Knightmare's AFL draft wrap: Powerful D'arcy on the rise

Each week, AFL draft expert Christopher Doerre - aka Knightmare - 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 wrap, 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
Leading the way up forward for Vic Country in the second Victoria Metro vs. Victoria Country trial match was Riley D'arcy.

The 189cm, 90kg forward has kicked seven goals from his first three TAC Cup games, providing a presence up forward for Dandenong. His performance for Vic Country was clearly his best to start the season with 19 disposals, nine contested possessions, six marks (two contested), two clearances, three inside 50s, four goals and one score assist.

Where D'arcy is most hard to stop is one the lead. He uses his large frame effectively, often taking strong marks out in front, with defenders unable to get around him.

His body work was also exceptional in one-on-one contests, holding his position in the contest and protecting the drop zone.

As a forward, D'arcy is a target who commands the ball and teammates look for him inside 50m because he'll either take the contested mark or work hard for it on the lead.

D'arcy can also produce the spectacular, such as when he booted what was by any standard goal of the day against Metro. From the boundary, he kicked an inside-out snap across the body under pressure, making a spectacular AFL standard finish look routine.

The key areas of work for D'arcy to improve his draft stocks are the development of his tackling and pressuring game (his average of two tackles per game should be higher) and his endurance, which must improve to allow him to push further up the ground.

At this stage, it is unclear where D'arcy fits in the draft order. In all likelihood, his draft position will be decided based on form and improvement over the course of the season. But the trial match was a definite step towards getting selected in this year's AFL draft.

Victoria Metro v Victoria Country trial games

Game 1

Vic Country standouts

Another week, another game where Cassidy Parish has a meaningful impact through the midfield. Parish demonstrated clean hands, continually worked to best positions at stoppages and regularly won first possession. Parish collected a team-high 22 disposals, nine contested possessions, four tackles, four clearances and one score assist.

Showing evasiveness and composure with ball in hand, Edward McHenry, 176cm, 67kg, was very difficult to lay a hand on. He used the ball efficiently and provided a spark, taking on the game. He gathered 15 disposals, five contested possessions, four tackles and one score assist.

Looking like a much improved player, Ethan Floyd, 179cm, 70kg, provided a spark with his run and ball use off half-back a highlight. Floyd contributed 19 disposals (18 effective), five contested possessions, three tackles and five rebound 50s.

Vic Metro standouts

Featuring prominently, Marcus Lentini, 183cm, 74kg, was Vic Metro's most productive with 27 disposals, 11 contested possessions, three marks, three clearances and one score assist. Lentini displayed run and dare, also taking a couple of intercept marks behind the ball, one of which was a courageous mark flying backwards with the flight of the ball.

Ryley Stoddart, 183cm, 73kg, was another who took on the game well, accelerating with ball in hand multiple times, also moving well through traffic. He collected 16 disposals, six contested possessions, four marks (one contested), two clearances and one score assist.

A giant threat forward of centre, 201cm, 93kg big man Tristan Xerri proved difficult to contain. He took a commanding mark near goal, towering over everyone, another pack mark and a strong one-on-one mark. Xerri has shown competence both as a key forward and through the ruck. He looms as an ideal relieving ruckman with further development. Xerri secured nine disposals, four marks (three contested), three tackles, 10 hitouts and three goals.

Having the greatest impact at the coalface was 187cm, 89kg, midfielder Ben Caluzzi. Caluzzi repeatedly won first possession at stoppages, often clearing the ball by foot. Caluzzi collected 21 disposals, 12 contested possessions, four marks (one contested), seven clearances, eight inside 50s and one score assist.

Aaron Trusler continues to earn a mention for his exciting run with ball in hand. He accumulated 15 disposals, four contested possessions, four marks and four inside 50s.

Son of Dustin Fletcher, Mason Fletcher, 197cm, 75kg, as a bottom-ager had several positive moments. His five disposals (five effective) and one contested mark may appear pedestrian, but glimpses were there, with his kicking a highlight. The most spectacular kick was from a kick-out, flushing the ball cleanly over 55m, hitting his intended target. One of his last-second punches from the side also reminded viewers of his father.

Game 2

Vic Country standouts

177cm, 73kg midfielder Gryan Miers featured prominently. His work rate was exceptional. One notable sequence had Miers work hard to receive on the run, dispose of the ball, continue running hard, receive the ball, kick inside 50m and continue running forward to provide an option, in what would have been an 70m running effort. This play was characteristic of how Miers played -consistently streaming forward after each clearance or kick. Miers accumulated 22 disposals, seven contested possessions, eight marks (one contested), three tackles, five inside 50s and two score assists.

