during the TAC Cup finals and if he impresses, we could see him bolt up the list. Another player tied to GWS.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Calm and composed in congestion.

–       Good foot skills on the outside.

–       Has a frame that can fill out.

–       Yet to see a complete performance.

No.18: Griffin Logue (Swan Districts) 193cm, 92kg

Key Position Defender

13/04/1998

Griffin Logue is a lock down defender who impressed me during the National Championships for Western Australia. He isn’t a big ball winner, but intercepts when he needs to and rarely gets beaten. He has consistently played league football for Swan Districts in the WAFL and has adapted well against senior bodies. He has a rowing background and already possesses a relatively mature body. Unlucky not to be All Australian despite his low disposal tallies.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Rarely beaten one on one.

–       Reads the ball early in the air.

–       Efficient user of the ball.

–       How much scope does he have?

No.19: Brad Scheer (Palm Beach Currumbin) 184cm, 83kg

Inside Midfielder

31/08/1998

The Gold Coast Academy member is a contested bull and has had a fantastic 2016 season. He averaged 24.6 disposals and 15.6 contested possessions during the Division 2 Championships and backed that up with an average of 16 disposals for the Allies. He doesn’t have the most natural kicking action, but his disposal efficiency is always respectable despite the contested nature of his touches. A clutch check-side goal to win the game for the Allies against Vic Country proved he is capable of lifting during big moments.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Strong and hard to move at the stoppages.

–       Aggressive.

–       Defensively competent.

–       How much improvement does he have?

No.20: Kobe Mutch (Bendigo Pioneers) 184cm, 79kg

Outside/Inside Midfielder

18/03/1998

Koby Mutch has had a massive 2016, racking up big numbers for all of NSW/ACT, the Allies and Bendigo. His large disposal tallies were too difficult to ignore during the Championships, earning him an All Australian position on the bench. He goes about his business with minimal fuss and on occasions, it is surprising to see just how much of the ball he has collected. He is equally effective on the inside and outside, but perhaps doesn’t have enough of an impact with his possessions. Another highly rated GWS Academy member.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Prolific ball winner.

–       Runs hard on the spread.

–       Likes to tackle.

–       Lacks impact.

No.21: Jarrod Berry (North Ballarat Rebels) 191cm, 80kg

Utility

05/02/1998

Another player I expected to be higher on first thoughts. Jarrod Berry was an All Australian last year as an underage player, but hasn’t been able to reach those heights due to an injury interrupted 2016. He has recently returned to North Ballarat and kicked six goals in two games forward, proving that he is one of the most flexible players available. He is strong overhead, can play behind the ball or push through the midfield. At 191cm, Berry is a difficult match up wherever he lines up.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Could play multiple positions at AFL level.

–       Strong overhead.

–       Natural leader.

–       What is his best position?

No.22: Jonty Scharenberg (Glenelg) 186cm, 80kg

Inside Midfielder

28/08/1998

Jonty is the younger brother of the injury ravaged Matt at Collingwood, but is a much different footballer. The South Australian is an inside midfielder who is capable of racking up big numbers. He didn’t play a bad game at the Championships, averaging 24 disposals, 10 contested possessions and 5.5 clearances. The All Australian has since gone on to earn a position in Glenelg’s league team and is slowly building his form each week.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Elite stoppage performer.

–       Looks to win the ball and restrict his opponent.

–       Competitive.

–       Doesn’t possess great speed.

No.23: Jy Simpkin (Murray Bushrangers) 182cm, 72kg

Small-Medium Forward, Midfielder

05/03/1998

If not for a season ending broken leg, Simpkin would be ranked a lot higher you suspect. He had a great underage Championships during the successful 2015 Vic Country, the highlight being a match winning goal against Vic Metro. He started 2016 in outstanding fashion for the Murray Bushrangers kicking four goals and gathering 18 disposals, before suffering that nasty injury in a school game. He possesses x-factor and could be a bargain on draft day.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Goal sneak.

–       Match winner.

–       Clean skills.

–       Can he play midfield?

No.24: Sam Walker (Glenelg) 187cm, 80kg

Rebounding Defender

16/03/1998

The underrated performer of South Australia’s National Championships campaign. He is one of those players who can fly under the radar, but wasn’t missed by the All Australian selection panel. He had a brilliant Championships in defence, averaging 14.5 disposals and operated at an impressive 86%. He can rebound, intercept, collect big numbers and do a small or tall defensive job. He is one I’m confident can make the transition to AFL level.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Elite ball user.

–       Reads the play before his opponents and strong overhead.

–       Composed.

–       Does he lack pace? 

