AFL Draft Power Rankings – June 2022

POWER Rankings are back. For the first time in 2022, Rookie Me Central ranks the top 25 AFL Draft prospects from around the country, with plenty of football having played out to this point. Unlike in recent intakes, players in each state and territory have been able to show their wares across multiple levels, even coming together for the annual AFL Academy showcase last month. Much has been made of the key position depth in this year’s crop, but there’s three midfielders atop our tree in June.

Note: This list is ordered purely on our opinion of each players’ current ability and potential, not taking into account the draft bidding system, order, or AFL clubs’ list needs.

The Power Rankings
  • #1
    George Wardlaw
    Oakleigh Chargers | Midfielder

    height: 182cm

    weight: 81kg

    D.O.B: 18-07-2004

    height: 182cm

    weight: 81kg

    D.O.B: 18-07-2004

    #1 George Wardlaw

    OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | MIDFIELDER

     

    THE ULTIMATE COMPETITOR

    Tough, relentless, uncompromising. George Wardlaw is our number one in June and for good reason. The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder has a knack for standing up on the big stage and did so in last month’s AFL Academy showcase, taking home the MCC President’s Medal as best afield. What makes him the ultimate team player is his attack on the ball, work rate, and two-way effort, but Wardlaw has added some serious weapons to his well-rounded game in 2022. Having cut his teeth as an inside type, the 17-year-old’s explosive athleticism makes him hard to stop among his peers, and he has developed a wickedly penetrative kick to go with clean overhead marking. Those traits combined, he can hurt the opposition while endeavouring to help others shine in the engine room.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Wardlaw’s AFL Academy outing is likely the performance which sticks in the mind of most, though he has also showcased his exciting improvements via the NAB League and APS Football seasons. Despite missing Round 2, the top Charger notched up 24 disposals in two seperate appearances, and spent more time up forward with 14 touches in Round 3 to prove his versatility. Representing St Kevins, Wardlaw has hit the scoreboard and been named best afield twice.

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  • #2
    Will Ashcroft
    Sandringham Dragons | Midfielder

    height: 182cm

    weight: 76kg

    D.O.B: 06-05-2004

    height: 182cm

    weight: 76kg

    D.O.B: 06-05-2004

    #2 Will Ashcroft

    SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | MIDFIELDER

     

    > BRI F/S

    BALANCED BALL WINNER

    There are few more driven and impressive draft prospects than Ashcroft. He has already made plenty of waves in the talent pathway, and though an eligible Brisbane Lions father-son candidate, the Melbourne-based youngster has not yet nominated either way. Given his enormous talent, there is plenty riding on that decision for Ashcroft, recruiters, and fans alike. In terms of his skillset, the midifielder has an innate ability to find the ball and offers such a balanced array of traits in midfield. He can hold his own on the inside and spreads wonderfully well to put up numbers reminiscent of the likes of Sam Walsh, Matt Rowell, and Nick Daicos before him.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    After a steady 18 disposals on his NAB League debut in Round 1, Ashcroft dropped below 34 touches just once across his next handful of appearances at the level. The Sandringham Dragons skipper has showcased his ability to string together possessions time and time again, leaning on his work rate to utterly dominate from his permanent post in midfield. He has also snared three goals in his six games, and hit the scoreboard from 24 disposals in a solid outing for the AFL Academy. Arguably most impressive were his efforts at VFL level, turning out twice for the Lions’ twos and averaging 28 touches in a clear marker of his elite production – even at senior level.

