2020 Draft Watch (Part 1)

Because we might actually have a 1st round pick this year.

2020 vision: Cal Twomey’s 10 young guns to watch

Callum Twomey

Nov 30, 2019 7:00AM

Alex Davies, Elijah Hollands, Denver Grainger-Barras, Luke Edwards and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan are among the most enticing prospects ahead of 2020. All pictures: AFL Photos

THIS year’s NAB AFL Draft has come and gone, and within days clubs will turn their attention to the 2020 pool.

Recruiters will be sent to different parts of the country to follow state Academy hubs on their pre-Christmas training camps, and some players will begin their training stints at different AFL clubs.

This is AFL.com.au 's early look at the 2020 draft, with 10 names you’ll be hearing plenty about throughout next year.



Tanner Bruhn

Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

A knee injury he suffered earlier in the year made for a challenging season. Bruhn only returned late in the year after he missed Vic Country’s under-18 carnival. He is lightly bodied but has nice skills through the midfield and is smart and classy around the stoppages. A high-impact player with his disposals.

Braeden Campbell

Sydney Swans Academy/NSW-ACT

The Swans will get first call on Campbell, who was named best-afield in the NAB AFL All Stars ‘Futures’ game on Grand Final day. Campbell is a midfielder who can slide forward, as he did in that game when he booted three goals from 14 disposals. Finds the ball at the stoppages and is able to cover the ground and be penetrating with the ball.

Alex Davies

Gold Coast Academy/Cairns/Queensland


Gold Coast will be able to automatically list Davies as an Academy player at the end of next year and he looks like being a big benefit of their draft concessions. The tall midfielder, who comes from a high-level basketball background, has a damaging kick and is very clean at the stoppages. His agility and sharp mind in tight spaces means he should be a player to flourish in his draft season.

Luke Edwards

Glenelg/South Australia

The potential Adelaide father-son selection had a very strong bottom-aged season, playing either as a midfielder or across half-back. He has the ability to move in a number of different spots and also featured in the reserves side at Glenelg. The son of Crows dual premiership player Tyson.

Denver Grainger-Barras

Swan Districts/Western Australia

Grainger-Barras was an important member of Western Australia’s triumphant under-18 carnival win, shoring up its back half with intercept marks and showing he will be one of the leading key defenders of next year’s crop. Injury ended his season early but is regarded as a likely top-10 pick and the standout player in WA next year.

Elijah Hollands

Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country

Hollands brings with him some real X-factor. He can play close to goal, where he’s able to create and make opportunities when the odds look against him, but he can also be utilised as a big-bodied midfielder, as he was in the NAB AFL All Stars game. The 17-year-old had 24 disposals, five clearances and booted two goals in a dominant display.

Archie Perkins

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

Perkins is a player who could skyrocket next year. His form at under-18 level and playing in under-17s ‘Futures’ games this season suggested he is right in the frame as a possible first-round pick. Perkins is a classy, smart half-forward who uses the ball well and creates opportunities for teammates. Next year he may spend more time in the midfield.

Will Phillips

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

Phillips looks one of the leading midfielders in the 2020 pool. The hard-at-it Oakleigh Chargers prospect averaged 22 disposals in the NAB League this year and was among the best players in their premiership win, kicking two goals from 16 disposals in the Grand Final. A bull at the stoppages, Phillips has a genuine hard streak and appetite for the contest but combines it with strong running power. Expect him to dominate next season.

Riley Thilthorpe

West Adelaide/South Australia


The South Australian will be one to watch next year. Thilthorpe had an injury-interrupted season in 2019 but shapes as one of the talls of the 2020 crop, being capable of playing as a ruck and forward. Thilthorpe’s versatility has even seen his athletic qualities used on the wing, where his marking and leap catches the eye.

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country


It was in the second half of the season that Ugle-Hagan showed why some recruiters have him pegged as the leading contender for the No.1 pick next year. The exciting tall forward kicked 24 goals from nine games for the Chargers, including four goals in a preliminary final and three majors in the qualifying final. He has strong hands on the lead and has a mercurial streak, too. The Bulldogs will get first access to Ugle-Hagan as part of their Next Generation Academy.

Do you reckon we might change the draft forum name from “Hard to Shiel With” next year?

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Hello Kepler Bradley

Also, having a NGA player as a potential #1 doesn’t really feel like it’s in the spirit of the thing.

Are the Davey boys eligible in 2020?


I agree (until we have one touted that high)

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I already have a list of 89 players in an Excel spreadsheet for next year, haven’t ranked them all yet and a few i haven’t seen footage of yet (WA players mostly)

Looks a stronger draft for talls at a glance but worse for midfielders with some of the better players being sub 180cm hell even sub 175cm


so in a weak midfield draft, perfect for us to stack up on picks for midfielders.


Where would brand and eyre - be top 50?

Both around the top 50 mark, both are hard to place at this stage but Brand is a bit higher on exposed form.

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What about Brayden Rioli and Max Fletcher?

Where did we stack up on picks for mids? If anything I thought we added a couple of late picks for points for our tall NGA players who might be mid draft types. (+ or minus 100 picks either way).

We kept our first, but otherwise, our next pick might be beyond 50. Says to me we didn’t particularly want to load up on the mids from next year’s draft. If we’d banked a lot of picks around 15-30 hen is buy that as our plan, but given we’ve kept early and then have a few late, it says we’re planning on using points rather than picks.

I guess later we might try to trade those up, but that would be for “less” picks, so again not loading up.

Could change if Joe and Raz go, but at the moment I’m comfortable that we haven’t positioned ourself to go massively deep into a draft that might be weaker.


That’s a law firm, not a footballer.


Sub 180 you say? Music to Jackets’ ears.

If Daniher and Fantasia try to make some moves again then we may have a few more first-round selections added.

They’ll be plenty of midfielders reveal themselves over the next 12-months. McGrath and Taranto weren’t talked up that much a year out, Oliver was a nobody until midway through his draft year. Fyfe and Cripps grew about 10cm each in the last 12 months of their juniors.

This years draft class was also stacked with midfielders which would have forced the young guys to play on the peripheries.

The bigger concern for the draft is how many high-end players are already spoken for (although Academy players are always pumped up in their junior year).

And who knows, with Caracella in charge of our midfield we may find out that we don’t even need to bring in any elite midfielders. Look at what happened at Richmond, they barely added anyone to their list they just better utilised what they had and got everyone playing at or near their best.


You can normally make a pretty good call how strong a draft is about 5 years after the draft.
Why anyone thinks they’ll have any sort of a read on the overall draft strength 12 months before it is beyond me.

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It’s a recruiters job to know it even two years in advance especially with the prospect of live trading, Of course players improve and what not and clubs will also need to figure out how many players do have that ability to improve and could effect when they take certain players with Harrison Jones this hear being a very good example.

Here’s how.

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Four of those 10 are listed as Academies/ Father - son.
Another two are KP’s, who are invariably snapped up by clubs in need.
So a decent to very good first round mid should be available around the Pick 10 - 12 mark, which is where realistically we might finish (haven’t ruled out Pick 18, but that’s another Thread)
Unless the Awful stuffs around their bidding system yet again.

It’s the late First round and early to mid Second round picks that’ll really suffer next year - they could move back half a dozen places or more.