Cal Twomey's top 30 Phantom Draft

Warning: contains no Essendon. Just in case, like me, that means you couldn’t give a fat rat’s…


Yup. Couldn’t care less.

Not until & unless, we actually get into the top 30 as we are speculated to want to do here, …


Picks: 31, 33, 61, 64 (likely to use three or four selections)

The Bombers are another club keen to move up the board by packaging their first two picks together, or offering their future first-round selection to buy into this top-end (which would require them attaining a future third-round pick first). If they stay where they are, it’ll be their third straight year without a first-round pick. Hugo Ralphsmith is a chance to be available in the 30s and will be considered strongly, while fellow midfielders Thomson Dow and Sam Philp are options. They need to add to their tall forward stocks and have shown interest in Emerson Jeka and also Jake Riccardi (pictured below), who was named the VFL’s best young player this season. Matt Hammelmann , who was formerly on Brisbane’s list but dominated for Redland this season, is another key forward they’ve kept tabs on this season. Mature-age West Australian small forward Ben Sokol is a chance later, ruckman Nick Bryan the same. Premiership Tiger Jacob Townsend looks likely to join the club through the pre-season supplement selection period next year.

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Give me Riccardi and Sokol and I’ll be a happy chappy.


Thread delivers.

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I’m excited any time GC have the top picks, as that means we are a chance of pinching them in 2 years.

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not a bad list

id be happy if Philp gets to us and Elijah Taylor if not then Ralph-smith

then Riccardi and Bryan late. If gone then Jeka

interesting Hawks into Taylor, maybe thats why they want another first rounder surely wont be there at 42.

I’d happily take sharp who isn’t in cal’s top 30. Back to back AA.

*based on watching a highlights package.


Agree. Sharp is next best. There are 3 more clubs to go before our pick so no guarantees.




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31 - Best Available - Harrison Jones/Sam Philp/Jeremy Sharp.

or Taheny/Williams are two similar types who would be a high-risk high-reward selection Dodoro loves.

and Gould would be interesting if he dropped to us - seems like a cross between Ambrose and Hurley.

33 - Riccardi (I’d jump early to secure the best KPF prospect outside the 1st round)
61 - Taylor (I expect him to drop based on ?s on his commitment)
64 - Sokol (Best state league forward. Strong marking, Elite endurance, beast big game player)


The hawks flew Taylor down to Melbourne to interview him, I highly doubt he makes it to pick in the 60s

I like us having a double 2nd round pick together. Means the inevitable Morgan/Steinberg/Begley Hail Mary might be balanced out by an actual 2nd round selection.


General comment - I reckon there’s a fair bit of gamesmanship between the clubs. Show strong interest in a player hoping another club takes them and that frees up their intended target.

I think they are trying to trade next years first rounder for him.

anyone have Gary Buckenaras top 50 draft list? (Herald sun subscription).

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AFL draft 2019: Gary Buckenara’s best 50 junior prospects

Gary Buckenara, Herald Sun


178cm, 74kg, Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers, midfielder

Buckenara says: Rowell is a tough and explosive midfielder who excels at stoppages and imposes himself on games. There isn’t much separating he and teammate Noah Anderson but what sets Rowell apart is his ability to play both as an inside and outside midfielder. If you’re an inside midfielder it gives you a big tick but if you show traits of being outside as well, which Rowell does, it elevates you. They’re the traits recruiters really like. He’s got a smart football brain, he’s competitive and is a real inside beast but he’ll equally hurt you by foot on the outside because he uses the ball to the advantage of his teammates, makes good decisions, his vision to assess options is excellent and he’s got good evasive skills. He can be a real playmaker – he makes things happen.

Plays like: Lachie Neale

Stats: Disposals 24.8, contested possessions 12.0, clearances 5.3, tackles 6.0, goals 0.8, score involvements 6.5, ranking points 133

Matt Rowell (left) and Noah Anderson (right) are the two best players in this year’s draft. Picture: Tony Gough


188cm, 86kg, Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers, midfielder

Buckenara says: The son of my premiership teammate Dean Anderson, Noah shows enormous talent and is a very creative and smart midfielder. At 188cm he’s a taller midfielder with a very strong endurance base and is good overhead. He regularly kicks goals, averaging two per game in the NAB League for Oakleigh this year, and can kick them from a range of positions, whether it be a long running goal, a mark on the lead or a snap around his body. I have Rowell just ahead of him but Anderson is a more athletic midfielder who sees the game very well.

Plays like: Scott Pendlebury

Stats: Disposals 23.5, contested possessions 10.8, clearances 5.3, tackles 2.8, score involvements 4.0, ranking points 107


182cm, 81kg, Vic Country/Gippsland Power, forward/midfielder

Buckenara says: Flanders has a strong body already and has shown his best football as a forward who can also have a run in the midfield. He has a big upside because he does things on talent – eye-catching things like taking big marks, kicking freakish goals and being very clean in plucking the ball off a pack. I suspect, however, he could get himself much fitter and being in a full-time AFL environment will see him improve sharply, which is why I rate him so highly.

Plays like: Jordan De Goey

Stats: Disposals 22.5, contested possessions 10.0, clearances 4.5, tackles 6.0, score involvements 4.8, ranking points 113


186cm, 80kg, Vic Country/Murray Bushrangers, defender

Buckenara says: Ash brings real speed to this year’s draft. He’s a line-breaker off halfback who likes to take them on and put the ball under his arm. He doesn’t run blindly – he’s composed with the ball and adds plenty of excitement. The is a lot to like about Ash as he has the modern-day traits coaches love – he can be that rebound defender with good skills and in the modern game the players who can execute that 20m sideways kick to open the game up and play on with leg speed are so valuable. He’s a beautiful kick of the footy.

Plays like: Andrew McGrath

Stats: Disposals 23.0, marks 5.0, intercepts marks 1.5, intercept possessions 4.8, tackles 1.3, score involvements 5.3, ranking points 102

Lachlan Ash uses his speed to evade an opponent.


188cm, 85kg, Allies/GWS Academy, midfielder

Buckenara says: Green starred for the Allies in the U18 championships where he showed his ball-winning ability through the midfield. A bid will definitely come early for the GWS Academy prospect, which the Giants will match because he’s a big and strong inside midfielder who can bullock through traffic in a similar style to Patrick Cripps. He sets up the game from midfield. He improved his endurance this season, which has led to better numbers more consistently.

Plays like: Patrick Cripps

Stats: Disposals 23.8, contested possessions 16.3, clearances 8.0, tackles 4.3, score involvements 4.3, ranking points 111


178cm, 83kg, Vic Country/Gippsland Power, small forward/midfielder

Buckenara says: A powerful small forward/midfielder, Serong can influence a game in a number of ways. He’s sharp at ground level, neat by foot and is able to set up teammates with clever ball use. He is very clever around goal as well with his uncanny goal sense. When he has time and space in the midfield his burst of speed is really exciting. Serong, who co-captained Vic Country at the carnival, surely has impressed recruiters with his consistent performances during the year but he also has big upside to develop further. He’s a natural sportsman as he’s also a very talented junior cricketer.

Plays like: Robbie Gray

Stats: Disposals 23.5, contested possessions 10.0, clearances 5.3, tackles 8.5, goals 0.8, score involvements 5.8, pressure acts 23.3, ranking points 130


191cm, 98kg, South Australia/Glenelg, defender

Buckenara says: Gould stepped up to play well at SANFL level where he was part of Glenelg’s premiership side. His mature frame and booming kick are features of his game. He reads the play well, gives excellent rebound from defence and has been likened to West Coast skipper Shannon Hurn because of his powerful style. He will have many admirers.

Plays like: Shannon Hurn

Stats: Disposals 21.5, marks 4.5, intercepts marks 2.0, intercept possessions 6.3, tackles 2.5, score involvements 1.3, ranking points 99

Will Gould in action during the under-18 championships. Picture: Getty


188cm, 82kg, Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays, defender

Buckenara says: Young looks every bit the early pick. He played in the midfield at times this year but looks most comfortable and does most of his damage across halfback where his vision, poise and precise kicking stand out. Young, whose brother Lachie plays for the Bulldogs, is a good size at 188cm, will develop into a nice third tall defender at AFL level and has already shown good signs as a player who can take intercept marks. He brings some good traits and has upside to improve.

Plays like: Brad Sheppard

Stats: Disposals 22.0, marks 5.3, intercept marks 3.3, intercept possessions 8.3, tackles 2.3, score involvements 3.3, ranking points 107


195cm, 86kg, Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro, key defender

Buckenara says: A promising key defender who was a solid contributor throughout the under-18 championships, McAsey did some of his best work in the air by taking many contested and intercept marks. He’s very athletic for a young player of his size, has good foot skills and backs himself. He won’t be purely defensive — he’ll go for his marks when he can because he reads the ball in flight very well. When you’re looking at key position players, these are the traits recruiters love.

Plays like: Tom Barrass

Stats: Disposals 14.5, marks 6.5, tackles 3.0, intercept marks 3.8, intercept possessions 6.8, ranking points 97


183cm, 69kg, South Australia/Norwood, midfielder

Buckenara says: Stephens has a big engine coupled with pace and a precise left foot, which will make him one of the most talented and sought-after midfielders in this draft. He grew up in country Victoria before moving to South Australia for school and has already played for Norwood at senior level in the SANFL. His under-18 carnival form was consistent, averaging 23.5 disposals, and showed he has the traits that impress recruiters – clean hands, good skills and a big engine for today’s endurance requirements for outside runners.

