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Patton, Hogan, Daniher or Boyd: who's the next great power forward?

Tom Boyd of the Eastern Ranges poses for a photograph during an AFL Record photo shoot at Kilsyth Recreation Reserve, Melbourne on August 20, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media) (Editor's Note: A digital filter has been applied to this image)
Tom Boyd is expected to be this year's No.1 draft pick
If they were all in the one draft and you missed out on three, you'd still be ecstatic that the fourth one slipped through to you
An AFL club recruiter

JONATHON Patton is a powerful marking machine who loves imposing himself on a contest, but needs to work on his aerobic capacity.

Jesse Hogan possesses fearsome aggression and awesome running power, but has issues with his kicking.

Joe Daniher has a unique combination of size, speed and versatility, but needs to get stronger.

Tom Boyd could be the best of the lot.

That's the findings of five experts who were asked to rate the fearsome foursome on 10 vital attributes – size, strength, speed, aerobic capacity, leap, marking ability, kicking ability, aggression, versatility and leadership.

The judges were three club recruiters, who wished to remain anonymous, AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan and AFL.com.au's draft expert Callum Twomey.

The ratings were then tallied and averaged, with an overall total given to each player.

It wasn't an easy task. Each expert made it known that comparing the quartet was like splitting hairs.

As one club recruiter simply put it, "there's going to be a few nervous defenders about."

"If they were all in the one draft and you missed out on three, you'd still be ecstatic that the fourth one slipped through to you," the recruiter told AFL.com.au.

"They are all outstanding players and all things being equal, should develop into top-line stars." 

Sheehan agrees. The draft guru admires Patton's "imposing" contested marking, as well as his excellent speed off the mark and surprisingly good leap.

Daniher, he says, has elite agility, with his ability to mark the ball at its highest point with his reach and long arms making him a difficult match-up.

Sheehan also said the young Bomber was "an outstanding leader of young men which could put him in the category of a captain down the track."

Hogan, a "fierce competitor in one on one contests" has the biggest tank of the quartet, having recorded a 14.5 beep test during the draft combine.

Sheehan said Hogan was also capable of playing as a key forward or key defender – a point of difference to the other three.

Boyd’s size, speed, leap and marking were all in the rare bracket, while his kicking "is technically the best of all four, and he also shows leadership potential."

One interstate recruiter had similar thoughts.

"We've all seen a bit of Patton, he's really quick for his size, is an excellent mark on the lead or one-on-one and should get better and better," he said. 

"Boyd is similar to Patton but he's slightly bigger and … if we're splitting hairs, he's a slightly better contested mark than Patton. He's a run and jump type, and will probably be able to do some ruck work too.

"Hogan loves to stand and use his strength. He's a great runner too, but he's probably the strongest of the four and he uses it really well. Again, if we're splitting hairs, he's maybe not as good a kick as the others, but you wouldn't be too worried about it. 

"Daniher is probably the most athletic of them all, in that he's so quick for his size and can jump at the ball so well.

"He can ruck, play deep forward, he's not yet a stand-and-deliver type forward but he might become one once he's put some weight on."

Twomey said each player possessed outstanding attributes.

"Ranking any player against another is difficult, particularly so with this quartet of young key forwards because they all play in different ways," he said.

"If there was an 'X-factor' category, Daniher would rank highest, because he has the ability to do things the others can't, like pick the ball up at his toes, spin around and kick a miraculous goal.

"Hogan is physical, imposing and runs all day, and might end up a key back, while Boyd and Patton are pretty similar in that they are more mark-and-kick deep forwards who are best one-on-one, wrestling and converting shots." 

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