Will Ashcroft is officially a Brisbane Lions player, having been taken with Pick #2 in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft.
Here's what the experts think he can bring to our side.
Will Ashcroft is considered as the best player in this year's draft class.
Ashcroft models his game on Carlton midfielder Sam Walsh and has trained with the Lions earlier this year in the pre-season, where he lived with gun midfielder Hugh McCluggage. He has also played two games of VFL with Brisbane's side and starred, averaging 28 disposals and fitting in seamlessly against AFL-listed players.
He has pieced together a dominant season at all levels he has played, with the ball-winner averaging 35 disposals in the NAB League for the Sandringham Dragons and 33 disposals in three games for Vic Metro.
We're all Fages right now 😁 pic.twitter.com/5iVNs6W2yW— Brisbane Lions (@brisbanelions) November 28, 2022
The best performed and most productive player in the draft, Ashcroft was the definition of ball-magnet throughout 2022, averaging 34 disposals in a dominant NAB League season as well as winning nearly every award available.
Ashcroft has been nearly a full-time footballer this year who takes his footy seriously and is seriously good and will make an impact for Brisbane as a father-son selection straight away.
There are so many reasons why Will Ashcroft is widely – and emphatically, for many – considered the best player in the 2022 draft class by AFL club recruiters.
But ask any of his fellow prospects about what makes the Lions father-son gun the standout No. 1 and nearly all of them circle back to one characteristic: His professionalism.
The 18-year-old claimed almost every honour possible, both individually and collectively. He won the Larke Medal for best player at the national championships and was named in the Under 18 All-Australian team as his side, Vic Metro, completed an undefeated campaign.
He was also the Sandringham Dragons’ premiership captain and was named best on ground in the NAB League grand final – days after being named NAB League Team of the Year captain.
Put simply, Ashcroft dominated at every level he played – including in a couple VFL games for the Lions.
One recruiter told foxfooty.com.au mid-year Ashcroft “could play AFL this week” as he was on a “different level” to the rest of his peers in their 18th years.
Ashcroft is a do-it-all player, able to dominate games in the middle and contribute in other roles around the ground. He was the standout player at the under-18 National Championships this year, taking home the Larke Medal.
He can both win hard ball on the inside of contests and use it effectively on the outside. Ashcroft might not be able to break the formidable Lions midfield from day 1, but shapes as likely to get games in his first season.