THERE are a number of reasons that makes this perhaps the most uncertain NAB AFL Draft ever.
With a lack of football due to COVID-19, combined with the most compromised pool in history, recruiters who have watched games from afar and no NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, there are many varied views on players.
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Add to that the presence of Jamarra Ugle-Hagan at the top end of the pool as a Next Generation Academy pick, injury concerns over other No.1 pick contenders, six clubs having multiple first-round selections and plenty of potential pick swaps lined up, and clubs will go into Wednesday night's draft with little clarity how it will unfold.
Here is our Phantom Draft top 30, as we predict where players will go, who will make bids on Academy prospects and how the top group will shape up. Note the draft order has changed in line with predictions on clubs moving up the order to match bids.
Below the top 30, AFL.com.au has also listed club-by-club whispers on who each team could target in the back half of the draft.
(Matching Adelaide's bid)
POS: Key forward
Ht 195cm, Wt 90kg, DOB 4/4/02
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country
Widely considered the best player in the draft pool, Ugle-Hagan's freakish athleticism, combined with his brilliant football craft, will thrill fans for many years. Even players at rival clubs are already excited about watching the key forward at AFL level, with Ugle-Hagan's bottom-age season for the Oakleigh Chargers, when he booted 24 goals from nine games, rocketing him into the top slot despite having this season wiped out. He's tall, he's fast, he sits on heads in packs and accumulates shots at goal. The Western Bulldogs have prepared to have enough points to match a bid for Ugle-Hagan at pick one and now actively want it to happen for the prestige it would bring.
If not him? The Crows have intimated to rivals they will bid on Ugle-Hagan at the top choice, and it would take a last-minute backflip from the club for them not to pull the trigger. North Melbourne (No.2) or Sydney (No.3) at the latest would otherwise bid. If Adelaide keeps the first pick Riley Thilthorpe and Logan McDonald are the main contenders.
POS: Key forward/ruck
Ht 201cm, Wt 100kg, DOB 7/7/02
From West Adelaide/South Australia
An athletic forward who can also play in the ruck, Thilthorpe spent most of this season at senior level in the SANFL. The hard working key position prospect endured some injury battles with his groins, with clubs receiving their full medical checks on the 18-year-old only at the end of last week, but his versatility appeals to many. Many clubs think the way the young tall plays will suit the modern game and he believes he can also play as a midfielder in time. He recently had an hour-and-a-half catch-up with Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks and has been in the club's mix for a long time.
If not him? The Crows have tossed up between Thilthorpe, Logan McDonald and Elijah Hollands for some time, with the call finally coming down to Thilthorpe and McDonald. It wouldn't surprise at all if they went with McDonald given his draft CV and links to South Australia.
Ht 189cm, Wt 85kg, DOB 25/4/02
From Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
A game-changing midfielder and forward who excites with his penetrating kicking, clearance work at stoppages and ability to take a grab and kick a goal inside 50. The question from clubs is around Hollands' ACL injury, which he suffered while training at local level in February and ruled him out of this season. He probably won't be ready to play again until about midyear in 2021 but Hollands is big, has some strut and confidence, and backs himself when the ball is in his hands. North have long been fans.
If not him? North would bid on Ugle-Hagan if the Crows don't at pick No.1. But putting him aside, the Roos have been bracing for how they shape their order of Hollands, Logan McDonald and Riley Thilthorpe. Whichever the Crows select, the Roos are tipped to take one of the remaining two. The Roos are also looking at their options in splitting their first pick, with a trade not ruled out.
POS: Key defender
Ht 195cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 17/4/02
From Swan Districts/Western Australia
The best key defender in the draft. It's as simple as that when assessing Grainger-Barras' credentials, with some clubs also viewing him as the best player in the open pool. It is easy to see why Grainger-Barras has plenty of fans: he's a powerful tall back who takes his marks, backs himself with his reading of the play, shuts down opponents and can even switch forward periodically. The Swans are looking to add a tall to their squad with their first pick and Grainger-Barras is well in their sights.
If not him? It would be a fascinating call if the Swans have to choose between Grainger-Barras and Logan McDonald, which is a legitimate possibility if Elijah Hollands is nabbed ahead of them. Will Phillips, Hollands and Tanner Bruhn have also been strongly considered.