Plays like: Isaac Smith

Stats: Disposals 23.5, uncontested possessions 16.0, marks 3.5, clearances 2.8, tackles 4.3, score involvements 2.5, ranking points 89

Dylan Stephens has senior level experience in the SANFL. Picture: Sarah Reed


179cm, 67kg, Western Australia/Claremont, small forward

Buckenara says: Fremantle will get first access to Henry as a member of its Next Generation Academy. The lightly-framed teenager is a lively small forward that has real x-factor. He had a minor knee injury that halted some of his progress but he’s shown enough already as a player who can create chaos up forward with his blistering speed. A top-10 bid is not out of the question because he’s got delightful skills and has the talent to be an excitement machine in years to come.

Plays like: Charlie Cameron

Stats: Disposals 17.5, marks 5.3, goals 0.8, score assists 2.0, score involvements 6.5, pressure acts 16.5, tackles 4.0, ranking points 93


195cm, 74kg, Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons, key defender

Buckenara says: The way Worrell is able to float into marking contests in defence and make an impact in the air should bode well at AFL level as a third tall defender. His leap and agility, plus his versatility – he played back, midfield and forward in the championships – will appeal to clubs, especially given there is a lack of taller players in this draft. Worrell is coming off a shoulder reconstruction, which will restrict his initial training and development, but he’s a nice prospect and, if well looked after, has the ability to develop into a very handy player.

Plays like: Jeremy Howe

Stats: Disposals 10.8, marks 3.8, tackles 1.8, intercept possessions 1.8, goals 1.8, score involvements 3.8, ranking points 76


192cm, 82kg, Vic Country/Bendigo Pioneers, utility

Buckenara says: Kemp ruptured his ACL late this year, which could see him be one of the sliders on draft night. If that does happen, he’d prove to be a bargain for the club that selects him. At 192cm, Kemp can play in most positions but has been used predominantly as a marking forward, as a tall midfielder who can extract the ball and across halfback where his vision stands out. He’s not a noted big ball winner, which is why his under-18 championships performances, where he averaged 20 disposals, stood out. He has plenty of upside and could have been a top-10 pick if not for his injury. He’s athletic and moves extremely well for his size.

Plays like: Marcus Bontempelli

Stats: Disposals 20.0, contested possessions 8.5, tackles 2.3, goals 0.8, score involvements 4.3, pressure acts 10.5, ranking points 102

Brodie Kemp celebrates a goal. Picture: Getty


187cm, 80kg, Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons, midfielder

Buckenara says: The son of my two-time Hawthorn premiership teammate Scott Maginness, Finn enjoyed a really strong season that has seen him shoot up the draft order as a father-son prospect for the Hawks. He’s a tall and athletic midfielder who uses his size to good effect, makes good decisions and uses the ball well, unlike his dad who actually took out a patent on the helicopter drop punt during his playing days (sorry mate!). He continued to improve as the season progressed, with the hard work he’s been putting in to improve his kicking paying off (although he still has some work to do) and he was also able to get to more contests which meant he won more of the footy.

Plays like: Andrew Gaff

Stats: Disposals 18.3, contested possessions 9.5, clearances 3.8, tackles 7.5, score involvements 5.0, ranking points 94


184cm, 83kg, South Australia/Woodville-West Torrens, midfielder

Buckenara says: A father-son prospect for Port Adelaide, Mead is the son of the club’s inaugural best and fairest winner Darren Mead. A midfielder/utility, his performances in the championships would have pleased Power recruiters with his composure and decision-making — his best traits — on show. He does need to tidy up his foot skills to reduce the number of targets he misses but he has proven to be a damaging player who can hurt opposition on the scoreboard.

Plays like: Ben Cunnington

Stats: Disposals 21.3, uncontested possessions 13.8, clearances 3.0, tackles 5.0, score involvements 4.5, goals 1.0, ranking points 106


182cm, 80kg, Western Australia/Perth, midfielder/defender

Buckenara says: Robertson captained Western Australia and won the Larke Medal as the best player in the under-18 championships. The nephew of former West Coast captain Darren Glass, Robertson has really improved his athletic ability and makes things happen when he gets the ball because he’s a smart player who makes really good decisions. If there’s a knock on him, it’s his pace but, over the years, we’ve seen players make up for that by using their footy smarts.

