Matt Balmer’s 2017 AFL Draft October Power Rankings

IN an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will rank and update his Power Rankings every month throughout 2017. 

You can read Matt Balmer‘s September edition of his Power Rankings here:

The season is just about over for the 2017 NAB AFL Draft prospects after a long year, with some players pushing themselves through just under 30 games for the season.

Last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine saw clubs get a final chance to interview and see 85 players tested, before they finalise their draft boards with under 50 days until the draft on November 24th.

With trade week beginning today, plenty of deals will affect the draft order & at the conclusion of the trade week – the staff at AFL Draft Central will release our first Phantom Draft for 2017.

This list is purely how Matt rates the players at this current point of time and is not a mock draft. 

#1 Cameron Rayner
?General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 186.5cm | 87.2kg
Previous ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Powerful and explosive midfielder who makes you excited when you watch him. A similar mould to Robbie Gray combined with Christian Petracca and when up forward his contested marking overhead is one of his strengths. For the moment he is a forward first, midfielder second with his endurance being a work in progress – running an 11.10 beep test at TAC Cup preseason testing. Not afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents. Can do things that others in the 2017 draft pool cannot.

Last month: Rayner has battled thumb and knee issues through 2017 and he missed the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash on Grand Final day. Rayner faced the media and was put through various club interviews at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, but he was unable to test.

#2 Luke Davies-Uniacke
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
08/06/1999 | 187.2cm | 85.2kg
Previous ranking: #2

Scouting notes: A strong bodied inside midfielder who tackles hard and wins the clearances. Has had a fair share of injuries over the last few seasons but appears to be over them. Is one of the players most ready to go and could walk into AFL from day one with ease. Is powerful in the contested situations and is able to stand up when getting tackled, using his strength to dispose of the ball. Has shown at school football that he can beat the tag. Had a bit of a lull in the second half of the year, but pulled out his best form when it mattered in September.

Last month: It was “LDU’s” performance in the Dandenong Stingrays TAC Cup Elimination Final that kept his name in the contention for the Brisbane Lions’ number one pick. Davies-Uniacke had a game-high 33 disposals (21 contested), six clearances and five inside 50s – as he hunted the ball in the midfield and showed off his power getting the ball forward. In their preliminary final loss, LDU had 22 disposals (12 contested), six tackles and five clearances, often spending time up forward playing as a marking target. He finished the year with 23 disposals and four inside 50s on Grand Final day in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars match as one of Team Harvey’s best. A toe/calf issue kept him out of last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#3 Adam Cerra
Balanced Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
07/10/1999 | 186.3cm | 80.3kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: The forgotten man of the 2017 draft pool after missing 2016 with a meniscus injury to his knee. The AFL Academy missed out on pick one and pick two in 2016 – and Cerra could be another to join that list of high draft picks. He wins the ball on the inside and possesses a clean kick on his right foot. He contested work and clearance winning are superb and he covers the ground well. Was one of the standouts in the Vic Metro trials in April and continued his form in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Last month: A shoulder injury has kept Cerra out of action for most of the second half of the season and he missed the Eastern Ranges finals campaign – but it was good to see Cerra sitting in the coaches box on elimination final day, assisting the coaches throughout the afternoon. Was another player who didn’t test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#4 Paddy Dow
Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 185.4cm | 78.2kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Speedy inside midfielder who can push forward and hit the scoreboard. Right footed midfielder who was superb for the AFL Academy in their game against the Northern Blues – not looking out of place at the centre bounces early in the year. Runs a sub three second 20m sprint and has very good agility. Not afraid to take on opposition midfielders in the contest, attempting to speed out of the stoppages.

Last month: Since the last update, Dow had surgery on his shoulder and was unable to play the final few games for the Bendigo Pioneers. Dow did not test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine but was involved in multiple interviews with AFL club recruiters.

#5 Nicholas Coffield
General Defender/Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190.8cm | 82.5kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Composed midfielder who is very good under pressure. Reminds me of Hugh McCluggage where he has plenty of time with ball in hand in the contest. Clean user on his right foot and his defensive efforts are strong where he floats around and wins the ball at ease. Has a burst of speed which he often will utilise in defensive 50 when playing the role of a general defender. Some think he will end up as an inside midfielder at the next level.

