How your club stands ahead of the 2021 draft

The Age takes an in-depth look at each club’s needs ahead of the AFL national draft.

Each club’s list is sorted into positions although, of course, many players are utilities who play multiple positions. The order of players in the depth charts is roughly their current pecking order at the club.

Collingwood’s feted father-son Nick Daicos has been the centre of plenty of attention.Credit:Getty Images

ADELAIDE

PICKS: 4, 33, 75, 80.
KEY DEFENDERS: Jordon Butts, Tom Doedee, Nick Murray, Fischer McAsey, Josh Worrell, James Borlase.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Brodie Smith, Luke Brown, Will Hamill, Andrew McPherson, Mitch Hinge, Patrick Parnell.
MIDFIELDERS: Rory Laird, Jordan Dawson, Ben Keays, Paul Seedsman, Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch, Lachlan Sholl, Wayne Milera, Harry Schoenberg, Chayce Jones, Luke Pedlar, Sam Berry, Brayden Cook, Lachie Gollant.
KEY FORWARDS: Riley Thilthorpe, Taylor Walker, Darcy Fogarty, Elliot Himmelberg.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Shane McAdam, Lachlan Murphy, James Rowe, Ned McHenry.
RUCKS: Reilly O’Brien, Billy Frampton, Kieran Strachan.

The Crows hold a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year and although they have unearthed talent through their rebuild, recent prized picks Chayce Jones and Fischer McAsey are yet to show their potential on the AFL stage. Riley Thilthorpe made an immediate impact in 2021, though, and during the trade period, Adelaide beat their cross-town rivals to the sought-after signature of Jordan Dawson in another promising sign.

Josh Rachele.Credit:Getty Images

At pick four, which would become six after bids to Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy, the Crows have been strongly linked to Josh Rachele. Rachele, who hails from Shepparton, is an excitement machine who evolved from an elite-level soccer background. He is the best small forward in the draft and would likely make an immediate impact at AFL level, forming an exciting mix with the likes of Shane McAdam, Lachlan Murphy and James Rowe. Adelaide have also been hot on another small forward, with Judson Clarke from the Dandenong Stingrays a chance to slide to their next pick. The Crows could look for outside run through Josh Ward or even local winger Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera. Speedy South Australian Cooper Murley has been somewhat forgotten due to injuries but is another who would provide run and carry and could be an option with a later pick. The Crows appear less likely to chase inside-midfield depth, but Ben Hobbs’ leadership attributes might yet suit their ongoing rebuild. Ben Davis could be re-rookied.

BRISBANE LIONS

PICKS: 14, 18, 41, 60, 76, 90.
KEY DEFENDERS: Harris Andews, Darcy Gardiner, Ryan Lester, Marcus Adams, Jack Payne.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Daniel Rich, Brandon Starcevich, Callum Ah Chee, Noah Answerth, Jaxon Prior, James Madden, Deividas Uosis.
MIDFIELDERS: Lachie Neale, Dayne Zorko, Jarryd Lyons, Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry, Mitch Robinson, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Nakia Cockatoo, Tom Berry, Deven Robertson, Ely Smith, Connor McFadyen, Harry Sharp, Rhys Mathieson.
KEY FORWARDS: Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood, Daniel McStay.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Charlie Cameron, Lincoln McCarthy, Zac Bailey, Cam Rayner, Keidean Coleman, Blake Coleman.
RUCKS: Oscar McInerney, Darcy Fort, Tom Fullarton, Henry Smith, Kalin Lane.

Having been one tall forward down in the finals because of injury, the Lions fell just short again of making a preliminary final after finishing top four. In an ideal world they would bring another tall forward into the system to develop alongside Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood, but Mac Andrew won’t get past pick 10, and it would be a miracle if Jye Amiss made it through to pick 14. Jacob Van Rooyen, the West Australian swingman, is an option at the Lions’ pick 14 and 18, as are a bunch of quality players of all types, with Darcy Wilmot and Campbell Chesser both tearaway defenders who could fill a gap in the list as could Tom Brown, the son of former Cat Paul Brown. Sam Butler is a forward of interest too. With 14 and 18 in their hand they will also be in discussions about draft swaps. Later in the draft they have pick 41, with a multitude of players in that category. If Jesse Motlop was still around, which is unlikely, they could bid for him to force the Dockers to match their NGA graduate. Other players that could still be around that mark include key position player Rhett Bazzo and forward Judson Clarke. The club would also be keeping a close watch on Casey Voss, son of club legend Michael, after he showed his capacity as a smart ball user out of defence when he won Sturt’s best and fairest in 2021.

