Picking players in the AFL is subjective. Who do you go for? Traditionally, the first two rounds have the best available talent but what of the 2015 group?
The draft is reasonably shallow this year, but there is still talent if you are willing to look. The northern academies are set for a bumper crop early. South Australia will provide some quality mid draft. A high number of father/son picks will be selected.
There are some real gems if you take a punt. Hard to see any mature age recruits featuring.
1. Aaron Francis – West Adelaide (Forward/Defender 192cm/86kgs)
In a lot of recruiters’ minds the best player in the draft. He is a versatile and highly talented game changer who can play anywhere including the midfield. Has played SANFL football. He has a booming kick and elite disposal. Dominated the U18′s.
2. Jacob Weitering – Dandenong Stingrays (Key Defender 195cm/94kgs)
A ready made defender who is hard to beat in the air or one and one. His foot skills are sublime and rarely wastes it.
3. Darcy Parish – Geelong Falcons (Midfielder 181cm/74kgs)
Can play inside or outside, has brilliant awareness and willingness to take the game on. The best midfielder in the draft by a mile.
4. Josh Schache – Murray Bushrangers (Key Forward 199cm/96kgs)
Has slipped a little since the U18 Championships. A strong left footer that is a fantastic kick for goal and has kicked over 50 goals this year. His fitness is elite and his presence in the forward line is imposing.
5. Eric Hipwood – Aspley/Brisbane Academy (Key Forward/Defender 200cm/82kgs)
This kid’s stocks are rising fast. A good aerialist who is equally good below his knees. He has pace and works hard to get to contests.
Brisbane have a right to match any bid for him.
6. Harley Balic – Sandringham Dragons (Midfielder 186cm/80kgs)
A wrist injury has ruined his season but there’s enough to like about this classy prospect. He can play forward but needs some time to get his fitness level up to AFL standard in the midfield where he loves going for the contested ball, getting in and under packs.
7. Jacob Hopper North Ballarat/GWS Academy (Midfielder 186cm/82kgs)
A genuine contested ball winner who isn’t afraid to play hard, tough football. Has a big upper body and already has a fitness level capable of playing at AFL level.
GWS will either take him or Matthew Kennedy with their first pick unless they can trade up for another first round draft pick to secure both.
8. Callum Mills – North Shore/Sydney Academy (Midfielder 186cm/81kgs)
Has had shin injuries to deal with but has a great football brain and is hard around the packs. Has been an academy member since the age of 13.
Sydney will take him with their first round pick.
9. Harry McKay – Gippsland Power (Key Forward 200cm/88kgs)
A long-term prospect that could be anything. A good mark and kick but will need to bulk up. Has amazing pace for his size. Some are calling him a freak on the field. With some patience he could be the next ‘big thing’.
10. Sam Weideman – Eastern Ranges (Forward 197cm/93kgs)
An ankle injury has destroyed his year but recruiters have him high on their list. He can kick either foot, has great goal sense and can impose himself onto the contest. Has good AFL bloodlines.
11. Rhys Mathieson – Geelong Falcons (Midfielder 185cm/80kgs)
There’s a bit of mongrel in this kid. He is an aggressive contested ball winning animal who is rough around the edges and the kind of player coaches love.
12. Ben Keays – Morningside/Brisbane Academy (Midfielder 186cm/83kgs)
Has superb football awareness and an ability to read the game and put himself in a position where he can get possession, even in a pack. A genuine ball magnet regarded as a natural footballer.
13. Matthew Kennedy – Collingullie/GWS Academy (Midfielder 187cm/83kgs)
Class, class and more class. Elite runner who has poise and composure. He’s a goal kicker and GWS will have to decide between Kennedy or Hopper for their first-round pick.
14. Charlie Curnow – Geelong Falcons (Key Forward 192cm/92kgs)
A special type of player who can play from the goal square, high half forward or wing. He is a ready made third tall forward who is a solid contested mark and can run all day as an inside mid. A dislocated knee hasn’t seen his potential drop. Could go top 10.
