With the AFL season over, it’s time to start looking forward to the AFL Draft in November – and that means it’s Phantom Draft time! Over the course of the next seven weeks, Footy Prophet’s Nicholas Coggins will be providing his opinions on where each player will fall on the big night. With the Draft combine underway, and the Trade window just around the corner, there is plenty of time for the draft order to undergo dramatic changes, however, so make sure you check back for updates. Here’s Nicholas’ complete look at the first two rounds.
McCluggage has all the attributes of a future star, and if the Bombers keep pick one, he’ll be on his way to Windy Hill. A balanced midfielder with incredible goal sense, he has excelled in the second half of the year. He still has plenty of development to go physically before he hits his peak at AFL level, but he should slot comfortably into their 2017 side on a wing. Full Profile
(Following Brisbane Bid) I’d imagine Brisbane will bid on Bowes here. Easily a top 5 prospect and due to him being a Queensland boy, there won’t be a go home factor with him. Bowes is one of the best midfielders in this year’s draft – cool, calm and a great user of the footy. With a big hole in the Suns’ centre – expect him to be playing senior footy early. The Suns use Pick 4
McGrath is a number one contender, so he surely won’t slip past the Lions. He has great versatility and is a very well balanced player. An elite quality rebounding defender, with the scope for development in the centre, McGrath also has future captain written all over him. The only thing the Lions would worry about is the go home factor, although, McGrath is a very mature player, and with the changing of the winds at Brisbane, he could possibly be a long term prospect for the Lions. Full Profile
English is a classic ‘late-bloomer’. An over-age player this year, he developed his football ability as a midfielder before a growth spurt led to him changing roles – and you can easily tell with his agility and overall work around the ground. His ruckwork is of a high standard already and still has development, while he is also one of the best kicks in the entire draft. With a year left on Sandi and little else in reserve, it would make sense for Freo to take the plunge. Full Profile
Big-bodied, contested beast who is consistent in terms of numbers and his attack on the football. He will constantly use his size to impact the contest and win the hardball for his team. He’s definitely AFL ready and would be exactly the kind of player the Blues need in the centre. Don’t be surprised if we see him picked earlier though, he’s built a fantastic portfolio of performances throughout the last two years. Full Profile
Ainsworth is a unique prospect – combining his small size with great agility and contested marking ability, he’s a very hard player to match up on. Throughout the year, Ainsworth has moved more into the midfield with great success, racking up some good numbers for Gippsland power at the back end of the TAC Cup season. Another who has been considered a number one pick – an easy win for the Tiges at 6. Full Profile
Sam has some very interesting attributes which should interest the Giants. He has great kicking on both sides of his body and due to his speed, he creates good time and space. A ferocious tackler, he could slot easily in as a high half-forward and should fill the void left by Steve Johnson when he leaves the Giants in the next couple years.
(Following Gold Coast Bid) Setterfield is a class act. Balanced, agile for his size and good below his knees and overhead. I would see it as highly unlikely that clubs would let him slip much further, and he would be a great fit for the Suns. There is no way that GWS would let him go, however. GWS use pick 15 and 16. Pick 16 slides to 20.
Although the Suns will miss out on Setterfield, Taranto would hardly be much of a consolation. Bolting very high up many recruiters draft boards due to his fantastic finals campaign with Sandringham, Taranto could be one of the steals of the top ten. He has the ability to play inside/outside in the midfield and play up forward and hit the scoreboard; and spending time around Gary Ablett could only lead to greater things. Full Profile
( Following Port Adelaide Bid) Perryman is a complete player. More a footballer than an athlete but that’s no problem when you kick and handball like how he does. Perryman is just a well-rounded footy player although his weakness when at AFL level will be his speed and acceleration out from stoppages. A perfect fit in Port’s ‘refresh’ but GWS will match it. GWS use pick 20 and 32. Pick 32 slides to 43
11: Port Adelaide
Jack Scrimshaw | Def|Sandringham Dragons | 193 cm, 80 kg
Scrimma! Have loved watching this guy over the course of the year. He has fantastic attack on the footy and always looks to move the ball forward. He’s quick, very agile in traffic for his size and has a big left boot. While Perryman might be a solid ready to go midfield type, Scrimshaw has the potential to become a major talent in the centre. Full Profile
12: St Kilda
Oliver Florent | Mid |Sandringham Dragons | 183 cm, 84 kg
During the season my favourite player has been Tim English but now it’s Mr Florent. He’s silky smooth, and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, along with phenomenal kicking. His last month of footy has been nothing short of superb, as his consistency has rocketed. The Saints have some very good young players, and Florent will slot in very nicely to their building side. Full Profile
13: North Melbourne
Todd Marshall | Key Fwd | Murray Bushrangers | 198 cm, 87 kg
Personally, I’m not as big on Todd Marshall as others although I still see why clubs and recruiters are liking him. He has fantastic endurance and agility for his size which allows him to also follow up with second efforts and ground ball gets very efficiently. His value comes mainly due to the lack of other key position talent this year, and as such he is sure to go first round. With Petrie moving on North may well roll the dice.