Adam Cerra.Credit:Getty Images

CARLTON

PICKS: 25, 64, 82.
KEY DEFENDERS: Jacob Weitering, Lewis Young, Lachie Plowman, Caleb Marchbank.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Adam Saad, Zac Williams, Sam Docherty, Liam Stocker, Nic Newman, Tom Williamson, Luke Parks.
MIDFIELDERS: Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps, Adam Cerra, George Hewett, Ed Curnow, Zac Fisher, Matthew Kennedy, Paddy Dow, Will Setterfield, Lochie O’Brien, Brodie Kemp, Matthew Cottrell, Jack Carroll.
KEY FORWARDS: Harry McKay, Charlie Curnow, Mitch McGovern, Oscar McDonald.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Jack Martin, David Cuningham, Jack Newnes, Lachie Fogarty, Jack Silvagni, Matt Owies, Josh Honey, Corey Durdin, Jordan Boyd.
RUCKS: Marc Pittonet, Tom De Koning, Alex Mirkov.

Carlton yet again added top-end talent during the trade period, this time by luring Adam Cerra from Fremantle. The Blues brought in George Hewett to address defensive-running concerns through the midfield and signed developing key back Lewis Young. Young, who crossed from the Bulldogs, will now be tasked with replacing the outgoing Liam Jones. The Blues’ on-ball mix is stacked but a touch of outside dash would complement it well. Sam Butler could fit that need but might be taken by Carlton’s first choice, which will be at least 27 on the night. Calder Cannons product Zac Taylor also shapes as a reasonable option due to his class on the outside. Of course, the Blues are also a key defender short after the departure of Jones. Rhett Bazzo could come into thinking here, as well as athletic mature-ager Leek Alleer. Charlie Dean missed out in his draft year as a forward but flourished as a key back for Williamstown this season and won the VFL’s best young player award. Later options such as the ready-made Justin Davies or the agile Caleb Lewis also fit the bill. Greater Western Victoria pair Charlie Molan and Jamieson Ballantyne could be cheap alternatives to the outside-midfield need deeper into the draft.

COLLINGWOOD

PICKS: 36, 38, 40, 46, 48, 58, 78, 79.
KEY DEFENDERS: Darcy Moore, Jeremy Howe, Jordan Roughead, Jack Madgen, Mark Keane.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Jack Crisp, Brayden Maynard, Isaac Quaynor, Trey Ruscoe, John Noble, Callum Brown, Nathan Murphy.
MIDFIELDERS: Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom, Josh Daicos, Patrick Lipinski, Tyler Brown, Trent Bianco, Finlay Macrae, Reef McInnes, Caleb Poulter.
KEY FORWARDS: Brody Mihocek, Nathan Kreuger, Will Kelly, Tom Wilson, Liam McMahon.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Jordan De Goey, Jamie Elliott, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Ollie Henry, Beau McCreery, Jack Ginnivan, Ash Johnson.
RUCKS: Brodie Grundy, Darcy Cameron, Mason Cox.

All avenues have led to Nick Daicos, brother of Josh and son of club legend Peter, as he emerged as a junior star in recent seasons. The Oakleigh Chargers’ midfielder oozes class and just has a knack of finding the football, meaning the Magpies have a player ready to step straight into senior football on their list in 2022. The question is when another club will make a bid for him, with North Melbourne likely to pass and hand the honour of first pick to Jason Horne-Francis. However either the Giants or the Suns are almost certain to make a bid, costing Collingwood much of their draft hand early in the piece. However once that transaction is completed the Magpies have gathered a good stock of picks for the 2022 national draft, which may allow them to trade their way back into the second round of the draft where they could look at a small forward such as Judson Clarke, Jesse Motlop or even Dan Butler if they were still around the draft in the 30s. Otherwise, the club could head to the back end of the draft, where recruiting manager Derek Hine often excels to grab a mature-age Williamstown player such as Charlie Dean or even ex-Cat Blake Schlensog. They will also re-rookie Isaac Chugg.

Mac Andrew.Credit:Justin McManus

ESSENDON

PICKS: 11, 51, 56, 87.
KEY DEFENDERS: Jordan Ridley, Jayden Laverde, Michael Hurley, James Stewart, Zach Reid, Aaron Francis, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Cian McBride, Cody Brand.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Dyson Heppell, Jake Kelly, Nick Hind, Mason Redman.
MIDFIELDERS: Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, Andy McGrath, Dylan Shiel, Nik Cox, Kyle Langford, Jye Caldwell, Will Snelling, Tom Cutler, Sam Durham, Brayden Ham, Matt Guelfi, Tom Hird.
KEY FORWARDS: Peter Wright, Harrison Jones, Josh Eyre, Kaine Baldwin.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Jake Stringer, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Archie Perkins, Devon Smith, Alec Waterman.
RUCKS: Sam Draper, Nick Bryan, Andrew Phillips.

