A solid draft crop is often the cornerstone of a premiership side.
So what recruiters do on draft night can often make or break a club’s future flag hopes.
Foxfooty.com.au breaks down the latest intel, as well as the best-case — and worst-case — scenarios for every AFL club ahead of the 2022 national draft, which will be held on Monday November 28 and Tuesday November 29.
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More draft coverage …
PHANTOM: Our draft expert predicts the entire first round
GUIDE: Everything you need to know about the AFL Draft
DRAFT POWER RANKINGS: Top prospects ranked 1-50
Picks: 46, 56, 59
Latest intel: The Crows don’t have much after trading out Pick 5 for Izak Rankine, but there are suggestions they’re prepared to put their future second-round selection (tied to North Melbourne’s 2023 finishing position) on the table to try and trade in a top-20 pick this year. They’re also prepared and well placed to recruit gun key defender Max Michalanney under the father-son rule. He’s likely to receive a bid within the first round-and-a-half and the Crows will then match it in order to bring the backman into the club.
Best-case scenarios: A bid on Michalanney doesn’t come in the top 20 — ideally in the middle stages of the second round — giving the Crows the best chance of using their future second to trade back into the earlier stages of the draft and pick up a gun South Australian prospect such as defender Jakob Ryan or Harry Barnett before matching a Michalanney bid. Then they take SA ball magnet Billy Dowling with one of their later picks to cap off a successful off-season.
Worst-case scenario: A Michalanney bid comes midway through the first round — and then there are no takers for their future second-round selection, forcing them to pick later in the draft.
Picks: 34, 35, 36, 38, 55
Latest intel: It really is a matter of when bids for Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher come. The Lions could try to get more picks from rival clubs, such as Hawthorn and North Melbourne, on the night in an attempt to safeguard them from going too far into deficit in next year’s draft. Regardless, they will have Ashcroft and Fletcher in the ranks by the time the draft is done.
Best-case scenario: Ashcroft slides to Pick 2 (or even later) — meaning the Lions pick him up cheaper than many first thought — And a Fletcher bid doesn’t come until the back-end of the first round, such as Collingwood’s pick or Sydney’s second selection. It gives the Lions a bit more wiggle room and options to pick up a third player on night two should they go down that path.
Worst-case scenario: The Giants throw a curveball and bid on Ashcroft at Pick 1 and Carlton launches a bid on Fletcher at Pick 11, either forcing the Lions into a mad scramble for points or sending them into big draft deficit for next year.
Picks: 10, 29, 49, 64, 74
Latest intel: It seems like Oliver Hollands is the man for the Blues, with his hard, two-way running of considerable appeal to Michael Voss and the recruiting team. Jaspa Fletcher is another who they would have interest in and as a result they could force the Lions to match a bid for him. But all teams are keeping tabs on the Blues, who are viewed as one of the most likely clubs to be involved in a trade on the first night. They’ve been heavily linked to a move with the Sydney Swans, whose two first-round picks are on the table — but getting one of them is the challenge. Nonetheless, they’re looking at ways to bolster their hand in this year’s draft.
Best-case scenario: If they hold their picks, one of Elijah Tsatas, Mattaes Phillipou or Cam Mackenzie slides to their first pick — although Hollands would still be a worthy mid first-round selection if the aforementioned trio are off the board. Then they land a key back with their second selection, ideally a gun prospect that drops down the order like Tom McCallum or, ideally, Lewis Hayes. If they trade, they do a deal with the Swans that sees them land Picks 14 and 17 and bring in two first-round talents, with one of Hollands, Jedd Busslinger or Ed Allan still being on the table at their first pick.
Worst-case scenario: No real big doomsday scenario looms for the Blues, considering most recruiters believe there’s a gap between the top 10 draft prospects and the rest — and the Blues will be entering the draft at Pick 11. Although if they do a trade with the Swans and none of Hollands, Allan, Busslinger or Hayes are on the table, that wouldn’t be ideal.
