For the third year in a row fellow AFL draft nerd Josh Elliott and I have put our heads together to pick the top 30 in a mock run of the 2019 AFL draft.
Our picks here aren’t based on rumour or expectation, but rather our own opinions and decisions on what AFL clubs need, and which prospects best fill those gaps.
I’m picking for Melbourne, Sydney, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Geelong and Brisbane, while Josh is picking for Gold Coast, GWS, Adelaide, Carlton, Hawthorn, the Western Bulldogs, Richmond and North Melbourne.
Pick 1 – Gold Coast – Matt Rowell
180cm, 78kg, ranked No.1 by Champion Data
Josh: If the top two selections belonged to different clubs there might be some intrigue over them this year, but as they don’t, there isn’t. Rowell deserves the No.1 nod.
Pick 2 – Gold Coast – Noah Anderson
191cm, 87kg, ranked No.3 by Champion Data
J: Anderson is probably the player I’d take at No.1 if I could only pick one, with that big-bodied frame giving him the highest ceiling if anyone in this year’s draft, in my view.
Pick 3 – Melbourne – Hayden Young
188cm, 83kg, ranked No. 5 by Champion Data
Maddy: One of the best and most complete players in the pool. He’s quite similar to Jake Lever, but is too good to pass up here, and adds elite kicking to the Demons’ backline.
Pick 4 – GWS – Luke Jackson
199cm, 94kg, ranked No. 4 by Champion Data
J: I don’t expect Jackson to be available for GWS here in the real thing, but if he is then they would surely snap him up without thinking twice. They made a mistake overlooking Brodie Grundy, they wouldn’t do it again.
Pick 5 – GWS – Tom Green (matching Sydney bid)
190cm, 89kg, ranked No.2 by Champion Data
M: As Sydney I’m making a bid on GWS’ academy prospect Tom Green here, though I don’t expect it to succeed. Though Green’s not what the Giants need, having taken three inside mids at the draft last year, but is also too good to pass up here.
J: I agree Green is the last player GWS need in terms of type, but when you have the opportunity to draft a player of his talent, you can’t ignore it. Bid matched.
Pick 6 – Sydney – Sam Flanders
183cm, 82kg, ranked No.7 by Champion Data
M: A strong midfielder who can also play forward, Flanders fits a need for Sydney.
Pick 7 – Adelaide – Dylan Stephens
183cm, 74kg, ranked No.12 by Champion Data
J: Easy choice for me with Flanders off the board. Stephens is a proven blue-chip prospect on the wing and I suspect will develop a more all-round game during his AFL career.
Pick 8 – Fremantle – Lachie Ash
187cm, 83kg, ranked No.8 by Champion Data
M: The speed demon of this year’s draft. Pair him with Nathan Wilson off half-back and you’ve got a pretty formidable combination.
Pick 9 – Fremantle – Caleb Serong
178cm, 83kg, ranked No.6 by Champion Data
M: Simply too good to pass up here. He’s predominantly a small forward at the moment, but will go through the midfield.
Pick 10 – Fremantle – Liam Henry (matching Carlton bid)
180cm, 68kg, ranked No.11 by Champion Data
J: Freo’s pick swap with Melbourne last week was made, I suspect, with the knowledge a bid from Carlton is coming here. I’ll make that bid.
M: One of the best small forwards in it, Freo will be delighted to have him.
Pick 11 – Carlton – Deven Robertson
184cm, 81kg, ranked No.9 by Champion Data
J: Carlton have drafted a lot of high-potential midfielders as part of their rebuild, and aside from last year’s No.1 pick Sam Walsh, none have really become accomplished AFL players yet (albeit with plenty of time up their sleeves).
I feel like it’s the right time to balance that group out with someone a bit more blue-chip in Deven Robertson, who you can just about be the farm on being a 200-gamer.
Pick 12 – Melbourne – Cody Weightman
178cm, 75kg, ranked No.30 by Champion Data
M: He’s a tenacious small forward who plays taller, in the mould of Jamie Elliott. After chasing Elliott in the trade period and missing out, Weightman fills a genuine need and looks set to become a fan favourite.
Pick 13 – Hawthorn – Brodie Kemp
192cm, 89kg, ranked No.21 by Champion Data
J: Simply the best talent left on the board here, Kemp’s mixture of height and athleticism gives him huge upside. Won’t feature much in 2020 though due to an ACL injury.
