Hello and welcome to the 2022 Fox Footy AFL Phantom Draft!
The consensus among the talent industry is the top 15 players are well known — but the order in which they’re taken is complicated. But not as complicated as trying to work out what happens from Pick 16 onwards.
Foxfooty.com.au predicts how the first round of the draft will pan out, including three rival club bids, plus the inside word on which prospects your club could take on both nights of the two-day event.
Watch the first round of the 2022 AFL Draft on Fox Footy and Kayo from 7pm EDT on Monday November 28. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today >
More draft coverage …
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Jeremy Cameron’s advice for Cadman | 01:47
FOX FOOTY 2022 AFL PHANTOM DRAFT …
PICK 1: GWS GIANTS – AARON CADMAN
Position: Key forward
Size: 194cm, 88kg
Clubs: GWV Rebels/Vic Country
AFL player comparison: Jeremy Cameron
In a draft class stacked with midfielders and hybrid types, Cadman is the best key-position prospect – which is remarkable in itself considering he entered his draft year as a promising, athletic, tall wingman with a long left-foot kick and a strong tank but without the genuine strength needed to be a dominant key forward. Now he’s 15kg heavier yet still has the same elite aerobic capacity, workrate and high leap, meaning he beats defenders in the air, one-on-one and on the run – at any stage of the game. Put simply, he’s a nightmare match-up for opposition sides. Cadman had a brilliant 2022 campaign, which included All-Australian honours, NAB League Team of the Year selection and the Rebels’ best and fairest award.
In the mix: There’s still some conjecture as to whether the Giants will bid on Lions father-son gun Will Ashcroft with the first pick, but most rival clubs believe Cadman’s name is more likely to be called at Pick 1. The four-way mega deal during last month’s trade period saw the Giants acquire Pick 1 – a selection they’ll use to draft Jeremy Cameron clone Cadman, two years after losing Cameron to the Cats.
PICK 2: BRISBANE LIONS – WILL ASHCROFT (KANGAROOS’ FATHER-SON BID MATCHED)
Size: 182cm, 76kg
Clubs: Sandringham Dragons/Old Brighton Grammarians/Vic Metro
AFL player comparison: Sam Walsh
One recruiter told foxfooty.com.au mid-year Ashcroft “could play AFL this week” as he was on a “different level” to his peers. The standout player of the draft class who oozes professionalism both on and off the field, Ashcroft is the complete midfielder as he’s just as adept at bursting away from stoppages as he is winning the ball on the inside. He barely put a foot wrong during his draft year, winning almost every award possible – Larke Medal, NAB League premiership captain, best on ground in the NAB League grand final and NAB League Team of the Year captain – and dominating at every level, including a couple VFL games for Brisbane.
In the mix: As the son of triple premiership Lion Marcus Ashcroft, the 18-year-old has already nominated Brisbane under the father-son rule and signed a four-year contract. He’ll officially become a Lion on Monday night, most likely when it’s the Kangaroos’ turn to pick first as most expect the Giants to take Cadman at Pick 1. If for some reason the Roos don’t bid on Ashcroft at Pick 2 and call out George Wardlaw or Harry Sheezel first, someone call the cops, for the Lions will be committing a robbery if they get him outside the top two.
PICK 3: NORTH MELBOURNE – GEORGE WARDLAW
Size: 182cm, 82kg
Clubs: Oakleigh Chargers/St Peter’s/Vic Metro
AFL player comparison: Clayton Oliver
The powerful, competitive and combative Wardlaw is the quintessential inside midfielder. He thrives in the contest, is regularly first to the ball and, importantly, makes smart decisions in congestion. Wardlaw’s 2022 campaign was hampered by injury, but his NAB League form was brilliant and he won the Australian Academy best on ground medal with 18 disposals and eight tackles against Collingwood’s VFL side.
In the mix: There’s a chance the Kangaroos pick gun small forward Harry Sheezel before Wardlaw. If that occurs, Wardlaw should land at North with its next selection.
