MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 21: George Wardlaw of the NAB AFL Academy receives the Best AFL Academy Player on Ground during the match between the AFL Academy and Collingwood Magpies at Skybus Stadium on May 21, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/AFL Photos)

Inside midfielder George Wardlaw could hold claim as 2022's best draft prospect, currently sitting toward the top end of this year's class.

Wardlaw has rivalled fellow Pick 1 contender Will Ashcroft as the best midfielder of this year, even getting the upper hand on the Lions' father-son gun in the opening round of the NAB League this year when the pair went head-to-head.

That game saw Wardlaw collect 24 disposals, 8 tackles and a goal in an 18-point win over the Dragons, giving Oakleigh the perfect start for their season.

Unfortunately for Wardlaw, that outing would just be one of his three Chargers matches for the year before succumbing to a hamstring injury which continued to hamper his season.

Before seeing his draft campaign put on hold, the bullish onballer did significantly strengthen his prospects in the Australian AFL Academy's clash with Collingwood's VFL side early into the year, where he was awarded best-afield honours.

Adding to the runs he already had on the board from previous seasons, the short pool of performances saw Wardlaw remain in contention as a potential first-overall selection for this month's draft.

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His strength, stoppage work and contested ball-winning ability are what separates Wardlaw from the rest of the pack, while his defensive work rate is as equally damaging as his attacking ferocity.

His position among the draft class has Wardlaw in line to land among the top five selections at this year's draft. With GWS likely looking toward Rebels forward Aaron Cadman, Wardlaw is tipped to be in the sights of North Melbourne at either Pick 2 or 3.

Should the Roos look elsewhere with their two early selections, then Essendon will be waiting on the Oakleigh gun with their first selection at Pick 4.

Position: Midfielder
Victoria Metro
State League Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Community Club: St Peter's
Date of Birth: 18/07/04
Height: 182cm
Weight: 80kg


Stoppage Work


Interrupted Draft Year
Aerobic Ability

Draft Range

Top five

Potential Landing Spots

North Melbourne (Pick 2, Pick 3), Essendon (Pick 5)

AFL Comparisons

Lachie Neale
Ollie Wines
Luke Parker

Expert Comments

"A medium midfielder who is a real competitive beast, highlighted by his ferocious attack on the ball in the air and at ground level. He made a strong start to the NAB League season with the Oakleigh Chargers, averaging 20.7 disposals and 5.7 tackles from his first three games. Was then outstanding representing Australia as part of the AFL Academy in May, being awarded the medal as his side's best player against Collingwood's VFL team." - Kevin Sheehan