AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan has today released his Top AFL Draft Prospects in the category of Small Defenders/Midfielders/Forwards ahead of the 2020 NAB AFL Draft to be held in the week commencing Monday December 7.
>> Top draft prospects: medium defenders
>> Top draft prospects: tall defenders
>> Top draft prospects: tall forwards
>> Top draft prospects: medium forwards
>> Top draft prospects: medium/tall midfielders
AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan said:
“Our group of smaller players generally under 180cm comprise backs, midfielders and forwards with an exciting mixture of lightning speed and agility, always one touch at ground level as well as smart distributors of the footy."
"It includes the sons of former stars Richmond’s Maurice Rioli, Port Adelaide’s Jarrad Schofield and Western Bulldogs Steve Macpherson-all eligible for AFL clubs under the father/son rule. However former St Kilda rover Brett Bowey who played 85 games for the Saints in the 80s and 90s fell just short of the 100 games needed for his son Jake to qualify."
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For this group the old adage “if you're good enough…. you're big enough” is certainly accurate in the AFL today highlighted by Richmond’s AFL Premiership team this year having six players under 180cm in the side on the day in Liam Baker (173cm), Shai Bolton (175cm), Kane Lambert (178cm), Dion Prestia (175cm), Daniel Rioli (179cm) and Jayden Short (178cm) all significant contributors in their convincing victory. We are certainly excited about the prospects of the smalls in 2020 adding to our spectacular game in the years to come."
All information on the 2020 NAB AFL Draft can be followed through the AFL Draft Hub at www.afl.com.au/draft.
2020 NAB AFL Draft – Top Draft Prospects - Small Defenders/Midfielders/Forwards
Sandringham Dragons, NAB League / Highett
Weight: 67 kg
Creative small midfielder/forward with some real X factor overhead and the speed and nimbleness to find separation from his opponents. Laid solid foundations in 2019 for his Draft year playing 16 matches for the Sandringham Dragons in the NAB League averaging 15.8 disposals mainly through the midfield. Son of former St Kilda star Brett Bowey, he represented Victoria Metro as a 16 year old before being one of the stars of the Futures game last year having 22 disposals to be one of the best players for Team Brown on the MCG on 2019 AFL Grand Final day. His 2.95 seconds for 20 metres and 89cm Running Vertical Jump were eye-catching performances at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne.
Brisbane Lions Academy / Morningside
Indigenous small forward with elite level speed and goal sense. Very dangerous overhead for his size demonstrated by his mark of the day in the QAFL Grand Final playing in the winning team for Morningside. Prominent for the Lions Academy in five matches in the NAB League in 2019 averaging 10.2 disposals as a bottom ager with his best performance kicking four goals vs the Eastern Ranges. Caught the eye with his speed and agility for Team Brown in Futures match on MCG AFL Grand Final day and is the brother of Lions promising first year player Keidean. Eligible for Brisbane Lions in 2020 NAB AFL Draft being a member of their Club Academy.
Central Districts, SANFL
Clever and courageous small forward/midfielder who first came on the radar winning the Division one Best and fairest at the NAB AFL Under 16 National Championships in 2018 and All-Australian honours averaging 19.3 disposals. Wins contested ball, has clean hands and is a good user by hand and foot. Progressed to play 12 senior matches for Centrals in SANFL in last two years and represented South Australia in AFL Under 18 National Championships as a bottom ager last year. Nibble on his feet and with innate goal sense he captained Team Dal Santo in the Future game on the MCG on AFL Grand Final day last year.
Geelong Falcons, NAB League / St Joseph College
Small midfielder who reads the game exceptionally well and uses his athleticism and footy nous to set up the play particularly well by hand. A prolific ball winner in 2019 for the Geelong Falcons in NAB League averaging 17.2 disposals as a bottom ager in 15 matches as well as being prominent on AFL Grand Final day for Team Brown gathering 15 possessions. Brother to Liston Trophy winner in the VFL, Werribee’s Tom Gribble, he injured his ACL in preseason this year but is on the road to a full recovery.