PICK 4: NORTH MELBOURNE – HARRY SHEEZEL
Position: Small forward
Size: 184cm, 77kg
Clubs: Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
AFL player comparison: Toby Greene
Looms as a big fan favourite at AFL level. Sheezel is the best pure hybrid forward prospect. He’s so damaging forward of centre, either kicking goals himself or setting teammates in a better position to score up. Sheezel was named in the Under 18 All-Australian team and also finished with the most goals in the NAB League this season (36), including five bags of four majors or more. North Melbourne wants a player with high skill level, speed, agility and cleanliness – and Sheezel ticks all of those boxes.
In the mix: Should Sheezel be taken by the Kangaroos with their earlier pick, George Wardlaw would likely be selected next. Explosive Oakleigh Chargers on-baller Elijah Tsatas had been linked to the Kangaroos for some time last month, but all signs point to them now taking Wardlaw and Sheezel – barring a draft night bombshell.
PICK 5: ESSENDON – MATTAES PHILLIPOU
Size: 191cm, 83kg
Clubs: Woodville-West Torrens/PHOS Camden/SA
AFL player comparison: Marcus Bontempelli
A high-impact, versatile and competitive player, Phillipou can play either inside or outside and has the nous to push forward and hit the scoreboard. Outside of Phillipou’s eye-catching on-field ability, clubs are circling the left-footer due to his late-year birthday – he doesn’t turn 18 until December 27 this year – as well as his confidence and self-belief. He was brilliant at SANFL Under 18 level then had a standout champs game for SA against the Allies, booting two goals from 24 disposals and five clearances. He’s the son of Sam Phillipou, who kicked 250 goals from 150 SANFL games for the Eagles and Magpies while also playing three AFL games for Footscray.
In the mix: This is where things get murky, with the Bombers keeping their cards close to their chest. It’s widely known the club has been debating whether to take Phillipou — who has interest from ample clubs in the first round — or fellow on-baller Elijah Tsatas. Rival clubs believe the Bombers are leaning towards Phillipou, but also wouldn’t be surprised if the exciting Tsatas — widely considered a top-five draft prospect all year — landed at Tullamarine. Dunsborough product Reuben Ginbey has also been linked to the Bombers’ first pick, but the consensus is their choice is down to Phillipou and Tsatas.
PICK 6: GOLD COAST SUNS – BAILEY HUMPHREY
Size: 184cm, 86kg
Clubs: Gippsland Power/Vic Country
AFL player comparison: Isaac Heeney
A genuine impact player with a penetrating kick, terrific footy smarts and an excellent overhead mark for a player of his size. Amid an injury-interrupted year, Humphrey had three eye-catching NAB League games — including 4.5 from 31 disposals, 12 marks and five tackles against the Northern Knights — before causing headaches at national championships level for Vic Metro’s defence at Marvel Stadium. Clubs believe he’ll start his AFL career as a forward, but Humphrey is keen to push into the midfield.
In the mix: The Suns have been strongly linked to both Humphrey and WA’s Reuben Ginbey, who for months has been tipped to be the first WA-based player taken. While rivals believe the Suns’ interest in Ginbey has cooled, the club confirmed this week they’d recently flown to WA to visit Ginbey and his family in Dunsborough. Geelong Falcons midfielder Jhye Clark has also been linked to Gold Coast at this selection.