POS: Key forward
Ht 196cm, Wt 86kg, DOB 4/4/02
From Perth/Western Australia
McDonald pushed himself into contention for the top of the draft with an impressive season. The hard-working key forward willed himself into games and to contests with an excellent work rate and competitive edge. Many recruiters would take McDonald with the No.1 pick because of that, as well as his senior experience, with the 18-year-old kicking 21 goals for Perth at WAFL level this year. He converts his shots, gets away on the lead and will be a consistent forward option for many years.
If not him? With their earliest pick since 2005, Hawthorn has done plenty of work at the top end. There's a chance Denver Grainger-Barras or Riley Thilthorpe gets through instead of McDonald, depending how the cards fall, while Elijah Hollands is also a chance. The Hawks have put in time on Archie Perkins and Nik Cox, including interviewing Cox last week and Perkins again on Monday, but they are the wildcard options. Many believe the Hawks could also call out Braeden Campbell's name here, but the Swans would match that bid.
Ht 180cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 22/5/02
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder has been viewed as a top-10 player in this year's group for some time now, having starred for Vic Metro at the under-16s championships and then last year averaging 22 disposals and four tackles in the NAB League. Phillips is a midfield bull who extracts the ball at will, is sharp by hand and can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. He's tough, consistent and ready to play, and has been closely monitored throughout this season by clubs with early selections.
If not him? The Suns will sit and wait to see which member of the 'Fantastic Five' – Logan McDonald, Riley Thilthorpe , Denver Grainger-Barras, Elijah Hollands and Phillips – slips through and nab them. A tall would be the priority if they had a choice, hence their previous interest to trade up to pick No.2, but Gold Coast now will wait and see who is there. If Hawthorn did take a wildcard and the choice was between Phillips and Hollands for the Suns it would be a big call.
Ht 183cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 27/5/02
From Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
A top-end talent who reminded scouts of his classy skills and poise in last week's training run in Victoria, Bruhn sits comfortably among the best midfielders in the crop. The catch is that he just hasn't played much since under-16s level, meaning clubs are having to dig even further back to assess his vision and talents. The Geelong Falcons midfielder injured his knee last year and missed out on playing with Vic Country as a bottom-ager but uses the ball well, is crafty with his disposals and has the frame that clubs believe can make him a potent midfielder at AFL level.
If not him? The Bombers are keen to use at least one of their selections on a pure midfielder and Bruhn is in that basket. They met Reef McInnes last week so they could be tempted to bid on him, while Finlay Macrae may also come into their thinking. Last week they also interviewed WA prospect Jack Carroll, but it would be a surprise if they grabbed him at these spots.
POS: Key defender
Ht 202cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 2/3/02
From Gippsland Power/Vic Country
Reid is the modern key defensive prototype with his height, athleticism and also rebound ability. He has clubs inside the top rungs of the draft clamouring to pick him given his smarts and ball use out of the back line, with the Gippsland Power defender showing a calm head under pressure. Reid may take some time to develop his lean frame but has a lot of the tools clubs are searching for. Key forwards will rarely outmark him. The Bombers like to build from spine out, and Reid met them over the weekend. They need more young talls at the club.
If not him? Nik Cox is the other tall in real contention with the Bombers' picks, and they could choose both of them. Heath Chapman is another option as a running third tall back who they have been linked to.
(Matching Essendon's bid)
Ht 181cm, Wt 75kg, DOB 4/2/02
From Sydney Academy/Allies
The Swans will claim another top talent from their Academy in Campbell, with the sharp left-footer impressing in the build up to this year's NAB AFL Draft. Campbell is an explosive player with genuine speed – he ran 2.9 seconds over 20 metres at the Combine – and has shown he can play as a forward option, which he highlighted on Grand Final day last year with three goals and a best-afield honour in the NAB AFL All Stars clash. He has spent time at Sydney as part of the Academy program and also through the NEAFL.
If not him? The Swans have stocked up on points to match a bid for Campbell and are keen to add his kicking and line-breaking speed to their line-up. Hawthorn has also been strongly linked as a possible bidder at its first pick.
