Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson are headed to Gold Coast. Picture: Tony Gough.
Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson are headed to Gold Coast. Picture: Tony Gough.

Ultimate guide to the AFL draft’s top-20

The number one and two picks on Wednesday night are unlikely to come as any surprise.

Gold Coast has been eyeing the Matthew Rowell-Noah Anderson double since it was handed draft concessions by the AFL and will confirm the star Oakleigh duo as its star one-two combination.

But how will the next 18 selections pan out?

Melbourne has been linked to small forward Kysaiah Pickett, while Hawthorn will be waiting for another club to bid on father-son Finn Maginness.

Here's how draft expert Chris Cavanagh expects the first round to play out.

 

 

Matthew Rowell poses with his dual medals after winning best on ground in the NAB League grand final.
Matthew Rowell poses with his dual medals after winning best on ground in the NAB League grand final.

 

1. MATTHEW ROWELL (Gold Coast, priority pick)

Oakleigh, 180cm midfielder

Likened to Geelong's Joel Selwood, the inside midfielder averaged 25 disposals at the under-18 national championships and produced similar numbers across the year to that of Carlton's Sam Walsh in 2018. The highly-competitive and dedicated Oakleigh Chargers product lists his workrate as his biggest strength and is viewed as a player who is ready to line up in the AFL in Round 1 next year.

STATS SAY: No. 1 player at the under-18 national championships, averaging 133 ranking points.

 

Noah Anderson celebrates a goal in the NAB League for Oakleigh.
Noah Anderson celebrates a goal in the NAB League for Oakleigh.

 

2. NOAH ANDERSON (Gold Coast)

Oakleigh, 191cm midfield-forward

Oakleigh, Best mates with Rowell right through their childhood, Anderson has been a highly-touted prospect for some time as an outside midfielder who can also be damaging forward. Compared to Western Bulldogs' Marcus Bontempelli, he is the son of two-time Hawthorn premiership player Dean Anderson and captained Vic Metro at the national championships this year where he averaged 23.5 disposals.

STATS SAY: Joined the elite company of Jack Higgins, Hugh McCluggage and Devon Smith as players to average 25 disposals and two goals in the NAB League.

 

 

 

 

 

Luke Jackson is set to be the highest ruckman taken in the draft since Nic Naitanui.
Luke Jackson is set to be the highest ruckman taken in the draft since Nic Naitanui.

 

3. LUKE JACKSON (Melbourne)

East Fremantle, 199cm ruckman

A 200cm former Australian basketballer who has been likened to Collingwood star Brodie Grundy because of his follow-up work at ground level. Playing for Western Australia, he was far-and-away the best ruckman at the national championships, averaging 14.5 disposals and 36.8 hit-outs. WA coach and former West Coast star Peter Sumich believes he can play significant senior AFL football next year.

STATS SAY: Averaged 13.8 AFL player rating points at the national championships, the second-most recorded by a ruckman in five years.

 

Lachlan Ash evades a tackle while playing for Vic Country.
Lachlan Ash evades a tackle while playing for Vic Country.

 

4. LACHIE ASH (GWS Giants)

Murray Bushrangers, 186cm defender

The mid-sized All-Australian rebounding defender has also shown an ability to run through the midfield with Murray Bushrangers this year. Ash has line-breaking speed, reads the ball well and is a strong intercept mark. He was a co-captain of Vic Country at the national championships and is a gut runner who ranked equal-seventh in the yoyo test at the draft combine.

STATS SAY: Led all comers for metres gained at the 2019 under-18 championships with 502 per match while also ranking second for uncontested possessions and fifth for score involvements.

 

Tom Green is expected to attract a bid from Sydney but will join GWS.
Tom Green is expected to attract a bid from Sydney but will join GWS.

 

5. TOM GREEN (GWS Giants, which is expected to match Sydney's bid and push the current draft order back by one)

GWS Giants academy, 191cm midfielder

The big-bodied onballer from Canberra got serious about football last summer and shed 8kg, greatly improving his running ability. Likened to Carlton's Patrick Cripps, the grandson of four-time Richmond premiership player Michael Green is a contested-ball beast who also has clean hands, good vision and leadership qualities and averaged 23.8 disposals for the Allies at the national championships.

STATS SAY: The best contested ball winning junior ever recorded by Champion Data, averaging 16.2 contested possessions at the national championships.

 

Explosive midfielder Sam Flanders has been likened to Christian Petracca.
Explosive midfielder Sam Flanders has been likened to Christian Petracca.

 

6. SAM FLANDERS (Sydney)

Gippsland Power, 182cm midfielder

Gippsland Power talent manager Scott McDougal believes Flanders "could be anything". The one-time forward, who has morphed into more of a midfielder this year, is a power athlete who has serious speed, a hot competitive streak and a strong goal sense. Likened to Melbourne's Christian Petracca, the knock on Flanders had been his endurance but that is ever improving. Flanders averaged 22.5 disposals and 4.5 clearances for Vic Metro in the national championships.

STATS SAY: Finished as the fifth-ranked player at the national championships, averaging 113 ranking points.