14: West Coast
Patrick Kerr | Key Fwd | Oakleigh Chargers | 194 cm, 84 kg
I like what I’ve seen from Kerr, but at 194cm he is on the smaller side as far as key position players go. He leads well, his very good overhead and is deceptively quick for his size. He’s also a very good kick for goal, although he can be very inconsistent. At this stage, I could definitely see him as a very effective third tall developing alongside Kennedy and Darling. Full Profile
Griffin Logue | Key Def | Swan Districts | 193 cm, 92 kg
This year we’ve basically seen Logue in many positions on the field – ruck, key defence, forward and midfield and he has done well in basically every position he’s played. I think for the Crows though, he will be a long-term third tall defender due to his great read on the ball in the air and ferocious tackling ability.
Shai Bolton | Mid / Fwd | South Fremantle | 177 cm, 67 kg
Bolton may be what the Hawks need to replace the soon-departing Brad Hill. It will be interesting to see how he does at the combine as I think he’s one of the most explosive players in this year’s draft. His kicking has certainly been an issue in the past but it appears to have improved no end over the course of the year. Bolton is also not from Perth and hasn’t been developed as much as a footballer so there may be a lot of raw potential for Alastair Clarkson and the Hawthorn staff.
Jarrod Berry | Def | North Ballarat | 191 cm, 80 kg
Is this guy made of glass or just too courageous for his own good? I’d go with too courageous and with his excellent leadership skills, it could make him a future captain of an AFL club. His dash and drive out of defense will likely appeal to the Swans. Hopefully, he stays off the injury list so we can see him unlock his potential.
18: Western Bulldogs
Jy Simpkin | Fwd | Murray Bushrangers | 181 cm, 73 kg
Touted as a top 5 pick at the start of the season, Simpkin suffered a broken leg and only played one game for the season. His draft range is still fairly unknown due to his injury although I think he will still sit within the first 20 picks. We should get a better grasp on his range as reports are he will be attending the NAB AFL combine.
19: Brisbane (Priority Pick)
Jordan Gallucci | Mid |Eastern Ranges | 183 cm, 75 kg
One of the standout talents heading into the season, Gallucci has not progressed as much as some of the others in this year’s crop causing him to slip. He is a quality outside player, but his inconsistent kicking can let him down. With Hanley likely to leave, he will give the Lions good run off half-back or a wing. He’s also showed in the back end of the season his ability to play multiple positions and have an impact with every possession.
Josh Battle | Tall Fwd | Dandenong Stingrays | 192 cm, 90 kg
He’s not exactly that “tall support” that Essendon fans are crying out for Daniher, although he has a great set shot technique and is a very good lead up forward. He also already has connections with Essendon as he was coached by Matthew Lloyd. Already well developed, look for Battle not to take as long as the other tall forwards in this year’s draft to hit the AFL scene, and with his pace and agility, a role further up the ground is not out of the question in the future.
21: Gold Coast ( Following Brisbane Bid)
Brad Scheer | Mid| Gold Coast Academy | 184 cm, 83 kg
Just as with Bowes, it would make sense for the Lions to try and prise away a Queenslander. With the Suns in dire need for midfield power, however, matching the bid is a no brainer. In my opinion, along with Bowes, the Suns should be able to build their midfield for the next 10 years off this year’s draft. Gold Coast use pick 22
Daniel Venables | Mid / Fwd | Western Jets | 186 cm, 81 kg
Venables is rated as a top 10 prospect by some people , and despite an injury affected season, I don’t have the same feelings about him. He has power, speed and grunt but he doesn’t get enough of the ball for me. He still could turn into a gun if he works on consistency throughout games and throughout the season though.
23: Gold Coast
Josh Rotham | Def | West Perth | 192 cm, 79 kg
This guy has loads of potential, even though he probably didn’t show a lot of new things throughout this year. Rotham is very athletic for his size and eventually will probably play off a wing or in the midfield. He also uses his size to make an impact in the air.
Alex Witherden | Def| Geelong Falcons | 186 cm, 77 kg
Witherden was a very highly rated player going into the year but failed to play a game due to a broken leg. A rebounding defender, Witherden should be able to learn off Simpson and Docherty early on, but definitely looks a likely type to eventually move into the midfield. He distributes the ball very well in the ‘quarterback’ role, and could turn out to be a steal if he slips this far.
25: GWS (Following Gold Coast Bid)
Kobe Mutch | Mid | Bendigo Pioneers | 184 cm, 79 kg
Kobe has a great asset to his game which is the ability to constantly find the ball and rack up a lot of disposals per game. Mutch averaged 24 touches in the U18 champs which was the 4th best average throughout the championships. Throughout 2016 he improved his inside ability to go with his outside game although he should still improve on his body size. GWS use pick 34 and 43. Pick 43 slides to 49
26: Gold Coast
Sam Powell-Pepper | Mid | East Perth | 186 cm, 83 kg
An absolute bull of a player, Powell-Pepper has the body to play AFL footy immediately – exactly what the Suns need. He’s had a taste of senior football in the WAFL this year already, playing five games for Eagles affiliate East Perth – including their elimination final loss. He returned to his own age group to play in the Colts final and dominated with 22 touches and four goals. West Coast will no doubt have been watching closely, and would have hoped to see him slide.