Last month: Coffield was by far the best Northern Knights player in their elimination final loss to the Oakleigh Chargers. His midfield work was super and he used his quick and clean hands to effectiveness. Coffield had 25 disposals, six clearances and three inside 50s in a performance that pushed his top 10 credentials. On Grand Final day in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash, Coffield rebounded the ball well on five occasions finishing with 15 disposals and five marks. At last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, he showed off his elite speed with a 2.91s 20m sprint. He was also impressive in the kicking test scoring 27.

#6 Charlie Constable
General Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 191.0cm | 86.1kg
Previous ranking: #6

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who can play on the inside and across either arches. He begun the year for the Dragons in the midfield, but moved to half back with the return of Hamish Brayshaw. Missed a large chunk of 2016 with an injury, but is over those concerns. A good team player who gets to the right positions around the ground. Not super quick, but has a ‘footy brain’ and makes good decisions by foot rebounding out of defence. Likely to end up as a Patrick Cripps type of midfielder.

Last month: Constable’s centre clearance work in the TAC Cup elimination final was impressive, with four out of his six clearances coming in this fashion. Finishing the day with 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and a goal – Constable showed off his top 10 traits. A back/groin issue sidelined him in the preliminary final and there was plenty of doubt whether he’d run out on Grand Final day, but the Dragons midfielder was able to push through pain and record 23 disposals & four clearances. A burst in the second quarter saw him boot two goals and he was one of the Dragons’ better players for the night. Injury kept him out of the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars and NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#7Jaidyn Stephenson
Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 188.5cm | 75.4kg
Previous ranking: #7

Scouting notes: Started the season as a medium tall marking target inside 50 but has improved his running capacity and turned himself into an outside midfield in the final few months of 2017.  Up forward, he has a big wingspan which sees him pluck the ball from above his opponents reach. He converts his set-shot chances more than not, after bursting onto the scene with a terrific finals series for Eastern Ranges as an Under 16 back in 2015. Stephenson has pushed up onto the wing at times, where he moved well – holding a great endurance base to go with a really good burst of speed. One area that could be cleaned up is his field kicking around the ground.

Last month: Has there been a better player in the second half of the year? I doubt it. Stephenson started TAC Cup finals with 30 disposals, 11 tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. While his kicking wasn’t the cleanest, after playing some time forward early he was able to win the ball on the outside and get it inside 50. He was best-on-ground in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash on Grand Final day with 22 disposals, five tackles, four inside 50s and three goals. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, his speed of 2.97s in the 20m sprint and 6min 21s in the 2km time trial were strong. Stephenson also performed well in the Yo-Yo test with 21.8 and had some of the best skinfolds of the combine.

#8 Andrew Brayshaw
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
08/11/1999 | 183.9cm | 81.7kg
Previous ranking: #9

Scouting notes: The brother of Melbourne’s Angus started the year on fire for the Sandringham Dragons. He finds the football with a good contested possession percentage. Brayshaw is more of a handball first, kick second player in the contest but just gets the job done without standing out and flies under the radar. He makes his disposals count and is effective, with good defensive efforts. Always one of the top ranked players on the stats sheets.

Last month: The Sandy Dragons midfielder just rolls up his sleeve and gets the job done and is always one of the better performers on the stats sheet. The TAC Cup elimination final saw him collect 20 disposals (10 contested), six tackles, five inside 50s and two goals. He was able to impact the contest using it efficiently going inside 50 and was able to hit the scoreboard. In the preliminary final, Brayshaw was best-on-ground with 25 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s, pushing his top five chances. In the TAC Cup Grand Final, Brayshaw had 21 disposals and four inside 50s and had a good showing. His midfield work in the NAB AFL Draft Combine was impressive with 16 disposals, five tackles and three inside 50s. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, Brayshaw was the endurance king – coming in first place in the Yo-Yo test with 22.4, four place with six minutes 14 seconds in the 2km time trial and was also placed top 10 in the agility test.

#9 Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward/Defender (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 194.6cm | 92.3kg
Previous ranking: #8

Scouting notes: Key Position tall that can play at either end where he reads the flight of the ball well. Is mobile up forward which allows him to make multiple leads. Missed most of 2016 through knee injury, but jumped on the scene booting over 20 goals for Geelong Grammar in the 1st XVIII competition as a Year 10 in 2015. Doesn’t look out of place in defence after playing there for the AFL Academy – as well as collecting 26 disposals in defence in the APS v AGSV school boy game last year. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Best swingman in the draft – with healthy debate which end he best plays his football.