POS: Medium forward
Ht 188cm, Wt 77kg, DOB 29/7/02
From Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
Henry's quality comes in his ability to produce something eye-catching and special in the front half. He has real spring and can jump in a pack and come down with the ball in his hands. He played 15 games for the Falcons last year, including a five-goal haul in one game, while he also has the ability to shift into defence. The younger brother of Geelong defender Jack.
If not him? The Bombers have spent plenty of time digging into what Archie Perkins brings to the table, and he also fits as a hybrid type like Henry. They also like Conor Stone, another half-forward who could transition into the midfield. If the Bombers are going to trade a pick it will be this one – with Collingwood a suitor at the right price.
Ht 193cm, Wt 86kg, DOB 12/12/02
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
The appeal in McInnes is what he can become. McInnes has played stints as a third tall forward or defender, but clubs also see him as an inside midfielder in the future, with his size, height, and sharp instincts holding him in good stead after he played in Oakleigh's NAB League premiership last year. He was also a star in the speed test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, running the 20-metre sprint in 2.78 seconds. The Crows are after a midfielder with their second pick and are keen on McInnes, the Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect. If a bid comes here the Magpies may not match.
If not him? Others in this range for the Crows are Finlay Macrae, who is strongly in their thoughts, as well as local midfielder Luke Pedlar and classy on-baller Tanner Bruhn. They like Brayden Cook but it may be a touch early, while they have had a close look at Connor Stone.
POS: Key defender/forward
Ht 200cm, Wt 87kg, DOB 15/1/02
From Northern Knights/Vic Metro
What is drawing clubs to Cox is his mix of athleticism and genuine football ability. The versatile key position player put in a stunning showing at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, running 2.95 seconds for the 20 metres and 6:05 minutes for the 2km time trial, ranked third overall. But adding to that are his on-field capabilities, with Cox a brilliant and long kick on both feet, a strong overhead mark and an exciting play-anywhere type of option. The could-be-anything of this year's group and a player many clubs are keen to add to their list.
If not him? The Giants have had Cox in their sights for some time, but also like fellow defenders Heath Chapman and Zach Reid. They are somewhat at the mercy of Essendon's three selections with the same group of players in the mix. Tanner Bruhn and Archie Perkins are others they have tracked closely. Could they take Chapman here and hope Cox is available at their next spot?
Ht 183cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 2/3/02
From Sturt/South Australia
Powell is the highest production player in this year's draft. The Sturt ball-getter averaged 35 disposals, nine clearances and six inside-50s at under-18 level in South Australia to be the competition's premier player. The midfielder does what he does so well: get the ball in his hands at stoppages and then feed it out to runners. Powell is great in tight spaces and is also able to push forward and kick a goal, having kicked three in a game this year.
If not him? It would be a very tight call if it came down to Powell and Archie Perkins, with both players in considerations at this choice. Tanner Bruhn is another who is on the radar here.
Ht 190cm, Wt 82kg, DOB 18/7/02
From South Adelaide/South Australia
It has been a meteoric rise for Cook this season, with the clever forward rocketing up draft boards around the AFL. He kicked 26 goals from 13 games with South Adelaide, including some match-winning performances. The right-footer knows his way around goal, is a good overhead mark and is very smart one-on-one when the ball is in his area. He can also be played up the ground as a wingman. The Dockers have done their work on Cook and he would bring a new dimension to their forward half with his upside.
If not him? A choice between Heath Chapman and Cook would be interesting if both are available, although the Dockers do have a lot of Chapman's type already at the club. Oakleigh midfielder Finlay Macrae is a shot and Glenelg midfielder Luke Pedlar is also in the mix here, as would be Nik Cox if he's available.
POS: Key defender
Ht 193cm, Wt 81kg, DOB 31/1/02
From West Perth/Western Australia
The West Perth product averaged 23 disposals at colts level this year and proved himself as perhaps the best of his kind in the crop: a rebounding, leaping, intercepting third defender. Chapman enjoys taking the game on and dashing through the centre of the ground, but his mobility and aerial exploits also hold him in good stead against taller key forwards. He proved his endurance with a strong 2km time trial at the WA Combine, and the Giants have watched him closely throughout this year.
If not him? The Giants could flip things and take Chapman earlier and hope another tall like Nik Cox or Zach Reid gets through. Archie Perkins might be too good for them to ignore if still on the board, while they have an interest in SA goalkicker Brayden Cook. They could also register a bid for Lachie Jones from this stage.