PICK 7: HAWTHORN – CAMERON MACKENZIE
Size: 187cm, 80kg
Clubs: Sandringham Dragons/Beaumaris/Vic Metro
AFL player comparison: Callum Mills
A reliable, well-rounded on-baller with the ability to win the ball on the inside and outside equally, Mackenzie might be the most balanced prospect of this year’s AFL draft class. He’s reliable and consistent, while he has excellent vision, poise and neat disposal. Yet he also possesses a strong contested ball game and a great burst from stoppage – a trait he’s worked meticulously on over the past 12 months. At his height, he can also play in any third of the ground. Mackenzie averaged 25 touches for Vic Metro to win All-Australian honours and kicked two goals from 26 disposals in Sandringham’s comprehensive NAB league grand final win. Mackenzie, too, is a Hawthorn supporter …
In the mix: If Essendon picks Elijah Tsatas, rival clubs expect Hawthorn to pounce on Mattaes Phillipou, who was recently flown by the Hawks to Melbourne to meet with senior club figures. But if Phillipou is off the board, the Hawks will also strongly consider taking Tsatas over Mackenzie. They’ve also put work into WA on-baller Reuben Ginbey — and have flagged a bigger body in the midfield is on their wish list — while Falcons midfielder Jhye Clark has also been linked to Hawthorn’s first pick.
PICK 8: GEELONG CATS — ELIJAH TSATAS
Size: 187cm, 80kg
Clubs: Oakleigh Chargers/Surrey Park/Vic Metro
AFL player comparison: Chad Warner
A speedy mover that can break lines with clean hands and an efficient kick, Tsatas is a prototype athlete and everything a club is looking for in a wing/midfield prospect. He’s significantly improved his inside game this year to complement his already strong outside traits. A foot injury sidelined him for a couple of months in the middle of the year, but he was able to get back for the last two months of the season to impress for Wesley College, Oakleigh Chargers then Vic Metro – the latter an eye-catching 30-disposal, five-clearance display. An absolute steal if he gets this low in the draft, for Tsatas has been touted externally as a top-five prospect all year.
In the mix: Imagine winning the flag in late September then turning a future third-round pick into Jack Bowes (former top-10 pick) and Tsatas (a top-three 2022 prospect according to many recruiters) by the end of November? Yet this looms as a fascinating flashpoint in the draft. The Cats have long been linked to local product Jhye Clark ever since acquiring Pick 7 from the Suns as part of the Bowes salary dump deal. Rivals believe Tsatas would be too good to ignore for the Cats if still on the board, but their attachment to Clark has been well documented for months. Geelong has also put ample work recently into WA duo Reuben Ginbey and Ed Allan — the latter being a genuine first-round bolter as an exciting 194cm utility.
PICK 9: WEST COAST EAGLES — REUBEN GINBEY
Size: 188cm, 81kg
Clubs: East Perth/Dunsborough/WA
AFL player comparison: Jack Crisp
WA’s top prospect with an outstanding all-round athletic profile with WAFL league experience. Not necessarily a ‘wow’ player, but possesses excellent vision around stoppages and can play in various roles. After playing predominantly in defence at WAFL level, Ginbey moved into the midfield during the national champs for his state and impressed recruiters with his consistency, attitude and grit at the contes, winning WA’s MVP award. He also finished in the top 10 in four national combine tests, proving why he’s considered one of the best all-round athletes at the top of the draft class.
In the mix: There’s growing speculation Ginbey will slide through to the Eagles’ first selection, which would be a terrific result considering their bold move to split Pick 2 and turn it into two first-round picks last month. If he’s off the board, though, fellow local product Ed Allan will come under consideration after his rapid surge into top-10 calculations. Victorian midfielders Jhye Clark and Cam Mackenzie, who aren’t considered major flight risks by rival clubs, would also be considered if still available. West Coast might also be the first club to pick Jedd Busslinger — widely regarded as the best key defensive prospect of the draft class — but it’s more likely it’d consider him with its second first-rounder.
PICK 10: ST KILDA — JHYE CLARK
Size: 180cm, 77kg
Clubs: Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
AFL player comparison: Joel Selwood
A tough, highly-regarded midfielder and leader with a desire to work both ways, Clark has a genuine thirst for the contest. He captained the Geelong Falcons for the 2022 NAB League Boys season, as well as Vic Country during the national championships where he finished runner-up to Will Ashcroft in the Larke Medal. He’s a reliable and ready-made prospect that could make an immediate impact at AFL level.
