It was supposedly meant to be a lean year for West Australian draft prospects in 2017, based upon their experience at the 2015 U16s Championships, where they were belted on average by 81 points in their three games.
However, after dominant performances at this year’s AFL U18 Championships (they finished second overall), 20 West Australians were picked up at the recent AFL National and Rookie Drafts.
And what is even more exciting is that the 2018 West Australian crop is already shaping up to be one of the best, from a WA perspective.
Below are the players who will most likely make a strong impression on recruiters’ minds for the 2018 AFL Draft.
JARROD CAMERON/ SWAN DISTRICTS / HALF FORWARD/182cm/70kg
Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Media
The younger brother of Brisbane’s boom recruit Charlie, Jarrod Cameron has put forward a sensational bottom age season for both Swan Districts and the WA U18s State Academy. In 13 games for Swan Districts, he booted 16 goals and averaged 14 possessions, three marks and three tackles, as he rotated through the midfield and the forward line. His best games for the Swans came against Perth in round 1 (16 possessions, 8 tackles, and 3 marks), South Fremantle in round 17 (16 possessions, 5 tackles, 4 marks, 4 inside 50s and 2 goals) and Peel Thunder in round 19 (10 possessions, 4 tackles, 3 marks and 2 goals). For Western Australia he only played two games, but he showcased a football ability that is eerily similar to his brother’s – he has elite disposal efficiency and applies great pressure acts.
JASON CARTER / CLAREMONT / WING / 183cm /72kg
Photo: Fremantle Football Club
The Fremantle Dockers’ Academy member is a potential top 20 pick for next year’s draft, such is his ability and maturity. He first rose to prominence last year, when playing for the WA U16s State Academy, where he produced dominant outings against Vic Metro (17 possessions), and Vic Country (19 possessions) to earn All-Australian honours. But the most amazing moment he produced came against South Australia when he gathered the ball on the half-back line, before running the length of the field to kick a magical goal. In his debut for the Claremont Colts, against Perth in round 3, he showed glimpses of his class with 11 possessions, four inside 50s, three marks and two behinds, while the following week against East Perth he starred with 16 possessions and three marks. Were it not for the knee injury he suffered before this year’s Championships, Carter may even have stamped himself as a top 10 selection in next year’s Draft.
LUKE ENGLISH / PERTH / MIDFIELD / 179cm /78kg
Photo: West Australian Football Commission
A star in the making, English produced an outstanding season for the Demons that saw him claim the Jack Clarke Medal, the WAFL Colts Coaches Award, the Perth Colts’ Best & Fairest and selection in the WAFL Colts Team of the Year. He led the league in possessions (475) and ranked fourth for tackles (108), drawing comparisons to Adelaide star Matt Crouch. The 2015 WA State Schoolboys’ representative produced several best afield performances, including against West Perth (34 possessions, 8 tackles, 3 inside 50s and 3 goals), Subiaco (25 possessions, 4 inside 50s, 3 tackles and a goal), and Peel Thunder (17 possessions, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s and 3 goals), to be the first player since Jordan Eastwell in 2008 to poll 50+ votes in the Jack Clarke Medal. English has a bright future ahead of him.
IAN HILL/ PERTH / HALF FORWARD / 174cm / 63kg
Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Media
The younger cousin of Fremantle’s Stephen and Brad, Ian Hill is firming as a top five selection in next year’s AFL Draft. In four games for the WA U18s State Academy, he booted three goals and averaged 15 possessions (seven contested), four marks, three tackles and three inside 50s, with his best game coming against Vic Country (25 possessions, seven marks, five inside 50s and three rebounding 50s). He only played four games for Perth in 2017, as he had to juggle football with his school commitments at Wesley College, but he produced starring performances including against Subiaco (26 possessions, seven marks, seven inside 50s and four tackles), and East Fremantle (22 possessions, six tackles, four marks and two inside 50s) to showcase his talent. Last year he won the WA U16s MVP, All-Australian and was inducted into the AFL Academy after brilliant performances against Vic Metro (20 possessions and three goals), and Vic Country (four goals). Like his older cousins, Hill boasts explosive speed and dazzling skills, making him one of the spectacular players to watch out for in next year’s Draft.