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  • #3
    Elijah Tsatas
    Oakleigh Chargers | Midfielder

    height: 186cm

    weight: 79kg

    D.O.B: 18-10-2004

    height: 186cm

    weight: 79kg

    D.O.B: 18-10-2004

    #3 Elijah Tsatas

    OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | OUTSIDE MIDFIELDER

     

    FLEET OF FOOT

    Plenty of top-end prospects are labelled ‘jets’, and Tsatas is one who embodies that moniker on-field. The Oakleigh Chargers speedster is an athletic type at 186cm, able to seriously hurt the opposition with his line-breaking runs and elite delivery by foot. Given his outside tendencies, Tsatas has mostly featured on the wing at NAB League level, but really catches the eye when rotating through the centre bounces with his ability to break away cleanly and hit targets at full tilt. Coming into the year, he was one of three Victorian midfielders in the mix for pick one, and has pressed his claims with terrific numbers.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Tsatas got going nicely with a couple of particularly incredible outings for Oakleigh. He averaged 39 disposals and nine inside 50s across Rounds 2 and 3, including a 42-touch effort against Eastern in which he almost pulled off the footballing equivalent of a triple-double. The 17-year-old is also an integral part of Wesley College’s APS side, but is currently stuck on the sidelines having suffered a six-week foot injury. He is unlikely to make it back for Vic Metro’s first championship game, and had eyes on turning out for Collingwood’s VFL side later in the year having played against them for the AFL Academy.

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  • #4
    Jhye Clark
    Geelong Falcons | Midfielder

    height: 181cm

    weight: 77kg

    D.O.B: 23-07-2004

    height: 181cm

    weight: 77kg

    D.O.B: 23-07-2004

    #4 Jhye Clark

    GEELONG FALCONS | MIDFIELDER

    TOP TRAITS GALORE

    A midfielder whose range of traits is truly enviable, Clark can just about do it all. The Geelong Falcons captain is competitive at the coalface but also has the running capacity to rack up possessions around the ground, and the overhead marking ability to play slightly above his 180cm frame. Capping off his well-rounded game, Clark makes good decisions and can kick off both feet, making him an effective user of the ball who keeps it simple when attacking. Though not as quick or flashy as others in this range, there are very few weaknesses to exploit.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Clark has missed a few games throughout the NAB League season, but his handful of appearances thus far have gone a long way to proving his talent. Only once has he dipped below 20 touches – in unideal conditions during a Round 1 win – but has utterly dominated large portions of multiple games this season. In his second-most recent outing, Clark produced one of the quarters of the year up front against Oakleigh, and finished with a bang to drag the Falcons to a draw against Bendigo.

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  • #5
    Jedd Busslinger
    East Perth | Key Defender

    height: 196cm

    weight: 82kg

    D.O.B: 11-03-2004

    height: 196cm

    weight: 82kg

    D.O.B: 11-03-2004

    #5 Jedd Busslinger

    EAST PERTH | KEY DEFENDER

     

    COMPOSED AND COMPLETE

    While he presents as a raw and rangy talent on face value, Busslinger is one of the more accomplished talls in this year’s crop. In fact, he leads the key position department in our eyes. The East Perth prospect recently broke through for his WAFL League debut after undeniable Colts form, looking a level above his peers credit to terrific reading of the play and polished use of the ball for a player his size. His distribution and composure are standout traits which add to his ability to intercept or lock down opposition forwards, making him a clear choice as the top key defender this year.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Busslinger was dominating the Colts competition before he got his League berth, albeit if he had little to do on that day in a 78-point thumping of West Coast’s reserves. Prior to that, he had averaged a tick under 24 disposals and eight marks in his age group, proving unbelievably consistent across four games. He also built into his AFL Academy outing well, positioning off the back shoulder and using his range to get plenty of spoils in from defence.

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  • #6
    Harry Sheezel
    Sandringham Dragons | Medium Forward

    height: 184cm

    weight: 77kg

    D.O.B: 13-10-2004

    height: 184cm

    weight: 77kg

    D.O.B: 13-10-2004

    #6 Harry Sheezel

    SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | MEDIUM FORWARD

     

    SMARTS AND SKILL

    One of the more naturally skilful footballers in this year’s draft class, Sheezel has built on his bottom-age promise to break through as a genuine top 10 prospect. Another talent out of the Sandringham Dragons, he is tied to the region full-time alongside Ashcroft and has made good on the opportunity this year. Kicking 14 goals in six games, including bags of four and six, Sheezel has also staked his claim as a rotating midfielder and has clear upside as a player who can win games off his own boot.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Sheezel’s goalkicking ability is a known quantity at this stage and the aforementioned NAB League numbers attest to that. The crafty medium type was also a standout in his lone Vic Metro outing against the Young Guns, and was thrown into the AFL Academy’s midfield late in the piece on a day which was difficult for his side’s forwards. If his 28 disposals and six goals against Tasmania served as a breakout game, his 37 touches against Northern in Round 9 proved the perfect audition as a permanent midfielder.

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  • #7
    Elijah Hewett
    Swan Districts | Midfielder

    height: 185cm

    weight: 84kg

    D.O.B: 27-05-2004

    height: 185cm

    weight: 84kg

    D.O.B: 27-05-2004

    #7 Elijah Hewett

    SWAN DISTRICTS | MIDFIELDER

    SPEED AND ENDURANCE

    A player with traits AFL recruiters will love, Hewett came into the year as one of Western Australia’s top talents. He remains right in the top 10 mix after starting out his season in Swan Districts’ senior side, displaying his speed-endurance combination on both sides of midfield. While well built and bull-like on the inside against his peers, Hewett has also leant on his high-level running capacity to provide some outside drive this season, and prove his balance in the engine room.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Hewett now has a handful of senior WAFL games under his belt, having made his debut in Round 1 this year. Barring his latest outing, the 18-year-old has managed between 11 and 17 disposals per game, cutting his teeth both at the centre bounces and on the wing. At 186cm, he was tasked with more inside work when representing the AFL Academy, but also rotated forward on the day. He can certainly add a bit of polish to his disposal and defensive acts, but looms as a key cog in Western Australia’s Under 18 side.

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  • #8
    Mitch Szybkowski
    Dandenong Stingrays | Inside Midfielder

    height: 186cm

    weight: 84kg

    D.O.B: 09-01-2004

    height: 186cm

    weight: 84kg

    D.O.B: 09-01-2004

    #8 Mitch Szybkowski

    DANDENONG STINGRAYS | INSIDE MIDFIELDER

     

    THE STOPPAGE SPECIALIST

    A clean inside midfielder who is described as an animal on the training track, Szybkowski has worked hard to get the best out of himself this season. The Dandenong Stingrays and Caulfield Grammar standout is a beast at the stoppages and looks like one of the best exponents of the handball in this year’s crop. He links well with others and can rack up plenty of the ball himself, putting his side on the front foot as the source of many a stoppage exit. Able to make others shine by doing the hard yards, Szybkowski is the type of player who sets standards.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Szybkowski started his top-age campaign in great touch, averaging over 25 disposals, five tackles and four inside 50s in his four NAB League outings. Barring an outlier in Round 4, he ticked up over the 25-touch mark each time and proved utterly dominant around the ball. Although he runs hard to accumulate in chains, Szybkowski is developing his versatility and outside game, evidenced by two goals in his last couple of NAB League games. He has also been a standout at APS level, featuring among Caulfield’s best players multiple times.

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  • #9
    Harry Lemmey
    West Adelaide | Key Forward

    height: 199cm

    weight: 94kg

    D.O.B: 30-01-2004

    height: 199cm

    weight: 94kg

    D.O.B: 30-01-2004

    #9 Harry Lemmey

    WEST ADELAIDE | KEY FORWARD

    THE ATTACKING CENTREPIECE

    The most highly touted tall coming into 2022, Lemmey is beginning to recapture the bottom-age form which had him pegged for top five status. He debuted at SANFL League level last year and has added two more matches to his resume as a top-ager, while also gaining confidence in West Adelaide’s Reserves and representing the AFL Academy. At 199cm, he presents strongly on the lead and can clunk eye-catching marks, offering a style similar to St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt – even with his blonde mop of hair.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Lemmey has endured a few interruptions in 2022, coming in and out of West Adelaide’s League team and battling to produce his usually promising output. He kicked two goals in the opening top flight round and had arguably his best game for the year in Round 8 of the Reserves campaign; registering 15 disposals, 10 marks, and 2.4. At his best, he is the kind of player you can build an attack around and is difficult to stop with his powerful marking feats.

