Much has been said about the quality of the 2017 draft, and while it lacks the depth of talent on offer last year — or, at this stage, next year — it is blessed with genuine quality at the pointy end.
We profile more than 200 lads who took part in the AFL draft combines – and throw in the odd ‘smokey’ whose names are likely to be called out on draft night, November 24.
Each score out of five is formulated using a combination of player match analysis, stats averages and test results. As a general guide:
5: Elite 4.5: Excellent 4: Above average 3-3.5: Competent 2.5: Below average 1-2: Needs to improve
25-Feb-99 | 176.2cm | 68.2kg | Sandringham Dragons
“Super footy smart. He doesn’t stand out in any athletic area, but works both ways very well. He thinks quicker than most others, but as a smaller player he’s probably up against it a bit. He can play forward, midfield and back and we hope he gets a chance somewhere.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.
26-Feb-98 | 193.0cm | 74.0kg | Geelong Falcons
“Josh is a wonderful story. He had never been in a program like the TAC Cup ever before and came in as a 19-year-old this season. Played as a key defender taking the most dangerous key forward each week. I couldn’t tell you a game where he was dominated by any opponent. Still very raw, and skinny, in the Dustin Fletcher mould. Spoiling is outstanding and in the air he is very hard to beat despite not being that strong yet. We see a lot of potential in him.” – Geelong Falcons coach Dan O’Keefe.
13-Jun-99 | 185.2cm | 74.1kg | Gippsland Power
“CJ is a Hawthorn NGA player so the Hawks have the inside running to take him if they want to. CJ comes from an Ethiopian background but moved to Australia since his early teenage years. He has great athleticism, great endurance and good speed, not to mention a huge vertical leap. He’s an outside player who could play wing or half-back and will need to work on contested ball to make it at the next level. His scope for improvement is enormous and he’s a terrifically hard worker.” – Gippsland Power coach Leigh Brown.
01-Dec-99 | 196.0cm | 102.5kg | Murray Bushrangers
“He is a power forward who spent time in the ruck for us as well. He led the goalkicking in the TAC Cup this year after playing only one game last season, so his development was enormous. He is comparable to Esava Ratugolea (drafted by Geelong last year) but perhaps not quite as good a contested mark. Can take a mark and is a reliable shot for goal but there is a query on his running, although that can be sorted if he’s prepared to put the work in.” – Murray Bushrangers coach Leon Wiggins.
09-Sep-99 | 184.8cm | 77.1kg | GWV Rebels
“Jordan’s got the x-factor about him – that medium forward who can also go onball. He’s got very strong hands and really hates getting beaten. He had an ankle operation at the end of last year that hampered his preparation for this year, but we threw him into midfield at the back end of the year and he showed some tricks. He’s a bit like Robbie Gray, but needs to get some more run in his legs.” – GWV Rebels talent manager Phil Partington.
18-Mar-95 | 196.0cm | 87.0kg | Box Hill Hawks
“The athletic forward, the nephew of former Test batsman Dean, was a late call-up to the state team this year. In the words of Hawks captain David Mirra, ‘he can clunk a ball and has got some serious reach; it’s very hard to get a spoil on him when he jumps at the footy’. Jones broke his cheekbone and missed Box Hill’s two finals, ending the year with 22 goals from 15 matches.” – VFL expert Paul Amy.
25-Nov-98 | 191.7cm | 79.9kg | Bendigo Pioneers
“Cooper is a 19-year-old who had a horror run with injury and didn’t get back until midseason after a knee injury. He dislocated his shoulder second game back but then came back again late. A likely type at 190cm who marks the ball well, he is a good decision-maker and kicks it well. He possibly hasn’t got on the park enough but I think Geelong might be keen on him at VFL level if he doesn’t get drafted.” – Bendigo Pioneers coach Ricky Coburn.
15-Mar-99 | 185.0cm | 80.2kg | Murray Bushrangers
“A terrific midfield player who is really strong in the contest. Tackles well and is hard to tackle because he can stand up and distribute the ball while someone is hanging off him. Outstanding runner who would have few peers, if any, in the TAC Cup. Unfortunately, he had a stress reaction in his back mid-season and didn’t play after that but statistically early in the year his numbers were as good as anyone’s.” – Murray Bushrangers coach Leon Higgins.
