AFL Draft Power Rankings: Rowell back on top as AFL Draft nears

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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.


1. Matthew Rowell

Best position: Inside midfield/outside midfield

Height, weight: 178cm, 74kg

Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers

Projected draft range: 1-2

Plays like: Joel Selwood

September Ranking: 3

Rationale: Rises to the occasion like no other and has built a reputation as a big game player. He has earned back-to-back medals for best on ground in TAC Cup/NAB League Grand Finals, during the Under-17 All-Stars Grand Final curtain raiser and in the Under-18 vs. Casey earlier in the year. Rowell is likely to have the most immediate impact in this draft and moves up due to sheer dominance in the NAB League Grand Final where he managed 44 disposals, 11 clearances, nine tackles and two goals.

Strengths: Performances on the biggest of stages, will to win and make winning plays in big moments, consistency, attack on the ball, contested ball winning, aggressive tackler, comfortable at stoppages as either the ball winner or receiver, distribution by hand, clean at ground level, strength to keeps his feet through tackles and dispose of the ball, explosive acceleration, run and carry, endurance, evasion, two way running, work rate, movement without the ball, run in support, always leading up at the football to provide a lead-up options, versatility to play inside or outside midfield, overhead marking, intercept marking, leadership and voice on the field

Weaknesses: Often slow to move the ball on after marks and free kicks, hurt factor and consistency by foot, unclear scope to play forward

2. Noah Anderson

Best position: Inside midfield/general forward

Height, weight: 188cm, 86kg

Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers

Projected draft range: 1-3

Plays like: Jordan De Goey

September Ranking: 1

Rationale: A match winner who breaks games open in the matter of minutes. The most influential in the pool whether he's used as a midfielder or forward. Anderson's influence both as a forward and midfielder set him apart from Green and Rowell. Moves slightly behind Rowell with a good but not as influential finals series.

Strengths: Impact per possession, moments where he individually takes games over, versatility to impact games midfield, forward or back, first possession winner at stoppages, contested ball winning, distribution by hand, threat one-out in the goal square, work at ground level inside 50m, overhead marking inside 50m, reading of the ball in flight, finds space inside 50m, scoreboard impact, instinctive finisher around goal and from around the 50m arc, hurt factor by foot, vision, moves the ball on aggressively, spread from the contest, explosive line breaker, endurance, work rate, agility, evasion, repeat speed, two way run

Weaknesses: Inconsistency across four quarters, has quiet patches where his impact isn't felt, kicking consistency

3. Thomas Green (Greater Western Sydney Academy)

Best position: Inside midfield

Height, weight: 188cm, 85kg

Recruited from: GWS Giants

Projected draft range: 3-10

Plays like: Patrick Cripps

September Ranking: 2

Rationale: The most prolific stoppage player and contested ball winner I've seen at this age and stage. Drops as Rowell rises.

Strengths: First possession winner at stoppages, contested ball winning, winning clearances, reading of the ball off the hands of the ruckmen, hunts the ground balls with a greater want than any other, distribution by hand, strength through the hips to stand up through tackles, capabilities forward of centre, marking threat on the lead and inside 50m, overhead marking, scoreboard impact, production on the board in the NEAFL, composure, vision, reliable skills, leadership and encouragement of teammates on the field, evasion, improving speed and endurance

Weaknesses: Agility, athleticism

4. Sam Flanders

Best position: General forward/inside midfield

Height, weight: 182cm, 81kg

Recruited from: Gippsland Power

Projected draft range: 3-15

Plays like: Robbie Gray

September Ranking: 9

Rationale: One of the draft's most damaging players forward of centre and shows continued improvement as a ball winning midfielder. Rises on the back of his finals performance against Oakleigh where he outplayed projected top-two choices Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson, reminding us that despite playing mostly midfield this year, forward of centre only Anderson at his best is comparable.

