As the time ticks down to the commencement of the 2022 AFL Draft, the boffins at The Mongrel Punt have been busy exchanging opinions as to who will go where.
In the first of two mock drafts, it is The Doc who is sticking his neck out and attempting to predict who ends up with which team.
Here is The Doc’s 2022 AFL Mock Draft
Pick 1 (GWS Giants) – Aaron Cadman
It’s a matter of whether or not they’ll put a bid in for Ashcroft, but GWS have had their eye on their man since acquiring the first pick in the draft in that blockbuster multi-team deal in the trade period. The Giants would love a key forward that can pluck contested grabs and be a presence in the forward line and it sounds like Himmelberg in the defensive half will stick beyond this year. Cadman offers this and is a young man who has proven to hit the scoreboard often.
Pick 2 (Brisbane father/son – bid from North Melbourne is matched) – Will Ashcroft
If GWS don’t bid for him here, then there’s not a question that North Melbourne will put a bid in for the son of Marcus Ashcroft. He’ll get to Brisbane and he’ll slot right into the Lions’ best 22 come the start of the 2023 year. He’s a quality midfielder who has averaged ridiculous numbers in every competition he’s played in this year and has won nearly every accolade there was to be won. He’s a brilliant runner, a terrific accumulator and has done everything in the under-18s scene.
Pick 3 (North Melbourne) – Harry Sheezel
With North owning the next two picks, it’s imperative that they go after the best available talents, and Harry Sheezel is someone who has been a proven goalkicker this year in both the NAB League and in the national championships. North’s forward line is still a work in progress, but they could do far worse than select a guy that has averaged over two goals per game this year in both competitions. He’s a crafty lead-up general forward with an advanced skill set and goal nous.
Pick 4 (North Melbourne) – George Wardlaw
Continuing on with the ‘best available’ mantra for North Melbourne and I’ve got them taking George Wardlaw with this pick. Despite his injury run this year, Wardlaw’s body of work over the past couple of years has been enough to rate him as highly as he is. He’s already proven to be a brilliant inside midfielder and has proven against bigger and older bodies that he shouldn’t be out of place at AFL level. He’s tough, loves to both tackle and extract and is a strong overhead mark.
Pick 5 (Essendon) – Mattaes Phillipou
This looms as the pick that shapes up the next 10 or so picks in this draft. There’s a handful of players that could land here with Essendon’s selection, but there aren’t many 190cm-plus midfielders in this draft that bring out the ‘wow’ factor quite like Mattaes Phillipou. I’ve heard comparisons to both Cripps and Bontempelli, but this kid already boasts a quality skill set and elite athleticism. Phillipou called himself the best prospect out of this draft and there have been games that showcase his talent.
Pick 6 (Gold Coast) – Bailey Humphrey
Best available here for the Gold Coast Suns should see them land Bailey Humphrey here with this pick. Whilst a proven commodity in the midfield, Humphrey’s versatility and ability to impact on the scoreboard has him in great stead over pure midfielders like Jhye Clark and Elijah Tsatas. Whilst his endurance will need work, he’s already a strongly-built player and is quality impact player, could be a handy addition in the forward half for the Suns whilst he works on his tank.
Pick 7 (Hawthorn) – Elijah Tsatas
Hawthorn have made it pretty clear that they’re building towards the future, and having offed both Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell this off-season, I think they’ll look towards building a young midfield core. Worpel and Josh Ward are a good start, Elijah Tsatas will make it even better when they all hit their prime. Tsatas has proven that his inside and outside work is equally brilliant and his knowledge and understanding of how the game works is among the best of the draft class. He’s not as ready-made as others around him, he already possesses explosive speed out of stoppage and can run the wings seamlessly.
Pick 8 (Geelong) – Jhye Clark
If Clark is available with this selection here, then it will surprise no one to see Geelong pounce on him here. Has been dubbed by many as a ‘Joel Selwood clone’ and if you watch him play, it is pretty easy to see why. He’s harder than a cat’s head in and around the contested spaces and is a natural-born leader. Everyone says he’s a Joel Selwood clone and the qualities there back it up – he’ll be a good asset for the Cats long-term.
Pick 9 (West Coast) – Jedd Busslinger
The Eagles would love some key defensive depth because they were a bit exposed in that position at times this year and this should be a great fit for their future. There are a few good homegrown talents that the Eagles would love to get their hands on. I’m starting with Busslinger here at nine. Many will argue he is the best key defender in the draft pool and it’s not hard to see why – he’s already proven he’s an elite aerialist, has got safe marking hands and is already a neat user out of defence.
