AFL Draft Wrap: Young Victorian looms as star key defender

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.


Player Focus

Making the case he is the best key defender in the junior ranks, Fischer McAsey was one of Vic Metro's best performers during the first game of the Under-18 Championships. McAsey managed to gather 15 disposals, seven marks (three contested) and one goal in their narrow loss to Vic Country.

McAsey has a similar game to Collingwood's Darcy Moore - an athletic key defender who spoils aggressively and takes his fair share of intercept marks. On more than one occasion, McAsey leaped and spoiled with authority, demonstrating excellent closing speed and a high jump. His intercept marking was also impressive, reading the flight of the ball effectively and taking a number of nice grabs. Like Moore, McAsey's kicking can be relied on with nine of his 10 kicks in the game effective and his work at ground level clean.

The other notable performance from McAsey came early in the year during the Under-18s win against Casey where he showed more promise than any other key position player in the game.

The only weakness in McAsey's game right now is his strength as he at times gets out-bodied and out-marked in one-on-one contests. With his strong marking, and capabilities at ground level, there's some intrigue as to whether he could go forward more and offer potential as a swingman, something which would increase his value.

Fischer, the son of former St Kilda player Chris McAsey, looms as a first-round contender.

Under-18 Championships

Vic Metro v Vic Country

Potential number one selection Matthew Rowell did not disappoint on the big stage, winning the ball at stoppages and finding it around the ground. The prolific ball winner amassed 28 disposals, 11 contested possessions, eight marks (one contested), five tackles and one goal for Vic Metro.

Leading the way at stoppages by winning first possession regularly and hurting the opposition with his precise kicking and vision, Noah Anderson was arguably Vic Metro's most influential. In an impressive display through the midfield, Anderson secured 25 disposals, nine contested possessions, five marks, eight tackles and five clearances.

Taking three intercept marks, competing strongly one-on-one and providing run from defence, Louis Butler impressed in defence with 23 disposals and seven rebound 50s.

As a tall defender, Brodie Newman had a great game finishing with 19 disposals, six marks and four rebound 50s. His intercepting in defence and drive by foot was impressive.

Putting his name up in lights as a potential first round choice, Western's Darcy Cassar impressed for Metro by lowering his eyes and finding inside 50m targets. The classy utility managed 16 disposals, one goal and two score assists.

Playing arguably his best game on the biggest of stages, half-back Hayden Young won best on ground honours for Vic Country. He finished with 29 disposals, seven marks (two contested) and seven rebound 50s. His kicking, vision and the way he found and hit targets in the corridor was exceptional. He also set up numerous meaningful drives forward. His intercept marking was a further feature and he made the most of the added freedom he was awarded to intercept more than he ordinarily would for Dandenong.

Performing strongly through Vic Country's midfield, Caleb Serong won first possession and provided a spark through Vic Country's midfield with 22 disposals, seven tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s.

Supporting Young and providing similarly impressive drive from defence, Lachlan Ash burst 25m and 30m at a time while also hurting Metro by foot. In what was the play of the day, at one point Ash ran 30m before finding a target in the corridor with brilliant precision. The damaging defender managed 21 disposals and five marks for the game.

Providing a focal point up forward for Country, Josh Smith was strong overhead and on the lead. The way he absorbed and took marks through contact made him difficult to contain. The strong bodied key forward produced eight disposals, four marks (one contested), three goals and two behinds.

Through the midfield, Sam Flanders was influential winning first possession and showing explosiveness. He was clean with his ground ball pickups and was also able to locate and hit inside 50m targets. He showed courage jumping back with the flight for a great mark, too. Flanders posted 21 disposals, seven contested possessions, nine tackles, five inside 50s, one goal and two score assists.

NAB League

Playing a pivotal role for Eastern in their win against Geelong, Mitch Mellis amassed 39 disposals, 16 contested possessions, six tackles, 10 clearances, seven inside 50s and two score assists.

Best afield in a breakout performance for Sandringham in their win against Gippsland, key forward Kyle Yorke produced 19 disposals, nine marks (one contested), eight inside 50s, five goals and three score assists.

In a breakout effort for Greater Western Victoria in their loss to a full-strength Tasmania, Riley Polkinghorne managed 39 disposals, 15 contested possessions, seven marks, six clearances, six inside 50s.

SANFL

League

Performing strongly for Norwood through the midfield in their win against West Adelaide, Dylan Stephens played a prominent part, managing 25 disposals, six marks, five tackles and six inside 50s.

Continuing his strong form in front of goal, Cameron Taheny led the goalkicking for Norwood with nine disposals, six marks and five goals. He now has a return of 11 goals from his three League games which will see Taheny improve his position on draft boards.

Reserves

Possible Port Adelaide father-son choice Jackson Mead continued his consistent brand of football with 22 disposals, six clearances and seven inside 50s for Woodville-West Torrens in their win against South Adelaide