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AFL.com.au's Phantom Draft

Callum Twomey  November 20, 2012 9:53 AM

SA forward Troy Menzel is hard to place in this year's draft

SA forward Troy Menzel is hard to place in this year's draft

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AFL draft guru Callum Twomey predicts the top 30 picks in Thursday night's NAB AFL Draft for AFL.com.au.

1. Greater Western Sydney - Lachie Whitfield

Height: 184cm
Weight: 77kg
DOB: 18/07/94
Club: Dandenong Stingrays
Draft range: 1
No surprises here, with the Dandenong Stingrays midfielder heading to the Giants as the No.1 pick, a tag he thoroughly deserves. He runs hard all day, has class on both sides of his body, makes smart decisions, kicks goals, and turns games his team's way when it needs someone to take control. Whitfield has been identified as this year's first selection a long way out, probably since his stellar showing at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships last year as a bottom-ager for Vic Country. He backed it up this season with the Larke Medal for the best player in division one. Whitfield will spend a lot of his summer in the gym because he is lightly built at the moment, but expect him to play senior footy next year and star for a long time.

In the mix: GWS. For Whitfield, there's no doubt where his footy is about to take him.

2. Greater Western Sydney - Jonathan O'Rourke
Height: 184cm
Weight: 73kg
DOB: 21/04/94
Club: Calder Cannons
Draft range: 2-7
O'Rourke isn't too dissimilar to Whitfield, and for the Giants to get both of them is a great result for the club. Although he can win his own ball, and does it when games are up for grabs, O'Rourke is most damaging with the ball in his hands and with some space. He sets up play, measures kicks to teammates, and moves forward to kick goals. He was the the main man in Vic Metro's win over South Australia during the championships, and was named as an All-Australian after the carnival.

In the mix: Western Bulldogs. If he gets past the Giants he's likely to be a Bulldog with one of pick five or six.

3. Greater Western Sydney - Lachie Plowman

Height: 192cm
Weight: 84kg
DOB: 11/09/94
Club: Calder Cannons
Draft range: 3-12
If not for a serious elbow injury in May, most would have Plowman ranked this highly without any questions. The rebounding, tough and creative defender was in flying form for the Calder Cannons at the start of the year before jumping for a mark and landing on his arm, dislocating his elbow and tearing a ligament. He had surgery, and missed almost four months, including the championships. But the 18-year-old is an excellent pick for the Giants, who need to shore up their list with a few more defenders.

In the mix: Western Bulldogs. The Giants could pass, and although he's a chance for the Demons, they might prefer a midfielder. He could even get through to GWS at pick 12, although that's unlikely.

4. Melbourne - Jimmy Toumpas
Height: 182cm
Weight: 78kg
DOB: 12/01/94
Club: Woodville-West Torrens
Draft range: 2-5
The Demons snare Toumpas at pick four, despite the South Australian being touted a top-three prospect for most of the year. And they'll love him, too, with his class, poise and goalkicking skills excellent for a midfielder.He had an interrupted season with a niggling hip injury, which required surgery at the end of the year, but he'll be fine for the club's pre-season and for next year. Announced himself as a draft pick in this sort of range late last year, when he starred for SANFL side Woodville-West Torrens as they charged to the league premiership. Has excellent leadership qualities that were on show as captain of his state this season, and some already see him growing into an AFL captain.

In the mix: GWS. There's still a good chance Toumpas will go to the Giants as one of the first three picks. In any case, there's no way he'll get past the Bulldogs at five or six.

5. Western Bulldogs - Ollie Wines
Height: 188cm
Weight: 90kg
DOB: 07/10/94
Club: Bendigo Pioneers

Draft range: 3-6

Wines is the perfect fit for the Bulldogs under new coach Brendan McCartney, whose philosophy revolves around winning your own ball. He's a ferocious competitor, puts his body on the line to find possessions, is a leader, a solid citizen, and driven to succeed. This year he rose up the ranks with some excellent performances at the national carnival, including 31 disposals against Tasmania (17 contested.) He doesn't have the polish some of his contemporaries, but Wines has worked hard on his outside game and has grown into a more complete prospect. Has high standards and will bring them to the club.

In the mix: Melbourne. They love his fierce attack on the ball and have been big fans for some time.

