AFL Phantom Draft 2017 top 25, rumours, bolters and sliders

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor


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    This is it! The day of the 2017 AFL Draft has finally arrived, and to celebrate I’m having one final crack at a top 25 phantom draft.

    This year has been touted as possibly the most difficult draft to predict in the history of the game, and I suspect it will thoroughly earn itself that title later tonight.

    » The top five according to Twitter
    » A club-by-club guide to the 2017 AFL Draft
    » Everything you need to know about the 2017 AFL Draft

    That said, the top ten is starting to take shape, a little – we’ve got a good idea of what players will be in it, but as for what order, it’s anyone’s guess.

    Despite strong competition from Andrew Brayshaw it now seems certain that Cam Rayner will be the No.1 selection.

    The next five picks looks likely to be some combination of Brayshaw, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Paddy Dow, Adam Cerra and Darcy Fogarty, but what order they could come in is up for debate.

    The big decision is at pick 2 with Fremantle heavily linked to Davies-Uniacke at this selection – a great understudy and eventual replacement for David Mundy – but it’s believed possible they might give us a surprise and pick Adam Cerra here instead.

    Carlton are likely to pick Paddy Dow at the third selection regardless, but North, Collingwood, and Fremantle with their second pick will have to take the best of what falls through.

    If the top six does turn out to be that group of players though then the next three picks may prove fairly straightforward.

    St Kilda have been heavily linked to Nick Coffield and Hunter Clark. They should both be on the board here so if they want them, and nothing better falls through, they are theirs.

    Hunter Clark

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

    Pick 9 also looks likely to be a slam dunk with Aaron Naughton, the best-rated key position player in the draft, seemingly set to be more Bulldog.

    Carlton at pick 10 have a range of options to choose from and while the talent of Jaidyn Stephenson and Aiden Bonar will appeal, most of the suggestion is that they’ll pick a classy half-back/winger, with the choice likely to be between Ed Richards and Lochie O’Brien.

    From pick 11 onwards it’s fair to say all bets are off and just about anything could happen – and it would only take one surprise selection to put the top ten in the same boat, which is every chance of being the case.

    Who are the potential bolters? There’s been a bit of talk that Collingwood in particular might do something unexpected with pick 6.

    While a lot of fans would probably like to see Aaron Naughton there as the key position player the Pies desperately need (plus he’s a diehard fan of the club), that seems unlikely.

    Instead, they’ve been linked to what would be seen as something of a reach for Nathan Murphy, or possibly Ed Richards. Richards’ grandfather Ron played 143 games for the Pies in the ’40s and ’50s and was the brother of Collingwood legend Lou.

    Should any of those players bolt up to Collingwood’s pick 6 it will mean someone very good slides to St Kilda, and this would have a knock-on effect to follow. Carlton fans in particular should have their fingers crossed here.

    In terms of those set to slide significantly down the order on draft night there are two – Jaidyn Stephenson and Charlie Constable.

    Stephenson is close to the best talent in the draft in terms of what he is capable of – but a recently discovered heart condition is making clubs a bit gunshy.

    Odds are someone will punt on him at some point in the teens, but many clubs won’t be willing to take the risk, especially those with only a limited number of picks.

    For that reason I wouldn’t be surprised if he lands at either Brisbane or Richmond, since they have multiple picks in this region and will find it hard to say no to his talent more than once.

    As for Constable, he could well drop out of the top 30 entirely after being considered a lock for the first round, with clubs reportedly concerned about his lack of running ability.

    Still, a big tall extractor mid is something that isn’t that easy to find in this draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him still picked up in the top 20.

    If you’ve been reading about the draft over the past few days then you’d be well aware that any attempt to piece together a prediction is quite the wild goose chase.

    Regardless, here’s my top 25 – and have a happy draft day.

