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The next batch: Looking ahead to the 2018 draft

Callum Twomey  November 26, 2017 2:40 PM

AFL 2017 U18 Championships - Vic C v SA

Jack Lukosius shapes as a potential No.1 draft pick in 2018

THE SHOW rolls on for clubs and recruiters, who will quickly turn their attention to the 2018 pool of draft prospects.

We're going to do the same. If you're already looking forward to studying the under-18 landscape next year, here are 10 prospects worth following.

Jack Lukosius
Key forward
194cm/82kg
Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia
9/8/2000

Lukosius showed why many consider him the early favourite to be next year's No.1 pick when he kicked four goals in his SANFL debut for Woodville-West Torrens in a preliminary final earlier this year. It was a performance that showed why so many are excited about him: he's tall, athletic, smart on the lead and a beautiful, long kick. He also had a standout game for South Australia against the Allies during the under-18 carnival. 

Sam Walsh
Midfielder
182cm/70kg
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
2/7/2000

The Geelong Falcons prospect looks like one of the leading midfielders in his crop. He has a good mix of winning his own disposals and getting them out for his team, but is also nice when in flight and taking the game on with some sharp running. He pushes forward to kick goals, is a nice user of the ball and with some extra muscle on his frame will be hard to stop. Starred for the Falcons on their way to the TAC Cup flag.

Ben King
Key forward/defender
201cm/79kg
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
7/7/2000

King and his twin brother Max will create plenty of headlines next year as two of the highly touted big men in an exciting crop. Ben has played predominantly as a defender so far in his junior career, where he has shown good athleticism and rebound. But when his brother went down with injury this year, King switched forward and also kicked a couple of bags there so can comfortably play at both ends. 

Max King
Key forward/defender
201cm/82kg
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
7/7/2000

Max King has played mainly in the forward line and occasionally as a ruckman so far, and impressed for the Dragons at times throughout his bottom-age season. He has a good turn of pace for a player his size and is able to get around the ground with a strong endurance base and aerobic capacity. His marking is also top-end, having shown he can take grabs on the lead or in a pack situation. 

Izak Rankine
Half-forward/midfielder
178cm/74kg
West Adelaide/South Australia
23/4/2000

Already looks a star and a likely early pick after a brilliant campaign as a 17-year-old this year. Rankine is a quick, classy and talented half-forward who also plays through the midfield. He lights up games with his exquisite skills and is ultra-dangerous around goal. He was named the best player for the under-17 NAB AFL All Stars game on Grand Final eve this season and looks a jet already. 

Isak Rankine looks a ready-made star for whichever club can claim him. Picture: AFL Photos

Nick Blakey
Midfielder/forward
194cm/75kg
Swans academy/NSW-ACT
27/2/2000

Three clubs will fight for Blakey's services next year, with the midfielder able to join North Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions as a father-son prospect (his father John played with the Roos and Fitzroy) and also the Swans as an academy pick. Sydney appears the early favourite, but Blakey will be hoping for more luck with injury next year after a back concern ended his 2017 campaign early. At his height, Blakey is considered a utility who can be used anywhere.

Tarryn Thomas
Midfielder
189cm/71kg
North Launceston/Tasmania
25/3/2000

Thomas has been on the radar for a couple of years. His 2016 season was particularly special, when he was named Tasmania's best player in its under-18 side despite not being draft eligible for two more years. The indigenous prospect has good skills and a turn of pace, and rarely fumbles when under pressure. North Melbourne will get access to Thomas under the Next Generation Academy program. 

Tarryn Thomas has already trained with the Kangaroos. Picture: AFL Photos

Ian Hill
Half-forward/midfielder
174cm/63kg
Perth/Western Australia
9/2/2000

Hill was ultra-exciting at stages throughout Western Australia's under-18 carnival earlier this year, lighting games up with his run and dash. Hill is the type of player to take the game on and he has the foot skills to match up with that and make the most of his damaging and line-breaking displays.

Isaac Quaynor
Half-back
180cm/77kg
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
15/1/2000

Quaynor has been something of a surprise packet as a bottom-ager, blossoming into a damaging, creative and smart half-back for the Oakleigh Chargers late in the TAC Cup season. He reads the game well from there and has nice skills to offer some rebound. Collingwood has Quaynor in its Next Generation Academy.

Curtis Taylor
Midfielder
186cm/74cm
Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
6/4/2000

Taylor has some real class and that comes through in the way he plays through the midfield. He's a good kick, and he also uses his solid height to take some marks around the ground. Was one of seven players who were added to the level two NAB AFL Academy squad for 2017/18, showing he made an impression as a bottom-ager and is one to look for next year.