AFL Draft Wrap: Hints of a Dees defender in pinpoint kick Hayden Young

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

One of this year's brightest prospects, Hayden Young, put on a kicking clinic in defence for Dandenong in their four-point win against Tasmania. Young's standout moment was when he received the ball by hand from the back of the centre square, spotting and then hitting a leading target 40m from goal directly in front which resulted in a goal.

The potential top-five selection has explosive speed and showed composure and precision kicking both from kick-ins and when he received the ball on the move. When involved at stoppages he was lively, winning first possession and looking like the most dangerous player on the ground.

Young has a similar style to that of Melbourne's Christian Salem; as a similarly reliable user from defence, the exciting defender produced 19 disposals, 10 contested possessions and two contested marks.

In defence, Young plays a disciplined role, checking his opponents tightly and providing them with few opportunities, while he reads the drop of the ball effectively; on the weekend he took two contested intercept marks.

To take the next step, Young would benefit from peeling off his opponent more frequently to become more of an intercept marking threat. While Young has shown he can play through the midfield and win the contested ball, his midfield capabilities would be viewed more favourably if he linked up more often and found more of the ball.

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With sublime kick placement and a hunger for tackles, Reece Orchard announced himself as a player to watch for Dandenong. The improving midfielder collected 24 disposals, 11 contested possessions, seven clearances and eight inside 50s.

Underage Dandenong forward Clayton Gay proved to be Dandenong's best avenue to goal as their only multiple goalkicker with 15 disposals, five marks (one contested) and three goals. His positioning and intercept marking across half-forward was a strength on multiple occasions, and suggests scope to develop forward or back.

Tasmanian underage midfielder Oliver Davis was prolific at stoppages winning first possession and displaying quick hands in traffic. Looking like a probable 2020 selection, Davis managed 33 disposals, 18 contested possessions, five clearances and nine inside 50s.

Fellow Tasmanian underager Sam Collins was superb, putting on an intercept marking exhibition. He took one-on-one intercept marks, pack intercept marks, a speccie and read the drop of the ball better than anyone else. Despite copping a knock to the ribs early and bleeding from the mouth the talented defender secured 23 disposals and eight marks (five contested).

Kicking the ball sweetly from defence, making sound decisions with ball in hand and taking several intercept marks, Tasmanian overager Matt McGuiness was the most damaging ball user afield with 21 disposals (including 12 of 14 kicks effective), eight marks and one goal.

With some pep in his step, William Peppin had several special moments for Tasmania with an impressive specie early in the first quarter and another ambitious flying attempt in the second quarter. His pace was another feature of his game, winning a footrace inside 50 convincingly and running to 25 metres and finishing truly. Later in the day on the forward flank, Peppin faked one way then went the other, getting around an opponent, running 40 metres and creating separation as he ran. Unfortunately, on the angle, Peppin was unable to finish, but had he kicked straight it would have been a goal of the year contender. The talented speedster managed 11 disposals and one goal.

Once again, Ryan Byrnes led the way for Sandringham in their win against Bendigo with 31 disposals, 15 contested possessions, seven tackles, eight clearances, five inside 50s, one goal and two score assists.

Hurting the opposition offensively and tackling relentlessly around the ground, Miles Bergman was as influential as any player on the ground for Sandringham against Bendigo, racking up 19 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, six inside 50s, one goal and two score assists. Unfortunately, he was wasteful in front of goal with five behinds.

Providing meaningful drive from defence by foot and with his run, Darcy Cassar was prolific for Western in their convincing win against Geelong. The rebounding defender produced 41 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 12 marks (two contested) and eight rebound 50s.

Western overage ruckman William Kennedy won the ruck battle with his work at ground level particularly impressive. The athletic ruckman secured 19 disposals, six marks, 34 hitouts and six clearances.

Hitting the scoreboard and meaningful inside 50m targets, Fraser Phillips was prolific for Gippsland in their win against Greater Western Victoria with 24 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six inside 50s, two goals and four score assists.

Dominating strongly sharing the ruck minutes for Gippsland, key forward Josh Smith had a substantial impact around the ball and looks suited to a role where he can provide relieving minutes through there. The 194cm, 100kg, key forward managed 22 disposals, 16 contested possessions, 16 hitouts, 11 clearances and three goals.

Winning the ball through the midfield and seemingly always on the move throughout the match, Jay Rantall was Greater Western Victoria's standout midfielder. The rapidly improving midfielder secured 30 disposals, 15 contested possessions, six clearances and one goal.


Continuing his strong vein of form, Will Gould performed strongly in defence for Central Districts in their loss to Glenelg with 20 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound 50s.

Reminding recruiters that he should be in the conversation as one of this year's best forwards, Cameron Taheny elevated his stocks for Norwood in their loss to Woodville-West Torrens with 13 disposals, seven marks and three goals.

Receiving a late medical with AFL interest in the leadup to the mid-season draft, Michael Knoll consolidated his status as the most promising ruckman outside the AFL. He won the ruck battle for the victorious South Adelaide in their win against North Adelaide with 18 disposals, seven marks and 35 hitouts.