TOM JOYCE / EAST FREMANTLE / MIDFIELD /179cm /67kg
Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media
Despite standing only 179cm, Tom Joyce will be one of the hardest footballers in next year’s AFL Draft. At last year’s U16 National Championships, he produced outstanding performances, including against Vic Metro (19 possessions) and Vic Country (22 possessions) to win selection in the AFL Academy. He backed it up in 2017 with starring performances for West Australia against South Australia (21 possessions – 10 contested – four tackles, four clearances and three marks), Vic Metro (23 possessions – 13 contested – five marks, five tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s, and two rebounding 50s), and Vic Country (22 possessions – 10 contested – and five clearances). For WA at the 2017 AFL U18 Championships, he ranked second for contested possessions & inside 50s, third for total possessions and clearances, and fourth for tackles. He also demonstrated that he is a big game performer with a sensational finals series for the East Fremantle Colts , with dominant outings in the First Semi-Final against Claremont (23 possessions, six marks, five tackles and three inside 50s), and was close to best-on-ground in the Sharks’ premiership victory over the Tigers (24 possessions, six marks and three tackles).
DILLON O’REILLY/EAST FREMANTLE/KEY FORWARD/193cm/79kg
Photo: East Fremantle Football Club
The son of former Cat, Blue & Docker Stephen O’Reilly, Dillon is clearly the best key position prospect from WA, for next year’s AFL Draft. As a key forward, he is powerful, commanding, skilful and athletic, and he can also play as a pinch-hitting ruckman. In 2017 he kicked 46 goals from 17 games to take out the WAFL Colts Leading Goalkicker Award, and win selection in the WAFL Colts Team of the Year as the centre half-forward. His best game came against Swan Districts in round 16 when he was best afield with seven goals from 13 possessions and seven marks, and he demonstrated that he is a big game performer with a dominant outing over Claremont in the 2nd Semi-Final with five goals from 10 possessions and four marks. He also made his League debut for East Fremantle in round 22 against Peel where he starred with 11 possessions, five marks, three tackles and a goal. With such performances, there will be high expectations for O’Reilly in 2018.
SYDNEY STACK/PERTH/HALF FORWARD/179cm/68kg
Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media
Stack is one of the most exciting players for next year’s Draft, and it is not hard to see why. In the forward line, Stack often produces moments of magic, whether it be flying for a contested mark, or weaving his way through traffic, or miraculously snapping through a goal. He first burst onto the scene with a strong carnival for WA’s U16s Academy last year, with brilliant performances against Vic Metro (17 possessions and a goal) and Vic Country (three goals), and backed it up again this year. In 11 games for Perth’s Colts team, he booted seven goals and averaged 18 possessions, five tackles and four marks, with his most notable performances coming against West Perth (20 possessions and two goals), South Fremantle (22 possessions and three goals) and Peel Thunder (21 possessions, nine inside 50s, seven tackles and four marks). While for Western Australia, he averaged 10 possessions (five contested), three marks, and three tackles, with his best games coming against Vic Metro (11 possessions – six contested – two clearances and two inside 50s) and the Allies (13 possessions – six contested – three tackles and three inside 50s). He has the arsenal to become a bonafide footballing star.
OTHER – “ELITE TALENT”
• Jarrad Fazioli/Peel Thunder/Small Forward
• Damon Greaves/East Perth/Half-Back
• Joseph Hinder/Swan Districts/Small Forward
• Jake Howes/Peel Thunder/Midfield
• Louis Miller/East Perth/Half-Back
• Luke Moore/South Fremantle/Forward
• Rylie Morgan/Claremont/Midfield
• Xavier Peacock/Subiaco/Ruck
• Regan Spooner/South Fremantle/Utility
• Durak Tucker/Peel Thunder/Half-Back