ESPN.com.au's expert Chris Doerre has revealed his AFL Draft Power Rankings for the month of May. Every month, Doerre will assess player formlines and growth both physically and in footy traits to determine a ranking of the upcoming draft's strongest candidates.
April Power Rankings | May Power Rankings |
1. Will Ashcroft
A Brisbane father-son prospect and the son of Marcus, Will amassed a ridiculous 33 disposals, 20 contested possessions, 12 clearances, nine inside 50s and two goals for Vic Metro during their Under-17 Championships match against Vic Country, showing he is the complete package. Ashcroft wins first possession at stoppages, displays quick hands, agility and evasion in traffic. He hurts teams with his acceleration, kicks to targets inside 50m and scoreboard impact. Of the Victorian prospects, Ashcroft has been the early standout, and has averaged 36 disposals, 15 contested possessions, nine clearances and eight inside 50s over his past three matches.
2. Tom Scully
Not to be confused with the first overall selection in 2009 -- and while this Tom Scully is another pick one contender -- we are instead looking at a 204cm South Australian key forward who arguably is an even more talented footballer. Finding a new level to his play over the early rounds of the season, Scully has taken a competition-high 24 contested marks and has kicked 33 goals over his first six SANFL Under-18 games, with his reach and marking at the highest point of his leap causing opposition defences problems. While Scully has dominated the early rounds, his rate of improvement is equally striking. While his numbers improving dramatically since last season, and having a November birthday (and with those of ruck height tending to take longer to physically mature and reach their performance peak), the sky seems the limit for Scully.
April Ranking: Outside 10
3. Harry Lemmey
The favourite to be the first key forward selected in this year's draft, Lemmey enjoyed a strong 2021 season. He ended the year in fine form with three goals in each of his SANFL Under-18 finals, including 12 marks in his last match. Most threatening leading up at the football, Lemmey demonstrates an insatiable appetite for the football, displays an exceptionally high work rate and routinely generates meaningful separation on the lead. After a taste of SANFL League play last year, Lemmey has started the year for West Adelaide playing at League level and will be working to become more influential against League competition as the season progresses.
April Ranking: 2
4. Elijah Hewett
With back-to-back outstanding performances in the WAFL Colts Grand Final and for Western Australia in the Under-17s against South Australia, Hewett's late 2021 form showed he is one of the most exciting midfielders in this draft. Hewett is a strong ball winner who displays power when exiting stoppages and is damaging every time he secures the ball forward of centre. With good speed, agility and evasion, Hewett mixes this with damaging skills by foot whether he is locating and hitting inside 50 targets or finishing around goal himself. After playing WAFL Colts last year, Hewett has transitioned to League play this year and has looked comfortable at the level, averaging 14 disposals through his first three matches this season.
April Ranking: 3
5. Mattaes Phillipou
Damaging both as a forward and through the midfield, the 192cm Phillipou is a genuine dual-position impact player. As a forward, Phillipou hits the scoreboard at will and is a strong overhead mark who hurts opponents both with his work on the lead and aerially. Through the midfield, he is a strong contested ball winner who combines that with a burst of speed and class with ball in hand. He has averaged 25 disposals and one contested mark per game, and has had two three-goal games in the early rounds on a team that has yet to win a game, Phillipou is likely to receive wider early draft acknowledgment as the season progresses.
April Ranking: Outside 10
6. Elijah Tsatas
With an established reputation for the ease with which he breaks the lines with his run, evades opponents on the move, and precisely places his kicks out in front of targets to lead onto, Tsatas is one of this draft's most exciting attacking players. Tsatas has elevated his game this year and become a prolific ball-winning midfielder and accumulator. With the damage he does with ball in hand and his ball-winning capabilities, Tsatas -- who is averaging 33 disposals and 14.5 contested possessions -- is one of this year's premier midfielders.
April Ranking: 10
7. George Wardlaw
A strong first possession winner who does his best work at stoppages, Wardlaw has the strength to absorb opposition tackles, fend off opponents and burst out of stoppages with ball in hand. Wardlaw is an impressive distributor at stoppages who routinely finds handball targets on the outside. Defensively, Wardlaw is also among this draft's most impressive pressure players, while his strong tackling, desperation, and effort also sets him apart. Averaging 21 disposals, nine contested possessions and six tackles, Wardlaw's numbers do not do justice to the impact he has when around the ball.