Ht 188cm, Wt 79kg, DOB 26/3/02
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
One of the buzz players of the draft because of what he can do that others can't. Perkins is a half-forward who showed some very promising signs last season for the Sandringham Dragons with his overhead marking, goal sense and creativity with the ball. He was due to play as a midfielder this season before COVID-19 got in the way of a campaign for Victorian prospects, but Perkins has clubs buoyed by his size, strength and power. Think of a Connor Rozee type. Perkins could go a lot higher than this – having met with Hawthorn on Monday and had plenty of links to Essendon, the Giants and Roos – but Collingwood may sit back and swoop.
If not him? The Pies would like one of the talls – Heath Chapman, Nik Cox or Zach Reid – to be available, while Conor Stone and Tom Powell would also be considered, as would Brayden Cook if he gets through.
(Matching Greater Western Sydney's bid)
Ht 186cm, Wt 88kg, DOB 9/4/02
From Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia
There aren't many more prepared players in this year's pool than Jones, who seamlessly fitted into Woodville West Torrens' senior premiership side at SANFL level this year. The half-back can lock down on opponents and shut them out of games, but is also adept at providing some run and rebound out of the back half with his penetrating kick. Port Adelaide can all but lock Jones into a back pocket from round one next year, with the Power ready to match the bid for the Next Generation Academy player.
If not him? Essendon has liked Jones, however it is considered unlikely the Bombers would bid on him with their trio of picks. The Giants, having lost Heath Shaw and Zac Williams from their back half, appear the most likely bidders, potentially even earlier.
Ht 179cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 24/3/02
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
There's been a lot of love for Laurie from clubs within the first round of the draft and with good reason. Laurie is a lively half-forward who also pushes into the midfield, and he has very high football IQ – he makes the right decisions, he finds and creates space, and he doesn't waste his touches. Laurie played in last year's NAB League premiership with the Oakleigh Chargers and proved he has good endurance at the Combine (6:24 minutes in the 2km time trial).
If not him? The Giants like Laurie's dash and he shapes as a good culture fit as well. They could look at Luke Pedlar here, or fellow Oakleigh prospects Conor Stone and Finlay Macrae if they're still available.
Ht 189cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 22/2/02
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
There's been a late rush on Stone, who has pushed into the minds of clubs early in the draft due to his versatility, upside and character. Stone kicked five goals on debut in the NAB League last year and played in the Chargers' flag as a forward, with scouts remembering his deeds in the finals series. But others see him as a robust half-back and also as a taller midfield option who is yet to blossom. Stone isn't afraid to take a risk and try his luck but usually his decision is the right one.
If not him? Finlay Macrae would be tough to pass up here, but the Pies may also look to deal these picks and move up the board if they can. SA midfielder Caleb Poulter will also be in the mix, while they have been linked to a bid for Brisbane Academy prospect Blake Coleman here as well.
Ht 186cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 13/3/02
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
Macrae averaged 17 disposals a game in the NAB League last year playing mainly off a half-forward flank, and was due for far more time in the midfield in 2020. Everything Macrae does has polish: he can use the ball well on both feet and is also handy when he shifts forward. The younger brother of Western Bulldogs star Jack, Macrae is a very good size for a midfielder and impacts games with his touches. Ran 6:17 minutes in the 2km time trial. The rich would get richer if this one comes off.
If not him? The Tigers can sit pretty and see if Macrae is available. They have been linked as possible bidders on Swans Academy prospect Errol Gulden, while Conor Stone is another who looms as a chance. Max Holmes is a tiny chance if things fall a certain way.
Ht 187cm, Wt 79kg, DOB 20/12/02
From East Fremantle/Western Australia
There are plenty of clubs who are fans of Carroll, with the talented West Australia turning heads with his decision making ability and capacity to dodge and weave through traffic. The midfielder is adept at winning his own disposals – noted by his place atop the colts' competition's contested disposal count – but also can get into space. At his height he also offers a bigger presence than some others around his mark in the pool.
If not him? The Demons would be looking to see if Bailey Laurie is available, while Finlay Macrae would also be wiped off the board if still available at the Dees' pair of picks.
