Testing times: Testing times: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Brayden Cook, Denver Grainger-Barras and Logan McDonald at various state Combines. Pictures: AFL Photos

WITH THE trade and free agency periods complete, all attention now shifts to next month's NAB AFL Draft.

While clubs will be able to trade draft selections up until a week before the December 9 draft, and then again during the event, they will be clamouring to work out who is going where from now.  

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With the NAB AFL Draft Combine testing days now completed around the country, recruiters have all the athletic information they need to make their decisions and assessments. Now it is about settling on their final orders.  

This is the third update of the Phantom Form Guide for 2020, as we rank the best 25 players in the draft pool.  

It does not take into consideration where picks will necessarily land, or where bids for Academy players may come, but is just our view on who are the top flight of this year's group. It will be updated one more time before the draft next month. 

COMPARE THE PAIR Check out Cal Twomey's October update

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
Key forward

The special key forward remains at the top of the draft crop as the best player in the pool. Ugle-Hagan is headed to the Western Bulldogs, who are preparing as if a bid could come at No.1 and have loaded up on draft points to be ready to match it. The long-kicking left-footer had a terrific season last year for the Oakleigh Chargers, booting 24 goals from nine games, including playing in the NAB League premiership. At the recent Victorian Combine he also showed his athletic traits by running 2.89 seconds over the 20m sprint to show his exciting athleticism.  


Perth/Western Australia
Tall forward

A competitive and hard-running tall forward who shone all season playing for Perth in the senior WAFL competition, where he was the second-leading goalkicker with 21 majors. McDonald takes marks overhead, he works up and down the ground, and he kicks straight when he gets his chances. McDonald finished third overall in the WA Combine 2km time trial to underline his endurance, and shapes as one of the first selections next month. 


Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country

Hollands is back running and working through his rehabilitation program as he recovers from his early-season knee reconstruction. He would have missed all of this season even before COVID-19 struck to end the Victorian under-18 season, but the son of former Richmond player Ben has been working through his fitness program and will be in good shape by the time he lands at a club in December. A powerful, exciting midfield talent who can kick the ball long and also shift forward and boot goals. 

Top NAB AFL Draft prospect Elijah Hollands playing for the Murray Bushrangers in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

West Adelaide/South Australia
Key forward

A groin injury ruled Thilthorpe out of the end of the season and from testing at South Australia's state Combine, but the key forward's athleticism can be seen plain as day when he plays. The 18-year-old is able to get up the ground and has also been used as a ruckman at stages, facing off against senior bodies this season with West Adelaide. Is right in the mix for the No.1 pick at the draft. 

Riley Thilthorpe playing for the NAB AFL Academy's under-17s Australian side. Picture: AFL Photos

Swan Districts/Western Australia
Key defender

Not much gets past Grainger-Barras, who is an ultra-competitive tall defender with a great aerial presence and a genuine desire to not get beaten. He had an entertaining duel with Logan McDonald at senior WAFL level late in the season before starring at the WA Combine, recording a time of 2.993 seconds for the 20m sprint and 8.13 seconds for the agility test. Grainger-Barras has also improved his aerobic running across the year and is the best key back available.  


Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

A future AFL captain who shines with his leadership, preparation and dedication and then matches it with performance. Phillips is a prolific midfielder, one who dives into the contests and fishes the ball out, puts his head into trouble but is willing to take the hits, and someone who is ready to play with a mature body. Phillips, who played in the Oakleigh Chargers' premiership last year, ran 2.91 seconds over 20 metres at the recent Victorian Combine and 6:38 minutes for the 2km time trial. 


Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

Bruhn is a light-bodied but skilful midfielder who uses the ball well on both sides of his body, makes life easier for teammates with his disposals and opens the game up with his poise. He has a strong temperament and is one of the classier players available this year, but clubs will have to dig back into their logs of vision for Bruhn given he has not really played for a year and a half after injury ruined the second half of his 2019, before COVID-19 struck in 2020 and wiped out the NAB League season. 

