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AFL Draft - September's Power Rankings: Two father-sons in the likely first three picks

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Is Melbourne's Oliver-Petracca combo the best 1-2 punch in the AFL? (1:20)

ESPN's Jake Michaels believes the Demons' heavy-hitting midfield duo of Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca is the best combo in the league by some distance. (1:20)

ESPN.com.au's expert Chris Doerre has revealed his AFL Draft Power Rankings for the month of September, with Josh Daicos, Jason Horne-Francis, and Sam Darcy forming a clear 'top three', but there's movement further down the list.


1. Nick Daicos (Collingwood - Father-Son)
Best position: General midfield
Height, weight: 183cm, 72kg
Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers
Projected draft range: 1-3
Plays like: Zach Merrett
August ranking: 1
Rationale: On performance to date Daicos has been the standout. Some will have Horne-Francis at No. 1, though Daicos' consistency, production and scoreboard impact place him ahead on this board.

Strengths:
Composure in traffic
Decision making under pressure
Draws free kicks from high tackles
Agility
Evasion
Production
Go-to-guy around the ground
Scoreboard impact
Inside-outside midfield balance
Versatility to impact games both through the midfield and up forward
Stoppage work
Contested ball winning
Consistency
One-touch at ground level
Anticipation of opposition decisions in traffic
AFL ready-to-go game
Weaknesses:
Inconsistent application defensively

2. Jason Horne-Francis
Best position:
Inside midfield/general forward
Height, weight: 184cm, 78kg
Recruited from: South Adelaide
Projected draft range: 1-3
Plays like: Isaac Heeney
August ranking: 2
Rationale: Even after a disappointing opening game in the Under-19 Championships against Western Australia, Horne-Francis remains a solid No. 2 at this point. His pressure and application defensively as well as his ball winning off the bounce on the move at stoppages have been staples to his play and set him apart from others early.
Strengths:
Consistency of application defensively
Pressure applied to the ball carrier
Strong tackler
Aggression
One-touch ground ball winner on the move at speed
Aerial marking
Contested marking
Impact per possession
Contested ball winning
Proven against senior state league opposition
Versatility to impact games both through the midfield and up forward
Scoreboard impact
AFL ready-to-go game
Weaknesses:
Inconsistent production
Inconsistency of impact offensively
Imprecise kick placement

3. Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs - Father-Son)
Best position: Key forward
Height, weight: 204cm, 75kg
Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers
Projected draft range: 1-5
Plays like: Max King
August ranking: 3
Rationale: In a draft lacking in the way of premier talls, Darcy is the standard of excellence and given his rapid rate of improvement and mix of rare attributes at his height is one of this draft's highest upside choices for the long term.
Strengths:
Rate of improvement
One grab contested marking
Long reach and takes marks fully extended
Attack on the ball aerially
Early reading of the drop of the ball
Protects the drop zone
Versatility to impact games as a key forward, key defender and through the ruck
Agility
One-touch at ground level
Instinctive finisher around goal
Speed to create separation on the lead
Weaknesses:
Endurance
Work rate
Repeat speed/repeat efforts
Strength
Will require time to develop before he can impact AFL games regularly

4. Finn Callaghan
Best position:
Balanced midfielder
Height, weight: 189cm, 82kg
Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons
Projected draft range: 1-5
Plays like: Jared Polec
August ranking: 6
Rationale: Callaghan is an upside pick given he has grown later than many others. His special sauce is his rare movement for someone his height, with his agility, evasion and speed respectively special in traffic. If Callaghan develops his aggression and becomes a strong contested ball winner and tackler, he has the scope to be as good as any in this draft. Callaghan's ceiling which is elevated by his late growth spurt makes him the most appealing after the 'big-3.'

Strengths:
Rare time, space and composure in traffic
Evasion
Agility
Sidestep
Acceleration
Takes on the game at speed with ball in hand
Hits contests at speed and times his moves well to receive on the burst
Work rate
Endurance
Overlap run
Class and composure under pressure to hit his targets by hand or foot
Skill execution by hand and foot
Versatility to play inside or outside midfield
Weaknesses:
Lack of aggression
Contested ball winning
Tackling

5. Josh Ward
Best position:
Balanced midfielder
Height, weight: 181cm, 79kg
Recruited from: Northern Knights
Projected draft range: 3-15
Plays like: Marc Murphy
August ranking: 5
Rationale: A low risk, ready-to-go midfielder who is one of the very best and most complete midfielders in this draft. His production and impact during the latter part of the NAB League campaign was the next best thing to Daicos.
Strengths:
Skills
Lowers his eyes and places kicks out in front of targets inside 50m to leadup onto
Vision
Decision making under pressure
Composure
Finishing around goal
Go-to-guy around the ground
Agility
Acceleration
Run and carry with ball in hand
Inside/outside midfield balanced
Works hard both ways
Rises to the big occasion
AFL ready-to-go game
Production
Weaknesses:
Unclear versatility
Lack of size and strength