In the mix: It feels like the Saints will pick up the best midfield talent available. If Clark goes earlier and Elijah Tsatas is somehow still on the board, the Saints would surely pounce on the elite midfield talent who has match-winning capabilities. Same goes for Cam Mackenzie, who’s tied to the Saints via their Next Generation Academy but rules disallow the club from bidding on him before Pick 40. The Saints have also been linked to Claremont’s Ed Allan, who hasn’t been invited to Marvel Stadium for draft night, and fellow WA prospect Jedd Busslinger. Although industry sources believe the Saints are more likely to take a midfielder with their first pick.
PICK 11: BRISBANE LIONS – JASPA FLETCHER (CARLTON’S FATHER-SON BID MATCHED)
Size: 184cm, 73kg
Clubs: Brisbane Lions Academy/Sherwood/Queensland/Allies
AFL player comparison: Blake Acres
Another father-son prospect for Lions fans to get excited about, Fletcher loves to run and carry the footy. He’s renowned among recruiters for his agility, willingness to take the game on and ability to penetrate the lines. But Fletcher, the son of former Lion Adrian Fletcher, is also skilful and a great decision-maker that uses the ball shrewdly between the arcs. He won the Hunter-Harrison medal for the best player of the Academy series then made the Under 18 All-Australian team after booting three goals and averaging 22.7 disposals and 9.7 contested possessions for the Allies at the national championships.
In the mix: The Blues could go straight for Oliver Hollands, but Michael Voss, who played alongside Fletcher’s dad at the Lions, and the Blues could be first to launch a bid on Fletcher, considering their desire to bring in some outside class and speed. If not the Blues, the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and Collingwood could all move to make the Lions pay for Fletcher. No matter where the bid comes — and it should be in the first round — the Lions will be prepared and well placed to match.
PICK 12: CARLTON — OLIVER HOLLANDS
Size: 183cm, 71kg
Clubs: Murray Bushrangers/Wodonga/Vic Country
AFL player comparison: Andrew Brayshaw
Arguably the hardest working and best two-way on-baller of the class, Hollands applies great pressure yet has the ability to accumulate disposals and push forward if needed. He can win the ball on the inside, but is also classy by hand and foot, while his composure in traffic means he doesn’t panic and makes every disposal count. He averaged 24 disposals (at 75% efficiency) throughout the national championships for Vic Country to earn All-Australian honours and was the joint winner of the 2km time trial at the draft combine. Hollands is the brother of Elijah Hollands, who was taken by the Suns with Pick 7 in the 2020 draft, and the son of Ben Hollands, who played eight games for Richmond.
In the mix: The Hollands-Blues link has been strong for weeks — and was only strengthened when coach Michael Voss this week suggested the club wanted a player to “balance” the array of inside midfielders already at the club. It’s why the Blues could also launch a bid on Brisbane father-son prospect and gun outside midfielder Jaspa Fletcher — the son of Voss’ former teammate Adrian Fletcher — earlier than anticipated. Ed Allan is considered to be right in the Blues’ thinking, but there’s also speculation they haven’t ruled out the possibility of a key defender, which would bring East Perth’s Jedd Busslinger and Eastern Ranges’ Lewis Hayes into the mix. But the key-position trigger might only be pulled if the Blues find a suitor on draft night to split their pick into two — a whisper that’s been doing the rounds for a few days. Sydney has been tipped as the club that would most likely do a deal with the Blues.
PICK 13: WESTERN BULLDOGS — JEDD BUSSLINGER
Position: Key defender
Size: 196cm, 82kg
Clubs: East Perth/Coolbinia/WA
AFL player comparison: Darcy Moore
A rangy 195cm defender who reads the ball superbly in the air and has great defensive nous and composure, Busslinger is widely regarded as the best tall back in this year’s talent pool. He made the All-Australian team — despite playing just two champs games after undergoing shoulder surgery — as he showed off his intercept, rebound and ball-winning abilities against Vic Metro and the Allies. Busslinger might take some time to mature physically at AFL level — especially after his shoulder surgery — but his height and footy smarts have recruiters excited about his potential.
