Knightmare's AFL Draft Wrap: Clark an inside-outside jet

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
In a two-point loss against Gippsland in windy conditions, star Dandenong midfielder Hunter Clark was the standout performer. Capitalising on Dandenong's ruck ascendency, Clark was the dominant first possession winner at stoppages. His work rate was also noteworthy, running in support offensively and pushing back hard defensively.

Clark's 34 disposals, 17 contested possessions, eight tackles, seven clearances, 10 inside 50s, two goals and one score assist was an exceptional return and arguably his best of the season.

The 186cm, 79kg midfielder used his acceleration on the outside when he had time and space. He also crumbed effectively at the base of packs. The question regarding Clark's game is his kicking. With time and space on the outside, his kicks were often exceptionally well weighted but in traffic his kicks appeared rushed, with his execution by foot far worse in traffic.

Clark has transformed his game from outside midfielder in 2016 to a genuine inside midfielder this year and possesses the capacity to play either role. He is a likely late first, or second-round draft choice with his production, stoppage work, endurance and outside run all features of his game.

Midfielder Darby Henderson, who has been a consistent ball-winner through Bendigo's midfield again delivered, accumulating 33 disposals, 15 contested possessions, seven tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s, two goals and one score assist.

Joe Richards, 176cm, 71kg, played a pivotal role up forward for Murray with 21 disposals, nine contested possessions, six marks, seven tackles, five inside 50s, four goals and six score assists.

In a breakout performance, key position player Jordan Butts, 195cm, 80kg, was named Murray's best in the 82-point win. He gathered 20 disposals, nine marks, seven inside 50s, three goals and five score assists.

Big-bodied key forward Daniel Johnston created separation up the top of the TAC Cup goalkicking table, taking his tally to 41 (nine goals ahead of Toby Wooller). Johnston was the focal point in the Murray front half with 16 disposals, six marks (two contested marks), eight goals and two score assists.

Underage forward Xavier Duursma, 184cm, 70kg, had several promising moments for Gippsland in their two-point win against Dandenong. Duursma collected 20 disposals, 10 contested possessions, eight tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and two goals. Duursma throughout the match moved the ball quickly and his speed, agility and clean ground ball pickups were highlights. One of his marks, throwing himself at the ball in the air, knowing another body was going to make contact, was a further great sign of things to come.

This year's top-rated ruckman and likely first-round choice Sam Hayes continued his consistent form. Hayes gathered 17 disposals, 13 contested possessions, three marks (one contested), 30 hit-outs, seven clearances and one goal.

Underage midfielder Braedyn Gillard, 182cm, 75kg, while inefficient by foot with only eight of his 19 kicks effective. He was, however, Northern's dominant midfielder with 36 disposals, 16 contested possessions, five marks, seven clearances, two goals and one score assist.

While wasteful up forward with five behinds, key forward Adam Garner provided a strong target up forward with, 20 disposals, 12 marks (two contested), three goals, and one score assist.

Underage midfielder Sam Harte, 172cm, 66kg, was important for Oakleigh, moving the ball forward with 34 disposals, 11 contested possessions, 10 tackles, eight inside 50s and three score assists.

Damaging forward Jordan Troiani was influential for Oakleigh in their win against Calder, playing primarily through the midfield. Troani amassed 26 disposals, 12 contested possessions, seven tackles, five clearances, two goals and one score assist.

Strong-bodied key forward Toby Wooller was influential up forward for Oakleigh with 14 disposals, eight contested possessions, six marks (four contested), six tackles and four goals. Wooller could have kicked more goals, proving wasteful with five behinds in windy conditions.

Underage midfielder Jack Bytel impressed for Calder with 34 disposals, 20 contested possessions, seven tackles, nine clearances, seven inside 50s, one goal and one score assist.

In a powerful display through the midfield, Bailey Smith, 183cm, 74kg, was dominant for Sandringham with 44 disposals, 22 contested possessions, six marks (one contested), 10 clearances, 13 inside 50s and two score assists.

Tall midfielder Will Walker was Sandringham's other driving force through the midfield with 30 disposals, 13 contested possessions, five marks, nine clearances, six inside 50s and three goals.

APS Football
While much hyped key forward prospect Will Sutherland has chosen cricket, the AFL appears to have gained one back from cricket in Nathan Murphy who will be attending this year's AFL Draft Combine. Murphy, 188cm, 84kg, who has played just the three games for Sandringham has been starring for Brighton Grammar, kicking an impressive six goals on Saturday against Caulfield Grammar.


Prospect update
South Australia's two highest-rated prospects, Darcy Fogarty and Callum Coleman-Jones, have both been ruled out for the season. The pair both require knee surgery.

Lachlan Pascoe, who has been one of South Australia's other strongly performing prospects, has torn his ACL and is also out for the season. Given the severity of a torn ACL, his draft prospects are now unclear and may depend on how his recovery is tracking, given he was not viewed as an early draft choice. Fogarty and Coleman-Jones though are still expected to be drafted, with Fogarty expected to feature inside the first round and Coleman-Jones a possible second-round prospect.

Looking at ease in his first SANFL League match, Adelaide father-son prospect Jackson Edwards performed strongly with 17 disposals, eight marks and five tackles. This follows 26 disposals, five inside 50s and one goal in the reserves the previous week.

Livewire underage forward Izak Rankine continued to show promise with a solid 13 disposals and two goals.

Small midfielder Stefan Giro was as productive as ever with 29 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, three inside 50s and two goals. This follows 36 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles, five inside 50s and two goals the previous week.

Underage key forward Jack Lukosius put forward a commanding performance, continuing to mount his case for selection early in the 2018 draft with 16 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three inside 50s and four goals.


Ex-Pie Jonathon Marsh had a season-high 36 disposals, nine tackles, five inside 50s and one goal.

Liam Ryan continued his exceptional season with 15 disposals, six marks and five goals. The 20-year-old, 184cm forward with this performance takes his tally up to 55 goals from 17 games. Some felt Ryan was unlucky not to be selected last season, with recruiters siting his endurance as an area to improve. With the performances he has on the board though, he is again firmly in the draft mix.

Key defender Aaron Naughton was named Peel's best with 23 disposals and 11 marks. This follows a 17 disposal, 11 mark, one goal game. With the way Naughton is performing against state league competition, his draft stocks are firmly on the rise. He may be a first-round choice at season's end with further performances of this quality.

Shane Nelson has had two exceptional weeks in a row with 45 disposals, five tackles, seven inside 50s and one goal. This follows 51 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, nine inside 50s and one goal the previous week. The 24-year-old midfielder is simply too good for the state leagues, elevating his game with each passing season.

Named Claremont's best, overage midfielder Bailey Banfield continues to enhance his draft claims with a season-high, 32 disposals, five tackles and seven inside 50s.


Brisbane Academy's tall utility Connor Ballenden as a key forward took a step in the right direction for Brisbane. He contributed seven disposals, five marks and four goals. It is important to note that Brisbane dominated, winning by 94-points against Canberra, with Brisbane's midfield well on top.

Action from week of Friday 21 July - Sunday 23 July:


Overage ruckman Lloyd Meek, in his second VFL game, was named one of North Ballarat's best with 19 disposals, eight tackles, 31 hitouts against Northern Blues.


Overage ruckman Jordan Sweet, in his first League, match was named one of North Adelaide's best players with 11 disposals, seven tackles, 30 hitouts and one goal.


Arguably the best mature-age key position player running around the state leagues, 21-year-old Tyler Keitel, has developed this season as a key forward after playing key defence in 2016. Against Perth, Keitel gathered 21 disposals, eight marks and a season-high seven goals.

Bottom-age midfielder Luke English continues to go from strength to strength with 30 disposals, 12 tackles and three inside 50s.


With GWS' injury list long, GWS Academy prospect Nicholas Shipley filled in strongly against Sydney University. The 190cm, 90kg, midfielder collected 20 disposals, seven tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s.

Draft combine invites:
Receiving an invite to the draft combine at this time of the year is a good indicator that there are a number of clubs considering a draft prospect. This year, reflecting the common opinion of this year's draft, 54 of the 83 players invited are from Victoria. For those other prospects on the radars of clubs, state screening invites will be sent out over the coming week, with players from the state screening selected each year in the national and rookie drafts.

Vic Metro

Noah Balta (Calder Cannons)
Andrew Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
Tyler Brown (Eastern Ranges - Collingwood father-son)
Adam Cerra (Eastern Ranges)
Nick Coffield (Northern Knights)
Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons)
Matthew Day (Oakleigh Chargers)
Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets)
Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges)
Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges)
Jack Higgins (Oakleigh Chargers)
Hayden McLean (Sandringham Dragons)
Dylan Moore (Eastern Ranges)
Nathan Murphy (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Mynott (Eastern Ranges)
Patrick Naish (Northern Knights - Richmond father-son)
Tom North (Eastern Ranges)
Ethan Penrith (Northern Knights)
Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Cameron Rayner (Western Jets)
Ned Reeves (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ed Richards (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jackson Ross (Eastern Ranges)
Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges)
Ryley Stoddart (Eastern Ranges)
Angus Styles (Sandringham Dragons)
Will Walker (Sandringham Dragons)
Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers)

Vic Country

Aiden Bonar (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jordan Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Hunter Clark (Dandenong Stingrays)
Oscar Clavarino (Dandenong Stingrays)
Brent Daniels (Benigo Pioneers)
Luke Davies-Uniacke (Dandenong Stingrays)
Tom De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Aiden Domic (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Paddy Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ethan Floyd (Geelong Falcons)
David Handley (Geelong Falcons)
Bailey Henderson (Bendigo Pioneers)
Changkouth Jiath (Gippsland Power)
Jordan Johnston (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Harrison Jones (Murray Bushrangers)
Matthew Ling (Geelong Falcons)
Tom McCartin (Geelong Falcons)
Matthew McGannon (Gippsland Power)
Lloyd Meek (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons)
Lochie O'Brien (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers)
Angus Schumacher (Bendigo Pioneers)
James Worpel (Geelong Falcons)

Western Australia

Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco)
Oscar Allen (West Perth)
Callan England (Claremont)
Kyron Hayden (Subiaco)
Tim Kelly (South Fremantle)
Ben Miller (Subiaco)
Aaron Naughton (Peel Thunder)
Jake Patmore (Claremont)
Brandon Starcevich (East Perth)
Sam Taylor (Swan Districts)

South Australia

Charlie Ballard (Sturt)
Callum Coleman-Jones (Sturt)
Darcy Fogarty (Glenelg)
Jordan Houlahan (Sturt)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Alex Martini (Glenelg)
Andrew McPherson (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harrison Petty (Norwood)


Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers)
Brendan Myers (Wagga Tigers/GWS academy)
Jack Powell (Ainslie/GWS academy)
Nicholas Shipley (St George/GWS academy)
Charlie Spargo (Murray Bushrangers)


Connor Ballenden (Wests Juniors/Brisbane Lions academy)
Brayden Crossley (Labrador/Gold Coast Suns academy)
Jack Payne (Noosa/Brisbane Lions academy)

Northern Territory

Zac Bailey (Southern Districts/Norwood)
Adam Sambono (NT Thunder)


Hugh Dixon (Kingborough Tigers)