Hopper tops Champion Data Draft pool

Jacob Hopper has topped Champion Data's Draft rankings.

Leeton’s Jacob Hopper has been ranked the top Draft Prospect in this year’s crop by stats gurus Champion Data, with two NSW/ACT RAMS teammates joining the 18-year-old in the top ten.

It was a RAMS quinella, with North Shore gun Callum Mills taking second spot, followed by 2015 midfield revelation Matthew Kennedy.

Hopper, who has drawn comparisons to Adelaide superstar Patrick Dangerfield, averaged 16 contested possessions this year — one more than Dangerfield in his final Crows season — gaining 557m per game, rated elite for a midfielder and similar to the Cats recruit.

Hopper can also impact the scoreboard, averaging one goal and nine score involvements.

Mills averaged a ridiculous 175 SuperCoach points at under-16 level in 2013. Last year he averaged 21 disposals, five tackles and five clearances as a bottom-age player and showed his ball-winning ability at senior level in the NEAFL.

Mills averaged 30 disposals, 12 contested possessions, four clearances, four tackles and 127 SuperCoach points in his six matches but injuries kept him to just three NEAFL appearances this year.

Like Hopper, Kennedy can also win a mountain of the football, use it cleanly, and contribute on the scoreboard; averaging around a goal a game throughout a break out TAC Cup campaign.


If Champion Data was picking from the schoolyard, this is how next Tuesday’s national draft would look.

1. Jacob Hopper (186cm, 82kg midfielder) North Ballarat Rebels

No. 1 player at championships for contested footy, clearances and third for metres gained. Think Patrick Dangerfield.

SAM LANDSBERGER SAYS: Strong onballer will join GWS (as an academy selection) where he will swiftly replace Adam Treloar in the best 22.

2. Callum Mills (188cm, 80kg midfielder) North Shore (Sydney academy)

Averaged 30 disposals, 12 contested possessions, five inside-50s and four clearances in the NEAFL in 2014 as a bottom-age gem.

SAM SAYS: A year after stealing Isaac Heeney the Swans will pay a fair price for academy gun Mills, with Melbourne set to bid pick No.3.

North Shore product Callum Mills. Image: Sam Canavan.

North Shore product Callum Mills. Image: Sam Canavan.

3. Josh Schache (199cm, 100kg key forward) Murray Bushrangers

Haul of 24 goals at the championships is the greatest ever. Wins the ball in the air and on the ground.

SAM SAYS: Lock him in as the No. 2 pick to Brisbane Lions, relieving their full-forward woes. Deadly set-shot.

4. Jacob Weitering (195cm, 93kg key defender) Dandenong Stingrays

Averaged a massive nine intercept possessions and four intercept marks in the TAC Cup — numbers unheard of at AFL level.

SAM SAYS: Harry Taylor-like defender set to join Carlton as the No. 1 pick. Huge shock he’s No. 4 here.

5. Darcy Parish (181cm, 74kg midfielder) Geelong Falcons

Rated elite for metres gained and above average for contested and uncontested possessions.

SAM SAYS: Inside-outside midfield jet likely to join Melbourne or Essendon as a top-five pick.

6. Aaron Francis (191cm, 92kg utility) West Adelaide

Averaged almost five intercept marks per game for South Australia — ranked No. 1 — and appears suited to defence.

SAM SAYS: Questions on his running but shades of Luke Hodge and should go top 10, perhaps to Carlton or Adelaide.

7. Ben Keays (185cm, 83kg midfielder) Redlands (Brisbane academy)

Ball magnet who hits the scoreboard. Ranked No. 2 for disposals at the championships with pinpoint kicking.

SAM SAYS: Lions fan who should command a first-round bid but will join the Gabba as an academy pick. Simon Black style.

8. Ryan Burton (191cm, 88kg key forward) North Adelaide

If he didn’t miss 2015 he could have been a top-three pick. Averaged three goals and 105 SuperCoach points as a bottom-age player for South Australia in 2014.

SAM SAYS: Wants to evolve into a Nat Fyfe-like midfielder but how far will that horrific knee injury push him down the order?

9. Matthew Kennedy (187cm, 88kg midfielder) Collingullie (GWS academy)

On TAC Cup numbers he’s an elite midfielder who hits the scoreboard, kicking more than one goal per game.

SAM SAYS: Another academy ripper certain to join the Giants. Some clubs rate him above Hopper and Mills.

10. Eric Hipwood (202cm, 84kg swingman) Aspley (Brisbane academy)

The No. 1 ranked key defender at the championships, leading disposals and metres gained.

SAM SAYS: Gangly left-footer who will join the Lions as an academy player. Likely to be bid on before Keays. Kicked four goals in one quarter for Queensland.

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