AFL Draft Wrap: Is Jack Lukosius the best draft prospect this decade?

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Each week, ESPN.com.au AFL draft expert Chris Doerre casts his eye over the country's best junior footballers to give readers an early insight into the next generation of AFL stars.

As well as attending live games, Doerre pores through match vision, analyses the stats and talks to industry sources to ensure he can offer the most insightful draft analysis.

Aside from the weekly wraps, Doerre will also unveil his power rankings at the end of each month and as we get closer to November's national draft, Doerre will also predict who goes where with his annual phantom draft.

Player Focus

There is a new prototype key forward and he may be the first player chosen in this year's AFL Draft. Destined for greatness, Woodville-West Torrens star Jack Lukosius -- who kicked four goals last year on SANFL debut -- is arguably the best draft prospect to come through the junior ranks in the past 10 years.

Lukosius managed a best-on-ground performance for South Australia in their convincing 89-point thrashing of Western Australia. With 10 of his 14 kicks effective, Lukosius amassed 17 disposals, 14 marks (three contested), four goals and three score assists in another dominant performance.

Lukosius' running is his first point of difference. He leads from the forward 50m all the way down the wings and half-back flanks. When followed up the field, he beats his opponent back into the forward 50m to provide a target and take an uncontested mark. This forces opponents to hang back and let Lukosius take easy uncontested marks, or force someone else to pick him up as he passes the centre square. With Lukosius, he not only possesses elite endurance, but also has the speed on the lead to create separation.

His kicking, vision and decision making is also elite. Lukosius regularly spots out targets others won't and places his kicks out in front of teammates to run onto. What makes Lukosius' marks up the field so valuable is he typically moves the ball on quickly. When he holds onto it for more than a few seconds, he will often spot out a meaningful target up the field other players just wouldn't notice.

The way Lukosius reads the ball in flight and the timing of his leads is also of a special standard. In contested situations, Lukosius is consistently found at the drop of the ball. This happened twice against Western Australia and each time it had you questioning why no one else was standing where Lukosius was. It is also impressive seeing how early Lukosius reads the ball in flight, enabling him to time his leads to perfection.

Where further growth can come from the 194cm key forward is in his marking. On two occasions, it was on the second juggle that he took the mark. As he normally creates so much separation on the lead and burns opponents off continually throughout matches, he can get away with it, but if he wishes to develop into the sweeter kicking Nick Riewoldt he threatens to develop into, he will need to become a consistent one grab mark.


For Dandenong, in their convincing win against Sandringham, Riley Bowman was a standout. The 198cm, 82kg, ruckman impressed with his mobility and contested marking. Bowman managed 15 disposals, five marks (three contested), 22 hitouts, two goals and two score assists.

Demonstrating spectacular speed, outside runner Jai Taylor bolted several times with ball-in-hand for Dandenong in their win. The 187cm, 71kg, wingman gathered 23 disposals, 10 contested possessions, five marks (one contested), nine tackles, six inside 50s and two score assists.

Intercepting effectively down back, winning his one-on-one contests and impressing with his agility and evasiveness, Matthew Gahan was named Dandenong's best player. The 185cm, 79kg, defender contributed 19 disposals, seven marks (two contested) and six rebound 50s.

Impressing with his intercept marking down back and in one-on-one situations, underage key position prospect Tyler Watts was Sandringham's best player. The 195cm, 86kg, key defender posted 15 disposals and nine marks (one contested).

For the third time in each of their past three matches, Bailey Beck was again Gippsland's best player. In an effort that will see his draft stocks rise, the 182cm, 71kg, athletic defender secured 20 disposals, seven marks (two contested), five inside 50s and one goal. Taking two high-flying marks and hurting the opposition with his kicking, Beck is a prospect on the rise.

Geelong's best in a loss was Blake Schlensog. The next generation academy prospect from Geelong secured 21 disposals, eight marks (one contested), 12 hitouts and five inside 50s. Schlensog's involvement around the ground and pushing back behind the ball to take intercept marks was important for the Falcons.

Overager, Mitch Podhajski for Calder in their loss to Greater Western Victoria was prolific. The tall midfielder amassed 30 disposals, 10 marks, 12 tackles, six inside 50s, two goals and three score assists.

Threatening to take over the game, potential first round choice, Curtis Taylor posted 29 disposals, 12 contested possessions, 10 marks (two contested) and nine inside 50s. Taylor who is normally a classy finisher around front of goal was wayward in his kicking with five behinds.

For Eastern in win against Northern, Kyle Quirk was prolific through the midfield. The 190cm, 77kg, midfielder accumulated 39 disposals, 19 contested possessions, nine tackles and 11 clearances.


Requiring recognition, ex-Docker key defender Sam Collins has enjoyed a purple patch over his last five matches and is one of the in-form state league players. Collins has taken a staggering 62 marks from his past five matches, not dropping below 11 marks a game during that period.

South Australia vs. Western Australia Under-18 trial

Leading the way through the midfield for South Australia, Central Districts midfielder Jackson Hately starred at stoppages and was busy around the ground providing a link-up option. The powerful ball winner enhanced his draft stocks, amassing 28 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six tackles, 10 clearances, five inside 50s and one goal.

South Australian captain, Norwood's Luke Valente, a 186cm, 80kg midfielder, shared the midfield load and was prolific. The ball winning midfielder secured 26 disposals, nine contested possessions, seven clearances, five inside 50s, one goal and two score assists. His kicking was a highlight with 11 of his 13 kicks effective.

Showing his full array of tricks, West Adelaide forward Izak Rankine was a standout. He showed off his speed, agility and evasiveness. Rankine manoeuvred around opponents like they were traffic cones and made everyone else look like they were going at half speed. His ground-ball pickups on the move were freakish and his kicking, speed of his decision making and vision also stood out. Rankine produced 14 disposals, five inside 50s, one goal, two score assists while eight of his 12 kicks were effective.

Quiet after half time with only two disposals, Thomas Sparrow was arguably per possession as impactful as anyone on the field. The South Adelaide, 182cm, 81kg, midfielder secured 12 disposals, 10 contested possessions, six tackles and eight clearances. The dynamic ball winner's power was particularly notable. He won the contested ball, sidestepped opponents and burst away from the stoppage or received the ball on the move and broke tackles on the move at high speed. Sparrow not surprisingly has featured in South Adelaide's bests in each of his four matches and will be a must-watch prospect for the upcoming Under-18 Championships, possessing Patrick Dangerfield-like traits.

Winning the ball effectively through the midfield and taking several intercept marks, Perth midfielder, Luke English was Western Australia's best midfielder. The prolific ball winner amassed 25 disposals, 10 contested possessions, seven marks (one contested), six tackles, five clearances, seven inside 50s and one goal. The critique of English's game was his kicking which was sloppy with only six of his 16 kicks effective.

Generating an ascendency at ruck contests, underage ruckman, Luke Jackson was named Western Australia's best. The 196cm, 90kg, ruckman secured 15 disposals, 13 contested possessions, and 29 hitouts. His follow-up work, often winning the ball himself after the ruck contests, and his contested marking was promising. Possessing his leap, ground ball winning and contested marking, he possesses attributes that suggest he could develop in several other positions.



In his first reserves opportunity, Brisbane father-son prospect Casey Voss (son of Michael) was among Sturt's best. The ball winning midfielder secured 13 disposals, five marks and nine tackles for Sturt in their four-point loss to West Adelaide.