Plays like: Mitch Duncan

Stats: Disposals 30.0, contested possessions 11.8, marks 4.3, score involvements 4.0, tackles 6.8, pressure acts 18.5, ranking points 128


177cm, 73kg, Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays, small forward

Buckenara says: The speedy small forward really impressed this season and topped the goal kicking in his four under-18 championships games after finishing with nine. Weightman likes to fly for his marks, a trait in small forwards which has come to the fore in recent years, so expect some strong interest from clubs looking for this type of player. While he does play a bit taller than his stature suggests, he’s very dangerous at ground level and will apply pressure. He brings excitement and is the pick of the small forwards in this draft outside Liam Henry, who Fremantle has first access to.

Plays like: Jamie Elliott

Stats: Disposals 11.0, marks 3.5, goals 2.3, score involvements 4.5, pressure acts 10.3, tackles 2.0, ranking points 80


198cm, 94kg, Western Australia/East Fremantle, ruck

Buckenara says: Jackson is clearly the best ruckman in this draft and, given the shortage of big men, he will likely be taken much earlier by a club desperate for a developing ruck. He had a really strong season, winning All-Australian selection as the best ruckman in the under-18 championships. But, at 198cm, Jackson is undersized as a No.1 ruckman at AFL level. The club that picks him will be hoping he grows a little bit more because to be a genuine ruckman in today’s game you need to be 200cm-plus. He has good aggression and competitiveness and loves to use his body strongly in contests, including at ground level. He’s athletic but isn’t noted for his ability to go forward and take a mark despite being more than capable of plucking them around the ground. This ability could develop in time but it’s why I hope he’ll have a growth spurt to push him over 200cm.

Plays like: Ben McEvoy

Stats: Disposals 14.5, marks 2.3, hit outs 36.8, hit outs to advantage 9.5, clearances 4.5, tackles 2.8, score involvements 3.3, ranking points 110


187cm, 70kg, South Australia/West Adelaide, defender

Buckenara says: A rebounding defender/outside midfielder with a light body at present, Day doesn’t let that stop him from being a fierce competitor. He has good athleticism and provides great impetus off half back, where he was a consistent performer for South Australia and often set his team up with his running patterns to link up attacking moves. He’s an interesting player because I believe we haven’t yet seen the best of this potentially late developer. I think he has big upside, but time will tell.

Plays like: Brodie Smith

Stats: Disposals 18.8, marks 5.0, intercept marks 1.5, intercepts possessions 7.5, tackles 1.3, ranking points 89

Harrison Jones in action during the draft combine. Picture: Michael Klein


194cm, 75kg, Vic Metro/Calder Cannons, key forward

Buckenara says: Jones elevated himself into calculations with strong performances as a key forward during the carnival. He has a light frame at present but I believe he’s capable of putting on good size and clubs will identify him as a project key-position player who has a good work ethic. He leads up well to the ball carrier, has a good pair of hands, is agile and looks comfortable in front of goal, so there is a lot to like. These types of players are hard to find, so expect strong interest in Jones, given the lack of his type in this draft.

Plays like: Tim O’Brien

Stats: Disposals 9.3, marks 3.3, tackles 2.8, goals 1.0, score involvements 4.8, ranking points 63


178, 70kg, Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers, defender/midfielder

Buckenara says: What is most impressive about Bianco is his ball use. It is a long-held opinion of mine that players who can kick the ball well as rebound defenders hold a very strong appeal to recruiters and Bianco definitely does that. He put himself on the radar with his performances for Vic Metro, where he averaged 18.5 disposals, and as captain of premiership side Oakleigh in the NAB League, where he had a really good finals campaign.

Plays like: Matt Suckling

Stats: Disposals 18.5, marks 4.3, tackles 3.0, intercepts marks 1.0, intercept possessions 3.3, score involvements 2.8, ranking points 99


182cm, 72kg, Vic Country/Bendigo Pioneers, midfielder

Buckenara says: The younger brother of Carlton’s Paddy, Dow has taken the eye of recruiters this year. He’s different to his brother in that he plays a little bit taller and occasionally drifts forward to offer a target. Dow is lightly framed but agile and has a nice burst of speed, so he looks a good prospect who brings some nice attributes to the table. It will take some time and patience from the club that picks him to build up his light body.

Plays like: David Mackay

Stats: Disposals 12.3, contested possessions 4.8, clearances 2.5, score involvements 1.5, tackles 1.8, pressure acts 10.8, ranking points 48

Thomson Dow at the draft combine. Picture: AFL Media


200cm, 85kg, Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays, key defender/forward/ruck

Buckenara says: De Koning is like his brother, Carlton’s Tom De Koning, and will take time to fully develop and make his mark. Players like him, however, are very hard to find and although it will take time, if you can develop them, they become very valuable players to have on your list. He played as a key defender for Vic Country and looked good athletically, despite being very raw, and has also played as a forward-ruckman, which recruiters will like. Clubs looking for an athletic forward-ruck to develop will need to lock him away fairly early and be patient in developing him. He can be inconsistent but has shown signs of being a very good player. He could start his career as a defender, just to develop and get confidence.