Picks: 16, 25, 27, 51, 79
Latest intel: A lot of players have been linked to Collingwood’s first pick, but Jakob Ryan is looming large in the club’s thinking. His versatility is of considerable value to the Pies and he can add to their rebound defensive stocks. Olli Hotton and Henry Hustwaite both have Collingwood connections — Hotton’s dad Trent played in the AFL team in the 1990s while Hustwaite’s brother Campbell has been the club’s VFL co-captain in recent years — while the Pies could also opt for a tall back in Josh Weddle or Lewis Hayes or top Tassie prospect Lachie Cowan might be a chance here too. Many are expecting at least one of the club’s two picks in the 20s to be used on Joe Richards – a 23-year-old draft bolter who starred for Ovens and Murray Football League this year. Three SA names are being linked to the Pies’ second-round picks: include forward-ruck Isaac Keeler and defender-forward Harry Lemmey and ruck Harry Barnett.
Best-case scenario: The Magpies improve their draft position by packaging up their selections and finding a suitor near the top 10. If not and they hold their spot — and Weddle is off the board — they take a smaller type like Ryan with their first pick then one of Barnett or Hayes slides to their next selection. Draft bolter Richards, too, is available with their second second-rounder.
Worst-case scenario: Weddle and Ryan are both off the board by their first pick and another club pinches Richards before the Pies’ pair of second-rounders.
Picks: 4, 22, 54, 61, 66
Latest intel: When it comes to a trade on draft night, Essendon is being eyed as one of the main contenders to do a deal. Foxfooty.com.au understands Adrian Dodoro and his team will be open to offers for Pick 4 until the last minute on draft night. It comes amid speculation their preferred top-pick option is a genuine toss of the coin between Elijah Tsatas and Mattaes Phillipou, but there was a growing sense last week they could be leaning towards Phillipou. The Bombers are hoping to pick up two players before a bid comes on father-son prospect Alwyn Davey Jnr, who clubs expect to draw a bid in the middle of the second round.
Best-case scenario: If the Bombers trade, they end up with multiple first-round picks across both this year’s and next year’s draft. If they hold their picks, they select two guns in the open draft before a bid on Davey. Plus rival clubs don’t bid on NGA prospect Anthony Munkara and father-son gun Jayden Davey, allowing the Bombers to pick them both up cheap late in the national draft or as rookies.
Worst-case scenario: A bid on Alwyn Davey comes in the first round or just prior to the Bombers’ natural second-round selection. And bids on Munkara and Jayden Davey come before Pick 40, meaning Essendon can’t match them under AFL rules.
Davey bros commit to Dons via father/son | 00:36
Picks: 30, 43, 44, 65, 70, 77
Latest intel: It’s a thin hand for the Dockers after trading for Luke Jackson and to a lesser extent Jaeger O’Meara. Still, they seem to be confident of their ability to land at least one promising young talent. Darcy Jones would be a good pick-up if he slips through the 20s, while silky backman Sam Gilbey and SA ruck Harry Barnett have also been linked. List boss David Walls has suggested the club will explore looking for a “developing ruck” and “key defender” with Picks 43 and 44. If they cast their eye over West Australian talent first and foremost, Peel Thunder’s Jed Adams and Claremont’s Hugh Davies are two of the main key defensive options.
Best-case scenario: One of Jones or, ideally, Barnett is still available when the Dockers pick first, with Barnett considered the best ruck in the draft and considered a first-round prospect by many clubs. Ideally they get both and pick up a key defender with their last selection, while no clubs bid on NGA trio Josh Draper, Jasper Scaife or Conrad Williams, giving the Dockers multiple Category B rookie options.
Worst-case scenario: Both Barnett and Jones are off the board by Pick 30. Overall, there’s no slider and the Dockers are left with very few players in the top 30 on their board when they enter the draft.
Picks: 7, 58
Latest intel: The Cats have been heavily linked to Jhye Clark with their first-round pick, which is their highest since picking up Joel Selwood back in 2006. Such links are valid, but it isn’t necessarily a given. In fact, there’s a sense the Cats – if offered the choice – would take Elijah Tsatas over Clark if both were available when the Cats have their pick. Much of that depends on Essendon’s decision earlier in the draft, which seems to be between Tsatas and Mattaes Phillipou. They’ll also consider WA midfielder Reuben Ginbey is he’s still on the board. The Cats have also reportedly shown interest in Norwood tall Phoenix Foster and Glenelg forward-midfielder Archie Lovelock, who won the best on ground medal in this year’s SANFL Under 18 grand final.
