AFL Draft - July Power Rankings: Mattaes Phillipou strengthens claim for No. 1 pick

ESPN.com.au's expert Chris Doerre has revealed his AFL Draft Power Rankings for the month of July. 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 (South Australia - Woodville-West-Torrens)

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's Under-18 Championships performance against the Allies, where he amassed 24 disposals, 17 contested possessions, six marks (one contested), five clearances, two goals and two score assists was arguably the most influential performance we have seen in this year's Under-18 Championships.With a December 27th birthday, Phillipou qualifies for this year's draft. With his performances on the board, mix of attributes, influence on games across multiple positions and rapid rate of improvement, Phillipou possesses arguably the highest ceiling in this draft and narrowly holds the top spot. Not viewed on club draft boards as a consensus top-5 selection at this stage, Phillipou at No. 1 is a selection unique to this draft board.

June Ranking: 1

2. Harry Sheezel (Victoria Metro - Sandringham Dragons)

Victoria's most damaging and clever 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. Over the past month, Sheezel has entered the pick No. 1 conversation following his midfield performances over this time and evidence that he is a genuine dual position difference maker. Sheezel's 37 disposals and 19 contested possessions in Round 9 against Northern were backed up in Round 10 where he split his time between playing through the midfield and up forward with 33 disposals and three goals against Western. Through the midfield, Sheezel can be relied upon to win first possession while displaying classy ball use and deceptive agility with his sudden changes of speed often catching out opponents. Sheezel's first Under-18 Championships performance was his best so far with 17 disposals, four goals and two score assists.
June Ranking: 2

3. Will Ashcroft (Victoria Metro - Sandringham Dragons)

A Brisbane father-son prospect and the son of Marcus, Will is the most complete, advanced and productive midfielder in this draft class. This was put beyond doubt when Ashcroft amassed a ridiculous 51 disposals, 27 contested possessions and 14 clearances for Sandringham against Western in Round 10. Ashcroft backed up his unbelievable play during Victoria Metro's first Under-18 Championships match with 37 disposals, 21 contested possessions and 12 clearances against the Allies. What makes Ashcroft such an impressive midfielder is his combination of first possession winning at stoppages, distribution by hand, inside/outside balance, how he is always on the move at high-speed and driving the football forward with speed. There is a real spark and energy with Ashcroft that is rare among draft prospects. While Ashcroft is one of the most extreme high production prospects to come through the junior ranks, it is the 5-10 metres on the burst at speed after winning or receiving the football before disposing that catches the eye and routinely sees Ashcroft break games open. After disposing of the football, Ashcroft continues to run in support, not giving up on the play and providing his side the outnumber on numerous forward forays. The key with Ashcroft that gives him separation from the other midfielders in this draft is not just his top of draft level production but also the frequency of moments he impacts games. The only reason Ashcroft trails Phillipou and Sheezel is that Ashcroft only influences games in one part of the field while the very best footballers historically have tended to not just be great midfielders but have also been able to change games across other part of the field as Phillipou and Sheezel have both shown.
June Ranking: 3

4. Elijah Hewett (Western Australia - Swan Districts)

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. A big game player who routinely stars on the big stage, Hewett was arguably best afield in his first Under-18 Championships performance for Western Australia in their loss to Victoria Metro with game highs of 29 disposals, 11 inside 50s, five score assists and an equal team high of two goals.
June Ranking: 7

5. George Wardlaw (Victoria Metro - Oakleigh Chargers)

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 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. Wardlaw has been unavailable for selection in recent weeks due to a hamstring injury but is expected to be back for the latter rounds of the Under-18 Championships.
June Ranking: 5

6. Elijah Tsatas (Victoria Metro - Oakleigh Chargers)

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 offensive players. Tsatas has elevated his game this year to become one of the NAB League's most prolific ball winners and accumulators. Tsatas amassed a ridiculous 36 disposals and 18 contested possessions and 42 disposals and 15 contested possessions in Round 2 and 3 of the NAB League season. With the damage Tsatas does with ball in hand and with his ball winning capabilities, he is one of this year's premier midfielders and is in the conversation with Ashcroft, Wardlaw and Sheezel to be the first picked Victorian midfielder. Due to a foot injury Tsatas has been unavailable for selection in recent weeks and is expected to return for the latter rounds of the Under-18 Championships.
June Ranking: 6

