AFL Draft - June's Power Rankings: Daicos pulling away from chasing pack

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ESPN.com.au's AFL Draft expert Chris Doerre has revealed his AFL Draft Power Rankings for the month of June, with young Nick Daicos beginning to put a gap on his rivals.

1. Nick Daicos

Playing in a distinctively lively, clean, smart and stylish yet arrogant manor, Daicos is a prime mover. In traffic, he displays agility and evasion, 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. In combination with this, Daicos is a master of dropping his knees to draw free kicks, making him even more dangerous in traffic. 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. Averaging 35 disposals and two goals in his first four NAB League games, Daicos is eligible to join Collingwood as a father-son selection. With the ease and consistency with which he impacts games both through the midfield and forward of centre, Daicos has not only entered the pick one conversation, but is now seen by many as the favourite to be chosen first in this year's draft. Daicos pushes ahead of Jason Horne on the back of his superior start to the season.

2. Jason Horne

Horne is a goalkicking midfielder who influences games both as a mid and forward. Playing a competitive brand of football at SANFL League level, what stands out with Horne is his application defensively. Every week Horne pressures opposition ball carriers, connects on his tackles and often smothers opposition kicks. Horne takes on the game with his run, evades opponents with ease and hurts the opposition with his ball use. Through the midfield he wins the ground balls, while as a forward, not only is Horne damaging with ball in hand, but he's also a strong marking threat both aerially and in contested situations. While Horne's early 2021 play has been strong, it has not been comparable to Daicos from an accumulation or offensive impact perspective, resulting in Horne dropping to second place.

3. Tyler Sonsie

The MVP for Vic Metro during the Under-16 Championships, Sonsie is a classy midfielder and forward. One of the premier contested ball winners in this year's draft, Sonsie plays with an attacking flair and can change games in a matter of minutes. He is one of the best kicks inside-50m in this year's draft pool, with his ball use, composure and decision making under pressure among his greatest points of difference. Sonsie also displays a burst of speed and has some line-breaking capabilities. With his 24-disposal, two goal performance for Box Hill in the VFL against Werribee where he featured among the best players on the field, Sonsie has only enhanced his reputation and drawn closer to this year's top-2.

4. Matthew Roberts

Roberts is damaging both through the midfield and as a forward. He possesses an ideal inside/outside balance, is a strong contested ball winner, an elite endurance runner who covers plenty of ground, spreads well from stoppages and swings around quickly onto his penetrating left foot to get the ball moving forward. As a forward, Roberts shows good smarts and is a threat both overhead and at ground level. He hurts opponents not only by hitting the scoreboard himself but also with his clean forward 50 entries. Roberts has solidified his spot in the top four on the back of dominant SANFL Under-18 performances and a strong SANFL League debut where he managed 14-disposals and two goals.

5. Sam Darcy

The son of Luke, Sam is a 203cm key position player and ruckman with impressive mobility and contested marking capabilities. He has started the season strongly for Oakleigh, with his performance against Western his best so far where he managed 21 disposals and nine marks (four contested). Darcy is lightly built but has shown rapid development and looks like this year's best tall. On the back of updated measurements, at a genuine 203cm, and with his dominant play for Scotch College in the APS Football competition, it's clear Darcy possesses one of the highest ceilings in this draft pool. Expect the Western Bulldogs to match any bids on him.

6. Josh Rachele

Playing his best football across half-forward, Rachele is a goalkicking forward who can push up through the midfield and win ball at stoppages. Rachele was awarded the Kevin Sheehan Medal for the best Division One player during the Under-16 Championships in 2019. Rachele averaged 18 disposals while kicking eight goals through his four NAB League matches in 2019 and has continued to hurt opponents with his play forward of centre during the early stages of this season. His contested ball winning, scoreboard impact, forward pressure and explosive burst out of stoppages are his weapons. Rachele drops one spot as Darcy pushes past him on the back of his promising start to the year.

7. Josh Sinn

Captain of Vic Metro's Under-16 premiership winning group, Sinn looks at his most damaging across half-back. Sinn generates meaningful drive from defence with the way he takes on the game with his run and dare, and is a strong candidate to take kickouts. Sinn will accelerate, stop on a dime, then accelerate in another direction, wrong-footing opponents and bursting past them at speed before delivering cleanly on his left boot to a target. While arguably the best at generating drive from defence, he can push up through the midfield and win his own ball while providing silver service delivery to targets inside-50m. Sinn's numbers have been more-so good than great to date, but with how he impacts games both in defence and through the midfield is deserving of a high spot on this draft board. Sinn moves down one spot as Darcy rises.

8. Connor MacDonald

As a goalkicking midfielder, McDonald has several weapons. A strong contested ball winner and tackler, McDonald is a high-volume ball winner and combines this with acceleration, a high work rate and good skills. When used forward of centre, MacDonald presents an aerial marking threat and hits the scoreboard, averaging one goal per game so far in the NAB League despite playing predominantly through the midfield.

9. Bodhi Uwland

An impressive long-distance kick who displays penetration out to 60m, Uwland has great vision and places his kicks nicely to the advantage of his targets. He can also win his own ball, shrug and evade tackles, while displaying the strength to stand up through tackles when he does get caught. He displays smarts, sound decision making and skill execution in traffic under pressure to find his targets. There is an aggression and physical edge with Uwland which immediately catches the eye and, combined with his skills, earns a top-10 spot.

