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Top 50 prospects for 2016 AFL Draft – 1-25


Draft night is nearly here, so below we present our final Big Board rankings before the 2016 AFL Draft to be held on November 25 in Sydney.

Today, we reveal the players we have ranked 1-25 based on their AFL potential, including our own analysis, as well as their strengths, weaknesses, injuries, test results and comments from those who know the players best – their coaches and talent managers.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the prospects ranked 26-50.

Reminder: The Big Board is not a prediction of where players will be drafted, only where I have them ranked as prospects.


Ht: 185.6cm | Wt: 75.9kg | Hybrid Midfielder | North Ballarat Rebels

McCluggage has done it all this year – and off basically no pre-season. He has superb vision and hands in traffic and has a habit of making tacklers miss. He sees game extremely efficiently and has proven to be a consistent goalkicker from midfield – 25 goals in 12 TAC Cup matches, seven in four games the under-18 championships and another four in the All-Stars game. At the next level he will probably start as a half forward/wing and once he develops a stronger frame, will go into a more permanent midfield role.

Strengths: composure, goal sense, vision.

Needs to improve: strength.

Injuries: Back in January. Quad in October – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint (secs) – N/A. 20m Sprint (secs) – N/A. Agility (secs) – N/A. Beep Test (level) – N/A. 3km Time Trial (min:secs) – N/A.

Draft range: 1-3.

What they say: "As a slight midfielder he protects the ball really well, but his ability to be a chain player where he can start the chain of play and then finish with a goal is elite. He is right up there with the best players I have seen come through the Rebels.” – North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington.

2. Jack BOWES

Ht: 187.0cm | Wt: 77.7kg | Hybrid Midfielder | Cairns Saints/Gold Coast Academy

The Gold Coast academy prospect is a class act. He boasts great vision and touch both inside and outside the contest and is generally a good ball user. At NEAFL level, he has shown the ability to go forward and kick goals from midfield – he kicked four and had 25+ touches in a Suns trial – and although he doesn’t have next-level speed, its more than adequate and he makes his way around the ground well. Some clubs will have him ranked at the very top of their boards, but he is more likely to be a gift late in the top 10.

Strengths: awareness, clean hands, reading of play, touch.

Needs to improve: burst, kicking penetration.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 25.75. 20m Sprint – 3.00. Agility – 8.56. Beep Test – 14.4. 3km TT – 10:17.

Draft range: 3-9.

What they say: “A Rolls Royce. He’s got 360-degree awareness that not many player possess. He’s got great leadership skills and although he isn’t overly quick, he seems to always get to the ball first because he reads it quicker.” – Queensland high performance coach Adrian Fletcher.

3. Andrew McGRATH

Ht: 177.4cm | Wt: 76.7kg | Small Defender | Sandringham Dragons

McGrath has got it all – he can win own ball either in midfield, across half back or in attack (as he has done at school), and when he tucks it under his arm, he is a dynamic mover in both traffic and in space. Defensively, he chooses when to leave his opponent and get involved in transition from defence very well but his kicking (despite good numbers) can run hot and cold. As a leader and character, there isn’t too many better to have come through the ranks in the past few years – as shown by his performances and the esteem he is held in by those around him at Brighton Grammar.

Strengths: agility, speed, character, intensity.

Needs to improve: kicking.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 24.44. 20m Sprint – 3.02. Agility – 8.38. Beep Test – 13.1. 3km TT – 10:42.

Draft range: 1-2.

What they say: “From very early in the season we saw his ability to impact games whether it was down back or in midfield – he just gets the job done. Whether he goes right at the top or not, he is going to be a very good AFL player straight away.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.


Ht: 193.1cm | Wt: 83.7kg | Utility | Sandringham Dragons

The left-footer from Beaumaris is possibly the most talented player in this draft. Injuries have been his foe over the past 24 months, but he got a clearer run at things this year and reminded us all about just how good he could be. He possesses a lovely left foot and a sidestep to be proud of. He reads play well across half back and finds a way to stick out his long arms to pluck a handball or intercept the ball. His school footy has shown an ability to play through midfield (where he sees himself in the future) and also in attack. He’s a mix of Grant Birchall and Marcus Bontempelli.

Strengths: x-factor, size/shape, versatility.

Needs to improve: consistency, strength, injuries.