(Matching Melbourne's bid) –
Ht 175cm, Wt 75kg, DOB 18/7/02
From Sydney Academy/Allies
Hard-working, consistent, relentless, skillful and always busy, Gulden is a death by a thousand kicks type of prospect. He has a good motor and just works his way into games to be a regular ball-getter. He doesn't waste his touches and has a steady left foot, and can also play as a small forward, which he showed for the Allies last year and the Swans' Academy. The Swans haven't guaranteed they will match a bid for Gulden but it is considered the likely outcome.
If not him? Sydney hasn't guaranteed it would match the bid for Gulden if it comes in the first round, and the Dees have an interest in him.
Ht 189cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 29/8/02
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
There's always room for a smokey. Holmes would be a genuine surprising inclusion in the top-30, but it is not beyond the realms. The excellent athlete shapes as a real bolter given he has played so little football in the talent pathway, but he put himself on the map with his testing, when he ran 2.8 seconds in the 20-metre sprint and 6:25 in the 2km time trial. He played one game for Sandringham last year having given away an athletics career, with his mother Lee Naylor a former Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
If not him? The Dees have been linked to Holmes for his running power and he would get a look under certain scenarios. Caleb Poulter is another who may be in their thoughts as the first round stretches out.
Ht 183cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 17/5/02
From Glenelg/South Australia
Pedlar has come into first-round contention as a surprise given some injury issues have seen him miss significant periods. But the hard-edged midfielder has shot up for a reason, and it's his competitiveness around the ball, his stoppage work, bullocking approach in traffic, tenacity and toughness and also capacity to push forward and kick a goal with his left foot. Has been likened to Freo's NAB AFL Rising Star Caleb Serong.
If not him? The Giants could place a bid on Connor Downie, with Hawthorn having first option to match it on the Next Generation Academy prospect. If they want to pair him up with close mate Bailey Laurie and rank him in the range, it is not a bad option.
(Matching St Kilda's bid)
Ht 185cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 31/5/02
From Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro
Downie's weapons are his line-breaking running and long left-foot kicking. The Eastern Ranges prospect played last season mainly as a half-back, but had aspirations of being a powerful midfielder and wingman this season in his draft year. He is a player who penetrates: when he has the ball he gains important meterage and can bust through zones. Of Chinese descent, he is eligible to join the Hawks as a Next Generation Academy player.
If not him? The Hawks haven't made a commitment to Downie either way – given it's so close to their second pick at this point they could choose not to match. If St Kilda doesn't bid, Geelong would with its opening pick.
Ht 187cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 17/5/02
From Perth/Western Australia
O'Driscoll has risen through every level he's played, making clubs confident they know what type of player they'll be getting if they select him. He was an All Australian at under-16s level and last year played a critical role in WA's championship team at the under-18 carnival in the midfield. He played for Perth's senior side late in the year and has tested terrifically well for speed (2.93 seconds), agility (8.12 seconds) and 2km time trial (6:23 minutes). O'Driscoll is a competitive player who works himself into the ground.
If not him? The Saints have an interest in WA midfielder Jack Carroll, while Zane Trew could also be contention around this mark. Running option Caleb Poulter may also appeal, along with inside brute Luke Pedlar. Jake Bowey is another in the Saints' range.
Ht 192cm, Wt 79kg, DOB 12/10/02
From Woodville West Torrens/South Australia
With a sweeping left foot, an ability to keep finding the ball and the height of a key position player, Poulter presents as an exciting option for clubs. He pieced together a very consistent season, averaging 25 disposals for Woodville West Torrens' under-18 season with his power and size giving him the advantage over opponents.
If not him? While Luke Pedlar getting through to a later Crows selection would be a handy result for the club, it appears unlikely. Jack Carroll would be looked at if he slips through.
POS: Key forward
Ht 195cm, Wt 81kg, DOB 23/4/02
From Northern Knights/Vic Metro
Another prospect who benefited by the advent of the Vic Metro NAB AFL Draft Combine late in the year. Kolar shot the lights out with his performance, with the versatile tall completing a rare double of finishing third in the 2km time trial (6:03 minutes) and also running the 20 metre sprint in a (wind assisted) time of 2.87 seconds. Although it would be a pick based on potential rather than production, Kolar's athletic make-up will appeal to some clubs.
