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AFL mock draft 2017: Top 30

Maddy Friend Columnist

By Maddy Friend, Maddy Friend is a Roar Expert

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    Just a little more than a week out from the 2017 AFL draft, Maddy Friend and Josh Elliott have put together a mock draft of the top 30 picks.

    It’s common around this time of year to see draft predictions put together by individuals, such as this one by Josh a few weeks ago, but a collaborative effort to predict the draft can provide a different kind of insight.

    Because the participants don’t know what the other participants want to do with their upcoming picks, there’s a greater need to think strategically about what decisions clubs might make to maximise their returns.

    In our mock draft, Maddy is picking for the Brisbane Lions, Carlton Blues, Collingwood Magpies, St Kilda, Adelaide Crows, Sydney Swans, Geelong Cats and Melbourne Demons.

    Josh is picking for the Fremantle Dockers, North Melbourne Kangaroos, Western Bulldogs, Greater Western Sydney Giants, West Coast Eagles, Richmond Tigers and Gold Coast Suns.

    Pick 1 – Brisbane Lions (Maddy Friend) – Cameron Rayner
    187cm, 87kg

    Maddy
    Rayner is the best player in the draft. He’s got class, x-factor, and is really the complete package. He can also slot in and play senior footy next year, which is an advantage for Brisbane given the club’s young list.

    In taking Rayner, the Lions will have a 200-plus-game player who will complement the inside midfielders the club has recruited in recent years.

    I also considered Paddy Dow, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw.

    Cameron Rayner AFL Draft 2017 tall

    (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Pick 2 – Fremantle Dockers (Josh Elliott) – Paddy Dow
    185cm, 78kg

    Josh
    If I’m Fremantle this year my number one priority is to find a big, hulking forward who can be the centrepiece of the forward line – but there just isn’t a prospect like that in this draft that you could justify taking with either of the Dockers’ top five picks.

    Instead, this is a pick to keep building a promising midfield. There’s a lot of good prospects here and it’s a tight decision, but I’m picking Dow – his breakaway speed from the contest is a rare trait and could be what leads him to become an elite midfielder.

    Maddy
    I disagree that they need to take a key forward in the draft – they’ve got Cam McCarthy and Matt Taberner, and are looking at Brennan Cox and Griffin Logue as potential key forwards as well. They’re well stocked there.

    In that sense, Dow is a great pick up.

    Pick 3 – Carlton Blues (Maddy Friend) – Adam Cerra
    186cm, 80kg

    Maddy
    The comparisons with Scott Pendlebury are cliche, but the classy Cerra shares many of the same traits.

    I also considered Luke Davies-Uniacke, given the Blues have lost Bryce Gibbs, but Cerra is too good to pass up.

    Pick 4 – North Melbourne Kangaroos (Josh Elliott) – Luke Davies-Uniacke
    187cm, 85kg

    Josh
    Oof, that pick leaves me with a tough decision to make. I was planning for Jaidyn Stephenson at this pick but realistically I can’t see North Melbourne overlooking Luke Davies-Uniacke – or Dow or Rayner for that matter – if available.

    It’s telling of how even the top handful of picks is that someone like LDU could easily go at No.1 but could also be available here – a big-bodied midfielder type, he’s probably the most immediately ready for AFL football of this year’s draft, which is not something I tend to take into account, but which will appeal to North given the large number of senior players they’ve cut over the last two years. They can build a future midfield around him.

    Luke Davies-Uniacke AFL draft 2017 tall

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    Pick 5 – Fremantle Dockers (Josh Elliott) Jaidyn Stephenson
    189cm, 75kg

    Josh
    Probably the best case scenario for Fremantle is that one of the players in the top four above slips through to them at some pick, but I’d be just as happy picking Jaidyn Stephenson.

    Stephenson is tall, at 189cm, but has excellent speed, and plays courageous, offensive football – it’s not a group of traits that you see together very often and it gives him as much if not more of a superstar ceiling than any other prospect going around.

    In him and Dow, I’ve picked Fremantle a pair of speedy, goal-kicking midfielders who can balance out Ross Lyon’s natural tendencies towards defensive football.