Strengths: Scoreboard impact, threat one-out in the goal square, overhead marking, one-on-one marking, keeps his feet, crumbing, contested ball winning, first possession winner at stoppages, loose ball winner, aggressive tackler, strength through the hips to stand up through tackles, explosive acceleration, agility, leap, hurt-factor by foot, vision, leadership and voice out on the field

Weaknesses: Not as influential through the midfield as he can be up forward, consistency, with body very physically advanced ceiling may be lower than some other top end prospects

5. Brodie Kemp

Best position: Inside midfield/utility

Height, weight: 192cm, 82kg

Recruited from: Bendigo Pioneers

Projected draft range: 3-15

Plays like: Marcus Bontempelli

September Ranking: 5

Rationale: Among the midfielders with the greatest upside in the pool. Clean ball winner with unbelievable acceleration with ball in hand. Made big plays in big moments during the Under-18 Championships. Sustained a season ending ACL tear which likely will keep him out for the next year.

Strengths: Versatility to impact games in any position other than ruck, acceleration, line breaking, movement and evasion through traffic, wins first possession on the move, ground ball winning, intercept marking, reading of the ball in flight, aerial marking, one-on-one marking, leadup marking, contested marking, marking forward of centre, threat one-out in the goal square, hurt factor by foot, vision, stands up in the big moments

Weaknesses: Needs to find more of the ball to become a top tier midfielder, consistency over four quarters

6. Hayden Young

Best position: General defence/midfield

Height, weight: 188cm, 82kg

Recruited from: Dandenong Stingrays

Projected draft range: 3-7

Plays like: Christian Salem

September Ranking: 7

Rationale: Provides consistent drive from defence with his work by foot a highlight. Rises ahead of Ash due stronger form over the latter part of the season and a better contested side to his game.

Strengths: Versatility to play defence or midfield, precise and damaging kick, vision, decision making under pressure, aggressive attack on the ball, contested ball winning, stoppage work, run and carry, agility, leap, one-on-one defence, defensive accountability, reading of the drop of the ball, intercept marking

Weaknesses: Sometimes too accountable, needs to provide a marking target more often around the ground rather running around the back for cheap handball receives

7. Lachlan Ash

Best position: General defence

Height, weight: 186cm, 80kg

Recruited from: Murray Bushrangers

Projected draft range: 3-15

Plays like: Kade Simpson

September Ranking: 6

Rationale: A well rounded defender who intercepts and hurts the opposition with his run and hurt-factor by foot from defence. Drops due to below expectation play through the midfield late season.

Strengths: Line breaking run and carry, daring runner who will take on opponents, agility, evasion, endurance, damaging kick, vision, hits meaningful targets in the corridor, intercept marking, reading of the ball in flight, ground ball winning, tackling, forward pressure, versatility to push up through the midfield, able to win his own ball

Weaknesses: Prone to trying to do too much with ball in hand, not as dominant through the midfield as the other top end midfielders, contested ball winning not of the level of the other top end prospects

8. Deven Robertson

Best position: Inside midfield

Height, weight: 182cm, 80kg

Recruited from: Perth

Projected draft range: 5-25

Plays like: Adam Treloar

September Ranking: 8

Rationale: Nephew of Darren Glass, Robertson is one of the most productive ball winning midfielders in the pool. Robertson won the Larke Medal for the best player during the Under-18 Championships and was as consistent and influential as any during the carnival.

Strengths: Production, attack on the ball, contested ball winning, freakish reflexes on ground ball pickups, stoppage work, distribution by hand, work rate, moves the ball on quickly, endurance, speed, run and carry, agility, evasion, tackling, pressure around the ground, courage, leadership on and off the field

Weaknesses: Scoreboard impact, ball use under pressure, unclear versatility

9. Will Gould

Best position: General defence/key defence

Height, weight: 191cm, 98kg

Recruited from: Glenelg

Projected draft range: 5-25

Plays like: Shannon Hurn

September Ranking: 4

Rationale: An Under-18 All-Australian, Gould is the most physically advanced and imposing prospect in the pool. A season one ready defender who performs reliably at SANFL League level each week. Finished the season strongly in the SANFL at League level as a premiership player. Drops on review of Under-18 Championships play when weighed against the performances of what is a very even 4-16 grouping.

