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AFL National Draft 2022: Big winners, surprise selections and club assessments – every AFL team ranked

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After two entertaining and compelling nights, 59 young prospects found themselves on an AFL list.

The AFL National Draft allows clubs to select the rising talent from all across the nation as coaches and managers attempt to improve their teams.

Throughout the nights, some picks went as expected while others dropped jaws.

Some selections were absolute steals while others questioned the order in which players were drafted.

Nevertheless, clubs believe that through the due diligence and hard work they’ve chosen the right young men to enter their camps.

In saying that, we thought we’d analyse and rank (out of 10) how your club fared:

Adelaide

Pick Player Position
17 Max Michalanney (F/S) Medium/Tall defender
43 Billy Dowling Midfielder
50 Hugh Bond Inside midfielder

The Crows weren’t overly pleased when they were forced to give match a first-round bid for father-son Michalanney.

Max (Michalanney) will slot perfectly into Matthew Nicks’ line up across high half back and will provide some dare and good ball use.

Adelaide also bolstered their midfield stocks through Dowling and Bond which will give some of the younger players like Sam Berry and Harry Shoenberg some reprieve.

Can also identify that the Crows are planning for the departures of veteran Rory Sloane in the coming seasons.

Rank: 6/10

Brisbane

Pick Player Position
2 Will Ashcroft (F/S) Midfielder
12 Jaspa Fletcher (F/S) Midfielder

The Lions got exactly what they wanted.

Father-son guns Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher will join the club for 2023 after being touted for many years to follow in the footsteps of their dads.

Ashcroft is arguably the best player in the draft and has plenty of endorsements from current AFL figures about his professionalism and willingness to improve.

Fletcher does come into the club at pick 12, which is a lot higher than expected after a bid from the Western Bulldogs.

However, Brisbane did plan for something like this and were savvy in trading for third and fourth round picks to ensure the club didn’t go into a draft deficit.

Rank: 8.5/10

Carlton

Pick Player Position
11 Oliver Hollands Midfielder
30 Lachlan Cowan Medium defender
32 Jaxon Binns Medium forward
47 Harry Lemmey Key forward

On paper, the Blues have everything: key forwards, key defenders, stacked midfielder, pressure forwards and running half backs.

However, their depth is what troubled them in 2022 as injuries crippled their season.

Hollands will be a star in the making but will need to bide his time amongst one of the strongest midfield group in the competition.

Cowan and Binns could force themselves into the side, with the latter slipping to pick 32 in what is an absolute steal.

And it never hurts to have another key forward –  who under the guidance of Coleman Medalists Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay – will be able to develop nicely without too much pressure.

Rank: 8/10

Collingwood

Pick Player Position
19 Ed Allan Tall utility
28 Jakob Ryan Medium/Tall defender
48 Joe Richards Midfielder/Defender

Collingwood will be relatively pleased with their 2022 offseason.

A busy trade period and an impressive draft night, the Pies snagged Allan, who was tipped to go much higher than pick 19.

Ryan offers some running dash and speed which has become a hallmark of Craig McRae’s game style.

Mature-age recruit Richards has continuously worked on his game for years and you feel because of that, the 23-year-old will be loved by the Collingwood coaching staff.

Both Ryan and Richards are touted as half back replacements for when NicK Daicos spends more time in the midfield.

Rank: 7.5/10

Essendon

Pick Player Position
5 Elijah Tsatas Midfielder
25 Lewis Hayes Key defender
45  Alwyn Davey Jnr (F/S) Midfielder/Forward
54 Jayden Davey  Small forward

Tsatas would’ve been pushing for pick one hadn’t he not been injured in 2022.

The Oakleigh Chargers product is the modern-day midfielder, having a lethal inside-outside combination.

Hayes will bolster the key defensive stocks at the Bombers, of which were in dire need.

Davey twins will get to follow in their father’s footsteps and don the red and black.

Jayden was injured throughout the year but was touted as a first round selection.

Rank: 8/10

Fremantle

Pick Player Position
33 Hugh Davies Key defender
41 Tom Emmett General forward
42 Max Knobel Ruck
57 Corey Wagner General defender

The 2022 trade period left the Dockers with not much spare, especially since acquiring Luke Jackson from Melbourne.

