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AFL Draft - June Power Rankings: Fresh face takes top spot

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Where have all the taggers gone? (1:23)

Matt Walsh & Jake Michaels discuss the disappearance of tagging in the AFL, and if the role could limit recent dominant performances from midfielders. (1:23)

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 | June Power Rankings


1. Mattaes Phillipou

The son of Sam, Mattaes is a 192cm, dual position impact player who is damaging both as a forward and through the midfield. 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. Phillipou over his past four SANFL under-18 games has found another level to his play, averaging 33 disposals, 8.25 inside 50s, 1.25 contested marks and 1.25 five goals. With a December 27 birthday, Phillipou only by a few days qualifies for this year's draft. With his performances on the board over 2021 and his rapid rate of improvement shown this season so far, Phillipou has arguably the highest ceiling in this draft and is the new number one prospect.

May Ranking: 5

2. Harry Sheezel

Victoria's most damaging and clever general forward in this year's draft, Sheezel is both a contested marking and ground level threat inside 50. 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. Sheezel's round three and four NAB League performances were scintillating, averaging 23 disposals, 11.5 contested possessions, 2.5 contested marks, five goals and four score assists across the two rounds. While Sheezel is arguably this draft's most talented general forward, based on his game against the Northern Knights on Saturday, he may also be one of its best midfielders. Upstaging teammate and pick one contender Will Ashcroft, Sheezel secured team highs of 37 disposals and 19 contested possessions to go with nine marks, seven tackles, six clearances, seven inside 50s and three score assists in a dominant display. If Sheezel can back up this level of performance through the midfield and replicate this level of play against stronger opposition, he is a genuine pick one contender.

May Ranking: 12

3. Will Ashcroft

A Brisbane father-son prospect and the son of Marcus, Ashcroft is the most complete and advanced midfielder in this draft class, winning first possession at stoppages, displaying quick hands in tight, agility and evasion in traffic. He hurts teams regularly with his burst of acceleration, kicks to targets inside 50 and has strong scoreboard impact. Of the Victorian prospects, Ashcroft has been the early standout both in the NAB League, where he has averaged 31.5 disposals per game, and in the AFL Academy's match against Collingwood in May where he managed a team-high 24 disposals while also kicking one goal.

May Ranking: 1

4. Tom Scully

Not to be confused with the first overall selection in 2009, this year's Tom Scully -- another pick one contender -- is a 204cm South Australian key forward. Finding a new level to his play over the early rounds of the season, Scully is averaging a competition high 3.9 contested marks and 5.3 goals per game in the SANFL under-18s. His reach and marks at the highest point have caused opposition defences problems and in more recent weeks he has led higher up the field to attract more of the football. While Scully has dominated over the early rounds, his rate of improvement is equally striking. While his numbers have improved dramatically since last season, having a November birthday and with those of ruck height tending to take longer to physically mature and reach their performance peak, the upside for Scully is large.

May Ranking: 2

5. George Wardlaw

A contested beast who does his best work at stoppages, Wardlaw is a strong first possession winner who displays the strength to absorb opposition tackles, fend off opponents and burst out of stoppages. Wardlaw is an impressive distributor at stoppages who routinely finds targets on the outside by hand. Defensively, Wardlaw is also among this draft's most impressive with the pressure he applies, strength of his tackles and effort and desperation he plays with setting him apart. In the AFL Academy vs. Collingwood game, Wardlaw had a team high 15 contested possessions to go with eight tackles in a game where he was the AFL Academy's standout performer in the second half.

May Ranking: 7

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 players offensively. Tsatas has elevated his game this year to become one of the NAB League's most prolific ball winners and accumulators, amassing a ridiculous 36 disposals, 18 contested possessions and 42 disposals and 15 contested possessions in rounds two and three of the NAB League season. With the damage Tsatas does with ball in hand and with his ball winning capabilities, Tsatas is one of this year's premier midfielders and is in the conversation with Ashcroft and Wardlaw to be the first picked Victorian midfielder.

May Ranking: 6

7. Elijah Hewett

Hewett is a strong ball winning midfielder 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 50m targets or finishing around goal himself. After playing in the WAFL Colts last year, Hewett has transitioned to League play this year and has been competitive against the more seasoned bodies, averaging 11.6 disposals per game.

May Ranking: 4

8. Harry Lemmey

The early favourite to be the first picked key forward in this year's draft, Lemmey enjoyed a strong 2021 season, ending the year in fine form with three goals in each of his SANFL under-18 finals and 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 so far in 2022 split his time between playing at league and reserves level and will be looking to become more influential against more seasoned competition over the second half of the year.

May Ranking: 3

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 strong 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 to the season, Ryan has transitioned to SANFL league level seamlessly with averages of 19.5 disposals and one goal across his first two games.

May Ranking: 9

10. 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 23.8 disposals and eight marks in the WAFL Colts this year and making his WAFL league debut in Round 6, the 197cm key defender has separated himself from this year's other key defenders.

May Ranking: 11

11. 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 hit-outs to advantage, works hard around the ground, demonstrates good skills, is clean at ground level and capable overhead. With averages of 14.8 disposals, 4.4 marks and 25 hit outs through his first five WAFL Colts games, Broadbent is playing good football for a ruckman with a December birthday. The additional size added to his frame over the offseason should help Broadbent continue to progress this season and may allow him to earn late season opportunities at league level.