6. Western Bulldogs - Troy Menzel

Height: 187cm
Weight: 78kg
DOB: 22/09/94
Club: Central Districts
Draft range: 2-6
If not for his knee troubles, Menzel would be in the top three selections of the draft probably without a second thought. More than one recruiter views him as the second best talent in this year's crop, but there are some anxieties about Menzel after he had LARS surgery on his knee as a 16-year-old. The Bulldogs, with the luxury of two selections in a row, have the benefit of taking more of a gamble and if Menzel stays healthy, the reward will be huge. Menzel is a medium forward who shifts into the midfield and makes things happen. His skills are impressive and he has the tendency to do some freakish things as well. He booted 15 goals in the first two rounds of the championships before a groin injury ruled him out of the last three rounds.

In the mix: GWS. Stephen Silvagni and his team of recruiters might spoil the Bulldogs' party and grab Menzel at two or three. If he gets past the Giants and Bulldogs, Port Adelaide faces a tough decision at pick seven.

7. Port Adelaide - Sam Mayes

Height: 187cm
Weight: 78kg
DOB: 20/05/94
Club: North Adelaide
Draft range: 7-13
Although he might not have been at his best through the national championships, Mayes returned to form at the end of the season for SANFL club North Adelaide and reminded everyone of his talent. Perhaps one of the best kicks in the draft, Mayes is an athletic forward who can move through the midfield and do it with ease. He takes marks, he leads hard at the ball, and he is the perfect size for the modern player. He will inject all those traits into Port Adelaide, who rate him well within the best 10 or 12 players available this year. The fact he is a homegrown talent is also an important consideration for the Power, given the recent loss of homesick defender Ben Jacobs.

In the mix: Brisbane Lions. They really like Mayes and have done a lot of work on him, but he could even get as far as the Gold Coast at 13.

8. Brisbane Lions - Jackson Macrae

Height: 189cm
Weight: 76kg
DOB: 03/08/94
Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Draft range: 6-13
It's hard not to be impressed by Macrae's rise this year, which has seen him develop into one of the best midfielders of this crop. He finishes it as a top-10 pick, and as a Brisbane Lion. The Lions might look for a midfielder/wingman at this pick and Macrae will be the best available. He played every game for Vic Metro during the championships and then went back to the Oakleigh Chargers and averaged 28 disposals in the TAC Cup finals series. He has his own idiosyncrasies, like his baulking and sidestepping, and is working on a more polished kick, but he's creative and thinks through things when he has the ball. He would be able to step into an AFL midfield pretty comfortably.

In the mix:
Western Bulldogs. They could go with him at five or six but he could get to Carlton at pick 11 too.

9. Richmond - Nick Vlastuin
Height: 187cm
Weight: 86kg
DOB: 19/04/94
Club: Northern Knights
Draft range: 9-18

Damien Hardwick's Richmond side continues to take shape in his image, with hard, tough and courageous midfielder Vlastuin heading to the Tigers. Although he played at half-back for Vic Metro (who he captained), Vlastuin will probably end up an inside midfielder. There's no fuss about the Northern Knights player: he puts his head over the ball, runs back with the flight, and hits targets by hand and foot. He will need to build up his tank a bit before he spends too much time in the midfield, and he can work on his takeoff speed, but he has a great attitude and is one of the best leaders to have gone through the Vic Metro program in recent seasons.

In the mix: Gold Coast. The Suns might look for a replacement for Josh Caddy, and Vlastuin could be it. He could get as far as North Melbourne (pick 15) or even Collingwood (18).

10. Essendon - Joe Daniher
Height: 201cm
Weight: 89kg
DOB: 04/03/94
Club: Calder Cannons
Draft range: 10
Essendon was rapt when it beat the Swans to sign Daniher as a father-son selection almost two years ago, and it's very easy to see why. The Calder Cannons key forward would have challenged Lachie Whitfield as the No.1 selection if he wasn't committed to the Bombers. Although tall enough to be a ruckman, Daniher - the son of former Bomber Anthony - is predominantly a key forward with exceptional overhead marking. When he leaps, he grabs the ball at its highest point and is almost impossible to spoil. He's also very agile when it hits the ground for a player his size, and he has a competitive streak that will shine at AFL level. The Bombers hope for 10-15 games out of him next year.

11. Carlton - Kristian Jaksch
Height:
194cm
Weight: 83kg
DOB:
07/10/94
Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Draft range: 5-12
Many scouts see Jaksch as the best key position player of this draft behind Daniher and he lands in Carlton's lap. With Jarrad Waite's injury issues, and a dependence on speedy pair Jeff Garlett and Eddie Betts for goals, Jaksch could help the Blues up forward. Importantly, he can also offer some structure in defence. Although predominantly a forward - he booted six goals against Tasmania for Vic Metro - Jaksch also grew as a defender towards the end of the year. His efforts at both ends of the ground were crucial to guiding the Oakleigh Chargers to their TAC Cup premiership. Jaksch is a strong overhead mark, has excellent foot skills for a big man, and is agile when the ball hits the ground.


