A few months back as we were looking to close out the season, fellow Mongrel, Brett Hodgson was asking in our group chat about who was looking at producing some content on here about the 2021 AFL Draft.
As I do so every year, I let him know about what my plans were, and from that, we got cracking on bouncing ideas off one another in looking at what we can do for the Draft this year. Then we came up with an idea, we’d write up our own Phantom Drafts to compare and then share on a platform such as the Mongrel.
I’ve written up phantom drafts since I started writing about footy seven years ago and have shared them far and wide, but never have I gone and done something quite like this. It was interesting, and I was very much on board for the challenge.
It’s a bit of a long one, we both agreed on naming the first 25 picks so at least every club got one selection completed within this piece – this however got bumped down to 28 due to the Next Generation Academy selections that we both had going in the second round of the draft – or in my case for one of them, late first round.
So without further ado, I present to you a ‘pick-by-pick’ analysis done by both Hodgey and I as we both try to decipher who goes where ahead of the 2021 AFL Draft.
Hodgey selects: Jason Horne-Francis (North Melbourne)
The Kangaroos bypass bidding on Josh Daicos to select the ever-deserving South Australian midfielder. Possessing a devastating combination of acceleration, clean hands, toughness and durability, JHF will be a Round One lock for an up and coming Kangaroos team that was one of the hardest working teams in the AFL last season, despite it’s lowly finish. He will add a touch of class and grunt to the half forward line early, while also adding quality midfield minutes in relief of Luke Davies-Uniacke, Hugh Greenwood and Ben Cunnington (get better quick, Ben). His ability to impact the game forward of centre is one of the most desirable traits to the modern day midfielder, and Horne-Francis will be a massive cog in (what I believe) will be a rapid resurgence for the 2021 wooden spooners.
The Doc selects: Jason Horne-Francis (North Melbourne)
He’s the number one talent in this year’s draft cohort for a reason. North could make both the Pies and the Dogs work for their father/son prospects, but they won’t. Horne-Francis is the complete player – hard and tough in the stoppages, has explosive pace and then follows on with skill and poise to become a polished finisher in front of goals – 15 goals in 20 senior SANFL games from a 17-year old is just insane and I wouldn’t be surprised if this kid plays a big hand in North’s quest to surge back up the ladder next year.
Hodgey selects: Nick Daicos (Collingwood father/son – bid from GWS is matched)
Collingwood match the Giants bid for Father-Son prospect Nick Daicos. The elite prospect joins his brother Josh, in continuing the Daicos legacy. The son of a gun will step straight in to the round one midfield and, like fellow hyped prospect Horne-Francis has shown an innate sense around stoppages while also providing tremendous value while moving forward.
The Doc selects: Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs father/son – bid from GWS is matched)
By all reports, GWS are keen on the idea of another tall prospect, and add the fact that they hate the Bulldogs, it makes sense for them to bid here and force the Dogs to give up the draft hand that they’ve accumulated over the trade period. They’ll get their man here. Darcy is a player that can play multiple positions around the ground, but given the Dogs are in the premiership window, it’ll be highly unlikely that he’ll feature much in the first few seasons given he needs time to develop his strength. He’s shown however that he can read the ball well in flight and provide a handy target in front of goals with his contested marking hands and penchant to hit the scoreboard.
Hodgey selects: Mac Andrew (GWS)
There were many options here and guessing what GWS do was harder to pick than a broken nose. The Giants overlook Finn Callaghan and Josh Gibcus to instead add to their ruck stock by taking (argubly) the most exciting prospect in the draft. Andrew is an athletic freak, and has the potential to be used in the ruck and up forward, but it also would not surprise me if he is also considered in a hybrid intercept role. Andrew is a few years away from being a number 1 ruckman, however the Giants don’t need that right now as they have two brutes fighting for that.
The Doc selects: Nick Daicos (Collingwood father/son – bid from GWS is matched)
After being denied Sam Darcy, the Giants will try their luck with the other highly fancied father/son option, which the Pies will match almost immediately. Nick Daicos is a close second to Horne-Francis in terms of being the best midfielder in the draft pool. What makes him highly rated is this innate ability to accumulate possessions at will and his class with the ball in his hands – at times it felt like he did it so effortlessly this year – averaging 35 disposals per game for Oakleigh in the NAB League this year. He’s a player that will slot right into Collingwood’s line up round one next year.