    Pick 1, Brisbane Lions
    Cam Rayner – 187cm, 87kg

    Pick 2, Fremantle Dockers
    Luke Davies-Uniacke – 187cm, 85kg

    Pick 3, Carlton Blues
    Paddy Dow – 185cm, 78kg

    Pick 4, North Melbourne Kangaroos
    Andrew Brayshaw – 184cm, 82kg

    Pick 5, Fremantle Dockers
    Adam Cerra – 186cm, 80kg

    Pick 6, Collingwood Magpies
    Darcy Fogarty – 192cm, 95kg

    Pick 7, St Kilda Saints
    Nick Coffield – 191cm, 82kg

    Pick 8, St Kilda Saints
    Hunter Clark – 186cm, 80kg

    Pick 9, Western Bulldogs
    Aaron Naughton – 194cm, 85kg

    Pick 10, Carlton Blues
    Ed Richards – 185cm, 78kg

    Pick 11, GWS Giants
    Jack Higgins – 178cm, 77kg

    Pick 12, Adelaide Crows
    Lochie O’Brien – 184cm, 77kg

    Pick 13, West Coast Eagles
    Aiden Bonar – 189cm, 87kg

    Pick 14, Sydney Swans
    Lachlan Fogarty – 179cm, 75kg

    Pick 15, Brisbane Lions
    Jaidyn Stephenson – 189cm, 75kg

    Pick 16, Western Bulldogs
    Nathan Murphy – 188cm, 80kg

    Pick 17, Richmond Tigers
    Jarrod Brander – 195cm, 92kg

    Pick 18, Brisbane Lions
    Charlie Constable – 191cm, 86kg

    Pick 19, Gold Coast Suns
    Zac Bailey – 181cm, 81kg

    Pick 20, Richmond Tigers
    Oscar Allen – 191cm, 82kg

    Pick 21, West Coast Eagles
    Charlie Ballard – 196cm, 82kg

    Pick 22, Geelong Cats
    Matthew Ling – 183cm, 75kg

    Pick 23, North Melbourne Kangaroos
    Jack Petrucelle – 185cm, 78kg

    Pick 24, Geelong Cats
    Tim Kelly – 182cm, 81kg

    Pick 25, Richmond Tigers
    Sam Hayes – 203cm, 93kg

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (40)

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2017 @ 8:14am
      Cat said | November 24th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Last time Cats picked Ling and Kelly it worked out alright 😉

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2017 @ 8:16am
      DingoGray said | November 24th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      Rayner, Stephenson & Constanble in the Top 25 plus also picking up our Key Forward Belleden, be very happy with that from Lions perspective. Hope your right Josh

      • Roar Guru

        November 24th 2017 @ 9:34am
        Dalgety Carrington said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        Looking at it it’s a fair selection of talent. Plenty of x-factor in Raynor and Stephenson, a big inside mid who could just as easily be in the top 10 range plus a local KPF.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 8:36am
      Mattician6x6 said | November 24th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      Will wait and see what awaits, exciting night and times at WC, still disagree bonar will end up west josh but if I’m wrong I’ll buy you a coke. Allen or Stephenson 1st round then starcevich, Kelly and Ryan to be 3 of our four 2nd round picks with the fourth a kid who fell through the cracks imo.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 9:42am
      Peter the Scribe said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      Pies will take Naughton at 6

    • November 24th 2017 @ 9:42am
      Macca said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      I am not certain about the blues taking Richards at 10 – I don’t really see a rebounding half back as a big need for them at the moment, they got Williamson last year, hopefully Byrne will get a good run with injury this year, they just signed another irish rookie in McDaid the took Mullett as a delisted free agent and of course Docherty will be back in 2018.

      I would much prefer them to go with Bonar or Stephenson, although seeing Eddie’s face after getting a grandson of Ron Richards to Carlton might just be worth it!

      • November 24th 2017 @ 3:34pm
        Mattician6x6 said | November 24th 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

        Two knee recos worries me with bonar, everything else he looks and sounds like a marvelous player but man he’s a big risk.

        • November 24th 2017 @ 3:58pm
          Macca said | November 24th 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

          Mattician – from what I have read the first reco was done using hamstring tendon which isn’t as strong, the seodn reco was done using the preferred method of patella tendon. So I don’t view him as having 2 reco as much as 1 done twice.

          He was 3rd in the 20m sprint, 9th in the agility test & equalled the record for the standing vertical jump (89cm) – I am pretty happy to take the risk at 10.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Kavvy said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      Rayner will leave Brisbane in three years, his comments about playing interstate have always been too qualified for my comfort. Reckon they should go Uniacke or Dow instead

      • November 24th 2017 @ 10:04am
        Macca said | November 24th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Didn’t Lever say categorically on his draft night that he wanted to be a one club player?

        Every player has the risk of leaving, you just have to take the best talent available and back yourself to use the 2 years you have to convince them to stay.

        • November 24th 2017 @ 10:18am
          sammy said | November 24th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          problem is that with 10 victorian clubs and plenty of post footy career opportunities and loads of money washing around and the opportunity to go back to be with friends or family in Melbourne, free agency has made it much easier for kids to do the minimum time then say I am out of here no matter what a club might try to do to convince otherwise. Hence why I am hoping if Fogarty is gone at pick 12, the crows recruit a player NOT from the Vic Metro team

          • November 24th 2017 @ 10:24am
            Macca said | November 24th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

            Sammy – it is an issue but Victoria’s population is about the same as Western Australia and South Australia combined, growing significantly faster and Victoria apparently provides about 70% of draftee’s, it isn’t about to change anytime soon.

            While increasing the minimum initial contract to 3 years would be a good idea it won’t fix the issue completely and as harsh as it is to say non Victorian clubs have to find strategies to deal with the reality that it is always going to be a factor – not only to come home but be in a bigger market place.

