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ESPN's early three-round phantom draft for 2022 - every pick of the first three rounds

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The AFL's next big stat ... revealed? (1:30)

Christian Joly from Champion Data discusses the stats that AFL clubs are keen to measure more, a new one being ubbed 'intercept... returns from... stoppages'. (1:30)

Throughout 2022, ESPN.com.au AFL draft expert Chris Doerre has cast his eye over the country's best junior footballers to give readers an early insight into the next generation of AFL stars. He's released his latest three-round phantom draft.


A note from Chris: "Not every club will use as many selections as in this phantom draft and other clubs will take selections beyond the third round. With there being the opportunity for clubs in the lead-up to the draft to continue exchanging picks and secure delisted free agents, this three round phantom draft is designed to introduce readers to names in the mix in this year's draft and the range they may be considered."

1. Brisbane (matching GWS' bid) - Will Ashcroft (Brisbane - F/S) - Sandringham Dragons (VIC)
Will, the son of Brisbane great Marcus, has agreed to become a father-son selection for the Lions meaning Brisbane will match any bid for the talented youngster. A Round 1-ready midfielder who requires no time to develop, Will has dominated against all competition, headlined by his average of 29.3 disposals, 7.3 tackles and five clearances for Brisbane in the VFL and the Larke Medal for the best player during the Under-18 Championships. Will stands out with the volume of his contested ball winning and the frequency with which he bursts 5-15 metres out of stoppages.

2. GWS - Aaron Cadman - Greater Western Victoria Rebels (VIC)
The premier key forward in this year's draft, Cadman has demonstrated rapid improvement and has separated himself from the pack with the variety of ways he impacts games and takes advantage of rival key defenders. Cadman is a strong contested mark, creates separation on the lead, is powerful over ground balls, dangerous close to goal, and adept when pushing further afield.

3. North Melbourne - George Wardlaw - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
Wardlaw is a contested beast who does his best work at stoppages. A powerful first possession winner, Wardlaw absorbs and fends off opposition tacklers with ease. He is a reliable distributor by hand from stoppages and defensively displays an unmatched level of commitment and effort which sets him apart.

4. North Melbourne - Harry Sheezel - Sandringham Dragons (VIC)
One of this year's premier forwards, Sheezel demonstrates goal sense, sets up teammates forward of centre, takes contested marks, and is also a ground level threat inside 50. Also effective through the midfield, Sheezel wins first possession at stoppages, displays classy ball use and his deceptive agility and change of pace often catches opponents off guard.

5. Essendon - Elijah Tsatas - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
The premier loose ball-winning midfielder in this draft, Tsatas is routinely first to the ball and wins it on the move at speed. A balanced midfielder who can play inside or outside, Tsatas has an established reputation for the ease and speed with which he breaks the lines, with his acceleration and evasion of opponents on the move a highlight.

6. Gold Coast - Bailey Humphrey - Gippsland Power (VIC)
After missing Victoria Country's first three Under-18 Championships matches due to knee surgery, Humprey has starred since returning and has established himself as one of this year's most damaging dual position impact players. Up forward, Humphrey is a contested marking force and strong over ground balls while through the midfield he is a powerful contested ball winner with the strength to break tackles at will.

7. Hawthorn - Cameron Mackenzie (St Kilda NGA) - Sandringham Dragons (VIC)
Despite being a Saints Academy prospect, St Kilda will not have first access to Mackenzie as bids for Next-Generation Academy prospects can no longer be matched inside the top 40. A balanced and well-rounded midfielder, Mackenzie is a strong contested ball winner and is equally adept receiving the ball on the move at stoppages, where he displays quickness and evasion. He also hurts the opposition by foot by placing his kicks out in front of his targets to lead onto.

8. Geelong - Jhye Clark - Geelong Falcons (VIC)
Playing taller than his height, Clark is not only adept winning the contested ball through the midfield but is also a strong overhead mark who can push forward and provide a target. Winning the Victoria Country MVP during the Under-18 Championships, Clark is a complete midfielder who displays a promising inside/outside midfield balance by winning and tackling on the inside, while his composure, tidy skills, and high work rate on the outside are notable.