05-Apr-99 | 191.4cm | 81.2kg | Oakleigh Chargers
“He’s been a quiet achiever but we’ve been really impressed with his work down back. He competed well at the nationals against guys that were out of his weight range. He kicks it nicely with good penetration and has shown that he can go forward and take a contested mark and hit the scoreboard. Late in the prelim final loss he hurt his knee (meniscus tear) and he’s had surgery in recent weeks. We think he’s got scope for growth as he’s been juggling footy with his work as an apprentice builder for the past few years.” – Oakleigh Chargers talent manager Craig Notman.
20-May-95 | 203.9cm | 111.8kg | East Perth
“Scott is a mature-aged ruckman who is 22 years old and had a really strong year in the WAFL where he played 15 games. He has been with the club a long time but had some injuries early days and has taken time to develop. He is 204cm and quickly found his feet at senior level this year; his contested marking and pushing forward was a highlight. Ready to go as a player at AFL level, but in saying that there is probably plenty of development left in him and we are starting to see that now he’s been injury free for 18 months. Probably late draft, I reckon.” – East Perth football manager Mark Winnett.
01-Oct-93 | 186.0cm | 77.2kg | Aspley
“The 24-year-old came from Tasmania and had a big impact. Started as a wingman and was just fair, but was then put to half back and dominated games. His left foot is a real weapon – he hits targets that not many can and helps relieve pressure. His ability to put teammates into space is a feature of his game and he has some similar attributes to Josh Wagner.” – Aspley football operations manager Mark Perkins.
07-Feb-96 | 196.0cm | 65.0kg | West Perth
“Tyler was overlooked at the draft for the past few years but might get a chance given he kicked just under 50 goals playing at centre half forward, having played at centre half back for the previous two years. In my opinion he was the best key forward in the WAFL in 2017. A good size with great hands, he’s agile and has improved competitiveness and second and third efforts, which were perhaps a knock in previous years.” – West Perth football manager Ward Harris.
26-Jul-94 | 182.1cm | 81.2kg | South Fremantle
“Tim played as an inside midfielder but this year he added an ability to go forward and kick a goal, which made him a dangerous player. Kicked seven goals in one game but his best work is his explosiveness from congestion up and around the ball and hitting a target. Has really improved his kicking and that was probably one knock on his game previously. Worked hard in the gym to build his body up and there has been some real interest in him as a 23-year-old. From what we’ve heard we think he is a good chance to be drafted.” – South Fremantle football manager Dave Depane.
07-Dec-93 | 181.0cm | 81.0kg | Southport
“He ran second in the best and fairest last year and then won it comfortably this season. He was the NEAFL MVP and in the team of the year averaging 35 disposals and 10 clearances. He’s missed only one game in two years, so is quite resilient and a wonderful trainer. He is an outstanding tackler, which suits the way the game is played and will win his own footy. He’s perfect for any club that wants a readymade player.” – Southport football operations manager Jarrod Field.
16-Jul-99 | 185.0cm | 77.6kg | Oakleigh Chargers
“Kingy was a real success story of our season. He played only a handful of games last year and was a bit shaky early this season with his kicking and missed a few games, but he took on feedback well and once he got his chance again in the team he was a real lynchpin in defence and improved his kicking. He’s got excellent awareness with his use of the ball by hand and showed an ability to go into the middle in the preliminary final and have a real impact. He’s going to be an interesting one to see how clubs view him.” – Oakleigh Chargers talent manager Craig Notman.
03-Nov-93 | 177.5cm | 65.8kg | NT Thunder
“Francis played some good games this year at NEAFL level and has some real x-factor with the way that he can pick the ball up at speed and then make things happen with ball in hand. He has great speed but needs to work on his endurance to get to the next level. He lives two hours west of Darwin in a remote community and comes in to play with St Mary’s.” – NT Thunder coach Andrew Hodges.
25-Jun-99 | 195.7cm | 88.9kg | South Adelaide
“Nathan is an athletically gifted lad from the country and we believe has attributes that recruiters shouldn’t ignore. He is still raw but can play as the third tall defender or forward and has spent time in the midfield. Played Under 18s and the state Under 18s and came back and played some reserves football for us later in the year. Skills and consistency of skills need some work but if given the chance he’ll do it. We’re hoping someone gives him a chance late in the draft or as a rookie.” – South Adelaide football manager Warren Ploenges.
18-Nov-99 | 180.1cm | 77.9kg | Calder Cannons
“Dylan has elite pace and agility – he breaks the lines with his kicking and running. He needs to develop his outside game to become a more balanced player. He had injuries to both hands during the season so he was a bit fumbly and at his size he must be cleaner. I’d say he’s a late-round or rookie hope.” – Calder Cannons talent manager Ian Kyte.