Essendon’s sudden rise up the ladder places the focus back on contending, and the addition of Jake Kelly during the trade period will help fill a defensive hole left by the retired Patrick Ambrose and the delisted Marty Gleeson. The Bombers’ midfield mix is strong, but they may search for a taller midfielder. A winger would also support the star-studded midfield, while a small, zippy forward is another target after the club missed out on Bobby Hill. Key forward depth is another area for the Bombers to examine. Essendon have been linked with Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, who some believe is the best kick in the draft. He is lightly built but his skill and composure on the wing would add a new element to an Essendon midfield profuse with ball winners. Tall midfielders Neil Erasmus and Josh Goater are other firming chances for the Dons’ first pick, but the former may already be off the table. There will be key forward availability with Essendon’s twin picks in the 50s. Josh Rentsch is already 100 kilograms and ready to play, while Sam Paea partnered with Sam Darcy for Vic Metro in trial games and shapes as a later option. Youseph Dib is a ready-made small forward who could be picked up late, while the agile Ronald Fejo jnr could also come into calculations in the draft’s twilight.

FREMANTLE

PICKS: 6, 8, 19, 61, 69, 84.
KEY DEFENDERS: Luke Ryan, Alex Pearce, Brennan Cox, Griffin Logue, Joel Hamling, Tobe Watson, Heath Chapman.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Nathan Wilson, Ethan Hughes, Hayden Young, Jordan Clark, Brandon Walker, Ultan Kelm.
MIDFIELDERS: Nat Fyfe, Andy Brayshaw, Caleb Serong, David Mundy, Blake Acres, James Aish, Darcy Tucker, Will Brodie, Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Nathan O’Driscoll, Joel Western.
KEY FORWARDS: Matt Taberner, Rory Lobb, Josh Treacy.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Michael Walters, Michael Frederick, Liam Henry, Lachie Schultz, Travis Colyer, Sam Switkowski.
RUCKS: Sean Darcy, Lloyd Meek.

The Dockers have the chance to create something special in this draft as they once again have two top-10 picks in the national draft, having had three top-10 picks in 2019 and two top-five picks in 2017. Of course, one of those selections, Adam Cerra, has joined Carlton after being pick five in 2017, but the talent is beginning to pile up. If they hit the target with these two picks they are on their way. Jye Amiss is an intriguing player for the Dockers as he shapes as exactly the tall forward they are crying out for but is it too high a price to pay? Melbourne showed this season that premierships can be won without forwards taken at the top of the draft if the midfield is elite. Neil Erasmus is a West Australian midfielder rated in the top 10 who removes the go-home factor, while Mac Andrew would be ideal, but he is likely to be gone before the Dockers’ first pick. Depending how the cards fall early either Josh Ward or Ben Hobbs will potentially be available when Fremantle have their first pick, with both players quality midfielders. They have a strong back line with Hayden Young’s progress making Josh Gibcus unlikely to be a Docker, although Josh Sinn could be considered, while Matthew Johnson is a midfielder in demand, having finished the season well for Subiaco. The Dockers could also use their pick 19 to get academy graduate Jesse Motlop, who only becomes a priority player for them if he is selected after pick 40, but he is one of many options, with Jacob Van Rooyen a chance at that pick if they pass on Amiss. They have also promised to re-rookie Connor Blakely and Mitch Crowden.

GEELONG

PICKS: 22, 30, 32, 34, 50, 91.
KEY DEFENDERS: Mark Blicavs, Jack Henry, Jake Kolodjashnij, Nick Stevens.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Tom Stewart, Zach Tuohy, Mark O’Connor, Tom Atkins, Jed Bews, Zach Guthrie, Oisin Mullin.
MIDFIELDERS: Patrick Dangerfield, Cameron Guthrie, Mitch Duncan, Sam Menegola, Joel Selwood, Max Holmes, Isaac Smith, Brandan Parfitt, Quinton Narkle, Cooper Stephens.
KEY FORWARDS: Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, Esava Ratugolea, Sam De Koning.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Gryan Miers, Gary Rohan, Luke Dahlhaus, Brad Close, Shaun Higgins, Tyson Stengle, Sam Simpson, Francis Evans.
RUCKS: Jon Ceglar, Rhys Stanley, Shannon Neale, Paul Tsapatolis.

