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Phantom Form Guide: October Edition

${customImageCaption} - Brisbane Lions

The NAB AFL Draft is now very much in sight.

The Combine has been completed, and a large majority of players are now off-limits to clubs as they complete studies and exams. 

There is only six weeks before the draft takes place, so we're in for another update of the Phantom Form Guide. 

A reminder – this is our view of the best 30 prospects in the pool and doesn't take into account where they will get picked or where father-son or Academy bids could come.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 183cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 2/7/00
From Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
September ranking: 1

Walsh again underlined his excellent aerobic capacity at last week's NAB AFL Draft Combine, coming second in the YoYo test (level 22.1) and third overall in the 2km time trial (6:07 minutes). He also tested at three seconds flat for the 20m sprint, showing that although he might not have the explosiveness of others, there isn't a lack of pace that should concern. Walsh has become viewed as the obvious No.1 pick after a brilliant and consistent season that saw him claim a number of accolades. He's taken the hype in his stride.

POS: Tall forward
Ht 194cm, Wt 85kg, DOB 9/8/00
From Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia
September ranking: 2

Lukosius' outstanding athletic ability come through at the Combine. He broke three seconds for the 20m sprint (2.98 seconds) and was also strong in the endurance tests for a player of his size, running 21.2 in the YoYo. Lukosius' skills were also on show, finishing in the top five for the kicking test and booting 4.1 from five shots in the goalkicking test, also winning praise from goalkicking champion Matthew Lloyd for his goalkicking action. Lukosius is a Jack Gunston type of forward who works hard up the ground and then converts his shots when he gets them.

POS: Half-forward/midfielder
Ht 180cm, Wt 76kg, DOB 23/4/00
From West Adelaide/South Australia
September ranking: 3 

Rankine is ready to play at the top level, and he knows it. Part of his challenge this year has been keeping focused on doing the little things to be well prepared for match day, something he admits let him down earlier in the year. But he is supremely talented, a player who lifts for the big stage and one who will kick plenty of goals next year. He won the agility test at the Combine (8.039 seconds) and was fourth overall in the sprint (2.93 seconds) but was further back in the 2km time trial pack, finishing in 6:56 minutes.

POS: Tall forward
Ht 202cm, Wt 86kg, DOB 7/7/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
September ranking: 4

King is back running as he starts to build up his rehabilitation from his knee reconstruction this year. He has also put on a few kilograms across the year and added to his strength in the gym, which was one of his aims when he went down with the injury after only a couple of games this year. He remains one of the best prospects in the draft despite that setback, and is seen as a powerful, high-marking forward who is also agile and quick at ground level.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 186cm, Wt 82kg, DOB 7/12/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro 
September ranking: 5 

Achilles bursitis has kept Smith out for 12 weeks, which included missing the NAB AFL Draft Combine. It's a shame, because Smith would've relished the chance to impress with his athletic prowess in front of recruiters. Nevertheless, they are all aware of his ability on that front, and on the field as well, after a strong season. The midfielder is a great mix of power, speed, endurance and ball-winning ability, and he was named an All Australian after an excellent under-18 carnival.

POS: Tall forward/defender
Ht 202cm, Wt 85kg, DOB 7/7/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro 
September ranking: 6

Recruiters have raved about King's athleticism for a 202cm prospect all season, and he put some evidence to that during the Combine when he ran 2.97 seconds in the 20m sprint. He switched forward this year after starting the season in defence and proved himself as the best swingman in the draft, and a club can choose him knowing he will be able to play at both ends of the ground. When forward, King is something of a roamer, being better on the lead than one-on-one situations.

Draft prospects Max King (left) and twin brother Ben King (right).

POS: Half-forward/midfielder
Ht 185cm, Wt 71kg, DOB 22/1/00
From North Adelaide/South Australia
September ranking: 8

Rozee's end to the season thrust him right back among the best players available this year. The 18-year-old played in North Adelaide's senior SANFL premiership, and was a key player throughout the finals off half-back, before blitzing at the Combine. Everyone knew Rozee was powerful, quick and had a leap on him, and he showed that during testing, ranking in the top 10 for the standing and running vertical jumps, second in the sprint (2.91 seconds) and in the top 10 for the agility. He can play in all three parts of the ground and has some star factor to him.

POS: Tall forward/midfielder
Ht 195cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 27/2/00
From Sydney Swans Academy/Allies 
September ranking: 7 

The Swans expect a bid to come for Blakey anywhere from pick No.5 to 12 on draft night, despite his injury-enforced absence for big parts of the past two years. A sore ankle ruled him out of testing at the Combine and for a portion of the end of the season, but Blakey at his best is a genuine talent and game-changer, which was on show at stages this year. He can play as a free-wheeling left-footed forward, but he also can move into the midfield.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 184cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 28/9/00
From Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country 
September ranking: 9 

The midfielder missed the Combine due to the hamstring injury that ended his season in the Pioneers' final game of the year. It ended what has been an injury-impacted season, coming on the back of a serious hamstring injury in his other leg in the championships and a calf complaint as well. Caldwell is a hard-working powerful inside midfielder who enjoys throwing himself into the contest and coming out the other side with the ball in his hands.