21-Mar-99 | 184.5cm | 80.0kg | GWS Academy
“Jy is a terrific athlete with explosive power. He broke Sam Reid’s vertical jump record at the Bushrangers this year and plays with great power and speed. A versatile type who can play all over the place, I think he can play midfield in the future but he will just need time in that position.” – Murray Bushrangers coach Leon Higgins |
13-Nov-95 | 177.7cm | 81.2kg | Claremont
“Zac is a half-forward/midfielder who is strong in the body, catches the ball really well overhead and that’s what sets him apart. A penetrating kick who played as a defensive forward at times and still kicked a few goals. He’s a mature-aged player and I like his chances because he plays like an AFL player. Body is ready to go.” – Claremont football operations manager Darcy Coffey.
29-Jul-99 | 187.0cm | 79.4kg | GWS Academy
“Doulton is an exceptional athlete with a great mix of power and speed. Played mostly as a defender for us but did play on a wing and kicked some goals. He’s an intriguing player for clubs at the next level.” – Murray Bushrangers coach Leon Higgins.
Elliot LE GRICE
07-Aug-95 | 195.0cm | 95.0kg | Sandringham
“The defender made a rattling start to the season, only to suffer a knee injury that kept him out for two months. Understandably he was more handy than outstanding on his return. Outgoing Zebras coach Lindsay Gilbee said Le Grice would be a worthy rookie pick for a club needing back-up defenders. ‘He’s not a guy who’s going to get it 25 times but he can play on talls and smalls, he’s quite agile for his size, he’s got a really big tank and he’s a competitor,’ Gilbee said. ‘He’s a reasonable decision-maker. That’s an area he can improve on. But there’s a lot to like about Elliot.’ Sandy people have fingers crossed St Kilda will tap their accomplished backman, strengthening the alignment.” – VFL expert Paul Amy.
22-Jun-98 | 194.0cm | 94.0kg | Casey Demons
“The powerful right-footer had good judges talking him up after the early rounds of the Development League. From a rugby background, he still has much to improve upon but he’s quick, has good skills and is strong enough to shrug tackles in the manner of a horse’s tail flicking away a fly. Made three senior appearances and played in the Development League premiership. Kicked 25 goals in a game for St Kilda City Under 19s last year.” – VFL expert Paul Amy.
21-Apr-99 | 183.1cm | 75.1kg | Geelong Falcons
“Matthew is one of the quickest players in the TAC Cup this year and has great lateral movement. Without being biased I think he is one of the best decision-makers in the competition and has an ability to see targets no one else can see. I’d suggest he’d be, at a minimum, a second rounder but could go earlier given his pace and skill off half back.” – Geelong Falcons coach Dan O’Keefe.
03-Feb-96 | 177.4cm | 73.8kg | North Launceston
“Jay had glandular fever in his draft year and didn’t play much footy, but is a good ball user as a small defender and covers the opposition’s attack and space well. His endurance has been a question mark, but he’s worked hard on that and he’s got reasonable speed. A couple of clubs have tracked him closely.” – Tasmania talent manager Matt Armstrong.
01-Jan-98 | 179.1cm | 80.7kg | Eastern Ranges
“Jordan is a 19-year-old and I reckon he’s a ripper. I’m not sure what sort of interest there is in him but given Richmond’s success with small forwards he might get looked at. His pressure, attack on the ball, play reading and character playing as a small forward is high and I’m hoping he gets an opportunity. It will be late in the draft or as a rookie.” – Eastern Ranges coach Darren Bewick.
30-Mar-99 | 181.1cm | 77.1kg | Glenelg
“Alex was part of the state Under 18s program, played nine senior games for us and fitted in well as a back pocket/half back type in the league side. His capacity to run is enormous, he uses the ball well and his decision-making not bad. I think he might go as a late pick and he’s a great character kid to boot.” – Glenelg football manager Paul Sandercock.
18-Aug-92 | 190.0cm | 87.0kg | Port Melbourne
“At 25 the tall and evasive Borough defender might kick on to an AFL list – mainly because of his kicking. He had the second most in the league this year – 283 – of which 222 were effective. Port knew the ball was in good hands when he won it at half back. Mascitti was named in the VFL team of the year and had an outstanding finals series, being in the best in each of Port’s four matches. It was enough to rekindle AFL interest in the 2011 Oakleigh Chargers best and fairest.” – VFL expert Paul Amy.