Last month: The Bendigo Pioneers missed finals, but Brander did take part in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game playing as a key defender. Brander was able to intercept at times, finishing with 12 disposals and three rebounds. Brander tested well in the kicking test with a score of 27 at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. A score of 8.40 seconds was pretty good in the agility test.

#10 Sam Hayes
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 202.7cm | 92.6kg
Previous ranking: #10

Scouting notes: Showed his forward craft in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Metro using his height to mark the ball. He is a adequate kick for goal and rucks well around the ground and at the centre bounces. Leading patterns could improve – but he is still learning his game as a tall. At this stage I’d pencil him as a forward first, ruck second prospect – but still would consider him as the best ruck in the draft pool. Running needs to be improved.

Last month: Was the premier ruckman in the TAC Cup competition and finished the season with 24 hitouts and 24 disposals for the Eastern Ranges in their elimination final loss. Hayes played predominantly forward in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars match, where he booted 1.2 from his four marks and 14 disposals. At last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, results showed that Hayes does need to improve his running – but a score of 24 in the kicking test was decent.

Sam Hayes leaps high for Vic Metro at the centre bounce.

#11 Jack Higgins
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 177.8cm | 76.9kg
Previous ranking: #12

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who wins a lot of the ball and has now moved into a small forward role post the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. His defensive efforts are getting better and the midfielder has the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard. His clearance work is great and he has goal smarts as a small forward, but he does lack a touch of speed compared to other small forwards. Very good contested mark for a player sub 180cm. Should be ready to go in 2018, but his full on focus on AFL in 2017, might mean he has a limited upside compared with other first rounders.

Last month: Higgins missed the Oakleigh Chargers first TAC Cup final with an injury, but surprised some by coming back into the side for the second final. He picked up a groin injury that restricted him but up forward he was able to boot two goals from his 10 touches. Higgins didn’t play in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game and would’ve been disappointed with his results at the NAB AFL Draft Combine – but there’s no doubt soreness played some part on what has been a big year for Higgins.

#12 Hunter Clark
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
26/03/1999 | 186.1cm | 79.9kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Has transitioned from a rebounding outside defender to a contested ball winning midfielder over the last 12 months. Coming out of defence his decision making and kicking could be better – and if he cleans this up it will help his draft stocks. Ball winning capabilities are improving on the inside and he is able to pump the ball inside 50 to a teammate. Possesses quick hands – a trait that can separate him from others in this draft pool.

Last month: The inside midfielder was enormous in getting the Stingrays back into the TAC Cup elimination final and they were able to get the win after trailing by 55 points at one stage. Clark finished with a round-high 16 tackles and also had 24 disposals (15 contested), nine clearances and five inside 50s in one of the best individual performances for the season. He impacted the second final, with 25 disposals (13 contested) and a whopping 10 inside 50s – finding an effective target on most occasions. In the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game he was also reasonable, with 19 disposals (10 contested), four inside 50s and three tackles. A knee problem kept him out of most of last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, but he was able to score 28 in the kicking test which was very good.

#13 Noah Balta
Tall Utility (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 195.0cm | 94.9kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: Athletic tall who has one of the biggest upsides of the draft pool. Balta has played predominately as a ruckman or a key forward for the Calder Cannons – but showed great signs as a defender in the Vic Metro trial and played there in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. He is a good mark, but his running patterns up forward do need some work. He possesses a rare combo of elite speed and agility for a tall player. His vertical leap is exceptional and can do things that many other talls in the draft pool cannot. Has a very long right foot kick.

Last month: The Calder Cannons missed out on TAC Cup Finals, but Balta did have an impact – especially early, in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day. Balta finished with 12 disposals and two marks and often took the kick outs for Team Enright. Showed off his leap at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and was a very good tester in the agility with 8.38 seconds. He sat out the yo-yo test with knee soreness, but was able to complete the 2km time trial the next day.

#14 Aiden Bonar
Inside Midfielder/General Forward (Haileybury College/Dandenong Stingrays)
08/03/1999 | 188.6cm | 86.5kg
Previous ranking: #26

Scouting notes: Build like a brick sh!thouse. After recovering from two knee surgeries after his first ACL graft didn’t take, Bonar has presence about him around the ground, mostly playing up forward as a third tall – but has pushed into the midfield for longer periods with each game he plays. His pressure is very good and he can lay bone crunching tackles. Has a good burst of speed and is strong overhead. Suggestion is he’ll end up a full time midfielder. Possesses a big upside.