Tanner Bruhn during the Vic Country NAB AFL Draft Combine in October. Picture: AFL Photos

Sydney Academy/Allies

The Swans are preparing for an early bid for Campbell and were searching to find more deals throughout the Trade Period to pick up some extra points to be ready to match it. Campbell has a couple of weapons that lift him above the pack: he has a striking left-foot kick that penetrates and is especially damaging around goal, and he has brilliant pace, having run 2.9 seconds over the 20m sprint at the NSW Combine. 


Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia

Jones couldn't have done any more in 2020. In a season that was such a waste for so many draftees who had their campaigns dashed by the pandemic, Jones took his chance for a full campaign with Woodville-West Torrens' senior side with both hands. The hard and tough defender played in the SANFL premiership with the Eagles and was excellent with his booming kick, clean hands and smart defensive traits. Jones will join Port Adelaide as a Next Generation Academy player and an early bid is expected.  

Lachie Jones at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

Perkins put in a very impressive testing day recently at the Vic Metro Combine, running 2.92 seconds over the 20m sprint, coming third in the running vertical jump (92cm) and also completing the 2km time trial in 6:23 minutes in a very good run. Perkins is an exciting prototype: he busts through traffic, he has the power and explosive streak to step past opponents, he can play as a half-forward and be a goalkicking option. The Sandringham Dragon brings some exciting elements to the fore and has plays with confidence. 

Archie Perkins in action during the Vic Metro NAB AFL Draft Combine in October. Picture: AFL Photos

Gippsland Power/Vic Country
Key defender

A tall defender who will be in the mix in the top 10 given his marking ability and then capacity to set up the game from the back half with his pinpoint kicking. Reid has height on his side and although lightly framed at this stage of his development, his talents are obvious and he isn't a player who gets flustered. 


Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

The younger brother of Geelong defender Jack, Henry is a very different player. The Falcons prospect is more of a forward option who has spring to take some grabs and is also handy at ground level. Being rated so highly is probably on more projection than production at this stage, however he did play some good footy at times for the Falcons last year in the NAB League. As a medium forward he can also push up the ground and he turns heads at times with some Connor Rozee-like moments. 


West Perth/Western Australia
Key defender

Chapman has gradually climbed the Phantom Form Guide rankings based on his performances for West Perth, with the mobile tall defender proving to be a regular ball-winner from the back half. He averages 24 disposals at Colts level across the season and also tasted some senior footy action. Chapman is an intercept defender who revels in leaving his man, reading the play and then taking the game on. He won the 2km time trial at the WA Combine with a run of 6:20 and is well in the sights of clubs with top-15 picks.  


Gold Coast Academy/Allies

The Suns will bring in Davies to add to an already jam-packed group of young and exciting inside midfielders. Davies brings a little bit of a point of difference, with the tall former basketballer an expert in tight but also able to use his agility to get outside the packs and do some damage there. An elbow injury this season interrupted his campaign for Broadbeach in Queensland's competition and saw him miss the Academy series but he is headed for the Suns.  

Alex Davies during the Queensland NAB AFL Draft Combine at Emmanuel College in October. Picture: AFL Photos

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

The younger brother of Western Bulldogs star Jack, Macrae set about forging his own career last year when he played an important role in Oakleigh's NAB League premiership. The crafty midfielder spent a large portion of last season in the forward line, but has shown himself to be a clever ball-getter and someone who can rack up disposals and use them well on both feet.


Northern Knights/Vic Metro
Key forward/defender

Cox's genuine athletic abilities were on show at the Vic Metro Combine, with the versatile key-position player running 2.95 seconds over 20 metres in the sprint and also dominating in the 2km time trial with a brilliant time of 6:03 minutes. Cox can play at both ends of the ground and sometimes in the middle, having also spent portions on a wing, and he loves flying for a grab. Watch for a few clubs jostling for Cox come draft time.

