2020 NAB AFL Draft Preview – AFL NSW/ACT
With the 2020 NAB AFL Draft set to take place tomorrow night, we take a look at the top AFL NSW/ACT prospects vying for a spot on an AFL list for the 2021 season.
Campbell, who is tied to the Sydney Swans Academy, looms as a possible top-10 pick at this year’s NAB AFL Draft.
The 18-year-old is lightning quick, boasts a damaging left-foot kick, and provides great balance through midfield while also doubling as a flanker up either end.
Campbell’s undeniable talent was on show on the morning of last year’s AFL Grand Final, when he booted three goals from 14 disposals to be best afield in the NAB All Stars ‘Futures’ game.
Sydney, who will get first call on Campbell, face the possibility of having to match a top-10 bid from a rival club for the Pennant Hills junior.
Campbell’s partner-in-crime, Gulden is described as a hard working and smart midfielder capable of pushing forward and damaging the scoreboard.
Standing at 172cm, the diminutive speedster represented Australia’s under-17 side in an Anzac Day clash with New Zealand in April last year, and was the best and fairest player in Division Two of the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships in 2018.
Gulden was also best afield for UNSW-Eastern Suburbs in last year’s AFL Sydney Premier Division Grand Final.
Similar to Campbell, Sydney will get first call on Gulden as an Academy listed player.
Brother of GIANTS midfielder Tom, Josh shares a lot of physical traits with his brother but is more of a key position type who can play around the ground.
In 2019, Green played four games in the NAB League Academy Series, averaging 10 disposals and 3.3 marks predominantly playing in the forward half.
Green is arguably the GIANTS’ top draft prospect for 2020 and could find himself playing alongside his brother in 2021.
Byrne, a product of the Murray Bushrangers, is a classy half-back or outside midfielder who was part of the GIANTS’ Academy before his transition to the Bushrangers program, but featured for GWS as part of this year’s Academy Series.
In 2019, Byrne impressed throughout his 16 NAB League outings as an efficient forward runner from defence, who could also push up onto a wing or up forward.
The 18-year-old’s 2019 form was good enough to warrant a spot in the Allies squad, despite not cracking through for a berth in the Under 18 championships.
Byrne has his sights set on making half-back his own at all levels, while also striving to shift into midfield.
In 2017 Sam Fisher was delisted by the Sydney Swans without playing a game, but the now 22-year-old is determined to earn a second chance at the elite level.
The former GIANTS Academy product joined Swan Districts in the WAFL earlier this year on the back of his time with the Sydney Swans and more recently with the Northern Blues in the VFL.
Averaging 26.5 disposals this season, Fisher was named in the WAFL Team of the Year and became the first winner of the Sandover Medal from Swan Districts since Andrew Krakouer’s brilliant 2010 season that saw him subsequently drafted by Collingwood.
Fisher will aim to follow Marlion Pickett, Tim Kelly and Liam Ryan as a mature-aged players recently drafted out of the WAFL.
Highmore’s first SANFL season out of the NEAFL has seen him identified as one of the likeliest mature-age options from across Australia to find a home in the draft this year.
Having played 68 games in the NEAFL competition for Eastlake, Canberra and the GIANTS, Highmore signed with the South Adelaide Panthers earlier this year and wasted no time making an impression in his first SANFL season.
The 194cm defender starred for the Panthers early this season, leading the competition for marks before badly injuring his ankle in Round 7.
The former GIANTS Academy and Allies squad member returned in time for South Adelaide’s finals campaign and attended the National Draft Combine in South Australia last month.
Considered one of the leading GIANTS’ Academy players in this year’s pool, the Canberra born midfielder is clean and smart with the ball in hand.
The 18-year-old suffered a hip injury prohibiting him from testing at the NAB AFL Draft Combine last month but will no doubt attract interest and could join fellow Marist College Canberra product Tom Green at the GIANTS next year.
Playing predominantly as a centre half-back while still rucking when required, Driscoll’s intercept marking and versatility for his size are his strengths.
The GIANTS Academy product could join Brisbane’s Harris Andrews, Docker Alex Pearce and St Kilda’s Jake Carlisle in the AFL’s 200cm-plus defensive ranks if drafted.
A hard working forward midfield type who is diligent in his preparation, Rossman has the ability to extract the ball from congestion, provide breakaway from stoppages and also hit the scoreboard.
