AFL Draft Preview – Who are NSW/ACT’s Top Prospects?

With the 2019 NAB AFL Draft to take place at Marvel Stadium later this month, we take a look at the top AFL NSW/ACT prospects vying for a spot on an AFL list for the 2020 season.

Tom Green

Considered one of the leading Academy players in this year’s pool, Tom Green is a tough and strong ball-winner who has been likened to Carlton superstar Patrick Cripps. His performances for the Allies, leading his side in the midfield against highly rated stars each game, and his consistency for the GWS Academy team, adds weight to his efforts. The 18-year-old is likely to attract a very early bid in the draft, which the GIANTS will have the option to match.

Liam Delahunty

Fellow GIANTS young gun Liam Delahunty is a talented 192cm utility with elite speed, great vertical leap and sticky hands who uses the ball well. The 18-year-old has been identified as a top prospect since the Under-16 Championships when he took out the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award from the Division Two series in 2017. Delahunty has always been athletically gifted, good overhead and a reliable kick which makes him a promising prospect.

Cooper Sharman

Relocating from Leeton to Melbourne earlier this year Cooper Sharman finished with 20 disposals, five marks and a goal in his Oakleigh Chargers debut, announcing himself as a genuine draft prospect. Being one of only two overagers to receive a National Draft Combine invite, Sharman does have previous experience in an elite system, being part of the GIANTS Academy before moving to Victoria.

Matt McGrory

After spending a small portion of his pre-season with the GWS GIANTS, Gungahlin Jets product Matt McGory turned heads when he crossed the finish line first in the GIANTS’ two kilometre time trial earlier this year. A GIANTS Academy member, McGory has been likened to GWS midfielder Lachie Whitfield, with the former cross country runner possessing an elite running capacity.

James Peatling

A creative player who reads the game well, James Peatling played his junior football at Parramatta Lions, Westbrook and Pennant Hills and has come along in leaps and bounds in the past few years. The Western Sydney product averaged 22 disposals and 4.5 clearances for the GIANTS in this year’s NAB League, rewarded for his good form with selection in the Allies squad. The 18-year-old was awarded the NEAFL’s Round 7 Rising Star nomination, his second nomination in as many seasons, debuting at NEAFL level back in 2017 when he was just 16.

Hamish Ellem

Playing his junior football for the Grafton Tigers, Hamish Ellem moved to Sydney at the start of 2018 where he played for the Manly Warringah Wolves and continued his development as a member of the Sydney Swans Academy. Ellem played in the NEAFL competition for the Swans this season, also representing the Allies at the Under 18 National Championships.

Luke Parks

Also a member of the Sydney Swans Academy, Luke Parks’ on-field strengths are his spoils, one-on-one contests and willingness to put his body on the line when it counts. The 18-year-old was selected in the elite national AFL Academy program to train alongside the best players in the country earlier this year and represented the Allies at the Under 18 National Championships.

Sam Fisher

The former Canberra Demon was drafted by the Sydney Swans in 2016, spending a year on the clubs rookie list before being delisted in 2017. From there, Fisher joined Carlton’s affiliate side the Northern Blues and could hardly have been more impressive in his two seasons in the VFL. The 21-year-old has the ability to extract the ball from congestion, provide breakaway from stoppages and also hit the scoreboard.

Angus Baker

Canberra Demons defender Angus Baker was crowned the NEAFL’s Rising Star winner after taking the competition by storm in season 2019. The 21-year-old was among the competition leaders all season for his match-winning ability, highlighted with being ranked No.1 in the league for Champion Data ranking points and second for disposals. Named among the Demons’ best 14 times from 17 games, Baker averaged 30 disposals, seven marks and five rebound 50s this season. A former Swans Academy member, the talented defender has had AFL clubs visit his home in Canberra this year, a promising sign for the overage draft hopeful.

Ben Kelly

The Murray Bushrangers brought Ben Kelly back for the NAB League this season as a 19-year-old – and the results were highly promising. Playing predominantly as a centre half-back before switching into the ruck the last two seasons, the Albury product returned to his defensive roots in 2019 while still rucking when required. Kelly’s intercept marking and blazing speed for his size are his strengths and if he’s drafted he could join Brisbane’s Harris Andrews, Docker Alex Pearce and St Kilda’s Jake Carlisle in the AFL’s 200cm-plus defensive ranks.

Tom Highmore

A rising star for a number of years, Canberra Demons defender Tom Highmore earned his place among the NEAFL’s elite this year where his marking prowess and ball-winning ability were on show. The former GIANTS Academy and Allies squad member was ranked third in the competition for intercepts and second for marks, and was named in his side’s best 10 times whilst averaging 24 disposals, nine marks, and five rebound 50s per game. Making his NEAFL debut at just 16, Highmore claimed Canberra’s Players’ Player Award for the second consecutive year in 2019 and was named in the NEAFL’s Team of the Year for the first time in his career.

Jake Bartholomaeus

Sydney University midfielder Jake Bartholomaeus conquered all to be crowned the 2019 NEAFL Most Valuable Player. A former Sydney Swans Academy member, Bartholomaeus flourished as part of a new-look Students squad in 2019, transforming from a NEAFL Rising Star nominee in 2018 to earn the competition’s highest individual honour 12 months later. Bartholomaeus averaged 27 disposals and six clearances per game and was ranked in the top five in the league for total disposals, clearances, tackles, contested possessions and clearances.

Jeremy Lucas

A hard-running forward from Ardlethan, a small town an hour and a half from Wagga Wagga, Jeremy Lucas impressed on the track when he spent two weeks training with the GWS GIANTS last year. Again part of the GIANTS Academy in 2019, the 19-year-old is teammates with fellow draft hopeful Cooper Sharman, with the pair playing vital roles in the Oakleigh Chargers premiership win earlier this year.

Will Chandler

Son of former North Melbourne player Jeff Chandler, Will is described as a hard working small forward that’s good with the ball in hand. The 18-year-old was invited to the State Combine last month after impressing with the Murray Bushrangers and is capable of damaging the scoreboard.

2019 NAB AFL Draft – All you need to know:

2019 NAB AFL Draft – Round 1

When: Wednesday, November 27, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Where: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
TV: Fox Footy (Channel 504) Live
Streaming: AFL Live Official App

2019 NAB AFL Draft – Round 2 onwards

When: Thursday, November 28, 7:00pm
Where: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
TV: Fox Footy (Channel 504) Live
Streaming: AFL Live Official App

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