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.
Every AFL club's best draftee and breakout prospects 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.
Playing in a distinctively lively, clean, smart and stylish yet arrogant manor, Nick Daicos for the second successive week starred, consolidating his status as a likely top-5 draft choice and one of Victoria's best.
Daicos is a prime mover in traffic who boasts agility and evasion, but that's just the beginning. He moves around with his arms outstretched, so if he gets tackled he's poised to deliver the releasing handball to a target, in a style mirroring Scott Pendlebury. Daicos is also a master at dropping his knees to draw free kicks, making him all the more dangerous amid heavy defence. If no free kick is drawn, because his arms are outstretched with ball in hand, he'll deliver the handball on time and on target.
Another of Daicos' unique talents is that he is routinely on the move, picking up off the ground on-handed, receiving by hand and taking marks cleanly. He does so in a style reminiscent of former Brisbane Lion and Gold Coast Sun, Jared Brennan, with Daicos similarly taking the ball as often one-handed as he does two-handed.
Collingwood have reason to celebrate, with the son of Peter and younger brother of Josh looking likely to join the Magpies as a father-son selection in this year's draft. On Saturday in Oakleigh's 42-point win against Eastern, Daicos was the standout, splitting his time between playing through the midfield and up forward.
Daicos secured 30 disposals, 10 contested possessions, five tackles, six clearances and three goals in a complete performance. This follows 28 disposals and three goals last week against Sandringham.
Daicos' key areas of improvement over time will be further developing his endurance and strength. If he can develop his endurance to a high level, he can be a star. Standing at 183cm and 72kg, Daicos remains slender and as long as his agility isn't impacted, additional strength would help the contested side of his game to continue improving.
FOUR THINGS I LEARNT
Blayne O'Loughlin should be on all watchlists. Amassing 44 disposals, nine marks and eight rebound-50s, the nephew of Sydney great, Michael O'Loughlin announced himself as one of this year's very best prospects. An Adelaide Next-Generation Academy product, O'Loughlin is a classy, but penetrating kick from defence. O'Loughlin is one of this year's premier ball users who has speed, agility and an instinctive and one-touch game at ground level. The downside with O'Loughlin which may see people pause for a moment is that he stands only 173cm. But with the recent success of Caleb Daniel and Liam Baker as defenders shorter than 175cm, O'Loughlin looks good enough to be a third defender in that height range who can be an AFL success.
If there is one player who can turn the switch and impact a game of football in one quarter, top-5 contender Tyler Sonsie is that guy. The ball winning midfielder secured 21 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six clearances and seven inside-50s for Eastern, with nine of those disposals coming in the third quarter.
St Kilda have a prospect in Next-Generation Academy chance Scott Beilby. Impressing for Oakleigh across half-back, Beilby was lively, demonstrating high end pace and chase down tackling; he was also intercepting everything. Beilby collected 12 disposals and seven marks (two contested), in a high impact per possession showing.
Josh Sinn looks like this year's Lachie Ash equivalent due to his speed, agility, evasion and the way he can take on the game with his run out of defence. What Sinn has on a higher level than Ash though is greater contested ball winning capabilities which gives him greater midfield potential for the future. The top-5 contender secured 20 disposals, 12 contested possessions, three clearances and six rebound 50s.
MID-SEASON DRAFT WATCH
Lively and competitive at stoppages and around the ground, Ewan MacPherson, the son of Stephen and younger brother of Gold Coast's Darcy, was the standout for Northern. The Western Bulldogs father-son prospect collected 25 disposals, 10 contested possessions and nine tackles.
Starring for Peel in their convincing 105-point win against East Perth, goalkicking midfielder Michael Randall, and small, crumbing forward Tyrone Thorne, featured for the second successive week among their best players. Arguably outperforming their Fremantle AFL listed teammates, Randall secured 25 disposals, nine marks and kicked two goals, the second successive week when he has achieved the 20-disposal and two-goal mark, while Thorne managed 24 disposals, six marks and three goals.
Josh Dunkley (@jdunks5) is BACK on the pod and talks:— The ESPN Footy Podcast (@FootyTips) May 11, 2021
🤕 What happens after a player gets injured
❓ Why he went back on the field
🤬 Public aggression towards players on a night out
All the #AFL chat, with @championdata, in one place ⬇️https://t.co/snkaSjE7BQ
Sturt duo Tom Lewis and Joshua Shute have started the season strongly. Lewis, a hard, ball winning midfielder secured 20 disposals, seven clearances and 10 tackles this week against Norwood, following 19 disposals, eight clearances and 12 tackles last week. Shute, a classy outside midfielder who debuted last week with 17 disposals, backed that up with 16 disposals, five tackles and one goal.
Following a dominant NTFL season, key defender Brodie Newman, formerly a Calder Cannon in Victoria's NAB League, has started the season strongly for Glenelg. One of the premier one-on-one marks outside the AFL, Newman's performance on Saturday for Glenelg in their 20-point win against Woodville-West Torrens was overwhelmingly strong with 22 disposals and 12 marks (six contested).
In Geelong's heavy loss to Murray top ruck prospect Toby Conway was not only dominant through the ruck but also busy around the ground with 20 disposals, seven marks (one contested) and 21 hitouts.
Dynamic forward and likely first-round choice Josh Rachele was Murray's standout with 17 disposals, 13 contested possessions and four goals.
Following 24 disposals and two goals last week, Connor MacDonald was Dandenong's best in their nine-point loss to Greater Western Victoria with 33 disposals, 13 contested possessions, 10 marks (one contested), 12 tackles and 10 inside-50s. SANFL League
Continuing his strong vein of form, Jason Horne secured 16 disposals, six tackles and one goal for South Adelaide in their 11-point win against North Adelaide.