Geelong aim to contend again after adding former Hawk ruckman Jon Ceglar and mature-age small forward Tyson Stengle to their list. Delisting Charlie Constable signalled the Cats will back in their senior midfield once more in 2022, but a slew of second-round picks in the upcoming draft will be pivotal in the club’s bid to avoid a lengthy rebuild. Geelong could consider the best pure ruckman in the draft, Toby Conway, with one of their four second-round selections. He is a traditional big man who works hard around the ground and gives midfielders first use with his soft hands. The Cats could target extra rebound out of the back line to help speed up their slow ball movement, and Tom Brown would be the perfect fit. He misses father-son qualification narrowly – father, Paul, played 84 games at the club – but may yet reach Kardinia Park. The Cats need to add young on-ball talent, and the big-bodied Mitch Knevitt, a local product, also shapes as a second-round chance. Another midfielder for the Cats to consider in this range is Angus Sheldrick, whose draft stocks have risen on the back of strong form at WAFL Colts level as well as a commanding performance in a recent state match against South Australia. The key defensive cupboard has been left ill-stocked after Lachie Henderson’s retirement, but a prospect like Leek Alleer or the ready-made Justin Davies could form part of the solution, while the Cats are even considering re-drafting Blake Schlensog just 12 months after delisting him.

Highly rated prospect Sam Darcy.Credit:AFL Photos

GOLD COAST

PICKS: 3
KEY DEFENDERS: Sam Collins, Charlie Ballard, Jack Lukosius, Caleb Graham, Chris Burgess.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Brandon Ellis, Jack Bowes, Oleg Markov, Conor Budarick.
MIDFIELDERS: Matt Rowell, Lachie Weller, David Swallow, Noah Anderson, Ben Ainsworth, Touk Miller, Wil Powell, Rory Atkins, Darcy McPherson, Brayden Fiorini, Jeremy Sharp, Jy Farrar, Elijah Hollands.
KEY FORWARDS: Ben King, Sam Day, Josh Corbett.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Alex Sexton, Izak Rankine, Sam Flanders, Nick Holman, Sean Lemmens, Malcolm Rosas, Hewago Paul Oea.
RUCKS: Jarrod Witts, Mabior Chol, Ned Moyle, Matt Conroy.

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Having finished the season with a bulging list full of contracted players, the Suns had to adopt some unusual strategies particular to their list. One plan backfired spectacularly when they temporarily delisted Hugh Greenwood only for North Melbourne to pounce on him before the delisted free agency period ended. He was a solid player they did not want to lose as they try to balance their talented list and gain some traction after spinning the wheels for the past 10 years. They look set to use their pick three on Mac Andrew, with the Giants likely to grab Finn Callaghan ahead of them with the selection they gained in a contentious future pick swap with Collingwood. Ben Hobbs is also in the mix at pick three for the Suns, who have built, on paper, an outstanding young midfield who now need to deliver consistent performances. If the Giants overlooked Callaghan, then the Suns would be likely to snap him up. The other question is whether the Suns will make a bid for either Nick Daicos or Sam Darcy if either player remains on the table when their pick three arrives. It would almost be incumbent on them to do so as the players are certainties to be picked up by Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs respectively. The Suns will re-draft defender Rory Thompson, who has had two knee reconstructions and Jez McLennan, who is yet to play after the Suns used pick 23 to grab the rebounding defender in 2018. Former Blue Levi Casboult will also be chosen in the rookie draft as long as he is vaccinated.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

PICKS: 2, 13, 53, 54, 71, 89.
KEY DEFENDERS: Sam Taylor, Jack Buckley, Connor Idun, Jake Stein, Phil Davis, Lachlan Keeffe.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Lachie Whitfield, Nick Haynes, Lachie Ash, Isaac Cumming, Adam Kennedy, Callum Brown, Cameron Fleeton, Jacob Wehr.
MIDFIELDERS: Josh Kelly, Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Stephen Coniglio, Harry Perryman, Matt de Boer, Callan Ward, Tom Green, Xavier O’Halloran, Ryan Angwin.
KEY FORWARDS: Jesse Hogan, Harry Himmelberg, Jake Riccardi, Jarrod Brander.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Toby Greene, Brent Daniels, Bobby Hill, Tanner Bruhn, Conor Stone, Daniel Lloyd.
RUCKS: Braydon Preuss, Matthew Flynn, Kieren Briggs.

Finn Callaghan.Credit:AFL Photos

The Giants lost some key-forward depth due to Jeremy Finlayson’s departure but restocked quickly by signing Jarrod Brander in the delisted free-agency period. Brander was, of course, deployed on the wing at West Coast, but all signs point to a forward-line role at GWS. The on-ball brigade runs deep, so one can rule out the Giants picking a pure inside midfielder. The top 10 is set to be shaped by GWS and there is a real chance the club bids on either Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy, however they are unlikely to bid on both players, with their bid tipped to come for Darcy. The Giants could still trade pick two on draft night and slide back down the order – they may have Mac Andrew or Josh Rachele in mind in this instance – but the lure of the smooth-moving Finn Callaghan is more likely to ensure otherwise. After picking Callaghan, the Giants have considered picking his close friend Blake Howes as a potential running mate at their next pick. Mac Andrew will be gone by then so the Giants might instead look towards star swingman Jacob van Rooyen. GWS have met with St Kilda NGA prospect Mitch Owens multiple times but would need to use this pick on the potential bolter, as the Saints are able to match any bid that comes for him after selection 20. The Giants are committed to matching a bid themselves thereafter, with academy member Josh Fahey likely to be picked up in the second round. Fahey is an attacking defender with a booming left-foot boot.