Last month: Bonar had a superb month to finish 2017, and whilst his eight disposals, seven tackles and a goal performance does not scream outstanding – it was his presence up forward and through the midfield that was important, pressuring his opponents. He followed his tackling performance up the following week, with eight tackles from 14 disposals. While he played more up forward than in the midfield, some glimpses were mighty impressive. The Grand Final day performance was elite for the  NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars, where he had 20 disposals (11 contested) and five clearances – showing off his potential as an inside midfielder. His testing at the NAB AFL Draft Combine was super, equalling the all-time standing vertical jump record and was second place in the 20m sprint with a time of 2.9 seconds.

#15 Darcy Fogarty
General Forward (Glenelg/South Australia)
05/09/1999 | 191.9cm | 94.5kg
Previous ranking: #14

Scouting notes: Strongly built forward that can push into the midfield. Played up forward for South Australia in last year’s Under 18 Championships booting seven goals. Fogarty played a strong game in the midfield for Glenelg in their finals last year and has been tried as a third tall defender at stages throughout 2017. Has the ability to kick off either foot and can lay bone-crunching tackles. He is more of a third tall than an inside midfielder at this stage. Ruled out for the season with a meniscus tear in his knee.

Last month: Fogarty once again didn’t play this month, recovering from surgery on a small meniscus tear which meant that he was unable to test at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#16 Aaron Naughton
Key Position Defender (Peel/Western Australia)
30/11/19999 | 194.0cm | 85.0kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: Played as a bottom-ager in two of Western Australia’s NAB AFL Under 18 Championship games in 2016, and was named as a co-captain for the 2017 carnival where he impressed in defence. He marks well overhead and is a good reader of the play. Has an awkward ball drop which can affect his left foot kicking efficiency at times, but mostly it gets where it needs to go. Made his League debut in the WAFL and didn’t looked out of place.

Last month: Missed out on playing in the WAFL Grand Final with a knock and was not helped by Fremantle players coming back into the team to strengthen it. The knock kept him out of the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, but he was able to test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, where he placed in equal third in the Yo-Yo test with 21.8 and was also in the top 10 for the agility test with a time of 8.22s.

#17 Nathan Murphy
Medium Utility (Brighton Grammar/Sandringham Dragons)
15/12/1999 | 188.3cm | 79.9kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: The Victorian Under 19 cricketer has been one of the better forwards in the APS Victorian school football season. Murphy has over 20 goals after moving forward post a concussion suffered against Haileybury College in Round 2. Was a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons program for 2017 and was strong as a third tall in defence on debut. The tall utility can play at either end and has a big booming right foot kick. Goalkicking accuracy is one area which can be cleaned up but Murphy’s focus has largely been cricket over the last few years. Often has a tendency to mark the ball behind his head and Murphy has a very large wingspan.

Last month: The Sandringham Dragons medium tall went down with a sprained ankle in the TAC Cup elimination final & missed the preliminary final – but returned for the TAC Cup Grand Final with 11 disposals, five marks and four tackles, but looked like he needed the run. Had some good glimpses in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, but was concussed and his day ended early. The former cricketer hadn’t done a lot of testing and it will be the first time clubs got a chance to look at Murphy’s athletic results. There’s no doubt they would’ve been impressed by his athletic capabilities in his 2km time trial (6min 31sec) and Yo-Yo score of 21.3.

#18 Matthew Ling
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21/04/1999 | 183.1cm | 75.1kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Left footer who is a good ball user on the outside. Has flown under the radar and likely will end up as the first Geelong Falcon drafted. Is a smart footballer and makes good decisions. Not a big ball winner, but has elite agility that allows him to step opponents around the ground.

Last month: Ling played one of his better games for the season, with 23 disposals and six tackles in the Geelong Falcons’ TAC Cup elimination final win. Ling showed off his good agility and rebounded the ball with speed, hardly missing a target on his left foot. Had 15 disposals and three inside 50s in the preliminary final, but was largely restricted in the TAC Cup Grand Final with 11 disposals and six marks. Ling’s 10 disposals were largely effective in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day. His sprint time of 3.03s and 8.30s in the agility was very good & he looms as a top 25 prospect come draft night.