Injuries: Hip surgery in 2015. Foot in January.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 25.85. 20m Sprint – 3.04. Agility – 8.38. Beep Test – 12.9. 3km TT – 11:24.

Draft range: 4-12.

What they say: “Jack showed he can play back or forward and he can play mid once his tank builds up a bit more. He still has to fill out and mature with that frame, though. He is going to leave a few coaches’ boxes with a few headaches.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.


Ht: 185.6cm | Wt: 84.1kg | Hybrid Midfielder | Sandringham Dragons

Taranto played mostly across half forward with Vic Metro, but its in midfield where his game as grown. He boasts good frame uses it to his advantage around stoppages and when isolating a direct opponent. With the ball in the air he generally reads ball quicker than his opposition, while at ground level, he gets to dangerous spots and has a real nose for where the goals are – especially with his snaps across his body. He isn’t overly quick, but quick enough, and at times his kicking technique can be a bit loose – it should be an easy fix though.

Strengths: marking, scoreboard impact, size, one-percenters.

Needs to improve: speed, kicking.

Injuries: Hamstring in September – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 4-10.

What they say: “He is amazing above his head for his size but what people don’t realise about him is his one percenters. He gets the high 20s in touches, but he would also lead our tackles, shepherd marks, shepherd spoils. I don’t think he realises how good he is.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.


Ht: 204.7cm | Wt: 89.5kg | Ruckman | South Fremantle

This is very high for a ruckman, but given time, English can be one of the better big men in the competition. He still sports a very slender frame that will need plenty of work in the gym, but athletically, he gets around the ground like former Eagle champion, Dean Cox. Like Cox he is an outstanding kick for his size and his running transition and work at ground level are good. Behind the ball he positions himself well, but you would like to see him press forward more often and take more contested marks to assert his superiority and become a complete ruckman.

Strengths: mobility, size, polish, kicking.

Needs to improve: attacking mind-set, strength, contested marking.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 26.64. 20m Sprint – 3.12. Agility – 9.16. Beep Test – 13.4. 3km TT – 10:55.

Draft range: 6-14.

What they say: “Tim has a great skill-set for a big fella. Below his knees his hands are exceptional for a player of his size and he’s an extremely good character. Plays a little like Dean Cox in some ways in terms of covering the ground and winning the football.” – South Fremantle talent manager Jason Pedulla.


Ht: 178.0cm | Wt: 76.2kg | Small Forward | Gippsland Power

Dynamic and devastating – Ainsworth has all the tools to be a high-level small forward/midfielder. As a forward, he is extremely strong overhead for his size, whether it be on the lead, or one-on-one. At times, his agility can be better and he isn’t always super clean below his knees – that will come with work. In midfield he is still developing his craft and building his endurance base, but he has some tricks and can sniff out the ball. After two reports in the one game early in the year, his ability to control aggression was questioned but there haven’t been any issues since.

Strengths: class, finishing, marking, skill.

Needs to improve: endurance, ground balls.

Injuries: Broken arm in January. Knee cartilage in April.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 25.01. 20m Sprint – 2.90. Agility – 8.36. Beep Test – 14.2. 3km TT – 10:54.

Draft range: 2-3.

What they say: “A very good kick, a great mark for his size and has elite vertical jump and speed. Ideally his best position at the moment is forward but he could become a midfielder in time. I’d liken him to Jamie Elliott but he’s quicker and more agile.” – Gippsland Power coach Leigh Brown.


Ht: 189.4cm | Wt: 79.7kg | Hybrid Midfielder | Sandringham Dragons/GWS Academy

The GWS academy member hasn’t played as much as he (or scouts) would like this year, but when he has, he has given an insight into what he may become at the next level. At just under 190cm, he is a great size and shape for a modern midfielder and can glide around with ease, but he hasn’t been prodigious ball-winner – he’s yet to have a 30+ possession game at any level. His endurance is good (can run a 14.10 beep) and he can mark it went pushing forward, but his work rate can certainly improve.

Strengths: size, contested ball, marking.

Needs to improve: injuries, collecting more ball.

Injuries: Knee in 2015. Foot in July. AC Joint in September – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 1-11.

What they say: “Just the sheer amount of travel on top of needing to study and not being at home with the direct support has meant he had to be a real self-starter and really motivated to get things done and be self-sufficient. To his credit I thought there were some real outstanding patches of footy.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.