In the mix: The word is the Dogs are weighing up between a key defender and a midfielder with their first pick — and they’re more likely to get a higher-quality defender with their first selection rather than their second-rounder (Pick 21). But if they go for a midfield/hybrid type, Oliver Hollands would be a strong chance to go should the Blues not pounce on him with the previous pick. The Dogs have also put a lot of work into WA bolter Ed Allan, who was a standout at October’s national combine after an injury-interrupted 2022 campaign. If they opt for a different key defender to Busslinger, Lewis Hayes or Josh Weddle would be their best options. There’s even been a few whispers top Tasmanian prospect Lachie Cowan — a rebounding defender in the Bailey Dale mould — is in the Dogs’ sights, but that could be more likely with their second-rounder.
PICK 14: WEST COAST EAGLES — ED ALLAN
Size: 194cm, 82kg
Clubs: Claremont/Mosman Park/Western Australia
AFL player comparison: Nick Blakey
A versatile and speedy 194cm prospect that can play in any third of the ground, Allan has roared into first-round calculations late in the year — after being, at best, a second-round prospect only four months ago. He missed most of the year due to a back injury, but gave an exciting glimpse of his potential in WA’s final national championships games. Allan then impressed at the draft combine, recording a 20m sprint time of 2.81 seconds – the fifth-fastest in combine history – and presenting impressively during club interviews. Many clubs are excited about the scope he has to develop at AFL level.
In the mix: If Allan is off the board — and that’s a strong chance considering he has interest from all four clubs ahead of the Eagles in the draft order — and Jedd Busslinger is available, West Coast could pounce on the key defender with a view to pairing him with veterans Jeremy McGovern and Shannon Hurn and learn off them to help set the club’s defensive group up for the future. There’s also speculation West Coast, which just lost champion goalkicker Josh Kennedy to retirement, could be the club that pounces on Oakleigh Chargers key forward Matt Jefferson in the first round. Explosive on-baller Elijah Hewett might be considered here too, but it appears the Eagles would more likely draft the WA product with a second-round selection.
PICK 15: MELBOURNE — MATT JEFFERSON
Position: Key forward
Size: 195cm, 78kg
Clubs: Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
AFL player comparison: Harry Jones
A former Victorian basketball rep champion, Jefferson possesses outstanding overhead marking ability, great forward craft and competitiveness in the air – the latter trait being one recruiters were pleased to see develop this year. Jefferson is a classic example of how a strong showing at national championships level can significantly boost your draft prospects. He surged into the top-10 draft mix after starring for Vic Metro and producing a consistent NAB League campaign, kicking 27 goals in 10 matches across both competitions – including a seven-goal bag against WA.
In the mix: There’s a view among sources that the Demons, who’ve also held a long interest in Ed Allan, might look to get ahead of the Eagles on draft night via a live trade so they can pounce on Allan. The Demons’ proactive nature in flagging trades with other teams over recent weeks suggests they’re open to a move up. If they go for a slightly smaller forward, Murray Bushrangers star Brayden George would be a chance. Melbourne has also been linked to South Australian Harry Barnett — regarded as the best ruck in the draft class — but would probably only consider him if they moved down the order on the night.
PICK 16: SYDNEY SWANS — JOSH WEDDLE
Position: Key defender
Size: 192cm, 89kg
Clubs: Oakleigh Chargers/Templestowe/Vic Metro
AFL player comparison: Brayden Maynard
One of the class’ most versatile defenders, Weddle has the size and ability to play on opponents both taller and smaller than him. He’s strong one-on-one, is a confident interceptor and can also provide dash from defence. Weddle shot up draft boards as the year progressed, particularly after his strong national championships campaign for Vic Metro, averaging 15 disposals and four marks to earn All-Australian honours.