Best-case scenario: Tsatas, Clark and Ginbey are all available at the Cats’ opening selection, providing them with a terrific conundrum. The romantic selection would be Clark, but Tsatas is an elite match-winner with match-winning capabilities. Father-son prospect Osca Riccardi and Next Generation Academy midfielder Ted Clohesy both slip through the national draft, giving the Cats rookie options.
Worst-case scenario: The Bombers take Tsatas, the Suns take Ginbey and the Hawks take Clark before Geelong’s first pick, as they’re the three players most heavily linked to Pick 7. (Although they’d surely be happy to choose from one of Mattaes Phillipou, Cam Mackenzie, Bailey Humphrey or Ed Allan, too). Clohesy receives a bid before Pick 40 and Riccardi doesn’t slip through to the rookie draft.
GOLD COAST SUNS
Picks: 5, 45, 68
Latest intel: It would be a considerable surprise if the Suns went for anyone other than Bailey Humphrey with their first pick. He has shown plenty of promise despite an injury-interrupted year and looks to be one of the most mature teenagers in recent years. Consideration has also been given to Reuben Ginbey, with the club having flown to West Australia to visit him and his family. Jhye Clark has been mentioned in dispatches and is still an option, but it is leaning further and further towards Humphrey.
The reality: Considering the Suns could use just one pick at the national draft — and will have all three aforementioned players to choose from at their first pick — we’re not nominating a best-case or worst-case scenario.
Picks: 1, 15, 18, 19, 31, 57
Latest intel: You can lock in that the Giants will take Aaron Cadman with the first pick in the draft. The only element up for debate is whether they first bid on Will Ashcroft to exact a full toll on Brisbane. At this stage, clubs believe the Giants are leaning towards taking Cadman on his own merit. They’ve then got three more early selections: Picks 15, 18 and 19 — and it’s widely expected at least one of those picks will be traded to a rival club. The Giants love Ed Allan, but it’s hard to see him still being on the board by their second first-rounder. Exciting medium forward Brayden George is one of several players that have been linked to the Giants. Others include Gippsland Power’s Jacob Konstanty, Sandringham Dragons’ Charlie Clarke and Swan Districts’ Darcy Jones, with Clarke considered the most likely to be taken of that trio. They could also look at gun WA midfielder Elijah Hewett, who hasn’t been invited to attend the first night of the draft at Marvel Stadium but remains in the first-round mix. There’s also the possibility of drafting a key defender, which would bring Josh Weddle, Lewis Hayes and even Max Gruzewski into the equation, while both Henry Hustwaite — a versatile midfielder that has the potential to become a third tall defender — and Olli Hotton are also in the mix. Their top Academy prospect Harry Rowston, who’s been compared to Tim Taranto,has lots of interest from rival clubs with late first-round and early second-round picks, while Academy ruck Nick Madden could go later in the national draft.
Best-case scenario: After taking Cadman, the Giants finally find a suitor to trade with in the first round, packaging up their picks to move up the order — and possibly secure Allan. If they hold their first-round selections, they take Cadman, Weddle and one of those smaller forwards (George, Clarke or Konstanty). Then the offers flood in for their prized Pick 19 — the first selection of night two and the second round — before striking a deal that seems them secure a future first in return. Plus no first-round bid comes on Rowston — in fact, Rowston doesn’t attract a bid until after Pick 31 — while Madden slips to the rookie draft.
Worst-case scenario: A Rowston bid is launched by a rival before the Giants’ second first-round pick, forcing the club’s suite of selections to be reshuffled slightly but enough to miss out on both George and Weddle. A Madden bid comes as early as the second round.