Pick 10 (St Kilda) – Cameron Mackenzie
Speaking of great fits, Cameron Mackenzie is tied down to the Saints through their Next Generation Academy. But because clubs can’t match bids within the top 40, they’re going to have to draft them before other clubs do and the Saints are in a great position to get someone who already knows what goes on at St Kilda and would probably have had a few runs with those currently at the Saints. Mackenzie is a reliable and consistent ball-winner who can also find time and space on the outside and hurt you with his disposal.
Pick 11 (Carlton) – Oliver Hollands
Carlton are in an interesting position with this pick, considering they are well stocked with their list, maybe they could do with an outside runner and Ollie Hollands is perhaps the best two-way runner this draft class has to offer. Whilst not as refined skill-wise as his brother Elijah is at the Gold Coast, Ollie still has show the ability to accumulate possessions and is a good user of the ball by foot. With that elite of an endurance base that he should be starting his career on a wing, wherever he goes and I think the Blues would have a spot for him.
Pick 12 (Western Bulldogs) – Ed Allan
Another team that is placed in an interesting position, the Dogs should look at either small forwards or genuine wing options. But there’s a player available here that has got serious potential to be anything in this league, and that is Ed Allan. Some have him pushing as a top 10 selection, and given his exceptional speed and athleticism, as well as the height of 194cm, Allan is a player that can a multitude of roles – he’s spent time on the wing, on the inside and with his ability to use the ball by foot, he could spend time in defence as well. A perfect pick for a side that preaches versatility.
Pick 13 (West Coast) – Reuben Ginbey
With West Coast’s second pick, there’s another WA product here ripe for the taking and given his campaign this year, he’s risen up the draft boards tremendously that West Coast could even take him with the first pick, and that’s Reuben Ginbey. The Eagles are in that transition phase where they need to start bringing kids in and thinking about the future and this kid will be the cornerstone of the Eagles’ midfield should he be available. He’s a proven competitor and is already a powerful athlete for his age. Given his stats during the year, he could play senior football almost immediately.
Pick 14 (Melbourne) – Matthew Jefferson
Melbourne’s weakness this season was key forward depth – Josh Schache was brought in over the off-season and Ben Brown and Tom McDonald are still thereabouts, but the future looks like it’ll be Jacob Van Rooyen – and I think that Matthew Jefferson could be a great pairing with him. So that’s what I’ve done with this selection. He’ll need some time to build and develop his frame, but what he showed in the championships outlines the potential that he brings. He’s got a great nous for the goals and has a good, contested mark game.
Pick 15 (Sydney) – Josh Weddle
I had Josh Weddle just outside my top 30, but many will have him around the late first-round/early second-round mark. The Swans could do with someone who has got similar traits to Dane Rampe, because he certainly isn’t getting any younger. Weddle has shown this year that he can play on, and effectively lock down both tall and small forwards and when he’s got the ball in his hands, he’s a steady rebounding defender and a strong intercept mark. He is the vision of a perfect third tall defender.
Pick 16 (GWS Giants) – Jacob Konstanty
With their next pick in the draft, I’ve opted to go with a player who fits the Giants’ need of small forward depth and also a player who has played alongside Cadman at Vic Country, to try and stem that notion of GWS being the club that no kid wants to play at, and I’ve gone with Jacob Konstanty. Whilst there is potential in him to be a quality small forward, he still needs a little bit of time to develop some consistency on the scoreboard. Athletically, the kid is as quick and agile as they come and is a great pressure forward to boot.
Pick 17 (Collingwood) – Lewis Hayes
With Collingwood’s key defensive stocks not the greatest, this pick will see them pick up Lewis Hayes here. Another player that will take some time to develop into his body, Hayes has already showcased how good he can be in the air and his IQ in reading the ball is up there with the best defenders of the draft. On top of his brilliant intercepting, he can also rebound the ball well and is a brilliant kick of the footy. Does remind me of Darcy Moore a little bit when he takes the game on – this feels like a brilliant fit.
Pick 18 (Brisbane father/son – bid from Sydney is matched) – Jaspa Fletcher)
Jaspa Fletcher’s talents this year have been incredible to watch and I think a bid will be made for him around the high teens/early 20s. Consensus draft boards have him around the top 20 mark – Brisbane will match the bid, but will most likely head into deficit next year, which will affect their draft hand significantly. It won’t phase them much – they walk out with the best player in the draft and Fletcher – a young man who is an elite running player, a sweet kick of the footy and is a capable goalkicker on his day.
Pick 19 (Sydney) – Lachie Cowan
Lachie Cowan’s credentials should have him as a first-rounder, and with this selection, Sydney will choose him. Given the nature of how the Swans like to run the ball – Cowan is a man who loves gathering metres. He’s a booming kick of the football and is a terrific intercept mark. Captaining Tasmania’s NAB League side this year, Cowan was named a joint-winner of the Morrish Medal, being one of the more consistent performers this season. He’s a quality player and being captain of Tassie, he certainly leads by example.