Ht: 179.7cm | Wt: 72.7kg | Hybrid Midfielder | Claremont

As talented as any prospect in the country. Petrevski-Seton is an ambidextrous ball user, but does have a tendency to go onto left side a bit too often and scrub kicks along the ground – he had a very high clanger percentage in this year’s championships. As a ball winner, he can win it inside and out (he shows good combativeness for his size), and has excellent vision to bring teammates into the game. He coasted at times in the WAFL Colts – I would have liked to see him play a few league games – and his work rate is something he needs to improve to reach his full potential.

Strengths: polish, impact, contested ball.

Needs to improve: work-rate, fitness, clangers.

Injuries: Hamstring in May/June.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – 3.01. Agility – 8.54. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – 10:32.

Draft range: 5-10.

What they say: “He probably didn’t have the year people wanted him to have, or that he wanted to have, but he some niggling injuries. Just a beautiful mover, kicks it both sides brilliantly, tackles hard and he’s as good as a junior as I’ve seen. Just a classy, classy player.” – Claremont football operations manager Darcy Coffey.

10. Will BRODIE

Ht: 188.0cm | Wt: 82.4 | Inside Midfielder | Murray Bushrangers

Brodie started the year with a bang as best afield in both AFL Academy matches against VFL opponents but then his form plateaued a touch. As an inside midfielder, he has great work ethic and ability to get his hands on the ball in tight spaces. On the outside, he has room for improvement with his spread and his kicking has to get better at next level to hurt the opposition more. He is probably the safest bet of all players in the top 10, others just have greater scope for improvement.

Strengths: inside ball winning, stoppage impact.

Needs to improve: endurance, speed, spread from contest, rotations.

Injuries: Knee in June/July. Shoulder in July. Foot/ankle in September/October – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 5-12.

What they say: “Will is a likely top-end draft pick after an outstanding year and three years with the football club in total. An elite inside midfielder who wins his own football consistently around the stoppages. He’s a good size, so I could see him playing AFL football pretty early next year.” – Murray Bushrangers talent manager Lee Fraser.

11. Harry PERRYMAN

Ht: 183.9cm | Wt: 79.4kg | Inside Midfielder | Collingullie-Glenfield Park/GWS Academy

From the first time you see Perryman play, you know he is a pure footballer. He isn’t quick, nor is he an athletic freak, but his brain works quicker than most, and allows him to get the ball first. He’s a very well-balanced player (kicks beautifully on both right and left), and rarely fumbles – a key trait for players who lack a touch of speed. Perryman is also very versatile having played in defence as a junior, then pushing into midfield and attack this year, where his strong overhead marking can be hard to combat.

Strengths: smarts, kicking, marking, reading of play.

Needs to improve: speed, endurance.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 26.44. 20m Sprint – 3.13. Agility – 8.63. Beep Test – 14.1. 3km TT – 11:05.

Draft range: 10-15.

What they say: “When he was a youngster he played all his footy down back, so he sees the game develop in front of him. He’s increased his endurance levels this year and became a midfield/forward type. He’s played senior footy since he was 15, so nothing phases him really.” – NSW/ACT head of talent Darren Denneman.

12. Griffin LOGUE

Ht: 191.0cm | Wt: 93.9kg | Key Defender | Swan Districts

What he brings:

The former rower and basketballer is the best key position prospect in the draft. He shows good speed to cover off in defence, and sees the game well with the ball in front of him. At times he has also played in the ruck (good leap) and in attack and much has been made of his 33-possession midfield outing in the WAFL Colts, but it was a wet day that suited a bigger body around the ball. He can tend to double-grab ground balls and even some marks, but as shown at the combine, he is an athletic beast who’ll turn into a brute as a key defender.

Strengths: athleticism, endurance, strength, penetration.

Needs to improve: touch, clean hands.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 25.09. 20m Sprint – 3.03. Agility – 8.51. Beep Test – 15.1. 3km TT – 9:58.

Draft range: 7-14.

What they say: “Griffin spent most of his junior days playing basketball and rowing – both at a high level. He’s played mostly in defence but he can go onball and I wouldn’t rule him out from being a very good forward either in the future as a Stewart Crameri-type.” – Swan Districts development officer Steve Thompson.