    Pick 6 – Collingwood Magpies (Maddy Friend) – Aaron Naughton
    194cm, 85kg

    Maddy
    There are still several good midfielders available, and any of them would be good selections for the Pies, but given their dearth of key-position players, Naughton would be too good to pass up.

    He’s the best key defender in the draft pool, and while his kicking needs work, he’s a player you can build your defence around. Pairing Naughton with Ben Reid in the next few years would be ideal.

    Pick 7 – St Kilda Saints (Maddy Friend) – Andrew Brayshaw
    184cm, 82kg

    Maddy
    Full disclosure – I’m a Saints fan, and if Brayshaw is available here come draft night, I will be ecstatic.

    I was a bit surprised Josh didn’t take him with Freo’s pick 5, but am glad he’s fallen to here. He’s not quick, but he’s the complete package otherwise, and is a classy and hard-working player who will nicely fit in with the Saints’ current band of young midfielders.

    Josh
    Brayshaw was definitely one I considered with Fremantle’s second pick, and would also be a chance for North at pick 4. The reason I passed is he doesn’t have that obvious, defining attribute that separates him from the pack – but he’s a well-rounded prospect any club would be happy to have.

    Pick 8 – St Kilda Saints (Maddy Friend) – Hunter Clark
    186cm, 80kg

    Maddy
    I tossed up a few players here – Nick Coffield being one – but I chose Clark based on his speed and ability to play through the midfield and on a wing, which is what the Saints desperately need. He’s a classy ball user, and can play both inside and outside.

    Hunter Clark

    (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Pick 9 – Western Bulldogs (Josh Elliott) – Darcy Fogarty
    192cm, 95kg

    Josh
    I was probably hoping Aaron Naughton might slip to here – while the Bulldogs added two key position players over the trade period, it’s still an area on which they could work.

    There isn’t really one on the board at this stage, so instead I’m going for tall midfielder-forward Darcy Fogarty. He’s 191cm, so not quite true key-position height, but clubs will look to start him off as a forward or half-forward and eventually develop him into a tall inside midfielder who kicks goals.

    There are several players who would be in the mix here, I’ve picked him over them because I like his offensive capabilities as a point of difference to those who are more comfortable playing behind the ball.

    Pick 10 – Carlton Blues (Maddy Friend) – Jack Higgins
    178cm, 77kg

    Maddy
    Having taken Cerra at pick 3, the Blues can afford to fix a hole in their list by taking a small forward here. Higgins is the best one in the draft, and is already a consummate professional. He will play senior footy next year, and with his goal nous and determination, he’ll become a very good player.

    The one knock on him is his height, but we’ve seen with Caleb Daniel in recent times that if you’re a good player, this doesn’t matter. Higgins has been aware of the need to maximise his other abilities, and has done so successfully, so I don’t see this as an issue.

    Pick 11 – GWS Giants (Josh Elliott) – Nick Coffield
    191cm, 82kg

    Josh
    Oh, that breaks my heart a little to see Higgins off the table right before the Giants pick – he’s the perfect fit for them here.

    That makes the decision a bit difficult, but I’m going to pick up Nick Coffield. He’s a 190cm rebounding defender type who can eventually progress into being a full-time midfielder, and GWS would be happy with him whether he stays as a defender with an eye to being a Heath Shaw replacement, or develops into a big-bodied mid.

    Pick 12 – Adelaide Crows (Maddy Friend) – Charlie Constable
    191cm, 86kg

    Maddy
    Constable will be a great pick for the Crows as they look to bolster their inside midfield stocks. He’ll work well with Rory Sloane and the Brothers Crouch, and at 190cm he’s the modern midfield prototype.

    He’s also a solid citizen, which is something I imagine will be important for the Crows given their recent retention issues.

    Pick 13 – West Coast Eagles (Josh Elliott) – Aiden Bonar
    189cm, 87kg

    Josh
    West Coast are in something of an awkward position here, they’ve invested heavily into this draft after trading away next year’s first, so this might be the only top 20 pick they have across the next two years.