Sydney Swans Academy / Maroubra Saints
Left footed small midfielder who is a remarkable reader of the play and ball winner on both the inside and outside. First came to prominence Nationally winning the best and fairest in Division 2 of the AFL Under 16 National Championships in 2018 playing for NSW/ACT averaging 32 disposals. Continued to win the football last year averaging 27.3 disposals for the Sydney Swans in the NAB League and then had 19 possessions on the MCG Grand Final day for Team Dal Santo in the Futures game. Has the ability to really influence matches with his innate ability around goals and running capacity confirmed with a strong 2 km time of 6 minutes 32 seconds at the NSW/ACT National Combine to finish 2020. Eligible for they Sydney Swans in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft being a member of their Club Academy.
Geelong Falcons, NAB League / St Marys
Small defender who takes the game on and uses the ball well on his classy left foot. Really athletic type whose agility time of 8.10 seconds in the AFL Agility run in the Victorian preseason was very impressive. Played nine matches with the Falcons last year not turning 17 years until after the season concluded and showed the benefit with good trial form averaging 14 disposals in 2020 before shutdown. Brother to promising Essendon youngster Brayden Ham with similar traits.
Oakleigh Chargers, NAB League / Beverley Hills / Caufield Grammar
Small forward/midfielder with elite game sense whose decision making with the ball, composure and clean hands, sets him apart. His footy nous and clever use of the ball made him an eye catching bottom aged player with the Oakleigh Chargers in their premiership year in 2019 averaging 15.3 disposals in seven matches. Looked set to take his game further with 23 disposals in only trial before shutdown. Ran a strong 2 km in 6 minutes 24 seconds at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne confirming his endurance.
Geelong Falcons, NAB League / St Marys
Small midfielder who is outstanding around stoppages and winning contested ball, using his vision and clean hands to create for his teammates. Courageous and with a great work ethic he was a consistent ball winner for the Falcons in his bottom aged year averaging 20 disposals in eight matches. His agility tested in the rare category with his 7.98 seconds for the AFL Agility run in the Victorian preseason testing. Started the trials this year in great touch averaging 27.5 disposals,6 clearances and 8 tackles in 2 trials for the Geelong Falcons.
Northern Knights, NAB League / Diamond Creek
Robust small defender whose ability to both intercept and defend as well as provide consistent run and neat ball use for the Knights made him an effective player last year. Son of former Western Bulldogs star Steve McPherson and brother to Darcy at the Gold Coast SUNS he is eligible to the Western Bulldogs under the father/son rule. Averaged 15.1 disposals in 15 matches as a bottom ager last year for the Knights. Recorded a strong 2 km run in 6 minutes 31 seconds and impressive Running Vertical Jump of 80 cm showcasing his endurance and power at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne.
Bendigo Pioneers, NAB League / Robinvale Euson FC
Small forward/midfielder with exciting pace and is both composed with ball in hand and a neat distributor by hand and foot. From the Sunraysia region played just five matches in NAB League last year with his vision/awareness and clean hands all features of his game. His speed and power were to the fore at the National Draft Combine held in Bendigo recording 2.88 seconds for 20 metres (Ranked 4th in Victorian outdoor testing) and 91cm for Running Vertical jump (Ranked 3rd Nationally).
Oakleigh Chargers, NAB League / Beverley Hills / Caulfield Grammar
Small/medium midfielder who is a prolific ball winner and burst onto the National stage at Under 16s level in 2018 winning Victoria Metro’s MVP as well as All-Australian honours averaging 27.3 possessions as an inside mid. His agility, two way running, clean hands and vision are elite along with his breakaway speed. Starred as a bottom aged player for Oakleigh Chargers last year averaging 22.1 possessions, four clearances and four tackles in 10 matches as well as being one of the Australian Under 17s best against New Zealand gathering 26 possessions. His 2.91 seconds for 20 metres and 6 minutes 38 seconds at NAB AFL Melbourne Draft Combine confirmed his speed/endurance combination.
Eastern Rangers, NAB League / Ferntree Gully
Small/medium forward who is a Draft bolter having just played community football at Ferntree Gully at under age and senior levels last year but really caught the eye in trials for the Eastern Ranges this year before shutdown. His weapon is his overhead marking and goal sense as well as being a composed kick. Tested soundly at the Melbourne Draft Combine recording 3.03 seconds for 20 metres and has physical upside not turning 18 years until December 2020.