Jordan Ridley | Def | Oakleigh Chargers | 192 cm, 79 kg
Versatility and athleticism are a great mix for AFL clubs – and Ridley has both in spades. It allows clubs the flexibility to train players into a position they want to fill. I’d personally like to see Ridley at half-back and the wing where he’s able to show his foot skills and reading of the play to really set his team into attack. Could be anything. Full Profile
Jonty Scharenberg | Mid | Glenelg | 186 cm, 80 kg
The first South Australian in my phantom draft! The Glenelg boy is the brother of Collingwood’s Matt, but is a very different player – playing a far more inside role. Jonty, at 8cm shorter, is a big contested ball-winner and will be a great addition to the Melbourne Football club, giving them some inside grunt with the ability to feed the ball out of stoppages very quickly.
29: Gold Coast
Cedric Cox | Def / Mid | North Ballarat Rebels | 184 cm, 70 kg
It’s all about upside with Cox. He’s a quality ball user off of half-back but there is still plenty of ‘unknown’ about him. It will be definitely interesting to see how he goes in the postseason combine as if he gives some fantastic scores we may see him rocket up the draft boards of recruiters. Watch this space.
Jacob Allison | Utility | Aspley | 194 cm, 79 kg
Might be smart for Brisbane to pick Jacob here as if he’s picked by anyone else around this region, Brisbane might not have enough points to get him. Allison is another player who is extremely versatile. He has the speed to play off half-back or the wing, the goal sense to play half-forward and also has shown talent as an inside midfielder. A blank canvas, and one the Lions will want to keep hold of.
31: GWS (Following North Melbourne bid)
Harrison Macreadie | Def | GWS academy | 196 cm, 84 kg
GWS moved Macreadie to Sydney to give him the chance to play NEAFL football this year, and he did, winning the NEAFL grand final with the Giants. After a standout year in 2015, his 2016 season wasn’t as impressive as he would have liked and it could well see him as a slider on the night. The Giants won’t be complaining, however, as they should easily be able to cover the cost of North’s bid. GWS use picks 49 and 52. Pick 52 slides to 70.
32: North Melbourne
Dylan Clarke | Mid | Eastern Ranges | 187 cm, 85 kg
Why have one when you can have two? Dylan could well join big brother Ryan to be playing at the Kangas at 2017, to join the likes of the Curnows, Crouchs, and Selwoods. Dylan Clarke has phenomenal ball winning ability and has shown it consistently throughout the 2016 season although, unfortunately, he has a significant issue with his kicking which I’m sure every club is aware of.
33: West Coast
Willem Drew | Mid | North Ballarat Rebels | 188 cm, 78 kg
Drew has probably moved on my draft board more than any player this year. He’s rather unproven to many recruiters due to the high quality of midfield talent this year, resulting in him playing a variety of roles at the Under-18 Championships. One thing is for sure is that he leaves absolutely everything out on the ground. Some have him as pushing to be a first round selection, and a strong combine may well see him rise the ranks. The Eagles were found wanting on a number of occasions last year and a ‘100 percenter’ like Drew could be what they need.
Zach Sproule | Key Fwd / Def | Murray Bushrangers | 197 cm, 84 kg
I think Sproule is the first GWS Academy player of the draft that the Giants will miss out on. Having snared the likes of Setterfield, Perryman, Mutch and Macreadie it’s doubtful they will have the points left to secure Sproule. That is not to say he isn’t worth it. Sproule has predominantly played in the defensive 50 this year, but he appears much stronger as a key forward. The Hawks are after a tall forward, and he fits the bill.
Ryan Garthwaite | Def | Murray Bushrangers | 192 cm, 84 kg
Another GWS Academy player that will have slipped through the Giants’ grasp. Garthwaite has impressed this year across half-back , with his reading of the play and rebound particularly noteworthy. There is no doubt that the Cats have room for a player like him on their list and they may well reach for him, knowing that the Giants may not be in a position to match.
Luke Ryan | Def | Coburg (VFL) | 185 cm, 87 kg
There has been plenty of noise this season about Coburg’s Luke Ryan after a stellar year in the VFL. A rebounding half-back who has averaged over 20 disposals per game this season, Ryan has decided to focus on a career in footy after juggling footy and an apprenticeship as a junior. He has impressed plenty of recruiters this year, but Sydney have expressed the most interest and it’s hard not to see them making a move for him.
37: Western Bulldogs
Jack Graham | Mid | North Adelaide | 183 cm, 83 kg
The South Australia captain won the best player award at the Under-18 Championships, but I still put him behind many other midfielders. He seems pretty one dimensional at this stage and there are still better inside midfielders ahead of him. He certainly does his job for his team, however, and with the reigning Premiers already boasting plenty of X-Factor, he could continue to grow alongside them.