In the mix: Brisbane Lions. He is one of three - along with Mayes and Macrae - in contention at pick eight.

12. Greater Western Sydney - Aidan Corr

Height: 195cm
Weight: 86kg
DOB: 17/05/94
Club: Northern Knights
Draft range: 9-15
The Giants will bolster their defence in recruiting Corr. Corr's year was interrupted by a few nagging injuries, but his standing as a top prospect was underlined at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. There he tested in the top in the top six per cent in the 20m sprint, and was ranked equal seventh in the kicking test. The Giants lost Jack Hombsch to Port Adelaide, and despite already picking Plowman (a slightly different defender), Corr fills Hombsch's role straight away.

In the mix: Gold Coast. The Suns will consider Corr and might take him at 13 if the Giants don't get in first. Richmond is also thereabouts.

13. Gold Coast - Josh Simpson

Height: 184cm
Weight: 72kg
DOB: 09/02/94
Club: East Fremantle
Draft range: 12-17
The Suns have long been fans of Simpson and there was talk earlier this year that they might even be tempted to choose him if they had kept their pick two. They didn't, and got Jack Martin, Simpson's close friend from Western Australia, with that pick through the mini-draft. The Suns have done a lot of work on Simpson, who moved from South Australia back to Perth at the end of last season to be closer to his family.

In the mix: Fremantle. If he gets through to pick 17, Fremantle seems a likey home for Simpson. It's probably too early for the Bulldogs at pick five or six.

14. Greater Western Sydney - Brodie Grundy

Height: 202cm
Weight: 100kg
DOB: 15/04/94
Club: Sturt
Draft range: 7-14
The best young ruckman in the country joins GWS, in one of the great draft steals of recent years. Grundy is a combative, competitive ruckman who is only relatively new to football after enjoying a promising junior basketball career. He has played senior football at SANFL level for Sturt and more than held his own, and will be likely to get a fair taste of AFL action next year with a body ready to step up to the next level.

In the mix: Port Adelaide. The Power will choose between South Australian pair Sam Mayes and Grundy, and there's still a chance they might go with Grundy.

15. North Melbourne - Nathan Hrovat

Height:
175cm
Weight: 79kg
DOB: 07/07/94
Club: Northern Knights
Draft range: 15-22
There's a feeling at the Roos that they might need another midfielder to help bolster their ranks, and Hrovat is the guy to do it. If not for a few cm, Hrovat would be an outside chance to be a top-10 selection. He keeps his feet, sets up the play, and is a neat user of the ball. He was a standout for Vic Metro during the championships, winning its most valuable player award, and he just knows where to go and what to do to get the ball in his hands.

In the mix:
Fremantle. Brad Lloyd's recruiting team will join a number of clubs, including Gold Coast and Western Bulldogs, to consider Hrovat.

16. Geelong - Taylor Garner

Height: 187cm
Weight: 77kg
DOB: 08/01/94
Club: Dandenong Stingrays
Draft range: 14-20
The Dandenong Stingrays forward offers the Cats a versatile option, and one day he will probably be able to move through the midfield as well. Rocketed up the ranks this year and even made the All Australian team after a strong championships for Vic Country. Attacks the ball in the air and marks well, and isn't afraid of getting hurt. His shoulder popped out four times during the carnival and it didn't deter him. A nice fit for the Cats, who can afford to give him some time to get his shoulder right and develop physically.

In the mix:
North Melbourne. The Roos like him and he would give an extra layer of class to their forward line as well. The Dogs and Magpies have also been linked with Garner.

17. Fremantle - Tim O'Brien

Height: 193cm
Weight: 80kg
DOB: 23/03/94
Club: Glenelg
Draft range: 15-20
Fremantle boosts its young key position stocks with O'Brien, the talented and exciting centre-half forward from Mt Gambier. O'Brien was solid without being spectacular at this year's championships, but has grown since then and is probably the year's late bolter up the ranks. He's got sticky hands and marks really strongly on the lead, and tested well for agility and speed at the draft combine. With Matthew Pavlich closer to the end of his magnificent career than the start, Freo can start to work on O'Brien.

In the mix: Adelaide. The Crows are big fans of O'Brien and would most likely snap him up at pick 20 if he's still there.

