<
>

Knightmare's AFL Draft Power Rankings: October

play
Future of Footy, Episode 4: Wearable technology (3:53)

Stephanie Brantz talks to Dr Paul Gastin about the future of wearable technology, and the impact it could have on athletes and sporting teams. (3:53)

Each month, ESPN.com.au AFL draft expert Christopher Doerre - aka Knightmare - unveils his power rankings to give readers an early insight into the top 20 prospects ahead of the 2017 draft.

As well as attending live games, Doerre pores through match vision, analyses the stats and talks to industry sources to ensure he can offer the most insightful analysis.

However, these rankings are his personal opinions, and are not reflective of the thoughts of AFL clubs.

Aside from his monthly power rankings Doerre also produces a weekly draft wrap and he will also predict who goes where with his annual phantom draft in November.

1. Cameron Rayner (VIC)

Best position: General forward/inside midfielder
Height, weight: 187cm, 88kg
Recruited from: Western Jets
Projected draft range: Top five
Similar to: Dustin Martin
September ranking: 1
Rationale: Impactful through the midfield with his contested ball-winning and explosiveness. Just as good if not better up forward with his one-on-one and goal kicking capabilities.
Strengths:
Damaging both as a forward and midfielder
Aggression
Scoreboard impact
Strength
Powerful fend-off
Burst through tackles at speed
Stands up through tackles and delivers handballs to target
Clean at ground level
First possession winner at stoppages
Contested ball winner
Clearances
Draws free kicks
Explosive pace
Evasiveness in traffic
High leap
Tackles with force
Plays with desperation and provides second and third efforts
Powerful and damaging kick over distance often with good kick placement
Vision
Decision making
One-on-one marking
Marking threat on the lead
Aerial marking
Production
Big game and big moment performer
Weaknesses:
Endurance
Set shot goalkicking
Kicking mildly inconsistent

2. Luke Davies-Uniacke (VIC)

Best position: Inside midfield/general forward
Height, weight: 187cm, 85kg
Recruited from: Dandenong Stingrays
Projected draft range: Top five
Similar to: Patrick Dangerfield
September Ranking: 4
Rationale: Match-winning second half performance against Eastern reminded recruiters how game-changing LDU's impact can be on the big stage.
Strengths:
Stoppage work
Contested ball winning
Reading of ruck taps
Smart positioning at stoppages
Clearance winner
Explosive 10m burst of speed to break away from contest
Clean at ground level
Vision
Decision making
Precise short kick to target
Quick hands in close
Scoreboard impact
Overhead marking
Strength in one-on-one contests to gain and hold front position consistently
Strength through core and hips to keep his feet in the contest and stands up through tackles
A matchup nightmare up forward with one-on-one strength and nous at ground level
Has played his best football against more mature bodies
Big game, big moment performer
Weaknesses:
Placement of kicks over medium and long distance inconsistent
Can have quiet games or quiet patches in games

3. Adam Cerra (VIC)

Best position: Inside midfielder
Height, weight: 186cm, 85kg
Recruited from: Eastern Ranges
Projected draft range: Top ten
Similar to: Trent Cotchin
September Ranking: 3
Rationale: Has missed a lot of football in 2017 with a meniscus injury in his knee and shoulder surgery more recently which has ended his season. He's winning clearances, first possession at stoppages and displaying class and clean ball use. One of this year's best midfielders.
Strengths:
Contested ball winning
Wins first possession at stoppages
Stoppage work
Wins clearances
Stands up through tackles
Strong build
Powerful mark overhead
One-on-one marking
Clean at ground level
Clean ball user on both sides of the body
Decision making
Vision
Composure under pressure
Production
Evasiveness
Endurance
Work rate
Best suited through midfield but can also be utilised forward or back
Weaknesses:
Acceleration

4. Paddy Dow (VIC)

Best position: Inside midfield
Height, weight: 184cm, 78kg
Recruited from: Bendigo Pioneers
Projected draft range: Top five
Similar to: Dylan Shiel
September Ranking: 2
Rationale: Drops slightly below LDU and Dow on review of season. With his explosive pace and contested ball winning, Dow is in the best midfielder in the draft conversation.
Strengths:
First possession winner at stoppages
Contested ball winner
Wins clearances
Burst out of stoppages at speed
Acceleration
Desperation
Tackling
Clean skills
Lowers eyes
Composure in traffic
Evasiveness
Scoreboard impact
Weaknesses:
At stoppages can be prone to bombing long for territory rather than taking his time to consider his options