If not him? Watch for one of these picks to be traded by the Crows on the night.
Ht 175cm, Wt 67kg, DOB 23/5/02
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
Bowey is one of the better kicks in the draft, with his pinpoint passing and brilliant skills putting him into the frame as a second-round selection. The Sandringham Dragons small can be used on a wing or in attack, and he is a smart player. Bowey's size will count against him for some clubs but he packs some punch with his key attributes. Is the son of former Saints cult hero Brett Bowey.
If not him? If Jack Carroll was there at this pick the Lions would take a very strong look at the West Australian. Don't be surprised if this selection is a little left-field.
Ht 202cm, Wt 91kg, DOB 25/7/02
From South Fremantle/Western Australia
Neale is a raw ruckman who has caught the eye of clubs given his athletic abilities for a tall prospect. The 18-year-old has proven his running credentials – he clocked in at 3.04 seconds over 20 metres and 6:35 minutes in the 2km at the Combine – and also has a good vertical leap. Neale will be given time to develop physically but possesses some AFL qualities.
If not him? Victorian key forward Matt Allison is a chance at this pick for the Giants. The Calder Cannons tall is athletic and tested well at the Combine.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE LATER PICKS?
This year the top 30 of the draft will account for more than 50 per cent of the draft pool. But there are some clubs who will be starting their night in the back half of proceedings.
Here are the whispers for picks after the first 30. We have listed every pick in the official AFL draft order and also predicted how many selections each club plans to use, with the smallest total in history expected.
In contrast to the Phantom Draft top 30, where the order is adjusted based on potential Academy bids, the below pick numbers are listed according to the official order.
Picks: 1, 9, 22, 23, 40, 80, 97, 109 (likely to use four selections)
Adelaide's night might be done inside the first 30 selections, with plenty of activity at the top end for recruiting boss Hamish Ogilvie. But stand by for some potential pick swaps. The club has looked at moving up the order by packaging its two second-round picks, and is also keen to see if it can move one of them out into next year's draft for a future second-round selection. Adelaide is hopeful that Next Generation Academy talents Tariek Newchurch, an exciting small forward, and James Borlase, a strong marking key utility, get through to be category B rookies. If the Crows do make a trade and end up using pick No.40 as their fourth and last choice, then Tasmanian swingman Jackson Callow could come into contention.
Picks: 25, 53, 58, 69, 70, 93 (likely to use three or four selections)
Brisbane's plans for later in the draft will be dependent on how early a bid for Blake Coleman comes. The Lions could still shift their picks back down the order and match with later picks if a bid comes early, while they have been offering deals to land a future first-round pick as well. They are likely to list Carter Michael, another Academy product with speed and a booming long kick, while they have shown an interest in adding to their ruck stocks, with Henry Walsh, the younger brother of Carlton's Sam, on the radar. Hard-running country prospect Harry Sharp is another who may be in contention late, while mature-aged half-back Mitch Duval might be in the mix to help fill the departures of Alex Witherden and Mitch Hinge.
Picks: 31, 38, 78, 101, 112, 120 (likely to use two selections)
Having landed Adam Saad in a busy Trade Period, the Blues won't start their draft night until the 30s. At that point they could look at South Australian mature-ager Jacob Wehr, with the Blues having an interest in the superb-kicking 22-year-old who featured in Woodville West Torrens' premiership this season. The club has also spent some time on Wehr's teammate James Rowe, a small forward who led the SANFL goalkicking this year. The Blues could place a bid on Swans Academy prospect Errol Gulden in the chance he gets that far, but won't be grabbing any of their available father-sons this season. Long-kicking midfielder Caleb Poulter would be a real contender if still on the board at 31.
Picks: 14, 16, 65, 66, 68, 75, 91, 105, 116, 122 (likely to use six selections)
With the biggest hand in the draft, the Pies are in for a busy night as they potentially use six picks. They have been discussing pick swaps with multiple clubs as well, with Collingwood keen to trade its future first-round pick to attain another top selection for this intake – or in a package to move up the order. One to keep an eye on later in proceedings is Kaine Baldwin, who is coming off back-to-back knee reconstructions but was a star at under-16s level for South Australia. If they don't nab talls early, Tasmanian big man Jackson Callow is worth a look later on.