18. Collingwood - Jake Stringer
Height: 191cm
Weight: 94kg
DOB: 25/04/94
Club: Bendigo Pioneers
Draft range: 11-22
If he can recapture his best, Collingwood will have a super player on their hands in Stringer. The powerful midfielder is a unique height and shape, but ptobably would have been taken in the mini-draft last year if not for a badly broken leg. It's bugged him this year too, and he still gets asked a lot about his running gait. But a fit Stringer plays somewhere in the midfield and attack, where his muscle, skill level and spring make him a damaging player.

In the mix: Geelong. The Cats have been long linked to Stringer and could well get in ahead of the Pies.

19. Collingwood - Ben Kennedy

Height: 174cm
Weight: 74kg
DOB: 03/03/94
Club: Glenelg
Draft range: 16-25
Kennedy has some traits that will appeal to many clubs. He's a beautiful kick, takes a good mark for his size and is crafty whenever he has the ball. He's also comfortable in attack, chipping in with a goal or two and making the most of his chances. He is small, but he is confident and Collingwood has been linked with him as the draft has moved closer.

In the mix: Adelaide. You'd expect the Crows to have a good think about Kennedy if he's still there at pick 20.

20. Adelaide - Mason Wood

Height: 191
Weight: 79kg
DOB: 13/09/93
Club: Geelong Falcons
Draft range: 17-22
While some clubs are unsure if Wood will become a key forward or grow into a classy flanker, it's undoubted that he has a lot of talent. The Crows, after losing Kurt Tippett, will want to bring another developing forward into their ranks and the Geelong Falcon would be a good choice. He marks strongly, can kick a goal, is quick, and has some confidence about him that allows him to try some different things.

In the mix: Geelong. The Crows might not even get a chance to snaffle Wood if the Cats get in first for the local, and they might at pick 16. If not, the Swans have shown some interest.

21. Collingwood - Tom Clurey

Height: 192cm
Weight: 83kg
DOB: 23/03/94
Club: Murray Bushrangers
Draft range: 18-30

With the departures of Chris Tarrant in defence and Chris Tarrant up forward, if the Magpies look a little thin anywhere it's in their tall stocks. Clurey goes some way to fixing that issue, particularly in the backline. Although his season was solid, it was his efforts at the draft combine which pushed him a little higher in the opinions of recruiters. He ran a 15.1 beep test and was in the top two per cent in the 3km time trial.

In the mix: Adelaide/St Kilda. The Crows could probably do with another tall, while the Saints are definitely after some key defensive depth.


22. Western Bulldogs - Tim Membrey

Height: 189cm
Weight: 88kg
DOB: 25/05/94
Club: Gippsland Power
Draft range: 14-26
Membrey is an interesting one, because most scouts think he's about an inch short of being a proper key position prospect. But the reality is, Membrey has some really good skills that make him a nice option for the Bulldogs. He reads the ball well, contests it in the air, and has a beautiful set-shot kick. He pushed himself up the order with a sensational TAC Cup finals series, including a dominant eight-goal haul in the preliminary final for Gippsland. The Bulldogs need a forward desperately, and Membrey is a good one at 22.

In the mix: St Kilda. If he got to the Saints' selections they'd consider him. But he could go a bit earlier than that, to Adelaide or Fremantle, who might be after a ready-to-play goalkicker.

23. Sydney Swans - Jesse Lonergan
Height: 182cm
Weight: 91kg
DOB: 14/11/94
Club: Launceston
Draft range: 13-24
The Swans clearly have most bases covered on the back of their premiership, but they love inside midfielders and Lonergan's one of the best out there. The Tasmanian is a lot like his uncle Sam, a former Bomber, but has a more explosive streak that helps him not onlt win the ball in a contest but then burst away from it. He's physically ready, too, with a man's body and senior experience for Launceston, where he debuted as a 15-year-old.

In the mix: Gold Coast. The Suns have been linked to Lonergan and need a replacement for Josh Caddy. If he gets past them, North Melbourne and Geelong will have a think about him.

24. Brisbane Lions - Nick Graham
Height: 183cm
Weight: 79kg
DOB: 12/06/94
Club: Gippsland Power
Draft range: 18-25
The Lions obviously need a tall but around this mark the best ones are probably gone, which leaves them taking the best player. It's Graham, an inside midfielder. This year's Morrish Medallist is probably better at the moment when digging into contests, getting his hands on the ball and dishing it out. But he does have some offensive weapons and can make his disposals hurt when he finds some space. Averaged 18 disposals in four games for Vic Country.

