Knightmare's AFL Draft Wrap: Starcevich all power in the contest

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

Playing a pivotal role in Western Australia winning their third of four Under-18 Championships game, the nephew of Collingwood's Craig Starcevich, Brandon Starcevich, 187cm, 88kg, helped the Western Australian midfield get on top. Starcevich gathered 22 disposals, 14 contested possessions, eight tackles, five clearances and one score assist.

What first jumps out at you with Starcevich is his power in the contest. He wins the ball at the goal face but also delivers a powerful "don't argue" and will barge through tackles with force and if unable to break the tackle, handball to a target without going to ground.

His courage was also notable, keeping his eyes on the ball, running forward with the flight, taking the mark and having the strength to hold onto the mark as he got hit hard.

The other impressive element against Victoria Country was his ball use. Nine of Starcevich's twelve kicks were effective, with a combination of long kicks and short kicks where he lowering his eyes and hit the target.

Starcevich may feature this year mid-draft as a powerful ball winning midfielder who can rest up forward.

Under-18 Championships

Victoria Metro v South Australia

Vic Metro

The best on ground for Vic Metro, Jaidyn Stephenson, was a highlight on a wing in Vic Metro's win against South Australia with 28 disposals, five tackles, five goals and one score assist. His swift run and carry was a highlight, taking on the game regularly with ball in hand and running around players opponents at will. This was the dominant performance clubs have been waiting for from Stephenson. Wing seems to be Stephenson's best position.

Spending the majority of the contest forward, Cameron Rayner was the other matchwinner. He gathered 16 disposals, nine contested possessions, seven marks (three contested), three clearances and five goals, playing primarily up forward. His tackling and pressuring efforts were outstanding. A memorable moment was when Rayner after getting pushed to ground in a marking contest was back up on his feet in less than one second, diving to tackle the South Australian defender in what was a terrific effort play. Rayner's marking was also a highlight, attacking the ball in the air each time we went for the mark.

Jack Higgins continued his consistent play through the Vic Metro midfield with 29 disposals, 18 contested possessions, six marks (one contested), six tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and one score assist.

Building on his first Under-18 Championships match, promising key forward Will Sutherland collected 13 disposals, four marks (one contested), four tackles and kicked two goals. His aggressiveness and intimidation was a real highlight, tackling players to hurt, pushing them after a contest and letting them know about it. The key improvement from Sutherland was, unlike the first game where he looked spent after the first quarter, Sutherland ran out the game much more strongly, putting forward a stronger four quarter performance. He even produced a short midfield stint where he also looked a natural. All clubs will be hoping Sutherland joins a TAC Cup club for the second half of the season with his mix of attributes, physical profile and improvement suggesting he could be anything. Spending time on South Australian star underage key forward, Jack Lukosious, Noah Balta not only restricted the influence of Lukosious when matched up against the future star, Balta arguably won the matchup. Often playing in front, Balta took intercept marks and provided meaningful run and carry, accelerating immediately after marks and kicking long a team-high five times from his nine disposals and four marks.

South Australia

Playing on Will Sutherland and Hayden McLean, key defender Harry Petty, 194cm, 81kg, was one of the few positives for South Australia. His 18 disposals, seven marks (three contested) and six rebound 50s had some recruiters asking whether Petty is one of this year's better key defenders. Petty took several one-on-one marks strongly overhead, read the flight of the ball early and used the ball cleanly out of defence.

Adding to an already deep key position group this year, Nathan Kreuger, 196cm, 86kg, was the other shining light for South Australia with 16 disposals, eight marks (three contested), five inside 50s, one goal and one score assist. Kreuger demonstrated a positive mix of attributes with his contested marking, ground ball winning and his fluid movement all positives.

Underage talent, Izak Rankine, once again showed his class with 22 disposals, 12 contested possessions, three clearances and one goal. His freakish ground ball pickups, acceleration, change of direction and reliable skills under pressure were all traits displayed against Vic Metro that should see Rankine feature early in the 2018 draft.