9. West Coast - Reuben Ginbey - East Perth (WA)
A tall, big-bodied, ball-winning midfielder with power and acceleration away from stoppages, Ginbey won the Western Australian MVP during the Under-18 Championships. A consistent performer, Ginbey has a powerful build and distributes effectively by hand. He also possesses the strength to stand up through and break tackles.

10. St Kilda - Mattaes Phillipou - Woodville-West Torrens (SA)
The son of former Footscray player Sam, Mattaes is a 192cm, dual position impact player who is arguably this year's most damaging prospect through the midfield and up forward. Through the midfield, Phillipou is a first possession winner who bursts out of stoppages at speed and demonstrates class with ball in hand. As a forward he provides a marking presence, hits the scoreboard at will, and sets up teammates inside 50 with precise entry kicks.

11. Carlton - Jedd Busslinger - East Perth (WA)
The most advanced key defender in this draft, Busslinger is an elite intercept mark who reads the ball early in flight and attacks the footy well in 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.

12. Western Bulldogs - Oliver Hollands - Murray Bushrangers (VIC)
The younger brother of Gold Coast's Elijah, Oliver Hollands is one of the elite endurance athletes and two-way runners in this year's draft. A midfielder with a balanced inside/outside game, Hollands can push through the midfield and win his own ball, is a composed and classy user of the football by hand and foot, creates time and space for himself in traffic, and covers substantial ground over the course of a game.

13. West Coast - Elijah Hewett - Swan Districts (WA)
A big game performer, Hewett is a strong contested ball winning midfielder who displays power when exiting stoppages. Hewett possesses speed, agility, evasion, and is an aerial marking threat. Damaging when he secures the ball forward of centre, Hewett places kicks out in front of targets and is a dangerous finisher around goal.

14. Melbourne - Matthew Jefferson - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
An athletic, high-flying key forward, Jefferson is one of the best readers of the ball in flight in this draft and is a marking force forward of centre. Providing heavy scoreboard impact during the Under-18 Championships headlined by seven goals for Vic Metro against Western Australia, Jefferson does not need to find much of the football to put points on the board.

15. Brisbane (matching Sydney's bid) - Jaspa Fletcher (Brisbane - F/S) - Brisbane Lions (QLD)
The son of 231-gamer Adrian, Jaspa is not only a father-son eligible prospect for Brisbane but has also been part of their Academy. Jaspa plays his best football on the outside, taking on the game with his speed and breaking games open with his run and carry and long and precise kicks.

16. Essendon (matching Sydney's bid) - Alwyn Davey Jr (Essendon F/S) - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
The son of former Essendon forward Alwyn, Davey Jr plays his best football forward and displays blistered speed, agility, and evasion with ball in hand. He is freakish at ground level, is dangerous both as a crumber and when a loose ball is there to be won, routinely makes something special happen with ball in hand, and applies good forward pressure, often providing second and third efforts.

17. Sydney - Henry Hustwaite - Dandenong Stingrays (VIC)
The younger brother of Collingwood VFL co-captain Campbell, Henry is a 194cm stoppage specialist. Hustwaite is not only one of this year's best contested ball-winning midfielders but is also a reliable inside distributor who demonstrates composure in traffic. Hustwaite is a rapid improver with substantial upside who has benefitted from a late growth spurt.

18. GWS - Jacob Konstanty - Gippsland Power (VIC)
As dangerous as any small forward in this year's draft around goal, Konstanty wreaks havoc both at ground level and as a marking target. While Konstanty is a weapon offensively around goal, his speed, forward pressure and tackling inside 50 are also notable.

19. Collingwood - Lewis Hayes - Eastern Ranges (VIC)
The younger brother of Port Adelaide's Sam, Lewis Hayes is a rapidly improving key defender and one of this draft's youngest. A high-volume intercept marking key defender, Hayes involves himself regularly as a rebounder from defence. He demonstrates tidy skills and displays great mobility for someone his height.