Hodgey selects: Finn Callaghan (Gold Coast)
The Suns decide to add to the stable of midfielders it has by drafting Callaghan to the mix. The Bontempelli clone possesses a penetrating and accurate left foot and outstanding evasion skills, which should mesh nicely with the grunt work of Touk Miller and Matt Rowell in particular. Gold Coast have been heavily linked to Callaghan for a while now and adding him should help improve the forward line by improving inside 50 quality entries. With the recent departure of Hugh Greenwood it would not surprise me to see Ben Hobbs selected instead.
The Doc selects: Finn Callaghan (GWS)
This is a hard selection and one that will decide the next round of draft picks. The easiest thing is to go best available here for the Giants, but do the Giants really need Finn Callaghan? GWS’ track record of retaining players – particularly those who play in the midfield – hasn’t been all that great in recent years. They’re also well versed in tall units, but I’d wager none of them are as athletically gifted as Mac Andrew, but in the end, I’ve gone with Callaghan. He’s the best available talent here and the scope for him to be an elite talent in future years should be too good to pass up – he’s silky skilled and already great on the outside, if he can properly develop that contested style to his game, then they’ve made the right choice here.
Hodgey selects: Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs father/son – bid from Adelaide is matched)
The runners up from last season add F/S 204cm key forward Sam Darcy to the Kennel to pair with Aaron Naughton and last year’s number 1 pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. Darcy has shown rapid improvement in 2021 and can impact games at either end of the field, however is preferred as a forward. He has great agility and has incredibly clean skills for a player of his height.
The Doc selects: Mac Andrew (Gold Coast)
This was clear cut until Hugh Greenwood’s shock move to North Melbourne. Now I’m in two minds here – do they go after another midfielder to plug the hole as best they can? They’ve got a good stock of young talent coming through the ranks to help Touk Miller out, but if they do go down this route, then guys like Ben Hobbs and Josh Ward would be good picks here. But I’ve opted with Mac Andrew as a much taller option. They were well shot on ruck options last year with knee injuries to Jarrod Witts and Matt Conroy and Ben King wouldn’t mind a tall target to help take some load off of his shoulders.
Hodgey selects: Josh Rachele (Adelaide)
Adelaide decide to take Rachele, the best small forward in the draft. He adds class, accuracy and X Factor to a Crows team that were the most inefficient kicking side in 2021. Admittedly some of that had to do with the inside grunt work that the Crows thrived on. Rachele is able to pinch hit in the midfield, but ultimately should provide a dynamic ground level threat to aid Riley Thilthorpe and (if he plays) Taylor Walker.
The Doc selects: Josh Rachele (Adelaide)
This is a bit of a risky pick for the Crows. Rachele is the best small/mid-sized forward in this draft crop, and I think the forward line is an area of concern for Adelaide. It makes sense to a degree, I do worry about his size of 180cm, however the skills this kid possesses with the ball in his hands is more than enough to put bums on seats. He’s very clever at ground level, he knows where to be and he knows where the goals are. The potential for him to play as a midfielder is there also, but I think his best football to date is closer to goals, the fact he averaged three goals per game for Murray in the NAB League this year in a compromised season should indicate how talented he can be.
Hodgey selects: Josh Ward (Hawthorn)
Hawthorn add some much needed movement to their midfield group with Hawthorn fan Josh Ward. Ward (in my opinion) is the best two way runner in the draft, and should step straight to a wing, before transitioning to the inside. He has elite endurance, high IQ, clean skills and oozes leadership.
The Doc selects: Josh Ward (Hawthorn)
Hawthorn could do worse than pick the next best midfielder available here, and it would have to be Josh Ward. The Hawks’ midfield depth becomes a bit of an issue after both Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara. With Ward, they’ll get themselves a terrific midfielder that can both win the ball on the inside and provide clean use on the outside. His enormous work-rate will hold him in good stead in the years that follow and would certainly play a key role in helping Sam Mitchell rebuild this Hawthorn team.
Hodgey selects: Neil Erasmus (Fremantle)
The strong bodied hybrid mid/forward gives Fremantle a nice option around the coalface to take the pressure off ageless wonder David Mundy and oft-injured skipper Nat Fyfe. The ball skills of Erasmus compare to Carlton bull Patrick Cripps, as Erasmus is devastating by hand in close, looking to get the ball moving, and his stoppage positioning is second to none.
The Doc selects: Jye Amiss (Fremantle)
Fremantle’s Key forward stocks aren’t in dire straits, but when you’ve got a home-grown talent fresh off of a 50-plus goal season in the under-18s, how do you say no? Amiss certainly would help complement a forward structure at Fremantle that has been lacking consistent output in recent years. He’s terrific out on the lead and has shown that he’s quite capable of gathering the footy clean when it’s on the deck.
