MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Josh Ward of the Knights kicks during the NAB League Boys match between the Northern Knights and the Sandringham Dragons at Preston City Oval on April 10, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos)

A versatile midfielder that boasts the ability to play both on the inside and outside of the engine room, Josh Ward has quickly risen toward the top end of the draft rankings.

An elite aerobic capacity, taking out the quickest time in the 2km time trial last month, Ward initially developed as a wingman before focussing on bettering his contested ability to aid his prospects.

Now seen as one of the premium midfielders in his class, the hard work looks to have paid off for the Knights star.

Ward was named captain of the NAB League Boys' Team of the Year, lining up alongside the likes of Ben Hobbs and Nick Daicos in midfield following a strong campaign in averaging 25.2 disposals, 5.2 marks and 4.8 tackles per game.

The highly-touted teenager also amassed a stellar display against Vic Country earlier this year, booting two goals and collecting 29 disposals to further place his name in the eyes of recruiters.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Josh Ward of Vic Metro runs with the ball during the U19 trial match between Vic Metro and Vic Country on June 27, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Martin Keep/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Looking like a ready-made talent, Ward could be a viable inclusion to any side's midfield depths for 2022 as he stands as good chance in having an immediate impact at AFL level.

Team: Northern Knights
Position: 
Midfielder
Height: 181.4cm
Weight:
79.1kg

Strengths

Endurance
Ball-Magnet
Leadership
Decision Making
Vision

Weaknesses

Vertical

Draft Range

5-10

Potential Landing Spots

Hawthorn (Pick 5), Richmond (Pick 7) St Kilda (Pick 9), West Coast (Pick 10)

AFL Comparisons

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Sam Walsh of the Blues in action ahead of Shai Bolton of the Tigers during the 2021 AFL Round 01 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 18, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Sam Walsh
Andrew Gaff

Expert Comments

"Left footed small midfielder who showed all the traits this season of an emerging future star. Uses his elite endurance and footy smarts to win the ball then shows poise and sharp vision to use it in an elite fashion by hand and foot." - Kevin Sheehan

"Clubs are confident Ward will find himself selected in the early stages of this year's national draft. The more bullish of those teams believe he could even find himself being recruited within the first five picks." - Riley Beveridge

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