AFL writer and
It’s the one night of the year that all AFL fans can look forward to … the night when your club’s latest young recruits are unveiled.
If you haven’t had a chance to get to any TAC Cup or National Under-18 matches during the year, don’t worry. Sebastian Spagnuolo has, and he’s prepared his predictions for the top 50 selections in the 2013 AFL Draft.
While the number one selection seems a lay-down misere, there’s plenty of intrigue around some clubs’ later picks … and whether some former AFL players will get a second chance with a new club.
PICK 1: GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
TOM BOYD – Eastern Ranges, VIC. 200cms 103kgs
Sebastian says: It’s been a foregone conclusion for some time that Boyd will be the No.1 pick on draft night. An absolute monster already at 200cms and 103kgs, he will be ready to play footy at the highest level from Round 1. Has the hallmarks to be a dominant forward for many years to come.
Others in the mix: None, just Boyd!
2: GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
JOSH KELLY – Sandringham Dragons, VIC. 183cms 75kgs
Sebastian says: Kelly is a medium midfielder that displayed his fantastic endurance by running the 2nd fastest time for the 3km time trial at this year’s draft combine testing. Has elite skill level on his preferred left foot and will compliment the growing GWS midfield nicely.
Others in the mix: Matthew Scharenberg & Kade Kolodjashnij.
3: ST KILDA
JACK BILLINGS – Oakleigh Chargers, VIC. 184cms 78kgs
Sebastian says: Billings is likely to be new coach Alan Richardson’s first pick as St Kilda coach. Billings should start as a medium-size forward before developing into an A-grade midfielder. Will provide spark to St Kilda’s forward line and is a great overhead mark for his height.
Others in the mix: James Aish & Scharenberg.
4: WESTERN BULLDOGS
JAMES AISH – Norwood, SA. 184cms 75kgs
Sebastian says: James Aish is from the famous Aish football family in South Australia so has great pedigree. Aish has already played senior football in the SANFL and debuted in that competition as a 16-year-old. Slick mover in traffic and has excellent disposal efficiency along with it. Should play very early in his debut year.
Others in the mix: Scharenberg & Marcus Bontempelli.
5: GOLD COAST
KADE KOLODJASHNIJ – Launceston, TAS. 190cms 81kgs
Sebastian says: Kade Kolodjashnij is a medium-sized defender that, long term will be seen as a tall midfield option for the Suns. Has a twin brother Jake in this draft that should also get picked up at some point. Kade was a joint winner of the Harrison Medal as best player in Div.2 of the 2013 Under-18 state championships.
Others in the mix: Scharenberg & Bontempelli.
MATTHEW SCHARENBERG – Glenelg, SA. 190cms 87kgs
Sebastian says: A big-bodied medium defender/forward is an excellent reader of the play and a great mark. Are his recent foot injuries enough to push him down the order? Will be seen by the Pies as the ultimate swingman that potentially could spend time in the middle, defence and even in the forward line where he is just as comfortable.
Others in the mix: Bontempelli & Ben Lennon.
7: BRISBANE LIONS
MARCUS BONTEMPELLI – Northern Knights, VIC. 190cms 83kgs
Sebastian says: Similar to both Kolodjashnij and Scharenberg, Bontempelli is a player that is being seen by recruiters as the prototype AFL footballer. Great height for a medium forward yet still agile enough to play in the midfield. Has great skills and is a cousin of new Kangaroo Nick Dal santo. Will the Lions be scared to take him due to their recent player retainment woes?
Others in the mix: Lennon & Cameron McCarthy
8: NORTH MELBOURNE
LUKE MCDONALD – Werribee, VIC. 188cms 85kgs
Sebastian says: This selection has been pencilled in for some time and is to be the only father-son selection in this draft. A much-anticipated father-son selection for the Roos, in 2013 McDonald was groomed for senior footy by playing for North Melbourne’s VFL team Werribee. He was not out of his depth at that level even as a teenager and if on the open market he would have been a top five selection and possibly even No.2.
BEN LENNON – Northern Knights, VIC. 188cms 77kgs
Sebastian says: Only lightly built, Lennon is a goal kicking half forward/midfielder that combines excellent foot skills with a great set of hands. Not afraid to put the ball under his arm and make attacking runs at goal.
Others in the mix: Christian Salem & Nathan Freeman.
CHRISTIAN SALEM – Sandringham Dragons, VIC. 183cms 81kgs
Sebastian says: Salem is a strong bodied midfielder that shows great competitiveness in tight and damaging skills out wide. Loves to hurt opposition sides with his very damaging foot skills. Collingwood would see him as a tough inside midfield ball winner.