Hodgey selects: Ben Hobbs (Richmond)
Richmond begin the first step in rebuilding their dynasty by grabbing Hobbs here. Hobbs is the best pure inside midfielder in the draft and will become an instant fan favourite at Punt Road with his competitive edge, and two way effort a welcome sight, especially for a Tigers side that showed signs of mental capitulation when the going got tough.
The Doc selects: Josh Gibcus (Richmond)
It’s great that Richmond have got Robbie Tarrant to look after their now, but who’s there when him and Dylan Grimes aren’t there in the long run? Gibcus is someone that I could see potentially sliding all the way down here and the Tigers shouldn’t hesitate to pick him up. He’s already well versed in his reading of the play and is already a sound intercept grab. He’s got some speed on him too, which will make it even harder for direct opponents to shake off on a lead.
Hodgey selects: Jye Amiss (Fremantle)
Having already discussed Fremantle’s goal kicking woes, they further address this issue with taking Jye Amiss. Amiss simply does not occur often with the East Perth product, who kicked 51.15 in the WAFL colts, where his elite work on the lead showcased his massive potential. He does need to get on the move to be productive though, creating separation on the lead from his defenders is second to none.
The Doc selects: Neil Erasmus (Fremantle)
Erasmus to Fremantle makes sense as he would add another slick on-baller to what is already being touted as an emerging engine room. What Erasmus will bring is both an ability to accumulate possessions and then use it effectively both by hand and foot. His abilities to float forward and hit the scoreboard or at least set up goals will be a big beneficiary for the Dockers as they look to solve their glaring issue in terms of their disconnect in their forward half.
Hodgey selects: Josh Gibcus (St Kilda)
St Kilda get an absolute steal here with Gibcus, the best key defender in the draft. Likened to Harris Andrews, Gibcus can turn a game on it’s head with his aerial skills, not only in a defensive aspect, but also on the attack. He will be the perfect player to team with Dougal Howard and take over from Jake Carlisle and James Frawley, also allowing Callum Wilkie to not have to play an undersized CHB role.
The Doc selects: Ben Hobbs (St Kilda)
He probably shouldn’t be sliding this far down the order, but the Saints are a side that lacked players to help Jack Steele win the contested ball at times this year. Hobbs is perhaps one of the best pure inside players in this draft, elite in tight and dogged when the opposition has the footy and should he slide down this far, would make the most sense. Four goals from five games suggests that he’s also very capable of hitting the scoreboard at a better rate than several midfielders.
Hodgey selects: Matthew Johnson (West Coast)
The Eagles overlook South Australian livewire Arlo Draper here, instead opting for home grown midfielder Matthew Johnson. West Coast is crying out for midfield help, as they suffered through injuries and inconsistencies, and if there is one thing about Johnson, it’s that he is reliable. Johnson possesses clean skills and movement that are unique for a player his size. Standing at 192cm, Johnson should add a handy inside element to the Eagles midfield.
The Doc selects: Matthew Johnson (West Coast)
Much like Fremantle, the Eagles can’t do much wrong with looking at their own backyard and given that most of the stars on this team are ageing, there’s a good 190cm-plus midfielder in Matthew Johnson that will be crucial to the team in the long term. He was best afield for Western Australia in their representatives game against South Australia and that performance was built on the back of elite ball-winning abilities, his ability to weave out of stoppages with ease and his sweet composure by both hand and foot.
Hodge selects: Josh Goater (Essendon)
Essendon add some more explosiveness to their engine room here with the 190cm Victorian. Essendon actually got to see him in action close to home, with Goater suiting up for a game with the Bombers VFL side last season. The explosiveness of Goater, particularly from stoppages is second to none in this draft, and is reminiscent of the way Patrick Dangerfield attacks the stoppages at pace.
The Doc selects: Josh Goater (Essendon)
I like Goater to the Dons here, he’s a player that boasts a lot of amazing athletic attributes and with good development in an AFL system, could become seriously anything in this league. Spent a lot of this year for Calder playing more in the middle and perhaps could add another layer into an Essendon engine room that exceeded all expectations this year, but he’s also shown he’s handy off half-back with his speed and great use of the ball by foot.
