PREVIEW | 2021 AFL Draft: Night two – What’s next?

EVERYTHING was running according to plan in the 2021 AFL Draft, with much of the top 10 falling into place as predicted. That didn’t stop a bit of chaos ensuing thereafter, and there promises to be plenty more to come early on night two with a stack of high-end talent remaining up for grabs. We take a look at some of the best prospects left on the table, and which clubs are in position to move up the order.

>> PICK-BY-PICK: Round 1


(Listed in alphabetical order)

Rhett Bazzo

With two top key defenders already taken in round one, clubs clamouring for one of their own will likely bring Bazzo into consideration. The Swan Districts intercept marker reads the play well and is poised in possession, suiting the modern day tall defender in that aspect. His range is around the 25-40 mark, and he may appeal to clubs like Hawthorn, Richmond and Sydney in round two, with Carlton also recently without a key back and local club West Coast always in the mix.

Sam Butler

One who was touted as a potential first round bolter, Butler now finds himself in high demand ahead of night two. North Melbourne could be a good fit at pick 22, especially with Hawthorn waiting in the wings at 23 and 26, while Carlton will hope he slides past both clubs. The brother of St Kilda’s Dan, he looms as a handy pressure forward in the early stages of his career, before being unleashed through midfield where his clean hands, speed and decision making should all impress.

Judson Clarke

There hasn’t been too much chat around Clarke after night one, but the Dandenong Stingrays product will be right in the mix come round two. His mix of speed and skill makes him a slippery customer on the attack, and one who can hurt the opposition with his finishing ability. Whether it be as a small forward or midfielder, Clarke finds a way to impact games and brings a surge style which will suit the gameplans of many a club in the current era of top flight football.

Toby Conway

The leading pure ruck prospect in this year’s pool, Conway will have a few clubs after his services in the 20-30 range. As a local Falcons product, Geelong is an obvious link with its two picks in the 20s, while Richmond may have a look with its three-consecutive selections and Carlton could pull a surprise and go tall to fill out its ruck depth. With his size (205cm), craft and developing around-the-ground efforts, Conway has obvious appeal in his role.

Arlo Draper

An intriguing prospect throughout the season, Draper was touted as a potential top 15 talent but missed out on AFL Academy honours, before earning a League debut with South Adelaide, but eventually sliding right through the first round on draft night. Sydney is a club which rates him highly, and local club Adelaide has a pick in round two – though both feature in the 30s and may not be enough for the classy and agile midfielder-forward. A real slider in the bunch.

Josh Fahey

It is just about inevitable that Fahey will end up at GWS as an academy graduate, and a couple of clubs in round two have the propensity to place bids. Carlton is one of them, and the Blues’ pick 27 just about suits Fahey’s range. If the bid does not come there, Richmond has already picked up a dashing half-back but may be inclined to look at the Queanbeyan native. Before them, perhaps even Geelong or Hawthorn could do the honours before Fahey dons the charcoal and orange.

Josh Goater

Another first round slider with plenty of upside, Goater should have just about every club considering him as a viable long-term option. His athletic profile is as good as anyone in terms of fast-twitch movement, and he has the versatility to play in a range of roles. Perhaps best suited to half-back to start his career, Goater is a talent Sydney rates highly, though clubs may come calling even earlier than that given his potential.

Brady Hough

A versatile talent who played himself into contention this year, Hough has shown marked improvement and a range of top traits to attract second-third round interest. West Coast is the most obvious link and while sliders may be in the fray, Hough is right in the Eagles’ hitting zone at picks 31 and 36. He offers good size and skill across the flanks or a wing, which were showcased in a very solid League debut for Peel Thunder.

Blake Howes

One who was linked with the first round picks of GWS and Melbourne, Howes finds himself left on the board for many willing clubs in round two. Geelong seems a good fit with their consecutive selections in the 20s, and the Dees have a second round pick they may look to shuffle up to acquire Howes. As a dynamic 190cm athlete, the Sandringham Dragons graduate looms as an apt marking target or mobile modern day wingman.

Matthew Johnson

Arguably the biggest surprise on night one was seeing Johnson be overlooked by many clubs linked to him, or a player of his mould in the top 20. Fremantle was one of them and after showing interest with its two picks in the top 10, could nab the Subiaco midfielder at pick 21 instead of trading down or out. At 193cm, Johnson is an interesting case in that he does not rely on his size, or show many inside tendencies, but instead likes to showcase his class and agility on the outer and is a touch less competitive around the contented ball. He’ll likely be hard to pass up for Hawthorn, but could even slide into the 30s if not for live trading movement.

