The Draft Expert Panel: The inside word on which rookies will debut early in 2021
It’s always hard to decipher which of last year’s Draft crop you should select in your AFL Fantasy or SuperCoach side, given the limited knowledge the average punter has about under-age footy. The impact of COVID-19 last year, limiting the footy for the 17/18-year-old crop hardly helped.
So Honeyball called in three draft/under-age footy experts from across the three key states to help highlight some of the talented kids worth monitoring.
AFL.com.au’s Cal Twomey, The West Australian’s Jordan McArdle and ex-Adelaide Advertiser reporter and Inner Sanctum founder Jack Hudson kindly offered up their time and insights.
1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – Oakleigh (Vic) – Western Bulldogs
AF $270k SC $207k FWD
CT: “He’s certainly got the talent as a key forward. His marking and goal kicking would provide some serious points in the future. Whether he’s ready to play that role straight away is up for debate given the tall talent in that Bulldogs forward line. There’s certainly some real ability there.”
2 Riley Thilthorpe - West Adelaide (SA) - Adelaide
AF $268k SC $202k RUCK/FWD
JH: “He’s a big key forward and can play a bit of ruck. There were some concerns about some injuries but from all reports he’s flying and I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays Round 1, given the Crows current situation. He’ll be a nice back-up initially for O’Brien. He’ll play forward predominantly. I’m not sure they’ll put too much pressure on him early.”
3 Will Phillips – Oakleigh (Vic) - North Melbourne
AF $266k SC $198k MID
CT: “He deserves a bit of buzz. He could settle into North’s line-up and maintain his spot. It has been a summer of adjustment as he didn’t play at all last year as part of the COVID restrictions in Victoria so he’ll need to get up to speed. He’s a clearance winner, likes to get forward and kick a goal. I think there’s a role for him in the midfield or even half-back. He’s versatile despite his stocky, mature frame.”
4 Logan McDonald – Perth (WA) - Sydney
AF $264k SC $193k FWD
JM: “He had an amazing season of WAFL league footy for an 18-year-old. He’s got the body of an adult already and the work ethic. Likened to Nick Riewoldt. It helps that they’re still a developing side and who knows when Buddy is back. He finished second in the Bernie Naylor (WAFL most goals) last year. That doesn’t happen often for an 18-year-old so I don’t think Sydney will have worries about throwing him in straight away.”