Strengths: Aggression, imposing presence, attack on the ball, one-on-one strength, penetrating and damaging kick with 60m penetration, vision, reading of the ball in flight, intercept marking, explosive speed, strength through the hips to stand up through and absorb tackles, leadership through on field courage and presence allowing teammates to gain confidence, consistent performances on the board against SANFL league competition

Weaknesses: Endurance, unclear whether tall enough to be a key defender at AFL level

10. Caleb Serong

Best position: Inside midfield/general forward

Height, weight: 178cm, 83kg

Recruited from: Gippsland Power

Projected draft range: 3-10

Plays like: Isaac Heeney

September Ranking: 10

Rationale: Consistent impact through Vic Country's midfield during the Under-18 Championships and was a strong performer during the NAB League Finals. One of this draft's best midfielders and forwards.

Strengths: One-on-one capabilities, powerful overhead mark, aerial marking threat, reading of the ball in flight, high leaper who times his leaps effectively, explosive first step, agility, strong tackler, impact per possession, scoreboard impact, finishing around goal, contested ball winning capabilities, first possession winning, first to loose balls, plays on when the opportunity is there

Weaknesses: Kick placement and reliability, skill execution under pressure

11. Dylan Stephens

Best position: Outside midfield

Height, weight: 183cm, 69kg

Recruited from: Norwood

Projected draft range: 3-15

Plays like: Lachie Hunter

September Ranking: 14

Rationale: Consistent play in the SANFL at League level has shot Stephens up in draft calculations.

Strengths: Endurance to run all day, agility, speed, run and carry, movement without the ball, work rate, leading up at the football and multiple leads in general play, loose ball winning, reliable ball user, versatility to play midfield in an inside or outside role or as a forward, tackling, pressure around the ground, scoreboard impact, production, performances at SANFL League level

Weaknesses: Size, strength

12. Liam Henry (Fremantle Next-Generation Academy)

Best position: General forward

Height, weight: 179cm, 67kg

Recruited from: Claremont

Projected draft range: 10-30

Plays like: Michael Walters

September Ranking: 12

Rationale: One of Western Australia's most influential through the Under-18 Championships and is one of this year's most exciting forwards.

Strengths: Freakish ground ball pickups on the move at speed, crumbing, forward pressure, second and third efforts, kicks placed out in front of targets to lead onto, vision, composure with ball in hand, skill execution under pressure, instinctive finisher around goal, moves the ball on quickly, line-breaking speed, dare with ball in hand, agility, evasion, impact per possession, feels dangerous any time the ball is in his area, leadup marking, protects the drop zone in one-on-one marking contests, early reading of the ball in flight, comfortable pushing up through the midfield

Weaknesses: One-on-one strength, inconsistent overhead mark, kicking penetration

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13. Jeremy Sharp

Best position: General defence/outside midfield

Height, weight: 187cm, 79kg

Recruited from: East Fremantle

Projected draft range: 10-30

Plays like: Nathan Wilson

September Ranking: 16

Rationale: One of the premier rebounding defenders and outside runners in the draft. His speed, endurance and ball use are his greatest assets. Rises on review of Under-18 Championships and WAFL League play.

Strengths: Speed, endurance, line breaking capabilities, daring runner who will take on opponents, evasion, composure and decision making with ball in hand, vision, long and damaging kick, versatility to play in defence or on a wing, one touch ground ball pickups, WAFL League performances on the board

Weaknesses: Contested ball winning, unclear midfield capabilities, intercept marking

14. Fischer McAsey

Best position: Key defence

Height, weight: 195cm, 86kg

Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons

Projected draft range: 5-25

Plays like: Darcy Moore

September Ranking: 11

Rationale: Winner of Vic Metro's MVP and the premier key defender in this draft. Drops as others rise.

Strengths: Intercept marking, reading of the drop of the ball, contested marking, marking on the lead, aerial marking, attack on ball aerially, closing speed, leap, aggressive spoiling, reliable kick out in front of targets to lead onto, courageous, versatility to hold down key position posts at either end

Weaknesses: One-on-one strength, one-on-one marking

15. Finn Maginness (Hawthorn - father-son)

Best position: Inside midfield/general forward

Height, weight: 187cm, 80kg

Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons

Projected draft range: 10-30

Plays like: Jack Ziebell

September Ranking: 15

Rationale: Balance of production through the midfield and impact forward of centre sees Maginness break into the top 20. An improving player who rose late in the season due to his improved hurt-factor and his impact forward of centre, but his numbers aren't high enough to justify moving up any further.

