AFL Draft Wrap: Another 'Sonny' on the way to Fremantle?

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

Announcing himself as a likely first-round choice for Western Australia in their Under-18 Championships win against Vic Metro, Liam Henry starred with 14 disposals, six tackles, four inside 50s and three goals. The Fremantle Next Generation Academy product displayed similar traits to the Dockers' Michael Walters.

What Henry brings to the table is a desirable combination of freakish ground ball pickups on the move, forward pressure, pace, kicking, vision and a great deal of composure, agility and evasiveness. Every involvement is an influential one and it seems any time the ball is in his area that he is going to impact the game.

While there is a lot to like, Henry will need to develop greater one-on-one strength, additional penetration to his kick and the capacity to roll through the midfield if he is to push up towards this year's top-10.

AFL Under-18 Championships

Western Australia vs. Vic Metro

Western Australia

A tone setter with the way he put his body on the line, Deven Robertson had a Nick Riewoldt-esque moment where he took a courageous mark leaping forward at speed with the flight of the ball and tumbled over a teammate with no regard for his own personal safety. Robertson won first possession at stoppages, but it was his clean ground ball-winning and how aggressively he moved the ball on that was most influential. The ball-winning midfielder amassed 31 disposals, 12 contested possessions, seven clearances and two score assists.

Demonstrating aerial prowess flying for marks, Elijah Taylor read the ball in flight early. Taylor plays with an instinctive feel, with his vision and skills to hit targets inside 50m, composure and evasive movements points of difference. The talented forward managed 13 disposals and two goals.

Freakish with his ground ball pickups at high speed without breaking stride, Ryan Bennell was one of the highlights for Western Australia. He played a desperate brand of football and was consistently first to ground balls, played on at every opportunity, showed composure and evasion with ball in hand and knew where the goals were. The speedy forward secured 11 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s and one goal.

A genuine super boot for WA, Ben Johnson kicked two long goals on the move from 45m and 55m respectively, with both kicks flying 60m to 65m through the air. His pace, agility, composure, loose ball-winning and the speed he moved the ball on with were further features to his game. The impact player produced 11 disposals and two goals.

Freakish with the way he swooped on ground balls at speed, Tyrone Thorne was electrifying. He moved the ball on quickly, played on at every chance, lowered his eyes hitting, hit targets and chased and tackled with intent. The talented 167cm forward posted 11 disposals and two goals.

Vic Metro

Proving strong in one-on-one contests, taking intercept marks, reading the ball in flight earlier than his opponents and hitting meaningful targets in the corridor by foot, Louis Butler played a complete game in defence. Elevating his draft stocks with a second standout performance to open the Under-18 Championships, Butler managed 23 disposals and seven rebound 50s.

Delivering on the promise he showed in 2018, Joshua Worrell -- who has had an inconsistent start to the season -- played his best game for the year. The 195cm mobile utility displayed a high work rate and hit the scoreboard, finishing with 18 disposals, six marks (two contested) and four goals.

Winning first possession at stoppages and displaying freakishness with some of his ground ball pickups, Noah Anderson was Vic Metro's most impressive through the midfield. No one else could have pulled off some of his freakish pickups he produced, while he also moved the ball on aggressively and kicked an instinctive inside 50m around goal.

Anderson secured 16 disposals, 15 contested possessions and seven clearances.

Vic Country vs. Allies

Helping Country to a convincing win, underager Elijah Hollands put forward the case he is one of 2020's best. Hollands displayed composure under pressure and made quick and sound decisions when he needed to. He moved the ball on quickly, took ground balls on the move at speed and demonstrated impressive agility and evasion, avoiding tackles in traffic.

Winning first possession through the midfield, sticking his tackles, playing on when the opportunity was there and hitting the scoreboard, Caleb Serong performed strongly with 22 disposals and three goals.

Demonstrating excellent vision and execution by foot, Lachlan Ash on more than one occasion located and hit targets by foot through the corridor including on one play where he was under heavy pressure. His intercept marking, winning the loose ball off the bounce and acceleration were further strong points. The talented defender managed 29 disposals.

Providing a strong work rate and considerable drive with his run and carry, Brady Rowles was among Country's most influential and has on the back of the performance garnered growing interest from recruiters. He was often seen running the ball 15m or 30m at a time before disposing on the ball.

Tackling and moving the ball on aggressively, Sam Flanders was one of Vic Country's strongest performers. His work at ground level was particularly exceptional, winning ground balls cleanly when they were there to be won and often taking it on the move at speed.


Demonstrating a high work rate throughout, Mitchell O'Neill was gut running on several plays and was reliable with his ball use. His effort against Vic Country is his best since returning from injury and a performance he will be looking to build upon. The talented Tasmanian amassed 26 disposals and eight marks.

Winning first possession regularly through the midfield and providing a strong marking target on the lead, GWS Academy midfielder Tom Green was his side's strongest performer. The ball winning midfielder secured 18 disposals and nine clearances.