20. Sydney - Olli Hotton - Sandringham Dragons (VIC)
A dual position player who impacts games through the midfield and up forward, Hotton is a dangerous matchup across both positions. Through the midfield, Hotton wins first possession at stoppages and evades opponents with speed and agility. As a forward, Hotton is an aerial threat, and demonstrates a high work rate. He also crumbs well at ground level.

21. GWS - Josh Weddle - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
A 'third tall defender' who possesses the height, strength, and leap to play tall and the speed to stick with dangerous small forwards. Weddle is a capable intercept mark, and the run and dare he displays from defence is striking and uncommon for someone his height and type.

22. GWS - Lachlan Cowan - Tasmania Devils (TAS)
A rebounding defender who generates meaningful drive from defence, Cowan is a damaging long kick and has the speed to break the lines. A prolific accumulator, Cowan is comfortable taking kickouts and is regularly intercepting in defence.

23. West Coast - Harry Barnett - West Adelaide (SA)
This year's most highly-touted ruckman, Barnett is a contested marking weapon whether pushing forward or behind the ball. Though the middle, Barnett is an effective tap ruckman, but what separates him at ruck contests is his strength to win the ball himself out of the ruck before disposing of the football.

24. Western Bulldogs - Darcy Jones - Swan Districts (WA)
A small but speedy outside midfielder, Jones breaks the lines and takes on the game with an unmatched level of dash and dare, displaying rare speed and agility. Breaking the record in the agility test during this year's AFL Draft Combine, while Jones plays a high impact-per-possession game, he also finds and wins a good amount of his own ball.

25. Adelaide - Coby Burgiel - Gippsland Power (VIC)
A versatile and speedy midfielder who hits the scoreboard and wins his own ball, Burgiel displays the versatility to play an inside or outside role or up forward. What stands out most with Burgiel is how natural he is with ball in hand in general play, and how rarely he needs to break stride whether marking or receiving by hand on the move.

26. Hawthorn - Isaac Keeler (Adelaide NGA) - North Adelaide (SA)
Part of Adelaide's Next-Generation Academy, the Crows will not have first access to Keeler if a bid is placed on him inside the top 40. A high-leaping, smooth moving athlete at 198cm, Keeler is dangerous around goal, can push high up the field, and displays impressive one-touch cleanliness at ground level. Arguably 2022's most freakish key forward, Keeler is also able to provide relieving minutes through the ruck.

27. Collingwood - Brayden George - Murray Bushrangers (VIC)
A strong-bodied, powerful forward, George plays a high impact-per-possession game. He hurts opponents by foot around the ground and does not need to find a lot of the ball to hit the scoreboard heavily. Proficient both overhead and at ground level, George is a marking threat one-on-one, aerially and on the lead, while at ground level he is a one-touch player and a powerful contested ball winner.

28. West Coast - Kaleb Smith - East Fremantle (WA)
A star during the WA State Combine, Smith won the 20m sprint and placed third in the agility test. One of this draft's most damaging rebounding defenders, Smith is a line breaker with speed and power who aggressively takes on the game with ball in hand and hurts opposition sides with his penetrating kick.

29. Collingwood - Mitch Szybkowski - Dandenong Stingrays (VIC)
A strong ball-winning midfielder, Szybkowski is one of this draft's better inside distributors, with his work by hand arguably the best in the draft. Possessing good speed, Szybkowski spreads well from stoppages, covers a lot of ground, displays agility, and, when given the time and space, places his kicks accurately out in front of targets.

30. St Kilda - Jaxon Binns - Dandenong Stingrays (VIC)
One of this draft's elite endurance runners, Binns is a midfielder who runs all day and accumulates disposals at will. While best utilised on a wing, Binns is also dangerous when he pushes forward, with his agility, evasion, ground level work and finishing around goal notable.

31. Adelaide (matching Carlton's bid) - Max Michalanney (Adelaide F/S) - Norwood (SA)
The son of Jim, Max Michanney is eligible to join Adelaide as a father-son selection due to his father playing more than 200 games for SANFL club Norwood. An athletic defender, Michalanney plays a negating style and is effective shutting down forwards of various heights and types.