HAWTHORN

PICKS: 5, 21, 24, 59, 65, 81.
KEY DEFENDERS: Sam Frost, Jack Scrimshaw, Kyle Hartigan, Denver Grainger-Barras.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: James Sicily, Jarman Impey, Blake Hardwick, Will Day, Changkuoth Jiath, Connor Downie.
MIDFIELDERS: Tom Mitchell, James Worpel, Jaeger O’Meara, Liam Shiels, Tom Phillips, Daniel Howe, Harry Morrison, Finn Maginness, Jai Newcombe, Jack Saunders, Fionn O’Hara, Lachlan Bramble.
KEY FORWARDS: Jack Gunston, Jacob Koschitzke, Mitch Lewis, Conor Nash, Emerson Jeka.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Luke Breust, Chad Wingard, Josh Morris, Dylan Moore, Seamus Mitchell, Tyler Brockman.
RUCKS: Ben McEvoy, Max Lynch, Ned Reeves.

After throwing up a myriad of possibilities during the trade period in an attempt to improve their draft hand the Hawks have a similar set of picks to their 2020 collection, albeit with one extra second rounder. They keep their cards close to their chest at the Hawks, although their keenness on Finn Callaghan has been well known for a while, but he will be gone before their pick with no club likely to trade a pick they hold inside the top 10. Josh Ward seems a logical choice, the Northern Knights midfielder able to play inside and out, run with the ball and use his left foot to good effect. His great-grandfather Alex Lee was a former Hawk too which is always an added bonus. However, sources suggested Matthew Johnson, the smooth midfielder from Western Australia, is also under consideration. Those two picks in the 20s could be packaged up to give the Hawks a selection further up the draft and one later in the draft if there are any buyers – and they will be in demand after the first night – but a smorgasbord of talent will remain at 21 and 24 with Blake Howes a chance to give the Hawks the outside run Isaac Smith once provided, while Tom Brown is also an attractive proposition. Tyler Sonsie is a talented midfielder but he might be available to the Hawks at their second and third picks and would be hard to overlook if that was the case.

Campbell Chesser.Credit:AFL Photos

MELBOURNE

PICKS: 17, 37, 49, 57, 94.
KEY DEFENDERS: Steven May, Jake Lever, Adam Tomlinson, Harrison Petty, Joel Smith.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Christian Salem, Trent Rivers, Jake Bowey, Michael Hibberd, Jayden Hunt, Deakyn Smith, Daniel Turner.
MIDFIELDERS: Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Ed Langdon, Angus Brayshaw, James Harmes, Luke Dunstan, Tom Sparrow, James Jordon, Oskar Baker, Fraser Rosman.
KEY FORWARDS: Ben Brown, Tom McDonald, Sam Weideman, Mitch Brown.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Bayley Fritsch, Kysaiah Pickett, Charlie Spargo, Alex Neal-Bullen, Bailey Laurie, Jake Melksham, Toby Bedford, Kade Chandler.
RUCKS: Max Gawn, Luke Jackson, Majak Daw.

It is an obvious take after a flag triumph, but the premiers could not be more primed for a sustained run at success. Headline midfielders Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver are only 25 and 24 respectively, while there is a mix of young and senior depth. Luke Dunstan provides an experienced back-up option as James Jordon and Tom Sparrow establish themselves. Precocious half-back winger Jake Bowey is yet to lose a game, Kysaiah Pickett is already one of the best pressure forwards in the league and Luke Jackson will be a frightening ruck prospect for the next decade. Winger-forward Blake Howes would offer something different with his height and athleticism, while Campbell Chesser would provide more slingshot and speed off half-back. Sam Butler could come into the Dees’ thinking as an attacking outside player. A key forward is not out of the question given the senior ages of Ben Brown, Tom McDonald and Mitch Brown, and West Australian Jack Williams would be a fine option if he slid into the third round. Melbourne are committed to father-son Taj Woewodin, who may not attract a bid until later in the draft. The son of Brownlow medallist Shane is skilful on both sides of his body and can adapt to multiple roles.

