Main content

Cal Twomey's Phantom Form Guide: September

U18: Bolters excite as draft nears Cal Twomey and Nat Edwards talk elite under-18 footy on Prime Prospects

THE END of the season is nearly upon us, which means most draft prospects have completed their campaigns.

This makes it an opportune time to release our third Phantom Form Guide of the year. 

It is a ranking of the best players in our eyes and not an indication of when the players may get drafted or where father-son or Academy bids could come.

The Phantom Form Guide will be updated again following next month's NAB AFL Draft Combine. 

INDICATIVE DRAFT ORDER Your club's picks

POS: Midfielder
Ht 183cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 2/7/00
From Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
August ranking: 1

Walsh's season is over after the Geelong Falcons fell out of the TAC Cup finals last week, but he finished in fine form with 28 disposals and a goal. It ended one of the most dominant seasons by an under-18 prospect in recent years and showed why Walsh is the favourite to be the No.1 pick this year. The 18-year-old has all the facets to his game clubs want in midfielders – he can run all day, is competitive, good at the stoppages, clean by hand and foot and he stands up when his side needs him. The Falcons star didn't win the TAC Cup's Morrish Medal but was named captain of the team of the year.

Sam Walsh has held onto the No.1 ranking. All pictures: AFL Photos

POS: Tall forward
Ht 194cm, Wt 85kg, DOB 9/8/00
From Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia
August ranking: 2

Lukosius didn't have one of his standout games last week for Woodville-West Torrens in its SANFL final, with only 13 disposals and a goal. He played in a half-forward role but has shown throughout the season he can go into defence and play on a wing as well. Lukosius' foot skills and performances at senior level for 12 months now make him a standout player, even if some clubs wonder whether he will be a commanding forward at the next level or more of a lead-up option. 

POS: Half-forward/midfielder
Ht 180cm, Wt 76kg, DOB 23/4/00
From West Adelaide/South Australia
August ranking: 3 

The South Australian has genuine star factor: he can turn a game in a matter of minutes and moments. His sharp foot skills, real foot speed and smarts around goal make him dangerous whenever he has the ball. Rankine is creative going forward and you'd like to be a forward on the end of a pass from the West Adelaide product. Rankine hit form throughout the mid-year under-18 championships and was named a back-to-back All Australian.

POS: Tall forward
Ht 202cm, Wt 86kg, DOB 7/7/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
August ranking: 4

King continues his recovery from an early-season knee reconstruction which wiped out most of his draft campaign. The key forward was seen as a possible No.1 contender before the injury struck, and is still likely to be one of the first handful of players selected on draft night. King has been doing his rehabilitation program twice a week using St Kilda's facilities. He is an athletic tall who is as good in the air as he is when the ball hits the ground.

Brothers Max (left) and Ben King are both ranked in the top six.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 186cm, Wt 82kg, DOB 7/12/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro 
August ranking: 5

Smith's heel injury has ended his season, keeping him out of action for the final two months of the year. It is a shame for the hard-working Victorian, who would have been keen to finish his excellent year on a high in the finals for Sandringham. Nevertheless, Smith rates as a top-10 pick due to his consistency as a midfielder throughout the year. He's tough, powerful, has speed and endurance and can find the ball. Some think he may start his career as a half-back before progressing into the middle whereas others believe he can be a midfielder from day one.

POS: Tall forward/defender
Ht 202cm, Wt 85kg, DOB 7/7/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro 
August ranking: 6

King was dominant again last weekend, booting 5.5 for the Sandringham Dragons in their elimination final win over the Murray Bushrangers. He had 19 disposals and 11 marks in a powerful game in attack, but he missed several chances he could have kicked and a couple of shots even sailed across the face of goal. King has shown more than enough up forward this year to suggest he can play there at AFL level as well as in defence, where he started the season.

POS: Tall forward/midfielder
Ht 195cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 27/2/00
From Sydney Swans Academy/Allies 
August ranking: 7

Injury has meant we haven't seen as much of Blakey this season, and he also had troubles with his body last season. The Sydney Academy product is still likely to attract an early bid on draft night, however, given his ability to play as a tall forward and also move through the midfield, where he wants to play in the future and where he moved in the Allies' final game of the national carnival.