    Despite that being the case, I’m still going to take what might be a bit of a risk here and pick Aiden Bonar – his combination of height and speed gives him significant upside, but he’s already had two ACL injuries before even being drafted and that will make some teams wary. Still, he brings the x-factor the Eagles sorely need.

    Maddy
    Interesting taking Bonar after the Eagles took a bit of a gamble last year and selected Daniel Venables with their first pick, but I agree he adds x-factor.

    Aiden Bonar AFL

    (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Pick 14 – Sydney Swans (Maddy Friend) – Jarrod Brander
    195cm, 92kg

    Maddy
    I’m surprised Josh didn’t select Brander for GWS, given his academy ties. I’ve taken him here, because he’s one of the best talls in the draft, and it’s an area where the Swans need more depth.

    They drafted a key defender last year in Jack Maibaum, but Brander’s versatility would be a definite advantage for the Swans. He’s been thrown around a bit, position-wise, but he fits best as a forward, so he’ll slot in nicely alongside Lance Franklin and Sam Reid.

    Josh
    Came pretty close to picking Brander at the Giants’ first pick, yeah – talls who haven’t found their best position yet sometimes make me a bit skittish though, I worry they’ll get stuck in swingman limbo.

    Pick 15 – Brisbane Lions (Maddy Friend) – Oscar Allen
    191cm, 82kg

    Maddy
    This might be a bit of a reach for Allen, but with Josh Schache’s departure, the Lions could do with another key forward to develop. They addressed their small forward and midfield needs through the trade period (Charlie Cameron) and Rayner, so they can afford to take a forward here.

    Allen has a good pair of hands and is a good kick for goal, making him a good addition. The only problem may be the go-home factor, but that’s become less of an issue for Brisbane since Chris Fagan’s appointment.

    Allen is likely a player the Tigers and Bulldogs would be keen on with the following two picks, so he’s unlikely to still be on the board at pick 18.

    Pick 16 – Western Bulldogs (Josh Elliott) – Lochie O’Brien
    184cm, 77kg

    Josh
    From the Bulldogs’ perspective, it would be disappointing to see two promising talls in Brander and Allen taken in the two picks before this one – Brander, in particular, would’ve been a good value get here.

    Noah Balta would be an option if they still wanted a tall, but with Lochie O’Brien on the table I’ll pick up him instead.

    An outside midfielder with some speed and a good left-foot kick, they can start him on half-back to replace Bob Murphy, with an eye to him becoming a fulltime winger as he progresses.

    Pick 17 – Richmond Tigers (Josh Elliott) – Sam Hayes
    203cm, 93kg

    Josh
    Toby Nankervis was a great recruit for Richmond last year and obviously became a premiership player, but there’s still some need to think about the future of their ruck department. Having two more early picks to follow this one, and having just won a flag, they’ve got license to pick someone who is going to take a bit of time to develop.

    Hayes could be one of the best ruckmen in the competition when he comes of age, and might be someone who can float forward and kick goals at the next level too.

    Sam Hayes

    (Photo by Jack Thomas/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Pick 18 – Brisbane Lions (Maddy Friend) – Ed Richards
    185cm, 78kg

    Maddy
    Brisbane would be extremely happy to add Richards to their squad – he’s an excellent kick, has pace, and would complement Alex Witherden across the half-back line. He’s a genuinely exciting player, which the Lions need.

    Pick 19 – Brisbane Lions (Maddy Friend) – Connor Ballenden, matching bid
    198cm, 96kg

    Josh
    I’m going to put in a bid here, the first bid of the draft, for Connor Ballenden, who is a Brisbane academy player.

    Having already brought in some instant impact by trading for Lachie Weller, Gold Coast can afford to take someone who will need a bit more time to develop – and, given he’s a Queenslander, is unlikely to run out on the club.

    A versatile key position prospect, from a Suns’ perspective, I’d be happy to see him develop in any area of the ground – defence, forward, or ruck – but if a bid comes this late then I suspect Brisbane will be happy to match.

    Maddy
    Happy to match Gold Coast’s bid here – while Ballenden has had an up-and-down 2017 season, he has some exciting traits, and he’s a good development player for the Lions over the next few years. Being an academy selection means he’s not about to complain about homesickness either.

    Pick 20 – Gold Coast Suns (Josh Elliott) – Lachlan Fogarty
    179cm, 75kg

    Josh
    No surprises there. If I’m not picking a Queenslander, I want someone who can play sooner rather than later so they can become a part of the team and hopefully that eases any issues around homesickness.

    With that in mind, I’m going for Lachlan Fogarty, who’s a small midfielder with ball-winning ability, good skills and is a goalkicker – he would probably be going earlier if he had a few more centimetres.

    A big-bodied midfielder would’ve been nice, but it’s not really an option here.

    Lachlan Fogarty tall

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    Pick 21 – Richmond Tigers (Josh Elliott) – Noah Balta
    195cm, 95kg

    Josh
    As I mentioned with the Hayes pick, coming off a premiership, Richmond can afford to pick players who still need to spend some time developing, and Balta is that – but this late in the draft, he’s good value.

    Athletic, tall at 195cm and probably more likely to be a key defender than a forward, I’m still happy to have him at either end from a Richmond perspective.

    Pick 22 – West Coast Eagles (Josh Elliott) – Nathan Murphy
    188cm, 80kg

    Josh
    There’s a need at West Coast to find the next generation of goalkicker, so I’m picking a medium forward.

    A 188cm marking forward, Murphy’s got good endurance too, so can be developed with an eye to him playing stints up the ground and laying on forwardline pressure all day long.

    Pick 23 – Geelong Cats (Maddy Friend) – Tim Kelly
    182cm, 81kg

    Maddy
    Kelly is a mature-aged midfielder from the WAFL, who was eligible for the draft several years ago, but has gone away and worked on several things and improved greatly.

    Geelong like ready-made players who can have an immediate impact – such as Tom Stewart this season – and he’ll work well with the Cats’ midfield group.

    Pick 24 – North Melbourne Kangaroos (Josh Elliott) – Jack Petrucelle
    185cm, 78kg

    Josh
    Having taken a ready-to-go midfielder for North at pick 4, I’m happy to balance that out with someone who is more of a project player in Jack Petrucelle.

    He is, simply, the fastest player in the draft, and can add some speed and excitement to a side that would love to have more of both. It might be a while before he has a big impact at senior level though.

    Pick 25 – Geelong Cats (Maddy Friend) – Matthew Ling
    183cm, 75kg

    Maddy
    Ling gives the Cats some run and carry off half-back, and is a local Geelong Falcons product, which will also appeal. There are some questions over his finishing ability, as he’s not the most accurate kick, but that can be remedied, and his other traits are probably too good to pass up here.

    Pick 26 – Richmond Tigers (Josh Elliott) – James Worpel
    185cm, 86kg

    Josh
    I probably would’ve expected to be matching a big for Patrick Naish at this pick from a Richmond perspective, but wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a slider on draft night as clubs are often wary about investing in players as slight as he is.

    The Tigers will be ecstatic if they can bring in three quality youngsters before having to match a bid for him. Here I’m taking Worpel, a midfielder – his love of tackling will fit in well with the club’s pressure-first gameplan.

    Pick 27 – West Coast Eagles (Josh Elliott) – Joel Garner
    184cm, 83kg

    Josh
    Garner is a good user of the ball, was All Australian at this year’s under 18 champs, and also captained Vic Metro to the championship. Leadership and good skills are both something West Coast could use more of, so he fits in well.

    Pick 28 – GWS Giants (Josh Elliott) – Gryan Miers
    178cm, 77kg

    Josh
    If I’m the Giants I’d really like to get some smaller forwards who can add another dimension to what is currently a pretty top-heavy forward line. Miers kicked 50 goals in the TAC Cup this year, seven of them in the grand final, and can put pressure on too.

    Gryan Miers

    (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Pick 29 – GWS Giants (Josh Elliott) – Charlie Spargo
    172cm, 70kg

    Josh
    Spargo was in the Giants’ academy until the zones were changed, so they’ve already had a decent look at him and will know if they want him.

    At 172cm he’s one of the smallest players in the draft, but that’s not a worry for GWS, who have plenty of tall and big-bodied types. He can start as a small forward for them and probably eventually develop into a high half-forward or goal-kicking winger.

    Pick 30 – Melbourne Demons (Maddy Friend) – Zac Bailey
    181cm, 81kg

    Maddy
    Bailey is a smaller, quicker midfielder who wins a lot of his own ball. He’s not a proven goalkicker, but he would work well with Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney in winning the contested ball, and then being able to deliver it inside 50.

    I see him as being a link-up player for the Dees, which is something they could use.

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    The Crowd Says (135)

    • November 15th 2017 @ 10:25am
      Ditto said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

      Although Luke Davies-Uniacke is a little awkward on the tongue, I don’t think Carlton would pass up a chance at a hyphen at 3 and what sort of a name is Jack Higgins, sounds like he should be shining the players boots, not wearing them. No I think Charlie Constable is a much more suitable choice at 10.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 10:34am
        Macca said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        Yeah adding LDU to SPS makes sense IMO.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 10:45am
          Steve009 said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          Commentators tongues would love that midfield combination

      • Editor

        November 15th 2017 @ 8:18pm
        Josh Elliott said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

        Drafting the bigger bodies is by no means a bad idea, but players who can kick goals would be handy at Carlton too.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 9:21pm
          Ditto said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

          I think that Carlton would say that the goals will come with the development of what they’ve got, but with the exit of Gibbs, Murphy is 30, E.Curnow 28, the midfield needs bolstering with solid types, I have Hunter Clarke at 10, but he’s gone in this draft version, Constable is a next best selection, but there are others that appeal ahead of going small/forward.

        • November 16th 2017 @ 9:12am
          Macca said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Josh – “but players who can kick goals would be handy at Carlton too.” I think the blues would be backing C Curnow, J Silvagni, McKay, Kerr, Fisher, Cuningham, SPS & Pickett to develop and fill that goal kicking need.

          They will also be looking at Ben Silvagni next year.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 10:46am
      Harsh Truth Harry said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      You only get draft picks for two initial years unless they re-sign so how are the perennial cellar dwellars like Carlton going to keep any kids they draft in? Surely if the kids want to play finals after two years they will move on from Carlton anyway as by then they will have their 6th Wooden Spoon in 17 years? Kids want success nowadays and won;t stay at a club who have become irrelevant in the AFL era.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 11:22am
        Col from Brissie said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        Yeah No Clue Harry, that’s why all their draftees from the past 2 seasons have extended or signed new contracts.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 11:29am
          Ditto said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

          Col I think it’s worth ignoring FHH.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 11:28am
        AdelaideDocker said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        Pretty sure Carlton has actually done decently in retaining their youngsters, but feel free to not let facts influence your arguments or your alleged “harsh truths”.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 11:32am
        Macca said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        Half baked Harry – for this schtick to work you really need to get better at it. When the blues have continuously been signing up their young players for contract extensions, usually well in advance of them coming out of contract (Cripps signed 2 in this first 3 years at the club) the argument that Carlton draftees will flee after the 2 year minimum just doesn’t work.

        You really need to try harder.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 1:51pm
          Harsh Truth Harry said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

          usually its you lot clearing them out after realising you took the wrong ones! How many have you cleared out again past couple of years? Regardless, I would advise my youngsters to move on quickly if selected by Carlton. The game is about flags and success not wooden spoons you guys have to realise!

          • Roar Guru

            November 15th 2017 @ 2:22pm
            Cat said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

            Certainly wouldn’t send them to Essendon to get juiced up on who knows what. Besides Essendon has done sweet F all for closing in on 20 years.

          • Roar Guru

            November 15th 2017 @ 2:32pm
            AdelaideDocker said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

            Absolute rubbish.

            I don’t understand how individuals like you could enjoy watching footy? You guys love to make fun of “rubbish” teams, but also discourage any and all type of remedy to improve the fortunes of teams.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 2:51pm
              Harsh Truth Harry said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

              AD good to see you agreeing with me that Carlton are indeed a rubbish team. I’m not making fun of them just calling the harsh truth….take a look at their ladder position average past 16 years…it is 11th. Plus 4 wooden spoons in this time and favoured for another next year. How is that NOT a rubbish team?