Jeremy Cameron’s advice for Cadman | 01:47
Picks: 6, 24, 41, 48, 50, 52, 63
Latest intel: There is a lot of intrigue around who the Hawks take with Pick 6, but Cameron Mackenzie has firmed late as an option, with Sam Mitchell understood to be impressed by the midfielder and what he offers. But if Mattaes Phillipou is still on the board, the Hawks will be left with a conundrum. They’ve also shown interest in the likes of Jhye Clark and Reuben Ginbey along with Elijah Tsatas. Both the Hawks and Essendon have the capacity to shake up the top of the draft order. With their later picks, the Hawks are expected to look at the likes of Max Gruzewski, Coby Burgiel and Cooper Vickery — the latter of those three is a NGA prospect.
Best-case scenario: Essendon takes Tsatas and the Suns take Bailey Humphrey, giving the Hawks the best look at their preferred prospects, most notably Phillipou, Mackenzie, Ginbey and Clark. The Hawks also select a player like Burgiel or Gruzewski at Pick 24 then another in the 30s after striking a deal with the Lions that sees them part with their trio of third-rounders. Vickery receives a bid after Pick 40, or even slips into the rookie draft where the Hawks pick him up cheap.
Worst-case scenario: The Hawks can’t improve their hand and are left with those three awkward third-rounders. To rub salt into the wounds, Vickery receives a bid inside the top 40 and the Hawks can’t match it under AFL rules — even though, on paper, they have the points to do so.
Picks: 13, 37, 78, 83
Latest intel: The Dees — who hold Pick 13, two future first-round selections and two future second-round selections — have been one of the most proactive clubs ahead of the draft in terms of suggesting trades to rivals. They’ve been prepared to trade out multiple first-round selections — both this year’s and next year’s — in order to get a bigger foothold in this year’s draft, more specifically move inside the top five. Foxfooty.com.au understands Melbourne’s primary motivation to enter the draft earlier is to give itself a chance of securing Mattaes Phillipou — the son of Sam Phillipou, who kicked 250 goals from 150 SANFL games for the Eagles and Magpies while also playing three AFL games for Footscray. So if a big deal is done on the first draft night, it’s highly likely the Dees are at the centre of it. If they hold, Matt Jefferson is firming as the Dees’ preference with their first-round pick, with the key forward starring for Vic Metro this year along with a solid NAB League campaign. Ed Allan is one the Dees are also interested in, but they’d likely have to get ahead of the Eagles on draft night in order to get him. SA defender Jakob Ryan and Murray Bushrangers star Brayden George are also seen as first-round Dees chances, while Melbourne has also been linked to South Australian Harry Barnett — regarded as the best ruck in the draft class — but would probably only consider him if they moved down the order on the night.
Best-case scenario: Somehow, the Dees do a deal with the Bombers and trade into the top five to secure Phillipou, who they love, while also securing the prized Pick 19 from the Giants to give them first look on the second night of the draft. If the Dees hold Pick 13, both Jefferson and Allan are still on the board by the time they pick, giving them multiple options, while they also secure Pick 19 to select one of Barnett, Ryan or George, who are still available. Isaac Keeler is also available for them at Pick 37.
Worst-case scenario: The Dees miss out on both a top-five selection and Pick 19, while both Allan and Jefferson are off the board by the Demons’ first selection.
Picks: 2, 3, 23, 40
Latest intel: The Roos have said they found it difficult to split between the best three prospects in the draft, so their deal with the Giants allows them to get two of them instead of one. It seems like George Wardlaw and Harry Sheezel are the two they’re eyeing off, but a bid for Will Ashcroft — should the Giants opt not to — is all-but certain before those two players are picked. Elijah Tsatas and Bailey Humphrey are two other prospects, but it will be somewhat of a surprise if they go before Wardlaw and Sheezel. For their pick in the 20s, opposition teams expect North Melbourne to target a key-position defender, with exciting Noah Balta-like swingman Max Gruzewski, Tasmania’s Tom McCallum and GWV Rebels prospect James Van Es all linked to the Roos. It’s also why North might bid on Max Michalanney with their second-round pick if the Crows father-son prospect hasn’t attracted rival interest yet. They’re expected to match a bid on father-son gun Cooper Harvey with their final selection.