Plays like: Harry McKay

Stats: Disposals 12.5, marks 4.8, intercept marks 3.0, intercept possessions 5.8, ranking points 61


185cm, 75kg, Western Australia/Perth, forward/midfielder

Buckenara says: Taylor is an extremely talented footballer who will hopefully fulfil his true potential because his speed, skill and football nous is there for all to see. At the moment, though, he tends to play in bursts and can drop out of a game when he gets close attention from a defender. He doesn’t need much space to be dangerous and can quickly impact a game in 15 minutes. AFL is far harder, but if Taylor can work hard on his fitness, I see him as a very dangerous potential forward/midfielder because he has real brilliance and reflexes and, when you combine that with his pace, skill and football nous, it makes him a serious player to watch.

Plays like: Liam Ryan

Stats: Disposals 12.3, marks 2.5, goals 1.5, score involvements 4.5, tackles 1.0, pressure acts 11.3, ranking points 67


186cm, 75kg, Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons, midfielder/forward

Buckenara says: Bergman had some challenges this year as he managed shin splints. He’s not a high possession-winner but he makes things happen when he gets the ball. He’s just one of those playmakers. He can play on the wing or as a forward and has provided some good highlights with a high mark or long goal. There is huge upside for Bergman, once he gets on top of the shin splints, making him one of the smokies in this draft. He’s one of the best kicks available, so don’t be surprised if he goes top 20.

Plays like: James Sicily

Stats: Disposals 13.3, marks 5.3, tackles 3.8, goals 0.3, score involvements 3.3, pressure acts 14.0, ranking points 74


185cm, 79kg, Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers, utility

Buckenara says: Williams showed his talent last year for Oakleigh Chargers when he booted 14 goals in the finals series as an underage player. Unfortunately he’s had stress fractures in his back this year, which have caused him to drift from a potential top-10 selection. Williams’ marking is a real strength, he’s clean at ground level, clever around goal and is a lovely left-foot kick. He can also be used across halfback, where his reading of the play comes to the fore. He can also occasionally run through midfield. He finds ways to impact games with his x-factor. Despite being a bit inconsistent, he looks a very nice prospect as a potential ‘Mr Fix It’.

Plays like: Chad Wingard

Stats: Disposals 13.1, contested possessions 6.6, tackles 1.1, goals 2.3, score involvements 5.6, ranking points 90 (NAB League)


187cm, 79kg, Western Australia/East Fremantle, midfielder/defender

Buckenara says: Sharp boasts great athletic traits – he has really good pace and endurance and his running is clearly the biggest feature of his game, which he’s able to use as an outside player to run up and down the ground. His skills are good and he highlighted this during the national championships, when he again won All-Australian selection. He has played senior WAFL level football, so will be well conditioned to facing bigger bodies.

Plays like: Bradley Hill

Stats: Disposals 21.0, uncontested possessions 15.8, marks 5.8, goals 0.8, score involvements 3.8, tackles 1.3, ranking points 83


180cm, 78kg, South Australia/Woodville-West Torrens, midfielder

Buckenara says: Playing as a midfielder with occasional stints across half forward, Schoenberg shows some terrific traits that recruiters like – competitiveness, decision-making and skill. His competitiveness to win inside ball and feed it to outside runners is a real feature of his game, but he also likes to be a playmaker and try to make something happen. He’s very athletic and can run up and down the ground, a trait that will be very attractive to coaches.

Plays like: Sam Menegola

Stats: Disposals 27.0, contested possessions 12.3, clearances 5.8, marks 4.8, score involvements 5.8, tackles 4.8, ranking points 122

Jay Rantall set a draft combine record in the 2km test. Picture: Michael Klein.


185cm, 80kg, South Australia/Norwood, forward

Buckenara says: Taheny is an exciting and dangerous forward who can produce something from nothing. He’s already played at senior level for Norwood in the SANFL and performed well, averaging two goals per game despite injury niggles with his knee and quad. He has really good speed, a good kick, a nice leap, a really good pair of hands and plays a bit like a key position player despite standing at 185cm. He’s a hard player to match-up on because he plays taller than his height suggests.