Mitchell Knevitt

Touted as a potential first round bolter, Knevitt is now likely to be snapped up right in his range and Geelong again seems a suitable destination for the local talent. At 193cm, his reach and strength at the stoppages are terrific assets, and Knevitt has added strings to his bow with an aerial presence around the ground and some time up forward where he’ll look to impact in rotation. If not Geelong, and depending on who is available, Sydney also rates him highly.

Connor Macdonald

A bunch of clubs will be in for Macdonald, though Carlton has been the most-linked side leading into the 2021 intake. The Blues might have to get creative and trade up, with North Melbourne, Hawthorn and Geelong all potential suitors for the Dandenong Stingrays midfielder. He has developed his ball winning game well over the last two years and has no trouble finding the footy, cracking in to win clearances while also working hard around the ground and impacting the scoreboard when rolling forward.

Jesse Motlop

There was talk of Motlop potentially squeezing into round one, but alas he remains up for grabs with a likely bid to come within the 20s. Fremantle, who has been linked to a trade or Johnson at pick 21, could take its Next Generation Academy (NGA) member having been resigned to losing him within the top 40. Otherwise, North Melbourne looms at pick 22, and Carlton could do with a genuine small forward with goalkicking nous.

Mitch Owens

GWS and Melbourne were a couple of clubs said to have a bit of interest in Owens, a St Kilda NGA product who has risen steeply in stocks this season. Having grown out to 191cm over the last couple of years, he has changed his game to become a hard-running wingman who impacts aerially and gives it his all working both ways. Again, Carlton and Richmond are the likely bidders within the 20s, but Owens will end up in red, black and white.

Jake Soligo

One of a couple of Eastern Ranges products poised well for second round honours, Soligo is somewhat underrated. He works hard in midfield and while on the smaller end of the scale, wins plenty of ball and puts in a shift going both ways. He may well start his career as a high half-forward but always has that midfield potential if he can sharpen up his end product. He made his VFL debut for Richmond and suits the Tigers’ style, but would be a serviceable option for many other clubs in this range.

Tyler Sonsie

Potentially the most highly talented player on this entire list, Sonsie’s slide will continue into round two but won’t last too long. He garnered plenty of attention after a 24-disposal and two-goal VFL debut with Box Hill and could end up in brown and gold, though is a little similar to what the Hawks already prized with Josh Ward. His class, dual-sided skills and scoreboard impact are invaluable traits, and ones which should count out his deficiencies in this range. Having passed him up in round one, Richmond may be another club which comes calling.

Zac Taylor

A crafty and clever user of the ball going forward, Taylor has plenty to like and looms as a small midfielder-forward of enormous value on night two. Carlton and Richmond would both be great fits for the Calder Cannons best and fairest, and Sydney will be waiting with open arms should he get through both Victorian clubs. Depending on who else is available, he could be a real steal as the order flows in round two.

Corey Warner

Linked to Sydney via his brother, Chad, Warner will likely have a few clubs monitoring him in the second and third rounds. His athletic profile and outside run will appeal to a club like Melbourne if he gets all the way through to pick 38, but local club West Coast is also right in the hitting zone and could pounce on its need for long-term midfield depth.


A couple of players above, Owens and Fahey have already had their bidding ranges outlined, but there are a few more academy and father-son candidates who may feature across the national draft. Marcus Windhager could well attract second round interest and join Owens at St Kilda, offering explosive burst and upside as a midfielder-forward. 30-45 is his likely range.

Melbourne will hope to get another pick in before father-son prospect Taj Woewodin has his name read out. The East Fremantle utility has improved greatly this year and should garner a bit of attention just after the Dees’ pick 38. After him Jase Burgoyne should slip into the 40s-60s for Port Adelaide, while Eric Benning is a Fremantle NGA product who may earn late interest, and Jackson Archer will end up at North Melbourne with its last pick.


21 – Fremantle 
22 – North Melbourne
23 – Hawthorn 
24 – Geelong 
25 – Geelong
26 – Hawthorn
27 – Carlton
28 – Richmond
29 – Richmond 
30 – Richmond 
31 – West Coast
32 – Geelong 
33 – Sydney
34 – North Melbourne
35 – Adelaide
36 – West Coast 
37 – North Melbourne
38 – Melbourne

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