#19 Joel Garner
Balanced Midfielder/General Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 184.2cm | 82.6kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Balanced Midfielder who has struggled to find his feet at times thrown around in multiple positions around the ground at school, TAC Cup and Vic Metro level. He uses the ball well off his left foot, hitting targets on the run or standing still. His handballing in close is another strength and he is able to clear the ball from a stoppage with ease. Screams X-Factor at times and may have found his best position across half back. Is an outstanding leader.

Last month: Started up forward in the Eastern Ranges’ TAC Cup final loss, finishing the day with 17 disposals (12 contested), eight inside 50s, five clearances and five tackles in one of his better games in a while. He didn’t have a lot of impact in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day, with just 10 disposals and two clearances to his name. Garner’s NAB AFL Draft Combine last week was underwhelming, but there’s no doubting his leadership and his character will have shone through in the interviews.

#20 Lochie O’Brien
Outside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
18/09/1999 | 184.0cm | 77.4kg
Previous ranking: #18

Scouting notes: Classy outside midfielder who is likened to former Roo & Saint Nick Dal Santo. Uses the ball well on his left foot and possesses elite speed which can help him burst away on the outside at speed. Impressed last year for Vic Country as a bottom-ager playing on the wing, a position that allows for him to be a receiever on the outside where he can clear the ball via a pinpoint pass. A good decision maker and is someone you want to have the ball in their hands. If he can win a bit more contested ball he should be able to mould into a damaging wingman/half back.

Last month: The Bendigo Pioneers missed out on finals, but the classy outside midfielder was at his best in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game with a team-high 24 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal, in a game that saw him spend more time in the attacking half of the ground. His 2km time trial result of six minute 12 seconds was second best overall and he was just short of breaking the three-second barrier in the 20m sprint. Scored well in the kicking test with a score of 27.

#21 Lachlan Fogarty
Balanced Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 178.8cm | 75.0kg
Previous ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Clean and polished midfielder who wins the ball in both contested and uncontested situations. A good decision maker by hand or foot, who tackles hard to win the ball back. Has smarts and knows where the goals are. Is a consistent performer and unfairly flies under the radar.

Last month: The Western Jets missed out on finals, but Fogarty managed an appearance in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, where he had 14 disposals, seven inside 50s and five tackles. In a game that lacked some defensive intensity, Fogarty showed his willingness to hunt the ball carrier and win the ball. Unfortunately for Fogarty, he was unable to show his testing capabilities at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine due to sickness.

#22 Patrick Naish
Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180.6cm | 68.9kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Smart and lively inside 50. Working on his contested ball winning ability, but looks suited to start as a forward at AFL level. Can play across half back, ball usage is reasonable by foot but can often go for the miracle kick rather than a simpler options. Has a good spring that allows his to leap over some of his smaller opponents. Covers the ground well. Father-son eligible for Richmond.

Last month: Naish looked his best in the TAC Cup elimination final for the Northern Knights when he was in the attacking half of the ground, finishing the day with 21 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal. Not only did Naish get to see his Tigers win on Grand Final day, but he was the leading disposal winner for Team Enright with 21 disposals and three rebound 50s – using the ball well on his right foot. Back spasms saw Naish only complete the goal kicking and kicking test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#23 Oscar Allen
Key Position Forward (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191.1cm | 82.4kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: Tall Utility who can play at either end but mostly looks likely to settle forward. Marks well overhead and moves well for a player over 190cm. Good decision maker and impressed inside 50 in the WA trials. Named co-captain for Western Australia in the National Under 18 Championships and was the Larke Medalist judged the best player in the carnival. Looms as one of the first WA players selected. Has a good endurance base.

Last month: Allen didn’t feature in finals for West Perth and despite hardly training on the Thursday before the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, he was one of the better players in the opening half of the game – marking with ease overhead and hitting the scoreboard. Allen finished with 18 disposals, seven marks (four contested) and booted 2.3. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, Allen showed off his running vertical jump on his left hand, with a score off 88 placing him in the top five.

#24 Ryley Stoddart
Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/10/1999 | 184.6cm | 73.7kg
Previous ranking: #22

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is what you want in a half back flank. Kicks it well on his left foot, makes very good decisions and will get to the right positions. His defending one-on-one is okay and is not a big disposal winner, but is a player who will make his 15-20 touches hurt the opposition when he drops off. Dubbed as a Kade Simpson clone by SEN 1116 Draft Analyst Brett Anderson.