10. Hugh Jackson

A classy midfielder, Jackson is averaging an imposing 35 disposals in the SANFL Under-18s this season, matching the output of North Melbourne's Tom Powell from last season. Jackson possesses good skills, provides meaningful run with ball in hand, displays a high work rate and has developed a strong contested side to his game this year after playing a more outside style of game previously. His skills by hand and foot stand out in traffic and he makes sound decisions under pressure while on the outside he's just as damaging and someone his teammates look for as often as they can around the ground. His kicking inside-50m is among the best in the pool with how he places his kicks out in front of leading targets to lead onto. With Jackson achieving 40 or more disposals in two of his last four matches, he has passed Matthew Johnson by, though due to the emergence of Sam Darcy and Bondi Uwland drops down one spot.

11. Finn Callaghan

Possessing rare evasion, agility and good acceleration, Callaghan is an athletic and classy midfielder. who looks comfortable on the inside, outside and across half-back. What's special with Callaghan, other than his movement, is how he operates in traffic, avoiding and sidestepping opponents and demonstrating the composure to hit his targets. On the back of Callaghan's latest NAB League game, where he had the opportunity to play through the midfield, he appears to have found his best position and with it a spot on this draft board.

12. Matthew Johnson

A tall, ball winning midfielder at 192cm, Johnson combines ball winning capabilities with composure, class and evasion in traffic. By hand and foot, Johnson is an effective user of the football, displaying vision on his kicks, lowering his eyes to find leading targets inside-50m and making sound decisions in traffic with ball in hand. Johnson enjoys the hard components of the game, winning a high proportion of his ball in contested situations and connecting on his tackles. With Johnson's start to the season slower than expected in the WAFL Colts and at WAFL League level respectively, he drops outside the top-10, though to his credit has shown improvement over his past two matches which ensures he remains inside the top-15.

13. Neil Erasmus

Coming onto the radar of AFL recruiters following a four goal Grand Final performance for Subiaco in their win last year against Claremont, Erasmus has found a new level this season after only a small taste of WAFL Colts play in 2020. Erasmus has yet to drop below the 27-disposal mark through his first four WAFL Colts games, and has also impressed during the AFL Academy match against Geelong's VFL side. Erasmus is a strong marking threat overhead and is one of the premier ball readers in this draft, taking intercept marks across half-forward and the wing. Erasmus drops as others rise.

14. Ned Long

A goalkicking midfielder with seven goals to his name through three games, Long has been one of the early standouts in the NAB League. While Long is damaging forward of centre and hits the scoreboard at will, he's equally capable through the midfield as a strong contested ball winner and tackler. At 192cm, Long is one of this year's best tall midfielders. Long drops as others rise.

15. Josh Fahey

Taking out the MCC President's Medal as the AFL Academy's best player in their clash against Geelong's VFL team, Fahey earned a position on this draft board. A precise, yet booming kick with penetration of 65m, Fahey is a weapon out of the back half with the drive he generates. A GWS Academy product, expect the Giants to match bids on Fahey with a view towards him being their kickout specialist and another rebounding defender. Fahey drops as others rise.

16. Mac Andrew

Earning his way onto this draft board on the back of his final quarter performance for the AFL Academy against Geelong's VFL side, Melbourne Next-Generation Academy product Andrew is a light bodied, athletic ruckman with upside. Showing promise with his leap, ruck craft and soft hands through the ruck, as well as tackling and clean hands below his knees, he has the tools to suggest he'll develop into an exceptional tap ruckman. The bonus with Andrew is he combines these traits with good mobility, skills, reading of the ball in flight and contested marking. Expect Andrew to begin his journey developing as a key position player before transitioning into a ruckman once he becomes stronger. Melbourne will be hoping no bid comes on Andrews inside the first 20 selections or they will be unable to match bids under the new rules. Andrew drops as others rise.

17. Jacob Van Rooyen

Among the most advanced key position players in this year's draft crop, Van Rooyen has recently returned from a battle with glandular fever. Van Rooyen's aerial marking and contested marking are his weapons and give him the scope to switch into defence. Possessing a strong and advanced body for his age, Van Rooyen has good one-on-one capabilities and importantly for a forward applies forward pressure capably. Following his 24 disposal, three goal performance against East Perth, Van Rooyan earns a position inside the top 20.

18. Jack Williams

Among this year's premier key forwards, is Williams, who sits second in the WAFL Colts goalkicking despite being asked to spend minutes through the ruck. he also features in the top five for marks, doing his best work in contested situations. Williams is a specialist in using his body to win one-on-one contests. There are shades of Tom Hawkins to Williams, from seeing his one-on-one work, to how he leads up at the football to how he plucks the ball out of ruck contests inside 50m and turns those opportunities into goals. Williams drops as others rise.

19. Josh Gibcus

A high-flying intercept marking key defender, Gibcus has an elite vertical and running vertical jump. He combines these weapons with his near best in class ball reading capabilities and overhead mark to be this year's premier intercept marking key defender. While Gibcus is in some respects one dimensional and will be looking to add additional strengths to his game, he's best in class at what he does. Gibcus drops for no reason other than others rising.

20. Toby Conway

A dominant ruckman who does his best work when attending ruck contests. Conway is an excellent tap ruckman, and his follow-up work is equally impressive. He often wins the ball out of the ruck himself and wins ground balls regularly. Standing at 204cm, and possessing good strength for his age, Conway is the most advanced and imposing tap ruckman in this draft class.