Pick 14 – Port Adelaide – Fischer McAsey
197cm, 91kg, ranked No.13 by Champion Data
M: After losing Dougal Howard, Port needed another key defender to bolster their stocks behind Clurey and Jonas, and McAsey fits the bill. Can also play as a forward.
Pick 15 – Western Bulldogs – Miles Bergman
J: The dogs have a beautiful playing list right now and at the moment we’re really just putting icing on the cake. Bergman is very much that kind of player, someone who, when he puts it all together, can be a star.
Pick 16 – Geelong Cats – Josh Worrell
195cm, 83kg, ranked No.22 by Champion Data
M: The Cats needed to add to their key defensive stocks, and Worrell is their man here.
Pick 17 – Gold Coast Suns – Trent Rivers
188cm, 83kg, ranked No.19 by Champion Data
J: What I want if I’m the Suns is players who can make an impact as soon as possible so that we can get that positive momentum flowing before the players again become disillusioned. Rivers strikes me as the right pick for that goal.
Pick 18 – Port Adelaide – Trent Bianco
178cm, 73kg, ranked No.26 by Champion Data
M: Too good to pass up here. The Oakleigh Chargers Captain, he’s a small but skillful midfielder with an elite kick.
Pick 19 – Geelong – Cooper Stephens
188cm, 83kg, ranked No.16 by Champion Data
M: An inside midfielder to bolster their stocks in that area. Could form a good on-ball partnership with 2018 draftee Charlie Constable.
Pick 20 – Port Adelaide – Will Day
189cm, 76kg, ranked No.29 by Champion Data
M: A raw but exciting defender with plenty of pace. Will be able to develop behind Riley Bonner and Darcy Byrne-Jones for the next few years.
Pick 21 – Hawthorn – Finn Maginness (matching Richmond bid)
189cm, 82kg, ranked No.15 by Champion Data
J: The Tigers have been linked to an inside mid at this pick and with Cooper Stephens off the board I’m happy to put a bid on a similar player in Finn Maginness. But, in my dual-role as Hawthorn’s list manager, I’ll also match that bid.
Pick 22 – Richmond – Jeremy Sharp
189cm, 81kg, ranked No.25 by Champion Data
J: Although Jay Rantall is on the board still in that mould of player that I’m looking for – and there’s a good chance he goes here on the night – I’m going to go in a bit of a different direction and grab Sharp, who is a great ball-mover out of defence or on the wing.
Pick 23 – Gold Coast – Kysaiah Pickett
J: Seemingly certain to go much earlier than here on the night, Pickett is a wrecking ball small forward who will quickly become a fan favourite. You’d love to have him forming a partnership with Izak Rankine at the Suns.
Pick 24 – Brisbane – Harrison Jones
M: A similar type of player to Hipwood, Jones needs time to develop. But he fits the Lions’ needs here, and without any glaring holes on their list they can afford to take him here.
Pick 25 – Port Adelaide – Jackson Mead (matching Adelaide bid)
183cm, 83kg, ranked No.23 by Champion Data
J: Happy to show a little cheek here on the behalf of Adelaide and put in a bid on my cross-town rivals’ father-son prospect.
M: Matching this one. A skillful player who looks a solid long-term prospect for the team his dad played for and he grew up supporting.
Pick 26 – Adelaide – Sam De Koning
J: I know the Crows are keen on a key defender – quite possibly Fisher McAsey much earlier in the night – but picking up De Koning here is a good fit.
Pick 27 – Adelaide – Will Gould
192cm, 106kg, ranked No.10 by Champion Data
J: I can’t leave this guy on the board any longer. Gould has his critics and concerns, but has shown immense talent on field and is going to be a cult figure wherever he lands.
Pick 28 – Geelong – Jay Rantall
185cm, 83kg, ranked No.25 by Champion Data
M: An endurance midfielder to bolster Geelong’s stocks alongside Stephens. Won the 2km time trial at the combine in a time of 5:51, and has shown his ball-winning abilities too.
Pick 29 – Sydney – Elijah Taylor
M: Doesn’t necessarily fill a need for Sydney, but on talent I felt he was too good to pass up here. He’s a quick and silky and takes the game on, and should do well at Sydney given the club’s excellent Indigenous leaders and culture.
Pick 30 – North Melbourne – Dylan Williams
J: North needs more dangerous goalkickers who aren’t Ben Brown (at least until someone clones Ben Brown), and Williams is exactly that. For the record, I would take Cam ‘Tahini’ Taheny with the next of North’s back-to-back picks!