6. Matthew Roberts
Best position:
Inside midfield
Height, weight: 183cm, 81kg
Recruited from: South Adelaide
Projected draft range: 5-25
Plays like: Dayne Beams
August ranking: 4
Rationale: Roberts has been one of this year's most consistent performers and is one of the premier ball winners with the bonus being he can also push forward and have an impact. After missing time with an ankle injury, Roberts made a strong return from injury with 20 disposals in his first SANFL League match back, though his match against Western Australia other than a strong second quarter was below expectation which contributes to his drop down two spots.
Strengths:
One-touch ball winner below the knees
Endurance
Work rate
Spread from the contest
Contested ball winning
Clean hands in traffic
Distribution by hand
Damaging and penetrating left foot kick
Placement of kicks out in front of forwards to lead onto
Overhead marking
Inside/outside midfield balance
Versatility to play midfield, forward or back as required
Scoreboard impact
Strong tackler
AFL ready-to-go game
Weaknesses:
Prone to rushing under pressure and bombing long by foot for territory
Needs to take more time after a mark or free kick to assess his options before moving the ball on
Would benefit from lowering his eyes and looking to hit up shorter targets more often
Limited speed
Limited time and space in traffic

7. Jack Avery
Best position:
General defence
Height, weight: 190cm, 83kg
Recruited from: Perth
Projected draft range: 30+
Plays like: Tom Stewart
August ranking: Outside-20
Rationale: While Avery was born one year earlier than his peers, he's as fundamentally sound and well-rounded of a defender as you'll find in this draft. Despite playing in defence, Avery led the WAFL Colts with a competition high 34-disposals before transitioning to WAFL League play where he has enjoyed immediate success and looked at home. He plays all facets well, from intercepting, to rebounding, to beating his direct opponent. On the back of the ease with which he has transitioned to WAFL League level and the consistency he has displayed at the level, Avery looms as one of the best plug-and-play options in this draft.
Strengths:
Production
Performances against League opposition
Rate of improvement
Intercept marking
Reading of the ball in flight
Work rate
Strength
One-on-one defence
Versatility to play as a third tall or key defender
Plays taller than his height and can play against key forwards
Negating of opponent's influence
Generate rebound both by foot and with his run and carry
AFL ready-to-go game
Weaknesses:
In-between size as not quite key defence height
Unclear scope to play up the ground

8. Leek Alleer
Best position:
Key defence
Height, weight: 196cm, 84kg
Recruited from: Central Districts
Projected draft range: 15-45
Plays like: Aliir Aliir
August ranking: Outside-20
Rationale: Rapidly developing, Alleer has become an intercept marking force in the SANFL at League level. Although he is two years older than his peers, his scope to develop is enormous based on his rapid rate of development. His round 16 match against South Adelaide was the eye-opener with five contested marks, seeming to intercept every high ball that went near him.
Strengths:
Intercept marking
Contested marking
Wins one-on-one contests routinely and often turns one-on-one contests into intercept marks
Reading of the ball in flight
Aerial marking
Attack on the ball aerially
Leap
Courage to back into packs and put his body on the line
Rapid rate of improvement
Speed
Weaknesses:
Finds little of the ball in general play
One-dimensional

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9. Mac Andrew (Melbourne Next-Generation Academy)
Best position: Ruck
Height, weight: 200cm, 70kg
Recruited from: Dandenong Stingrays
Projected draft range: 3-20
Plays like: Paddy Ryder
August ranking: 7
Rationale: Andrew is a light bodied ruckman and long-term project player who is likely to spend his early years developing as a key position player while he adds muscle to his light frame. What is breathtaking with Andrew is how high he leaps at centre bounces, often getting his waist above the head of rival rucks when he gets a clear jump at the ball. Andrew's drop can be attributed to the rise of others.
Strengths:
Leap
Soft hands through ruck
Hitouts to advantage
Long arms and reach
Clean below the knees
Tackling
Mobile
Clean by hand and foot
Reading of the ball in flight
Contested marking
Weaknesses:
Strength
Too light at this stage to play through the ruck and will need to start his career as a key position player
Struggles through the ruck when a body engages him and prevents him from using his leap to advantage
Struggles one-on-one