Pick 20 (GWS Giants) – Charlie Clarke
Charlie Clarke has those that rate him and those that don’t. But I’m a big believer in the kid. This selection will help shore up the Giants’ stocks at the small forward, but there is good potential in him to play further afield. He’s a got great speed and goal sense, but he also has got a quality understanding of the game and is a proven ball-winner at the source. He’ll start his journey in the forward line, but there is great upside with him that clubs should be willing to take the punt on in the early goings.
Pick 21 (GWS Giants) – Henry Hustwaite
With the following pick, The Giants are going to the other way and draft someone that’s got some height, and with Henry Hustwaite still on the board, this is a good place to take him here. Hustwaite can play either as rebounding half-back flanker or through the midfield as it has shown this season at Dandenong and Vic Country. He’s not as fast as the others, but Hustwaite adds a level of composure that very few kids can match.
Pick 22 (West Coast) – Elijah Hewett
I’ve got Elijah Hewett as one of my sliders in this draft. I’m not sure about the ‘go-home’ factor and there have been performances where he has gone off the radar altogether. But nonetheless, this could be the steal of the draft if he slides down to the Eagles’ third selection. Hewett’s athleticism is off the charts and his contested ability means he is able to explode out of stoppages, he’s shown that he’s got a nous for goals at times this year, and with his strength and tackling abilities, he can be a real menace when he doesn’t have his hands on the ball.
Pick 23 (Western Bulldogs) – Harry Barnett
Another tough pick here for the Dogs as there is still plenty of good talent available. Whilst they’ve got Tim English as their primary ruck, ruck stocks currently aren’t great at the Dogs, so I’d love to see them take the punt on the best ruckman in this year’s draft class in Harry Barnett here. There are some similarities to English as both have great follow-up work and can provide in separate areas of the ground, but Barnett’s ruck craft you’d say is a bit more established than English was at the same level. Would allow English to play a little more freely around the ground once Barnett hits his prime.
Pick 24 (Adelaide father/son – bid from Essendon is matched) – Max Michalanney
Expect a bid to happen around this mark for Max Michalanney, which Adelaide will be certain to match. Michalanney has been in good form all throughout the year, particularly in the championships – he’s a great third tall, who can spoil, play whichever lockdown role is given to him, read the play, cut off to intercept mark and has no problems running it out of the defensive half and is a nice user of the ball by foot too. The Crows have a good one on their hands here once he builds into his body.
Pick 25 (Essendon) – Olli Hotton
Might not be precisely what Essendon need with this pick, but given Olli Hotton’s year both at state and national level, it becomes a prospect too hard overlook. Hotton was an integral part of Sandringham’s dominance this season in the NAB League and has got better with each and ever game. A proven goalkicker in the forward line, Hotton has also shown that he has got quality stoppage craft and is quick and evasive in a lot of situations. Could be one of the steals of the draft if he manages to slip this far down.
Who doesn’t have a pick inside the top 25 (Excluding Father/Son Bids)
Fremantle – Pick 30
If he manages to slide down this far, Fremantle should be landing Darcy Jones with this pick. It is doable, but Fremantle might also look to trade up the order because whilst he’s one of the smaller players in this year’s draft class, he has proven to be very deadly with the ball in his hands. With the helmet and all, there’s a lot of similar traits to Caleb Daniel – smart with the ball in his hands and reliable in gathering the ball. Jones is also ultra-quick and can hit the scoreboard.
Port Adelaide – Pick 33
For some reason, I like the idea of Port Adelaide picking up a key position player with this pick. Tom Scully (Not the ex-Melbourne, GWS and Hawthorn player) had some noise earlier in the year for his barnstorming start to the under-18s season with West Adelaide – kicking 37 goals in his first seven games. He’d finish with 50 for the year. He’s seen as more of a developmental prospect though, so this would be seen as a bit of a dangerous get, considering where Port currently sits in their quest for the flag. But it’d be worth it when he develops properly.
Richmond – Pick 53
There’s not a lot left for the Tigers at this pick, having sold their draft capital for both Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper over the trade period. There’s a lot of wraps on what key defender Ethan Phillips has done over the course of the year for Port Melbourne in the VFL. Should he slide down to here, I’d love to see the Tigers take him on. Averaging over 5.1 intercept marks per game for the Borough this year, it’ll give the likes of Noah Balta and Josh Gibcus a bit more of a free reign to play either end a bit more. Plus at 23 years of age, would be right in Richmond’s premiership window given he’s a ready-to-go player.