However, the four picks in rounds three to five looked to have a focus on defensive or defensively-minded players.

Davies and Wagner will add depth to Justin Longmuir’s list, with the latter being at North Melbourne and the Demons over the years.

Knobel will replace the void left by Lloyd Meek, who joined Hawthorn.

Feel-good story Emmett just proves with persistence and determination that dreams can come true, not too much he adds a serious amount of pace and speed to the forward line.

However, a key forward should’ve been targeted to help Matt Taberner in the front half.

Rank: 5.5/10

Geelong

Pick Player Position
8 Jhye Clark Inside midfielder
52 Phoenix Foster Key forward/ruck

Can’t expect the 2022 premiers to have done much drafting given they won by 81 points in the grand final.

However, some nifty list management landed them pick eight (initially seven) and with that, local boy Clark.

Likened to Joel Selwood (who recently retired), the Geelong Falcons product could see some minutes under Chris Scott.

Patrick Dangerfield may be managed (proved to work in 2022) while Cam Guthrie may be on a similar regime.

Foster’s versatility does add depth to the role that is occupied by Rhys Stanley-Mark Blicavs combination.

Rank: 6/10

Gold Coast

Pick Player Position
6 Bailey Humphrey Midfielder/Forward

Gold Coast were left dry after poor management and selected only one player in the draft.

However, at pick six, Humphrey will immediately add the connection between the midfield and the forward.

Likely to play across the flank, the Gippsland Power gun will develop into a primary midfielder.

A noted goal kicker, Humphrey was open to move interstate and looks ready to make an impact at AFL level.

Rank: 6/10

GWS Giants

Pick Player Position
1 Aaron Cadman Key forward
16 Harry Rowston (A) Midfielder
21 Darcy Jones Midfielder
22 Max Gruzewski Tall utility
34 Toby McMullin Forward/Midfielder

Five picks in the first two rounds should offer some hope to the GWS fans.

Scoring forward-gun Cadman at pick one is exciting, especially since he’s been given comparison to Jeremy Cameron.

Rowston and Jones will develop into strong midfielders and will assist in filling the void left by Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper.

Gruzewski looks like he could slot into Adam Kingsley’s side early on with his versatility.

Rank: 6.5/10

Hawthorn

Pick Player Position
7 Cameron Mackenzie Midfielder
18 Josh Weddle Tall defender
37 Henry Hustwaite Midfielder/Defender
46 Jack O’Sullivan Midfielder/Forward
51  Bailey Macdonald General defender

It was a shock when the Hawks didn’t read out Mattaes Phillipou at pick seven.

Mackenzie will help fill the midfield vacancy left by Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara.

Weddle is an impressive defender and could play round one. He could potentially given Changkuoth Jiath more freedom to roam further up the ground.

Hustwaite is a good selection that late in the draft.

The Hawks did target more defensive players which will help stem the opposition scoring.

Rank: 5/10

Melbourne

Pick Player Position
15 Matt Jefferson Key forward
38 Jed Adams Key defender

Melbourne’s 2022 season was derailed by injury to key defenders and forwards.

Jefferson proposes as an answer to the goal kicking woes, highlighted by his seven-goal performance for Victoria Metro.

Despite Josh Schache’s arrival, the Demons now have a smattering of key talls to help Ben Brown.

Adams will also add depth to Simon Goodwin’s backline, which found itself lost at times without Steven May.

Rank: 6.5/10

North Melbourne

Pick Player Position
3 Harry Sheezel Medium forward
4 George Wardlaw Inside midfielder
26 Brayden George Medium forward
56 Cooper Harvey Midfielder/Forward

North Melbourne takes the cake for the 2022 AFL National Draft.

All Victorians (hinting at Jason Horne-Francis departure), Sheezel and Wardlaw will make an immediate impact at the club.

George has been likened to Christian Petracca and Jordan De Goey for his impact through the midfield and the scoreboard. Viewed as a steal.

Son of AFL games holder Brent Harvey, Cooper came in at pick 56 but has shown plenty of potential throughout the NAB League and National Championships.

