tmedia
Main content

Recommended videos

Highlights: Richmond v Carlton

11:17pm Mar 27, 2014

Malthouse rues costly mistakes

11:44pm Mar 27, 2014

Recommended articles

Sunday football as it happened

Sunday football as it happened

Recap Port's Showdown upset, plus big wins for the Hawks and Tigers

11:45am Apr 14, 2013

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

 Recap Friday night's MCG clash as the Tigers make their best start to a season in 16 years

04:00pm Apr 5, 2013

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Recap Friday night's blockbuster as the Blues capitulate in front of 78,000 at the MCG

10:36pm Jul 5, 2013

Saturday football as it happened

Saturday football as it happened

Recap a day bookended by two major boilovers

01:00pm Mar 30, 2013

Fantasy review: round three

Fantasy review: round three

It was a tough round for AFL Fantasy coaches, Warnie writes

10:42pm Apr 6, 2014

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Tom Hafey remembered as a great coach and a wonderful man

06:15pm May 19, 2014

If it's not Rayner, then who goes No.1?

Callum Twomey  August 21, 2017 10:57 PM

U18: Another Dusty on our hands? Cal Twomey and Kevin Sheehan wrap up round three of the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships

THIS year's wooden spoon will be decided on Saturday when North Melbourne takes on the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

Both clubs are locked on five wins for the season, with the loser of the clash to finish last on the ladder. It would be North's first ever No.1 selection (Daniel Wells is the club's highest ever selection when he was drafted at No.2 in 2002). 

The Lions haven't held the No.1 selection since 1998 when they picked Des Headland.

Here are AFL.com.au's five leading contenders for this year's No.1 pick. 

Cameron Rayner
Midfielder/half-forward

Rayner became the favourite for the No.1 pick with his brilliant under-18 championships, when he tore through the carnival across half-forward and through the midfield. Rayner kicked 12 goals in Vic Metro's four games, averaged 18 disposals and impressed with his power, physicality and skills. He is a game breaker with his long kicking, overhead marking and presence around goal. The query from clubs is around Rayner's aerobic capacity and it is something he needs to improve, but he sits as the most exciting player in the draft. Had 28 disposals and kicked two goals in a very good outing for the Western Jets on the weekend. 

Paddy Dow
Midfielder

It has been more of a slow burn for Dow, but he is hitting the end of the season in full swing. The Bendigo Pioneers midfielder had a day out on Sunday, when he gathered 35 disposals, six clearances, seven inside-50s and booted two goals. Dow has been a goalkicker throughout the year, and he's comfortable spending plenty of time pushing forward. He is tough, good by foot, has a real turn of pace that he's showing more and more, and he's been very consistent. There's not a lot of fuss about the way Dow plays but he just continues to pile on the very good games which sees him right near the top.

Luke Davies-Uniacke
Midfielder

The Dandenong Stingrays midfielder is a ball-winner who can also provide some outside dash and speed. He's best when fighting for the ball, digging it out and then bursting away. Davies-Uniacke is also capable of spending some time forward, where he has shown he can grab the ball in the air and provide a target. At his 187cm height he is one the bigger side for a midfielder, and he's had a good season. Had a brilliant start to the national carnival for Vic Country with a best-afield display before some quieter moments. Could be the best pure midfielder out there, which pushes his No.1 credentials. 

1_ U18VCSA17AT1448.jpg

Jarrod Brander
Key defender/forward

Brander stands as the leading key position player in the draft, particularly after the withdrawal of Will Sutherland. He hasn't had the same consistency to his game as the midfielders who are in this bracket, but can play at both ends of the ground. Brander, who was formerly a part of Greater Western Sydney's academy before its zone was realigned, played well on the weekend for the Pioneers in a forward post, taking nine marks, booting two goals and collecting 21 disposals. He is a good kick, can read the ball well in the air and has dominated games, but one of the midfielders looks more likely to take out the No.1 position. 

Adam Cerra
Midfielder

A classy, smart and poised midfielder who makes things look easy. Cerra is a polished option and reasonably low risk as a likely early pick: he picks the right options, uses the ball well and can also kick goals. He doesn't have the same get-away burst or explosiveness which may hurt his No.1 chances in comparison to the other contenders. But he's clean and smart and never appears rushed. Cerra won't play again this season after having shoulder surgery recently.