            • Roar Guru

              November 15th 2017 @ 3:10pm
              Col from Brissie said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

              They are just tr0lls AD. I like to call them FIFO’s. The ‘fly in’ with what they think are smart put down comments of other teams and their supporters but they ‘fly out’ pretty quick when challenged and asked to back up their comments. To continually try to put down other people is actually a sign of having an inferiority complex.

              They certainly do not know how to engage in civil conversations.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm
                Mattyb said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

                Col,plenty of childish name calling going on from you and your fellow supporters though?
                I understand it’s frustrating but the blues have been on the bottom for a while now,so while it’s good to keep the faith you need to understand people have noticed the club again went backwards while also failing to develop a game plan.
                Maybe the blues fans should just ignore the critics until some of the possible potential shows something more than merely potential and the club can climb away from the bottom rungs of the ladder?

          • November 15th 2017 @ 4:00pm
            Hungry Jack said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

            No youngsters are listening to you, Harry. Your coaching career is fictional! Your footy knowledge minimal. No kid of mine would be doing circle work under your tuition.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 11:46am
        Deir-ba-zor said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        Brainless Harry, any other ridiculous and untrue statements to make?

      • November 15th 2017 @ 12:45pm
        Hungry Jack said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

        Fraudster Harry, you really shouldn’t be commenting on kids. You have no clue. If you really are a junior coach using circle work as a training method the talented lads would be taken from your care in a flash. Name all the kids Carlton have lost to other clubs in the last 5 years, dude. They’re ‘sticking fat’ to achieve something that might just make you choke on your false teeth. Don’t get me started on the Bummers!

      • November 15th 2017 @ 3:36pm
        Steve009 said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

        As a bombers supporter you should know that once at a club young players will swallow anything the club feeds them.

        The young players are buying into the rebuild and being part of the future success as a group at Carlton.

        They could feed them worse Harry

    • November 15th 2017 @ 11:04am
      Mattyb said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      Absolutely no way Brisbane will take Rayner at number one,and with his lack of fitness I highly doubt he will be ready to go as early as next year. Rayner certainly has talent but I actually can’t see any of the bottom sides taking a risk with him and I could easily see him sliding to Collingwood at pick six,there’s just to many question marks on attitude and his abilities to get fit enough to play through the midfield.
      I imagine Fremantle will be taking Houghton at five,he’s also one of few players available to have proved himself capable against men.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 11:37am
        AdelaideDocker said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        I’d be surprised if that pans out! Rayner’s been consistently placed at pick 1 for a long while now I believe, and I don’t believe he’ll slip down to 6. It would be a hell of a coup if Collingwood pick him up!

        But I can foresee Freo taking Naughton at 5.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 12:09pm
          Mattyb said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          Fair enough AD,there are plenty of mock drafts so we’ve obviously seen different ones which is very possible,most I’ve seen have Rayner 3-5.
          I just think the bottom group of teams are so far off the pace currently that they won’t take a half forward over someone who has midfield potential. Rayner seems a lot like Francis from Essendon in the way he may never have the fitness to succeed at the top level and many of his testing results support this.
          Time will obviously tell.

          • November 15th 2017 @ 1:20pm
            Macca said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

            “I just think the bottom group of teams are so far off the pace currently that they won’t take a half forward over someone who has midfield potential” Conversely they are so far off the pace the can’t afford to ignore the player who is supposed to have the greatest potential in the draft and is termed a “genuine match winner”.

            As you so often state these bottom teams need to have patience – picking the player who Callum Twomey, Mick Ablett and Maddy Friend (to name a few) clearly state is the best player in the draft and backing yourself to develop his endurance seems a pretty logical step for a team with a top 3 pick.