Hodgey selects: Arlo Draper (Port Adelaide)
With Ken Hinkley using a vast rotation of half forwards through the midfield last season, his depth was quickly tested, and taking the enigmatic South Australian here is the perfect fit. Draper possesses above average stoppage skills and similarly to Connor Rozee, has a knack for the exciting. There have been question marks surrounding his attitude and work rate, with almost a “casual approach” however, rest assured that the wealth of leadership Port Adelaide has, they will show this youngster the way.
The Doc selects: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Port Adelaide)
This is an interesting selection here for Port Adelaide as there are a handful of South Australian boys that could be taken here: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Matthew Johnson, Arlo Draper – The Power can’t do wrong with any three of these options. In the end, I settled on Wanganeen-Milera. Despite the light frame and the lack of ability to win contested possessions, he is a player that will find a ton of space, even in congestion, he’ll sidestep opposition and slice through the defenders with his foot skills with such precision. The senior experience at SANFL level also suggests that he’ll adapt just fine at AFL level.
Hodgey selects: Jacob Van Rooyen (Greater Western Sydney)
The Giants double up on talls with the swingman from Western Australia. On face value, this pick might be high for JVR, however with Jeremy Finlayson departing, and the battle-weary body of Phil Davis declining quicker than Woolworths “fresh” vegetables. Van Rooyen is a brute in attacking contests up forward, using his powerful frame and physicality in a tough package for defences to hold.
The Doc selects: Jacob Van Rooyen (Greater Western Sydney)
They’ve got a midfielder with their first pick, so I suspect they’ll go a little taller with this selection and the next best tall option is Jacob Van Rooyen. The beauty with this kid here, despite being better suited as a forward, is that he can be tooled play either end of the ground and given that Phil Davis is in the twilight of his career and Nick Haynes is beginning to kick on a little bit (He’ll be 30 next May), another key tall to compliment guys such as Connor Idun and Sam Taylor makes sense here. He commands the air exceptionally well and is a sound kick, both in front of goals and in general play.
Hodgey selects: Josh Sinn (Brisbane)
Brisbane get Daniel Rich a new best mate, with line breaking defender, Josh Sinn. His availability here is only due to ankle and hamstring injuries that hampered his season, however there’s no denying what Sinn brings to the table. Sinn will immediately become yet another weapon for argubly the best attacking defence in the AFL, combining nicely with the damaging Rich to give the Lions a devastating combination off half back, either by ball use or pure speed.
The Doc selects: Arlo Draper (Brisbane)
Brisbane don’t have a glaring deficiency on their list, but I think they could use another player with speed, poise and class on the outside, and with this pick, I’ve got them taking Arlo Draper here because he has plenty of each of these qualities, not just in the forward half of the ground, but he’s proven himself as a viable possession winner further afield. The Lions aren’t exactly short on scoring power, but Draper has shown this year that he is able to hit the scoreboard with some form of consistency.
Hodgey selects: Tyler Sonsie (Richmond)
Richmond further add some top end talent with Sonsie here. One of Sonsie’s biggest weapons is that he is able to be efficient on his opposite side, which seems to be a lost trait amongst a massive portion of modern-day midfielders. He brings exceptional anticipation around stoppages combined with great skills up forward.
The Doc selects: Josh Fahey (GWS NGA – bid from Richmond is matched)
A bid for Josh Fahey should be expected around this mark of the draft, which the Giants will dutifully match. He’s a player that loves to run with the ball in his hands and is very clean with his foot skills. The Giants aren’t short on running defensive options with the likes of Isaac Cumming and Lachie Ash both breaking out this year, but he’ll add plenty to shore up depth in this area. He didn’t get a lot of exposure at senior level this year, but the games he did play showed enough to suggest that he’ll be on the radar of many clubs.
Hodgey selects: Matthew Roberts (Sydney)
One of the hardest working players in the draft class, Roberts simply screams “Bloods Culture”. Sydney find the heir apparent for Josh Kennedy, who’s career is slowly winding down, and this talented South Australian is the perfect replacement. Roberts movement around the ground is a bit like Clayton Oliver, in that he lacks pace, yet covers a massive amount of ground, willing himself from contest to contest.
The Doc selects: Josh Sinn (Richmond)
This is a great pick for the Tigers as Sinn was highly touted before injuries wrecked his 2021 campaign. He’s likely to be stationed across half-back in his early days in the big leagues, but he’s shown over the past few years that he’s a more than capable midfielder as well and the Tigers wouldn’t mind some extra midfield assistance for life after Dusty. He’s blessed with elite pace, good skill and is capable of both rebound the ball from defensive 50 and pumping the ball inside 50.
