We’re less than a day out from the 2020 AFL Draft, and it’s shaping out to be one of the biggest drafts in terms of key position players, it’s almost like it’s a clearance sale on players over 190 centimetres.
The final part of the draft preview is up now with plenty of the top ten prospects listed in this group, as well as a few others that you should keep your eye on. If you missed the first 20 players, catch up in the links below.
So without further delay, here are the last ten draftees to keep your eye out for on Wednesday’s Draft.
Tom Powell – Midfielder, 183cm, 74kg
As far as inside midfielders go, here’s another player that I genuinely think can be something special down the track. Watching some of his highlights from this year and last, there is a bit of comparison to Lachie Neale in terms of his work around the stoppages and his ability to rack up clearances at will. He is another inside midfielder that will have no troubles finding it at the source and is very good and working it out to his outside teammates.
His stats for Sturt’s under 18’s team this year were completely off the charts. He only played four games this year, but he averaged 34.5 disposals, 10 clearances and six inside 50s per game. This included a game against West Adelaide, which saw him record 47 disposals and 10 clearances. Whilst he doesn’t have the big frame yet to combat the ready-made players, there’s plenty to suggest that he’ll be a very good midfielder in a team that is looking for inside players in the future.
Braeden Campbell – Midfielder/Forward, 182cm, 76kg
Arguably the best talent to come out of NSW this year, Braeden Campbell is linked with the Sydney Swans as part of their Academy, with a bid to be placed on him as early as the top 10 – perhaps towards the back-end of the top 10 to be exact. When you look at his highlights, how can you not see how highly-rated he is by the Swans insiders? He’s blessed with good pace, has great kicking skills and vision and is capable of impacting on the scoreboard, kicking eight goals in four matches for the Swans Academy team last year.
He doesn’t get as much as the ball as others might, but he’s one of a few you’d trust with the ball in his hands to make something happen – an impact per possession guy if that makes sense. Up forward he’s got the goal-sense to make things happen and he’s got the scope to push and become a very good midfielder in due time. Wherever the bid falls, the Swans will have a very good one on their hands here.
Jackson Callow – Key Forward, 194cm, 101kg
The 2020 AFL Draft looks to have an abundance of key forwards, so we have another one in Jackson Callow – one of the better Tasmanians to come out of the Draft this year. Whilst not an athletic specimen like so many touted as top key position players, Callow does have his strengths as a traditional key forward, boasting great strength, sharp set shot goal-kicking and he is very good both on the lead or in a one-on-one contest.
Callow kicked 24 goals in 14 games for the Tasmania Devils last year in the NAB League, whilst also averaging 13.6 disposals and six marks per game, showcasing his abilities to be able to lead to the right spots. He has showed capabilities of his versatility at times at North Launceston, playing roles in defence and in the ruck, but is perhaps a bit behind the likes of someone such as Riley Thilthorpe, who is a bit more developed as a second ruck option.
Conor Stone – Forward, 188cm, 81kg
Another mid-sized forward with plenty to offer, Conor Stone is someone that whilst not explosive off the mark, is an endurance athlete with a good vertical leap and has high football IQ to make things work as a half-forward type and even possibly push in a midfield role as time goes by. His first game in the NAB League saw him kick five goals – which is a pretty impressive way to boost draft value. He ended up kicking 11 goals from eight matches last year, whilst averaging 9.6 disposals, 2.9 marks and 2.9 tackles per game.
Where he will fall is anyone’s guess. He could be as early as a pick in the 20s – potentially late in the first round, but he could slide back to as late as the third round. But he’s a player that should no doubt be given a look at. Whilst he showed at Oakleigh last year that he might not get much of the footy, his impact with his possessions often count and whilst potential can be a bit of a dirty word in football, there’s a lot to suggest that Stone can play a number of roles if he’s willing to put the work in.
Kaine Baldwin – Key Forward, 193cm, 90kg
Think of Kaine Baldwin as this year’s version of Brodie Kemp. I know they’re different kind of players, but both of them are highly touted youngsters that have unquestionably have had their draft values cut drastically because of a knee injury. Kemp could’ve easily gone in the top 10 last year – this year Baldwin could’ve easily have been a first-round pick, possibly top 15. He’s got elite strength and is very competitive in the air and most importantly for a tall forward, he can take a good grab.
Unfortunately, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the first game of the 2019 season and was on track for a return this year before partially tearing the same knee in a pre-season test, causing him to miss out on any chance of playing footy this year. His numbers in the under 16 championships are telling of his talents: averaging 21.8 disposals, 9.6 marks and just under three goals per game back in 2018. A value pick if he slid down towards the third round.