Best-case scenario: Not only are Gruzewski, McCallum and Van Es still up for grabs by the time the Roos’ second-round pick comes along, Eastern Ranges star Lewis Hayes — who some clubs believe is the best key defensive prospect in the draft class — is also on the board after sliding past an array of clubs. A bid on Harvey comes late, which allows the Roos to trade their third-round pick to help out a rival club.
Worst-case scenario: A Harvey bid comes soon after their second-round selection, which forces a sudden search for points to ensure the Roos don’t go heavily into deficit next season.
Picks: 33, 60, 72
Latest intel: The Power won’t be big players in this year’s draft after their frantic trade period, so their best hope is someone high on their draft board falls down the order. Rival clubs believe they’ll look at taking a key defender with one of their selections, with James Van Es and Jed Adams both linked to the club. Although if gun WA small forward-midfielder Darcy Jones is still on the board by the time they pick, the Power would find it hard to ignore him. Port Fairy product Toby McMullin — the son of Ian McMullin, who kicked 55 goals from 49 AFL games for Collingwood and Essendon in the late 1980s and early 90s — has also reportedly attracted some interest from the Power.
Best-case scenario: Jones and/or Lewis Hayes — the brother of current Power ruck Sam Hayes — are both available at the Power’s first draft selection and one of Van Es or McMullin slips to their Pick 60.
Worst-case scenario: Their aggressive trade period has left them with no capital — either in this year’s or next year’s draft — to work with, so they don’t get a draft board ‘slider’.
Picks: 53, 62, 76, 82
Latest intel: Like Port Adelaide, Richmond isn’t going to be doing much after trading its draft capital out for Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper. Although it’s understood the Tigers are keen to use one of their late picks to secure a key forward, with West Adelaide’s Tom Scully — 202cm prospect that booted 50 goals in the SANFL Under 18s competition this year — last week revealing Richmond had shown the most interest in him of the 12 clubs he’d spoken to. There’s also speculation the Tigers could target a key defender with one of their selections.
Best-case scenario: One of the top-rated tall backs, like James Van Es, Tom McCallum, Ethan Phillips and Hugh Davies, slide and are still available at the Tigers’ first selection.
Worst-case scenario: See Port Adelaide’s worst-case scenario.
Picks: 9, 28, 32, 47, 73, 81
Latest intel: At this stage, the Saints are believed to be after a midfielder and the best one available at Pick 9. The Saints won’t be able to match a bid on Next Generation Academy prospect Cameron Mackenzie, but the good news for them is they could still pick him up via the draft with Pick 9 if he slides that far. Still, the Hawks are looming large with their earlier pick when it comes to the midfielder. Should the Saints miss out on Mattaes Phillipou, Elijah Tsatas and Mackenzie and Geelong overlook Jhye Clark, there’s a growing belief the Saints could pick up Clark. Multiple reports have also indicated St Kilda could trade for a second first-round selection. With the Saints’ later picks, WA on-baller Elijah Hewett has been linked to St Kilda. Although it’s been suggested the Saints will target a key-position player with one of their second-rounders, with Eastern Ranges tall Lewis Hayes and GWV Rebels backman James Van Es understood to be in their plans. The Saints could also look to SA with one of their two later picks, with Billy Dowling and Archie Lovelock linked to the club.
Best-case scenario: One of Phillipou or Tsatas slides to the Saints. Both players tick the “elite talent” and “match-winner” boxes — the type of player the club is so desperate to recruit. St Kilda also finds a suitor to acquire another first-round pick, while also picking up a key-position defender with one of its later selections.
Worst-case scenario: Neither Phillipou or Tsatas are available at Pick 9 (although the Saints will still be getting a great talent at that selection) and they can’t get that extra first-rounder in.
