Cal Twomey's 2019 Phantom Form Guide: Top 30 September update’s draft guru ranks the best young footy talent in the land


THIS year’s NAB AFL Draft has been recognised as one of the most even in recent years.

Without the clear standouts of last year but having a variety of positions covered in the first round, the early part of the 2019 pool should have something for everyone.

This is the third update of the 's Phantom Form Guide, where we rank the best 30 players in the crop.

A reminder this is a ranking of the best players, and not a mock draft.

The Form Guide will continue to be updated monthly in the lead-up to November’s draft.

Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers
August ranking: 1

If Rowell has played a bad game this year, we haven’t seen it. His form has continued unabated for the full under-18 season, and on Saturday he will be a key player for the Oakleigh Chargers in their NAB League Grand Final. Rowell is a big reason they got there. He was brilliant in the Chargers’ qualifying final win over Gippsland with 29 disposals and seven clearances, and on the weekend against Sandringham, the reliable and consistent midfielder had 32 touches and five centre clearances. Rowell has speed, he makes the right decisions every time and he wills his team over the line. Ready to play round one, 2020.

Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers
August ranking: 2

Anderson is reaching the end of a long and fruitful season, but his form hasn’t dipped. Once again, the midfielder showed his ability to make an impact up forward last weekend for Oakleigh, where he booted three goals from 24 disposals. One was a long bomb from outside 50. Anderson’s capacity not just to impact the game around the ball but also hit the scoreboard makes him a very appealing player and why he’s regarded as such an early pick. His height, smarts, competitiveness, strength and running capacity makes for a very good package.

Vic Country/Gippsland Power
August ranking: 3

Serong’s three finals at NAB League level showed his qualities to all. In those games the midfielder averaged 26 disposals, seven clearances and a goal. There were times he looked like a long year might have taken a toll on his body, but Serong remained hugely impactful and capable of kickstarting things for his team. Serong’s marking and sharp hands gives the midfielder a real trick, elevating him in the air and allowing him to be a threat around goal. Think Robbie Gray.

Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays
August ranking: 4

There’s not been much difference between Young’s quieter games and his best ones, showing the high level he has played at throughout his under-18 season. The sweeping and classy half-back is his side’s set-up man: the Stingrays, and Vic Country in the under-18 carnival, use Young as often as they can to propel things forward. The left-footer is also able to provide a cut-off option in the air and get things going that way.

August ranking: 5

A knee injury in August prematurely ended Green’s season but it won’t affect his first pre-season at AFL level – and most likely the Giants. Green carried the Allies during the mid-season under-18 championships, even earning comparisons to Carlton star Patrick Cripps. The pair certainly share some similarities in their progress at the same age: Green is a tall, strong, big-bodied midfielder who hustles and bustles and wins clearances for fun. Looks set to attract a very early bid that the Giants will be forced to match.

Find Road to the Draft on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Vic Country/Gippsland Power
August ranking: 10

Flanders powered his way to one of the most commanding under-18 performances of the season in the NAB League qualifying final for Gippsland. Lined up against Oakleigh pair Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson in the midfield, Flanders kicked four goals and 17 disposals in the first half. He finished with 27 disposals and nine clearances in an explosive, damaging display. Flanders has had a consistent, productive season but this was the standout game that recruiters were hoping to see from the midfielder/half-forward. He gathered a team-high 27 disposals and eight clearances last week in the Power’s preliminary final defeat.

Vic Country/Murray Bushrangers

August ranking: 6

The dashing and darting half-back breaks the lines with ease. Look back at Brodie Kemp’s match-winning goal for Vic Country in the under-18 carnival against South Australia and you’ll see things started with Ash across half-back, where he grabbed the ball and went for it. It can sometimes be chaotic but generally Ash’s run and flair makes things happen and the ground opens up. Ash was co-captain of Vic Country at the championships.

Vic Country/Bendigo Pioneers

August ranking: 7

Kemp is making steady progress in the early stages of his recovery from a knee reconstruction. The versatile midfielder went down with the torn anterior cruciate ligament while playing for his school side Geelong Grammar in July, and then underwent surgery. He is hoping to be available to play at the back end of next season but will take a patient approach. Kemp can play around the ball – where he sees himself being long-term – but he has also shown he can be a tall target in attack or play as a key defender.

Find Road to the Draft on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons
Key defender/forward

August ranking: 8

It wasn’t the type of end to the season that McAsey would have hoped for, with the swingman missing Sandringham’s two last finals with bone bruising in his foot. The Dragons missed him, because he had been one of his side’s best players in their first final, when he took a couple of impressive marks leaving his opponent in defence. They were in the ilk of Jeremy McGovern. McAsey can play at both ends of the ground and impact games in the air, and he looks likely to be the first key-position player taken at November’s draft.