32. Carlton - Max Gruzewski - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
A high leaping, strong contested marking tall, Gruzewski can impact games either as a third tall or key position player at either end of the field. Making Gruzewski such a prolific contested marking threat is the combination of his reading of the ball in flight, his strong hands overhead and marking at full stretch in addition to his leap and one-on-one craft.

33. Fremantle - Edward Allan - Claremont (WA)
The son of former Hawk and Docker Ben, Edward Allan is a tall utility of key position height who looks most likely to develop into either a tall wingman or flanker. Allan is a skilful and mobile tall who won the 20m sprint at this year's AFL Draft Combine and covers a lot of ground, finds the ball in bunches, and has also shown that he can even be utilised as an inside midfielder.

34. GWS - Noah Long - Bendigo Pioneers (VIC)
Damaging both as a forward and midfielder, Long's burst of speed and work at ground level are his strengths. When used through the midfield, Long often wins first possession and bursts out of stoppages at speed, while as a forward, he is dynamic, a natural crumber, and talented finisher around goal.

35. St Kilda - Max Knobel - Gippsland Power (VIC)
The son of former AFL ruckman Trent, Max Knobel is a late blooming ruckman who has continued growing this year. Now standing at 206cm, Knobel is a project player who is still growing into his body but is developing rapidly and has a knack for getting to the right positions behind the ball to take intercept marks.

36. Port Adelaide - Ethan Phillips - Port Melbourne (VIC)
Winning the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal for the VFL's most promising young talent, Phillips has developed into the premier key defender outside the AFL. An elite reader of the ball and intercept mark, Phillips is also a strong one-on-one defender and rarely loses a contest.

37. Melbourne - Jaiden Magor - South Adelaide (SA)
A talented goalkicking forward who can push up through the midfield, Magor is a capable athlete with a good leap, speed and agility. As a forward he displays proficiency overhead and at ground level, always looking balanced, while through the midfield his class shines through with his balance, evasion, clean skills and ball winning capabilities.

38. Western Bulldogs - Charlie Clarke - Sandringham Dragons (VIC)
A speedy small forward, Clarke is one of the better crumbing forwards in this draft. Clarke plays with an infectious energy, applies good forward pressure and is not just a freakish finisher who can hit the scoreboard in bunches - but is also effective setting up teammates for shots on goal.

39. North Melbourne - Blake Drury - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
A natural crumbing forward, Drury is as good as any in this draft positioning himself at the base of the contest and winning the ball off hands. While best suited to playing as a forward, with Drury possessing above average speed, endurance, and skills, he has also proven adaptable to playing in defence, on a wing or through the midfield as required.

40. Hawthorn - Jakob Ryan - Glenelg (SA)
A well-rounded medium defender, Ryan's greatest strength is his intercepting capabilities. Able to take intercept marks and win intercept possessions at ground level, Ryan is a capable rebounder from defence and can generate drive both by foot and with his run and carry.

41. Sydney - James Van Es - Greater Western Victoria (VIC)
A strong bodied one-on-one key defender who rarely loses a contest, Van Es won the running vertical jump and placed equal first in the standing vertical jump at this year's AFL Draft Combine. A good reader of the ball in flight, Van Es is a potent intercept mark and contested mark who uses the ball reliably by foot.

42. North Melbourne - Cooper Harvey (North Melbourne F/S) - Northern Knights (VIC)
The son of Brent Harvey, Cooper Harvey is a strong, contested ball winning midfielder who displays the strength to maintain his feet when tackled and fend off opposition tackles with power. Possessing good skills, Harvey displays smarts, class, composure and sound decision making with ball in hand and can also push forward and impact the scoreboard.

43. Essendon (matching Fremantle's bid) - Anthony Munkara (Essendon NGA) - West Adelaide (NT)
An Essendon Next-Generation Academy prospect due to being a part of Essendon's Northern Territory Zone, the Bombers will be hoping Munkara slips past pick 40 so they can match bids. Munkara is a talented medium forward who is a strong overhead mark with a springy leap who plays an instinctive style of game, displays good skills and is a talented finisher around goal.