NORTH MELBOURNE

PICKS: 1, 20, 42, 47, 72, 77.
KEY DEFENDERS: Josh Walker, Aidan Corr, Matt McGuinness.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Luke McDonald, Lachie Young, Kyron Hayden.
MIDFIELDERS: Ben Cunnington, Jy Simpkin, Jed Anderson, Jack Ziebell, Tarryn Thomas, Hugh Greenwood, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Aaron Hall, Will Phillips, Tom Powell, Charlie Lazzaro, Flynn Perez, Aiden Bonar, Patrick Walker.
KEY FORWARDS: Nick Larkey, Ben McKay, Charlie Comben.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Cameron Zurhaar, Jaidyn Stephenson, Kayne Turner, Curtis Taylor, Atu Bosenavulagi, Jack Mahony, Bailey Scott, Phoenix Spicer, Eddie Ford.
RUCKS: Todd Goldstein, Callum Coleman-Jones, Jacob Edwards, Tristan Xerri.

For the first time in their history the Kangaroos have the No.1 pick in the national draft and they intend to use it on a player that will wear the blue and white stripes. Jason Horne-Francis is that man, the powerful South Australian midfielder who was best on ground in the SANFL preliminary final playing for South Adelaide. He is strong, balanced and uses the ball well on both sides of his body but what sets him apart is his ability to explode from congestion and break the game apart. It will make him a welcome addition to the impressive young Kangaroos’ midfield, with North Melbourne not expected to bid for either Nick Daicos or Sam Darcy, a move that would deny Horne-Francis the honour of being pick No.1. The Kangaroos are keeping an open mind when it comes to how they use pick 20, although a small forward such as Jesse Motlop or Sam Butler would be useful. Jesse is the former Kangaroo Daniel Motlop’s son, while Sam is the brother of St Kilda small Dan Butler who played in the Tigers’ 2017 premiership. The Kangaroos might start picking for needs when they get to their picks in the 40s to secure a key defender to develop, with Rhett Bazzo a candidate.

South Australia’s Jason Horne-Francis (centre).Credit:Getty Images

PORT ADELAIDE

PICKS: 12, 63, 73, 74, 92.
KEY DEFENDERS: Aliir Aliir, Tom Clurey, Trent McKenzie, Sam Skinner, Jake Pasini.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Darcy Byrne-Jones, Tom Jonas, Ryan Burton, Miles Bergman, Lachie Jones, Riley Bonner, Sam Mayes, Martin Frederick.
MIDFIELDERS: Ollie Wines, Travis Boak, Zak Butters, Karl Amon, Dan Houston, Willem Drew, Xavier Duursma, Sam Powell-Pepper, Jackson Mead, Taj Schofield.
KEY FORWARDS: Charlie Dixon, Mitch Georgiades, Todd Marshall, Jeremy Finlayson, Ollie Lord.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Connor Rozee, Robbie Gray, Orazio Fantasia, Steven Motlop, Kane Farrell, Dylan Williams, Jed McEntee.
RUCKS: Scott Lycett, Sam Hayes.

The Power remain in the premiership window despite a considerable preliminary final loss, and the off-season additions of Jeremy Finlayson and Sam Skinner provide ample big-man depth. Port Adelaide failed to reach the grand final in their last campaign and in 2020 despite hosting preliminaries in both seasons, so although this year’s draft shapes as a relatively simple process for the Power, there is pressure to bring in more talent, with Travis Boak and Robbie Gray nearing the twilight of their careers. Port have been linked with Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera at their first pick, but the likelihood is that the silky winger will be snapped up by then. Tall midfield pair Matthew Johnson and Josh Goater would slot into the Power’s on-ball mix well and are around the mark. If, as expected, Port decide to throw Zak Butters and Connor Rozee into the midfield more permanently, a half-forward would be needed to cover their moves. This list need is amplified by Gray’s likely retirement at the end of next season, so the club could also target Arlo Draper with the early pick. Jase Burgoyne, son of Peter, recently nominated as a father-son but is unlikely to attract a rival bid until later in the draft. Skinner will provide key defensive cover, but a young back, such as local Oscar Adams, could prove a wise choice towards the end of the draft.

RICHMOND

PICKS: 7, 15, 26, 27, 28, 83
KEY DEFENDERS: Noah Balta, Nathan Broad, Robbie Tarrant, Ben Miller.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Nick Vlastuin, Dylan Grimes, Jayden Short, Liam Baker, Sydney Stack.
MIDFIELDERS: Dustin Martin, Dion Prestia, Shane Edwards, Shai Bolton, Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert, Kamdyn McIntosh, Jack Graham, Marlion Pickett, Jack Ross, Thomson Dow, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Will Martyn, Hugo Ralphsmith, Matthew Parker.
KEY FORWARDS: Tom Lynch, Jack Riewoldt, Bigoa Nyuon.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Jason Castagna, Daniel Rioli, Jake Aarts, Maurice Rioli, Josh Caddy.
RUCKS: Toby Nankervis, Ivan Soldo, Samson Ryan.