Others in the mix: Freeman & Matt Crouch.
11: WEST COAST
DOM SHEED – Perth, WA. 184cms 83kgs
Sebastian says: Local Perth boy Sheed should live out his boyhood dream by playing for the Eagles in the AFL. Sheed was the winner of the Larke Medal as the best player from Div. 1 in the 2013 Under-18 state championships and is a ball winning midfielder that also loves to kick a goal.
Others in the mix: Freeman & Blake Acres.
NATHAN FREEMAN – Sandringham Dragons, VIC. 182cms 80kgs
Sebastian says: A dynamic clearance player with a great burst of speed. Freeman would offer the Tigers genuine midfield pace and line breaking ability. Would not be out of place inside the top 10 of this draft.
Others in the mix: Crouch & Lewis Taylor.
MATT CROUCH – NORTH BALLARAT REBELS, VIC. 180cms 78kgs
Sebastian says: Crouch is the brother of Crows rookie sensation from 2013 Brad and in 2013 displayed his magnificent ball winning abilities in the TAC Cup. He averaged an outstanding 37 disposals for the season. Would suit Carlton nicely who would be looking to inject youth into their experienced midfield.
Others in the mix: McCarthy & Acres.
14: GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
DARCY GARDINER – Geelong Falcons, VIC. 192cms 85kgs
Sebastian says: Gardiner is regarded as the best key backman in the draft and with the GWS having an abundance of midfielders and forwards, defence may be the area that the Giants look to strengthen here. Gardiner loves a contest and excels as a rebounding tall defender.
Others in the mix: Acres & Trent Dumont.
BLAKE ACRES – West Perth, WA. 189cms 84kgs
Sebastian says: Acres is a strong ball user and can play in most positions very well. The versatility he would offer to Sydney may be too hard for them to pass up and if they do there’ll be many clubs waiting to pounce on him.
Others in the mix: Taylor & Luke Dunstan.
TOM CUTLER – Oakleigh Chargers, VIC. 190cms 85kgs
Sebastian says: Cutler will be seen as somewhat of a bolter into the top 20 in this year’s draft, whether as a tall midfielder to replace the likes of Joel Corey or as a medium defender to one day replace the likes of Corey Enright or Andrew Mackie, Cutler would be a handy pickup for the Cats.
Others in the mix: Taylor & Dumont.
CAMERON MCCARTHY – South Fremantle, WA. 193cms 85kgs
Sebastian says: McCarthy is rated by most as the 2nd best key forward in this draft after Boyd. So with the Dockers forward line being an area that needs addressing plus the fact that McCarthy is a local WA boy, it’s hard to see the Dockers passing him up. Great hands and is a competitive beast.
Others in the mix: Jonathan Marsh & Mitch Harvey.
18: ST KILDA
TRENT DUMONT – Norwood, SA. 186cms 83kgs
Sebastian says: With the first of back-to-back picks for the Saints they would get a ready-made AFL player in Dumont. A good sized midfielder who is hard at it and shows nice pace when running from a pack with the ball.
Others in the mix: Dunstan & Harvey.
19: ST KILDA
JONATHAN MARSH – East Fremantle, WA. 192cms 87kgs
Sebastian says: At 192cms, Marsh would be a handy pickup for the Saints to be used as a third forward type. Marsh ran the fastest time for the 20m sprint at the recent draft combine with a time of 2.78secs. Good hands and great speed so exactly what the Saints list is in need of.
Others in the mix: Taylor & Billy Hartung.
20: GOLD COAST
LEWIS TAYLOR – Geelong Falcons,VIC. 173cms 73kgs
Sebastian says: Taylor could really be taken anywhere from 10-20 in this draft. Has explosive pace and shows great leadership qualities. Being a small midfielder could be the reason for the slide but if Suns are going for the best mid available at this pick they would be hard pressed to overlook Taylor.
Others in the mix: Hartung & Zac Merrett.
21: PORT ADELAIDE
LUKE DUNSTAN – Woodville-West Torrens, SA. 185cms 83kgs
Sebastian says: Dunstan is a natural leader and no frills midfield work horse. Would love the opportunity to stay in his native state and join a midfield with Wines, Hartlett and Boak all of whom Dunstan would compliment nicely with his aggressive attack on the contest.
Others in the mix: Harvey & Darcy Hourigan.
22: BRISBANE LIONS
BILLY HARTUNG – Dandenong Stingrays, VIC. 177cms 75kgs
Sebastian says: Ranked near the top for all endurance testing at the draft combine where he broke the record for the beep test with a score of 16.6 which put him in the elite category. Hartung runs all day and combines that huge tank with great agility and ability to kick long. Could go anywhere from 10-25 in this draft.
