AFL Draft Weekly Wrap: Charlie Dixon-like forward impresses

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Are the new rules changing how wingers are used? (3:02)

This week on the ESPN Footy Podcast, Matt wonders if clubs should be switching their wingers to take advantage of the new stand rule. (3:02)

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

Key forward Josh Rentsch provided a strong focal point up forward for Greater Western Victoria in their 23-point win against Geelong Falcons.

Rentsch was the go-to guy for the Rebels and enhanced his draft chances with a strong outing. He was a marking presence inside 50, with his contested marking too hard to stop, he won one-on-one marking contests and demonstrated strong hands overhead. While Rentsch provided a handful as a forward 50 marking target, he also did the little things that don't show up in the stat sheet - from crashing packs, to bringing the ball down to the ground for the crumbing forwards, which gives him the potential to be a structural fit for an AFL club. Rentsch managed 11 disposals, nine contested possessions, five marks (four contested), eight hitouts and two goals.

Playing a style of game similar to a Charlie Dixon, Rentsch in his own right is a big man at 197cm and 100kg.

With the way Rentsch plays, if a club can secure him in the second half of this year's draft, he could provide value as a key forward with presence.

To move up draft boards, Rentsch will need to not only continue to prove he can be a dominant key forward, but also show that he has additional tricks. If Rentsch can demonstrate prowess at ground level, forward pressure, a high work rate and capabilities up the ground, it will go a long way towards improving his draft stocks, with clubs looking for key forwards who possess several points of difference and more than just one way of impacting games.


FOUR THINGS I LEARNED

Putting forward arguably the individual performance of the round, Nick Daicos starred through the midfield for the Oakleigh Chargers and proved he is the real deal. Making the case out of the blocks that he is Victoria's best prospect, the Collingwood father-son option amassed 28 disposals, 10 contested possessions, eight marks, seven tackles, while kicking three goals in a complete performance. While Daicos' Chargers lost the match, his performance was more complete than Sandringham's first-round fancies Josh Sinn and Campbell Chesser, only enhancing Daicos' top-5 credentials.

If Nick Daicos is Victoria's best, Tyler Sonsie is that next hottest out of the blocks, leading the way for Eastern in their 32-point win against Calder. The talented midfielder who is renowned for his classy ball use and run has made clear and significant inroads as a ball winner. Sonsie secured 34 disposals, 16 contested possessions, six marks, eight clearances, six inside 50s and two goals in a commanding performance.

Looking like this year's premier tap ruckman, Geelong's Toby Conway dominated ruck contests against Greater Western Victoria. Conway managed 10 disposals, seven contested possessions and 33 hitouts, and felt comfortably on top at every ruck contest with meaningful taps to advantage. The bonus with Conway is the desperate approach he displayed, including an enthusiastic drive onto an opposition boot for a smother. While Conway is an excellent tap ruckman already, he can improve his draft stocks if he develops into more of a marking threat, to starts hitting the scoreboard and having more of an impact around the ground, to add further dimensions to his game.

Touted by some as the No. 1 pick, Jason Horne showed his class and picked up where he left off last year, producing 19 disposals, six marks and one goal for South Adelaide in win against Adelaide.


MID-YEAR DRAFT WATCH

Unlucky to be overlooked last year after a strong season in the TSL, Jackson Callow has made the move to the SANFL to show he has what it takes to make it onto an AFL list. The strong bodied key forward had no difficulty with the standard of play, contributing strongly for Norwood in their win against Port Adelaide with 11 disposals, five marks, two goals and two behinds.

Overager Corey Preston starred on debut for Eastern, with the medium marking forward led the way in their win against Calder with 18 disposals, 10 contested possessions, five marks (two contested) and four goals.


STATS WHICH CAUGHT THE EYE

NAB League

Ned Long led the way for Northern in their win against Western with 26 disposals, 12 contested possessions, nine marks (two contested), six clearances, seven inside-50s, three goals and two score assists.

Connor MacDonald was Dandenong's best in their win against Gippsland with 24 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six clearances, two goals and three behinds, looming as Dandenong's top draft hopeful.

SANFL Under-18s

South Adelaide pair and first round contenders Matty Roberts and Arlo Draper led the Panthers to a hard-fought win against Norwood. Roberts gathered 25 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, six clearances, five inside-50s, six rebound 50s and one goal, while Draper secured 25 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, seven clearances and two goals.

Undersized key forward Morgan Ferres started the year with authority for Sturt in their win against Woodville-West Torrens with 17 disposals, 10 marks (two contested), six goals and four behinds.

WAFL

League

Holding his own against men, key forward Jacob Van Rooyen enhanced his first-round credentials with 12 disposals, four marks and two goals for Claremont in win against Swan Districts.

Colts

First-round contenders, Joshua Browne and Jack Williams led the way for East Fremantle in their hard-fought 10-point win against Peel. Browne gathered 27 disposals, five tackles and two goals. While Williams secured 19 disposals, six marks, 15 hitouts, four goals and four behinds.

First-round contender, Neil Erasmus was Subiaco's most competitive in his side's heavy loss against East Perth with 28 disposals, nine marks and one goal.

Hard-bodied midfielder, Kade Dittmar was East Perth's most damaging with 19 disposals, five inside-50s, three goals and four behinds.