10. Arlo Draper
Best position:
Inside midfield/general forward
Height, weight: 185cm, 71kg
Recruited from: South Adelaide
Projected draft range: 5-25
Plays like: Robbie Gray
August ranking: 15
Rationale: In his League debut, one week after his first week back from an ankle injury, Draper's classy display against North Adelaide made clear beyond doubt he's AFL calibre and plays a significant part in his rise up this draft board. His mix of attributes from contested ball winning, to classy ball use to his movement and strong marking make him among this draft's more appealing prospects.
Strengths:
Contested ball winning
Tackling
Stoppage craft
Composure in traffic
Clean hands
Vision
Locating and hitting targets by foot in the corridor
Lowers his eyes for kicks inside 50m
Overhead marking
Contested marking
Agility
Evasion
Acceleration
Takes on the game with his run
Influential both through the midfield and up forward
Scoreboard impact
Weaknesses:
Strength
Lack of outside accumulation

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11. Bodhi Uwland (Gold Coast - Academy)
Best position: Inside midfield/general defence
Height, weight: 185cm, 84kg
Recruited from: Gold Coast
Projected draft range: 40+
Plays like: Luke Hodge
August ranking: 8
Rationale: One of the lesser-known prospects in this draft, Uwland is as aggressive and competitive as any in this draft. Uwland is not just a strong ball winner, but he is a powerful athlete who shrugs tackles at will and has a penetrating and damaging kick. Uwland's drop can be attributed to the rise of others.
Strengths:
Contested ball winning
Powerful shrugging of tackles
Aggression
Physical edge
Penetrating and damaging but reliable kick
Kicks placed out to the advantage side for teammates to lead onto
Decision making with ball in hand
Vision
Evasion
Agility
Acceleration
Leap
Versatility to impact games either through the midfield, defence or across half-forward
Weaknesses:
Endurance
Work rate

12. Neil Erasmus
Best position:
Utility
Height, weight: 188cm, 80kg
Recruited from: Subiaco
Projected draft range: 5-20
Plays like: Elliot Yeo
August ranking: 19
Rationale: Missing the opening Under-19 Championships game against South Australia due to a corked thigh, Erasmus has been a model of consistency this year, not dropping below 27 disposals in the WAFL Colts and showing up and playing good football in all his other games. On review of his early season AFL Academy vs. Geelong performance, it's clear his position amongst this year's crop should be higher than it has been, particularly when looking at how well he is already performing for someone with a December birthday.
Strengths:
Early reader of the ball in flight who consistently gets to the drop of the ball
Intercepting marking
Aerial marking
Leap
Big game performer
Versatility to play inside/outside midfield or as a forward
Scoreboard impact
Consistency
Rate of improvement
Endurance
Weaknesses:
Inconsistent kick
Limited exposure against strong opposition

13. Zac Taylor
Best position: Balanced midfielder
Height, weight: 180cm, 74kg
Recruited from: Calder Cannons
Projected draft range: 15-45
Plays like: Lachie Hunter
August ranking: Outside-20
Rationale: With one of the strongest closes to the NAB League season, Taylor earns his way into the top 20 due to his combination of high-volume accumulation, high end movement and ball use by foot.
Strengths:
Production
Precise and damaging kick
Vision to hit meaningful targets around the ground and inside 50m
Decision making under pressure
Composure with ball in hand
Speed
Agility
Evasion
Inside/outside midfield balance
Weaknesses:
Limited scoreboard impact
Unclear forward capabilities

14. Josh Goater
Best position:
Utility
Height, weight: 190cm, 79kg
Recruited from: Calder Cannons
Projected draft range: 5-25
Plays like: Jack Crisp
August ranking: 9
Rationale: Goater has gotten better as the year has progressed and his performance in the Vic Metro vs. Vic Country trial made clear he's among the upper echelon of prospects this year. He's already exciting with the intercepting and run he can generate from defence, and the signs are there that he may be able to carry some of that play over into a midfield role. Goater's drop is due to the improvement shown by others.
Strengths:
Versatility to impact games through the midfield, in defence and up forward
Reading of the ball in flight
Overhead marking
Intercept marking
Leap
Burst of speed out of stoppages
Acceleration
Agility
Evasion
Distribution by hand
Composure in traffic
Rate of improvement
Weaknesses:
Unclear best position
Inconsistent kick

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15. Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera
Best position: Outside midfield/general defence
Height, weight:188cm, 70kg
Recruited from:Glenelg
Projected draft range: 5-25
Plays like: Shane Edwards
August ranking: Outside-20
Rationale: Spending most of the season in the SANFL Reserves and playing good football, in more recent weeks Wanganeen-Milera has stepped up to League level without any drop off. His SANFL League play along with his performance for South Australia against Western Australia as his side's best see him force his way inside the top-20.
Strengths:
Agility
Evasion
Creates time and space with ball in hand
Composure with ball in hand
Precision kicking
Decision making
Vision
Versatility to play outside or in defence
Impact per possession
Performances on the board
Performs better against better opposition
Weaknesses:
Lack of size or strength
Contested ball winning