5. Noah Balta (VIC)

Best position: Key forward/key defence
Height, weight: 194cm, 92kg
Recruited from: Calder Cannons
Projected draft range: First to second round
Similar to: Jarrad Waite
September Ranking: 5
Rationale: Speculative call, but Balta has the attributes and on-field impact to be the best key position player in this draft. Possesses explosive pace, extremely long kick and mix of cleanness at ground level and contested marking could see Balta develop into anything.
Strengths:
Versatility to impact games in any of the 18 field positions
Freakishly clean and one touch at ground level
Wins the ball cleanly at speed
Explosive, breakaway pace from congestion
Breaks the lines
Burst athlete who can get several touches in chains forward
Agility
Vertical leap
Strength
Contested marking
Gets front position in marking contests
Reads the drop of the ball early
Difficult to contain one the lead or leaping up at the football
Takes marks at full stretch
Stands up through tackles
Tackling
Scoreboard impact
Weaknesses:
Unclear best position Inconsistent performances

6. Darcy Fogarty (SA)

Best position: Utility
Height, weight: 192cm, 88kg
Recruited from: Glenelg
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: Jake Stringer
September Ranking: 6
Rationale: While 2018 was a letdown due to meniscus tear which resulted in below expectation form, Fogarty based on 2016 play and attributes shown deserves benefit of the doubt.
Strengths:
Strength
Contested ball winning
Clearance winner
Contested marking
Body-on-body strength
Fend offs
Stands up through tackles
Courage
Competitiveness
Versatility to play anywhere other than ruck
Scoreboard impact
Clean ball user by hand and foot
Vision
Decision making
High leaper
Evasion
Agility
Weaknesses:
Endurance
Unclear best position
Inconsistent 2017 performances and production
Poor Under-18 Championships

7. Jaidyn Stephenson (VIC)

Best position: Outside midfield/general forward
Height, weight: 189cm, 76kg
Recruited from: Eastern Ranges
Projected draft range: Top 10
Similar to: Isaac Smith
September Ranking: 15
Rationale: Has demonstrated the capability to play wing, forward or midfield. Strong finish to the season and big performances in the biggest games, including best on ground honours in Under-18 All Star game sees stocks rise.
Strengths:
High leaper
Aerial marking threat
Clean at ground level
Takes on the game with his run and is a genuine line breaker
Acceleration
Agility
Tackling pressure
Provides second and third efforts
Strong tackler
Reading of ruck taps
Composed with ball in hand
Vision
Improving contested ball winner
Versatility to play wing, forward or on the ball for patches as needed
Big game player
Weaknesses:
Hands overhead inconsistent
Strength
Inconsistent kick to target
Consistency from game to game

8. Jack Higgins (VIC)

Best position: General forward/outside midfield
Height, weight: 178cm, 76kg
Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: Toby Greene
September Ranking: 11
Rationale: Looks ultra-impressive as both a forward and midfielder. One of this year's most ready-to-go and complete performers. Rightly awarded the Morrish Medal for TAC Cup's best player of 2017.
Strengths:
One touch at ground level
Natural crumbing forward
Kicking skills on both sides of the body
Goal sense
Lowers his eyes and hits forward 50m targets
Plays taller than his height with his overhead marking
Capable one-on-one mark
Tackling pressure
Plays well as forward or midfielder
Production
Leap
Agility
Endurance
Work rate
Work ethic
Consistent performer
Intangibles
Weaknesses:
Impact per possession low as midfielder

9. Hunter Clark (VIC)

Best position: Inside midfielder/outside midfielder
Height, weight: 186cm, 79kg
Recruited from: Dandenong Stingrays
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: Steele Sidebottom
September Ranking: 17
Rationale: Consistency in the back end of the season, production and improving impact see Clark's stocks rise. One of the rare few midfielders who can play inside or outside and also possesses clean skills on both sides and football smarts.
Strengths:
First possession winner at stoppages
Contested ball winner
Clean at ground level
Clean hands in close
Tackling
Runs in support
Work rate
Endurance
Outside run and carry
Agility
Evasiveness
Football smarts
Precise, duel sided kick with time and space
Just as comfortable as an inside or outside midfielder
Capability to play midfield, back or forward
Capable crumber off packs and inside 50m
Weaknesses:
Decision making under pressure
Hurt factor with ball in hand