No.25: Josh Battle (Dandenong Stingrays) 192cm, 90kg

Key Position Forward

01/09/1998

Josh Battle has had an outstanding 2016, highlighted by 11 goals for Vic Country and earning All Australian selection. The Doveton product has played as a key position forward, but is likely to be used at AFL level in the same vein as Jack Darling, Tim Membrey and Shane Kersten. He is a great kick and mark, while has the endurance base of a midfielder. He is a smart player too, so it makes you wonder whether he is capable of running through the centre.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Great mark and kick.

–       Smart.

–       Competitive.

–       Shorter than the modern day KPF.

No.26: Joe Atley (Bendigo Pioneers) 186cm, 84kg

Inside Midfielder

04/08/1998

Joe is the brother of Shaun Atley at North Melbourne, but if you are thinking he will be an extremely quick outside type, you’ll be surprised. The Bendigo Pioneer captain is a contested player who thrives at the stoppages. He averaged 20.3 disposals, 8.3 contested possessions and 4.3 clearances from three games at the National Championships for Vic Country. He has since played some VFL football for Geelong and didn’t look out of place, kicking two goals in one game.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Strong at the contests.

–       Hard and aggressive at the ball.

–       Capable overhead.

–       Can be a bit messy by foot.

No.27: Jordan Gallucci (Eastern Ranges) 183cm, 75kg

Outside/Inside Midfielder

04/05/1998

Jordan Gallucci has been a highly rated prospect for quite some time now. He was named an All Australian at the Championships and averaged 15 disposals over his four games. Since returning to the Eastern Rangers, Gallucci has kicked a bag of five goals and gathered high possession totals. He is mostly seen as an outside footballer, but is more than capable on the inside and sometimes combines both by exploding from a stoppage. No.27 seems low on first impressions, but is a good indication that this draft runs deep.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Game breaker.

–       Has minimal weaknesses.

–       Goal sense.

–       Finishing on the outside can be inconsistent.

No.28: Alex Witherden (Geelong Falcons) 186cm, 80kg

Rebounding Defender

10/09/1998

Alex Witherden is one of the mysteries of the draft after breaking his leg earlier in the year. He could easily be ranked higher than this by clubs, but is difficult to judge with no exposed form. The rebounding defender is an excellent decision maker and ball user. He has a penetrating kick and can make fast decisions that ensures his team is in the best possible position. It will be interesting to see where he falls on draft day.

Match Day Impressions:

 –       Penetrating kick.

–       Outstanding vision.

–       Starts dangerous scoring chains.

–       Not overly fast.

No.29: Alex Villis (Norwood) 182cm, 70kg

Outside Midfielder

20/08/1998

Alex Villis is another South Australian who is underrated and named All Australian. The smooth moving midfielder is currently very outside, but he can afford to be as he is very good at it. He averaged just more than 15 disposals during the National Championships, playing mostly wing or behind the ball. His decision making is a highlight and teammates are always keen to get the ball in his hands. Earned a spot in Norwood’s league team recently, but unfortunately got injured during the game. He will get another chance.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Great decision maker.

–       Clever.

–       Dual sided.

–       Needs to be stronger in contested situations.

No.30: Jordan Ridley (Oakleigh Chargers) 192cm, 79kg

Utility

20/10/1998

This is a bit of a smoky selection. Jordan Ridley isn’t seen as a potential top 30 selection as yet, but he has AFL attributes that could see him bolt with a good TAC Cup finals series. Ridley can play forward and back, but it is his work at the stoppages in recent times that has me excited. He is an imposing figure at 192cm in a contested ground situation and has been getting first hands on the ball. He is strong overhead and exposes smaller opponents when running through the midfield. The tools are there to become that tall prototype midfielder and a great finish to the season is sure to see him rise.

Match Day Impressions:

–       Flexible.

–       Strong overhead.

–       Possesses many AFL attributes.

–       Yet to produce a breakout midfield game.

 

On the Cusp:

Josh Williams (Surfers Paradise) 189cm, 69kg

Zachary Sproule (Murray Bushrangers) 197cm, 84kg

Oliver Florent (Sandringham Dragons) 183cm, 74kg

Jack Graham (North Adelaide) 183cm, 83kg

Dylan Clarke (Eastern Ranges) 187cm, 85kg

Sam Powell-Pepper (East Perth) 186cm, 83kg

 

Like what you’ve read? Follow the author at @buddadharma230.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Alex

    August 24, 2016 at 10:34 am

    This was a great read, just wondering how many matches you attended when forming these rankings. Cheers!

  2. Nathan

    August 18, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Excellent work Craig. Great read. On a side not. Do you know if there’s a place you can take a look at TAC fantasy scores of this year or previous years. Would be handy for keeper leagues.

    • Matt Palf

      Matt Palf

      August 26, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Hey Nathan, sorry for the delayed response. All of the TAC Cup stats, including AFL Fantasy averages, are available on our site on the “AFL > Draft HQ” dropdown menus at the top of the page.

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