Your questions answered: August Power Rankings Q&A

THE LATEST AFL Draft Power Rankings dropped on Monday, with a few shuffles being made among the list of 30. There were still plenty of unlucky players to miss out and subsequent questions to arise. We attempt to answer them in this Q&A.

>> Top 30: August 2023 Power Rankings


Q: Can you see any major changes in or out of the top 10?

A: Not really. The top 10-15 has been relatively settled for some time now and while there may be a few shifts among that group, the group itself is just about a consensus. There are a couple of steep risers, who may be mentioned below, that could sneak into the top 15 picks. Finals time will reveal more.

Q: Will James Leake bolt into the top 10?

A: Leake is among the biggest bolters this year, having put himself on the draft radar and eventually pushed right into first round contention. He’s one of the few players with an array of draftable traits who is taking opportunities by the scruff of the neck, and is currently ranked at 16. He could be a player who disrupts the top 15 with more of the same eye-catching form.

Q: What’s going to happen with Ryley Sanders & why isn’t he higher?

A: There’s plenty to play out with regards to Sanders and his ties to North Melbourne. He is now officially part of the Roos’ Next Generation Academy and the club is pushing for priority access to be able to match a bid on him at any place in the draft – not just outside the top 40 picks.

Other clubs, quite understandably, are not entirely pleased at that proposition, and if compensation for Ben McKay’s possible move is to be believed, it would grant North Melbourne a ridiculously strong draft hand. The concessions combined with pick two would arguably be too great a gift.

As for why Sanders doesn’t feature any higher, it’s not like being ranked eighth is all that bad, right? He’s obviously an elite player and one of the draft’s top two midfielders, so may even be snapped up in the top five. The seven ahead of him are mainly there on account of greater upside and athletic weapons.

Q: Who do you think North will take if they have pick 2 & 3?

A: Gee, that’d be a strong hand to hold once again for North Melbourne. Obviously Sanders has become a priority of late, which may also lead the Roos to taking his long-time friend and teammate Colby McKercher. You can’t rule out a move to regain pick one and nab Harley Reid, either.

Elsewhere, the likes of Zane Duursma, Nick Watson, and Nate Caddy have also been linked to the Roos’ selections and would add flair to their forward line. North faces a battle to nab Daniel Curtin though, with West Coast well poised to make the local utility a priority.

Q: How have George Stevens & Jack Delean fallen out of the top 30 given their form?

A: This was a similarly posed question posed about both players, so we’ve combined the answer into one. As is rightly pointed out, Stevens has been on an absolute tear in the Talent League, while Delean earned a League berth and was dominant in his Under 18s return.

Any number of players ranked between 25-50 could easily have featured in the top 30, highlighting how even the crop is outside of the first 15 or so prospects. In the case of Stevens, prospects with more flair, upside, and athleticism have overtaken him for this month despite his consistent form.

Recruiters have generally steered away from players in his mould, though that’s not to say he couldn’t be a second-round selection. It’s a case of looking forward and projecting how each player may fit in once they hit AFL level. He could prove many people wrong and be a readymade asset.

As for Delean, it’s a good argument to make that he has been unlucky to fall out of the 30. He consistently hits the scoreboard and has unbelievable natural skill, but can still work on some of the traits which have become required of current day small forwards. Again, others rise around him, but it doesn’t necessarily mean his colours have been lowered.

Q: What happened to Ashton Moir?

A: This question has been highlighted in just about every Q&A this year, so you can refer to last month’s edition for a more extensive answer. Obviously he hasn’t hit the heights expected of him at the start of the year, but has enough potential and talent to just about warrant a spot in the top 30 for now.

Q: How does Will Brown rank?

A: Brown is another player who has been brought up numerous times this year. He received a state combine invite and thus is still on the radar for recruiters, but his likely path to be drafted is to do so as a forward. Sandringham has begun to play him there more permanently, with the shortcomings outlined last month appearing largely in his midfield game. For us, he’s a late-draft or rookie chance.

Q: Where do you have Billy Wilson?

A: Wilson also features on the state combine list and has done some impressive things since shifting into Dandenong’s midfield. He has already proven his nous as a half-back, but is adding strings to his bow on-ball and having little trouble accumulating possessions. He can still improve on his inside game and use by hand, and may be considered around the very competitive 35-60 mark come draft time.

Q: Thoughts on Orlando Turner?

A: An AFL Academy member this year, Turner missed out on a national combine invite but will feature in the state event. He hasn’t had much exposure at high levels with only one SANFL Under 18s game and a limited run in the Allies side, but has the relative safety of being tied to Melbourne’s NGA. He’s an exciting prospect, and perhaps his best path to the AFL will be via the Dees’ Category B rookie list.

Q: Where is Kristian Ferronato?

A: Ferronato is another state combine invitee whose form at Talent League level has been hard to deny. He can certainly find the footy, turns up from contest to contest, and even hits the scoreboard. Should the midfielder impress at the combine and make a splash in the Knights’ postseason run, maybe even polish up his disposal, he may be considered late in the draft.

Q: Why haven’t any Oakleigh Chargers made the top 30?

A: It has been a unique kind of year for the Chargers, who started the Talent League season without a coach and arguably do not lay claim to the usual raft of top-end talent – at least for this year. There are a number of bottom-agers who will dominate the 2024 intake, but their best chances this year are the likes of Nathan Philactides, Will Lorenz, and Melbourne father-son Kynan Brown. You can add Giants Academy member Harvey Thomas to that list too. As highlighted by last year’s shock Wildcard Round exit, a good postseason showing may be vital to their draft chances after a 5-8 home-and-away run.

Q: Who are the best draft prospects for 2024?

A: This question popped up last month and the same answer remains. We have already highlighted a bunch of next year’s top midfielders – a theme of the group – but will highlight the top 24 players to watch in 2024 in this year’s draft guide, set to be released in October.

Q: What is the draft order for this year?

A: It’s still a bit early for this, with only the top 10 set at this stage and big changes in the offing. Once the AFL season is over and trade period gets underway, then the picture gets much clearer and more settled. Of course, it will be listed in this year’s draft guide.

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