With five selections inside the top 30, Richmond have an excellent chance to replenish their list soon after a golden era that yielded three premierships. The prized pick seven could be used on a strong midfielder such as Josh Ward, Ben Hobbs or Neil Erasmus or an intercept marking defender such as Josh Gibcus. The Tigers would also be remiss to not consider Jye Amiss as champion forward Jack Riewoldt nears the end of his career, particularly after losing Mabior Chol and Callum Coleman-Jones in the trade period, however they will pick the best player available rather than draft for need at such a high pick. They also like Josh Rachele, but sources suspect Adelaide will take him off the table before the Tigers step up to the plate. The second pick may slide or go up the draft depending on pick swaps and who is available, but there will be plenty of good players available at their second pick such as Darcy Wilmot, Campbell Chesser or Tyler Sonsie, with the club also well-placed to enter any discussions about pick swaps with 26, 27 and 28 in their hand. Noah Cumberland will be re-rookied.

Josh Sinn.Credit:AFL Photos

ST KILDA

PICKS: 9, 55, 62, 66, 67, 85
KEY DEFENDERS: Dougal Howard, Callum Wilkie, Josh Battle, Tom Highmore, Darragh Joyce.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield, Ben Paton, Jarryn Geary, Ben Long, Jimmy Webster, Daniel McKenzie.
MIDFIELDERS: Jack Steele, Brad Crouch, Zak Jones, Bradley Hill, Ryan Byrnes, Dan Hannebery, Seb Ross, Jack Sinclair, Jack Bytel, Leo Connolly.
KEY FORWARDS: Max King, Tim Membrey, Cooper Sharman, Mason Wood, Matthew Allison.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Jade Gresham, Jack Billings, Dan Butler, Jack Higgins, Dean Kent.
RUCKS: Rowan Marshall, Paddy Ryder, Tom Campbell, Max Heath.

The Saints’ list is an intriguing spot. A promising 2020 was followed by a disappointing 2021, although they did recapture form with a strong finish to their campaign. Delisting Luke Dunstan was a surprising decision given his resurgence in form, but the club’s engine room still appears poised to lead a September charge if Jade Gresham and Jack Billings can impact up the ground. They were the second oldest list behind Geelong in 2021. Josh Sinn is rising back up draft boards after sliding throughout the season – and would make sense, too, with St Kilda likely to look at outside run. Neil Erasmus could be available and provides a point of difference as a tall midfielder, while fellow West Australian product Matthew Johnson is a smart ball-user around the mark. Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera offers long-term class on the wing and in time, would complement the Saints’ young inside midfielders like Ryan Byrnes and Jack Bytel. All of St Kilda’s picks to follow will revolve around matching bids for academy pair Mitch Owens and Marcus Windhager. Owens is a possible bolter and there is still a chance he is swooped on by a rival in the top 20. The Saints should be safe with Windhager, who comes from an elite junior basketball background but only resumed full training in February this year after returning from an ACL tear. He is an explosive athlete who could one day prove a draft bargain if he is not bid on until later.

SYDNEY

PICKS: 16, 31, 39, 70, 88
KEY DEFENDERS: Tom McCartin, Lewis Melican.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Dane Rampe, Jake Lloyd, Nick Blakey, Callum Mills, Harry Cunningham, Colin O’Riordan, Will Gould, Robbie Fox.
MIDFIELDERS: James Rowbottom, Luke Parker, Josh Kennedy, Oliver Florent, Ryan Clarke, Justin McInerney, Dylan Stephens, Braeden Campbell, Errol Gulden, Chad Warner.
KEY FORWARDS: Lance Franklin, Sam Reid, Hayden McLean, Logan McDonald, Joel Amartey, Lachlan McAndrew.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Tom Papley, Isaac Heeney, Will Hayward, Ben Ronke, James Bell, Sam Wicks.
RUCKS: Tom Hickey, Peter Ladhams, Callum Sinclair, Sam Naismith.

The Swans are at an interesting point in their list build as they have drafted an excellent crop of young talent in recent years, although Jordan Dawson’s loss to Adelaide at the end of this season was a major blow. They still have Logan McDonald and Will Gould developing nicely and a good foundation. The Swans’ recruiters have a good eye for talent and will use their first selection on the best available player at pick 16 (the pick may become higher or lower on the night if pick swaps occur). Either Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera or Josh Sinn would be a great get at that first pick. Zac Taylor is a good ball user who would add depth to the Swans’ midfield, with Josh Kennedy in his twilight years. He played VFL with Essendon and won the Calder Cannons’ best and fairest. Tom Brown is another impressive ball-user off half-back, who is likely to be available at a pick in the mid-teens. If versatile and athletic midfielder Josh Goater remains on the board he would be hard to pass on despite there being varying opinions on where he should be drafted. A speedster such as Campbell Chesser could appeal, while tall midfielder Mitch Knevitt is an impressive type attracting interest across the competition. The Swans could package their two selections, 31 and 39, if they want to target one of those players if they think they won’t make it that far. The Swans need to keep going young as they look to re-rookie Lewis Taylor and will potentially add Paddy McCartin to their list during the pre-season supplemental selection period.

