AFL Draft Wrap: Another key forward in the first round?

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

Making his impact felt for Dandenong in their convincing win over Bendigo, Bailey Williams was the focal point up forward, consolidating his draft stocks as a likely late first or second round choice. The 198cm, 95kg, key position prospect posted 15 disposals, 11 marks (four contested), 12 hitouts, four inside 50s, one goal and four behinds.

What makes Williams so threatening is his aerial attack on the ball. He reads the drop well and times his run and jumps cleverly. Each time he elevated for marks on the weekend nobody could defend him. His height, reach, elevation and strength to absorb contact in the air made defending Williams an impossible task, even when double teamed in marking contests. His leading patterns are a further strength, something he does to perfection.

While Williams has developed into a threatening key forward, he was arguably the best ruckman in the TAC Cup in 2017, often elevating so high at ruck contests he would get his torso above the opposition ruckman's head for clear hitouts.

Williams possesses an intriguing athletic profile as a tall, strong and ultra-athletic prospect who plays a style of game baring similarities to Paddy Ryder.

While Williams impacts the play each time he goes near the ball, he is still raw and his game lacks completeness. What holds Williams back from being viewed as one of this year's elite prospects is his inconsistent marking. He often drops chest marks or finds the ball bounces off his hands overhead where he needs a second or third attempt to take control of the ball.

At ground level, Williams lacks the clean hands to pick the ball up off the deck consistently. His conversion in front of goal has also let him down, kicking 12 goals and 16 behinds so far this TAC Cup season. It was telling against Bendigo with his only goal coming from a snap while all four behinds came from set shot misses.


Winning first possession, distributing by hand at stoppages and tackling with force, Sam Fletcher was listed as Dandenong's best. Covering the ground well and looking taller than the 187cm he is listed at, the potential second round choice continued his ascension in draft calculations. He amassed 33 disposals, 19 contested possessions, seven tackles, five clearances, seven inside 50s and two score assists.

Proving influential at stoppages, Dandenong captain Campbell Hustwaite impressed with 30 disposals, 15 contested possessions, eight tackles, eight clearances, six inside 50s, one goal and three score assists.

In a new role as a forward, Dandenong overager Jake Frawley looked a natural. The 187cm, 81kg, ball winning midfielder secured 21 disposals, six marks (two contested), five tackles, five inside 50s and four goals. His powerful overhead marking and leaping up at the ball made him a constant threat.

Speedy forward Zac Foot displayed electric pace and marking power, taking aerial and one-on-one marks against stronger opponents. The 180cm, 71kg, explosive forward contributed 18 disposals, 11 marks (two contested), six inside 50s, three goals and three score assists.

The intercept marking and rebound from defence provided by Bendigo's Braydon Vaz was a highlight. The 187cm, 78kg, underager defender collected 15 disposals, 10 marks (two contested) and five rebound 50s.

Bendigo captain Jacob Atley intercepted and used the ball effectively from defence. The 191cm, 74kg, defender posted 16 disposals, eight marks and four rebound 50s.

For Murray in their win against Eastern, Ely Smith was a standout at stoppages. The ball-winning midfielder secured 24 disposals, 10 contested possessions, seven tackles, five clearances and eight inside 50s.

Providing a marking target up forward for Murray, Zane Barzen secured 17 disposals, eight marks (one contested), three goals and five behinds.

In Gippsland's win against Western, captain and likely draft choice Xavier Duursma posted 26 disposals, 14 contested possessions, five tackles, five inside 50s and two goals. His run and ball winning have been important for Gippsland throughout the season.

Key forward Noah Gown provided a strong target and was named Gippsland's best. The 193cm, 91kg, marking presence produced 18 disposals, seven marks (two contested), five goals and four score assists.

Western captain Xavier O'Halloran was his side's best. The potential first or second round choice hurt the opposition with 25 disposals, 16 contested possessions, six marks (one contested), six tackles, six clearances and nine inside 50s.


Furthering his case for another AFL opportunity was Sam Collins, who was one of Werribee's best in their loss to Carlton. Collins finished with 25 disposals and 15 marks (four contested), the second successive week he has taken 15 or more marks.



Former Swan and Crow Lewis Johnston has been in red hot form for Norwood. The once powerful marking key forward, now playing in a link man role, amassed 37 disposals, nine marks, seven inside 50s and one goal in their convincing win against West Adelaide. This is the second match in three weeks Johnston has secured 36 or more disposals. The 27-year-old has been a consistent performer, not dropping below 21 possessions this season. He has also managed five games this season with at least 10 marks.

In Central Districts' win against Adelaide, Jackson Hately performed strongly through the midfield with 22 disposals and five marks. The 190cm ball-winner has been a consistent performer at League level and did his first-round prospects no harm.

Providing excitement in the front half, Connor Rozee had several positive moments for North Adelaide in their loss against South Adelaide. The possible top-10 choice gathered 11 disposals, six tackles and three goals.


In a best on ground performance for Sturt in their win against the Eagles, midfielder Tom Lewis collected 28 disposals, 12 tackles, seven inside 50s and one goal. Lewis played an instrumental midfield role for South Australia in their Under-18 Championships title and could see himself enter the draft mix in the middle rounds.

Port Adelaide NGA speedster Martin Frederick was one of the Eagles' best players with 20 disposals and nine marks. Frederick has developed a reputation for his line-breaking capabilities and was arguably the most exciting defender with ball in hand during the Under-18 Championships.

North Adelaide overage forward Oscar Chapman contributed 14 disposals, 10 marks and one goal in their win against South Adelaide. Chapman, whose game bares similarities to Sydney's Will Hayard, was one of South Australia's most dangerous marking targets forward of centre during the Under-18 Championships.


A class above for Norwood in their convincing victory against West Adelaide, powerful ball winner Luke Valente was too good. Having captained South Australia during the Under-18 Championships, the prolific mid collected 30 disposals, eight marks, six tackles and two goals.

Norwood teammate Jacob Kennerley was also prolific with 27 disposals, 12 marks, 11 inside 50s and one goal.

In his second game back from a ruptured ACL, overage defender Lachlan Pascoe secured 30 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s and six rebound 50s. This follows 18 disposals and nine marks the previous week. The powerful 190cm, 92kg, rebounding defender with a penetrating kick could again receive draft consideration this season.



Performing strongly for Perth in their loss to East Fremantle, Sydney Stack continued his strong vein of form with 26 disposals, 12 tackles and seven inside 50s.

In one of his strongest performances for Perth, Ian Hill contributed 25 disposals, six marks, six inside 50s and three goals.

Fremantle NGA prospect Tom Medhat was a standout for West Perth in their win against Swan Districts. Playing as a forward, the 191cm utility managed 11 disposals and team highs of three goals and three behinds.