Tasmanian James Leake was one of the biggest risers among this year's draft class thanks to a breakout National Championships campaign with the Allies and a promising year for the Devils as a versatile medium-sized swingman.

The Launceston product would play an integral role in the Allies' premiership under Mark McVeigh, holding down a role in defence alongside the likes of Connor O'Sullivan and Will Graham as a constant presence in the air.

There Leake would show off his vertical leap and athleticism as a strong interceptor down back, with the 187cm prospect going on to earn a spot in the U18 All-Australian team alongside seven of his Allies teammates.

In his return to Tasmania's Talent League side from a strong run of form at the national level, Leake was positioned in attack and would immediately have an impact - booting three goals from 15 disposals and eight marks in a Round 11 win over Geelong.

That performance would only kickstart a strong run home for Leake in the forward third, who amassed a further 12 goals over his next four games to flex his ability as a marking target.

It wasn't only in the air where Leake was able to strengthen his draft stocks, with his ability at ground level and around goal making him a leading medium-sized forward for AFL scouts to consider.

His versatility and athleticism are sure to have him in the conversation as a top 15 selection, with a club like GWS - who currently enter the draft at Pick 7 - among the sides that might be interested in Leake's services.

Adelaide (Picks 10 and 14), Sydney (Pick 12) and St Kilda (Pick 13) are also among the potential landing spots for Leake, who might draw comparisons with fellow Tasmanian Jeremy Howe given his leaping ability and capacity to play at either end of the field.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 17: James Leake of the Tassie Devils in action during the Coates Talent League Boys Preliminary Final match between Tasmania Devils and Eastern Ranges at Queen Elizabeth Oval on September 17, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Position: Defender-Forward
Weight: 77kg
State: Tasmania
Club: Launceston


Forward Craft

Draft Range

Pick 8-16

Potential Landing Spots

GWS (Pick 7)
Adelaide (Picks 10+14)
Sydney (Pick 12)
St Kilda (Pick 13)

AFL Comparison

Jeremy Howe
Tom Doedee

Expert comments

"Medium defender and forward who won All Australian honours as a defender for the Allies at the National Championships in the middle of the season then played some eye-catching matches as a forward for the Tasmania Devils in the Coates Talent League during a breakout season." - Kevin Sheehan