05-Feb-99 | 187.5cm | 80.8kg | Glenelg
“Curtis is the brother of Geelong’s Lincoln. Played maybe a dozen games in our Under 18 side and he’s taller than his brother and a different style of player. Played mainly as a third taller forward, kicked a few goals and looked likely at times. Made significant improvement as the year unfolded.” – Glenelg football manager Paul Sandercock.
30-Dec-99 | 192.6cm | 84.0kg | Geelong Falcons
“We didn’t know what we had with Tom at the start of the year because he hadn’t really shown anyone, including himself, what he could do, but he’s a player. Probably similar to his older brother Paddy but is more of an athlete. Gets up the ground, has super hands, is courageous in the air and is a good size. A super athlete.” – Geelong Falcons coach Dan O’Keefe.
27-Dec-99 | 182.7cm | 70.9kg | Gippsland Power
“Matthew is four days off being a bottom-aged player so is very young in relation to some of the other kids. He’s doing Year 11 this year so will be at school in 2018 even if he gets drafted. A smooth mover with great foot skills, he’s a midfield/wing type and at this stage is more of an outside player. He played on some good opponents this year and beat them, he played well in the Young Guns game and was OK in the All Stars match played on AFL Grand Final day at the MCG. He’s already running AFL patterns as a midfielder but will need to develop his contested ball winning at the next level. I think he’s a good chance to go mid to late in the draft.” – Gippsland Power coach Leigh Brown.
22-Sep-95 | 187.0cm | 84.0kg | Geelong VFL
“The tall midfielder emerged into a draft candidate last year, finishing sixth in the best and fairest and attending the state combine. A hip problem hampered his testing and then his form early in 2017 but he found his best late in the season. Like teammate Tom Atkins he hunts the ball and uses it well. One recruiter suggests there is improvement in him too, noting he’s a relative latecomer to the state league scene (he won North Warrnambool’s best and fairest in 2015).” – VFL expert Paul Amy.
20-Jan-99 | 196.4cm | 92.6kg | Sandringham Dragons
“The big fella has had an interesting year. He was one of our best players throughout the finals and he kicked four goals in the All-Star game. He played with glandular fever for much of the year, which is a great effort. Some have likened him to a Wylie Buzza, a big fella who can play forward, go into the ruck and be nice and physical. There have been knocks on his agility but I think that was due to him losing zip when he was sick.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.
20-Jun-99 | 185.7cm | 79.4kg | Woodville-West Torrens
“We regard him as our best prospect to be drafted. He had a really horrific year through injury (quad and hamstring) and might have played only four or five games this season. Played in the Under 18 grand final and re-injured the hamstring. He’s a really good half-back type that reads the ball, has good skills and running power. We think he’s the prototypical rebounding sort of player. The team that gets him will get a 200-game player and just a great bloke as well.” – Woodville-West Torrens talent manager Darren Hams.
22-Apr-98 | 202.4cm | 106.4kg | GWV Rebels
“At 202cm and 106kg, he’s a young developing ruckman who can also play forward. He’s become much more physical this year having added some size to his frame over summer. He’s very much a football student now as the Rebels trainee and you can see how much he’s improved and how much he wants to get there. He reminds me a bit of Will Minson.” – GWV Rebels talent manager Phil Partington.
30-Mar-99 | 177.6cm | 77.4kg | Geelong Falcons
“I think everyone in the industry knows who Gryan is now after he kicked seven goals in the TAC Cup grand final and 50 for the year. Can’t miss him with his dreadlocks and the beauty of him is his uncanny ability around goals. Four of his seven goals in the grand final no one else could have kicked. I haven’t seen goal sense from a small forward like his in my time.” – Geelong Falcons coach Dan O’Keefe.
04-Feb-93 | 192.0cm | 97.0kg | Port Melbourne
“Collingwood looked but passed on the former Tasmanian last year, but the Pies are apparently keen again. Port coach Gary Ayres believes his premiership defender is capable of the jump to the AFL, noting his marking ability and decision-making. Mihocek missed eight matches owing to a knee injury but had an excellent finals series – he was best-afield in the semi-final against Footscray and named third best in the grand final. ‘He’s as brave as anyone, and I reckon people underestimate how much of an attacking force he is,’ Port skipper Toby Pinwill said of the son of former Essendon player Jack Mihocek.” – VFL expert Paul Amy.
31-Aug-99 | 196.2cm | 92.6kg | Subiaco
“Ben has come a long way this year given he’s based at Kalgoorlie because of school. Played key position and is probably more of a forward than a defender and can pinch-hit in the ruck because he has a very good vertical leap. He has some pace and is a long penetrating kick. We only saw him for a short period but he has a lot of upside about him.” – Subiaco football manager Daniel Vidovich.