7. Cameron Mackenzie (Victoria Metro - Sandringham Dragons)

A St Kilda Next-Generation Academy midfielder, the Saints will not have first access to Mackenzie if a bid comes inside the top 40. One of the most complete, balanced and damaging midfielders in this draft, Mackenzie earns his spot on this draft board on the back of his strong play in recent months and a standout display for Victoria Metro in their first two Under-18 Championships matches. The talented midfielder amassed 28 disposals, 13 contested possessions, six inside 50s and two score assists for Victoria Metro in their first game and 28 disposals, five clearances and one goal in their second. While Mackenzie is a strong ball winner, he has spent much of his year on the receiving end at stoppages of Ashcroft's distribution by hand. Mackenzie displays quickness and evasion, often receiving on the move at speed. With time and space, Mackenzie is one of the most damaging by foot of this year's top end midfielders, with his kick placement out in front of targets one of space his greatest weapons. On the outside, Mackenzie is often found linking up with teammates and reading the play and pushing behind the ball for timely intercept marks.
June Ranking: Outside top 20

8. Kobe Ryan (South Australia - West Adelaide)

One of 2022's most advanced midfielders, Ryan is a strong contested ball winner who does his best work around stoppages. While Ryan's first possession winning at stoppages is among the best in the draft, he is a lively tackler and displays good speed and agility. There is an inside/outside balance to Ryan's game and while a lot of the ball he wins is contested, he also covers a lot of ground and finds enough of 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 and has averaged 19.7 disposals across his first three games.
June Ranking: 9

9. Jedd Busslinger (Western Australia - East Perth)

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 ability to pluck 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 curb the influence of his direct opponent. With averages of 23.8 disposals and eight marks in the WAFL Colts this year, and securing 18 disposals and eight marks in his first Under-18 Championships game, the 197cm key defender is now considered a likely top 10 choice.
June Ranking: 10

10. Isaac Keeler (South Australia - North Adelaide)

A part of Adelaide's Next-Generation Academy, the Crows will not have first access to Keeler if a bid is placed on Keeler inside the top 40. Keeler is 2022's most exciting and freakish key forward and is also suited to spending time through the ruck. He is a high leaping, smooth moving athlete at 198cm who pushes high up the field and displays impressive one-touch cleanness at ground level. After a slower than expected start to the season, Keeler found form in the weeks leading up to the Under-18 Championships, averaging 20.3 disposals over his three SANFL Under-18 games prior to the start of the Under-18 Championships. Keeler has been one of South Australia's most impressive over their first two Under-18 Championships matches with averages of 13 disposals, 7.5 contested possessions and two goals, while playing a high impact per possession game.
June Ranking: 14

11. Lewis Hayes (Victoria Metro - Eastern Ranges)

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. Hayes was outstanding over his past two NAB League matches with averages of 24.5 disposals, 7.5 marks and eight rebound 50s, while in his most recent match for Victoria Metro against Western Australia, he performed a pivotal role with 19 disposals, five marks and eight rebound 50s.
June Ranking: 18

12. Jhye Clark (Victoria Country - Geelong Falcons)

A strong ball winning midfielder, Clark is one of the most complete midfielders in this draft. The 180cm Clark plays taller than his height and is not only adept at winning the contested ball but is also a strong overhead mark. Clark plays a courageous game, routinely putting his body on the line and never taking a backwards step when the ball is there to be won. Clark displays a nice inside/outside blend with the ball winning and tackling on the inside, but then the composure, neat and tidy skills, high work rate and outside run. Clark's Round 10 performance for Geelong Falcons against Calder was his best so far with 33 disposals, 16 contested possessions and a goal. His play for Victoria Country over their first two matches has also been strong with averages of 25.5 disposals, 9.5 marks, one goal and two score assists.
June Ranking: 19

13. Mitch Szybkowski (Victoria Country - Dandenong Stingrays)

A strong ball winning midfielder, Szybkowski is one of this draft's premier inside distributors with his work by hand, vision in traffic setting up teammates and the ease with which frees his arms when tackled to deliver a handball on time and on target. A speedy midfielder, Szybkowski spreads well from stoppages, covers plenty of ground, and displays good speed and agility. A balanced midfielder, Szybkowski, while most influential at stoppages, finds a good amount of ball on the outside and also applies himself defensively. Szybkowski has been one of Victoria Country's better midfielders over their first two games with averages of 27 disposals, 10 contested possessions, seven marks and two score assists.
June Ranking: Outside top 20