In the mix: St Kilda. The Saints chased an inside midfielder in Josh Caddy and didn't get him.

25. St Kilda - Tanner Smith
Height: 195cm
Weight: 88kg
DOB: 08/03/94
Club: North Ballarat Rebels
Draft range: 24-35
On performance this year, Smith might be ranked a peg or two too high. But on balance, and with St Kilda's need for key position defenders, Smith is a good fit for the club. The Rebels big man is a disciplined backman with good endurance, who just loves to spoil, stop and shutdown his opponents. As a 17-year-old last year he took on some of the TAC Cup's best players, including Jonathon Patton, and held himself well.

In the mix: Brisbane Lions. It wouldn't be unexpected if the Saints and Lions swapped players at these two picks. The Lions want a key back and key forward.

26. St Kilda - Dayle Garlett
Height: 180cm
Weight: 75kg
DOB: 09/01/94
Club: Swan Districts
Draft range: 15-35
If not for off-field issues, Garlett would probably fit into the top 15 picks on Thursday night. But clubs are naturally conservative so it's hard to see him that high now, and a lot have ruled him out completely. The talented West Australian, who is quick, skilful and can be a match-turning player might be a good fit for the Saints. They know him as well as any club and put in a lot of time on him when they held earlier picks in the draft. They wouldn't have picked him then, but if he's there at 26 they might take a punt on his talent and draft Garlett.

In the mix: Hawthorn. The Hawks' first pick comes at 29, and they are still weighing up whether they'd pick him if he was available. There's also a possibility Garlett might not get drafted at all.

27. Melbourne - Jack Viney
Height: 178cm
Weight: 81kg
DOB: 13/04/94
Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Draft range: 27
Viney will bring hardness, consistency, and competitiveness to Melbourne, and will be eager to play as many games as he can in the seniors next year. The father-son prospect is tough and brutal, and sets very high standards for himself and the players around him. Most encouragingly, he backs up those by never giving an inch on the field. Viney is a fierce tackler, has nice left-foot kick and an aggressive streak to match.

28. Greater Western Sydney - Tim Broomhead
Height: 182cm
Weight: 75kg
DOB: 22/03/94
Club: Port Adelaide Magpies
Draft range: 27-32
Broomhead adds to the Giants' midfield rotations and could also be used off half-back. The medium-sized onballer gets a fair bit of the ball and looks in control when he has it, spotting up targets further up the field. He averaged 15 disposals at 77 per cent efficiency during the championships for South Australia, and he also has a nice turn of pace.

In the mix: Port Adelaide. The locals would find it hard to pass him up if still there at 30 or 31.

29. Hawthorn - Nathan Wright
Height:
183cm
Weight:
78kg
DOB:
16/02/94
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Draft range:
23-30
Wright offers a lot of run, drive and physicality off the half-back flank, and will be well-suited to the Hawks' set-up. Although he has a bit of work to do on his kicking, Wright attacks the ball hard, runs in straight lines and won't let anyone down with his effort.Wright has pace, and he knows how to use it.

In the mix: Collingwood. The Magpies might think about recruiting the AIS-AFL Academy graduate with one of their three picks. If not, the Saints might snap him up (picks 25 and 26.)
 
30. Port Adelaide - Sam Colquhoun

Height: 179cm
Weight: 72kg
DOB: 20/12/94
Club: Central Districts
Draft range: 28-40
Port likes its homegrown talent and Colquhoun has some ability. He's a small defender, who sets up the play from half-back. He has clean hands, is efficient by foot and is given the ball by teammates because they know he thinks clearly and quickly. In the championships he averaged 28 disposals for South Australia, winning his state's MVP award and All-Australian honours.

In the mix: Hawthorn. The Hawks could look at Colquhoun, but he's also a chance to be taken somewhere later in the 30s or even early in the 40s.

And the NAB AFL Draft doesn't end there. Here's a guide to how your club could handle the rest of the draft, and some whispers about who they might consider picking:

*Upgraded rookie selection

ADELAIDE
Draft picks: 20, 54, 64* (Ian Callinan)

After the Kurt Tippett saga that engulfed the club, Adelaide was unsure whether it would even take part in the draft. But the case's adjournment last week means the Crows are in, although they seem set to re-draft delisted player Nick Joyce with pick 54. After that, Ian Callinan will join the senior list as a rookie upgrade. There is some light at the end of the tunnel, with the club not required to use a pick on Brad Crouch this year as he counted as a traded-on player in 2011 through the mini-draft. Expect some special things from Crouch next year.