Others in the mix: Patrick Cripps & Zac Jones.
DANIEL MCSTAY – Eastern Ranges, VIC. 194cms 88kgs
Sebastian says: McStay is a natural tall defender that has also showed some skill in the forward line as a lead up forward. Good mark and versatile. Could be seen as a long term replacement for Ben Rutten.
Others in the mix: Cripps & Jones.
ZAK JONES – Dandenong Stingrays, VIC. 181cms 76kgs
Sebastian says: An absolute terrier like his brother Nathan at the Demons, Zak Jones has climbed into draft calculations since mid-way through the year when he displayed his aggressive ball winning abilities in the midfield for both Dandenong and Vic Country. Hawthorn would have a beauty with this pick.
Others in the mix: Hourigan & Cripps.
25: BRISBANE LIONS
PATRICK CRIPPS – East Fremantle, WA. 190cms 90kgs
Sebastian says: Cripps had a great Under-18 state championship for the WA side in 2013 and was rewarded with All-Australian honours. Cripps is a big-bodied midfielder that loves to run and work his way through traffic.
Others in the mix: Hourigan & Jay Kennedy-Harris.
MITCH HARVEY – Nth Adelaide, SA. 197cms 92kgs
Sebastian says: Harvey’s ability to play the forward/ruck role may prove the reason for the Bomber’s interest in him. Very athletic for his size and shows neat skills in front of goal. Is the nephew of current Collingwood recruiter Matt Rendell.
Others in the mix: Hourigan & Mitch Thorp.
27: GOLD COAST
ELI TEMPLETON – Burnie Dockers, TAS. 182cms 75kgs
Sebastian says: Templeton was a standout for Tasmania in the Under-18 state championships in 2013 and was a strong performer at the draft combine, with his best result being a finish of 4th in the beep test.
Others in the mix: Kennedy-Harris & Jarman Impey.
JAKE KOLODJASHNIJ – Launceston, TAS. 192cms 90kg
Sebastian says: If it fell this way, Jake would find himself in Queensland with his twin brother Kade. Jake is more of a key position player than his brother and is a good competitor that would provide the Lions with a key backman option that they don’t have many of.
Others in the mix: Cameron Giles & Fraser Fort.
JAY KENNEDY-HARRIS – Oakleigh Chargers, VIC. 173cms 68kgs
Sebastian says: Small in stature but has a real crack in every contest. Could be the small forward/midfielder that the Giants are after and in need of to feed on the crumbs of their tall talents Cameron, Patton and soon to be Boyd.
Others in the mix: Impey & James Battersby.
30: NORTH MELBOURNE
JAMES BATTERSBY – Sturt, SA. 177cms 78kgs
Sebastian says: Small running defender that would give the Roos great drive from the backline and allow Shaun Atley to push up the ground in the future.
Others in the mix: Impey & George Hewett.
31: WEST COAST
CAMERON GILES (pictured above, right) – Woodville-West Torrens, SA. 195cms 93kgs
Sebastian says: Giles could be seen as a surprise choice here but could be seen as a replacement for Darren Glass. Covers the ground well and very athletic for his size.
Others in the mix: Impey & Hewett.
FRASER FORT (pictured above, right) – Geelong Falcons, VIC. 196cms 84kgs
Sebastian says: Similar to Giles at pick 31, Fort would fit a need for the Swans as a long term successor to Ted Richards and Heath Grundy as a key backman. Can play as a swing man if needed.
Others in the mix: Impey & Merrett.
JARMAN IMPEY – Murray Bushrangers, VIC. 177cms 78kgs
Sebastian says: A genuine utility as Impey offers pace through the middle, run from defence or clever goal sense in the forward line. Has great hands and an excellent leap.
Others in the mix: Hourigan & Merrett.
MICHAEL APENESS (pictured above, marking) – Eastern Ranges, VIC. 199cms 101kgs
Sebastian says: Apeness is seen by many as the best ruck/forward in this draft. With the loss of Billy Longer to St Kilda during the trade period, Apeness would fill a need at Brisbane nicely and could play early in his debut year.
Others in the mix: Toby Nankervis & Rory Lobb.
ZAC MERRETT – Sandringham Dragons, VIC. 179cms 76kgs
Sebastian says: Brother of Essendon’s Jackson, Zac is a ball winner that is on the radar of a few clubs and could really go anywhere between 15-35. First played senior football as a 16-year-old.
Others in the mix: James Sicily & Nick Bourke.