April Ranking: 4
8. William Dowling
Dowling is a complete midfielder who has dominated the opening four rounds of the SANFL Under-18s. He stands 21 disposals clear of second place and is averaging 1.5 goals per game. Dowling is a classy user who is prolific as a ball-winner and accumulator. He reads the game exceptionally well and often can be found pushing behind the ball to intercept, but then forward of centre is equally damaging and hits the scoreboard seemingly at will. With Dowling's start to the season, he belongs in the discussion with this draft's best midfielders.
April Ranking: Outside 10
9. Kobe Ryan
One of 2022's most advanced midfielders, Ryan is a strong contested ball winner who displays good speed and agility and is a lively tackler. With a good inside/outside balance, Ryan not only wins the ball on the inside but covers a lot of ground and finds the ball on the outside where he displays neat and tidy skills. After a strong start in the SANFL Under-18s, Ryan translated his play to the SANFL Reserves on Saturday, securing an impressive 27 disposals and one goal.
April Ranking: 6
10. Jackson Broadbent
Broadbent looms as 2022's top ruck prospect after appearing in three WAFL League games in 2021, as well as standing out during his appearance for Western Australia against South Australia. Broadbent directs hitouts to advantage, works hard around the ground, demonstrates good skills, is clean at ground level and capable overhead. With averages of 14.5 disposals, 6.5 marks and 27 hit outs through his first two games, Broadbent is playing good football for a ruckman with a December birthday and has been well on top in each of his two matches so far. The additional size added to his frame over the offseason should help Broadbent continue to progress this season.
April Ranking: 5
11. Jedd Busslinger
The leading key defender in this year's draft crop, Busslinger is an elite intercept mark with his early read of the ball in flight, attack on the ball aerially and how he plucks the ball out of the air. With ball in hand Busslinger is a composed and reliable ball user while defensively he is competitive and able to limit the influence of his direct opponent. With averages of 25 disposals and seven marks in the WAFL Colts, the 197cm key defender is separating himself from this year's other key defenders.
April Ranking: 8
12. Harry Sheezel
Victoria's most damaging general forward in this year's draft, Sheezel is both a contested marking and ground level threat inside 50m. Finding and winning a good amount of the ball for a forward, Sheezel's best play comes forward of centre with his wizardry around goal and capability to set up teammates inside 50m. Sheezel's two most recent NAB League performances have been his best and earn him recognition as a clear fourth best Victorian prospect. With averages of 23 disposals, 11.5 contested possessions, 2.5 contested marks, five goals and four score assists, Sheezel may be the best general forward in this draft and has the scope to further move up the draft board if that level of performance continues.
April Ranking: Outside 10
13. Adam D'Aloia
Best afield in the SANFL Under-18s Grand Final, D'Aloia is one of the most advanced and consistent midfielders of the 2022 draft class. D'Aloia is a prolific first possession winner, tackler and an excellent distributor by hand who plays a competitive two-way game and possesses a penetrating kick. Performing strongly in his first Reserves match with 24 disposals and a team high six clearances, D'Aloia is the stoppage star. He has averaged 30 disposals per game in the Under-18s and has secured 48 clearances from his five Under-18 games, 14 clear of second placed Kobe Ryan.
April Ranking: 9
14. Isaac Keeler
Despite being a part of Adelaide's Next-Generation Academy, the Crows will not have first access to Keeler if a bid comes inside the top 40. Keeler is one of 2022's most exciting and freakish key forwards and is also suited to spending time through the ruck. He is a high leaping, smooth moving athlete who, at 198cm, displays strong hands overhead and impressive one-touch cleanliess at ground level. Keeler is averaging 16 disposals and just over one goal per game through his first six SANFL Under-18 games this year.
April Ranking: 7
15. Nick Madden
A GWS Academy ruckman, Madden stands at 204cm and 112k, and is a physical ruckman who throws his weight around. Madden influences games heavily using his body effectively to outpoint opponents at ruck contests, and demonstrates soft hands to routinely provide his midfielders with first use. Madden is also a threat when he pushes forward with his strong contested marking capabilities and scoreboard impact by position features. Averaging 14 disposals, two contested marks and kicking 5 goals from his four NAB League games, Madden is hard to miss with the influence he exerts on the play and the impact he has when he throws his body around.
April Ranking: Outside 10