 

Fischer McAsey flies above a pack to reel in a mark for Vic Metro.
Fischer McAsey flies above a pack to reel in a mark for Vic Metro.

 

7. FISCHER McASEY (Adelaide)

Sandringham, 197cm defender

Having been a key forward for much of his junior football, McAsey was moved into defence this year with great effect. An Aaron Naughton clone, he stands the same height as the Western Bulldogs star at 195cm and has similar marking abilities in the air. McAsey is also a good decision maker not only claimed All-Australian honours from the national championships but was also named Vic Metro's MVP.

STATS SAY: The No. 1 ranked key-position player at the national championships, McAsey also led all key defenders for disposals, marks, intercept possessions and intercept marks.

 

Deven Robertson looks set to stay in Western Australia.
Deven Robertson looks set to stay in Western Australia.

 

8. DEVEN ROBERTSON (Fremantle)

Perth, 184cm midfielder

The nephew of former West Coast captain Darren Glass, Robertson is all class on and off the field. He captained a triumphant Western Australia at the national championships, where he averaged 30 disposals and 6.8 tackles and won the Larke Medal as the best-and-fairest player in Division 1. Compared to Geelong's Joel Selwood, Robertson is a creative player who has clean hands and good vision.

STATS SAY: Broke Sam Walsh's record for the most disposals at the national championships, averaging 30 per match to be the third-ranked player of the carnival.

 

Hayden Young has attracted interest thanks to his precise skills.
Hayden Young has attracted interest thanks to his precise skills.

 

9. HAYDEN YOUNG (Fremantle)

Dandenong Stingrays, 188cm halfback

Talk to recruiters about Young they all mention he's a "beautiful kick". The booming left-footer is a weapon coming out of defence, not only because of his ball use but also his intercepting ability and speed. Young was named on the halfback flank in the All-Australian time and drew comparisons to Greater Western Sydney's Nick Haynes after a sterling national championships but has shown an ability to play in multiple positions.

STATS SAY: Averaged the most intercept possessions at the national championships and the second-most intercept marks.

 

Only Matthew Rowell scored more ranking points than Caleb Serong at the national carnival.
Only Matthew Rowell scored more ranking points than Caleb Serong at the national carnival.

 

10. CALEB SERONG (Carlton)

Gippsland, 179cm midfielder-forward

Vic Country's MVP from the national championships, Serong is not only an elite inside-midfielder but he has also shown an ability to play as a damaging forward. While standing just 178cm tall, he has a great leap and can "sit on heads" and be a matchwinner in attack with his marking and clean hands at ground level. Serong averaged 23.5 disposals and 8.5 tackles for Vic Metro and trained with Carlton in pre-season.

STATS SAY: The second-highest rated player at the under-18 championships behind only Matthew Rowell, averaging 130 ranking points.

 

 

 

 

Kysaiah Pickett and his uncle, former AFL star Byron Pickett.
Kysaiah Pickett and his uncle, former AFL star Byron Pickett.

 

 

11. KYSAIAH PICKETT (Melbourne)

Woodville-West Torrens, 170cm forward

The nephew of former North Melbourne, Port Adelaide and Melbourne hard nut Byron Pickett, the small forward and midfielder is a similarly powerful and aggressive player. Clever around goals, he has serious speed and despite being just 170cm can also be a strong presence in the air while also providing plenty of pressure at ground level. The South Australian averaged 13.7 disposals and kicked two goals from three games at the national championships.

STATS SAY: Averaged 76 ranking points at the national championships, with his best game being his last with 125 points against the Allies.

 

Brodie Kemp transitioned from a defender to a midfielder this year.
Brodie Kemp transitioned from a defender to a midfielder this year.

 

12. BRODIE KEMP (Hawthorn)

Bendigo Pioneers, 192cm defender

A versatile tall, the 192cm Kemp ruptured his ACL during a school football game in July but is on the road to a full recovery and remains a red-hot draft prospect. The Bendigo Pioneers product reads the play well, is an elite overhead mark who launches himself at the footy and is a precise kick. He averaged 20 disposals at the national championships and transitioned from a key defender to a genuine midfielder this year.

STATS SAY: Was the 12th ranked player at the national championships, rating elite in his position for kicks, marks, intercept marks and intercept possessions.

 

Dylan Stephens has been compared to Andrew Gaff for his outside run.
Dylan Stephens has been compared to Andrew Gaff for his outside run.

 

13. DYLAN STEPHENS (Port Adelaide)

Norwood, 183cm midfielder

The South Australian midfielder played through groin soreness at the national championships and still produced an impressive carnival in which he averaged 23.5 disposals to earn All-Australian selection. A prolific ball winner, the creative and penetrating left-footer can play inside or outside the contest, placed third in the 2km time-trial at the draft combine and also impressed against men in the Norwood's SANFL side this year.

STATS SAY: The leading uncontested possession winner at the national championships while also ranking in the top 10 midfielders for ground ball gets, metres gained and pressure applied.

 

Fremantle has traded up to ensure it lands small forward Liam Henry.
Fremantle has traded up to ensure it lands small forward Liam Henry.

