Knightmare's draft wrap: Johnston again impresses up forward

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

One of this year's most dangerous forwards, Jordan Johnston, 184cm, 76kg, was arguably the most influential player in Greater Western Victoria's narrow loss to Sandringham at Trevor Barker Oval on Saturday.

Johnston collected what may seem mild numbers -- 11 disposals, five contested possessions, five marks, five tackles, three clearances, two goals and one score assist - but each time he was around the ball though, he made something happen.

Johnston's forward pressure was a highlight, connecting on several key tackles and giving opponents minimal time to dispose of the ball.

His combination of strong overhead marking and cleanness at ground level make him a front-half threat. He also looked dangerous around goal, both snapping around his body and from long range, finishing with a 55m goal which carried through comfortably with the wind.

The mix of attributes Johnston possesses is a winning combination for a forward and should see him feature in this year's AFL national draft if he continues to perform.


Top-ager Hamish Brayshaw continued his consistent form with 32 disposals, 14 contested possessions, eight marks (two contested), 10 clearances, five inside 50s, two goals and one score assist. The 187cm, 88kg midfielder had a considerable impact but will need to keep working to make his kicking more consistent and also improve his hands in close, dropping a couple of handball receives he should not have fumbled.

Hurting the opposition every time he got it, with several meaningful long kicks and kicks into the forward 50m that hit targets, Lucas Barrett, 178cm, 73kg, was a class above. He collected 24 disposals, nine contested possessions, six tackles, five clearances, 10 inside 50s, one goal and four score assists.

Hayden McLean, 197cm, 93kg, posed a strong contested marking threat up forward, gathering 17 disposals, nine marks (three contested), 12 hitouts, three goals and one score assist. His work below his knees will need to improve, not picking up ground balls as cleanly and one take as he needs to.

Looking lively up forward, Aaron Trusler, 170cm, 67kg, used his pace and prowess at ground level to impact the game. He contributed 14 disposals, six contested possessions, four goals and one score assist.

Top-ager Callan Wellings continued his impressive play through the midfield with 26 disposals, 16 contested possessions, five marks, nine clearances, four inside 50s and one score assist. His work at stoppages was most impressive, winning first possession consistently. He also took on the game with his run a few times, and made an exciting sidestep at speed, to get around a would-be tackler.

Aiden Domic, 185cm, 81kg, also impressed at stoppages, winning first possession regularly with 23 disposals, 12 contested possessions, eight clearances and five inside 50s. Domic will be in the mix at the end of the year for selection inside the first half of the draft.

Bottom-ager Connor Thar, 174cm, 65kg, accumulated 32 disposals, 14 contested possessions, seven marks, eight tackles, eight clearances seven inside 50s and one score assist. Thar possesses explosive pace and striking evasiveness.

Top-ager Mason De Wit, 191cm, 86kg, continued his strong start to the season with 31 disposals, seven marks (one contested) and nine rebound 50s, as an intercept marking defender. Amazingly, 21 disposals and five marks came in the final quarter. His reading of the flight and hands overhead are exceptional but his kicking needs to become more consistent.

Highly rated forward Jaidyn Stephenson continued to play through the midfield with 16 disposals, 13 contested possessions, 13 tackles and six clearances. Stephenson as a midfielder is exceptional reading where teammate Sam Hayes taps the ball but will need to start finding more of the ball around the ground to convince recruiters that this is a role he is suited to playing regularly at AFL level.

Aggressive midfielder Harry Benson, 180cm, 72kg, was once against impressive, kicking the match-winning goal. Benson collected 29 disposals, 11 contested possessions, 11 tackles, eight clearances, seven inside 50s, one goal and two score assists.

One of this year's premier ball winning midfielders Cassidy Parish gathered 27 disposals, 15 contested possessions, nine clearances and three score assists. He was however wasteful by foot with only five of his 15 kicks effective.

Bottom-ager Connor Idun, 189cm, 86kg, in his third TAC Cup match was impactful down back with 12 disposals, 10 contested possessions and three tackles.

Named Calder's best, Brad Bernacki, 178cm, 72kg, had his best match so far, accumulating 39 disposals, 19 contested possessions, five marks, six clearances and seven inside 50s.

Bottom-age midfielder Jack Bytel, 188cm, 79kg, is going from strength to strength. He collected 32 disposals, 22 contested possessions, seven clearances and five inside 50s. He is one of the most advanced stoppage players in the 2018 draft class and will be one to watch the development of next season.

One of this year's most exciting key position players, Noah Balta, gathered, 21 disposals (18 kicks), six marks (one contested), 17 hitouts, five inside 50s, seven rebound 50s and two goals.

Jack Petruccelle has been one of the highlights over the early portion of the season. Against Gippsland he amassed 18 disposals, seven contested possessions, five marks (one contested), five goals and one score assist. Petruccelle is one of the most talented prospects this year with his combination of line-breaking speed, along with his contested ball winning and overhead marking. If he can continue hitting the scoreboard, that's only going to further enhance his already projected first round draft stocks.

Providing a presence up forward, Toby Wooller contributed 16 disposals, seven marks (one contested), seven tackles, six inside 50s and three goals. Wooller, with his combination of cleanness below the knees, overhead marking and capacity to push through the midfield, is one of this year's most interesting prospects.

After proving dangerous the previous week as a forward, Jack Higgins again impacted the game as a forward, with 15 disposals, nine contested possessions, four marks (one contested), seven tackles, three goals and one score assist.



Potential father-son choice Jackson Edwards, son of Adelaide's Tyson Edwards, 184cm, 71kg, gathered 21 disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s.

Midfield accumulator Stephen Giro, 177cm, 70kg amassed 27 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and two goals. Giro is a low impact per possession midfielder, but for the second time in three weeks was named Norwood's best, with his two goals something recruiters will be looking for more of.

Lachlan Pascoe continued his consistent form with 23 disposals, 10 marks, five inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

Top-ager Lyndon Hupfeld, 192cm, 90kg, previously part of the GWS Academy has made the move to Norwood and has had a strong season so far. Down back he had a breakout performance collecting 34 disposals, 11 marks and five rebound 50s.


Possible Port Adelaide father-son choice Mitchell Mead, the son of Darren Mead, collected 34 disposals, nine marks, seven inside 50s and two goals. Mitchell also has a younger brother, Jackson Mead who has had an impressive start to the under-16 season and will be another future father son prospect to listen out for.



Bottom-ager James Sturrock, 183cm, 72kg, was impressive with 25 disposals, seven marks and six inside 50s.

Jackson Perry, 183cm, 73kg, gathered 29 disposals, nine marks, nine inside 50s and one goal.

Bottom-ager Tyson Powell, 188cm, 79kg, collected 21 disposals, six inside 50s and two goals.

Having his best game for the year so far, Brodie Knight, 186cm, 83kg, impressed with 30 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and three goals through the midfield.

Bruno Faulkner, 185cm, 80kg, had a breakthrough match with 27 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, six inside 50s and two goals.


Exciting mature-age forward Adam Sambono continues to impress with 13 disposals, four marks and five goals.

Top-ager and former member of the Brisbane Academy, Jack Rolls, 183cm, 76kg, put forward a breakout performance with 30 disposals, nine tackles, nine clearances and eight inside 50s.

Brendan Myers, 183cm, 80kg, from the GWS Academy, collected 30 disposals, seven marks and seven clearances.

Top-ager Tom Highmore from the GWS Academy, 192cm, 82kg, gathered 26 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and six rebound 50s.