44. Fremantle - Jed Hagan - East Fremantle (WA)
A small, speedy impact player, Hagan possesses the versatility to play forward, back or through the midfield. An advanced player for his age who earned eight WAFL League games this year, Hagan possesses a neat burst of speed, is a composed and reliable kick who is a good contested ball winner for his size and particularly excels winning loose balls.

45. Gold Coast - Sam Gilbey - Claremont (WA)
A medium intercept marking defender, Gilbey is an exceptional reader of the ball in flight who not only gets to the right spots behind the ball to take intercept marks but also displays sticky hands overhead. Despite his light frame, he absorbs opposition contact well and holds onto his marks. An athletic defender who moves well, Gilbey is a capable rebounder and sound ball user.

46. St Kilda - Bailey Macdonald - Oakleigh Chargers (VIC)
A speedy line breaking defender, Macdonald breaks games open with the run and drive he generates from defence. Macdonald is one of this draft's most impressive speed/agility athletes and his impact on games is based around the metres he gains and the high frequently he accelerates at speed from defence.

47. GWS (matching Hawthorn's bid) - Harry Rowston (GWS Academy) - Greater Western Sydney (NSW)
A Greater Western Sydney Academy prospect, Rowston was the Allies MVP during the Under-18 Championships. A strong ball winning midfielder who displays a high work rate and the versatility to push forward, Rowston provides a genuine marking target forward of centre and can hit the scoreboard.

48. Hawthorn - Adam D'Aloia - Woodville-West Torrens (SA)
South Australia's MVP during the Under-18 Championships, D'Aloia is a stoppage star who does his best work in close. One of this year's most advanced and productive midfielders, D'Aloia plays a competitive two-way game, is a strong contested ball winner and tackler who distributes well by hand.

49. Carlton - Jason Gillbee - Bendigo Pioneers (VIC)
An endurance running machine, Gillbee finished a narrow second place behind Ollie Hollands in the 2km time trial during the AFL Draft Combine. An outside accumulator who likely settles on a wing, Gillbee is a strong mark and can also push into defence and perform an accountable role or generate run.

50. Geelong - Harvey Gallagher - Bendigo Pioneers (VIC)
A versatile overager who plays his best football across half-back, Gallagher displays a burst of speed, good agility, and evasion, regularly takes on the game with his run and generates meaningful drive by foot. An impressive intercept mark for a small, Gallagher reads the play early to get into position for intercept marks.

51. Collingwood - Will Verrall - South Adelaide (SA)
An athletic ruckman, Verrall follows up well at ground level and is a contested marking force around the ground. With his strength one-on-one, strong contested marking capabilities and how early he reads the drop of the ball, Verrall while he has played most of his football as a ruckman may develop best as a key defender.

52. Hawthorn - Cooper Vickery (Hawthorn NGA) - Gippsland Power (VIC)
A versatile and damaging footballer, Vickery is a Hawthorn Next-Generation Academy prospect who displays the versatility to play in defence, up forward and through the midfield. A damaging footballer, Vickery impacts games with his run and penetrating kicking.

53. Richmond - Will Dowling - North Adelaide (SA)
Averaging 30.9 disposals and 1.5 goals per game in the SANFL Under-18s, Dowling is a goalkicking midfielder who displays the versatility to play inside, outside and across half-forward. Dowling covers the ground well and knows where to be go to amass a lot of touches, whether it's around stoppages or on the outside.

54. Gold Coast - Tom McCallum - Tasmania Devils (TAS)
Just short of key defence height at 192cm, McCallum plays taller than his height with his one-on-one strength and work aerially strengths. An elite ball reader who routinely gets to the drop of the ball, McCallum is one of this draft's best intercept marks and takes a good number of them contested.

55. Geelong - Ted Clohesy (Geelong NGA) - Geelong Falcons (VIC)
A Geelong Next-Generation Academy midfielder, Clohesy is one of this draft's premier competitors. Best suited as a midfielder, Clohesy is a strong contested ball winner who distributes effectively by hand, works hard both ways, chases and pressures relentlessly and is a strong tackler.