In the mix: Don’t be surprised if the Swans aren’t picking here on draft night, with their two first-rounders up for grabs to opposition teams. They could look to purely boost their 2023 draft hand, or trade their picks with a club, such as Carlton, earlier in the draft order — and the Blues have been open about their willingness to split their first pick if the deal is appropriate. Should the Swans move up, they’ve been strongly linked to Oliver Hollands, who has ample mid-first round interest, while they could also make a play for Ed Allan. If the Swans hold their spot but don’t go for Weddle, they’ll have ample other options, with ruckman Harry Barnett, key back Lewis Hayes, exciting rebounding defender Lachie Cowan and explosive mid-sized forward Brayden George all linked to them. Bolstering their small forward stocks with a player like Jacob Konstanty or Charlie Clarke would be another strategy.
PICK 17: GWS GIANTS — BRAYDEN GEORGE
Position: Medium forward
Size: 185cm, 87kg
Clubs: Murray Bushrangers/Wangaratta Rovers/Vic Country
AFL player comparison: Jake Stringer
Had a wretched run with injury in 2022 – including an unfortunate ACL rupture in the Bushrangers’ wildcard final against the Dragons – but recruiters had already seen enough from the talented George, who possesses explosive power, class and great forward craft. George booted 17.9 from his first five NAB League games this season before a knee injury ruled him out of the national championships in the mid-year, followed by the ACL rupture that will sideline him for most of 2023. Yet he’s a prodigious talent with enormous long-term potential, so he remains in the first-round mix.
In the mix: The Giants love Ed Allan, but it’s hard to see him still being on the board. The sense is the Giants would be prepared to take a punt on George considering the array of picks they have in the teens. But they’ve also been linked to several smaller types in the middle of the first round, including Gippsland Power’s Jacob Konstanty, Sandringham Dragons’ Charlie Clarke and Swan Districts’ Darcy Jones, with Clarke considered the most likely to be taken of that trio. They could also look at gun WA midfielder Elijah Hewett, who hasn’t been invited to attend the first night of the draft at Marvel Stadium but remains in the first-round mix. There’s also the possibility of drafting a key defender, which would bring Josh Weddle, Lewis Hayes and even Max Gruzewski into the equation, while both Henry Hustwaite — a versatile midfielder that has the potential to become a third tall defender — and Olli Hotton probably enter draft calculations for the first time.
PICK 18: ADELAIDE — MAX MICHALANNEY (COLLINGWOOD’S FATHER-SON BID MATCHED)
Position: Key defender
Size: 192cm, 78kg
AFL player comparison: Dane Rampe
A mobile yet disciplined defender with strong intercept ability, Michalanney was named in this year’s Under 18 All-Australian team after an impressive campaign for South Australia. He played three SANFL league games for the Redlegs this year as a lockdown defender, while he also showed off his ability to rebound off half-back at reserves and, most prominently, Under 18s level. Michalanney is father-son eligible to Adelaide as his dad Jim played in four SANFL flags across 211 games for Norwood.
In the mix: The Crows struck a couple of trades to give themselves the best chance of securing Michalanney. If the Pies don’t bid on him, the Swans could launch with their late first-round pick or the Bulldogs with their early second-round pick.
PICK 19: GWS GIANTS — HARRY ROWSTON (COLLINGWOOD’S ACADEMY BID MATCHED)
Size: 181cm, 78kg
Clubs: GWS Giants Academy/Calder Cannons/Griffith Swans/NSW-ACT/Allies
AFL player comparison: Tim Taranto
A competitive and shrewd inside midfielder that finds the footy and pushes forward to hit the scoreboard, Rowston elevated himself from a mid to late draft chance to an early standout during this year’s national championships. He was named the Allies’ MVP and was the team’s leading ball-winner, averaging 23.0 disposals, 11.0 contested possessions, 5.8 inside 50s and 5.0 clearances while also booting three goals.