POS: Half-back
Ht 182cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 16/10/00
From Claremont/Western Australia
September ranking: 17

Clark is coming with a rush. The West Australian's season gained momentum after winning All Australian honours at the under-18 championships, and he played some solid senior footy for Claremont late in the year to push himself into the top 10 of some clubs' draft boards. He's a good user of the ball off half-back and is given the ball to make things happen, and the former elite junior cricketer finished eighth in the 2km time trial last week.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 190cm, Wt 81kg, DOB 21/10/00
From Central District/South Australia 
September ranking: 10

The big-bodied midfielder had a consistent season for Central District and in the under-18s for South Australia, and has pushed himself into first-round calculations because of it. Hately averaged 24 disposals a game in Central's reserves, and 23 disposals for the SA side that won the division one title, and also featured in some strong performances for the senior side.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 189cm, Wt 73kg, DOB 25/3/00
From North Launceston/Tasmania/Allies 
September ranking: 12

Thomas' end to his season was good, being voted the third best player on the ground in North Launceston's Grand Final win in Tasmania. He took a couple of high marks and showed some exciting signs after some injury concerns in the back half of the year that saw him drop down the order in the view of some clubs. Thomas was an equal winner of the kicking test at the Combine, but showed he doesn't possess elite pace (he ran 3.1 seconds in the 20m sprint).

POS: Midfielder
Ht 181cm, Wt 70kg, DOB 8/9/00
From Western Jets/Vic Metro
September ranking: 18

A favourite among recruiters for his character, Butters looks likely to be a top-20 pick on draft night despite managing a shoulder injury before finally undergoing surgery in July. Butters is a classy, running midfielder/half-forward who can play in both roles well. He averaged 20 disposals at TAC Cup level and is continuing his rehabilitation from the injury, which saw him sit out the Combine.

POS: Half-back
Ht 182cm, Wt 82kg, DOB 15/1/00
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
September ranking: 11

Quaynor surprised himself when he "fluked" the goalkicking test and kicked five goals from five shots to win the event at the Draft Combine. It's a fair effort, considering he has spent all of the season as a rebounding medium backman who can match up on a number of prospects. He also played for some of the season with a thumb injury that required him to wear a guard. Expect a bid to come for the Collingwood NGA prospect somewhere in the top 20.  

POS: Midfielder
Ht 193cm, Wt 88kg, DOB 3/2/00
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
September ranking: 13

The big midfielder's finish to the season was excellent, as he pieced together three very good finals for the Oakleigh Chargers in their pursuit of a TAC Cup premiership. He will need to improve his endurance at the next level to be a midfielder there, having clocked in with a time of 7:06 minutes in the 2km time trial at the Combine, ranking him in the bottom 13 per cent of players who tested. But he is tall, strong and can also shift forward at stages.

POS: Half-forward/midfielder
Ht 186cm, Wt 79kg, DOB 6/4/00
From Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
September ranking: 15

An adductor injury he sustained preparing for the Combine ruled Taylor out of testing. The classy half-forward makes things happen when he has the ball, he's creative with it in his hands, deft by foot and regularly a goal threat when playing deep. He has at times played in the midfield for the Calder Cannons but averaged 18 disposals for the year at TAC Cup level.

POS: Midfielder/half-forward
Ht 175cm, Wt 76kg, DOB 9/2/00
From Perth/Western Australia
September ranking: 14

Unfortunately Hill wasn't able to show his genuine speed at the Draft Combine as he nursed his shoulder after another round of surgery that prematurely ended his season. But that wouldn't have proved much to recruiters anyway, given they know Hill's sublime ability to run and carry the footy. Hill is capable of the spectacular and will provide highlights at the next level once he adds some more muscle to his light frame.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 183cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 23/1/00
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
September ranking: 20 

The Sandringham Dragon's stocks rose as the year went on, as he returned from a broken jaw to play some very strong footy towards the end of the season. The hard-working, strong-bodied and ball-finding midfielder won the Morrish Medal as the best player in the TAC Cup for his efforts. He kicks the ball well on both feet, is tough and mature and has the mindset to be playing AFL footy next year. Missed the Combine with a shoulder injury that he played with late in the season.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 180cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 12/7/00
From Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
September ranking: 16

West is a powerful unit for a small player, and he has genuine ability to step out of traffic, find some space and get the ball moving forward. That agility was on show when he finished third overall in that test at the Combine last week, plus being amongst the best for the jumps tests – something obvious on the field when he flies for big marks. The Dogs' father-son prospect and inside midfielder seems likely to attract a bid somewhere late in the first round or early in the second.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 180cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 14/1/00
From Launceston/Tasmania/Allies 
September ranking: 22 

Jones' excellent Combine was a reminder of the Tasmanian's athletic ability after an up and down under-18 season. The compact and neat midfielder came second in the 2km time trial (6:05 minutes), was in the top two of the running vertical jump tests, in the top six of the agility (8.270 seconds) and in the top 10 of the kicking test (22/30). Jones is a no-fuss prospect who should feature in the first round on draft night.  