13. Daniel VENABLES

Ht: 185.2cm | Wt: 82.1kg | Medium Forward | Western Jets

The powerful forward/midfielder has shown himself to be a big time/moment player who can come to the fore in an hour of need. In their Round 1 clash against Oakleigh, Venables went to the goalsquare in the final term and kicked three goals – two coming from strong marks on the lead. He can burst out of traffic and break/stand up in tackles but his workrate and midfield craft need improving, as does his endurance if he is to make the move into the middle on a more permanent basis.

Strengths: class, burst, power, big game performer.

Needs to improve: endurance, ball winning.

Injuries: Broken leg in 2015. Hip surgery in 2015. Concussion in July. Foot in August – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 11-22.

What they say: “Daniel only played two-and-a-half games with us because of private school commitments and also played national championships. He’s got speed, a real competitor and he’s got excellent disposal skills. We’d hope that he’d go pretty early.” – Western Jets coach Torin Baker.

14. Jordan RIDLEY

Ht: 191.9cm | Wt: 79.7kg | Utility | Oakleigh Chargers

A big part of scouting is future projection and this is why Ridley ranks so high on my list. He is quick, reads the play well in back half by positioning himself to either intercept, or become the first receiver to set up a counter attack. His kicking is one of his big strengths and can split apart a zone with a precision pass. When in attack, he marks the ball well and has shown the capability to hit the scoreboard. He does though need to continue to work on winning more contested ball, but he’s not poor at it. For me, he is a similar type to Melbourne’s Jack Watts.

Strengths: kicking, decision-making, speed, versatility, character.

Needs to improve: consistency, strength.

Injuries: Shoulder in September.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 26.18. 20m Sprint – 2.99. Agility – 8.41. Beep Test – 13.5. 3km TT – 10:58.

Draft range: 21-30.

What they say: “Some clubs see him as a back and some see him as a forward and some see him as a midfielder. He has a great set of hands, a real confidence player, terrific character and hard worker. He will get the best out of himself at any level he plays at.” – Oakleigh Chargers talent manager Craig Notman.


Ht: 181.7cm | Wt: 74.7kg | Small Forward | Murray Bushrangers

Its been a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for Simpkin. As a bottom-ager in 2015, he played mostly as a creative small forward, where he showed elite vision, smarts and goal sense. The plan was for him to play more in midfield this year but that didn’t eventuate due to his injury. He is a classy, creative player and a good kick. He is someone who could blossom in a star at the next level as his body gets stronger and he improve his endurance.

Strengths: smarts, goal sense, speed.

Needs to improve: injuries, strength.

Injuries: Broken leg in April – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 8-13.

What they say: “We feel a bit robbed that we didn’t get to see him as a top ager after he played Round 1 and had 26 touches. Recovered well (from his injury) and should be right to start a pre-season at an AFL club. A medium forward/midfielder who has pace and smarts.” – Murray Bushrangers talent manager Lee Fraser.

16. Oliver FLORENT

Ht: 182.0cm | Wt: 74.4kg | Outside Midfielder | Sandringham Dragons

Until the All-Star game, Florent threatened to tear games apart at all levels – nationals, TAC Cup, AGS school footy – but never really did. In the All-Star game, it all came together. He can play both inside and out, he breaks tackles, and has good footy smarts. At times he can appear to be a lazy kick, as he lets go of the ball loosely in his ball drop, but its not something that can’t be cleaned up easily. His father passed away in September after a long cancer battle, so his performances for the past few years have come under personal duress, which makes his development all the more impressive.

Strengths: smarts, breaking tackles, agility, resilience.

Needs to improve: contested ball, kicking (ball drop).

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 26.06. 20m Sprint – 3.02. Agility – 8.26. Beep Test – 15.1. 3km TT – 10:45.

Draft range: 11-23.

What they say: “There’s a lot of upside physically when he gets into a full-time program. If you have a look at some of early games his effectiveness and ability to hit the scoreboard and be involved in scoring chains was outstanding. That is where he is even more exciting.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.


Ht: 186.2cm | Wt: 80.0kg | Hybrid Defender | Geelong Falcons

Witherden has mostly been a hybrid running defender, but pushed into midfield for the Falcons in his two games this year. He sees the game unfold very well in front of him when in back half, showing good lateral movement and is an effective tackler/spoiler with long arms. With ball in hand he has great vision and his kicking style resembles that of Steve Johnson. As a developing midfielder, he transitions well on the spread and can find the ball, but needs to continue to work on his tank.

Strengths: composure, vision, kicking, decision-making, drive.

Needs to improve: endurance, physicality, opposite side.