Nik Cox at the 2020 NAB League testing day. Picture: AFL Photos

Sturt/South Australia

A footballer's footballer, Powell just knows how to get the ball in his hands. The Sturt midfielder had a bonanza of a season at under-18s level, dominating games at a prolific level. Powell is a very smart player at the stoppages, finding his hands on the ball, using it well and occasionally drifting forward to hit the scoreboard. Although on the smaller side he doesn't get out-bustled and has genuine footy IQ.

Sturt's Tom Powell playing for Team Hurn during the AFL Draft Combine Boys All Stars Game in October. Picture: AFL Photos

NT Thunder/Allies

Another draft bonus is headed to the Suns as they will secure Jeffrey under the list concessions they were granted by the AFL last year. Jeffrey, the son of former St Kilda and Brisbane player Russell, will join Gold Coast as a draft pre-selection under the club's Academy access to Darwin. Jeffrey is an exciting and versatile talent with speed and strong skills.

Joel Jeffrey during the 2020 Queensland Draft Combine in October. Picture: AFL Photos

South Adelaide/South Australia

It will be fascinating to see where one of the bolters of this year's group ends up being taken when names are called next month. Cook's speed made him catch the eye this season, and he booted 24 goals from 11 games playing for South Adelaide's under-18s season. He grew 7cm in a year to show his overhead prowess more, and he finished high in the vertical jump test at the SA Combine. Can play as a wingman or as a deeper forward option.

Brayden Cook in action at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in South Australia in September. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos


Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

McInnes shot the lights out at the Vic Metro Combine in the speed test, running 2.78 seconds in a blistering sprint. It won't count in the Combine history books given it was with a tailwind outdoors, but it was the best of a strong bunch of times to show McInnes' pace for a taller midfield option. The Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect was at the back for the 2km time trial, though, so will need to balance that out but McInnes showed last year he can play as a forward, defender or midfielder when he was a part of Oakleigh's under-18 premiership.


East Fremantle/Western Australia

A broken wrist late in the season cut Carroll's campaign short but he still tested at the WA Combine with his arm in a cast. Carroll is a player who works well in traffic, having played as a midfielder and also across half-back. The East Fremantle prospect wins his own touches and is comfortable being used in a few different roles.

Jack Carroll takes off during the WA NAB AFL Draft Combine in September. Picture: AFL Photos

Sydney Academy/Allies

Gulden is another who could not have done much more in 2020. The Sydney Academy prospect just works and works and works, and barely ever plays a bad game. He is crafty by foot and doesn't waste his possessions, he's clever when he's stationed close to goal and has been a ball-machine throughout his junior career. He finished runner-up in Sydney's premier division's best and fairest and has matched it with senior opponents for a long while.

Errol Gulden doing a 4km run during the NSW Combine at the State Netball Centre in Sydney Olympic Park on October 25. Picture: Getty Images

Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro

The Eastern Ranges runner didn't test at the recent Vic Metro Draft Combine but remains well on the radar of clubs, including the Hawks who have priority access to Downie under Next Generation Academy rules. Downie is a line-breaking midfielder who can play off half-back and the wing and has a long, penetrating kick.


Swan Districts/Western Australia

What you see is what you get with Trew, who is a genuine inside midfielder who finds the ball at will. Generally, Trew is a distributor by hand, preferring to sharply bring teammates into the game and open up space that way. After an injury-hit 2019 season, Trew was consistent for Swan Districts throughout this year to keep himself in the mix as an early second-round option.

Zane Trew warms up ahead of the Western Australia NAB AFL Draft U18 All Stars game in October. Picture: AFL Photos

Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country

Maher is a midfielder with an explosive streak, which was on show at the Victorian Combine when he ran 2.89 seconds in the 20-metre sprint. The Murray Bushrangers prospect enjoys going inside and taking the ball forward, and was one of few Victorians to get on the field for a game mid-year at local level. Got exposure in Vic Country's program last year so was a player that recruiters were keen to watch this season.

Zavier Maher in action at the Vic Metro NAB AFL Draft Combine in October. Picture: AFL Photos


Watch the entire countdown as Matthew Lloyd reveals his top 20 players of the home and away season