Geelong Falcons, NAB League / Geelong Grammar
Small defender who just had a taste of NAB League football last year playing two games for the Falcons averaging 14.5 disposals after having an injury interrupted year. A composed user of the ball by hand and foot he tested as elite for agility in Victorian preseason testing recording 7.76 seconds for the AFL Agility run – the best recorded anywhere in Australia this year. His speed was prominent in Victorian Draft Combine testing in Bendigo recording 2.97 seconds for 20 metres.
Maurice Rioli (junior)
St Marys, Northern Territory / Scotch College
Small forward who first came on the radar when he represented Northern Territory at Under 16 level in 2017 and 2018 and then in the NAB League last year as a bottom ager. Really looked to be taking giant strides forward when he began starring for St Marys in the NTFL early this year before returning to Scotch College in Melbourne and training with the Oakleigh Chargers preparing for 2020. Being the son of Richmond and South Fremantle great Maurice Rioli senior, he is eligible for the Tigers and Dockers under the AFL’s father/son rules. Due to complete his Draft Combine testing in Darwin over the next week and likely to be the next Rioli to join AFL ranks.
WWT Eagles, SANFL / Henley HS
Small forward/midfielder who first came under notice playing for Western Australia at Under 16 level in 2018 averaging 17.7 disposals showing his footy nous, one touch hands and neat disposal winning All-Australian Under 16s honours. Moved to South Australia in 2019 with his family playing for WWT Eagles and again found plenty of the ball at Under-18 level averaging 17.3 possessions in 12 matches. Son of course of current Port Adelaide assistant coach Jarrad Schofield who played over 200 matches in the AFL for West Coast Eagles, Port Adelaide and Fremantle but is eligible just for Port under the AFL’s father/son rule.
GWV Rebels, NAB League / East Point / Caulfield Grammar
Small/medium midfielder who showed distinct promise in 2019 with the Rebels averaging 13.9 disposals in nine matches as a 17-year-old. Impressive with his speed/endurance at Victoria testing in the preseason with his Yo yo score of 22.4 equalling Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw’s record in 2017. A multiple track athletics champion on the flat and over steeples he currently holds the Australian 2000 metres Steeplechase title at under 18s level. At the NAB AFL Melbourne Draft Combine broke the record for the 2 km run by 20 seconds recording 5 minutes and 28 second run showcasing his elite endurance.
South Adelaide, SANFL / Morphettville Park / Henley HS
Small midfielder with elite speed and agility capable of breaking the game open with his athletic ability. An indigenous youngster he recorded an elite 7.80 seconds for the AFL Agility run in SA preseason testing this year but did not test at Draft Combine due to injury. Had consistent Under-18 season averaging 17.2 disposals (40% contested) in nine matches in 2020.
Claremont, WAFL / Western Tigers
Small midfielder who is a prolific ball winner using his game sense and speed to win the ball at under aged level in WAFL. Just turned 18 years of age he had a consistent 2020 season averaging 22.6 disposals in 7 matches using his outside run to provide good run and carry for his side. Caught the eye for Team Dal Santo in last year’s Futures match gathering 14 disposals. Being an indigenous youngster eligible for Fremantle under the AFL Next Generation Academy rules.
Peel Thunder, WAFL / Eaton Boomers
Small forward/midfielder who progressed from Under-18 level with Peel this year where he averaged 28 disposals in five matches to play three senior games as the year unfolded. His speed and goal sense are his weapons using his neat step through traffic and clean hands to create opportunities. A real stand out at the Western Australian Draft Combine finishing No 1 ranked for speed (2.87 seconds for 20 metres) and Standing Vertical jump (76cm) and 3rd for Agility (8.18 seconds for AFL Agility run).
The NAB AFL Draft is part of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfil their dream of playing in the AFL. The NAB AFL Rising Stars Program comprises the following elements:
• NAB AFL Rising Star
• NAB AFL Draft
• NAB AFL Draft Combine
• NAB AFL Trade Period
• NAB AFL Academy
• NAB AFL Under-18 Championships
• NAB AFL Under-16 Championships
NAB has proudly supported footy for over a decade, providing boys and girls with a clear pathway from NAB AFL Auskick to the big time.