South Australia/Norwood

August ranking:13

The hard-working Norwood midfielder has shown he can match it with senior types playing in the SANFL, but he has also played well at under-18 level. Recruiters tend to think Stephens plays best as a wingman, where he uses his endurance, turn of speed and sweeping left foot kick to cut through teams, but he has also played in an inside midfield role at stages too.

Western Australia/Perth

August ranking: 9

The captain of Western Australia at the under-18 championships showed his grit by playing out the final game of the carnival with a busted shoulder that required surgery after the championships. But it didn’t limit his performance as he led his state to the under-18 title and also won the Larke Medal as the best player in the carnival. Robertson is a tough ball-winner who is good by hand and also ultra consistent. The nephew of former West Coast captain – and new list manager – Darren Glass.

Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays

August ranking: 16

Weightman’s excellent season unfortunately finished with him on the sidelines, as he sat out Dandenong’s elimination final loss due to concussion from the previous week. He had more than enough runs on the board though. The exciting small forward can impact a game in a number of ways: he’s clever and classy at ground level, he takes his chances, he’s a good user of the ball on both sides of his body and he loves flying for big marks. He spent some time later in the season playing up the ground in the midfield, where he can use his strong tank. Has star factor.

Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons
Key defender/forward

August ranking: 11

Worrell is recovering from a shoulder reconstruction that ended his season early after the under-18 championships for Vic Metro. During his carnival he played all over the ground, doing his best work mainly as a forward. However, he is most likely to be selected as a key defender given his ability to intercept marks and start things from the back half. Agile, athletic and reads the play well.

Western Australia/East Fremantle
August ranking: 14

It was an enormous end to the season for Jackson, who starred in the WAFL colts competition. He averaged 22 disposals, 33.8 hitouts and also chipped in with three goals in the final four rounds of the under-18 season. The All Australian ruckman powered past all his contemporaries to be the best big man in the draft, but it will still be fascinating to see where he gets drafted, given clubs have generally shied away from taking rucks with early picks. Jackson’s ability at ground level, his follow-up at the clearances and presence might make them think otherwise.


August ranking: 12

A knee injury cut short Henry’s season after the national carnival but the West Australian prospect highlighted his quality before then. He is a crafty, clever small forward who can make things happen out of nowhere. He attacks the goals but also creates opportunities for players around him, and has deft touch by foot and hand. Fremantle will get first access to Henry as a member of its Next Generation Academy.

Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons
August ranking: 16

Maginness’ stocks rose at the end of the season. The midfielder had 26 disposals and six clearances, plus a nice goal, against the Geelong Falcons in round 18. Then he had a best-afield display in the Dragons’ semi-final win over the Calder Cannons, picking up 32 disposals and a smooth goal. Maginness is a hard-bodied, tough on-baller who will develop into a big-bodied clearance specialist at AFL level. He should be in Hawthorn colours, with the Hawks having priority access over the father-son prospect.

South Australia/Glenelg
August ranking: 15

Gould’s CV stands up as well as anyone’s in the draft: he’s a back-to-back All Australian, played well back at under-16s level, and has performed strongly at senior level for Glenelg across this season. He’s a powerful half-back who breaks the lines with his kicking and burst run. He might be the best of his type in this year’s pool, given his ability to hold the fort from the backline.

South Australia/West Adelaide
August ranking: 25

The smart half-back is a nice player. He’ll catch the eye with his ability to mark the ball, create the play and do it without too much fuss. Day recently played on lively South Australian forward Cameron Taheny and shut him down, showing he’s capable of a strong defensive job and attacking mix. Day is the cousin of Gold Coast big man Sam.

South Australia/Woodville-West Torrens
August ranking: 18

Mead has value because he can play as a midfielder and a forward, having proven himself to be a regular goalkicker across the past two seasons. The midfielder is sure by foot and hand, and although not speedy, he is smart with his disposals and enjoyed a strong carnival for South Australia, when he was named an under-18 All Australian.

Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers
August ranking: 26

Bianco had one of the best games of his season last week in Oakleigh’s preliminary final win over Sandringham. The midfielder had 27 disposals and five inside 50s, but it was his ball use that stood out. Bianco is a brilliant kick, weighting the ball into space for teammates and deftly opening up the ground on both feet. He has had a very good season at all levels, including as a half-back for Vic Metro during the carnival.

Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons
August ranking: 30

With a contested mark and then long bomb that sailed through for a goal, Bergman gave an insight into his talents last weekend. It’s been that case throughout the year, with Bergman producing at least a couple of glimpses of his ability every time he runs out. His movement and speed shone at the championships for Vic Metro, and he finished the season well for Sandringham, including a four-goal effort late in the season. A leaper, marker and runner.

Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays
August ranking: 19

A versatile tall prospect who can play at both ends. Looks more comfortable as a defender, but De Koning will appeal to clubs for his upside and ability as well to dip into the ruck. The younger brother of Carlton’s Tom, De Koning played well for Vic Country at the under-18 championships.

Western Australia/East Fremantle
August ranking: -

The strong midfielder picked up 30 disposals, laid seven tackles and kicked 2.2 in East Fremantle’s final game of the season to cap an impressive year. Rivers likely sits as a second-round pick at the draft, but has his fans a little earlier than that because of his ability to find the ball at the clinches plus can also play across half-back if required.

South Australia/Norwood
August ranking: 20

An inconsistent back half of the season means Taheny has probably dropped down the order a little. The goalkicker can be a difficult match-up given his shape and attributes – he’s a quick option in the front half who is adept at ground level or on the lead, where he can make space quickly.

Western Australia/East Fremantle
August ranking: -

A dual All Australian who has shown his running strengths as a midfielder and wingman. He’s a long-kicking line-break who can also use his height to be a mid-sized marking option. Sharp finished his season with East Fremantle’s senior side, and in his final game of the season picked up 22 disposals and nine marks.

Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers
August ranking: 23

A back injury has meant that Williams hasn’t been able to finish the season in Oakleigh’s run to the NAB League Grand Final. It’s a far cry from his form at the end of 2018, when Williams rocketed himself into the top rungs of the draft pool when, as a bottom-ager, he kicked 14 goals in the Chargers’ finals series. Williams’ talent remains undoubted and as a forward he can turn games around goal with his sharp left foot and clever overhead marking.

South Australia/Woodville West Torrens
August ranking: 29

Schoenberg hasn’t done a lot wrong this season, with the peak of his campaign being the under-18 carnival when he was named an All Australian. He averaged 27 disposals, five tackles, five clearances and won his team’s MVP award, and stepped up the level. Schoenberg is smart in traffic and can always find a teammate by hand in congested spaces.

Vic Country/Geelong Falcons
August ranking: 28

It would have been a frustrating year for Stephens, who broke his leg in April and has been sidelined since. He missed Vic Country’s under-18 carnival, which cost him a chance to push into the higher echelons of the draft. Stephens is a strong-bodied midfielder and competitive when the ball is there to be won. Clubs will have to look back at his form as an under-17s player.

Western Australia/Perth
August ranking: 21

In terms of ability Taylor ranks very highly in this year’s crop. As a medium forward he can play taller than he is and is a threat in the air, while at ground level Taylor is also a threat around goal. He was named an All Australian for his form for Western Australia.

Vic Metro/Calder Cannons
August ranking: 24

Jones will be picked more on projection than production, given he hasn’t taken many games by the scruff of the neck in the second half of the season. The key forward can move well, has good running and leading patterns and uses the ball with skill, but will need to mark more at the next level to have a bigger say on games.


Hens love roosters,
Geese love ganders,
Everyone else loves SAAAAAM Flanders!


There are some prospects in there that we really should all consider and talk about in depth.

Nah just kidding, I also just want to make
Flanders jokes

Welcome to Essendon pick 4: Hayden Young

Welcome to Essendon pick 8: Brodie Kemp


I set ruckman (Jackson) in the list, one very tall defender (De Koning - who I assume will do ruckwork as well, brother of Carlton’s version)

No to De Koning rucking, would be a waste. Potential gun key defender

who we getting with joes picks?

I’m guessing Joe Daniher. Wouldn’t that be awesome.


Given the reported even draft post pick 2, could/would we spilt 4 or 8 into two picks?

Flanders/Serong double act for me.

Height be damned.

They have a bit of Zorko/Neale about them and the way they feed off each other.

Let’s turn our Mosquito Squad into a Mosquito Fleet.

I just feel the need to point out all the sensibility spelt names.

It remains a relatively vanilla group, of course.

Without DeKoning being a number 1 Ruck can you see him being a Key Fwd / Ruck rotation type?

Key defender would be how I use him, using him forward/ruck would be a waste of his talent imo Has never played the ruck role well at Nab League level would prefer we draft Bowman in the rookie draft for that

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On Bowman, does he have legitimate afl potential?

Yes and was unlucky not to get drafted last year

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TD1 - right now where would brand go next year?

Too early to say, need to go through a lot of old footage and watch the futures game next week to start Piecing together a list and talls are always the hardest to rate especially a year out

At the very least he looks draftable and a better defensive prospect than Mason Fletcher

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Has he done any fitness testing?

The good thing is that he’ll get more exposure against quality KPFs next year, can’t get much worse than this years group.