AFL Draft Wrap: Vic Metro's O'Halloran moves into first-round contention

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Each week, AFL draft expert Chris Doerre 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 wraps, 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

Western Jets captain Xavier O'Halloran was arguably Victoria Metro's most damaging in their one-point win against the Allies in the Under 18 National Championships. The 186cm, 82kg, prolific ball winning midfielder was damaging by foot and regularly accelerated away from contests after winning first possession.

Collecting 16 disposals, nine contested possessions, seven inside 50s and two score assists, it is the combination of his contested ball-winning and execution by foot that could see O'Halloran in the first-round mix at season's end.

With nine of his 11 kicks effective, his composed pass in a critical moment from the boundary was a standout. He hit likely top-10 choice Ben King 30m out directly in front of goal, which proved decisive in setting up the win, with King converting.

O'Halloran is one of the best kicks from this year's class of midfielders. He boasts a damaging long kick while also making sound decisions, lowering his eyes and using his vision and precision kicking to pick out open targets.

His game bares similarities to Richmond premiership captain Trent Cotchin. To take the next step in his development, O'Halloran will need to start finding the ball more frequently, having not yet secured 25 disposals in 2018. To his credit, he is a high-impact-per-possession player and does not seek cheap stats, but if he can deliver the impact and find more of the ball, he can rise in draft calculations.

Under-18 Championships

Victoria Metro v Allies

Vic Metro

Enhancing his draft stocks and solidifying himself as a first-round pick, Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Rhylee West amassed 28 disposals, 14 contested possessions, four clearances and five inside 50s. This is the second successive week West has led Vic Metro in contested possessions.

Winning first possession and bursting away from contests, Bailey Smith continued his strong vein of form. The ball-winning midfielder produced 26 disposals and 12 contested possessions. The likely top-10 choice was reliable by foot with all seven of his kicks effective.

Collingwood Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Isaac Quaynor provided drive from defence with 20 disposals. While 12 of the likely draft choices 15 kicks were effective, Quaynor early in the contest tended to blast away long without lowering his eyes which will be an area Quaynor will need to work on further.

Providing outside run, Daly Andrews was a key ball mover for Vic Metro. The 183cm, 76kg, midfielder gathered 19 disposals and six inside 50s while nine of his 13 kicks were effective. Best suited to playing an outside role, Andrews played with aggression. He won the contested ball, tackled with intensity, smothered a kick and bumped and niggled opponents around the ground.

Displaying agility, evasiveness and contested ball-winning, James Rowbottom is firming as a possible first-round choice. The slick ball-winning midfielder posted 19 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six inside 50s and two score assists.

Winning the ball on the move, demonstrating vision and placing kicks out in front of targets, Zac Butters was among Vic Metro's most damaging players. The skilful midfielder contributed 19 disposals, five inside 50s and one goal while six of his nine kicks were effective.

Athletic Western Bulldogs NGA defender Buku Khamis intercepted and defended one-on-one contests effectively. Improving his stocks with each performance and looking like a probable draft choice, Khamis posted 18 disposals, four marks (one contested) and five rebound 50s.

Displaying aerial marking brilliance, underage forward Dylan Williams showed signs that he will be a force to be reckoned with in 2019. The 188cm, 82kg, forward contributed 12 disposals, six marks (four contested) and four goals.


Impressive with his aerial marking and work defensively without the ball -- tackling and smothering -- North Melbourne NGA prospect and potential top-five choice Tarryn Thomas performed solidly through the Allies midfield with 18 disposals, five marks, six tackles and five inside 50s.

Powerful, underage GWS Academy midfielder Thomas Green played predominantly as a forward after starring as a ball-winning midfielder last week. For the second successive week, Green was arguably the Allies' most impressive. The powerful ball winner secured 15 disposals, 11 contested possessions, four marks (one contested), five inside 50s and two goals.

Green provided a powerful marking target up forward, won the ground balls and his kicking to targets and instincts around goal were features with five of his seven kicks effective. Based off the quality of his play through the under-18 trial match and the first two rounds of the Under-18 Championships, Green may be the best prospect yet to come through the academy system.

Holding up strongly in defence, Jacob Koschitzke limited highly touted Victorian key position prospect Ben King to seven disposals, four marks and one goal. Despite conceding the deciding mark and goal, Koschitzke broke even against possible top-five choice. Koschitzke held his own in one-on-one contests and limited the more highly touted key position prospect's influence.

Koschitzke took a couple of strong marks in defence and was unlucky not to be awarded a third.

South Australia v Victoria Country

Helping South Australia to a win against Vic Country, Jackson Hately played a central midfield role. The possible top-10 choice gathered 18 disposals, 10 contested possessions, four tackles and four clearances.

South Australian captain Luke Valente was arguably his side's most important midfielder. The skilful ball winner collected 16 disposals, 10 contested possessions, 14 tackles and six clearances. Of his 10 kicks, nine were effective.

Underage defender Will Gould was named his side's best. The 190cm, 93kg, powerful backman secured 16 disposals, six marks (two contested) and six rebound 50s.

Powerful ball winner Tom Lewis hunted the ball and tackled with intent. The aggressive midfielder managed 15 disposals, 10 contested possessions, nine tackles and five clearances.

Potential top draft choice Jack Lukosius displayed his brilliance up forward. The talented key forward posted 13 disposals, five marks (two contested) and three goals.

Exciting forward Izak Rankine did his top-10 chances no harm with 12 disposals, four marks (two contested), three goals and two score assists.

Vic Country

Despite being on the losing side, Sam Walsh was the most prolific midfielder on the field. The hard-running midfielder amassed 25 disposals, 15 contested possessions and 10 tackles.

Providing run and rebound from defence Xavier Duursma was arguably his side's best. The possible first round choice posted 16 disposals, five marks (one contested) and four rebound 50s while nine of his 10 kicks were effective.

Providing pressure up forward, underage prospect Caleb Serong was impactful for Vic Country. The talented forward contributed 15 disposals, five tackles, four inside 50s and two goals.


In Murray's win against Bendigo, Ely Smith was named his team's best. The prolific ball winner produced 28 disposals, 15 contested possessions, nine tackles and four inside 50s.

Overage key position player Jordon Butts showed his versatility. Playing as a key forward for Murray in their win against Bendigo, Butts enhanced his draft stocks with 19 disposals, six marks, six goals and two score assists.

Greater Western Victoria underager Izaac Grant produced a breakout performance in a narrow loss to Northern. He was his side's best with 13 disposals, four inside 50s and seven goals.

Geelong father-son prospect Baxter Mensch played a central part in Geelong's win against Western. The prolific ball winner amassed 34 disposals, 18 contested possessions, seven marks (three contested), five clearances, seven inside 50s, one goal and two score assists.

Overage forward Brayden Ham was Geelong's best and continues to make a case to be a late draft choice. The talented forward produced 18 disposals, nine contested possessions, six inside 50s and four goals.



With Western Australia having their bye round, Luke English was a standout for Perth in their loss to East Fremantle. English amassed a season-high 40 disposals, 10 marks, seven inside 50s and one goal.

Lively midfielder Sydney Stack was also prolific for Perth with 33 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s.

Impacting the game up forward for Perth, Ian Hill had several exciting moments with 14 disposals and three goals.

For Subiaco in their win against East Perth Luke Foley played a central role through the midfield. The ball winning midfielder secured 27 disposals, nine tackles and 10 inside 50s.