16. Josh Rachele
Best position:
General forward/general midfield
Height, weight: 180cm, 78kg
Recruited from: Murray Bushranges
Projected draft range: 5-20
Plays like: Alan Didak
August ranking: 10
Rationale: Having the capability to push through the midfield and win first possession in addition to the damage he does forward of centre by foot, Rachele is one of this draft's most exciting dual position threats. Rachele drops due to the improvement shown by others, with his relative lack of consistency and slower than expected improvement since 2019 what places him behind those rated more highly on this draft board.
Strengths:
Best in class level precision kick
Kicks placed out in front of targets to lead onto
Scoreboard impact
First possession winning at stoppages
Explosive speed
Agility
Forward pressure
Tackling
Aerial marking threat
Ground level craft
Versatility to impact games both as a forward and through the midfield
AFL ready-to-go game
Weaknesses:
Finds little easy outside ball
Endurance
Lack of consistency
Relatively slow progression since 2019

17. Josh Sinn
Best position:
General defence
Height, weight: 186cm, 73kg
Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons
Projected draft range: 5-20
Plays like: Bailey Dale
August ranking: 11
Rationale: A line-breaking defender, Sinn has had a frustrating year on the injury front, but in the games he has played, that hasn't stopped him from having his moments where he would break games open with his run. Sinn's drop as with others ahead of him dropping comes largely down to the improvement of others.
Strengths:
Agility to stop on a dime, then accelerate in another direction, wrong-footing opponents and bursting past them at speed
Breaks the lines with ball in hand at a high frequency and with significant acceleration
Kick placement out in front of inside-50m targets to lead onto
Hurt-factor by foot
Consistency by foot over short distances
Weaknesses:
Contested ball winning
Inconsistency

18. Matthew Johnson
Best position: Inside midfield
Height, weight: 192cm, 80kg
Recruited from: Subiaco
Projected draft range: 10-35
Plays like: Scott Pendlebury
August ranking: 20
Rationale: Showing improved play in the WAFL Colts, Johnson has found form in recent months as a classy tall midfielder. His recent performances including 25 disposals in the WAFL Reserves and arguably best afield level play for Western Australia in their win against South Australia see his stocks improve.
Strengths:
Composure
Classy and sound decision making with ball in hand
Evasion in traffic
Agility
Quick first step
Creates time and space for himself in traffic
Already knows what he is going to do before he gets ball in hand
Reliable ball user who displays vision on his kicks
Places kicks out in front of leading targets inside-50m to lead onto
Makes something happen when he has ball in hand
Weaknesses:
Limited production
Lack of consistency

19. Ben Hobbs
Best position:
Inside midfield
Height, weight: 183cm, 80kg
Recruited from: Greater Western Victoria
Projected draft range: 5-20
Plays like: Matt Crouch
August ranking: 12
Rationale: A dominant contested ball winner and tackler, Hobbs is one of the readiest to play midfielders in this draft. Lacking in the way of speed, athleticism and X-factor, Hobbs drops behind others who are playing more exciting brands of football and do more damage with ball in hand.
Strengths:
First possession winner at stoppages
Contested ball winning
Tackling
Distribution by hand
Scoreboard impact
Outside accumulation and involvement around the ground
Versatility to push forward as part of a large midfield rotation as required
Reading of the ball in flight
Overhead marking
Production
AFL ready-to-go game
Weaknesses:
A stationary ball winner who rarely wins the ball at speed or on the move
Limited time and space in traffic
Lack of speed
Lack of athleticism
Lack of agility
Low impact per possession

20. Connor MacDonald
Best position:
Balanced midfield/general forward
Height, weight: 184cm, 77kg
Recruited from: Dandenong Stingrays
Projected draft range: 10-40
Plays like: Luke Parker
August ranking: 13
Rationale: A goalkicking midfielder, MacDonald has been prolific and consistent in the games he has appeared for Dandenong early in the season before school football commitments began. The improvement of others in addition to the relatively low impact per possession displayed by MacDonald compare to others play a part in his drop.
Strengths:
One touch ball winner at ground level
Contested ball winning
Tackling
Scoreboard impact
Work rate
Distribution by hand
Aerial marking
Reading of the ball in flight
Work rate
Endurance
Inside/outside midfield balance
Able to impact games both through the midfield and up forward
Consistency
Production
Weaknesses:
Kicks long to contests too often and needs to lower his eyes and look for short options more often
Vision
Limited impact per possession