Rossman attended the NSW State Draft Combine late last month but injury limited the 18-year-old in testing.
Similar to Braden Campbell and Errol Gulden, Sydney will get first call on Rossman as an Academy listed player.
Sheather played in all sorts of positions for the NSW/ACT Rams in 2019 and looked comfortable down back.
The 18-year-old is capable of playing well above his 185cm height given his strong frame, and has clean hands overhead.
A creative player who reads the game well, Pfrengle is capable of playing across the ground. The 17-year-old is extremely athletic for his size and is good with ball in hand.
A player who needs only a few touches or moments to catch the eye, Pfrengle attended the NAB AFL Draft Combine in Sydney last month and could attract plenty of attention come draft night.
The diminutive over-ager was thrown right into the cut and thrust of the midfield and hardly looked out of place playing for the GIANTS Academy this year.
Grant’s tenacity at ground level, defensive pressure and pace saw him invited to the NAB AFL Draft Combine last month where he finished second behind Errol Gulden in the 2km time trial, third in the standing vertical jump and first in the agility testing.
The 19-year-old capped off a brilliant 2020 campaign with a Premiership for the Queanbeyan Tigers in the AFL Canberra competition.
Another over-ager to make his mark this year was Sydney Swans Academy product Sam Thorne.
The 19-year-old won the Swans Academy MVP Award in 2019 and represented the Allies in the NAB Under-18 National Championships.
Capable of playing in both the midfield and defence, Thorne possesses a tireless work ethic and has elite skills by hand and foot.
Roseby works tirelessly in the midfield and is a very tough competitor.
The Sydney Swans Academy product is clean with the ball in hand, especially below the knees and his endurance and work-rate are second to none.
Reed Van Huisstede
Hailing from the NSW Central Coast, Sydney Swans Academy graduate Reed van Huisstede is a key defender with enormous promise and courageous in the air.
The youngster played junior football with Newcastle City Blues and made his NEAFL debut for Sydney in 2018.
Last year, van Huisstede played NAB League with the Swans Academy and also had a taste of NEAFL finals football.
A former rugby union player, McAndrew is a developing ruckman who only recently entered the Sydney Swans Academy program and was mentored by former Swans player and ruck coaching guru Steve Taubert.
Taubert, Sydney’s senior ruck coach from 1999 to 2017, transformed Canadian rugby player Mike Pyke into a premiership winning ruckman for the Swans, so keep an eye out on McAndrew’s development.
QBE Sydney Swans Academy product Nick Brewer has tidy skills, is lightning-quick and has an outstanding aerobic capacity, making him a genuine threat on a wing or at half-back.
The youngster hails from junior club St Ives and the North Shore Bombers, and uses ball well with a penetrating left foot.
QBE Sydney Swans Academy graduate Sam Gaden is a promising ruckman and key-position player.
The 195-centimetre, 94-kilogram young gun played junior football with East Sydney before moving on to the UNSW-ES Bulldogs.
It was a packed 2019 campaign for Gaden, who represented the Swans Academy in the NAB League, the Allies in the NAB AFL National Championships, and played five games in the NEAFL.
Godfrey Okerenyang is a developing athletic type who has genuine speed and returned impressive results at NSW/ACT’s AFL Draft Combine last month.
The Coolamon product famously claimed a thrilling victory in the 2018 Grand Final Sprint, and could attract interest.
Another product from the Queanbeyan Tigers in Canberra, Frost tested at the NAB AFL Draft Combine last month and captained the GIANTS in the Academy series this year.
When is the NAB AFL Draft?
This season’s NAB AFL Draft will be held on Wednesday, December 9. You can watch each pick live as it happens throughout the night on AFL.com.au, the AFL Live Official App and Fox Footy.
How will the NAB AFL Draft operate?
This year’s NAB AFL Draft will be a one-night, virtual event in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite suggestions it could be held in a similar format to the Brownlow Medal, with players separated in different locations across the country, it will instead follow a similar format to October’s NAB AFLW Draft that was held entirely online.
As was the case throughout the recent Trade Period, the AFL Review Centre (ARC) will be central to live trading and selections being submitted, with draftees likely to be involved in the broadcast of the event via video links.
The Pre-Season and Rookie drafts will be held the following day, on Thursday, December 10.