POS: Half-forward/midfielder
Ht 185cm, Wt 71kg, DOB 22/1/00
From North Adelaide/South Australia
August ranking: 8

Rozee played perhaps the best game of his season last week, a 24-disposal and 10-mark effort for North Adelaide's senior SANFL side. It was a standout display that highlighted his skills: he moved swiftly across half-back, created play with his disposals, was strong and clever in the air and he made things happen. Rozee hasn't featured as much in the midfield this year as some recruiters might've hoped, but he has been able to show his versatility, which will illustrate to scouts he can play in all three areas of the ground. A smart player who is fun to watch when up and going.

Connor Rozee is ending the year in great form.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 184cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 28/9/00
From Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country 
August ranking: 9

Caldwell's season ended in another injury setback when he hurt his hamstring in Bendigo's final game of the TAC Cup season while lunging for a tackle. It was not the same hamstring which he injured during the carnival for Vic Country, and was understood to be at the minor end, but it was still a setback given recruiters were excited to see the midfielder finish off the season well. Caldwell is still among the top bunch of midfielders in the draft: he's powerful, good at the stoppages and should play next year at AFL level. 

POS: Midfielder
Ht 190cm, Wt 81kg, DOB 21/10/00
From Central District/South Australia 
August ranking: 12

Based on performance there's not much more Hately could have done this year. He continued that last week by gathering 27 disposals, seven clearances and a goal in Central District's reserves side, backing up 27 possessions the previous week. Hately has done it at all levels this year: in the under-18 championships for SA, and in the senior side for Centrals. He is a big-bodied midfielder who clubs can have confidence will be ready to go next year.

POS: Half-back
Ht 182cm, Wt 82kg, DOB 15/1/00
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
August ranking: 11

Quaynor has been consistent throughout his season for the Oakleigh Chargers and Vic Metro. As a defender he provides rebound and likes to get things going, but he can also play on a range of forwards of differing skill sets: he's taken on talls, smalls, marking targets and crumbers and done a good job. Quaynor was named in the All Australian team and last week had 18 disposals.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 189cm, Wt 73kg, DOB 25/3/00
From North Launceston/Tasmania/Allies 
August ranking: 10

Late in the season Thomas played his first game for North Melbourne's VFL side, but was quiet. Thomas didn't have the type of brilliant under-18 championships that he would have liked, but he was battling a thumb strain and other soreness. Thomas can play all over the ground but has been best as a midfielder who can also push forward. North gets first access to him as a Next Generation Academy prospect out of its Tasmanian zone.

Tarryn Thomas is North Melbourne-bound.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 193cm, Wt 88kg, DOB 3/2/00
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
August ranking: 17

He might not be a big ball-winner at this stage of his development, but Collier-Dawkins can impact games through the midfield without dominating them. The big-bodied inside ball-winner was excellent, particularly early, in the Chargers' finals win over the Western Jets last week. He finished with 20 disposals and had three clearances, and is most comfortable using it by hand at this stage. Has upside.

POS: Midfielder/half-forward
Ht 175cm, Wt 76kg, DOB 9/2/00
From Perth/Western Australia
August ranking: 14

Hill underwent another round of shoulder surgery last week after an injury late in the season. It follows his shoulder surgery last off-season which interrupted his summer, something that had him behind the eight ball at the start of the season. Hill remains one of the most talented players in the pool with his pace, skill and run and carry.

POS: Half-forward/midfielder
Ht 186cm, Wt 79kg, DOB 6/4/00
From Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
August ranking: 13

The Calder Cannons forward ended his season in solid touch with a couple of goals and strong marks when his side lost to the Geelong Falcons in the wildcard round of the TAC Cup. Taylor doesn't get huge numbers of touches but is impactful when he has it in his hands. He didn't spend long periods in the midfield this year but did show his class around goal.