10. Andrew Brayshaw (VIC)

Best position: Inside midfielder/outside midfielder
Height, weight: 183cm, 80kg
Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: Angus Brayshaw
September Ranking: 8
Rationale: Drops slightly with finals and Under-18 All Star game impact good but slightly below the standard of some others. Like Clark, Brayshaw is one of the few midfielders who looks comfortable in playing either inside or outside midfield roles.
Strengths:
Contested ball winning
Tackling
Stoppage work
Clean at ground level
Footy smarts
Kicking
Vision
Endurance
Evasiveness
Pace
Production
Consistency
Contributes effectively both at stoppages and in general play
Just as comfortable as an inside or outside midfielder
Weaknesses:
Impact per possession low
Needs to use athleticism more offensively

11. Nicholas Coffield (VIC)

Best position: General defence/inside midfield
Height, weight: 190cm, 83kg
Recruited from: Northern Knights
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: James Kelly
September Ranking: 14
Rationale: One of the few players this year with genuine class and composure with ball in hand. At his height and with his mix of attributes has the scope to develop into a midfielder with time. Performance against Oakleigh in final through the midfield adds optimism of midfield prospects.
Strengths:
Evasiveness
Sidestepping and composure in traffic
Sound decision maker in traffic
Classy ball user and clean kick over a variety of distances
Agility
Takes on players with his run
Clean at ground level
Clean, quick hands in close
Intercept marking
Reading of the ball in flight
Scope to develop into midfielder
Weaknesses:
Unclear contested ball winning capabilities
Inconsistent production from game to game
Tackling
Tackle pressure

12. Lochie O'Brien (VIC)

Best position: Outside midfield
Height, weight: 184cm, 75kg
Recruited from: Bendigo Pioneers
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: Mitch Duncan
September Ranking: Not ranked
Rationale: Arguably the best kick in the draft and one of the best outside runners. Reclaims top 20 position on the back of strong performance in Under-18 All Star game. Performances this season have been below expectation due to niggling injuries which has seen his draft stocks drop over past 12 months, but deserves benefit of the doubt based on the damage he did at his best in 2016.
Strengths:
Arguably the best kick in the draft with his precision, variety of kicks he can execute, hurt factor and dual sided kicking
Lowers eyes
Vision
Decision
Making
Line breaker
Acceleration
Evasiveness
Agility
Overhead marking
Production
Versatility to play midfield or on flanks at either end
Weaknesses:
Stoppage work
Contested ball winning
Consistency

13. James Worpel (VIC)

Best position: Inside midfield
Height, weight: 185cm, 84kg
Recruited from: Geelong Falcons
Projected draft range: First to second round
Similar to: Josh P. Kennedy
September Ranking: 16
Rationale: Dominant stoppage specialist possessing size and a ready to go game. Rises as expectations of key position players drop.
Strengths:
Stoppage specialist
Powerful tackler
First possession winner
Contested ball winning
Clearance winner
Strong build
Strength through the hips allows Worpel to stand up when tackled and deliver a clean handball to a target without going to ground
Powerful fend offs
Courageous
Can hit the ball at speed and win it at full pace
Consistent performer
Acceleration
Agility
Leadership
Able to play forward and hit the scoreboard
Weaknesses:
Unreliable kick

14. Brayden Crossley (QLD - Gold Coast Academy)

Best position: Ruck
Height, weight: 198cm, 105kg
Recruited from: Labrador Tigers
Projected draft range: Third round onwards
Similar to: Shane Mumford
September Ranking: 10
Rationale: Strength in the ruck combined with his rare follow-up work by position gives Crossley the scope to be the best ruckman in this draft. Late season and finals performances impacting games up forward only add to enhance Crossley's draft stocks, but drops down this draft board with the rise of several midfielders.
Strengths:
Rare recovery after ruck contests
Follow-up work with ground ball winning and tackling
Freakish cleanness at ground level for someone his height/size
Aggressive tackler
Roves off contests like a small
Physical impact around the ball
Strength to not go to ground when tackled and dispose cleanly of the ball
Bodywork in the contest
Agile
Provides a target forward of centre
Scoreboard impact when used forward
Weaknesses:
Endurance
Leap
Acceleration

