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Oscar McDonald firms as likely second-round pick as draft approaches

Oscar McDonald takes part in goal kicking skills test during day 3 of the 2014 NAB AFL Draft Combine at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on October 02, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Promising key defender Oscar McDonald has rocketed up this year's draft rankings
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OSCAR McDonald's sharp rise up the draft order could result in the defender finishing as a top-30 selection, despite being overlooked for the mid-year national carnival.

The younger brother of Melbourne backman Tom McDonald started the season in attack before shifting into defence, but couldn't break into Vic Country's backline for the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.  

However, his improvement at the back end of the season for the North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup, combined with his size (197cm, 94kg), has seen plenty of interest from clubs searching to add tall defenders to their list.

North Melbourne (pick 25) and the Western Bulldogs (26 and 27) are in the mix for the big and strong defender, while several clubs later in the second round are also keen.

Click here to check out Oscar McDonald’s draft profile and watch his 2014 highlights

The 18-year-old prospect is one of a handful of players who have risen in calculations ahead of this month's NAB AFL Draft, despite limited exposure at state underage level.   

Of the others, high-leaping and clever small forward Toby McLean has had some interest in the second half of the season and appears a likely second or third-round pick. McLean didn't feature in the championships, but finished second in the TAC Cup's Morrish Medal as the season's best player.

Click here to check out Toby McLean’s draft profile and watch his 2014 highlights 

Mitch McGovern was another prospect who missed the championships but remains a strong chance to be drafted, with West Coast and Fremantle linked to the tall forward, who played senior-level football with Claremont.

The 20-year-old is the younger brother of Eagles forward Jeremy McGovern.

Bailey Dale was upgraded to the national NAB AFL Draft Combine list and tested at Etihad Stadium after more interest from clubs having performed well for the Dandenong Stingrays through the season. The lightly framed medium forward averaged 18 disposals in 18 games.  

Daniel McKenzie's promising end to the season is likely to see him picked inside the first 30 selections, with the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood among the many clubs interested.

The high leaping midfielder was one of the Oakleigh Chargers' best players in their Grand Final win and was a standout performer at the following combine, having only played one game for Vic Metro during the carnival.

Click here to check out Daniel McKenzie’s draft profile and watch his 2014 highlights 

Daniel Howe, a mobile 191cm defender who has also impressed with his overhead marking, is believed to have attracted some interest from Adelaide and Richmond.

The 18-year-old was overlooked at last year's draft but played four games for Vic Country at the championships.

Clubs are confident there will be plenty of talent on offer beyond the first two rounds of this year's draft, with the pool considered deeper and more even than previous seasons.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs