AFL Draft Weekly Wrap: NGA prospect Mac Andrew stands out for Vic Country, launches into first round contention

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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

Being thrown around the ground and spending as much time in defence as he did up forward, Melbourne Next Generation Academy ruckman Mac Andrew put forward a commanding performance for Vic Country in their challenge match against Vic Metro on the weekend.

It was such a commanding performance that the Demons should not expect to be able to match bids for Andrew, as this year any bid inside the top 20 for NGA prospects cannot be matched.

With similar capabilities to Paddy Ryder, the athletic Andrew managed 15 disposals, seven marks (a game-high four contested), nine contested possessions and one goal in the clash at Windy Hill.

What was impressive from Andrew was the mix of what he provided. From taking strong contested marks forward of centre -- often outreaching opponents in better position -- taking intercept marks when stationed in defence, to cleanly taking the ball off the bounce and using his skills cleanly, it's apparent Andrew is one of this draft's most talented talls.

Andrew is a ruck prospect at 200cm with clean hands, but also has the skills by hand and foot and a set shot routine that can be relied upon. Athletically, Andrew is unbelievable as a high leaper with notable rare agility for someone his height.

Andrew was exposed to only limited minutes playing through the ruck, but when he received the chance, he stood head and shoulders above everyone else. On one play, the 18-year-old had a decisive tap down and followed up his own tap work by winning the ball off the bounce, showing off his athleticism and dynamic ability in similar vein to West Coast star Nic Naitanui.

There was a second ruck contest that stood out; coming up against the 204cm and highly-touted Sam Darcy, Andrew drove his knees into Darcy's chest while elevating his waist up to head height against Darcy in a statement moment.

Through the ruck in past performances, it should also be noted that while Andrew is an unbelievable leaper, his soft hands and taps to advantage have been sublime and make clear that he should over time develop through the ruck.

Where Andrew is vulnerable is when the opponent gets into a wrestling match with him or stops him from jumping, with Andrew still light and getting comfortably outmuscled and outmatched whenever his leap can be nullified at this stage.

Weighing in at less than 80kg, Andrew is a project player who will need to get stronger and do so without losing any of his leaping ability or mobility. It is likely wherever he starts his career he will spend his time developing as a key position player, before transitioning once physically developed into a ruckman.

Pick 1 contender to watch

NAB League

Enhancing his standing as Victoria's top prospect, Nick Daicos displayed an impressive work rate and was everywhere and in everything with the amount of ground he covered in the weekend's Metro vs. Country battle.

There were the trademark Daicos movements where he would show opponents the ball, evade tackles and create more time for himself. What was special from Daicos was his anticipation in traffic; he intercepted several opposition handballs and read them so early he was already chasing the recipient of the handball before they received the ball, leading to several key tackles and pressure acts that led to effective turnovers.

The defensive application of Daicos was much improved and in a complete performance Daicos amassed 41 disposals, 12 contested possessions, nine marks, six clearances , two goals and two score assists for Vic Metro.


Continuing his strong vein of form, Jason Horne performed strongly in South Adelaide's 17-point win with 19 disposals and one goal, and. continues to press his case to be this year's number one selection.

Rising stocks

With Josh Ward a Vic Metro teammate of Daicos, it was simply unfair having two running machines who are as good with the football in hand as they both are on the same side. Ward as with Daicos was seemingly everywhere and in everything, with his skills, vision, decision making with ball in hand and composure his main highlights.

Ward has mounted a strong case over the past month that after Daicos he could be the next best Victorian midfielder. The classy ball winner managed 29 disposals, 13 contested possessions, eight marks, eight clearances and two goals at Windy Hill.

A last-minute inclusion for Vic Metro, Mitch Owens was prolific at both ends of the field, providing a target inside 50 and taking intercept marks in defence. The St Kilda NGA prospect enhanced his draft chances with 29 disposals, seven marks, one goal and two score assists.

Not only did Calder Cannon Josh Goater win the ball through the midfield, but he took on the game with intent, displayed impressive evasion, a strong work rate and impressed with his work by hand in congestion. The athletic, strong marking utility enhanced his first-round draft chances with 23 disposals, eight clearances and five marks for Vic Metro.

Playing some impressive football over the past month across half-back, Corey Preston not only seems to have found his best position, but he's developing into an influential player with his kicking and vision across half-back a highlight. The over-age defender secured 21 disposals and eight marks for Vic Metro.

Winning first possession at will at stoppages and working hard without the ball defensively by laying key tackles and smothers, Ben Hobbs led the way for Vic Country through the midfield. The hard nut was industrious with 25 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 11 tackles, seven clearances and one goal.

Supporting Hobbs well through Vic Country's midfield, Connor MacDonald was the secondary reliable ball winner and had success in traffic not only distributing but reading the play and intercepting opposition handballs. The prolific ball winner collected 25 disposals, 14 contested possessions, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s.

Also showing ample potential was Mitch Knevitt from Vic Country, who was seen predominantly through the midfield at an imposing 194cm. Knevitt won some of his own ball, displayed a high work rate and was a marking threat around the ground. The tall midfielder gathered 22 disposals, six marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and two score assists on the day.