Chayce Jones performs the sprint test during the AFL Draft Combine.

POS: Half-back
Ht 183cm, Wt 81kg, DOB 7/9/00
From Central District/South Australia
September ranking: 21

McLennan is an intercepting defender who reads the play very well and knows how to take marks while under pressure. He's able to then kickstart a defensive rebound and has done that plenty of times this season. McLennan isn't very tall but has a mature frame and tested well last week for his endurance, reaching level 21.4 in the YoYo and was in the top 20 per cent for his 2km time trial run (6:18 minutes).

POS: Midfielder
Ht 186cm, Wt 80kg, DOB 8/5/00
From Norwood/South Australia
September ranking: 19

The South Australian under-18 captain was unable to test at the Combine due to a knee issue, but has done enough to show his talents throughout this year. He's a hard-working, diligent, reliable midfielder who can use the ball well on both feet, and has the size and strength to play as a ball-getting option. 

POS: Half-forward
Ht 188cm, Wt 78kg, DOB 12/5/00
From Dandenong Stingrays
September ranking: -

Sturt was the player with all the buzz as the end of the season grew closer, when he burst onto the scene for the Dandenong Stingrays and won a late call-up to test at the national Draft Combine. Sturt is a sharp half-forward with good pace, movement and skills, and is coming off no pre-season after playing high level junior cricket. He didn't let anyone down with his testing at the Combine, coming second in the running vertical jump and top 10 for the sprint and agility.  

POS: Key defender
Ht 193cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 16/8/00
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
September ranking: 25

The Collingwood father-son prospect finished his season well, gathering 19 disposals and five marks in the Oakleigh Chargers' Grand Final defeat. It was revealed after the season that he had played the final month of the year with an ankle stress fracture and he has undergone surgery that will keep him out of action for 12 weeks of the off-season. Kelly is one of the best key position defenders in the pool. 

POS: Midfielder
Ht 190cm, Wt 88kg, DOB 4/12/00
From Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland/Allies
September ranking: 24

McFadyen was in a moon boot for the duration of the Combine as he deals with a foot injury, but he should still head to Brisbane as an Academy pick. The big-bodied midfielder shone throughout the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships for the Allies, has played in the Lions' NEAFL side, and can also be used as a marking option in attack given his size. 

Connor McFayden of the Allies runs during the match against Vic Country.

POS: Midfielder/small forward
Ht 178cm, Wt 71kg, DOB 13/7/00
From Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
September ranking: -

The Geelong Falcon is a tenacious player who saved some of his better games for later in the TAC Cup season. He can be used as a hard-running midfielder who takes the game on and tries to dodge through traffic, but has also shown his ability as a small forward who applies plenty of tackling pressure through his work-rate. His endurance stood out at the Combine when he won the YoYo test (by reaching level 22.2) and ran 6:11 minutes in the 2km time trial.  

POS: Midfielder
Ht 185cm, Wt 71kg, DOB 7/7/00
From Gippsland Power/Vic Country
September ranking: 23

A consistent player for the Gippsland Power and Vic Country this year, Duursma showed he was able to play in a stack of roles. He's rangey and moves well and can be a penetrating player, so his run off half-back, coupled with his time in the midfield, makes him a player who should appeal.

POS: Midfielder
Ht 186cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 9/7/00
From Gold Coast Academy/Allies
September ranking: -

Scott this week announced he would be nominating North Melbourne as his preferred home at next year's draft, having also been eligible to join Geelong as a father-son or the Suns as an Academy choice. The Roos won that race for the hard-working midfielder, who has an elite endurance tank and handy skills. He's light-bodied and will need to add to his frame before being AFL-ready. 

POS: Midfielder
Ht 188cm, Wt 86kg, DOB 13/9/00
From Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
September ranking: - 

Watch Smith as a player and you see his bullocking style through the midfield, which was obvious in his one game for Vic Country when he picked up 32 disposals. He carried that form through the season for the Bushrangers, and proved himself to be a big-bodied ball-winner who uses his size and strength to power past opponents. Smith starred at the Combine, dispelling any concerns about his aerobic base by finishing in the top 10 for the YoYo and agility. 

POS: Midfielder
Ht 187cm, Wt 83kg, DOB 11/7/00
From Vic Metro/Western Jets
September ranking: - 

O'Halloran's efforts at the Combine should have been a reminder of his athletic prowess: he was top 10 in the sprint, YoYo, 2km time trial, kicking test and came second in the agility. It showed how rounded he is as a prospect. Add to that his leadership – he captained Vic Metro at the under-18 championships – and the strong midfielder should appeal to clubs. 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs