Knightmare's AFL draft wrap: NEAFL midfielder continues to dominate

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 - Jordan Keras

Midfielder Jordan Keras, 181cm, 81kg was arguably the most influential player in NEAFL's win against TSL. The 23-year-old gathered 30 disposals, 14 tackles, 8 clearances and five inside 50s and a superb display.

Keras is one of this year's most draftable mature agers, averaging 36 disposals and 10 clearances for Southport in the NEAFL. He has built a reputation as one of the NEAFL's most professional and hard-working players off the field and is certainly one of the competition's best on it.

What Keras did better than anyone against TSL was win first possession at stoppages. He consistently was first to the ball, knowing where the ball was going before it got there. It didn't matter at stoppages whether the ball dropped at the base of the contest or whether it got knocked outside, Keras was always on the move and first to the ball.

While Keras is a stoppage specialist, it was also a promising sign to see Keras take advantage of an opponent in a one-on-one contest on the wing, protecting the drop zone, holding his body position and taking the mark.

To push himself into the elite midfielder category, Keras needs to start hitting the scoreboard and become more damaging with ball in hand. From his nine NEAFL games, Keras has yet to kick a goal and he rarely is seen breaking lines or kicking with penetration.

Practice matches held on Saturday at Punt Road:

Victoria Country (Under-16s) vs. Diversity

Vic Country (draft eligible 2019)

Proving a handful up forward, Izaac Grant, 180cm, 64kg, put on an impressive marking display. He was a consistent threat on the lead, in one-on-one contests and even showed he his capable of taking a mark below his knees. Another promising feature of Grant's game was his elite work rate. Every time the ball was in the front half, Grant was on the move.

Riley Ironside, 181cm, 78kg, was the most damaging player on the field with ball in hand. His kicking was consistent and damaging while his vision was spectacular. Ironside located and hit a long target near the centre circle from the wing, right next to the boundary in general play. Another of his kicks was a low stab pass that shot through the air at speed and found his target on the 50m arc.

Using his pace and agility to take on the game and get around players on the move, Keidan Rayner, 171cm, 56kg, caught the eye as he hurt the opposition.

Playing a strong, hard, contested brand of football, Cooper Stephens, 186cm, 76kg, stood out at stoppages, winning first possession regularly. He also was an effective marking target around the ground and used the ball efficiently.


Standing out with his footskills, Emmanuel Ajang, a 186cm half-back flanker who is part of Western Bulldogs Next Generation academy will be draft eligible in 2019 and is already showing some AFL qualities. He demonstrated consistency by foot as well as the vision to impressively hit several targets up the field in dangerous positions.

Part of the North Melbourne Next Generation academy, Cassius White, 184cm, was arguably Diversity's most exciting player. On several occasions White broke the lines, accelerating at great speed and going on multi-bounce runs. The most impressive of his runs was when he took off from one end of the centre square to the other without anyone laying a hand on him.

Possessing pace, agility and cleanness at ground level, Phillip Soloman, 185cm, 70kg, part of Richmond's Next Generation academy will be draft eligible next season. Solomon's tackling was particularly strong in this match and one of his ground ball pickups at speed without breaking stride was a particularly striking moment.

Part of the Collingwood Next Generation academy, Thariel Ter, 186cm, 62kg, who will be draft eligible in 2019, also showed several glimpses. Ter displayed a promising mix of attributes, on one play picking up the ball cleanly in traffic, accelerating then finding a short target inside 50m. On another play, he took a mark by arriving at the last moment from the side, before finding another target inside the forward 50m.

Victoria Metro (Under-16s) vs. Victoria Metro Under-17s Futures

Under-17s (draft eligible 2018)

Zak Butters, 177cm, 66kg, played a strong all-around game, finding a lot of the ball, using it cleanly, tackling well, taking marks around the ground and pushing back to intercept.

Using his pace and the ball effectively, Cody Hirst, 176cm, 61kg, was also a driving force in the Under-17s win.

Under-16s (draft eligible 2019)

There were few highlights for the Under-16s, however Liam Witts, 188cm, 72kg, was overall effective down back as an intercept marking presence who also took a promising one-on-one mark.

Using the ball effectively and tackling strongly, Jonte Duffy, 167cm, 69kg, was one of the better performers across the day.

Under-18 Championships

Western Australia vs South Australia Western Australia

Western Australia

Top-age midfielder, Brayden Ainsworth was Western Australia's most prolific in an exciting one point win to the home side. He finished with 26 disposals, 15 contested possessions, four tackles, eight clearances and a goal.

Bottom age midfielder, Tom Joyce, 179cm, 67kg, also figured prominently through the Western Australian midfield with 21 disposals, 10 contested possessions, four tackles and four clearances.

Providing the most effective target up forward, Oscar Allen, 191cm, 83kg, impressed with 10 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three goals.

Down back, key defender Aaron Naughton also contributed well with 15 disposals and four rebound 50s.

South Australia

Possible Adelaide father-son choice Jackson Edwards contributed strongly with 23 disposals, 11 contested possessions and three clearances.

Nuggetty midfielder, Mitch Crowden collected 23 disposals, 10 contested possessions and five tackles.

Isaac Hewson, gathered 22 disposals, nine contested possessions, four marks, five tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and one goal.

Bottom age midfielder and forward Izak Rankine, 175cm, 62kg, impressed with 20 disposals, eight contested possessions, four tackles, seven inside 50s and two goals.

Tall utility, Charlie Ballard, 195cm, 79kg amassed 20 disposals, 11 contested possessions, four marks, three clearances and one goal.

Callum Coleman-Jones was effective through the ruck with 17 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six marks and 22 hitouts.

While quieter than some may have hoped, Darcy Fogarty still managed a solid 12 disposals, five contested possessions, four marks and two goals.

Victoria Country vs. Allies

Victoria Country

Pushing his case for the number one overall selection, Luke Davies-Uniacke was the dominant player through the first round of the Under-18 Championships amassing a whopping 34 disposals, nine contested possessions, 10 marks, four clearances and five inside 50s in a strong win for Victoria Country.

Bottom ager, Edward McHenry, 176cm, 67kg showed promise with 23 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, four rebound 50s and one goal.

One of this year's silky skilled midfielders Paddy Dow, 184cm, 78kg lived up to expectation with 21 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six clearances and one goal.

One of this year's most damaging small forwards, Brent Daniels, 172cm, 70kg, was effective both up forward and through the midfield with 18 disposals, 13 contested possessions, four clearances, four inside 50s, one goal. He kicked nine goals from his first two games for Bendigo and plays a strong, contested variety of football.


Nicholas Shipley, 190cm, 90kg, looks like the next big thing for GWS through their academy. He gathered 21 disposals, 11 contested possessions, six tackles and seven clearances. With further strong play, Shipley looks like a first round choice at season's end.

Playing as a key defender, Jarrod Brander was outstanding with 20 disposals, four marks and nine rebound 50s.

Tasmanian key forward, Hugh Dixon, 195cm, 92kg, showed some positive signs with 13 disposals, 11 contested possessions, four tackles and three goals.

The other notable GWS Academy midfielder, Jack Powell, 180cm, 75kg, also performed strongly through the midfield with 16 disposals, 10 contested possessions, four tackles, four clearances and one goal.

Tasmanian bottom ager, Tarryn Thomas, 189cm, 71kg, who is part of the North Melbourne Next Generation Academy, performed as strongly as expected with 18 disposals, eight contested possessions, six marks, six tackles and six inside 50s. Thomas, who was Tasmania's Under-18 MVP last year, is being touted as one of 2018's first players selected with his line breaking speed, a gift he uses frequently off half-back to break games open.


Canberra midfielder, Jordan Harper was one of the NEAFL's best, gathering 33 disposals, seven clearances and one goal. The 24-year-old, 181cm, 79kg midfielder has been in the draft mix the last few seasons with his outside run and ball winning capabilities both inside and outside the contest features of his game.

Defender Jay Lockhart, 21-year-old, 183cm, 69kg, earned the Lefroy Medal as Tasmania's best player. He used the ball cleanly off half-back, provided run-and-carry, took intercept marks and ducked through traffic. Lockhart collected 20 disposals, four marks and nine rebound 50s.