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  • #10
    Tom Scully
    West Adelaide | Key Forward

    height: 201cm

    weight: 83kg

    D.O.B: 02-11-2004

    height: 201cm

    weight: 83kg

    D.O.B: 02-11-2004

    #10 Tom Scully

    WEST ADELAIDE | KEY FORWARD

    THE FAST IMPROVER

    Scully is the bolting tall prospect of this year’s draft crop, having returned an unbelievable scoring output so far. The West Adelaide talent is one of three talls from the club to feature in our rankings, and has arguably come from the furthest back to do so. At 201cm, his reach and range are impressive, as is his ability to lead effectively and make good on his chances inside attacking 50. Though still filling out his frame, Scully has taken full advantage of his vertical edge at Under 18s level to be the dominant junior goalkicker around the nation.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    His 37 goals in seven games is nothing to scoff at. That is an average of over five goals per game, with Scully’s only effort of less than four majors coming in Round 1. He lays claim to three bags of seven and one of six, proving a mobile threat inside 50 with 7.1 marks (3.9 contested) per match. That finishing touch and marking ability was less prominent against senior opposition for the AFL Academy, and also in unideal conditions in his appearance for South Australia against NSW-ACT. Still, you can only beat who is in front of you and Scully has put himself high up the order given his balance of potential and actual production.

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  • #11
    Aaron Cadman
    GWV Rebels | Key Forward

    height: 194cm

    weight: 88kg

    D.O.B: 03-03-2004

    height: 194cm

    weight: 88kg

    D.O.B: 03-03-2004

    #11 Aaron Cadman

    GWV REBELS | KEY FORWARD

    VICE-LIKE HANDS

    One of the more prominent lead-up forwards in a draft rich with promising talls, Cadman has proven undeniable as a genuine first round candidate this year. He got some good bottom-age experience under his belt in 2021 but has excelled as Greater Western Victoria’s spearhead in 2022, earning a call-up to the AFL Academy on the back of terrific NAB League form. With vice-like hands on the lead and strong presence in attack, he is somewhat similar to fellow left-footed forward Jye Amiss – with arguably more dynamism, but improvement to be made on his finishing.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Cadman has put 14 goals on the board across six NAB League games, tending to kick them in bunches. On the three occasions he managed to boot multiple goals, Cadman finished with bags of three, four and five as a real force up forward. His presentation and ability to snaffle marks under opposition pressure makes him an ominous presence in full flight, and he should be a key figure for Vic Country at the upcoming championships.

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  • #12
    Matthew Jefferson
    Oakleigh Chargers | Key Forward

    height: 194cm

    weight: 76kg

    D.O.B: 08-03-2004

    height: 194cm

    weight: 76kg

    D.O.B: 08-03-2004

    #12 Matthew Jefferson

    OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | TALL FORWARD

    THE SKINNY SCORER

    A lean tall forward who proves proficient in the air, Jefferson is one of the key position players with the most upside in this year’s group. Though his production isn’t as high as others just yet, the 18-year-old is mobile at 195cm and offers great range with his lanky frame. Already a clean marker of the ball, he has some filling out to do and while he can play at both ends of the ground, looks a likely type up forward.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    It has been a promising start for Jefferson, who has the benefit of playing for one of the strongest NAB League regions this year. He was steady with three goals in his first two games, and while he registered an inaccurate six behinds in Round 3, began to showcase some of his best form with eight marks. The very next outing, he clunked 15 grabs and kicked three goals against Calder to really get going. Jefferson has since been turning out for Wesley College, nabbing five goals in his last two appearances.

