I don’t think this has been created yet, so lets talk about the 2024 draft crop.
There don’t appear to be any Harley Reid transcendent talents at this stage, but I feel like the top “tier 1” group will be quite even and fairly deep. Very heavy on midfielders with a variety of sizes and types.
Here’s my very early top 10 in order:
Finn O’Sullivan - 181cm midfielder that can rotate forward. Leans outside but can win his own footy. Excellent athletic traits, brilliant sidestep (can move sideways quicker than most move forwards), turn of pace and nice leap with a strong set of hands. Close to elite disposal, fantastic vision and creativity. Probably the early pick 1 favourite:
Sid Draper - 180cm midfielder. Dynamic Inside/outside game with the clean hands and power to win it and burst clear of the congestion to find space for a higher quality disposal. Was the best player for SA at the U18 Champs as a bottom ager, probably BOG in each of the four games and being named in the all-australian team.
Josh Smillie - 195cm mid/forward. Primarily an inside mid, Smillie uses his massive frame and clean hands to dominate stoppage. Post stoppage, he uses his endurance to roam and become a damaging marking target and uses his excellent kicking skills to set up his team. He lacks the foot speed of some other top prospects, but the rest of the package in undeniable.
Levi Ashcroft - 179cm midfielder, Bris F/S. Plays a similar game to his older brother Will but there are a few differences worth noting. Will has an ability to burst clear of stoppage which Levi hasn’t shown as much of yet. If anything Levi is even more of a pure accumulator and “death by 1000 cuts” type, although he has shown a valuable ability to get forward and hit the scoreboard.
Jagga Smith - 181cm midfielder. A little whippet who belies his size with some serious inside ball winning ability. Similar to Sid Draper with his inside/outside game, burst of speed and the endurance to find space and link the play. He’s one of the oldest in the draft pool with a January birthday, and turned in an excellent, mature bottom aged campaign averaging 28 touches for the Chargers.
Tyler Welsh - 191cm tall/med forward, Adel F/S. Undersized (at this stage) key forward who had some exciting moments at the champs as a bottom ager. Has the speed to get separation on the lead, and the physicality to impose himself in marking contests. I have him in the top 10 for now, but the lack of height makes him a query, and a potential slider.
Sam Lalor - 187cm mid/fwd. A big bodied, bash and crash mid/forward with power and strength. Never seems to lose a contest, he either wins it himself or lays one of his trademark bruising tackles. Could be anything given his profile, but I want to see him tighten up his disposal and work on his stoppage craft where he has a tendency to stand around waiting for the footy to drop in his area.
Christian Moraes - midfielder, listed at 182cm but the eye test suggests he’s grown to 185+. A midfielder that leans outside but can win the contested ball, his elite trait is his endurance which allows him to find a prolific amount of the footy on the spread. He’s quite tall for the position, agile and quick which makes him a slippery guy to contain. Will need to improve his kicking skills and at times his decision making.
Tom Gross - 180cm midfielder. Looks and plays a bit like Rory Sloane. Tough and brave inside mid with some outside dash. His approach is admirable and he’s solid at most aspects of the game but lacks any outstanding traits, he might find himself sliding if he doesnt find a way to separate himself from the huge pack of similar mids in this draft, especially playing alongside O’Sullivan and Smith in what will be an incredibly stacked Chargers midfield.
Luke Trainor - 193cm tall defender. I’ve snuck him in to the end of this top 10 even though he’s probably not quite there at this stage just to give a look at another tall in among the stack of mids. He’ll be hoping to grow a couple more cm’s, but even at 193 he’s more than able to impact in the air. A very proactive defender, he positions himself aggressively, often in front of his direct opponent, and backs himself to judge the flow of play to zone off and intercept or impact third up, then runs off to help build attacking moves.