In the mix: Ideally, the Giants would like a Rowston bid to be launched after the final pick of the first round, which is one they’re also attached to. But if the bid on Rowston comes here, it would only cost the Giants one draft selection, so they’d pick again at the start of the second round. There’s a chance Rowston could still be on the board by the time the Pies’ second-round pick comes along, where a bid would surely come. Other potential second-round bidders include Essendon and Hawthorn.
PICK 20: COLLINGWOOD — JAKOB RYAN
Size: 189cm, 77kg
AFL player comparison: James Sicily
An exciting SA prospect that can play across all three lines, Ryan has attracted ample interest throughout his draft year. Primarily a high defender, but has shown an ability to play either on the wing or even up forward during his impressive 2022 campaign. He possesses great aerial ability, while his excellent two-way workrate and footy nous allows him to rack up big numbers. Ryan’s first three champs games for SA were excellent as he averaged 20.0 disposals out of defence for the tournament.
In the mix: Lots of options for the Pies if they don’t opt for Ryan, who they’ve been heavily linked to in recent weeks. Olli Hotton and Henry Hustwaite both have Collingwood connections — Hotton’s dad Trent played in the AFL team in the 1990s while Hustwaite’s brother Campbell has been the club’s VFL co-captain in recent years. The Pies could also opt for a tall back in Josh Weddle or Lewis Hayes — although they’ve gone key-position heavy in recent trade periods — while top Tassie prospect Lachie Cowan might be a chance here too.
PICK 21: SYDNEY SWANS — HARRY BARNETT
Size: 202cm, 93kg
Clubs: West Adelaide/Goodwood Saints/SA
AFL player comparison: Tim English
The best ruck in the class, not just for his ruck craft and physical presence around the ground, but also for his overheard marking ability. Barnett got a taste of SANFL league footy at West Adelaide after dominating at Under 18s level where he averaged 18.1 disposals, 5.2 marks and 24.8 hit-outs per match. He also had a solid national carnival, leading to All-Australian selection.
In the mix: Again, they mightn’t be picking here if they strike a trade. But if they hold and don’t go for Barnett, they’ll be assessing similar options to the one foxfooty.com.au flagged five selections earlier. If on the board, Gippsland’s Jacob Konstanty is viewed as a chance to get to the Swans.
LATEST DRAFT INTEL …
While Essendon remains open to offers for its prized early picks, industry sources aren’t anticipating any live draft night trade bombshells inside the top 10. But clubs are on alert for some action in the back-half of the first round.
Rival teams are aware of Sydney’s willingness to strike a trade with one or both of their first-round selections (Picks 14 and 17) as it has a desire to boost its 2023 draft hand. The consensus is Carlton, which has been transparent about its desire to split its first selection (Pick 10), would be the club most likely to strike a deal with the Swans, who’d probably get a future selection back as part of any swap. If the Blues trade down to get two picks, they’d likely target at least one key defender — Lewis Hayes or Josh Weddle — and a hybrid type — Jacob Konstanty has been linked to the club, as has Elijah Hewett.
Should the Swans play a role in the second and third round of the draft, they’ve been linked to South Adelaide forward-midfielder Jaiden Magor and dashing Oakleigh Chargers defender Bailey Macdonald.
An aggressive Melbourne has also been proactive in pick swap suggestions, most notably offering two future first-rounders to three rivals in an attempt to get into the top five of this year’s drafts — attempts that were quashed by the Roos, Bombers and Suns. There’s speculation the Demons could now trade up a spot or two in this year’s draft to get their hands on Ed Allan or Matt Jefferson before the Eagles, while they’re also eyeing Pick 19 — the first selection of the second round, which is a valuable pick given the two-night draft format gives the club holding that selection an ideal opportunity to pounce on a slider. As well as two future firsts, the Dees are also loaded with two 2023 second-round selections heading into next week’s draft.
Pick 19 currently sits with the Giants, who also hold Picks 15 and 18 in the first round. Multiple sources have suggested at least one of those three selections will be traded to another team during the draft.