WEST COAST

PICKS: 10, 29, 35, 68, 86.
KEY DEFENDERS: Jeremy McGovern, Tom Barrass, Josh Rotham, Harry Edwards.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Brad Sheppard, Shannon Hurn, Alex Witherden, Liam Duggan, Tom Cole, Jackson Nelson.
MIDFIELDERS: Tim Kelly, Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Dom Sheed, Jack Redden, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Xavier O’Neill, Luke Foley, Connor West, Luke Edwards, Zane Trew.
KEY FORWARDS: Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling, Oscar Allen.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Liam Ryan, Jamie Cripps, Jake Waterman, Zac Langdon, Jack Petruccelle, Jamaine Jones, Willie Rioli, Isiah Winder.
RUCKS: Nic Naitanui, Bailey Williams, Callum Jamieson.

It is difficult to gauge whether West Coast’s list is still in the premiership frame or, conversely, if its better days are well and truly behind it. The second half of 2021 would suggest the latter, but on paper, the list remains rich in established talent. The recent re-signing of Josh Kennedy is a sign that the Eagles believe they are still in a position to contend, but the draft poses as an important one with the impressive local talent on offer. The Eagles’ first pick could largely be shaped by who St Kilda opt for immediately before them. West Coast will consider Josh Sinn if the Saints pass on the adaptable speedster, with Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera also in contention as a long-term wing prospect. Local products Matthew Johnson and Neil Erasmus, both tall midfielders, will tempt the Eagles if they are still on the board. Jye Amiss would be the perfect Josh Kennedy replacement on the slim chance he slides to what will become pick 12. A more realistic chance is the availability of Jack Williams at their second-round pick, another West Australian who forged an eye-catching season at WAFL Colts level. If the Eagles decide to target immediate impact, mature-age midfielder Greg Clark is ready-made and might be available in the 30s.

Charlie Dean.Credit:AFL Photos

WESTERN BULLDOGS
PICKS: 23, 43, 44, 45, 52, 93
KEY DEFENDERS: Alex Keath, Zaine Cordy, Tim O’Brien, Ryan Gardner, Buku Khamis.
SMALL/MEDIUM DEFENDERS: Caleb Daniel, Jason Johannisen, Hayden Crozier, Bailey Williams, Ed Richards, Taylor Duryea, Louis Butler.
MIDFIELDERS: Marcus Bontempelli, Adam Treloar, Jack Macrae, Lachie Hunter, Tom Liberatore, Bailey Smith, Josh Dunkley, Laitham Vandermeer, Rhylee West, Riley Garcia.
KEY FORWARDS: Aaron Naughton, Josh Bruce, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Josh Schache.
SMALL/MEDIUM FORWARDS: Mitch Wallis, Toby McLean, Mitch Hannan, Bailey Dale, Cody Weightman, Dominic Bedendo, Lachlan McNeil.
RUCKS: Tim English, Stefan Martin, Jordon Sweet.

Sam Darcy will be the second consecutive top-three pick the Bulldogs will draft despite finishing runner-up this season, having led the dominant Demons midway through the third quarter of the grand final. The son of highly regarded former ruckman and club board member Luke Darcy is an agile tall with exceptional skills. He is clean below his knees and can play at either end of the ground, with the Bulldogs a chance to blood him as a defender once he joins them, with last year’s No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan shaping as a forward. The Giants are most likely to bid on the 18-year-old at pick two but are yet to form a view on whether they will make that call given the Bulldogs are certain to match the bid on a player who will need time to get going as he recovers from a foot issue. Clubs such as Geelong and Sydney will be keen on their pick 23 as soon as the draft begins, with the Bulldogs likely to realise that pick’s value by trading it out. The Bulldogs will then have at least two and possibly three picks late in the draft and will need to keep an open mind on whether they use them to add a mature-aged player or one emerging from the under-18s. It’s impossible to know where they will lean or who will be available but mature-aged players such as Charlie Dean, who played with Williamstown, ex-Cat Blake Schlensog or delisted small forwards such as Ollie Hanrahan or Jack Lonie could be attractive while a nugget might slip through to the back end with players such as South Australia’s Hugh Jackson or Victorian Kai Lohmann.

2021 NAB AFL DRAFT – FIRST ROUND
1 North Melbourne
2 GWS GIANTS
3 Gold Coast
4 Adelaide
5 Hawthorn
6 Fremantle
7 Richmond
8 Fremantle
9 St Kilda
10 West Coast
11 Essendon
12 Port Adelaide
13 GWS GIANTS
14 Brisbane
15 Richmond
16 Sydney
17 Melbourne
18 Brisbane

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