Playing a forgettable game, projected first round choice, Darcy Fogarty, who had his right knee strapped, put forward an out of character quiet performance. He contributed just the four disposals and three tackles. Fogarty spent much of the game playing as a deep forward and was unable to get involved in the contest.

Western Australia v Victoria Country

Western Australia

Making a lasting impression, underage talent Ian Hill, 174cm, 63kg, was Western Australia's best with 25 disposals, seven contested possessions, seven marks (one contested), five inside 50s and three score assists. If this game was any indication, he looks like a first-round choice next year. His freakish ground ball pickups along with his line-breaking acceleration, evasiveness, damaging skills and forward pressure were striking.

Impressing with his intercept marking, taking several aerial marks and one-on-one marks, Aaron Naughton stood out down back with 17 disposals and 10 marks (two contested).

Continuing his consistent form up forward, Oscar Allen collected 15 disposals, five marks (two contested), three goals and one score assist as Western Australia's primary target inside 50m. At 191cm, and getting spoiled from behind when the ball went high, he appears best suited to a role as a third tall forward role.

Bottom age forward, Jarrad Fazioli, 173cm, 72kg, appears a likely type as a crumbing forward with 13 disposals, seven contested possessions and four goals. His work at ground level and crumbing off the back of contests was a highlight.

Again, Western Australia's primary ball winner through the midfield, overage midfielder Brayden Ainsworth collected 27 disposals, 16 contested possessions, seven marks (two contested), seven tackles, nine clearances and kicked one goal. Ainsworth led both teams in the contested possession and clearance count.

Playing one of his better games, Jake Patmore, 181cm, 78kg, gathered a team-high 32 disposals, eight contested possessions, six tackles, six rebound 50s and one score assist. The key improvement from the outside running Patmore was his tackling and pressure around the ball which is not normally a feature of his game.

Using the ball impressively, nine of Callan England's ten kicks were effective including six long kicks. England accumulated 22 disposals, eight contested possessions, six marks and eight inside 50s. He was one of the reasons Western Australia moved the ball much more quickly end-to-end than Vic Country.

Vic Country

Substantially improving his draft stocks over recent weeks, Paddy Dow was again a standout performer for Vic Country. Dow amassed 23 disposals, 15 contested possessions, six clearances, four inside 50s, one goal and one score assist through the midfield. The key with Dow is he's a genuine contested ball winner who accelerates out of the contest and possesses clean skills. Dow now appears a genuine top five draft chance if he continues to build upon his recent form.

Luke Davies-Uniacke put forward a solid performance through the midfield with 23 disposals, 11 contested possessions, five marks (two contested), four clearances and one goal. His power in the contest, shrugging tackles, along with his evasiveness were all on display. Several of his kicks however let him down, overshooting targets with the placement of his kicks not always as consistent as would be expected of the projected top five selection.

Providing most of the outside drive for Vic Country, Lachie O'Brien was again impressive by foot. He gathered 18 disposals, seven contested possessions, nine marks, seven inside 50s, one goal and one score assist.

Leading the goalkicking for Vic Country and providing their most dangerous forward, Brent Daniels collected 15 disposals, six contested possessions, five marks (one contested), six tackles and kicked two goals. The work of Daniels at ground level is a highlight. An area which he showed improvement on from last week was his tackling and forward pressure, giving multiple efforts and providing a heightened commitment to the defensive side of the game.

Brent Daniels after kicking a goal early in the third quarter, despite Western Australia leading 43-20, stuck out his tongue in celebration. He is the type of character who brings energy and excitement to a team.

Providing regular run off half-back and impressive acceleration, Ethan Floyd, 179cm, 70kg, was one of the few for Vic Country who generated meaningful metres gained. Floyd contributed 19 disposals, five marks (one contested), five tackles and five rebound 50s.