Strengths: Production, first possession winner through the midfield, ground ball winning, tackling, strength to stand up through tackles and dispose of the ball, crumbing, lowers his eyes, kicks out in front of leading targets, work rate, endurance, speed, one-on-one marking, overhead marking, threat one-out in the goal square, scoreboard impact, evasion, endurance

Weaknesses: Production not on the level of other highly touted midfielders, athletically tests very well but needs to put his speed and endurance more often in game, kicking consistency

16. Luke Jackson

Best position: Ruck

Height, weight: 198cm, 94kg

Recruited from: East Fremantle

Projected draft range: 5-20

Plays like: Paddy Ryder

September Ranking: 13

Rationale: A raw, athletic, high leaping ruckman who made the decision to pursue football instead of basketball. An aggressive tackler who follows up powerfully from ruck contests often winning first possession. Drops on as others rise.

Strengths: High leaper, follow-up work, contested ball winning, tackling, contested marking, aerial marking, reading of the ball in flight, endurance

Weaknesses: Short for a ruckman, raw, skills, running patterns, struggles to find the ball outside the contest

17. Harry Schoenberg

Best position: Inside midfield

Height, weight: 180cm, 78kg

Recruited from: Woodville-West Torrens

Projected draft range: 15-45

Plays like: Dylan Shiel

September Ranking: 17

Rationale: Rocketed into the draft discussion on the back of his Under-18 Championships performances where he was South Australia's most prolific midfielder and won his state's MVP award.

Strengths: Contested ball winning, wins first possession on the move, high work rate and is always on the move whether at stoppages or around the ground, endurance, agility, acceleration to burst away from stoppages, strength to shrug tackles, tackling, smothers, skills by hand and foot, vision, evasion, impact per possession, courage

Weaknesses: Unclear versatility, scoreboard impact

18. Ryan Byrnes

Best position: Inside midfield

Height, weight: 181cm, 80kg

Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons

Projected draft range: 20-50

Plays like: Jake Steven

September Rankings: 18

Rationale: On performance in the NAB League has been one of the most damaging midfielders by winning the ball and hurting the opposition with his acceleration and hurt-factor by foot.

Strengths: Wins first possession at stoppages, wins the ball on the move, use of speed with ball in hand around stoppages, line breaking pace, agility, evasion in traffic, hurt factor by foot, impact per possession, vision to find targets inside 50m, production

Weaknesses: Scoreboard impact, unclear versatility

19. Dylan Williams

Best position: General forward/inside midfield

Height, weight: 185cm, 79kg

Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers

Projected draft range: 10-30

Plays like: Steve Johnson

September Rankings: unranked

Rationale: Williams has battled injury and form in 2019 which has limited his output. Unable to recapture his 2018 form, Williams looked like a genuine top-five choice this time last year. He rises as others fall and is inside the top-20 based on the quality of his 2018 play.

Strengths: One touch at ground level, strong one-on-one mark, overhead marking, vertical leap, clever finisher around goal, skills, kicking penetration, contested ball winning, first possession winner at stoppages, versatility to impact games forward or through the midfield, 2018 performance

Weaknesses: Endurance, forward pressure, tackling, consistency, 2019 performance

20. Bigoa Nyuon (St Kilda Next-Generation Academy)

Best position: Key defence

Height, weight: 196cm, 86kg

Recruited from: Dandenong Stingrays

Projected draft range: late-rookie

Plays like: Aliir Aliir

September Rankings: unranked

Rationale: Has been on the edge of the top-20 since June and finally enters the top-20 on the back of others falling and a strong State Combine which included running a remarkable 2.855 second 20m sprint.

Strengths: Intercept marking, reading of the ball in flight, leap, fluid mover, speed, agility, versatility to play key defence, key forward or ruck, shuts down opposition key forwards, leadup marking, power to shrug tackles, clean ground ball winner, spread from contests, blocks for teammates, runs in support, involved in general play, upside, intangibles

Weaknesses: Raw, production