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  • #13
    Mattaes Phillipou
    Woodville-West Torrens | Midfielder

    height: 191cm

    weight: 83kg

    D.O.B: 27-12-2004

    height: 191cm

    weight: 83kg

    D.O.B: 27-12-2004

    #13 Mattaes Phillipou

    WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS | MIDFIELDER

    THE MID-FORWARD HYBRID

    Perhaps a ranking made on upside, Phillipou is one of the more exciting talents coming out of South Australia this year, with plenty of scope for improvement. The Woodville-West Torrens midfielder-forward is mobile at 192cm, able to impact aerially and proving dextrous with his ability to win the ball on both sides of midfield. Capping off his game, he can hit the scoreboard as a forward and has done so consistently as a real beacon of hope for the Eagles’ Under 18 side.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Along with partner in crime Adam D’Aloia, Phillipou has been is terrific touch for the Eagles at Under 18s level. He kicked six goals in his first four matches, averaging low-20s for disposals, before exploding in his last four outings for averages of 33 disposals, nine marks, eight inside 50s, and over a goal per game. Expanding his midfield responsibility, Phillipou has proven up to the task and looks a lock for a similar role at state level. He turned out for the Croweaters this past weekend for a half, and also cracked the SANFL Reserves grade in Round 2.

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  • #14
    Brayden George
    Murray Bushrangers | Medium Forward

    height: 185cm

    weight: 87kg

    D.O.B: 13-01-2004

    height: 185cm

    weight: 87kg

    D.O.B: 13-01-2004

    #14 Brayden George

    MURRAY BUSHRANGERS | MEDIUM FORWARD

     

    POWER PERSONIFIED

    George is a player with serious power and the ability to produce mercurial plays inside attacking 50, making him a first round candidate who could well press his claims for the top 10. He cut his teeth as a medium forward across five NAB League games last year, and has essentially done the same in 2022 despite claims for some midfield rotation. At 185cm, he presents as a slightly taller target with his explosive athleticism and clean hands overhead, but can make defenders look silly at ground level with his goal sense. Able to convert from all angles and distances, the Murray Bushrangers talent could follow a similar path to Josh Rachele this year.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    While currently nursing a six-week injury sustained in Round 8, George has put some solid runs on the board in 2022. He started off with a bang, sinking five goals against the undefeated Gippsland Power in Round 1, going on to find the big sticks in every outing before his injury. He went one better than his opening round effort with a bag of six majors against Greater Western Victoria, putting on a show in an all-Country triple-header.

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  • #15
    Jackson Broadbent
    Peel Thunder | Ruck

    height: 201cm

    weight: 100kg

    D.O.B: 02-12-2004

    height: 201cm

    weight: 100kg

    D.O.B: 02-12-2004

    #15 Jackson Broadbent

    PEEL THUNDER | RUCK

    THE DEAN COX CLONE

    Broadbent is this year’s version of the player whose exploits are tagged with the ‘for his size’ cliche. It is for good reason though, as the Peel Thunder ruck has displayed superb touch for a 201cm talent, using the ball beautifully and covering the ground well to draw comparisons to West Coast champion Dean Cox. Having gotten a taste of senior football last year, Broadbent has cut his teeth in the WAFL Colts this season and showcased his best traits in the AFL Academy showcase. While other rucks dominate the hitouts and follow up with tackles, Broadbent is the type who can spread and get involved away from the contest.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Returning a consistent output across five Colts games thus far, Broadbent rarely wavers from his average of just under 15 disposals. He has shown a few different strings to his bow in each appearance, notching a high of 37 hitouts in Round 1, clunking seven marks in Round 2, and hitting the scoreboard with a goal in Round 6.