 

14. LIAM HENRY (Fremantle, which is expected to match the Western Bulldogs' bid and push the draft order back by one)

Fremantle academy, 179cm forward

Henry has been labelled the best small forward in this year's draft and it's no wonder, with comparisons to Fremantle star Michael Walters. The 179cm livewire has Derek and Dale Kickett in the family tree and grew up trying to play like Cyril Rioli. The West Australian and Fremantle academy member has blistering speed, elite evasiveness and silky skills and averaged 17.5 disposals at the national championships to be named an All-Australian.

STATS SAY: Ranked in the top three mid-forwards for uncontested possessions, metres gained, score involvements, assists and goals at the national championships.

 

Small forward Cody Weightman was a standout for Vic Country at the Under-18 national carnival.
Small forward Cody Weightman was a standout for Vic Country at the Under-18 national carnival.

 

15. CODY WEIGHTMAN (Western Bulldogs)

Dandenong Stingrays, 177cm forward

Had a rocky start to the year, missing some of pre-season with injuries including minor knee surgery. But that has not stopped Weightman from putting himself forward as a top draft prospect. The small forward has worked with the same running coach as Richmond's Jack Higgins and has trained alongside the Tiger in recent years. He was the leading goalkicker at the national championships with nine goals in four games and can play taller than his 178cm height suggests.

STATS SAY: Rated elite for both forward 50 marks and contested marks among general forwards in the NAB League and was the top-ranked general forward at the national championships.

 

It is easy to see why Josh Worrell has been compared to GWS star Nick Haynes.
It is easy to see why Josh Worrell has been compared to GWS star Nick Haynes.

 

16. JOSH WORRELL (Geelong)

Sandringham, 195cm defender

The similarities to GWS All-Australian defender Nick Haynes keep on coming for Worrell. A competitive beast who hates being beaten, the 195cm key defender also has athletic tricks, speed and wants to get the ball in his hands. He showed those athletic abilities by starting on a wing in Round 1 for the Sandringham Dragons this year and spent time forward while playing for Vic Metro at the national championships before a shoulder reconstruction ended his year early.

STATS SAY: Kicked seven goals for Vic Metro in the national championships, finishing as the second-highest goalkicker of the tournament.

 

Will Day could be set to join his cousin Sam on the Gold Coast.
Will Day could be set to join his cousin Sam on the Gold Coast.

 

17. WILL DAY (Gold Coast)

West Adelaide, 187cm defender

The South Australian is an attacking halfback who is lightly framed but strong overhead and is proficient with his disposal on both sides of his body. The grandson of 1971 Hawthorn premiership player Robert Day and cousin of Gold Coast's Sam Day, the 187cm former state-level baseball player rated well in the running vertical jump test at the draft combine and averaged 18.8 disposals and five marks at the national championships.

STATS SAY: Was second only to Hayden Young for intercept possessions at the national championships, averaging 7.5 a game.

 

Trent Bianco is renowned for his elite execution by foot.
Trent Bianco is renowned for his elite execution by foot.

 

18. TRENT BIANCO (Port Adelaide)

Oakleigh Chargers, 178cm midfielder

The Oakleigh Chargers premiership captain is a running machine who has excelled on a wing in the NAB League this year. A smart footballer compared to Collingwood's Steele Sidebottom, Bianco also played off a halfback flank for Vic Metro in the under-18 national championships, finishing as the equal-third ranked general defender at the tournament. Bianco is a playmaker and possesses elite execution on either side of his body.

STATS SAY: Accumulated the most disposals of any player to appear in more than 10 NAB League games this year, winning at least 22 disposals in all but one match.

 

Finn Maginness will land at Hawthorn as a father-son selection. Picture: Andy Brownbill
Finn Maginness will land at Hawthorn as a father-son selection. Picture: Andy Brownbill

19. FINN MAGINNESS (Hawthorn, which is expected to match Geelong's bid and push the draft order back by one)

Sandringham, 189cm midfielder

The son of two-time Hawthorn premiership player Scott Maginness, the midfielder put a disappointing 2018 behind him to produce an outstanding top-age year. A consistent ball-winner who can also push forward and hit the scoreboard, the Sandringham Dragons improved his fitness and built his body significantly last summer and has reaped the rewards, placing second in the 2km time trial at the draft combine.

STATS SAY: Had the second-highest contested possession rate of any player to average at least 18 disposals at the national championships.

 

Saindringham Dragons draft prospect Miles Bergman marks strongly.
Saindringham Dragons draft prospect Miles Bergman marks strongly.

 

20. MILES BERGMAN (Geelong)

Sandringham, 189cm utility

One of the real draft bolters this year, the 186cm midfielder or forward produced an impressive finish to the season. The Sandringham Dragons product averaged 11.8 disposals, 5.8 marks and kicked seven goals in the final four rounds of the NAB League despite managing shin splints in the back half of the year. He is strong one-on-one overhead and at ground level and has a kick that is already considered to be AFL level.

STATS SAY: Rated elite among general forwards in the NAB League for disposals, marks, contested marks, score involvements and tackles.

 

 

 

News Corp Australia


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