15. Connor Ballenden (QLD - Brisbane Academy)

Best position: Key defence
Height, weight: 199cm, 95kg
Recruited from: University of Queensland
Projected draft range: First to second round
Similar to: Jeremy McGovern
September Ranking: 9
Rationale: Drops slightly as several midfielders rise. Promising late season and finals NEAFL performances.
Strengths:
Intercept marking
Reading of the flight
Size and strength
Contested marking
Clean kick on both sides
Vision
Decision making
Physical style of play
Scoreboard impact
Forceful tackler
Versatility to play key defence, ruck or key forward
Weaknesses:
Endurance
Work rate
Athleticism
Agility
Acceleration
Inconsistent performances as a forward

16. Harrison Petty (VIC)

Best position: Key defender
Height, weight: 194cm, 81kg
Recruited from: Norwood
Projected draft range: Second to third round
Similar to: Robbie Tarrant
September Ranking: 18
Rationale: Named South Australia's Under-18 MVP during the Under-18 Championships. Late season performance sees Petty continue his rise.
Strengths:
Intercept marking
Reads the flight of the ball early
Takes marks at highest point
Clean at ground level
Effective ball user
Composure with ball in hand
Capable athlete
Rate of improvement
Strong performances from limited exposure
Weaknesses:
Keeping balance in one-on-one contests

17. Aaron Naughton (WA)

Best position: Key defence
Height, weight: 194cm, 84kg
Recruited from: Peel Thunder
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: Alex Rance
September Ranking: 12
Rationale: Transition to WAFL League football has been seamless. May be the most ready to play key position prospect in the draft. Drops as others rise.
Strengths:
Intercept marking
Strong hands overhead
Reading the flight of the ball early
Football smarts
Contested marking
One-on-one marking
Keeps his feet in the contest
Agility
Acceleration
WAFL League performances
Weaknesses:
Kicking while reliable enough is of a high, loopy style which is too easily intercepted

18. Callum Coleman-Jones (SA)

Best position: Ruck/key forward
Height, weight: 199cm, 98kg
Recruited from: Sturt
Projected draft range: Second round
Similar to: Toby Nankervis
September Ranking: 13
Rationale: Big body who can take a mark, find a lot of the ball around the ground and has the performances on the board both through the ruck and up forward. Appears an ideal relieving ruckman. Drops as other rise.
Strengths:
Contested marking
Strong hands overhead
Intercept marking
Reading of the ball in flight
Size
Strength
Physicality
Clean at ground level
Disposal numbers per game through the ruck
Scoreboard impact
Taps to advantage
Mobility
Production
Prolific both as a key forward and ruckman
Very advanced game for age
Weaknesses:
Poor leaper
Lacks explosiveness
Awkward kicking style

19. Jarrod Brander (VIC)

Best position: Key forward/key defence
Height, weight: 195cm, 83kg
Recruited from: Bendigo Pioneers
Projected draft range: First round
Similar to: Ben Reid
September Ranking: 7
Rationale: Drops due to limited improvement and below expectation performance late in the season.
Strengths:
Clean at ground level
Agility
Pace
Endurance
Work rate
Marking threat on the lead
Reads drop of the ball early
Contested marking
Intercept marking
Clean field kick
Vision to spot damaging targets up the field
Decision making with ball in hand
Stands up through tackles
Versatility to play key forward or key defence
Weaknesses:
Sometimes drops simple marks
Conversion in front of goal
Struggles down back to contain key forwards
Inconsistent from game to game
Tackling
Tackle pressure
Improvement not as strong as expected given his standard of play in 2016

20. Oscar Allen (WA)

Best position: Key forward/general forward
Height, weight: 191cm, 83kg
Recruited from: West Perth
Projected draft range: First to second round
Similar to: Jack Gunston
September Ranking: Not ranked
Rationale: Larke Medalist led the Under-18 Championships with 11 goals and was Team Enright's best in the Under-18 All Stars game. Has earned a top-20 position.
Strengths:
Football smarts
Reads play early
Reads ball in flight early
Leading patterns
Work rate
Forward pressure
Clean at ground level
Strong hands overhead
Weaknesses:
Below average height and reach by position