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  • #16
    Kobe Ryan
    West Adelaide | Midfielder

    height: 183cm

    weight: 73kg

    D.O.B: 17-02-2004

    height: 183cm

    weight: 73kg

    D.O.B: 17-02-2004

    #16 Kobe Ryan

    WEST ADELAIDE | MIDFIELDER

     

    BASH AND CRASH

    Though relatively lightly built, Ryan is a bash and crash style of ball winner who defies his size to crack in at the contest. Just as capable of spreading and accumulating around the ground, the West Adelaide talent has proven undeniable for a SANFL League berth in 2022 after outstanding Under 18 form over the last couple of seasons. A classy mover whose skills are transferable to flanks or the wing, Ryan can play in a multitude of positions and looks a natural type who pops up in all parts of the ground.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Ryan only needed one Reserves dig to earn a League berth, but he had put in an enormous body of work before that at Under 18s level. The 18-year-old averaged 29 touches, seven clearances and six inside 50s against his peers, while also kicking four goals in his five games. Upon hitting the top flight, he hit the ground running with 22 touches on debut and backed it up with 17 – playing against both Adelaide and Port Adelaide’s reserve sides. Ryan also played a half for South Australia this past weekend, and will again be a key figure at representative level this year.

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  • #17
    Oliver Hollands
    Murray Bushrangers | Midfielder

    height: 184cm

    weight: 71kg

    D.O.B: 16-01-2004

    height: 184cm

    weight: 71kg

    D.O.B: 16-01-2004

    #17 Oliver Hollands

    MURRAY BUSHRANGERS | MIDFIELDER

     

    THE SLICK STEPPER

    The name may be recognisable, but Hollands is blazing his own trail as a draft prospect this year. He is the brother of Elijah and son of Ben, though projects as a slightly different player. At 184cm, the Murray Bushrangers product possesses a wicked step through traffic and loves racking up the ball in midfield, but can just as easily transfer his driving style of play to the outside. He has also been made to prove his versatility of late, making the step up to represent Vic Country and the AFL Academy.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    An injury sustained in Round 1 meant Hollands only got two NAB League games in at the start of the season, but he produced handy form across both. In three quarters, he was his usual self with 17 touches during the opening round, before racking up 26 in his Round 4 return. Since, Hollands has also been a standout for Geelong Grammar and looked much more composed in his use by foot with a shift to half-back for Vic Country. He also played there, on the wing, and in midfield for the AFL Academy, quickly finding his feet in each role.

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  • #18
    Alwyn Davey Jr
    Oakleigh Chargers | Small Forward

    height: 181cm

    weight: 74kg

    D.O.B: 26-02-2004

    height: 181cm

    weight: 74kg

    D.O.B: 26-02-2004

    #18 Alwyn Davey

    OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | SMALL FORWARD

     

    > ESS F/S

    DEADLY DECISION MAKING

    A smooth moving midfielder-forward who hails from great pedigree, Alwyn Davey Jnr is an Essendon father-son candidate who will likely set the Bombers back a fair few draft points. The Northern Territory native boards at Xavier College with twin brother Jayden, hence his link with the Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League. Though relatively low in production, Davey possesses wonderful smarts and evasive technique on the attack, noted for making great decisions in tight spots.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Like many Victorian-based players on this list, Davey started out his year in the NAB League and built into the campaign well. He never notched above 20 touches playing as a mid-forward, but that is not his style of game. Davey caught the eye with his ability to break from stoppages cleanly and carry the ball forward, before using the ball well by foot. He only found the goals once but is certainly a natural inside 50, as evidenced by his latest APS outing. He helped Xavier College kick away to victory with two majors in the final term after moving forward.

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  • #19
    Anthony Munkara
    West Adelaide | Forward

    height: 186cm

    weight: 77kg

    D.O.B: 03-10-2004

    height: 186cm

    weight: 77kg

    D.O.B: 03-10-2004

    #19 Anthony Munkara

    WEST ADELAIDE | FORWARD

    > ESS NGA

    THE X-FACTOR

    Another top talent tied to Essendon, Munkara is unlikely to don the sash at AFL level given the new Next Generation Academy bidding rules. Almost certain to be snapped up within the first 40 picks, the Northern Territory native is a mercurial talent who does things others can only dream of on-field. He can kick off both feet, has the athleticism to take high marks at 186cm, the power to shrug off tacklers, and the goal sense to win games off his own boot. Munkara has moved down to South Australia to press his claims with West Adelaide and Westminster College, and looks a real talent with raw attributes to enhance.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Munkara already made a name for himself with bags of goals in South Australia’s college competition, but made his SANFL Under 18s debut this year. Blowing out the cobwebs, he booted four goals from 14 touches in Round 1 and backed it up with two more majors the next week. Arguably the game which boosted his profile most was for the AFL Academy, where Munkara was launching torpedo punts from 50 in the warm-up, and very nearly kicked one of the goals of the day playing as a dynamic medium forward. He just has that X-factor.