Picks: 6, 7, 8, 44, 77, 85, 87, 99 (likely to use four or five selections)
After their swag of early selections, the Bombers also have some prospects they're eyeing later on. They have first access to Cody Brand, a tall defender, and Josh Eyre, a marking key forward, under Next Generation Academy rules. Eyre impressed scouts in training last week and could be a late mover up the board which would stretch the Bombers for points, while a bid could come on Brand somewhere from 30 onwards. Essendon has kept tabs on former Eagle Alec Waterman this year, as the son of club great Chris has reformed into a powerful medium forward, while Will Papley, younger brother of Swans star Tom, has also flagged their attention but could be more of a rookie option.
Picks: 12, 32, 55, 56, 63, 100, 111, 119 (likely to use four selections)
The Dockers are hoping they can get their second pick in before a bid comes for one of their Next Generation Academy prospects – Brandon Walker and Joel Western. The pair are evenly rated by most clubs somewhere in the second round, with running half-back Walker considered the most likely to have his name called first before small midfielder Western. Chris Walker, Brandon's twin brother, is more in the rookie range. Coach Justin Longmuir has spoken about wanting more outside runners, so would the Dockers consider local Isiah Winder with their second choice? The Dockers have also looked at Harry Sharp, who blitzed the 2km time trial at the Combine with a record run.
Picks: 27, 51, 95, 107, 117 (likely to use one or two selections)
The Cats traded up to pick 27 in a deal with Gold Coast last week, improving their draft position significantly. But it may still be the only selection they use at the draft, with the club to weigh up on the night whether they stop at that point or use a second. There's a few who will be in their zone, including athletic but raw ruckman Shannon Neale from Western Australia, injured forward Kaine Baldwin and silky midfielder Isiah Winder. Carter Michael, a quick defender from the Lions Academy, could also attract some interest. Ollie Lord, who attended Geelong Grammar and whose grandfather Alistair is a Cats great, is another who may be looked at late or as a rookie.
Picks: 5, 76, 84 (will use one selection)
The Suns will tap out of the draft after their first pick, with the club trading out its two second-round picks prior to the draft due to their full list. Gold Coast can afford to use only one live pick at this year's draft given it will pre-list Alex Davies and Joel Jeffrey as Academy selections under AFL rules, while Academy pair Hewago Paul Oea – a livewire forward from Papua New Guinea – and attacking half-back Rhys Nicholls will land as rookies.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
Picks: 10, 13, 15, 20, 26, 74, 88, 102, 113, 121 (likely to use five selections)
With a very good hand in this year's draft, nearly all of the Giants' work will be done early. But recruiting manager Adrian Caruso and his team have also been keeping across players late in the mix who could be in contention as rookies. Athletic tall defender Jaidyn Hunter and small forward Jack Ginnivan could be in the running as rookies. The Giants have access to Academy product Josh Green, the younger brother of midfielder Tom, and he would be in consideration as a rookie if he is available then.
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Picks: 4, 24, 45, 46, 49, 72 (likely to use four selections)
Where the bid comes for NGA prospect Connor Downie will shape the Hawks' fortunes after their prized pick four. If it falls just after their second selection, which they'll have their fingers crossed about, matching the bid would eat up their next couple of picks and push them back. Having missed out on a ruckman during the Trade Period, they have shown an interest in Max Heath, the late-blooming big man from Victoria, while Jack Avery, a tall defender from Western Australia, may also be in considerations. If athletic prospect Max Holmes slips into the 40s, he'd be a strong chance.
Picks: 18, 19, 28, 50, 89, 103, 114 (likely to use three selections)
The Dees will use three picks at the draft, but where their third selection actually is remains in play. Melbourne is another club who is open to offload its second-round pick in exchange for a future pick if it can find a taker, which would mean they grab their third player at No.50. They have shown some interest in Sandringham Dragons small Jake Bowey, as well as athletic tall Fraser Rosman, who blew away the testing with his speed and endurance mix and can play on the wing. Another outside option who they could think about is Gippsland's Ryan Angwin, while leaping tall Jaidyn Hunter attracted some investigation through the year.