            You may be right – time will tell but as I said I would be very happy (and surprised) if he got to the blues.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 1:43pm
              Mattyb said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

              From what I’ve seen Rayner doesn’t have any endurance at all and his testing results are a huge red flag to take with pick one.
              I highly doubt he will have the endurance to even play half forward short term let alone ever become a midfielder,he could possibly play half forward with a few pre seasons though.
              His mental state and work ethic might obviously improve but some players just don’t have the tank to build the required endurance and years of testing has shown that.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 2:13pm
                Macca said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                “Rayner is a unique mix of traits. He’s strong and tough, can bang the ball a mile on both feet, and has a natural spring in his legs that makes him tough to stop in the air. He’s also quick off the mark, and enjoys the physical stuff.” I’d take those things and back the clubs ability to build a tank.

                A player simply doesn’t get discussed as a possible number 1 selection if he “doesn’t have any endurance at all” and given he didn’t attend the combine due to injury what are the “testing results” you are pointing to? Is it possible that they are out of date given he has been told to increase his endurance all year?

              • Roar Guru

                November 15th 2017 @ 2:24pm
                AdelaideDocker said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

                You’re making some intriguing points, but I’m not sure there’d be a single potential draftee that doesn’t have “any endurance at all”, let alone a potential top three pick! You’re right, though: there is concerns about his endurance.

                Although, he’d be a good pick up for any of Freo, Carlton and Brisbane. Even if that trio hold concerns around his endurance, I’m sure they’d be comfortable taking the punt on the player with the supposed talent he holds, and they’d be more than happy to work with him over the pre-season to improve his endurance.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 2:29pm
                Macca said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                AD – “they’d be more than happy to work with him over the pre-season to improve his endurance.” While this is true given Rayner has had a manager for some time and his endurance has been a known issue for some time, the odds he hasn’t been working with a fitness coach pretty intensively since the season ended (or at least since he recovered from his injuries) are slim to none.

                As lone as he hasn’t fallen foul of any “character” testing the clubs will back he elite talent and their teams to build his endurance.

              • Roar Guru

                November 15th 2017 @ 2:34pm
                AdelaideDocker said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

                He has a manager? Even better!

                That just reaffirms my point, really. This endurance issue might cause a bit of wariness for list managers, but not much else. He’s going to be a top 3 pick, and which ever team picks him will be duly rewarded.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 3:03pm
                Mattician6x6 said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                Extremely famous stories about pav and dean cox and their lack of endurance when they arrived for their 1st pre season, if this kid has the goods he’ll go high, aerobic capacity is easily acquired in a professional environment.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 3:02pm
                Mattyb said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                AD,I actually think they’re doing a new test this year that is a bit of an advance on the beep test. Players with poor beep test results makes a list of players that simply don’t make it at AFL level,and I imagine clubs are taking this new test very seriously. I’m not sure what his manager will do about his fitness,it’s more a coaching thing,but I’m sure his manager will echo suggestions made by coaches.
                I think some people are mistaking fitness for elite endurance,one can be worked on while the other can’t.Anyway,I’m sure a team will take the risk,I will be livid if it’s mine though.
                I’ve been mentioning for most the year that Rayner is a good example of how poor this years draft is although the other players touted in the top 5 seem fine.
                Certainly the comment in the article that Rayner is ready to go at AFL level is highly debatable. I do think there are some State League players ready to go and can see a record amount of these types being taken this year. I think many amateur draft watches might be overlooking this element of the draft this year while people who watch a bit of State League are putting forward multiple names from multiple Leagues. Probably not the best year to be down the bottom but I’m sure good players will be found by the more sassy recruiters right across the draft.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 3:38pm
                Mattyb said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

                Fair points 6×6,I had a quick look for Pavs early beep test and time trial results and have been unable to find anything before 2011 so I can’t really comment.
                To be perfectly honest from what I’ve seen of Rayner (all via video admittedly) I also question his ability to remain in games as well as his ability to constantly have an impact for a high pick.
                Like I said,he really reminds me of Francis from Essendon who has struggled significantly despite going around pick 8 in a far better draft year. I think not being able to run through the midfield at all at junior level is also a concern if someone is going to go pick one as a pure half forward flanker.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 4:34pm
                Macca said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                “I think some people are mistaking fitness for elite endurance,one can be worked on while the other can’t” So only people born with elite endurance can be top shelf players in the AFL?