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  • #20
    Harry Barnett
    West Adelaide | Ruck

    height: 202cm

    weight: 93kg

    D.O.B: 22-01-2004

    height: 202cm

    weight: 93kg

    D.O.B: 22-01-2004

    #20 Harry Barnett

    WEST ADELAIDE | RUCK

    THE MOBILE RUCK

    If Broadbent is one whose feats are suffixed with the ‘for his size’ tag, Barnett is another exciting ruck who wears it just as well. The fourth West Adelaide prospect on our list, he can do things not many 202cm players can but is very much a work in progress. Barnett has proven difficult to beat at SANFL Under 18s level this season after a promising bottom-aged campaign, showing off his ability to carry and kick the ball with handy proficiency as a very mobile ruckman.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Barnett has turned out in nine Under 18s games this season, having only one match of under 20 hitouts and contributing plenty more around the ground. He has really found his feet in the last month, averaging 24 disposals, seven marks, and 29 hitouts across a terrific run of form. After only kicking one goal in his first six games, he has also booted three in his last three outings. Capping off his efforts, Barnett also turned out for South Australia against NSW-ACT, though that clash was played in less than ideal conditions for talls.

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  • #21
    Adam D'Aloia
    Woodville-West Torrens | Inside Midfielder

    height: 186cm

    weight: 86kg

    D.O.B: 09-04-2004

    height: 186cm

    weight: 86kg

    D.O.B: 09-04-2004

    #21 Adam D’Aloia

    WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS | INSIDE MIDFIELDER

     

    CLEAN HANDS AND CLEARANCES

    A strong clearance specialist with quick and clean hands, D’Aloia is one of the most well-known South Australian prospects given his exploits in the state Under 19 squad last year. Also best afield in last year’s SANFL Under 18 grand final, the 18-year-old has been a ray of consistency throughout 2022 in a team which sits second-last. He has also rolled forward of late and is adding some polish to his kicking, but is dominant when he plays to his strengths in midfield. D’Aloia is perhaps a touch more physically developed than his peers, and takes full toll with his size.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Along with Phillipou, D’Aloia has featured in seven Under 18 games for the Eagles and made one appearance in the Reserves. He is averaging 30 disposals at junior level, dropping below that mark just once with a low of 25 in Round 1, and a high of 35 – hit twice. D’Aloia has kicked goals in his last four outings in Eagles colours, and converting a lovely running shot for the AFL Academy last month. He was impressive against senior bodies in that game, with his clean ground level game proving polished.

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  • #22
    Lachlan Cowan
    Tasmania Devils | Medium Defender

    height: 188cm

    weight: 81kg

    D.O.B: 01-12-2004

    height: 188cm

    weight: 81kg

    D.O.B: 01-12-2004

    #22 Lachlan Cowan

    TASMANIA DEVILS | MEDIUM DEFENDER

    THE SUPERBOOT

    The Tasmania Devils skipper this year, Cowan is his state’s standout prospect and has plenty of desirable traits. He’s hard to miss on-field with a flowing mullet and flashy boots, backed up by line-breaking speed and a booming boot which, in combination, make for damaging rebound play. Cowan made the AFL Academy intake for 2022 on the back of high-level bottom-age form, and has built on that by leading his side admirably at NAB League level. At 188cm, he has the athleticism to impact aerially but catches the eye most with his pace and line-breaking ability.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Cowan has been relentless in his method in 2022, proving as consistent as any player at the level in terms of production. He has put up averages of 28 disposals, five marks and nearly eight rebound 50s across seven NAB League games, ticking up over 30 touches thrice and advancing well up the ground to snare three goals. He also played down back for the AFL Academy,  and could be one who advances to the wing or into midfield as the season wares on.

