By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
Ahead of the 2018 NAB AFL Draft next week, which commences next Thursday and continues over to Friday, we’ve previewed the best male footballers who could find themselves on an AFL list.
With two teams in Queensland, there’s a plethora of talent emerging from both the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academies in 2018.
Of course, the bidding system for academy players will play a part in the NAB AFL Draft as will the introduction of live picks for the first time this year.
Only the first round of selections will be announced on Thursday night with the remainder of the picks scheduled for Friday night’s festivities.
NAB AFL Draft Key Dates:
Thursday 22 November 7pm – 9.30pm – NAB AFL Draft Selection Meeting (Round One), Marvel Stadium.
Friday 23 November 12pm – 3.30pm – NAB AFL Draft Selection Meeting (Round Two onwards to conclusion).
Friday 23 November 5pm – NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft Selection Meeting and NAB AFL Rookie Draft Selection Meeting.
Coleman was a consistent performer for the Allies throughout the NAB Under 18 Championships where he operated in his usual role as a running defender. An efficient ball user by hand or foot, Coleman loves to use his speed and break lines. He played eight games for Brisbane in the NEAFL, averaging 15.5 disposals, 3.9 tackles and 2.3 rebound 50s. After relocating to Brisbane from the Norther Territory when he was ten years old chasing greater opportunities in both school and football, the ‘league-ready’. Coleman is a Lions academy member and could find his way to the Lions during the draft.
Graham a Cairns junior was deployed as a key defender for the Allies at the NAB Under 18 Championships where he performed admirably. He also played forward and as a mobile running ruckman. His best though, is often seen when he plays as the third tall defender and is given the ability to intercept the ball. His biggest strength lies in his ability to read the flight of the ball and take a strong mark. Graham has played 14 games at NEAFL level for the SUNS over the past two seasons, and in 2018, averaged 11 disposals and 4.8 marks. Caleb is a Suns academy member.
A key defender, Koenen is fast off the mark and consistently shutdowns leading patterns of opposition forwards. At 194cm, Koenen is a good size for AFL level and consistently competes hard both at ground level and in the air where he was rarely exposed against some of the best Under 18s in the country. As a defender, Koenen isn’t a notorious ball winner averaging 12 disposals at the NAB national u18 championships and 14.4 in SUNS colours at NEAFL level. With sisters Breanna, a regular in the Brisbane Lions AFLW side, Cara, a Sunshine Coast Lightning netball player, and Alyssa, a national surf live saver, Dirk could become the next elite athlete within the Koenen family. Dirk is a Suns academy player who relocated to the Gold Coast at 15 years of age.
McFadyen is perhaps the best prospect emerging from Queensland ahead of the draft and at 190cm, it’s hard not to be impressed by his athletic ability. Able to play through the midfield or as a marking option inside 50, McFadyen possesses quick hands and has shown a knack for clunking contested marks regularly. Connor was outstanding for the Allies and his draft rating certainly lifted due to these performances. McFadyen managed to play five games for Brisbane throughout the 2018 NEAFL season where he kicked six goals and averaged 9.4 disposals playing mainly as a third tall forward while also floating through the midfield.
For the Allies, Scott operated almost exclusively through the midfield but can dually operate inside 50 where he’s shown a knack for hitting the scoreboard. Destined to land at North Melbourne after nominating the club under the father-son rule, Scott boasts clean hands around the contests and has no issue finding the ball – highlighted by his performance against West Australia where he collected 30 possessions. Scott played four NEAFL games in the backend of 2018 where he averaged 22.5 disposals and 3.3 inside 50s. Bailey is a Suns academy member who captained both the Suns in the academy series and Allies in the NAB National Championships.
Since the inception of the NEAFL in 2011, 90 players have been drafted from its clubs to the AFL. Ahead of this 2018 NAB AFL Draft, we again took a look at the best mature age players from each of the three stand-alone NEAFL clubs.
Clayton joined Southport in 2018 and established himself early as one of the most dynamic midfielders in the NEAFL. Crucial to the Sharks’ side whose resurgence led them to a premiership, Clayton compiled a string of commanding performances in the back end of the season and finished third in the NEAFL’s Most Valuable Player Award. He ranked equal first in the competition for disposals, outright first for uncontested possessions and eighth for clearances.
Gowers flourished in his first season in the brown and gold hoops and provided creativity in a midfield that boasted the contested grunt of Matthew Payne and Andrew Swallow. The former Sydney Swans Academy member played 20 games for the Hornets and took home the team’s Rising Star Award for 2018. A predominantly outside runner, Gowers ranked second at the club for receive handballs, third for uncontested possessions and fourth for total disposals at Aspley reached another Preliminary Final.
The former Lion wasted on time asserting himself with the Bombers as the sharpshooter claimed the NEAFL’s top goalkicker award. Hammelmann finished on 60 majors and booted hauls of five or more an incredible six times. Despite Redland’s poor one-win season, Hammelmann continued to assert his presence inside 50 and was held goalless just once. His leading patterns have become a trademark facet of his game while at ground level, his size doesn’t hinder his ability to mop up the loose ball.
Note: This article reflects the opinions of the author and not that of either the Brisbane Lions or Gold Coast SUNS.