Plays like: Gary Rohan

Stats: Disposals 14.0, marks 2.7, tackles 3.0, pressure acts 13.3, goals 1.0, score involvements 3.7, ranking points 67


184cm, 82kg, Vic Country/GWV, midfielder/defender

Buckenara says: Rantall has a strong work ethic, which is one of his best traits, and recruiters will like his no-nonsense style of football where his trademark is his ability to just get the job done. He looks to be a real professional with the way he goes about his football and once in a full-time AFL environment, I’m sure we’ll see the same diligence from him as he won’t be one to get ahead of himself. I’m sure he’ll get the best out of himself and become a real pro at AFL level in time.

Plays like: Nick Vlastuin

Stats: Disposals 18.8, intercept possessions 1.3, marks 3.0, tackles 3.5, score involvements 4.5, ranking points 84

Nick Bryan is rated as one of the best ruck prospects in the draft and likened to Tim English.


202cm, 87kg, Vic Metro/Oakleigh Chargers, ruckman/forward

Buckenara says: One of the best ruck prospects in this draft, Bryan is lightly framed but that plays into his strengths. He’s so mobile he’s virtually an extra midfielder around the ground. He has good skills and reads the play very well, while he can also provide a marking option up forward. Clubs will definitely look at him as a potential ruck-forward.

Plays like: Tim English

Stats: Disposals 9.3, hit outs 22.0, hit outs to advantage 6.5, marks 2.5, tackles 3.3, score involvements 3.0, ranking points 75


199cm, 82kg, Vic Country/Gippsland Power, key forward/ruck

Buckenara says: Comben is a project player that has shown glimpses of talent. He demonstrated some of what he can do during the under-18 carnival but as we know, talls take a bit of time to develop and grow into their frames. Comben has traits recruiters like in tall players – athleticism, a good leap to take a mark and gets around the ground well – and could develop into a nice forward-ruck or ruck-forward.

Plays like: Harry McKay

Stats: Disposals 8.7, marks 3.7, tackles 6.0, pressure acts 11.0, goals 0.7, score involvements 1.7, ranking points 85


188cm, 85kg, Western Australia/East Fremantle, defender

Buckenara says: Rivers is an attacking and rebounding halfback flanker who likes to take the game on. He was a consistent player across the carnival for Western Australia, where he averaged 21.8 disposals, and was a key player in its title win. He has the potential to develop into a midfielder at AFL level if he can get a bigger engine because he can tire quickly. He’s got good leg speed and is a reasonable kick.

Plays like: Brodie Smith

Stats: Disposals 21.8, uncontested possessions 14.3, marks 5.0, intercept marks 1.5, intercept possessions 6.3, tackles 2.5, ranking points 94


188cm, 83kg, Vic Country/Geelong Falcons, midfielder

Buckenara says: A big-bodied midfielder, Stephens is a ball winner who thrives in contested situations. He broke his leg in April, which meant he didn’t play in the championships, but he was fit for the draft combine where he really impressed with both his performances and the condition in which he returned. It’s a credit to his work ethic and professionalism, how hard he’s worked to get his body into great shape. It won’t surprise to see him go earlier in this draft such was his performance at the combine.

Plays like: Luke Shuey

Stats: Disposals 19.0, contested possessions 12.0, tackles 3.7, clearances 3.7, score involvements 3.0, ranking points 93 (NAB League)

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170cm, 67kg, South Australia/Woodville-West Torrens, small forward

Buckenara says: Pickett is a lively and quick small forward with great reflexes and fantastic evasive skills. He’s capable of taking a big mark so there’s a lot to like about his ability. He needs to become a lot fitter as his impact on games at this stage is done in bursts but he’s got some of that Rioli brilliance and vision about him to make things happen. If he can dedicate himself to football then he’ll be a real excitement machine.

Plays like: Cyril Rioli

Stats: Disposals 13.7, marks 2.3, goals 0.7, score involvements 3.0, tackles 2.7, forward 50 tackles 1.3, pressure acts 15.0, ranking points 76


186cm, 70kg, Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons, midfielder

Buckenara says: Ralphsmith is going to be a later developer. He’s the son of my former teammate Sean Ralphsmith, who played 34 games for Hawthorn and St Kilda, but doesn’t qualify as a father-son for either club. He has inherited his dad’s commitment and competitiveness in the contest (his dad was a kamikaze-style player who was often banned by ‘Yabby’ Jeans from one-on-one training because it was too dangerous to have him pitted against the ‘thoroughbreds’ as Yabby would say!). He’s around the same size as his dad and plays as a hardworking midfielder but has also spent time deep forward where he flies for his marks. Has ability but is still raw and it may take time for him to fully develop consistency in performance.