Archie Perkins – Midfielder, 186cm, 77kg
I love a good Sandy Dragons kid and Archie Perkins looks the best of the bunch this year, being expected to go within the top 15 at the latest. He’s got good height on him at 186cm and with what he showed at the Dragons last year, suggests that he can hold down a permanent position in the middle. He didn’t get a lot of time in the middle last year, but his athleticism, ability to attack the contest and his ability to burst away from congestion showed that he can be a star over the next decade if he puts his head down and works hard.
Averaging 14.2 disposals and 4.2 marks per game might not sound like a great deal, but he also managed to kick 10 goals from just six games at the Dragons last year, playing more as a forward option. It’s a good little trick to have in this day and age of football to be able to be a presence up forward and cause scoreboard impact, because the better mids in the AFL are capable of doing that, think Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield this year.
Tanner Bruhn – Midfielder, 183cm, 74kg
One word that many will associate Tanner Bruhn with is the word ‘class’, because simply his class for an inside midfielder is brilliant. What separates him from other inside mids such as Sam Berry, Archie Perkins and Tom Powell is his brilliance with his disposal. When he’s finished burrowing in and winning the contested ball, he then has the composure and the skill to make sure the ball gets going in the favour of his side. Expect him to be taken inside the top 10 on Draft night.
Bruhn only played just two games for the Falcons last year before injury ruled him out for the remainder of the year. He did however average 17 disposals, four tackles and five clearances in per game, as well as kicking three goals in two matches, which shows that he can impact on the scoreboard too. He’s not overly quick, and like many other kids, will need to put some meat in that frame, but his ability to work hard and still have the poise to make plays happen make him a valuable addition to many sides.
Heath Chapman – Defender, 193cm, 81kg
Much like Grainger-Barras, Heath Chapman is a fair-sized defender who is very good on the intercept game. When he does get his hands to the footy, he then likes to start generating the next play with his precision and penetration with his kicks across half-back. A player like him will most likely see him go inside the top 15, because a player of his size, skill and footy smarts don’t grow on trees.
He only played the one senior game in the WAFL this year, he’ll need to build on his frame if he is to get senior opportunities in the AFL, because his slender frame won’t cut it. But what he did show is his capabilities in the rest of his year in the Colts. He played some really strong games, including a 27-disposal, 11-mark effort against Peel Thunder and a 28-disposal, seven-mark effort against Perth. Once he gets the body for AFL level, he’ll be one of the more exciting half-back flankers to watch out for.
Riley Thilthorpe – Key Forward/Ruck, 201cm, 100kg
One of the leading key position prospects in this year’s Draft class, expect Thilthorpe to go within the first five picks. Lots of signs point to him being taken with Adelaide’s pick one – depending on whether or not they do bid on Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. Thilthorpe has got good size on him already, has got great athleticism, isan elite overhead mark and has already got that exposure to senior level this year.
Also have I mentioned his versatility yet? Because that is what separates him from the likes of Ugle-Hagan, Logan McDonald and others, because he brings it in spades.
Thilthorpe averaged 20.1 disposals for West Adelaide in the under-18’s last year in the SANFL, all the whilst kicking 13 goals from seven matches. He also averaged 10.4 hitouts and 9.3 marks per game as well. Playing against senior bodies this year, Thilthorpe averaged 11.6 disposals, 9.9 hitouts and four marks per game, whilst kicking five goals from nine matches. He’s a capable player with the strength and ability to cover ground the way not many big men his age have done before him.
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – Key Forward, 195cm, 90kg
Of course I’ll save the best kid for last – and no, it’s not just because he’s going to come to the Western Bulldogs. But the unanimous decision from journalists, recruiters and supporters alike is that Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is the best kid in this year’s draft crop – how did we Dogs supporters get so lucky? His athleticism, quick bursts on the lead and his vertical leap have drawn plenty of comparisons to Lance Franklin. I don’t like drawing comparison to the kids with players as such, but when you’re compared to arguably the greatest forward in the 21st century, you can’t help but be in awe a little.
His 2019 campaign saw him kick 24 goals in just nine games, which is quite frightening considering that he played that year as a 17-year old playing against others his age and a year older. For his age already he is a very good overhead mark and whilst his set shot kicking can be hit and miss at times –so he really will be at home at Whitten Oval – the fact that he can fire up at the tip of a hat makes it salivating for any Dogs supporter to see. Don’t be surprised to see Adelaide bid on him with the first pick, but whatever happens, the Dogs will have the picks to match without going into deficit for next year.
And with that comes to an end to the draft preview. 30 players have been documented by me officially through here, but there have been plenty of others that I’ve been keeping a close eye out for as I’m sure you readers are as well.
I’m currently in the midst of finalizing my Mock Draft as well, so stick around for that one as we tick by the hours – only just one sleep left.
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