Picks: 14, 17, 42, 69, 80
Latest intel: The Swans’ picks 14 and 17 are gettable, with rival clubs considering plays for at least one of those selections. One scenario is the Swans part with both picks but move up in this year’s draft order while strengthening their 2023 hand. That could help them make a play for Oliver Hollands or Ed Allan in the middle of the first round. If they keep 14, they would be considering versatile defender Josh Weddle, who looms as a great defensive prospect for the Swans and an eventual replacement for stalwart Dane Rampe in the back six. But they’ve also been linked with an array of other first-round prospects, including Harry Barnett, Lachie Cowan, Brayden George, Olli Hotton, Lewis Hayes, Elijah Hewett and Jacob Konstanty. Should the Swans play a role in the second and third round of the draft, they could look at South Adelaide forward-midfielder Jaiden Magor and dashing Oakleigh Chargers defender Bailey Macdonald.
Best-case scenario: The Swans strike a suitable trade that sees them get back in the second round and boost their 2023 draft hand, or get an earlier selection in the first round where they can pounce on Hollands or Allan. If the Swans hold their current picks, they bring in two different types of players with their first-round selections that complement each other — and the team — well.
Worst-case scenario: Hard to see a situation where the Swans flop on draft night, considering their strong hand, already strong list and the number of players and types they’re open to taking. But if the Swans do trade out of the early stages of this year’s draft — which they’ve declared they’re happy to, despite their strong double first-round pick hand — and the 2022 crop ends up being one of the best we’ve seen in years, it’d be a rare blemish by the club’s recruiting team.
WEST COAST EAGLES
Picks: 8, 12, 20, 26, 71
Latest intel: Reuben Ginbey looms large as the Eagles’ preference, although that is contingent on the Suns overlooking him at Pick 5. Fellow WA product Ed Allan would be a very good second pick for them should he slide that far, although they’re also weighing up key back Jedd Busslinger and key forward Matt Jefferson. There’s talk the Eagles are keen on Charlie Clarke and Coby Burgiel, but local product Elijah Hewett would be hard to ignore if he’s still on the board when West Coast’s third pick comes along. East Fremantle bolter Kaleb Smith and Claremont defender Sam Gilbey are also on the Eagles’ radar.
Best-case scenario: After the four-team mega trade — which saw the Eagles slide from Pick 2 to Picks 8 and 12 — and ample interest from the Suns, Hawks and Cats, Ginbey still slides to West Coast’s first pick, one of Busslinger or Allan is available at their second and Hewett is on the board when they’re on the clock for a third time at Pick 20. That could give the Eagles a draft haul of three WA-based prospects. They could even make it four if Smith or Gilbey are still on the board by their fourth pick.
Worst-case scenario: Ginbey, who’s been seen as the Eagles’ No. 1 draft priority for months, is snapped up before West Coast’s opening selection then the Demons trade ahead of the Eagles to pinch Allan.
Picks: 11, 21, 39, 67, 75
Latest intel: The Dogs are one of several teams that have shown significant interest in — and done ample work on — top SA prospect Mattaes Phillipou, to the point where they’ve pondered trading into the first round. If they hold their spot at Pick 11, the Dogs are weighing up between a key defender and a midfielder with their first pick — and they’re more likely to get a higher-quality defender with their first selection rather than their second-rounder. Should that come to fruition, expect them to pounce on WA backman Jedd Busslinger. But if they go for a midfield/hybrid type, Oliver Hollands would be a strong chance to go should the Blues not pounce on him with the previous pick, while the Dogs have also put a lot of work into WA bolter Ed Allan. Lewis Hayes or Josh Weddle would be their other best key defensive options. There’s even a few whispers top Tasmanian prospect Lachie Cowan — a rebounding defender in the Bailey Dale mould — is in the Dogs’ sights, but that could be more likely with their second-rounder. Rival clubs also wouldn’t be shocked if the Bulldogs again dipped into their VFL program — like they did in 2018 and 2021 to select Will Hayes and Robbie McComb respectively — and recruited Footscray captain Lachie Sullivan.
Best-case scenario: Phillipou, somehow, slides to Pick 11 in a major steal for the Dogs. Cowan is still available at the Bulldogs’ second selection
Worst-case scenario: Phillipou, Allan, Hollands and Busslinger are all off the board by the time the Dogs pick.