NICK BOURKE – Geelong Falcons, VIC. 188cms 80kgs
Sebastian says: A local lad, tall midfielder that has great hands, a booming left foot and is very athletic.
Others in the mix: Hourigan & Thomas Hodgson.
DARCY HOURIGAN – Sth Adelaide, SA. 192cms 92kgs
Sebastian says: Already with the body for AFL football Hourigan could play as early as Round 1. Very strong yet still deceptively quick, Hourigan is a third tall forward type that could even be drafted much earlier by the right club.
Others in the mix: Dayle Garlett & Thorp.
DAYLE GARLETT – Swan Districts, WA. 181cms 75kgs
Sebastian says: Garlett is a great mystery in this draft. His off-field exploits have been spoken about at length but Hawthorn seems the right club to steer him in the right direction. With the correct application to his career, a Rioli/Garlett combination could be explosive and very damaging. Kicked 50 goals in the WAFL in 2013.
Others in the mix: Sicily & Luke Reynolds.
MITCH THORP – Sth Launceston, TAS. 194cms 94kgs
Sebastian says: Was first drafted in 2006 to the Hawks but was delisted after only 1 game. Thorp had a great season in Tasmania in 2013 where he played/coached Sth Launceston to the flag. Deserves a second chance and Mick loves giving them (Krakouer, Tarrant…) would help Carlton’s forward line by giving another marking target.
Others in the mix: Sicily & Hewett.
TOBY NANKERVIS – Nth Launceston, TAS. 200cms 100kgs
Sebastian says: Already very strong and able to play AFL immediately, Nankervis is regarded as the best pure ruckman in this draft. Was the joint winner along with Kade Kolodjashnij of the Harrison Medal as best Div.2 player at the Under-18 state championships in 2013. Paul Roos loves big bodied ruckman, and there is none better than Nankervis.
Others in the mix: Lobb & Cameron.
JAMES SICILY – Western Jets, VIC. 186cms 75kgs
Sebastian says: Sicily is a good size at 186cms and can play medium forward or midfield roles. Is also a reliable kick for goal.
Others in the mix: Matthew Sully & Reynolds.
42: WESTERN BULLDOGS
GEORGE HEWETT – Nth Adelaide, SA. 185cms 78kgs
Sebastian says: Good skills on both sides of his body, hard running midfielder.
Others in the mix: Jimmy Tsitas & Reynolds.
43: WEST COAST
RORY LOBB – Swan Districts, WA. 205cms 98kgs
Sebastian says: Lobb could be seen as the long term replacement for Dean Cox as the number two with Nic Naitanui, and is a local boy. In the top five rucks in this draft.
Others in the mix: Reynolds & Tsitas.
DARCY CAMERON – Claremont, WA. 203cms 102kgs
Sebastian says: Big and strong ruckman who could be the Swans project ruckman behind Mike Pyke and newly acquired Tom Derickx as the Swans only ruckmen.
Others in the mix: Cameron Conlon & Ben Brown.
45: PORT ADELAIDE
TOM BARRASS – Claremont, WA. 192cms 81kgs
Sebastian says: Barrass is a tall, quick rebounding defender that would fit in at Port Adelaide nicely with his neat left foot and good aerial ability.
Others in the mix: Hodgson & Malcolm Karpany.
MALCOLM KARPANY – Woodville-West Torrens, SA. 177cms 76kgs
Sebastian says: Small, but has very good skills. Could be used as a midfielder, running backman or small forward near goals. Has a great left foot.
Others in the mix: Tsitas.
47: NORTH MELBOURNE
CAMERON CONLON – Northern Knights, VIC. 198cms 87kgs
Sebastian says: Conlon is the ultimate, low-risk high-reward type of pick. Has missed the past 18 months through injury but showed prior to that great rucking ability but also good goal sense. Could be seen as a future Drew Petrie replacement and would need to develop fully in the gym.
Others in the mix: Ben Brown and Hodgson.
48: GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
THOMAS HODGSON – East Perth, WA. 187cms 78kgs
Sebastian says: Hodgson is a running defender with good pace and skill.
Others in the mix: Tom Vandeleur & Tsitas.
49: WEST COAST
JAMES TSITAS – Geelong Falcons, VIC. 181cms 78kgs
Sebastian says: Strong and hard at it midfielder that the Eagles could initially use as a run-with player.
Others in the mix: Isaiah Miller & Vandeleur.
TOM VANDELEUR – Sth Fremantle, WA. 193cms 90kgs
Sebastian says: Vandeleur provides a great contest as a key backman but combines it with good rebound when he gets the ball. Would give Tigers more depth in key backman position.
Others in the mix: Matthew Sully & Chris Cain.