15. Ryan Burton – North Adelaide (Forward 192cm/93kgs)
A horrific knee injury last year hasn’t ruined his chances this year. He was originally seen as a top three pick after playing senior football. He is a good lead but will ultimately be a quality midfielder. Has bulked up significantly from last year.
16. Darcy Tucker – North Ballarat Rebels (Half back 184cm/78kgs)
Highly rated left footer who has had a disappointing season after attempting to move into the midfield. Has pace, agility and disposes of the ball well. Has huge upside.
17. Jade Gresham – Northern Knights (Midfielder 177cm/74kgs)
A pocket rocket ball magnet that will need to bulk up. Has a great all-round game. Has poise, agility and gets damaging clearances through the middle of the ground.
18. Kieran Collins – Dandenong Stingrays (Defender 193cm/94kgs)
Played against potential number one pick, Josh Schache and shut him down easily. Is solid and reads the play well. Is AFL ready.
19. Callum Ah Chee – South Fremantle (Half Forward 182ck/72kgs)
Has class stamped all over him. He is lightning fast, agile and has the ability to influence games. Can play in the midfield as well.
20. Ben McKay – Gippsland (Forward/Defender 200cm/91kgs)
Twin brother of Harry, he also needs some time to develop but has switched to the forward line and recruiters are taking notice. Has a good strong pair of hands.
21. Josh Dunkley – Gippsland Power (Utility 190cms/86kgs)
Will the Swans take him as a father/son pick? He has had problems with stress fractures in his back. He can play forward, back or in the mid when required. He can contest well in the air and at ground level and will ultimately settle across half back. He may just put himself in the draft and see where he goes.
22. Clayton Oliver – Murray Bushrangers (Midfielder 188cm/85kgs)
Has played VFL. He has clean hands, a good footy brain and is good around the stoppages. He is an outside runner with a good fitness base.
23. Sam Skinner – Gippsland Power (Key Defender 197cm/97kgs)
Ruptured his ACL in May that will see him drop down the order. He’s a bit of a larrikin who can play forward and in the ruck. Photo bombed on AFL 360.
24. Riley Bonner – West Adelaide (Defender 191cm/80kgs)
Has an elite left foot and can run all day. He puts himself in the right place and can clamp down on forwards with ease.
25. Nick O’Kearney – Calder Cannons (Midfielder 181cm/70kgs)
Hard working outside runner who loves to tackle and uses the ball well. Knows where to go to get the footy and reads the play with ease. Needs to get bigger to compete at the top level.
26. Luke Partington – Norwood (Midfielder 182cm/76kgs)
Has great skills by hand and foot and knows how to get the ball consistently. His defensive side needs work. His form has seen him move up the order.
27. Aidyn Johnson – Bendigo Pioneers (Forward/Midfielder 185cm/75kgs)
Problems with his quad has held him back. Provides a lot of run and drive and has a huge leap. He takes the game on, is agile, athletic and strong for his size.
28. Bailey Rice – Dandenong Stingrays (Midfielder 185cm/81kgs)
Is in the unique position where his father Dean played over 100 games for two clubs, St Kilda and Carlton. A solid contested ball winner who isn’t overly fast and can switch to half back. He’ll go under the father/son rule.
St Kilda want him but he will nominate Carlton as his preferred club.
29. Tom Cole – Bendigo Pioneers (Half back/Midfield 186cm/77kgs)
AFL ready who can dispose of the ball either side with class. Flexible, determined and has a good footy brain. Don’t be surprised if he gets taken in the first round. Hawthorn love him.
30. Will Snelling – West Adelaide (Midfielder 177cms/68kgs)
He may be light but his fitness is elite. He runs both ways, knows how to impact on a game and has played at senior league level. Will need to bulk up significantly to be effective at AFL level.
31. Tom Wilson – Sandringham Dragons (Forward 194cm/69kgs)
Another with a basketball background, he is extremely athletic and is dangerous around the ground and in the air. Needs time put into him with his weight. Long-term prospect.
32. Wayne Milera – Central Districts (Wingman 185cm/75kgs)
Has silky skills and is a genuine speedy wingman. Has played SANFL. Has pace, agility and can read the play. Needs to work on his consistency. Has dropped down the order.
