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Bede Briscomb’s AFL mock draft: where the best may end up


The sky’s the limit. AFL hopefuls Andrew Brayshaw (left) and Darcy Fogarty do the Sydney Skywalk ahead of Friday night’s draft. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Bede Briscomb’s AFL mock draft: where the best may end up

Bede Briscomb    

The 2017 AFL draft could be the most unpredictable draft of all time. Why? Because so many of the leading candidates are so similar.
The bulk are midfielders with size, solid skills and solid tanks. Throw in a half-dozen inconsistent athletic forwards and defenders with extremely high upside and it starts to become a crapshoot.
Even Brisbane, which has had since August to decide who it was going to draft with the first pick, was still tossing the possibilities over on draft eve.
A “rogue” selection early on could throw out what this year might just have to pass for an expected order. But speculating is fun. So let’s take a stab at a mock draft, and for an extra challenge, the percentage chance I reckon each of these players has of one day becoming an AFL All-Australian.

 

1. BRISBANE: CAMERON RAYNER, midfielder/half-forward, Western Jets

Rayner can develop a tank to eventually match Andy Brayshaw. But Brayshaw cannot develop the athleticism and transcendent football skills to match Rayner. It’s a no-brainer (unless Rayner has told the Lions he’s going back to Victoria at the first opportunity).
Impact next year? Yes, but only up forward.
All-Australian chances: 90%

 

2. FREMANTLE: LUKE DAVIES-UNIACKE, midfielder, Dandenong Stingrays

Look up ‘complete midfielder’ in the dictionary and you would find ‘LDU’. Big and strong, plenty of class and always looks to hit the scoreboard. Possesses a nice cruising speed but no fifth gear like Paddy Dow or Rayner, which isn’t the worst thing considering the glut of quick wings on the Dockers’ list. 
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 80%

 

3. CARLTON: PADDY DOW, midfielder, Bendigo Pioneers

A dynamic ball magnet who tackles hard and kicks goals. Dow and Patrick Cripps will make the perfect one-two punch for the Blues.
Impact next year? Yes, but only in patches (light frame).
All-Australian chances: 80%

 

4. NORTH MELBOURNE: ANDREW BRAYSHAW, midfielder, Sandringham Dragons

Brayshaw possesses all the hardness of the current Roos’ mids, but unlike those guys, he has the potential to blossom into an elite field kick. The brother of Angus already has an excellent endurance base and has posted impressive tackle numbers in almost every match he played in 2017. The next Steele Sidebottom.
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 70%

 

5. FREMANTLE: ADAM CERRA, midfielder, Eastern Ranges

Fremantle can’t really muck this draft up unless one (or both) of its gun mids do a Lachie Weller. Ross Lyon and co. have to back themselves to create a culture that will make players want to stay (and come) to their club because the upside is astronomical. Cerra has the best combination of elite kicking and ball-winning ability from this year’s draft class.
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 70%

 

6. COLLINGWOOD: DARCY FOGARTY, half-forward, Glenelg

It’s no secret Darcy Moore needs a chop-out, and this potent South Australian is the man to provide it. He already has an AFL body but is nowhere close to possessing an AFL tank. But Pies fans will be thrilled with his beautiful natural kick.
Impact next year? Yes, but only in patches (poor tank).
All-Australian chances: 60%

 

7. ST KILDA: NICK COFFIELD, defender, Northern Knights

Coffield excels in dash and class; the Saints have heaps of the former but are desperate for the latter. The Northern Knights skipper is a leader and a hard worker. He really needs to address his contested game but that’s OK because the Saints have plenty of blokes who can extract the ball.
Impact next year? No.
All-Australian chances: 50%

 

8. ST KILDA: HUNTER CLARK, midfielder, Dandenong Stingrays

A ball magnet who tackles ferociously and tends to cough it up when the heat is on…sounds like a Sainter to me!
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 40%

 

9. WESTERN BULLDOGS: AARON NAUGHTON, defender, Peel Thunder

While the Bulldogs already have athletic talls, Naughton is just too good a prospect to pass up: he’s from Victoria originally, possesses tremendous close-out speed, a great natural leap, long arms, knows exactly when and when not to peel off his man and has held his own in senior WAFL games. The only downside is he really struggles by foot – but that’s what Lachie ‘On the Hands’ Hunter is for.
Impact next year? Yes, but only in patches (opportunity).
All-Australian chances: 60%

 

10. CARLTON: LOCHIE O’BRIEN, wing/half-back, Bendigo Pioneers

The Blues have tons of battlers; they need speed and they need class and that’s what O’Brien has in spades. Just don’t expect him to the win any hard-ball early on.
Impact next year? No.
All-Australian chances: 30%

 

11. GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY: JACK HIGGINS, forward, Oakleigh Chargers

A very good player whose athletic limitations are all that may prevent him from becoming a great player. But what Higgins lacks in dynamics he makes up for in football IQ. Perfect replacement for Devon Smith.
Impact next year? Yes, but only in patches (opportunity).
All-Australian chances: 50%

 

12. ADELAIDE: AIDEN BONAR, half-forward, Dandenong Stingrays

A high risk, high reward pick for the Crows. They need X-factor and considering their list is in fine shape, why not take a chance on a guy with every single athletic tool at his disposal? The explosiveness of his game will blend nicely with the slower paced Crouch brothers and Bryce Gibbs.
Impact next year? Yes, but only flashes of brilliance (conditioning).
All-Australian chances: 70%

 

13. WEST COAST: OSCAR ALLEN, half-forward, West Perth

The Eagles will look hard at Jaidyn Stephenson because he’d be perfect to play alongside Andrew Gaff, but the local factor combined with Josh Kennedy’s age makes too much sense. Allen is a fluid moving forward that could lead the AFL in marks one day such is his work rate and game sense. He is unique in that he has elements of Kennedy and Mark LeCras in his game.
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 40%

 

14. SYDNEY: JAIYDN STEPHENSON, wing, Eastern Ranges

The heart condition is worrying, and his ball use really needs to improve, but Stephenson’s upside is second only to Cam Rayner. If everything goes right he’s Will Hoskin-Elliot combined with Andrew Gaff, a prospect that the slower Swans would really welcome.
Impact next year? Yes, but only in patches (light frame and opportunity).
All-Australian chances: 70%

 

15. BRISBANE: LACHIE FOGARTY, midfielder, Western Jets

Along with Davies-Uniacke, AFL junior football guru Kevin Sheehan told me Fogarty is the most readymade player in the draft. Probably the most likely candidate to be this year’s Sam Powell-Pepper. A good mate of Cam Rayner’s, and if all he does is keep Cam from going home then it’s a solid pick.
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 30%

 

16. WESTERN BULLDOGS: ED RICHARDS, half-back, Oakleigh Chargers

A solid replacement for the retired Matthew Boyd and Bob Murphy, Richards is a dynamic rebounder off half-back and his offensive instincts will gel seamlessly with Luke Beveridge’s high risk, high reward game plan.
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 30%

 

17. RICHMOND: JARROD BRANDER, swingman, Bendigo Pioneers

This is a “best player available pick”. Brander’s athleticism and versatility is simply too good to pass up for a maybe/maybe not midfielder. His hands are strong and his closeout speed is top three in this year’s draft. Give him Alex Rance as a mentor and the Tigers could improve on their already healthy spine.
Impact next year? No.
All-Australian chances: 30%

 

18. BRISBANE: CHARLIE CONSTABLE, midfielder, Sandringham Dragons

More of a project player, but that’s OK given the sure things the Lions will get at No.1 and No.15. Constable is smart and excels at extracting the ball in tight spaces. His tank is not up to scratch at the moment.
Impact next year? No.
All-Australian: 50%

 

19. GOLD COAST: NATHAN MURPHY, forward, Sandringham Dragons

Murphy is a perfect third tall to pair alongside Peter Wright and Tom Lynch. Throw dangerous small-forward Ben Ainsworth in and you’ve got a pretty potent forward line. They just have to get the ball to them! Unlike Lynch and Wright, Murphy can play half-back and, down the track, may even pinch-hit in the middle, such is his work rate.
Impact next year? Yes.
All-Australian chances: 30%

 

AND THE OTHER CLUBS’ FIRST PICKS?

Who for Geelong at pick 22?
Matthew Ling makes the most sense as a local kid who provides plenty of drive off half-back, but if hard-nosed midfielder Zac Bailey is there the Cats would have to pounce as he could legitimately contribute in a final in 2018.

Who for Essendon at pick 48?
Dylan Moore makes the most sense as an undersized midfielder/ball-winning small forward in the mould of early Zach Merrett.

Who for Port Adelaide at pick 46?
Again, Dylan Moore is at-worst Jake Neade and at best he can be a ball magnet through the middle. Jordan Houlahan is an option if the Power want some electricity in the forward line.

Who for Melbourne at pick 30?
Melbourne has the best young list in the competition. The core players are there, the Demons just need smart players who don’t cough it up with stupid decisions or bad skills. Enter readymade half-forward Brent Daniels.

Who for Hawthorn at pick 44?
If versatile rebounding defender Joel Garner is there, the Hawks will pounce. Uber-athletic swingman Noah Balta is another that makes sense to eventually fill the Josh Gibson role. The Hawks would be very lucky to get one of those guys.

1 Comment
  1. Thanks for the wrap. Something to remember for the coming footy season

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