AFL Draft Wrap: Shades of Petracca in likely top 10 pick Flanders

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

One of this draft's most damaging players, Sam Flanders, earned best-on-ground honours for Gippsland in their convincing win against Calder. The potential top-10 choice set the tone early with a powerful one-on-one mark at the top of the goal square and converted his opportunity for the first goal of the match before moving into the midfield.

Through the midfield Flanders was a class above. He regularly won first possession at stoppages, displayed composure and awareness in traffic and dished effectively by hand. By foot, Flanders moved the ball on quickly and aggressively - he possesses hurt factor and even when under pressure places the ball in dangerous positions.

In patches Flanders showed a burst of acceleration and power which he used to dash away from stoppages and create separation on the lead as a forward. His tackling was also excellent, laying two timely second-half tackles at either end of the ground.

Flanders collected 24 disposals, 13 contested possessions, five tackles, five clearances, five inside 50s and one goal.

With a style of game baring some similarity to Christian Petracca as a powerful forward, for Flanders to reach the next level, he will need to further develop his endurance, consistency and impact when used through the midfield.

NAB League

An intercept force in defence with his aerial intercept marking in pack situations particularly promising, Brock Smith read the drop of the ball early and got to the right spots to intercept for Gippsland. The promising defender managed 28 disposals, seven marks (two contested), six rebound 50s and one goal.

Providing a powerful marking presence forward of centre, Joel Smith marked through heavy contact on more than one occasion. The Gippsland key forward posted 14 disposals, six marks (three contested), two goals and two score assists.

Prolific at stoppages, Jacob Martin was Calder's best with 33 disposals, 17 contested possessions, seven marks and 10 clearances.

Bendigo underager's Sam Conforti and Jack Ginnivan were strong performers for Bendigo in their side's two-point loss to Tasmania. They managed 30 disposals, 10 contested possessions, eight marks, two goals and two score assists and 27 disposals, 13 contested possessions, four marks (two contested) and two goals respectively.

Continuing his strong vein of form, Jay Rantall was Greater Western Victoria's best with 36 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six tackles, seven clearances, six inside 50s and three score assists in their loss to Northern.

Prolific ball-winner Zak Pretty was a driving force for Eastern through their midfield in their win against Sandringham with 33 disposals, 16 contested possessions and nine clearances.

Influential through the midfield, Ryan Byrnes was Sandringham's strongest performer with 28 disposals, 13 contested possessions, six clearances, five inside 50s and two score assists.

Providing meaningful drive from defence, Hayden Young was prolific for Dandenong in their win against Western with 26 disposals, 10 contested possessions, five inside 50s, two score assists and seven rebound 50s.


Earning opportunity as Footscray's 23rd man, Kyle Dunkley, the younger brother of Western Bulldogs midfield Josh, furthered his case for mid-season selection with 13 disposals and three goals. This follows his 27 disposal and two goal effort in the Young Guns match.

SANFL vs. WAFL State Game


Ex-Demon and Power speedster Dominic Barry was as prolific as any for the victorious SANFL side, regularly displaying his line-breaking pace. His one-touch pickups off the bounce, receives at speed and kicking and vision were further highlights. The exciting midfielder amassed 23 disposals, six marks, six inside 50s and two goals.

Providing an anchor in defence for the SANFL, Max Proud impressed with his intercept marking, one-on-one and pack marking in defence. The prolific defender secured 17 disposals and eight marks.

Making the case he is the most promising ruckman outside the AFL, Michael Knoll developed an ascendency as the match progressed through the ruck. He often positioned himself one kick behind the ball, reading the drop of the ball effectively for intercept marks. Winning the Fos-Williams Medal for the SANFL's best, the big man, who may receive mid-season draft consideration, managed 15 disposals, five marks and 31 hitouts.


Ex-Docker Joshua Deluca was the WAFL's most prolific ball winner. He won first possession through the midfield, distributed effectively by hand, hit the scoreboard and took intercept marks. He amassed 29 disposals, eight inside 50s and two goals. While Deluca won the Simpson Medal as the WAFL's best and is considered a mid-season draft chance, his kicking was suspect and let him down on occasions.

Demonstrating a high work rate, seemingly always on the move and providing drive with his long kicks to targets up the field, ex-Pie Jye Bolton was one his side's most valuable through the midfield. While a lot of his best work was on the outside, he also won it through the middle and has arguably has the most complete inside/outside game outside the AFL. The 2016 and 2018 Sandover medallist posted 28 disposals and five marks.

Hurting the SANFL by moving the ball on quickly and with his vision and precision kick placement out in front of his teammates to lead onto, Haiden Schloithe was one of his side's most important. The ex-Docker, who won the 2017 Sandover Medal as a midfielder, was just as impressive up forward. He showed class with ball in hand and applied excellent forward pressure including a high effort chase down tackle. The classy midfielder/forward gathered 14 disposals, six marks and two goals.

Enhancing his reputation as the man with the strongest hands overhead outside the AFL, medium marking forward Ben Sokol demonstrated vice-like hands overhead. One-on-one he kept his feet, demonstrated smart bodywork and protected the drop zone. His work rate was exceptional, leading high up the ground and working hard inside 50m. The prolific forward posted 13 disposals, 11 marks and four goals.