Last month: Stoddart busted his backside off in the Ranges’ TAC Cup elimination final, finishing with 18 disposals, six marks and three rebound 50s, but was under enormous pretty with the ball coming quickly inside 50 late in the game. Was often matched up on the most dangerous Stingrays midfielder Davies-Uniacke or Clark when they went forward. Had 13 disposals and four inside 50s in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, and was able to get more up the ground in the third quarter. He completed the kicking tests at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, but hamstring soreness kept him out of the rest of the testing other than the jumping tests which showed his outstanding leap.

#25 Connor Ballenden
Tall Utility (Uni of QLD/Brisbane Lions Academy)
29/03/1999 | 198.2cm | 95.6kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: Strong contested marking forward who will fit well into the Lions forward structure. Has played through the ruck and as a key position defender to start 2017 – but his best position is coming out of the goal square. Possesses a very good set shot routine, kicking more goals than he misses. Has a long kick and reads the play well.

Last month: With Josh Schache returning home, Ballenden was called up for the NEAFL Grand Final and was part of the Lions NEAFL premiership team. Ballenden finished the game with 12 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s and booted two goals. In the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, Ballenden begun as a tall defender – but struggled at times opposed to possible top 10 pick Sam Hayes. He moved forward in the second half and finished with eight disposals and two marks. In the kicking test, Ballenden scored a perfect 30/30 and ran a 3.05s 20m sprint at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. Areas that Ballenden no doubt can improve on will be his endurance and bringing his skinfolds down.

Connor Ballenden in action for the Allies in their practice match against Vic Metro.

#26 Ed Richards
Medium Defender/?Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/07/1999 | 184.7cm | 78.1kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Speedy running defender who dominated in the APS school football competition for Carey. Is trusted with taking the kick outs and is a clean & effective kick on his left foot. Can play as an inside midfielder, where he uses his quick & clean hands to effectiveness.

Last month: Started with 11 disposals in the TAC Cup elimination final, but some of his moments were impressive and he was vital is finding targets from the kick out to get the Chargers moving forward. Had 16 disposals and three inside 50s against the Sandringham Dragons in the Chargers’ preliminary final loss, switching between half back and as an inside midfielder. Richards hardly missed a target in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game and showed his willingness to tackle hard. Had a reasonable NAB AFL Draft Combine, testing in at 3.01s in the 20m sprint.

#27 Charlie Ballard
?Tall Utility/Outside Midfielder (Sturt/South Australia)
23/07/1999 | 195.5cm | 82.3kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Tall utility who has been utilised at either end for both school and at SANFL level. Ballard has also shown his ability to run well on the wing and is an effective kick on his right foot. Has plenty of scope for development and might fill out as a hybrid midfielder.

Last month: Ballard was lucky enough to win two premierships for the ‘Double Blues’ in two weeks, part of Sturt’s winning Under 18 and Reserves teams in the SANFL. In the Under 18 Grand Final, Ballard collected 21 disposals, three clearances and three inside 50s playing on the wing and was very efficient by foot. In the Reserves Grand Final, Ballard played up forward and finished the game with a goal from seven disposals. Had eight disposals and four rebound 50s on Grand Final day in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash. Ballard also tested well reasonably well at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and has plenty of development for whatever club drafts him.

#28 Zac Bailey
Inside Midfielder (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 181.0cm | 81.1kg
Previous ranking: #27

Scouting notes: Has a great burst of speed and he isn’t afraid to collect the ball and burst out of a stoppage getting distance on himself from his opponents. The right footer is usually a clean kick but can have the odd poor game by foot. Wins the contested ball and tackles well.

Last month: Bailey showed his ability to run both ways in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day, with 18 disposals, four marks, three rebound 50s, two inside 50s and two clearances. Bailey used his burst in the midfield and spread well from the contests. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, Bailey’s elite speed was obvious, scoring 2.98s in the 20m sprint event.

#29 Jordan Houlahan
Medium Forward (Sturt/South Australia)
19/02/1999 | 185.7cm | 75.9kg
Previous ranking: #31

Scouting notes: Medium forward who possess a very good leap and is a straight kick in front of goal. The AFL Academy member will likely adjust to AFL life in a similar role to Sydney Swans 2016 draftee Will Hayward. Has come back from a shoulder reconstruction and was a solid performance up forward in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Last month: Similar to Charlie Ballard, Houlahan also won two SANFL Premierships within a week. In the SANFL Under 18 Grand Final for Sturt, Houlahan played close to goal as a marking target – pealing off three contested marks and booted 4.2 from his 10 disposals. In the SANFL Reserves Grand Final, he played a bit further up the ground and had five inside 50s from his 10 disposals, also kicking a goal. Houlahan played a different role in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, as a rebounding defender where he had five disposals, three marks and three rebound 50s. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, he was a dead-eye in front of goals with 30/30 in the goal kicking test and had a running vertical jump in the top three (95cm) – but he would’ve been disappointed with his endurance results and that will be an area for improvement at the next level.