May Ranking: 10

12. 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. D'Aloia has averaged 30.7 disposals, 8.3 clearances and 7.1 inside 50s per game in the SANFL under-18s. In recent weeks D'Aloia has boosted his scoreboard impact, kicking one goal in each of his past four games.

May Ranking: 13

13. William Dowling

A complete midfielder who has dominated over the first half of the SANFL under-18 season, Dowling is a classy ball user who is prolific as a ball winner and accumulator. Dowling is not only influential through the midfield but is just as damaging when he pushes forward of centre, hitting the scoreboard at will. Dowling reads the game exceptionally well and often can be found pushing behind the ball to intercept. He has averaged 31.1 disposals and 1.4 goals per game so far this season over his seven SANFL games.

May Ranking: 8

14. Isaac Keeler

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 at 198cm who pushes up the field, displays strong hands overhead and impressive one-touch cleanness at ground level. Keeler is averaging 17.6 disposals and 1.3 goals through his first nine SANFL under-18 games this year.

May Ranking: 14

15. Nick Madden

A GWS Academy ruckman, Madden, who stands at 204cm and 112kg, is a physical ruckman who throws his weight around. As a ruckman, 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 his main features. Averaging 14 disposals and two contested marks per game and kicking five total goals across his four NAB League games, Madden is hard to miss with the influence he exerts and the impact he has when he throws his body around.

May Ranking: 15

16. Brayden George

A strong bodied, powerful forward, George plays a high impact per possession game. He wins a high portion of his ball contested and does not need to find a lot of the football to provide heavy scoreboard impact, averaging 2.8 goals from 10.3 disposals in the NAB League. George is strong contested mark, wins one-on-one contests, causes problems aerially for opponents and is a one touch player who is just as dangerous overhead as he is at ground level. With ball in hand, George is one of this draft's premier ball users. He displays composure with ball in hand, makes sound decisions, and by foot is not only penetrating but also precisely places his kicks out in front of targets to lead onto. The next step for George will be showing that he can push up through the midfield and start finding more of the football because with his mix of attributes, he would be one of the first few picked if he found more of the football.

May Ranking: outside-15

17. Anthony Munkara

An Essendon Next-Generation Academy prospect due to being a part of Essendon's Northern Territory zone, Munkara is one of this year's most damaging prospects. Playing his best football in the front half, Munkara is a talented finisher around goal, displays good skills, is a strong mark overhead with a springy leap and is instinctive at ground level and in general play. Kicking six goals during the opening two rounds of the SANFL under-18 Season, Munkara has more recently elevated his draft stocks with a strong showing against Collingwood's VFL side. In the AFL Academy vs. Collingwood clash, Munkara kicked one goal and managed a game high two score assists in a low scoring contest. Unfortunately for Essendon, the NGA rules have been updated so any NGA prospects picked inside the top-40 cannot have their bids matched.

May Ranking: outside-15

18. Lewis Hayes

The younger brother of Port Adelaide's Sam, Lewis is a key defender who involves himself regularly as a rebounding defender and demonstrates neat and tidy skills for someone his height. Standing at 197cm, Hayes is an excellent intercept mark and very mobile but will be looking to add weight to his still slender frame to improve his one-on-one craft. With a December birthday, clubs will be tracking the rate of development with Hayes closely as someone who at this stage is a project player with substantial upside for the future given his uncommon capabilities for someone his height and age. His progress so far this season has been promising, with his involvement as a rebounder and in general play growing by the week. This season Hayes has averaged 20.8 disposals and 5.3 marks per game in the NAB League, with averages over his past two matches of 24.5 disposals, 7.5 marks and eight rebound 50s.

May Ranking: outside-15

19. Jhye Clark

A midfielder with a high work rate, Clark is one of the hardest two-way runners in this draft. There is a nice inside/outside blend with Clark displaying the ball winning, strong tackling and spread from the contest. Clark provides outside run, is a high-volume accumulator, a strong mark and displays composure with ball in hand and neat and tidy skills on the outside. Clark's best performances this season have come against Dandenong and Oakleigh with 29 disposals and 15 contested possessions and 28 disposals and 16 contested possessions in the respective matches.

May Ranking: outside-15

20. Casey Voss

The son of Carlton coach Michael, Casey Voss was unlucky not to get drafted in 2021 and again this year during the Mid-Season Draft. Voss in 2021 earned a position in the SANFL Team of the Year, won Sturt's best and fairest award, and this year won the Fos Williams Medal for best-on-ground in the annual SANFL vs. WAFL match. Still just a 21-year-old, Voss has arguably developed into the premier general defender outside the AFL and has impressed with averages of 21.9 disposals, 9.1 marks and one contested mark per game so far this in the SANFL, while securing 29 disposals and 15 marks in the state vs. state contest. A consistent year on year improver, Voss possesses a ready-to-go and well-rounded game with how he intercepts behind the ball, generates drive by foot and restricts the influence of his direct opponent when tasked with a defensive challenge. Voss displays a combination of competitiveness and smarts in defence, and his top-20 position on this draft board is based on the view that he is an any-AFL-club best-22 calibre piece.

May Ranking: outside-15