Your questions answered – July Power Rankings

ROOKIE Me Central dropped its July Power Rankings update on Monday, with plenty having changed since the year’s first instalment last month. Representative football and contrasting form in domestic or school football settings have made for some interesting moves, and plenty of subsequent questions.

In a different format of follow-up, we compiled the most prominent queries across our social media followings, and have endeavoured to answer all of them below – via the person behind the rankings, AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro.

>> AFL DRAFT TOP 25: July 2022 Power Rankings

Rookie Me Central’s top 10 for July

Legend: Q = Question | A = Answer

Q: Have you undersold Elijah Hewett?

A: Maybe. Labelled a barometer for Western Australia, Hewett could well be the Black Ducks’ best player and prospect. We have not pulled that trigger just yet, given WA has only come together for one official championship clash, but their number 11 is one who may well end up in the top five. His speed-endurance mix, senior experience, and competitive spirit to carry a side on his back are all incredibly desirable traits. Watch this space.

Q: What about Charlie Clarke?

A: Clarke is seemingly a player with plenty of admirers, and it’s easy to see why. He’s a young man with great character and pedigree, but stands out on the football field with his carving speed and hard edge. Having shifted into a more permanent forward role for Vic Metro, he has proven his value there with high pressure acts and wickedly clean hands, but is also flexible enough to play midfield. In our eyes, he currently sits around the 30-40 mark and with a bit more polish on his end product, could well continue to rise.

Q: What pick is Blake Drury around?

A: Drury is another Metro prospect whose form is hard to deny. He is a proven accumulator in the mid-forward role and plays with great intensity, driving his side into attack at whatever level he plays. You know what kind of output and effort to expect from Drury, but much like Clarke, refining the final touch on the end of each eye-catching play is what could push him into our top rankings. He’s definitely not far away, sitting around the 25-35 range.

Q: How about Jaxon Binns?

A: The spotlight was cast on Binns after a barnstorming championships outing against the Allies on Sunday, were he racked up a whopping 39 disposals. The Dandenong Stingrays product may not have used the ball as well as others out on the wing, but gets major points for pure production value and work rate. Question is; will he be of higher value with 30-plus touches as a winger, or 20-odd and a couple of goals at half-forward? He plays both roles really well, and sits in the same kind of range as Clarke and Drury.

Q: Where will a bid for Jayden Davey come?

A: This is a tough one. Given he has been ruled out of his top-age campaign with an ACL injury, Davey’s range is near-impossible to pick. His twin brother, Alwyn has been brilliant for the Oakleigh Chargers, Xavier College, and Vic Metro, boosting his stocks well into the first round. Some at the Chargers say Jayden may well be at an equal, or even higher level compared to his sibling, but he will almost certainly attract a much later bid. It’d be a risky ploy for clubs to take, given his ties to Essendon, lack of exposure, and current injury status, so he may well be Tex Wanganeen-style story. Still, word is he will find a home at the draft.

Q: What is Tom Scully‘s range at the moment?

A: Having debuted in our rankings at number 10, Scully is one of just two players to have fallen out of the top 25 altogether. He was unlucky to have done so, but has not produced the same exploits which saw him rocket up draft boards earlier in the year. Having struggled for form in South Australia’s state trials, he was overlooked for representative honours, and went goalless for the first time this season in his latest SANFL Under 18s outing. There will be opportunities for him to regain his top 25 status, should he show contested improvements and more fluency in his set shot routine. At 204cm and with his current goalkicking record, he remains in the mix.

Q: Who is the best key forward in the draft?

A: If our rankings are anything to believe, Aaron Cadman is the answer to this question. Harry Lemmey was the main man coming into 2022 but has failed to recapture his bottom-age form, while Matthew Jefferson remains raw but hot on Cadman’s heels after a seven-goal outing for Vic Metro. Having also impressed in state colours, Isaac Keeler is right up there on pure talent and could attract a first round suitor. Leading all of them from a key position standpoint is defender Jedd Busslinger, who holds that honour with plenty more to play out for him in the Black Ducks’ jersey.

Q: Are the rankings a bit Victorian-centric?

A: With Victorians making up the entire top five, and occupying eight spots in the top 10, it may seem so. Though, that is far from deliberate. Hewett and Busslinger are two non-Victorians who may push even further into the top 10, while South Australia’s Mattaes Phillipou has all the traits to earn his spot there soon enough. The likes of Lemmey and Scully did not do enough to justify holding their positions in said range, leaving much of the Southern, Western, and Allied prospects to make up the back-end of our top 25.

As far as the Victorian bias argument goes, our top 25 stacks up quite evenly. Each year, over 50 per cent of the draft intake comes from one state, and that is no surprise given the fact that 10 of the 18 AFL clubs are based in Victoria. That is not to mention the strength of the state’s pathway, with both Metro and Country undefeated at Under 18 level this year. Coincidentally, 52 per cent of our top 25 (13/25) is made up by Victorians – again, just over that 50 per cent mark. Fair game, we think.

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