Multiple club recruiters are always wary of the Adelaide Crows and whether they could use their future second-round pick (tied to North Melbourne’s 2023 finishing position) to get back into the early stages of this year’s draft. The Crows have put in a lot of work to SA mid-sized defender Jakob Ryan, who has first-round interest from the Magpies and has been linked to the Bulldogs, Hawks and Eagles in the second round. However the Crows will also be wary that a bid on father-son prospect Max Michalanney could come as early as the latter stages of the first round.
Collingwood has two second-round selections in quick succession (Picks 25 and 27). Exciting North Adelaide forward-ruck prospect Isaac Keeler, West Adelaide’s Harry Lemmey and shock 23-year-old bolter Joe Richards — a schoolteacher from Wangaratta and one of the Ovens and Murray Football League’s best players this year — have all been linked to the Magpies by rival clubs.
Davey bros commit to Dons via father/son | 00:36
There’s a sense Essendon might get its draft wish and be able to select two players in the open draft before a bid comes on father-son prospect Alwyn Davey Jnr, who’s now expected to attract rival club attention in the middle stages of the second round. The Bombers have been linked to WA on-baller Elijah Hewett, who’s also been linked to St Kilda. Although it’s been suggested the Saints will target a key-position player with one of their second-rounders, with GWV Rebels backman James Van Es linked to the club.
Opposition teams also expect North Melbourne to target a key-position defender with its second-round selection (Pick 23), given it’s likely to take midfielder George Wardlaw and small forward Harry Sheezel early then match a bid on father-son gun Cooper Harvey with their final selection. Exciting Noah Balta-like swingman Max Gruzewski has been linked to the club, while Tasmania’s Tom McCallum is understood to also be among the Kangaroos’ options.
The West Australian this week reported West Coast was considering Gippsland Power midfielder-forward Coby Burgiel, whose speed and versatility should help him quickly adapt at AFL level, with one of its two second-round selections (Picks 20 and 26). It’s understood Hewett, East Fremantle bolter Kaleb Smith and Claremont defender Sam Gilbey are also on the Eagles’ radar.
However Gilbey, a composed rebounding defender that had a luckless run with injury and Covid in his draft year, has also attracted interest from West Coast’s cross-town rivals Fremantle, which enters the draft at Pick 30. Dockers list boss David Walls indicated his club would target best available talent with its first selection before addressing needs with its next two at Picks 43 and 44, suggesting it needed a “developing ruck” and “key defender”. If the Dockers stay local, Peel Thunder’s Jed Adams and Claremont’s Hugh Davies are two of WA’s best key defensive prospects outside of Jedd Busslinger.
The Western Bulldogs this week suggested they wouldn’t be picking on ‘needs’ during the draft, with list boss Dom Milesi suggesting they’d instead opt for best available talent. Rival clubs wouldn’t be shocked if the Bulldogs again dipped into their VFL program — like they did in 2018 and 2021 to select Will Hayes and Robbie McComb respectively — and recruited Footscray captain Lachie Sullivan, who won the team’s best and fairest award after averaging 28 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and five inside 50s per game. Gun Port Melbourne defender Ethan Phillips is the other VFL prospect that could be taken by an AFL club on the second night of the draft.
Richmond is expected to take a key-position player with one of its two late draft selections (Picks 53 and 62). West Adelaide’s 202cm key forward Tom Scully, who booted 50 goals in the SANFL Under 18s competition, told SEN this week the Tigers had shown the most interest in him of the 12 AFL clubs he’d spoken to.
The 2022 AFL national draft is being held across two nights, with coverage starting on Monday, November 28 from 7pm AEDT.
The draft will be telecast live on Fox Footy (Channel 504) — the only place to watch the picks as they’re announced on TV — as well as streaming on Kayo Sports. You can also follow the AFL draft live on foxfooty.com.au, with analysis of every pick and every club, along with Fox Footy’s social media channels.
The 2022 national draft will be held at Marvel Stadium, with round one including father/son and academy bidding. Round two and onwards will also run at the same venue from 7pm EDT on Tuesday.
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au