                Rayner is an explosive player – he will never have the elite endurance of say Ed Curnow – but he will be able to build an AFL tank big enough to become an elite player is he works hard enough. The questions will be around his willingness to work.

                “Like I said,he really reminds me of Francis from Essendon” Interestingly Essendon refused to trade Francis this year, maybe he is making more progress than an outsider can see?

      • November 15th 2017 @ 11:38am
        Macca said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        “Absolutely no way Brisbane will take Rayner at number one” “actually can’t see any of the bottom sides taking a risk with him ” Can’t wait to see how these comments are re-written in the future.

        Most recruiters say a fitness is the easiest thing to build and I would be surprised given the amount of discussion there has been on Rayners fitness that he hasn’t been working on it already.

        The Lions might not take him but if he slips to the blues at 3 I would be happy.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 11:43am
        Mattician6x6 said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        Matty find it unbelievable that they predict wce going a kid over Kelly and letting Geelong nab him, he is exactly what wce midfield needs and is ready to rock n roll, also I’d think waterman will be used in the mid size fwd role so besides Ryan and Allen (if still available) I’d imagine they’d be the only fwds they would target. Am amazed starcevich didn’t rate a mention , tough with a huge tank I’d think he is firmly on wce radar.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 12:17pm
          Mattyb said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          Matt6x6,at least one of the authors I suppose has realised Kelly plays football which is a huge plus and improvment. I’d imagine your right with WC taking Kelly. There seems plenty of WA talent available this year and I imagine both Perth clubs investing heavily in the local talent available.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 11:47am
        Paul D said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        Lions drafting Rayner would be the recruiting equivalent of doing a line of coke, short term buzz but you know it’s going to disappear sooner rather than later

        • November 15th 2017 @ 1:11pm
          Mattician6x6 said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

          Hahaha that’s a good chuckle Paul

      • Editor

        November 15th 2017 @ 8:19pm
        Josh Elliott said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

        Zero per cent chance Rayner gets beyond North. Probably zero per cent chance he gets beyond Carlton for that matter.

        • Roar Guru

          November 15th 2017 @ 8:28pm
          Dalgety Carrington said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

          Add Freo to the Zero chance of letting Rayner slip list.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 12:20pm
      Ditto said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

      Interesting that no bids came for Patrick Naish. I’m putting one forward on behalf of Adelaide at 12.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm
        Dalgety Carrington said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        You’d think someone would have to bid on him in the 10-16 range surely. Carlton at 10 might be worth a dip to get Richmond delving further into their pockets.

      • Editor

        November 15th 2017 @ 8:21pm
        Josh Elliott said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

        I’d suspect a bid probably does come from him in that 20-30 range, it’s the kind of thing that can slip the mind when doing a mock draft.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 1:02pm
      Liam O'Neill said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

      I thought North had pick 23 am i wrong?

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 3:54pm
        Col from Brissie said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

        Liam, they have Brisbane matching a bid for Ballandean at 19 so all picks after that pushed back one.

        • November 27th 2017 @ 11:29am
          Liam O'Neill said | November 27th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

          Sorry I’m late,thank you Col

    • November 15th 2017 @ 1:16pm
      King Bob said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

      Josh
      There’s a need at West Coast to find the next generation of goalkicker, so I’m picking a medium forward.

      WCE will not use pick 22 for a 188cm marking forward as they already have plenty of young taller options.
      Darling 191cm aged 25
      Vardy 200cm aged 26
      McInnes 197cm aged 24
      Allen 193cm aged 20
      Waterman 190 aged 19

      and can even use as half forwards
      Yeo 190cm
      Jetta
      Ah Chee
      Redden 190cm

      They are more concerned about quality fast midfielders and small crumbing forwards like Partington, Rioli and Karpany

      • Editor

        November 15th 2017 @ 8:22pm
        Josh Elliott said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

        There’s a few small forwards there if that’s what they prefer, but quality fast midfielders not so much by that point in the draft.

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