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AFL Draft Weekly Wrap: Versatile ruckman shows shades of Paddy Ryder

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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

Splitting his time between playing up forward and through the ruck, the athletic Jordan Lukac outleapt rival ruckmen regularly at centre bounces, while around the ground displayed a midfielder-like fluidity to his movement. At 196cm, he was also just as threatening forward of centre, creating separation on the lead and looking like a threat whenever he leapt for the ball or had front position one-on-one.

With among the more interesting athletic profiles of this year's key position crop, Lukac who was unable to notch double-figure disposals during the first 13 rounds of the SANFL Under-18s season, has since managed 10 or more disposals in each of his last four games.

The improving Lukac secured 12 disposals and team highs of 15 hitouts and two goals. It was a game where he had further opportunities in front of goal and could easily have kicked four goals.

Lukac's brilliance though was not enough to get Woodville-West Torrens over the line, with Glenelg winning by 52-point and earning a spot in the Grand Final. His side will have one more chance to make it through - they have to beat West Adelaide this Saturday.

With a hint of Paddy Ryder to Lukac's play, the 19-year-old has not received an invite to the national combine, though he will be a player to watch during the final rounds of the SANFL Under-18s Finals and the Under-19 Championships as he's one of those rare players who makes something happen whenever the ball is in his vicinity.

First round contenders

SANFL

League

Playing one of his best games for the season, Jason Horne-Francis set the tone early on with his pressure for South Adelaide in their 43-point win against West Adelaide. Horne-Francis had one of those games where you want him on your side of the field. His pressure and defensive efforts were notable, but his ball winning, physical presence and on-field leadership were exemplary. One pleasing improvement from Horne-Francis was signs of some further diversity in his game. He found more outside ball than usual, leading up at the football and receiving more on the move than we're accustomed to seeing. The No. 1 pick contender secured 24 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, five clearances, nine inside 50s and one goal for South Adelaide. The one area that Horne-Francis will be looking to improve upon is his delivery by foot; he still overshot targets several times and sometimes struggled to lower his eyes to hit a leading target.

Taking some strong marks forward of centre and hitting the scoreboard from half-forward, Matthew Roberts performed strongly for South Adelaide with 13 disposals and two goals, doing his first-round chances no harm.

Under-18s

South Adelaide's Arlo Draper managed 24 disposals and six tackles in his side's 11-point loss to West Adelaide. His agility and evasion in traffic, vision and use by foot were sensational.

Rising stocks

WAFL

League

On League debut, Brady Hough enjoyed a breakout performance, featuring in the bests for Peel in their four-point loss to Subiaco with 22 disposals, nine marks, five inside 50s and one goal. Hough the previous week also performed strongly for Western Australia in their win against South Australia. A dangerous forward and midfielder, Hough is likely to feature in the first half of the draft and will be one clubs track closely during the Under-19 Championships.

Colts

Earning best on ground honours, younger brother of Patrick Cripps, Joshua Cripps continued his strong vein of form. The overage key forward/ruckman continues to improve, collecting 24 disposals, 13 marks, nine hit outs and two goals for East Fremantle in their 31-point win against East Perth.

Key stats

SANFL

League

Putting on an intercept marking clinic, former Brisbane Lion key position player Sam Skinner managed 22 disposals, 13 marks (four contested) for South Adelaide. Over his past four games he has averaged 20 disposals, 12 marks and four contested marks. The mature-ager is the one of the most AFL-ready key defenders currently not in the top flight and with his intercept marks, pack marks and one-on-one capabilities, he looms as a ready-to-go option for a club in need of a quick fix.

Reserves

Prolific through the midfield for Sturt, Mani Liddy did everything he could, but his 26 disposals and nine clearances were not enough to get his side over the line, going down by 22-point loss to North Adelaide. Liddy has been prolific all year, with his stoppage work outstanding both at Reserves and League level this year.

Performing strongly in defence for Sturt, Zac Becker gathered 22 disposals, and 13 rebound 50s. Becker like Liddy has played a consistent brand of football in 2021 with his intercepting, rebounding from defence and one-on-one work features.

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WAFL

League

Featuring among the best players for Perth in their 60-point loss to West Perth, overager, Jack Avery was solid in defence with 16 disposals and five marks. Playing above his size, the 190cm defender performed an important role in quelling the influence of the competition's premier key forward, Tyler Keitel, keeping Keitel to just two goals.

Proving lively up forward for South Fremantle in their 45-point win against West Coast, Jesse Motlop did his best work at ground level with 13 disposals and two goals. This is the second two-goal performance at League level for the Fremantle Next-Generation Academy forward and son of Daniel.

Colts

Leading the way through the midfield for East Fremantle, Joshua Browne amassed 36 disposals, eight marks, seven inside 50s and one goal.

Providing support for Browne through the midfield, Corey Warner, the younger brother of Sydney's Chad, secured 33 disposals, eight marks and six inside 50s.

Taj Woewodin, the son of Melbourne Brownlow Medallist, Shane, and an eligible father-son prospect, gathered 25 disposals, seven marks and kicked two goals for East Fremantle.

Providing a presence up forward, Jack Williams collected 17 disposals, nine marks and three goals for East Fremantle.