Picks: 2, 11, 30, 39, 71, 81, 98, 110, 118 (likely to use four or five selections)
North has been on the hunt for another first-round pick for this year, with the Roos targeting clubs with picks in the backend of the top-20 to see if they could swap their future second-round pick for another early slot in 2020. So far it looks unlikely to happen but it is one to keep an eye on. They could look at speedy wingman Ryan Angwin later on in the draft, and his run and carry could appeal. Geelong Falcons ball-getter Charlie Lazzarro is another who could feature as a second-half-of-the-draft consideration.
Picks: 35, 47, 57, 59, 73, 94 (likely to use two or three selections)
After matching a bid early for Jones, the Power aren't expected to be a very active participant in this year's draft. The club has nominated Taj Schofield as a father-son rookie, which means they cannot match a bid for him in the national draft but can automatically grab him as a rookie if he's available. Alternatively, they could use their last national pick to use on him themselves. They will consider on the night whether to use two selections or three, with a local talent Kaine Baldwin potentially in the mix late, while Northern Knights key forward Liam McMahon has also attracted some interest. They are considering selecting former Magpie Tyson Goldsack as a rookie on Thursday.
Picks: 17, 36, 61, 79, 96, 108 (likely to use two or three selections)
The Tigers will be a club to keep an eye on with their picks. They could still slide out of the first round and trade into the future depending which players are available. If they hold their selections, Richmond will weigh up whether to use one or two more after the first-rounder. They will snap up father-son pick Maurice Rioli jnr with their last pick if no bid comes for the talented youngster, while the Tigers have also had a look at Tariek Newchurch, who is tied to Adelaide's Next Generation Academy. Richmond hasn't been afraid to dip into rival Academies before. Wingman Ryan Angwin is another potential option, while Max Holmes will be considered in the chance he's available in the 30s. The Tigers were interested in adding to their ruck division during the Trade Period, and Queenslander Samson Ryan could be a shot late.
Picks: 21, 64, 67, 74, 92, 106 (likely to use two selections)
St Kilda is seeing if it can edge up the order with its first-round pick, but it doesn't have many chips to make a move happen. Wherever it lands, it is likely the Saints only use one more selection for the draft after their pick at the end of the first round. That will come right at the back end of proceedings, although No.64 is likely to push in multiple positions after bids are matched in the fluid draft order. It is a long way back at that stage of the draft, but Malachy Carruthers will come into clubs' thoughts in the latter stages and would present St Kilda with a skilful kicker out of the backline. Subiaco's Nick Martin, a medium goalkicker, could also be around that stage of the draft.
Picks: 3, 34, 37, 43, 48, 60, 82 (likely to use three selections)
All eyes are on what the Swans do at pick No.3 – their earliest pick at the draft outside of an Academy pick since 1998. But then the competition will also be seeing where bids come for Academy pair Campbell and Gulden. Sydney is preparing to use three selections so the very strong likelihood is that they will grab their top pick and then match bids for the next pair to round out their night. They have looked at bringing in a young ruck option, with Max Heath a prospect who has garnered interest, but their picks situation makes that unlikely.
Picks: 62, 86, 90, 104, 115 (likely to use one or two picks)
No club starts with the club trading out of this year's pool to focus on 2021. They are another club who will assess on the night whether they use just one pick or push it to two, and had also looked at trading back into the top-30 having had some interest in the Suns' pick 27. If they hold their position, the compressed nature of the draft will see pick 62 come in potentially more than 10 spots. That stage they could look at Tyler Brockman, a local small forward with speed and sharp skills, while they also don't mind Calder Cannons key forward Matthew Allison but he could be gone by the time they start. The Eagles also have nominated Jamison Ugle as a Next Generation Academy player, but will only be allowed to match a bid for him if it comes from pick 41 onwards.
Picks: 29, 33, 41, 42, 52, 54 (likely to use two picks)
After matching a bid for Jamarra Ugle-Hagan at the top, the Bulldogs' second – and likely last – selection for the national draft will be right towards the back. They have access to Cody Raak, a key defender who is part of their Next Generation Academy, and father-son prospect Ewan MacPherson, the son of Steve and brother of Gold Coast's Darcy, but both of those are better chances as rookies, with MacPherson nominated as a father-son rookie, meaning the Dogs can't match a bid for him in the national intake. Would 21-year-old James Rowe get a look-in as a small forward? He has some suitors.