14. Adam D'Aloia (South Australia - Woodville-West-Torrens)

One of the most advanced and consistent ball winning midfielders of the 2022 draft class, D'Aloia is a stoppage star who does his best work in close. A prolific first possession winner, tackler, and an excellent distributor by hand, D'Aloia plays a competitive two-way game. Starring in the SANFL Under-18s and performing strongly in his one Reserves opportunity, D'Aloia's performance for South Australia against Victoria Country is his most notable recent performance with team highs of 28 disposals, 13 contested possessions, eight tackles and seven clearances, while also kicking one goal and registering two score assists.
June Ranking: 12

15. Brayden George (Victoria Country - Murray Bushrangers)

A strong bodied, powerful forward, George plays a high impact per possession game. He wins a high proportion of 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. Currently missing after undergoing knee surgery, George will be hoping to return to match play in August.
June Ranking: 16

16. Casey Voss (South Australia - Sturt)

The son of Michael, Casey 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, 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 23 disposals, nine marks and one contested mark per game so far this season in the SANFL, while securing 29 disposals and 15 marks in the SANFL vs. WAFL match. 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. Voss displays a combination of competitiveness and smarts in defence seen in only the very best by position. Voss' top 20 position on this draft board is based on the view that he would slot into any AFL club best-22.
June Ranking: 20

17. Tom Scully (South Australia - West Adelaide)

Not to be confused with the first overall selection in 2009, this Tom Scully 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 3.6 contested marks and 4.3 goals per game in the SANFL Under-18 games. His height, 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. Demonstrating a dramatic rate of improvement since last season, having a November birthday and with prospects of ruck height tending to take longer to physically mature and reach their performance peak, the upside is high for Scully. Enduring a recent form slump, Scully has averaged just 9.5 disposals and one goal per game over his past two SANFL Under-18 matches. He has yet to be selected to represent South Australia during the Under-18 Championships despite his outstanding first half to the season and representing the AFL Academy against Collingwood's VFL side. The key from here for Scully will be rounding out his game and adding additional points of difference to his arsenal so that he has multiple ways to take advantage of opposition key defenders.
June Ranking: 4

18. Alwyn Davey Junior (Victoria Metro - Oakleigh Chargers)

The son of Alwyn Davey, this year's Davey is taller than his father at 181cm and is arguably the more talented and complete footballer. An Essendon father-son eligible prospect, Davey not only has the crumbing and pressure gifts up forward of his father, but can also push up through the midfield, find the football and use it with class and precision. Davey played his best game so far for Victoria Metro against Western Australia where he secured 19 disposals, kicked two goals and provided three score assists.
June Ranking: Outside top 20

19. Harry Rowston (NSW/ACT - Greater Western Sydney)

A Greater Western Sydney Academy prospect, Rowston is a strong ball winning midfielder who displays a high work rate and the versatility to provide a genuine marking target forward of centre. In each of the Allies first three Under-18 Championships matches Rowston has made a strong case for being his side's best while featuring different strengths in each game. For the Allies in the Under-18 Championships opener against South Australia, Rowston secured not only 24 disposals and eight marks, but was his side's best avenue to goal with a team high three majors. In the second Under-18 Championships match, where the Allies challenged Victoria Metro, Rowston was again productive with 22 disposals, but it was the quality of his kicks inside 50m to targets that stood out, registering three score assists in the contest. Rowston's third Under-18 Championships match, where the Allies faced Victoria Country, was his most dominant midfield display with team highs of 28 disposals, 17 contested possessions, seven clearances and eight inside 50s.
June Ranking: Outside top 20

20. Henry Hustwaite (Victoria Country - Dandenong Stingrays)

A 194cm tall utility, the younger brother of Collingwood VFL co-captain Campbell, Henry has demonstrated the capability to play both as a key position player and ball winning midfielder. While Hustwaite has been competitive as a key defender, limiting the influence of his direct opponents, rebounding and taking strong contested marks, it has been the promise demonstrated as a midfielder that sees Hustwaite earn a spot on this draft board. In a breakout performance for Victoria Country in their win against the Allies, Hustwaite amassed 29 disposals and team highs of 13 contested possessions and six clearances. Hustwaite through the midfield looms not only as a strong ball winner but a reliable inside distributor who demonstrates composure in traffic. Further midfield performances of this calibre could see Hustwaite be a draft bolter over coming months.
June Ranking: Outside top 20