Each week, ESPN.com.au 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.
In a losing effort for the Allies against Western Australia in the final round of the National Under-18 Championships, Nick Blakey (son of John) furthered his top-five draft chances. The athletic, 195cm, 80kg, utility secured 17 disposals, 10 contested possessions, four clearances, five inside 50s and one goal. Spending most the carnival as a key forward, Blakey arguably played his best football in the final match through the midfield.
At centre bounces, Blakey regularly won first possession on the move and it was his move into the midfield that played a part in the Allies' comeback during the second half. His clean ground-ball pickups and delivery by foot for someone of his height is rare and was noted by recruiters.
Providing an athletic marking target forward of centre in earlier games -- often taking marks at the highest point -- Blakey against Western Australia took two important intercept marks across half-forward. They highlighted how early he reads the ball in flight and suggested potential as a key defender.
The most intriguing question surrounding Blakey is where his best position lies. Apart from playing through the ruck, Blakey possesses the versatility to play anywhere on the field and become an influential footballer. A possible vision for the athletic utility may be along the lines of Jarryd Roughead as a key position player who can pinch-hit through the midfield and win clearances.
Allies vs. Western Australia
Confirming postgame he is undecided on whether he will nominate Gold Coast as an Academy prospect or Geelong or North Melbourne as a father-son selection in this year's AFL draft, Bailey Scott had his most complete performance of the carnival. Demonstrating an inside/outside balance, running hard all day, winning loose balls and tackling strongly, the son of Robert is likely to attract a second or third round bid. The hard-working midfielder amassed 30 disposals, 13 contested possessions, five tackles, six clearances, one goal and two score assists.
Playing his role consistently throughout the carnival for the Allies with his kicking and intercept marking a highlight, Brisbane Academy prospect Thomas Matthews posted 15 disposals, five marks (one contested) and five rebound 50s.
Arguably the Allies' most consistent ball winner through the midfield and most threatening marking forward throughout the carnival, Connor McFadyen while inaccurate in front of goal was the player Western Australia needed to work hardest to contain. The Brisbane Academy prospect, who is seen as a likely second round prospect, contributed 13 disposals, eight contested possessions, one goal, three behinds and two score assists. McFadyen, playing as a forward against Western Australia, impressed with his combination of powerful overhead marking, protecting the drop of the ball and taking the ball cleanly off the bounce.
Establishing himself in the carnival as the best ruckman in junior ranks, GWS Academy overager Kieran Briggs was a standout. His mobility, strength, competitiveness, tackling and contested marking are among his attributes that suggest he can be a future AFL ruckman. The highlight from the 200cm, 99kg, big man was a crushing, Shane Mumford-like tackle when he ran onto the field from the bench, catching a Western Australian player unawares. The competitive ruckman posted 11 disposals, five marks (one contested), nine tackles and 29 hitouts.
Intercepting and providing drive from defence with his long kicking and run, Jordan Clark was one of Western Australia's best players. The 182cm, 78kg, defender accumulated 29 disposals, four marks and 11 rebound 10s.
Providing drive from defence, Graydon Wilson's explosive run and reliable kicking was an important factor in the win. The 177cm, 73kg, defender collected 21 disposals.
Timing his runs at the ball to perfection and winning first possession on the move, Sydney Stack regularly accelerated away from the contest with ball in hand. His work defensively without the ball was also impressive with his pressure on the ball carrier notable. The exciting midfielder posted 20 disposals, 14 contested possessions, five tackles, seven clearances and one goal.
In first round contention, overager Luke Foley continued his strong vein of form. The athletic midfielder's tackling was impressive. Foley is promising athletically and possesses reliable skills, with the contested side of his game developing into a strength this season. The quickly improving midfielder contributed 17 disposals, nine contested possessions, 10 tackles and six inside 50s.
Demonstrating Alan Didak like traits, Luke Moore impacted the game heavily for Western Australia. Moore only needed a handful of opportunities to hurt the Allies. He was one touch at ground level, agile and slippery and had the decision-making, vision and execution to hit inside 50m targets. The 180cm, 85kg, forward produced 13 disposals, two goals and four score assists and was arguably Western Australia's most influential contributor.
South Australia vs. Vic Metro
Helping South Australia secure a final-round win and the national title, likely top-10 choice Izak Rankine put forward the standout performance of the carnival, individually taking over the first half and then putting the game beyond doubt in the final quarter. He played freakish, instinctive football, taking the ball one-touch off the bounce, exploding away from contests, evading opponents, flying for marks and showing the goal sense to kick goals without looking to see where the posts were. It was the Rankine show and a special performance. The talented forward produced 17 disposals, 10 contested possessions, four marks (three contested), four tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s and five goals.
Impressing at ground level and with his football smarts, Connor Rozee, who played predominantly forward, was one of South Australia's most important. The likely first round selection gathered 18 disposals, nine contested possessions, four marks, four tackles, four clearances and one goal.
Attacking the ball in air and hurting the opposition with his explosive run and damaging long kicking from defence, Tom Sparrow played his part in the win. With 11 of 13 kicks effective, the explosive midfielder managed 17 disposals, six marks (one contested) and five inside 50s.
Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy defender Martin Frederick was a spark with his run and dare off half-back. His explosive pace, agility, evasiveness and his low bullet kicks were highlights. The daring defender collected 16 disposals.
Overage forward Oscar Chapman provided a strong marking target inside 50m. His attack on the ball aerially, one-on-one marking and cleanness at ground level earned plaudits from recruiters. The 187cm, 72kg, forward posted 14 disposals, seven marks (four contested) and two goals.
Competing hard all day, Bailey Smith was consistent at stoppages throughout the match with his contested ball-winning and tackling at stoppages a highlight. The potential top-10 choice collected 22 disposals, 10 contested possessions, four marks (one contested), six tackles and seven clearances.
Playing a central role in helping Vic Metro back into the contest in the third quarter, Matthew Rowell impressed with his work at stoppages. His contested ball-winning, tackling and outside run were highlights. The underager amassed 20 disposals (15 in the second half), 11 contested possessions, seven tackles, four clearances and three score assists.
Providing a target in attack, potential top-five selection Ben King was Vic Metro's most threatening forward with seven disposals, five marks (three contested) and four goals.
Providing an aerial marking target up forward, Xavier O'Halloran displayed further glimpses of promise. Vic Metro's captain was vocal on the field and his loose ball-winning, run and precise kicking out in front of targets was impressive. The ball-winning midfielder secured 10 disposals, five marks (one contested), four tackles, five inside 50s and one goal.
Exciting midfielder Zac Butters was always planning for this match to be his last of the season but midway through the second quarter he went down with a shoulder injury, which saw his day end prematurely. With the performances Butters has on the board and the attributes shown with his speed, agility and the way he takes on the game, he is expected to feature in this year's national draft.