18-Mar-99 | 179.1cm | 83.3kg | West Perth
“Tyrese is a medium sized forward/midfielder who is that hybrid player becoming more and more popular in AFL. A left footer, he’s got some tricks and part of that is a penetrating kick. Played Colts footy for a majority of the year and late in the season made a debut in the reserves. Tested reasonably well at the state screening.” – West Perth football manager Ward Harris.
04-Jul-99 | 181.5cm | 73.7kg | Peel Thunder
“Lachlan is a hard-running midfielder who is a good size, works hard and just accumulates possessions. He was unlucky not to get a crack at senior level late in the year but rolled his ankle. Works hard both ways which is important and might be a late draft or rookie list pick.” – Peel Thunder football manager Shane Creevey.
20-Jan-99 | 186.4cm | 72.7kg | Sandringham Dragons
“Running machine. He has elite endurance and blew the GPS up on a number of occasions. He was a bit stiff not to get a Metro spot and had a bit of a flat spot mid-year, but he worked back into good form late. He needs to put a bit of size on, but he’s an outside running player who links well and kicks it fairly well on both sides. His marking is an area that he’s work on too.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.
04-Aug-99 | 175.8cm | 65.9kg | Eastern Ranges
“Dylan is a running machine who ran a quick time for the 2km time trial and this year his improvement has been enormous and it’s all come about through hard work. He just puts his balls on the line and works. Uses his speed to get to contests, his kicking has improved and the thing that has enhanced his prospects is that when he goes forward he can kick a goal. Small, but just keeps finding a way.” – Eastern Ranges coach Darren Bewick.
18-May-98 | 184.9cm | 78.6kg | Dandenong Stingrays
“I think he has everything – the speed, the kicking. He’s played mostly at half back, but we put him inside as a midfielder against Western and he kicked a couple of goals so he showed that he could do it. He played seven VFL games with Williamstown and Casey and played well and he’s worked very hard on his endurance. The WA clubs questioned if he wanted to move away from home, but we don’t think that’s an issue now – he was one year behind with his maturity but he’s matured a lot this year.” – Dandenong Stingrays talent manager Mark Wheeler.
23-Nov-99 | 183.9cm | 82.9kg | Burnie
“Tom had an interrupted year through injury. He played as a forward as a bottom-ager with an excellent pair of hands. He’s a real competitor who has had to work very hard on his kicking and he’s got it to a level that is acceptable now. He can play in all three areas of the ground and prides himself on his contested ball.” – Tasmania talent manager Matt Armstrong.
15-Dec-99 | 188.3cm | 79.9kg | Sandringham Dragons
“He’s a bit of a lovable larrikin that comes from cricket. He can play forward and back as a third tall and potentially if he builds up his tank, he can push into midfield with his athleticism. His endurance, agility and recovery are very good and he’s really aware of those around him. I think he’s a natural defender who can go forward and he gets in the right spots.” – Sandringham Dragons talent manager Ryan O’Connor.
19-Jan-98 | 187.8cm | 79.1kg | Dandenong Stingrays
“A genuine player who has played as a forward, defender and a midfielder. I think he’s a half back at the next level as he reads the play very well. His ability to kick over the congestion to open the game up is elite. The knock has been that he doesn’t have a tank and he can drift in and out of games. He took the year off from labouring and his football reaped the rewards as he was able to train and prepare. We worked hard with him this year on his contested numbers and he has a fair bit to work with if an AFL club picks him.” – Dandenong Stingrays talent manager Mark Wheeler.
10-Feb-99 | 179.3cm | 81.5kg | GWS Academy
“A versatile utility type who can play midfield, back or forward. He is a strong kick and has good game sense – he’s a bit of a footballer’s footballer. He plays more inside than outside at the moment, but is working on that other aspect of his game.” – NSW/ACT talent manager Darren Denneman.
04-Oct-99 | 184.8cm | 75.1kg | Eastern Ranges
“Trent is a smokey. He’ll go somewhere and I reckon a club will get a ripper with him. He’s an elite stoppage clearance player and he’s only developed that this year. Used to be an outside, good decision-maker, and he still is, but has a real balance in his game now. Not explosively quick but inside five metres he’s quick with hands and mind. He has AFL attributes and is going to be a player down the track.” – Eastern Ranges coach Darren Bew-ick.