Geelong Falcons wingman Matthew Ling, 182cm, 74kg, had several exciting moments with ball in hand. His explosiveness was notable, going on two 30m runs at full pace. He had another moment, faking out an opponent and navigating around them easily. Ling secured 17 disposals, six contested possessions, three inside 50s and three score assists.

Spending time down back, Nick Hogan was electric. He provided meaningful run on several occasions, accelerating at breakneck speed for 25m and 35m on two different running sequences with ball in hand. He looked to provide run at every available opportunity. His work rate after disposing with the ball also was notable, continuing to push forward. He played with a great energy and was one of the difference-makers. Hogan gathered 22 disposals, eight contested possessions, six marks, four tackles, three clearances and four rebound 50s.

Showing signs through the midfield and up forward, Brent Daniels, 172cm, 70kg, played courageously, putting his body on the line. He also had an impressive movement, accelerating towards goal for 10m and finishing near the boundary from 40m. He collected 20 disposals, seven contested possessions, three marks, three clearances, five inside 50s, one goal and one score assist.

Top-ager Callan Wellings, playing an outside midfield role, was Vic Country's most productive player, accumulating 27 disposals, six contested possessions, seven marks, two clearances and two goals. He moved well, demonstrating evasiveness with ball in hand, took intercept marks and finished well including a long goal from 55m that was helped through by teammates.

Ben Paton, 185cm, 78kg, was impressive down back. He took several intercept marks, showed great composure with ball in hand and used the ball efficiency. Paton collected 18 disposals (17 effective), five contested possessions and seven marks (one contested).

Son of Geelong forward Bill Brownless, Oscar Brownless, 185cm, 73kg, as a bottom-ager collected an impressive 20 disposals, seven contested possessions, three clearances and three inside 50s. Brownless is one of four potential Geelong father-son selections for 2018 and appears the most advanced of the group at this stage.

Vic Metro standouts

Angus Brayshaw's brother Andrew Brayshaw was Vic Metro's best player contributing 30 disposals, 14 contested possessions, six tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s and one goal. Most of his work was at the coalface, though his goal from 50m on the move was a highlight.

Midfielder Adam Cerra, 186cm, 85kg, was Vic Metro's other strong contributor through the midfield with 29 disposals (25 efficient), seven contested possessions, three tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s.

AFL Academy v Northern Blues

Luke Davies-Uniacke was the best and most productive player for the AFL Academy with 22 disposals, nine contested possessions, five marks, six clearances and four inside 50s. After showing glimpses of promise in 2016, Davies-Uniacke has elevated his game and with continued strong form and improvement looks like a potential top-five draft choice.


Bye round. Games resume next week.



Midfielder Mitch Crowden, held his own in his second League match with 14 disposals, six tackles and five inside 50s.

Top-age midfielder Jake Comitogianni, 180cm, 70kg, has fit in seamlessly for Woodville-West Torrens at League level with 26 disposals and four marks.


Powerful defender Lachlan Pascoe was again impressive down back with 26 disposals, eight marks and six rebound 50s.

Isaac Hewson also contributed well with 17 disposals, eight marks, four tackles, five rebound 50s.

Top-age ruckman Jordan Sweet, 203cm, 105kg, was well on top. He collected 10 disposals, three tackles, 36 hitouts and one goal, helping North Adelaide win 31 more hitouts than Central Districts.


Adam Trenorden, for the second successive week impressed, collecting 33 disposals, eight tackles and six inside 50s.

After 30 disposals and one goal last week, Cooper Gaffney, 178cm, 68kg, again impressed with 36 touches, five marks and eight tackles.



With his second six-goal game of the season and being named Subiaco's best player in a 91-point win, mature-age forward Ryan Lim (184cm, 76kg) impressed with 16 disposals (15 kicks), seven marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and six goals.

Top-age midfielder Bailey Banfield, 187cm, 88kg, for the third successive match collected 20 or more disposals with 21 disposals, three marks and eight tackles.

Ex-Pie Jonathon Marsh was again prominent through the midfield with 30 disposals, seven marks, 10 tackles and one goal. He has improved each week. It is scary to think what the 192cm, 87kg midfielder may be producing in his new role by season's end.


Moving from 700 kilometres away to join Perth this year and pursue his AFL dream, top-age midfielder Brayden Ainsworth has demonstrated considerable talent so far this season. He will be a player AFL clubs will keep a close eye on. Against East Perth, Ainsworth collected 32 diposals (20 kicks), nine marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and one goal. He possesses great power, with an appealing combination of strength, contested ball winning and acceleration.

Yet to drop below 25 disposals during his first four games, Callan England, 181cm, 73kg, once again was among Claremont's best with 25 disposals, three marks, four tackles, five inside 50s and one goal.

Bottom-age midfielder, Lachlan Riley, 177cm, 74kg, has continued his consistent play, adding 22 or more disposals in each of his five games to far for Peel.