Injuries: Broken leg in May – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 12-22.

What they say: “Alex broke his leg early on in the season in a school game so only played two games with us. Played midfield and pushes forward after improving his conditioning but he still needs to improve that to play at AFL level but his eyes are wide-open to that.” – 2016 Geelong Falcons coach Andy Allthorpe.

18. Shai BOLTON

Ht: 174.7cm | Wt: 68.8kg | Small Forward | South Fremantle

Bolton jumps out at you when you watch him live, or on tape. He has an unbelievable side-step and can jump off a standing start to take a mark. At the moment he is more of a forward than a midfielder, but he has shown the ability to push up onto a wing in the national championships and in the All-Star Game. He does though need to work on his kicking – especially his high ball drop – and must lower his eyes to select the right option, rather than bombing long. He is far from the finished article and will take some patience, but oozes x-factor.

Strengths: speed, tricks, leap.

Needs to improve: endurance, strength, kicking, work ethic.

Injuries: Back stress fractures in 2015.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 25.10. 20m Sprint – 2.95. Agility – 8.85. Beep Test – 13.1. 3km TT – 10:59.

Draft range: 12-28.

What they say: “Adds energy around the contest and he’s a bit of a freak really. Has electric speed and at ground level he’s the best I’ve seen when he just takes off after hitting the ground. He’s a slight kid who will need to work on his endurance and strength to get to more contests.” – South Fremantle talent manager Jason Pedulla.

19. Josh ROTHAM

Ht: 191.9cm | Wt: 77.4kg | Hybrid Defender | West Perth

Entering the season, I felt Rotham has a real chance of being the first Western Australian selected due to his size, speed and athleticism. However, he had an ordinary season with West Perth and was just fair in the national championships. He is best suited as a running defender, who shows good composure and burst with ball in hand. He reads the play well and is good enough overhead. On the flipside, he hasn’t shown an ability to push into midfield with consistency, and needs to be more resilient/competitive in contested situations.

Strengths: kicking, athleticism.

Needs to improve: endurance, strength, contested ball.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 25.53. 20m Sprint – 2.92. Agility – 8.66. Beep Test – 12.9. 3km TT – 11:01.

Draft range: 20-30.

What they say: “He’s got an ability to play as a third tall defender or as a damaging wingman and could develop into an inside midfielder as things unfold. His pace and his long kicking make him a damaging player out of the back half.”– West Perth football operations manager Ward Harris.


Ht: 196.6cm | Wt: 85.9kg | Key Forward | Murray Bushrangers

Having played a fair bit of cricket (as an off-spinner), he hasn’t really ever done a proper pre-season, so what we have seen this year is closer to his basement than his ceiling. Marshall is a skinny tall forward with narrow shoulders (ala Justin Westhoff), but has great agility for his height and technically a good kick for goal. He reads the ball well in flight, but can also be caught behind a bit too often. He carried multiple injury niggles in the back half of the year and struggled for confidence. He’s a boom or bust prospect.

Strengths: athleticism, ball winning, sheer talent.

Needs to improve: fitness/strength, consistency, positioning.

Injuries: Wrist in January. Foot/quad in September – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 15-23.

What they say: “In terms of natural ability there is probably none better in our side or the TAC Cup as a whole. Got an innate ability to win the football and some of the things he can do at 198cm at ground level and in the air are quite astonishing.” – Murray Bushrangers talent manager Lee Fraser.

21. Jarrod BERRY

Ht: 191.0cm | Wt: 81.8kg | Utility | North Ballarat Rebels

As an under-17, Berry looked to be one of the outstanding prospects this year having been named All-Australian across half back for Vic Country. He hasn’t improved as much as hoped though (compared with others), with questions remaining about where he is best suited playing at the next level, injury niggles have hampered his season and his kicking still requires attention. He has outstanding character however, is strong overhead and has a burning desire to succeed.

Strengths: character, game sense, repeat efforts, drive.

Needs to improve: injury concerns, kicking consistency.

Injuries: Shoulder in 2015. Knee in June. Kidney in September.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 24.99. 20m Sprint – 3.01. Agility – 8.29. Beep Test – 15.1. 3km TT – 9:46.

Draft range: 11-20.

What they say: “Athletically he is elite with great endurance and speed and he has agility as well. His leadership qualities are second to none, and he won the Mitchell award at the academy this year. I think at the AFL level he can play in various positions and that’s the most attractive part of Jarrod’s game.” – North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington.