#30 Jack Petruccelle
Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
12/04/1999 | 185.1cm | 77.7kg
Previous ranking: #25

Scouting notes: The fastest player in the TAC Cup with a 20m sprint time of 2.82s. He is willing to take oppoisition players on and burn them off along the wing. Also possesses a very good leap. His kicking on the run is a work-in-progress and needs work, but his eye catching displays are continuing to get better and more consistent. Comes from an elite basketball background. His contested ball numbers are very good.

Last month: Had a quiet performance in the TAC Cup elimination final with eight disposals and four tackles. Was used across half back at times, finishing with 11 disposals in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game. Was the fastest player at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, running 2.87s in the 20m sprint. His endurance work has room for improvement, but was well above average in the jumps category.

#31 Dylan Moore
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175.8cm | 65.9kg
Previous ranking: #28

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who isn’t afraid of winning the contested ball. His ground ball numbers are very good and is a big ball winning midfielder. Moore can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. Has a decent jump for a small midfielder which he can show off up forward. Has a very good endurance base but is one of the few players sub 180cm who don’t possess elite speed. Is a smart footer and just gets to the right position to win the ball. Clearance work is super.

Last month: Moore collected 24 disposals and laid eight tackles in the Eastern Ranges’ TAC Cup elimination final loss. Moore was impressive after half-time and was able to get the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions. His midfield work was good in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, finishing the contest with 17 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal. Despite his size, his running vertical jump was above average at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and he starred in the endurance events. Moore finished in first place with a time of six minutes nine seconds in the 2km time trial and was second behind Andrew Brayshaw with 22.3 on the yo-yo test.

#32 Charlie Spargo
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
25/11/1999 | 171.6cm | 70.2kg
Previous ranking: #29

Scouting notes: Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard. Despite his size he wins the ball in the contest and tackles hard. Is one of the few midfielders who has a good goal sense and is a hard match-up when deep inside 50. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Has had shoulder surgery which will rule him out for the season.

Last month: Spargo is still recovering from shoulder surgery early in the year and was unable to test at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#33 Jackson Ross
Outside Midfielder/Medium Forward (Haileybury College/Eastern Ranges)
22/06/1999 | 192.5cm | 74.5kg
Previous ranking: #32

Scouting notes: Booted 29 goals playing as a centre half forward and on the wing for Haileybury College in the APS school competition. Comes from an elite tennis background and is still quite raw in football terms. Has a long kick and is able to use it on either side of his body. Very athletic and is a player with plenty of development left.

Last month: Ross did some good things in the Eastern Ranges TAC Cup elimination final loss, with 18 disposals and five clearances. Started slowly in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash on Grand Final day, but worked into the contest in the attacking half of the ground to finish with 12 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s and a goal. Ross won the goal kicking test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and scored 29/30 in the kicking test.

#34 Andrew McPherson
Medium Defender (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
20/06/1999 | 185.7cm | 79.4kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: A good ball user across half back where McPherson just gets the job done. He showed promise in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships last year. McPherson rebounds it well and can play across the wing. Reads the play well and has a good mix of attack & defence. The AFL Academy member has dealt with a quad injury throughout the first half of the 2017 season.

Last month: McPherson returned from injury and made an appearance in the Eagles’ SANFL Under 18 Grand Final loss to Sturt. McPherson was impressive in the opening quarter of the game, rebounding the ball well and was clean with his disposals – but he suffered an injury and went off the ground in the second quarter. The injury kept him from testing at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#35 Harrison Petty
Key Position Defender (Norwood/South Australia)
12/11/1999 | 195.3cm | 81.9kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Key positioned player who reads the play well and positions himself well behind the ball. Is composed with ball in hand and is usually clean to dispose of the ball off his right foot. Petty is also confident with when to intercept the ball overhead.

Last month: Petty played as a key defender in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash, finishing the game with 12 disposals and three marks. The talented South Australian scored 27 in the kicking test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, but sprained his ankle and was ruled out for the remainder of the testing.


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