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  • #23
    Cameron Mackenzie
    Sandringham Dragons | Midfielder

    height: 187cm

    weight: 80kg

    D.O.B: 21-01-2004

    height: 187cm

    weight: 80kg

    D.O.B: 21-01-2004

    #23 Cameron Mackenzie

    SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | MIDFIELDER

     

    > STK NGA

    UNDER THE RADAR

    Another club-tied player in our top 25, Mackenzie is one who has slipped under the radar in Sandringham’s stacked side but is a genuine talent in his own right. The St Kilda Next Generation Academy member will likely make the Saints sweat given how prolific he has been this year at NAB League and APS level. Mackenzie has a terrific turn of speed and breaks away from stoppages with class, while also proving capable of rotating forward and making good decisions on the attack.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Mackenzie caught the eye caught the eye across a solid month of NAB League footy to start his season, averaging 22 disposals and four inside 50s in his four outings. He got better with each game, rising from 18 disposals in Round 1 to notch hauls of 21, 23, and eventually 25. He has also proven prolific at school footy level with Brighton Grammar School, racking up the ball and hitting the scoreboard consistently.

     

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  • #24
    Henry Hustwaite
    Dandenong Stingrays | Defender

    height: 194cm

    weight: 84kg

    D.O.B: 20-07-2004

    height: 194cm

    weight: 84kg

    D.O.B: 20-07-2004

    #24 Henry Hustwaite

    DANDENONG STINGRAYS | TALL DEFENDER

    FUNDAMENTAL FOOTBALLER

    A unique talent at 194cm, Hustwaite has enjoyed a growth spurt over the last few years to translate his usual midfield game to defence. He cut his teeth down back as a bottom-ager last year, and did so again early in 2022 before taking on more ball winning responsibility as Dandenong’s APS kids shifted out of the NAB League. The 17-year-old was also a call-up for the AFL Academy, leaning on his versatility to showcase the clean hands and composed decision making he is lauded for. In that game, he played against his elder brother Campbell – captain of Collingwood VFL.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Hustwaite has stepped up to ever task asked of him in 2022. Starting in defence with short rotations into midfield across the first month, he was consistent as a cool head who made all the right decisions in possession. Hustwaite has dropped below 20 touches just once, averaging 22 per his seven games as a taller player whose style is akin to smaller types. His shift into midfield has been relatively seamless, with Hustwaite continuing to get his hands on the ball in the NAB League, for Vic Country, and the AFL Academy.

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  • #25
    Nick Sadler
    Sturt | Midfielder

    height: 179cm

    weight: 74kg

    D.O.B: 08-01-2004

    height: 179cm

    weight: 74kg

    D.O.B: 08-01-2004

    #25 Nick Sadler

    STURT | MIDFIELDER

     

    THE CRAFTY KICKER

    Sadler has been unleashed across all three SANFL levels in 2022, bringing his clean and crafty skills to the fore for Sturt. The 179cm talent provides a good amount of drive on the attack, able to navigate his way out of stoppages with agility and smarts, but also capable of jetting off on the outside. Able to roll forward, and likely to spend more time there as he climbs the grades, Sadler can deal damage to the opposition with his slick skills and decision making.

    SEASON SO FAR:

    Having started out in the Under 18s, Sadler immediately proved ready for higher levels and was promoted for two games apiece in the Double Blues’ Reserves and League teams. He snared a goal on his top flight debut, but has arguably looked most comfortable in the Under 18s where he averages 20 disposals and 3.4 inside 50s across five games, cracking 20 touches thrice. He got his chance to show his wares in midfield for South Australia on the weekend, and finds himself rounding out this month’s top 25.

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