Ht: 186.5cm | Wt: 90.2kg | Medium Forward | East Perth

I wasn’t a huge wrap for Powell-Pepper early in the season as his decision-making and kicking were well below par, but he improved both areas as the season wore on. He still worries me playing behind centre where his turnovers can turn into opposition scores, but he projects very well as a powerful midfielder/forward, who can have burst through the centre, and be a scoreboard threat. At times he can be overzealous, but that in part is due to the outstanding intensity and passion that he plays with.

Strengths: power, inside ball winning, intensity.

Needs to improve: decision-making, kicking consistency.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 26.30. 20m Sprint – 3.00. Agility – 8.24. Beep Test – 14.7. 3km TT – 10:28.

Draft range: 12-23.

What they say: “Whoever picks Sam up will get their money’s worth because he’s a beast of a young man with elite endurance, good hands and has great power. Could play back, forward or midfield if required and he’ll be an asset wherever he goes.” – East Perth football operations manager Mark Winnett.

23. Will HAYWARD

Ht: 184.7cm | Wt: 76.6kg | Medium Forward | North Adelaide

Hayward first caught the eye in Late April and early May in the Roosters’ under 18s and reserves, but his improvement in the back half of the year was exceptional. He is an athletic, rangy type who bobs up at right time in attack thanks to excellent instincts. His kicking (and goalkicking) needs to improve, but he is a very good mark for his size, shows good separation speed on the lead and cat-like recovery. He has played mostly forward but showed the scope to go into midfield down the track. Reminds me a bit of recently retired Blue, Andrew Walker, in some ways.

Strengths: athleticism, speed, recovery, instincts.

Needs to improve: strength, physicality, field kicking, goal kicking.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – 2.94. Agility – 8.89. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 5-18.

What they say: “Will is extremely athletic. I’d say he’d start as a forward but develop into a midfielder down the track. Will need to build up but has some real upside with what he can do around the ball.” – North Adelaide football development manager Neil Sanders.

24. Luke RYAN

Ht: 185.7cm | Wt: 82.9kg | Hybrid Defender | Coburg

Ryan has arguably been the best player in state leagues this year as a rebounding defender for the Lions. He has a very high footy IQ, which aides his ability to read the play and intercept across half back, and is a dynamic, athletic runner with ball in hand. His ability to defend one on one was a question mark, but he was dragged deep a few times and stood up well. He’ll need to knuckle down more off-field at the next level and be more diligent in his preparation, but the talent is there.

Strengths: reading of play, agility, athleticism.

Needs to improve: defensive communication, professionalism.

Injuries: Shoulder in August – didn't test at combine.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – N/A. 20m Sprint – N/A. Agility – N/A. Beep Test – N/A. 3km TT – N/A.

Draft range: 19-45.

What they say: “We brought him in after he was cut by Essendon VFL and told him that he may have to bide his time in the development league, but he settled in quickly and Peter German says that he can’t remember a player who sees the game better across half back.” – Coburg general manager Craig Lees.

25. Cedric COX

Ht: 181.1cm | Wt: 78.6kg | Medium Defender | North Ballarat Rebels

Hailing from Halls Creek, Cox didn’t play at all in 2015 before he bobbed up at Camperdown (where he played in the senior interleague team for the Hampden league) and then at the Rebels. Prior to that, one can vaguely remember Cox playing alongside Sam Petrevski-Seton for WA North West at the under-16 championships in 2013 at Blacktown. He is best suited as a running half back with good vision, smarts and elite skills on both sides. He still need to work on his contested ball and consistency, but his endurance at the combine was better than expected.

Strengths: kicking on both sides, agility, drive.

Needs to improve: consistency, ball winning.

Injuries: None.

Combine test results: Repeat Sprint – 25.82. 20m Sprint – 3.05. Agility – 8.60. Beep Test – 13.2. 3km TT – 10:47.

Draft range: 18-32.

What they say: “To move from Halls Creek to Camperdown to pursue his football and outside life is a great credit to the boy. You can see he wants to make something if his life. He has sacrificed a lot but is going to gain a lot at the next level he goes to.” – North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington.

If you have any draft-related questions, you can send me a tweet to @BrettAndersonIF.

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5 May: Big Board 1.0 – Giants and Suns academy stars loom large

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