Mix all that with the allure and experience of new coach Alastair Clarkson.

Rank: 9.5/10

Port Adelaide

Pick Player Position
36 Tom McCallum Tall defender
53 Tom Scully Key forward
59 Kyle Marshall Key defender

Gave most of their high picks to secure Junior Rioli and Horne-Francis meant the club didn’t come into pick 36.

Drafted two key defenders (McCallum and Marshall), the Power clearly focused on the succession of Tom Jonas and Aliir Aliir, bolstering their backline.

Scully could also offer more support to Todd Marshall and Mitch Georgiades, while Port Adelaide are hopeful that Charlie Dixon gets his body right.

Rank: 6/10

Richmond

Pick Player Position
49 Kaleb Smith General defender
55 Steely Green Inside midfielder

Alike the Power, Richmond gave away a smattering of their selections to acquire Giants pair Taranto and Hopper.

It left them with two picks in the third and fourth round, which they used to grab Smith and Green.

Both aren’t overly tall but can provide some fleet-of-foot for the Tigers through the backline and in the midfield.

Smith has played as a defender in the WAFL while Green would’ve versed his new teammate at South Fremantle.

Rank: 5/10

St Kilda

Pick Player Position
10 Mattaes Phillipou Midfielder/Forward
21 James Van Es Key defender
35 Olli Hotton Midfielder/Forward
44 Isaac Keeler Key forward/ruck

St Kilda are hoping the quartet of players they drafted will take them to the next level.

Phillipou is a steal at pick 10 and will have clubs rueing they didn’t snatch him up earlier.

Van Es performed impressively at the National Combine and will help Callum Wilkie and Josh Battle in defence.

Hotton – who was initially touted as a first round selection – played alongside Ashcroft and Mackenzie at Sandringham and didn’t look too far off the pace.

Keeler has been compared to the recently retired Paddy Ryder as an athletic ruckman who can go forward and hit the scoreboard.

Rank: 8.5/10

Sydney

Pick Player Position
20 Jacob Konstanty Forward/Midfielder
27 Cooper Vickery Small defender/wing
40 Caleb Mitchell Wing

Sydney were the entertainers of the draft nights, bidding on players and forcing rival clubs to pay more than they initially bargained for.

Konstanty comes in as a Tom Papley-esque forward in similar stature and skill, potentially hinting at a need for more pressure on opposition defences.

Vickery wasn’t considered a second round pick but the Swans saw something most draft experts didn’t.

Alike Vickery, Mitchell is an experienced winger but also stands at 187cm which is a key feature for the modern day midfielder.

Sydney didn’t necessarily need much from the draft after falling short in the grand final but they’d be pleased with who they selected to add more depth to the list.

Rank: 7/10

West Coast

Pick Player Position
9 Reuben Ginbey Inside midfielder
14 Elijah Hewett Midfielder
23 Harry Barnett Ruck
29 Coby Burgiel Midfielder/Forward
58 Noah Long Midfielder/Forward

Marginally behind North Melbourne’s draftees, the Eagles would be stoked with who they picked up at the draft.

Ginbey and Hewett are bigger bodied midfielders and will succeed Luke Shuey and the recently retired Jack Redden.

Barnett is arguably the most talented ruckman of the draft will join a small list of inexperienced talls as Adam Simpson attempts to reveal Nic Naitanui’s successor.

Burgiel and Long play similar roles, with the former putting together impressive games at the Gippsland Power.

Rank: 9/10

Western Bulldogs

Pick Player Position
13 Jedd Busslinger Key defender
24 Charlie Clarke Small forward
39 Harvey Gallagher Defender

The Bulldogs midfield is set and ready to go and the acquisition of veterans Rory Lobb and Liam Jones will help either end.

Busslinger has been labelled as a young Jones and will compliment Sam Darcy if coach Luke Beveridge plays him in defence.

Clarke will add more speed and pressure around the goals to prevent opposition defence running the ball out with ease.

Whereas Gallagher may be brought in to allow Caleb Daniel further up the ground.

Gallagher’s defensive efforts didn’t go unnoticed at the Bendigo Pioneers and could help re-balance the list.

Rank: 7.5/10


Credit: sportingnews.com

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