Plays like: Connor Blakely

Stats: Disposals 11.1, contested possessions 3.7, clearances 1.5, tackles 2.0, goals 0.7, score involvements 3.3, pressure acts 11.0, ranking points 49


181cm, 80kg, Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons, midfielder

Buckenara says: Byrnes’s performances this year were really consistent as a midfielder who wins the ball and hurts the opposition with his acceleration and foot skills. He regularly wins first possession at stoppages, using his speed and agility to break the lines and has good vision to assess his options and hit targets inside 50. There’s a lot to like about his footy and it wouldn’t surprise to see him taken earlier.

Plays like: Jack Steven

Stats: Disposals 25.6, contested possessions 12.1, clearances 5.5, inside 50s 5.6, tackles 3.5, score involvements 5.9, ranking points 120 (NAB League)

Jack Mahony handballs under pressure for Sandringham Dragons.


176cm, 70kg, Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons, small forward/midfielder

Buckenara says: Mahony’s crumbing work and ground level ball-winning ability combined with his forward pressure, tackling, excellent kicking skills and decision-making and vision will appeal given the way today’s footy is being played. Those traits make him a dangerous player and what clubs are looking for in small forwards. He’s also capable of pushing up into the midfield.

Plays like: Jack Higgins

Stats: Disposals 18.0, contested possessions 8.8, clearances 2.8, tackles 3.5, pressure acts 17.8, goals 1.0, score involvements 6.5, ranking points 106


196cm, 91kg, South Australia/North Adelaide, key defender

Buckenara says: Hilder is a key defender who was one of South Australia’s best during the championships. He’s a very good intercept mark and good in one-on-one marking contests as he reads the drop of the ball well. He generally makes good decisions when he has the ball and given the lack of talls in this draft, should have some admirers. He needs to work on his fitness and agility over the summer.

Plays like: Scott Thompson

Stats: Disposals 12.5, marks 4.8, intercept marks 2.3, intercept possessions 5.8, tackles 1.3, score involvements 2.3, ranking points 81

Dyson Hilder was a standout for South Australia in the national carnival. Picture: Dean Martin.


174cm, 76kg, East Perth, small forward

Buckenara says: Cox is a small forward who is quick, evasive, skilful and has x-factor. He’s a smoky – it will be a bit of a gamble as to whether he can survive in a full-time AFL environment because there are question marks over his commitment – but he’s hugely talented and has traits similar to West Coast’s Liam Ryan. Will the professional demands and pressure of the AFL be too much for him? He’s one of the most talented players in this draft. A boom or bust pick.

Plays like: Liam Ryan

Stats: Disposals 12.0, contested possessions 7.3, goals 1.3, score involvements 4.7, tackles 2.7, forward 50 tackles 1.5, ranking points 95 (WAFL Colts)


195cm, 92kg, Werribee, key forward

Buckenara says: Riccardi should be on the radar of AFL clubs after a really good season for Werribee in the VFL, where he averaged just under two goals per game and kicked 38 for the season. He’s been overlooked before but with the lack of height in this draft, the 20-year-old definitely has something to offer as a key forward. His form in the last few seasons in the VFL has improved each year and playing under Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams would have done his development the world of good. He’s played good footy against men and that tells me he has scope to improve further. He’d be a smart pick.

Plays like: Tom Hawkins

Stats: Disposals 11.1, marks 5.0, contested marks 1.1, goals 1.9, score involvements 5.5, tackles 1.9, ranking points 63

Western Jets midfielder Darcy Cassar has the traits to excel as an outside midfielder.


183cm, 75kg, Vic Metro/Western Jets, midfielder

Buckenara says: Cassar is an interesting player who could get an opportunity. He will be a later developer and in the long-term, I think he’ll become a nice high half-forward/outside midfielder. His speed and endurance are his main attributes but like most players he needs to tidy up his foot skills and his decision-making. But those are not huge issues. I feel he has enough attributes to be a nice long-term player after a consistent season in the NAB League. He showed improvement from his bottom-age year, which is a good sign.

Plays like: Steven Motlop

Stats: Disposals 16.0, uncontested possessions 9.7, score involvements 3.3, pressure acts 8.7, ranking points 64


191cm, 78kg, Subiaco, forward

Buckenara says: Georgiades missed the entire 2019 season due to a serious quad injury but showed enough signs in 2018 to suggest he could be a nice player for the future. He really set himself for the draft combine given he had no exposed form to bank on and produced good numbers in all tests and interviewed well about where his body is at and how much he wants to be an AFL player. He obviously trained really hard to get himself ready for the combine, which is hard to do when you’re not playing, especially for a young kid, so that sends a good message to recruiters about his work ethic and commitment. He has an x-factor and if he can get on top of his injuries, has enough ability to become a nice high half forward or even a tall playmaker through the midfield.