Hodgey selects: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Melbourne)
The reigning premiers add yet another elite ball user to their stable with outside runner and distributor Wanganeen-Milera. The overlap attack style that the Demons favour from defense will fit Nasaiah perfectly, and while they appear set on the wings with Ed Langdon and Angus Brayshaw, neither are in the same class by foot.
The Doc selects: Tyler Sonsie (Sydney)
Sydney like to play an exciting, energetic game of football and out of those available, the one player that I can think of that personifies this style is Tyler Sonsie. He’s quite solid in terms of both winning the contested ball and gathering it on the outside, he has also showed in past years that he has no trouble finding the scoreboard. His 26 disposal, two goal performance in the VFL this year for Box Hill suggests that there is a place for him at the top level, but solving his consistency issues will be key for him in future years.
Hodgey selects: Sam Butler (Brisbane)
The Lions add another piece to solve their puzzle with Sam Butler. The brother of Saint Dan, Sam brings a great two way game, which , especially up forward the Lions are really crying out for some defensive pressure. Sam should provide an excellent addition to the Lions pride of Charlie Cameron, Zac Bailey and Lincoln McCarthy.
The Doc selects: Matthew Roberts (Melbourne)
I don’t think there are many glaring holes in the list of the reigning premiers right now, so by going on best available, I’ve got them taking South Australian Matthew Roberts – and boy, what a pick this is. Whilst Roberts doesn’t possess the explosive athletic attributes as others around him might, what Roberts does bring is a strong work ethic and a sensational knowledge for the game in terms of where to be on the outside, extraction on in the inside, adequate goal nous and setting up his teammates for scoring chances.
Hodgey selects: Jesse Motlop (Fremantle)
Fremantle add another piece for the future with enigmatic small forward Jesse Motlop. With the rapid decline of Michael Walters, Motlop should take some pressure off the ageing forward, and provide Fremantle with an outstanding talent to pair with Liam Henry for the future. The son of former star Daniel, Jesse oozes confidence, and you can see his pedigree just from the way he moves around the forward line, and actions with ball in hand.
The Doc selects: Mitchell Knevitt (Brisbane)
It might be early for some, but I do like the idea of Brisbane drafting tall midfielder Mitch Knevitt here. There’s a still a lot to work with in terms of him getting regular senior games and finding the composure in his game to hit targets consistently, but he’s already got a great knack for winning contested ball and is very capable of floating forward and creating scoring opportunities with his work in the air and strong contested marking. His athletic attributes hold him in very good stead, if he’s willing to work hard for his opportunity.
Hodgey selects: Darcy Wilmot (North Melbourne)
North Melbourne adds another attacking defensive weapon with dashing half back Wilmot. Providing great leadership, speed and run from half back he will rise rapidly by working with captain Jack Ziebell regularly. Ironically, he possesses a lot of similarities to the leader of the Kangaroos, not just positive, but also, like Ziebell can be undone by over aggressiveness and a lack of composure at times.
The Doc selects: Jesse Motlop (Fremantle)
This will be Fremantle’s best chance to land their Next Generation Academy man here as the new rules indicate that if a bid comes anywhere within the top 40, then he will go to the club that placed the bid. The chances of him getting up to here are pretty good and so with this pick, they’ll take him. Regardless of where he may fall, Motlop’s skill inside forward 50 is worthy being a top-25 selection. He’s quick, elusive, very smart with his positioning with a sensational nous for the goals.
Hodgey selects: Mitch Owens (St Kilda NGA – Bid from Hawthorn is matched)
St Kilda match the Hawthorn bid for 190cm utility, who possesses outstanding courage, a powerful athletic profile and outstanding two way game. His elusiveness and sneaky power around the contest, combined with his physical upper body strength and turn of pace are welcome to an engine room that generally possesses a bunch of one pace players.
The Doc selects: Zac Taylor (North Melbourne)
If Zac Taylor grew a few extra centimetres taller (he’s currently at 180cm), then he goes within the first round. His talent as a midfielder is up there around with the best of this crop, he’s got a great balance with his contested ball-winning abilities and his abilities with the ball out in the open spaces. His form in the last few games of the NAB League for Calder suggests that he’s definitely got a future in the AFL and North Melbourne – despite a club that’s not short on midfield options – could be a good landing point for a well-rounded midfielder of Taylor’s calibre.
