Author Topic: Top 20 draft hopefuls - May 2015 (afl site)  (Read 833 times)

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Top 20 draft hopefuls - May 2015 (afl site)
« on: May 22, 2015, 03:11:32 PM »
The talented 20: Who to look out for during the U18 championships

Callum Twomey
May 14, 2015 9:16 PM

This week, the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships get underway, with clubs hoping more quality draft prospects emerge throughout the six-week carnival.

At this stage, this year's draft pool is considered relatively shallow compared to recent seasons, but the championships offers the chance for players to show their traits against the best players their age around the country.

Already a batch have proved they have what it take to be drafted and take their game to the next level.

Here are 20 names to look out for throughout the carnival.

Callum Ah Chee
Western Australia/South Fremantle
Showed his talent at the MCG last month, when he starred for the NAB AFL Academy. Ah Chee, the younger brother of Port Adelaide's Brendon, gathered 19 disposals, kicked two goals and took a huge mark. None of it should have been a surprise. The West Australian jumps high, runs the 20-metre sprint in 2.88 seconds, has blistering agility and can turn a game with his class in the midfield and across half-forward.

Harley Balic
Vic Metro/Sandringham Dragons
A star junior basketballer who had a very promising first season with the Sandringham Dragons in 2014, this will be Balic's first taste of state level football. The creative half-forward is agile and thinks quickly when in possession - he's cool when everyone around him seems to be in a rush. He marks well above his head, kicks goals and can be used in the midfield, but perhaps Balic's key attribute is his fight for the contest. He enjoys throwing himself into the fray.

Charlie Curnow
Key forward/midfielder
Vic Country/Geelong Falcons
A unique player given his size, shape and strengths. Curnow, the younger brother of Carlton midfielder Ed, has been used in a range of spots this season. He has shown an ability to mark well as a deep forward and can assert himself on games by kicking bags of goals. But of late, the Geelong Falcon has been encouraged to move up the field more by starting in the centre square and roaming across the ground in a midfield role.

Josh Dunkley
Vic Country/Gippsland Power
Dunkley gets thrown around in a few different spots, from the half-back line to the midfield and also can be used as a forward option. He's a committed player with a developed frame that helps him out-position opponents and be able to contest well in the air. A back stress fracture has limited his season so far but he has moved to Melbourne from the country so he can be closer to treatment, and should still play a significant chunk of the carnival. Is eligible to join the Sydney Swans as a father-son pick.

Aaron Francis
Key defender
South Australia/West Adelaide
Francis may be the first South Australian drafted this year. The jumping and marking tall defender had an excellent game for the NAB AFL Academy last month, when he took nine marks in the back half against Werribee. Although perhaps not quite big enough to hold down a key defensive spot at the next level, Francis' confidence in the air has seen him play several games at SANFL level already where he has acquitted himself well.

Jacob Hopper
NSW-ACT/North Ballarat Rebels
Hopper started his TAC Cup season with 27 disposals and four goals for the Rebels in a dominant display. He is a big-bodied midfielder who excels at the clearances, feeds the ball out and gets it going. He's also more than capable of finishing his work as a reliable right-foot kick. With some injury troubles behind him, Hopper will play for NSW-ACT at the championships. He is set to join Greater Western Sydney as an academy selection at the end of the year.

Ben Keays
Keays had a terrific bottom-age year, winning All Australian honours after a prolific under-18 championships. The 18-year-old continually finds a way to accumulate the ball. He puts himself in spots to get it and get it again, and is prepared to put himself in dangerous spots to do it. The Brisbane Lions academy player has shown his consistency over the past year, and recently had a standout game for Queensland in the TAC Cup when he gathered 43 disposals and 12 clearances.

Matthew Kennedy
With a handful of brilliant performances, Kennedy has rocketed up the draft ranks. The midfielder has all the hard-working elements wanted in a prospect - he keeps running, can dig in and win the ball and is composed when he's got it. He also has more than a hint of class and poise, and has shown his tendency to push forward and kick goals. A member of the Giants' academy, they will get first access to the Wagga Wagga product.

Rhys Mathieson
Vic Country/Geelong Falcons
Mathieson has a bit of strut, and he enjoys the rough side of the game. He finds plenty of the ball in tight situations, and has the strength to get it out and to the advantage of teammates. He's an aggressive and rugged midfielder who was named an All Australian last year after an excellent carnival for Vic Country. Mathieson is sharpening his kick, and plays with some grunt.