Plays like: Jack Gunston

Stats: Disposals 10.3, marks 3.5, forward 50 marks 1.3 tackles 1.5, goals 0.8, score involvements 3.3, tackles 1.5, ranking points 45 (2018 under-18 championships)

Brock Smith was often asked to play as a key defender for Gippsland Power.


188cm, 81kg, Vic Country/Gippsland Power, defender

Buckenara says: Smith is a rebounding defender who had a big role to play for Gippsland this year given he was often asked to play as a key defender despite being 189cm. At AFL level, however, he’ll be a perfect halfback who provides rebound but is also a very good intercept mark and can spoil taller opponents by using his athleticism to get over the top.

Plays like: Zach Touhy

Stats: Disposals 13.7, contested possessions 6.7, marks 2.7, intercept possessions 6.3, tackles 3.0, ranking points 69


185cm, 80kg, Northern Knights, midfielder

Buckenara says: Philp has elite speed and had a really impressive second half of the season in the NAB League for Northern Knights, where his athleticism made him stand out. He needs to tidy up his skills but has big upside given his line-breaking speed and competitiveness to win the ball.

Plays like: Jack Steven

Stats: Disposals 22.6, contested possessions 11.4, clearances 5.7, tackles 5.8, score involvements 4.3, ranking points 126


181cm, 70kg, Allies/Tasmania, midfielder

Buckenara says: O’Neill might be the only Tasmanian selected in the draft this year after showing his ability to win the footy in the contest despite his small physique. He’s a very smart player who uses the ball intelligently, so clubs might look to develop his footy smarts as a small forward, defender or midfielder in a similar way to how the Bulldogs have used Caleb Daniel. He’ll need time to develop his body and craft but on footy smarts has potential.

Plays like: Caleb Daniel

Stats: Disposals 20.3, contested possessions 7.5, marks 5.5, clearances 2.5, tackles 1.3, score involvements 2.8, ranking points 85

Darcy Chirgwin has overcome a broken leg to still be on the radar of AFL clubs. Picture: Alan Barber


183cm, 79kg, Allies/Brisbane Lions Academy, utility

Buckenara says: Cumberland is a Brisbane Lions Academy member who can play in a variety of positions but will be best suited as a rebound defender or outside midfielder at AFL level where he can use his speed to break the lines and kick the ball long inside 50 and be that 60-80m ball carrier.

Plays like: Daniel Rich

Stats: Disposals 11.0, clearances 2.3, tackles 4.5, pressure acts 17.0, goals 0.8, score involvements 2.5, ranking points 74


191cm, 80kg, Vic Country/Sandringham Dragons, midfielder

Buckenara says: Chirgwin managed just seven games this year due to a broken leg but when he returned performed strongly for the Dragons late in the year. His clearance work was good and the athletic 191cm midfielder is sure to have admirers as he has a nice frame that will develop – we know big-bodied midfielders are the types clubs really like. He has upside and it wouldn’t surprise to see him taken earlier.

Plays like: Daniel Howe

Stats: Disposals 24.7, contested possessions 12.4, clearances 5.1, tackles 7.9, score involvements 3.7, ranking points 122 (NAB League)

Cooper Sharman went from playing local footy at Balwyn to being of interest to AFL clubs.


194cm, 78kg, Oakleigh Chargers, forward

Buckenara says: Sharman is a former GWS Academy member who was overlooked last year, so he moved to Victoria and played under Rodney Eade at Balwyn before getting some opportunities with Oakleigh as a top-age player. He’s a nice forward in the making and is a lovely kick – his set shot conversion rate (73.7 per cent) is really good. He has a very light frame and will take time to develop but shows good signs.

Plays like: Josh Schache

Stats: Disposals 11.5, marks 4.3, contested marks 0.8, goals 1.8, score involvements 4.8, tackles 1.6, ranking points 80


194cm, 91kg, Subiaco, key forward

Buckenara says: I have pushed Delahunty for a few years now and with the lack of key position talent this year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him taken in the national or rookie draft. He won the Sandover Medal this year, has consistently performed well in the WAFL for a number of years now and at 29, I believe he’d be a very smart late pick. I have put him in my top 50 knowing he most likely won’t get picked inside 50 but clubs needing a key forward, such as Collingwood, should seriously look at him. He’s in career-best form and still has 3-4 years of good football in him. He’s got a really good leap, a good pair of hands, is a lovely kick and can even help out in the ruck, which he’s done in the WAFL to good effect.

Plays like: Daniel McStay

Stats: Disposals 26.8, marks 6.4, tackles 2.3, goals 0.8, score involvements 7.8, hit outs 16.6, hit outs to advantag


I know it ain’t much but hmmm. :upside_down_face:

Particularly with their picks, 3 x 3rd rounders then pick 63

Philp, Riccardi, Stephens and Pickett would all be ace at around our picks.

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