            • November 24th 2017 @ 10:34am
              sammy said | November 24th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

              Having been on the end of my team losing players like dangerfield, lever, gunston, davis, cameron, tippett over the recent seasons (effectively losing the spine of a team that included a brownlow medalist, a triple premiership player and a club captain since departing), I am more than happy for my club to ditch the ‘pick the best player’ mentality and go for either the best South Australian kid if they are good enough and available or target players from Perth or the eastern states or country victoria as it significantly reduces the go home factor pull of Melbourne as a city with its commercial opportunities etc

              • November 24th 2017 @ 10:39am
                Macca said | November 24th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                You have also pulled in Jacobs, Betts & Gibbs (plus Menzel) from Carlton alone so it isn’t exactly one way traffic.

                If 2 kids are roughly equal your strategy is sound, but I still wouldn’t pass up an outstanding talent and take an inferior local.

              • November 24th 2017 @ 11:01am
                sammy said | November 24th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                yes we did, but of those players we have pulled in, Jacobs was fighting with 3 other ruckmen for a spot and was not Carlton’s 1st choice, Betts was good, but also by no means one of Carltons very best players. Gibbs has given Carlton 12 years of service, and but for that a55ho1e Michaelangelo Rucci and his port mates, Gibbs would have been a crow father son at 18 and menzel was happily traded by Carlton. The point I am making is that apart from Gibbs (who has given most of his career to Carlton), none of those players were topline or top young prospects that their original clubs moved hell and earth to hold onto. The quality lost to go home factor has been greater than the quality in in trading.

                Re taking an inferior local kid / WA or eastern state kid over a better victorian metro kid, the old saying that the burnt hand teaches best applies here. What I don’t want is for my club to become a breeding ground for picking good vic metro kids, coaching them up and then losing them for a draft pick because they want to go home. I would rather take the other kid who is not quite as good but back in my club to coach him up and keep him for his career

              • November 24th 2017 @ 1:19pm
                Pelican said | November 24th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Sammy – What did Port do to stop Gibbs going to the Crows. I must have missed that one.

              • November 24th 2017 @ 9:24pm
                Sammy said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:24pm | ! Report

                Dug up ross gibbs playing record and waved it infront of the AFL that he was something like 3 games outside of the 200 game qualifying period and that fosters cup or whatever it was games were not part of the count.

              • November 24th 2017 @ 11:14am
                Macca said | November 24th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                Sammy – you are re-writing history a little bit there, Jacobs debuted in 2009 (4 games) and then played 13 games in 2010 including a fantastic performance in the elimination final loss to the Swans, the blues wanted a first round pick for him when you grabbed him for pick 30 something – it wasn’t like the blues were pushing him out the door.

                As for Betts he had a terrible year the year you poached him under Malthouse but he had been a vital part of the team in his 9 years at the blues kicking 290 goals in 184 games.

                And given it took 2 cracks to get Gibbs to Adelaide clearly we didn’t want to give him up.

                Yes they aren’t exactly the same but Adelaide aren’t exactly the pure virgins at the hands of the marauding Vikings.

              • November 24th 2017 @ 12:35pm
                Mattician6x6 said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Seems I’m always in the minority as a supporter of a non Vic club, go home factor is bs imo, create a good environment with fair renumeration and the blokes will stay

              • November 24th 2017 @ 2:01pm
                Ditto said | November 24th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                As an Adelaide supporter I’m not particularly fussed by the go home factor either. The decisions to draft Dangerfield, Gunston, Lever etc, where blinding good ones and I don’t think the recruiters should have any regrets. The draft is about talent. Talent comes first.

              • November 24th 2017 @ 2:56pm
                Mattician6x6 said | November 24th 2017 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

                Absolutely ditto, afl is national yet ppl seem to expect suburban type loyalty from players. If clubs truly want to retain players then up the offers if not then get the best compo they can, which is exactly what adl did, and wce did with judd, freo with Weller the list goes on.

              • November 24th 2017 @ 9:26pm
                Sammy said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

                Well no go home factor this year..fogarty and stephenson both local lads and fogarty is the steal of the draft…very happy

        • November 24th 2017 @ 10:40am
          Kavvy said | November 24th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          Good point but I guess in Rayner’s case, where the hints have already been dropped, there is even more reason to look for someone that at least SEEMS like they might stay a bit longer. Paddy Dow at least fits their “Vic Country players, less likely to move back to Melbourne than Vic Metro players” theory and I haven’t heard him qualify his ‘happy to play anywhere’ line the way Rayner has

          • November 24th 2017 @ 10:43am
            Macca said | November 24th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

            I think did say he would prefer to play at North because of some family connection but as a rule country kids aren’t as keen to get back to Melbourne.