Hodgey selects: Mitchell Knevitt (Hawthorn)
After getting their bid on Owens knocked back by St Kilda, Hawthorn take another big powerful midfielder in Geelong Falcon prospect Knevitt. Standing at 193cm, he gives Hawthorn a bigger body to mesh with the tall timber of James Worpel and Tom Mitchell. Knevitt has one of the biggest ceilings in the draft, and if there is one thing that new coach Sam Mitchell knows, it is how to work the stoppages, and that is where Knevitt needs some of the most attention.
The Doc selects: Leek Alleer (Hawthorn)
Hawthorn’s key defensive stocks… well, they suck right now. Denver Grainger-Barras is a player for the future, but Kyle Hartigan won’t be around for a long time and Sam Frost probably won’t feature in their next premiership either. This is where Leek Alleer comes in, A mature-aged recruit, but just entering into his early 20s, this young man has had himself a year to remember at Centrals in the SANFL and is already a proven intercept marking defender with his elite IQ and strong hands, he’d fit in to a tee at the Hawks.
Hodgey selects: Josh Fahey (GWS NGA – bid from Geelong is matched)
Giants cancel out Geelong’s first attempt to add some youth, by matching the bid for academy half back Josh Fahey. Possessing a great combination of rebounding skills, he also gives even more pace to a Giants side that is one of the quickest over the field. Fahey also brings great defensive tackling skills, which he learned through his rugby background and never drops his head when the going gets tough.
The Doc selects: Toby Conway (Geelong)
In terms of ruck options, Rhys Stanley is the present and Sam De Koning is the future, but that doesn’t mean that their ruck stocks aren’t in short supply. Conway is the best ruck option in this year’s draft class and is a player that is already well developed in ruck craft, a strong aerobic capacity and is already strong in commanding aerial presence and is a ripping contested mark. There is a market for ruck pairings in the AFL as long as they can help add to the scoreboard and Conway is a player that promises plenty with the right development.
Hodgey selects: Toby Conway (Geelong)
Geelong pair promising tall Sam De Koning with Conway, the best pure ruck prospect in the draft class. Conway is an old style, physical ruckman that prefers power over finesse, which will be a handy addition to a Geelong ruck department that often had the competitiveness of kittens. Conway does struggle with ball skills at times, but has solid defensive positioning and uses his body well, preferring to wear down ruckmen.
The Doc selects: Campbell Chesser (Hawthorn)
It’s more of a best available choice here for Hawthorn and with this pick, I’ve added a player that will bring plenty of pace and rebounding from half back to the table with Campbell Chesser. There’s some risk attached to this as he had a 2021 campaign that was hampered with injury, but was still able to average solid numbers in very limited game time he got in the NAB League, still being able to showcase his defensive running game, his ability to garner significant meterage and willingness to work hard from contest to contest.
Hodgey selects: Tom Brown (Hawthorn)
Hawthorn add another handy ball user with defender Tom Brown. Brown is able to push up to a wing with ease, and adds composure and an effective dual sided kick that can be used on all types of kicks. He is a handy link option at the back of stoppages and can step in to defense if Hawthorn decide to employ the returning James Sicily down forward. While most of the half backs rely on pace and disposal for their attacking trait, Brown relies on his high IQ and lateral positioning to make an impact.
The Doc selects: Mitch Owens (St Kilda NGA – bid from Carlton is matched)
Expect the Saints to land both their academy kids in the draft – a bid for Marcus Windhager won’t come until much later as he recovers from a major back injury. A bid will most likely fall for Mitch Owens around this mark – maybe even earlier. He’s a kid that’s got good height, strength, pace and vertical leap. However, he has a fair way to go with his development, both skills-wise and understanding for the game, before we see him running with the big boys, but there’s enough in his game to suggest he’s got what it takes if he works hard enough for it.
Hodgey selects: Leek Alleer (Carlton)
Carlton add combine sensation Alleer to bolster their defense. Alleer may already have a spot sown up in the Blues defense, with the unfortunate health situation that once again has impacted co captain Sam Docherty, and the sudden retirement of Liam Jones. While Alleer is pretty raw, he will be able to impact as a third tall defender in the Blues system.
The Doc selects: Rhett Bazzo (Carlton)
In terms of their key defensive stocks, there’s a bit of a gap there at Carlton with the sudden retirement of Liam Jones. There’s options for the short term, but to try and solve the long-term issue of key defenders, Carlton should look to their first pick of the draft with the selection of Rhett Bazzo. His solid vertical leap, in combination with his ability to chop off opposition kicks inside his teams defensive 50 was evident this year and looks more comfortable playing more as a key defender than up the other end.