Curtis Taylor ended his year well.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 180cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 12/7/00
From Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
August ranking: 15

The Bulldogs father-son prospect is a tough midfielder who fights for the ball and backs himself on every occasion to get it into his hands. West is combative, has a fierce attack on the ball and is not afraid to get in the face of opponents. He can have quiet quarters and then will himself into the contest, and is also capable of a surprise, like a high leap or clever goal. He could attract a bid somewhere deep in the first round for the Dogs to consider.

POS: Half-back
Ht 182cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 16/10/00
From Claremont/Western Australia
August ranking: 22

Clark could be the first West Australian picked on draft night, such has been the quality of his year. The talented cricketer, who has been a part of Western Australia's under-19 cricket program, was an All Australian defender after his carnival for WA earlier this season. He is a nice size and likes to run and make things happen out of the backline. Has played some solid senior footy for Claremont.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 181cm, Wt 70kg, DOB 8/9/00
From Western Jets/Vic Metro
August ranking: 16

Shoulder surgery at the end of the national carnival finished Butters' season prematurely. But scouts will still look fondly upon his first half of the year, when Butters showed his poise through the midfield and closer to goal. Butters uses the ball nicely and can make things happen on a wing.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 186cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 8/5/00
From Norwood/South Australia
August ranking: 24

The South Australian averaged 23 disposals at 84 per cent efficiency during the national carnival, which saw him awarded with All Australian honours. Valente is a hard-working midfielder who can find the ball himself and win it well. He has been consistent this season and is also considered a good leader, having captained SA to its title win.

Luke Valente led South Australia to winning the title.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 183cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 23/1/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
August ranking: -

The midfielder claimed the Morrish Medal earlier this month as the best player in the TAC Cup this season. He averaged 23 disposals in the competition, showing his wares as an inside midfielder who can use the ball well and confidently. Stocker had 19 disposals and kicked a goal last weekend for the Dragons and has done his draft stocks wonders after missing the national carnival with a broken jaw. 

POS: Half-back
Ht 183cm, Wt 81kg, DOB 7/9/00
From Central District/South Australia
August ranking: 21

McLennan collected 23 disposals and laid six tackles last week playing in the SANFL reserves competition and has shown his capacity to find the ball across half-back. He is not overly tall but reads the ball well in the air and can jump in front of a contest to intercept and take marks. 

POS: Midfielder
Ht 180cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 14/1/00
From Launceston/Tasmania/Allies 
August ranking: 18

The Tasmanian will appeal to clubs due to his dogged attitude at the contest, but Jones is more than just a dig-in-and-find-the-footy type of prospect. He can also provide run on the outside, and the midfielder is capable of playing in different spots, either as a smaller forward or back, depending on what his side needs.

Chayce Jones has slipped to No.22 since the August edition.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 185cm, Wt 71kg, DOB 7/7/00
From Gippsland Power/Vic Country
August ranking: 23

Duursma has been one of the most reliable performers at under-18 level this season. The Gippsland Power product has been excellent through the midfield and across half-back when called upon, and last week picked up 25 disposals, a goal and 11 tackles against the Geelong Falcons (one of those tackles was a chase-down effort on potential top pick Sam Walsh). Duursma moves well through traffic and was named on the wing of the TAC Cup team of the year.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 190cm, Wt 88kg, DOB 4/12/00
From Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland/Allies
August ranking: 20

The Lions will get first access to McFadyen as a member of their northern Academy. He can play as a forward or through the midfield, where his size is an advantage to winning contested possessions. Clubs believe a bid could come for McFadyen somewhere in the second round of the draft and he has played for the Lions' NEAFL side.

POS: Key defender
Ht 193cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 16/8/00
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
August ranking: 19

The Collingwood father-son prospect sits comfortably among the best group of key position defenders in this year's crop. He has come on well as the season has grown, having played at school level largely as a forward. However, his best spot seems to be in defence, where his athleticism and competitiveness comes to the fore. The 18-year-old is the son of 1990 Magpies premiership player Craig Kelly.