Harry McKay
Key forward
Vic Country/Gippsland Power
Made people take notice with a four-goal haul early in the TAC Cup season and has continued to generate interest in club ranks. A left-footer with pace, McKay also has the athleticism to push onto a wing where he can use his natural running ability. He keeps showing exciting snippets a good mark on the lead, a twist and turn to find space, or a goal that looks unlikely.

Callum Mills
Perhaps the best midfielder of the 2015 crop, Mills could not have been any more impressive last season. Hard, tough and with an appetite for winning the ball, he starred for NSW-ACT in the championships and was named an All Australian. He went on to play some brilliant games at NEAFL level for the Sydney Swans reserves side, and establish his place at the top of the draft board. His season has been interrupted with a shin injury, but he will join the Swans at the end of the year through the academy system.

Nick O'Kearney
Vic Metro/Calder Cannons
With great work ethic and footy smarts, O'Kearney doesn't struggle to knock up getting the ball. O'Kearney is a small, busy and neat midfielder who collects plenty of disposals and uses them well. Despite his size he tackles well, and has already shown a capacity to string good games together last year he won the Calder Cannons' best and fairest as a bottom-aged player.

Darcy Parish
Vic Country/Geelong Falcons
Parish is a go-getting midfielder who makes things happen. With run, carry and very neat skills, Parish is quick to keep the ball moving forward and takes his team with him. He belies his smaller size to throw himself into contests and hunts the ball with ferocity. Parish started the year in brilliant form, being close to best afield in the first few games he played. Thumb surgery will sideline him for the opening part of the championships but he'll have plenty of time to tuck the ball under his arm and dash off.

Bailey Rice
Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays
Rice finds himself in a rare position, given he is a father-son candidate for St Kilda and Carlton, where his father Dean played more than 100 games at both clubs. Both are interested, particularly given his recent form at TAC Cup level. Rice has some speed, he attacks the contest hard and has a mature body which makes it easy for him to move between roles in the midfield and across half-back.

Josh Schache
Key forward
Vic Country/Murray Bushrangers
Recruiters view Schache as one of the best kicks for goal they have seen at under-18 level, and he has lived up to that hype early this season with some impressive games. The son of former Brisbane Bears forward Laurence Schache, the 199cm prospect is using his body more than last year and converts most of his chances. He can find space on the lead, move up at the ball and also pinch-hit in the ruck when required.

Will Snelling
South Australia/West Adelaide
The small midfielder has belied his size to play well at senior level in the SANFL so far this year. Snelling is smart and can find the ball, and dominated South Australia's under-18 trial game, when he booted three goals. He runs both ways as a midfielder and is happy to get back and help his defenders and then rush the ball forward. Expect him to have an impact for his state as it searches for its third consecutive division one title.

Dylan Smith
Key forward
Western Australia/Swan Districts
The athletic tall forward has caught the eye of scouts this season playing at colts level in Western Australia. He is a quick and hard-running option who can take a mark. Smith booted five goals and had nine marks in round two of the under-18 season for Swan Districts and the championships will give him the chance of impressing at a higher level. He offers some versatility as well and can be used in defence.

Darcy Tucker
Vic Country/North Ballarat Rebels
After a stellar championships last year as a rebounding half-back which saw him named an All Australian as a bottom ager, Tucker has moved up the ground this year into the midfield. With great speed, agility and smarts, Tucker can influence a game many ways. The controlled North Ballarat captain recently gathered 43 disposals in a TAC Cup game. He loves to run with the ball, zigzag through traffic and swing onto his left foot.

Sam Weideman
Key forward
Vic Metro/Eastern Ranges
Weideman is a tall, imposing and efficient key forward who shapes as a very early pick this year. The grandson of Collingwood legend Murray Weideman and son of former Magpie Mark, the 17-year-old starred on the MCG last month for the NAB AFL Academy. Weideman is prepared to fly at the ball and into packs, he can kick on both feet, and has the natural smarts of a goalkicker. A reliable shot for goal, Weideman booted five last week for the Eastern Ranges.

Jacob Weitering
Key defender
Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays
A powerful, smart key defender who can set up the game from centre-half back. Weitering is strong overhead and a penetrating long kick, and already has the frame to outmuscle and outmanoeuvre opponents with ease. The 17-year-old has played up the ground as a forward and even as a wingman, but is best placed in defence with his sure hands and mature frame. The leading contender for this year's No.1 pick.