33. Wylie Buzza – Redland/Brisbane academy (Forward 198cm/97kgs)
This kid has instant cult figure status. Crowds will be going BZZZZZZZ every time he’s around the ball. He’s big, strong and has good hands. A genuine match-winner in the making.
34. Daniel Rioli – North Ballarat Rebels (Half Forward/Half Back 180cm/66kgs)
Cyril’s cousin is a beauty! But he’s very raw. He can play attacking half forward or sweep from the half back line. A genuinely smart footballer who can turn a game on its head.
35. Greg Clark – Subiaco (Midfielder 193cm/82kgs)
Captain of the Western Australia U18′s is part of the new breed of midfielder. Tall, pacy and agile. Has been working hard on his defensive play and will need to add bulk to play at the highest level.
36. Dylan Smith – Swan Districts (Key Forward 198cm/82kgs)
Athletic, speedy, hard running and a nice pair of hands. Again a player who needs time in the gym.
37. Tim Sullivan – Glenelg (Ruckman 200cm/91kgs)
A genuine Ruckman/Forward who came to recruiters’ attention years ago. Has had a knee reconstruction but he could be a handy player in years to come. Definitely needs time. A project player who could be the biggest hidden gem in the draft.
38. Liam Jeffs – Eastern Ranges (Midfielder 193cm/80kgs)
Has been spending a lot of time training with North Melbourne. Is an inside mid who likes to drift down and present himself in the forward line. Lacks a bit of pace but has a good football brain and good fitness base.
39. Mitchell Hibberd – Clarence (Half back 191cm/85kgs)
Has had a wretched run with injuries first with a knee reconstruction, then a shoulder reconstruction. Can play on the wing and could be another hidden gem. Has talent but has fallen down the order.
40. Jock Cornell – Mangoplah/GWS academy (Forward 188cm/84kgs)
An under-rated player who can work through the midfield and kick goals. Joe Daniher’s cousin has a good football background and is developing nicely into a quality player.
41. Ryan Clarke – Eastern Ranges (Midfielder186cm/85kgs)
Explosive mid who is starting to gain confidence in himself. He is suited more to a forward role with his ability to pressure defences for long periods. Has worked hard to get himself noticed.
42. Stephen Tahana – North Adelaide (Half back 183cm/78kgs)
Has already played SANFL and is a great rebound player who reads the play and puts his body on the line. Good clean pair of hands and has speed. Can also play in the midfield.
43. Matthew Flynn – Narrandera/GWS academy (Ruckman 201cm/101kgs)
A long-term prospect in ruck who has huge upside as a forward. Good in close and needs time to hone his craft. He has a background as a basketballer.
44. Ben Jarman – North Adelaide (Midfielder 173cm/64kgs)
Son of Adelaide and Hawthorn legend, Darren. He has great disposal and is a creative ball magnet. Can go forward and kick a goal. Needs time to develop.
Adelaide will take him.
45. Jack Silvagni – Oakleigh Chargers (Forward 191cm/81kgs)
Son of Stephen. Another raw talent but his bloodlines can’t be questioned. A good kick for goal and can read the play well.
46. Connor West – Southport/Gold Coast academy (Half Forward 185cm/79kgs)
A left footer who is a tackling machine. Can go back or slot into the midfield for short bursts. He also has terrific speed.
47. Kade Stewart – South Fremantle (Midfielder 180cms/67kgs)
Contested ball is his game. A ball magnet who has played against bigger bodies in the WAFL. Another who needs to get into the gym before he can match it at AFL level.
48. Jake Lovett – Dandenong Stingrays (Midfielder 182cm/81kgs)
Son of Brett, a former Melbourne player. Injuries have ruined his season. An inside midfielder with an aggressive streak and can be damaging with his disposal. Superb footy brain, he made a big impact this year.
49. Mabior Chol – Yeronga/Brisbane academy (Forward 198cm/79kgs)
Athletic Sudanese forward who is a bit of a work in progress. He is a left footer and can take a strong mark. He is another of those diamonds in the rough.
50. Jordan Matera – Sandringham Dragons (Midfielder 182cm/83kgs)
Son of West Coast’s Peter Matera is a chip off the old block. Cool under pressure, pacy and agile but will need time in the system to develop.
51. Jake Bradley – (Forward 176cm/66kgs)
Son of Carlton legend, Craig Bradley. He’s nimble and raw. Very raw. Has spent time training with Melbourne. An outside runner with pace, he needs to concentrate on his consistency. Goes missing in matches too often but the talent is there.
52. Kyle Galloway – Deniliquin (Ruckman 206cm/105kgs)
He’s a big, big boy and is still growing. Just 5cm shorter than Sandilands he has developed quickly and could go early if recruiters want him bad enough. Has done enough to show he could be a future star.
53. Keiran Agius – North Adelaide (Forward 187cm/84kgs)
Really good sized midfielder who plays in the forward line. One of the best kicks in the draft, he booted over 50 goals in the U18′s last year and 57 in just eight games in 2013. Problem here is he doesn’t work anywhere near hard enough. Attitude is flawed but his talent is elite. Get him right and he will be a jet.
54. Harvey Daniher – Calder Cannons/GWS academy (Forward/Defender 190cm/86kgs)
Son of Chris Daniher. Stress fractures in his back pre-season has held him back this year. Has tried to reinvent himself as a midfielder without much luck. Needs a lot of time to develop.
55. Matthew Allen – Glenelg (Key Forward 194cm/97kgs)
Has bulked up significantly this year. A left footer who knows how to lead instinctively and has a terrific pair of hands. Is extremely dangerous if left one out in the forward line.
56. Gach Nyuon – Dandenong Stingrays (Ruckman 202cm/83kgs)
Another Sudanese player who dominated the U18 championships and received All-Australian honours. Is imposing around the ground. Gives his mids first look at the ball and is regarded as a long term prospect.
57. Kieran Lovell – Kingston (Midfielder 174cms/76kgs)
Another 15 centimetres taller and he would be in the top 10 without a doubt. A natural footballer who gets his own ball and uses it brilliantly. Elite pace and fitness for this stocky, hard working ball magnet who could easily develop into a gun. Wouldn’t surprise to see him go mid second round.
58. Tom Wallis – Calder Cannons (Midfielder 183cm/72kgs)
Son of Essendons Dean Wallis has already played VFL footy. A left footer who is nothing like his father and needs time to bulk up. A 50/50 proposition.
59. Alex Morgan – Oakleigh Chargers (Defender 181cm/80kgs)
Medium defender who has great skills on either side. Knows where to place himself to use his creativity and can set up play from the half back line.
60. Darcy MacPherson – Northern Knights (Forward 177cm/69kgs)
Son of Bulldogs Steve MacPherson he has a bit of mongrel in him. Superb forward pressure and unpredictability. Unfortunately has had to undergo a complete shoulder reconstruction which has the Dogs undecided.
Players who are training at AFL clubs
Adelaide: Stephen Tahana, Ryan Burton, Keiran Agius
Brisbane Lions: Ben Keays, Eric Hipwood*
Carlton: Tom Cole, Sam Skinner
Collingwood: Darcy Parish, Josh Schache
Essendon: Aidyn Johnson, Yestin Eades
Fremantle: Callum Ah Chee, Jordan Snadden
Geelong: Rhys Mathieson, Charlie Curnow
Gold Coast: Ben Crocker
Greater Western Sydney: Jacob Hopper
Hawthorn: Jake Sushames, James Parsons
Melbourne: Harley Balic, Liam Jeffs
North Melbourne: Dylan McDonald, Sam Weideman
Port Adelaide: Luke Partington, Aaron Francis, Tim Sullivan
Richmond: Nick O’Kearney, Gach Nyoun*
St Kilda: Jacob Weitering, Keiran Collins
Sydney Swans: Callum Mills, Josh Dunkley
West Coast: Kade Stewart, Greg Clark
Western Bulldogs: Darcy Tucker