It is always easy to judge the drafting nous of recruiters through an exercise in revisionist history.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is no surprise that the exposed form of young potential AFL draftees can often exaggerate or undersell their potential.

The 2012 Under-18 All-Australian team features a Brownlow medallist, multiple All-Australians and a premiership player.

Although every player from this side was drafted onto an AFL list, their varying levels of success reflect the volatility of raw talent and the importance of exercising prudence when assessing aspiring draftees.

SEE ALSO: 2011 Under-18 All-Australian team
SEE ALSO: 2012 Under-18 All-Australian team


This defence is teeming with unrealised potential given that many of these players had their careers spoiled by injury and off-field issues.

That generalisation does not apply to Nick Vlastuin, however, who is just ten games shy of reaching the 200-game milestone and has celebrated the ultimate success with Richmond on three occasions; 2017, 2019 and 2020.

He has been an invaluable leader at the Tigers during a hugely successful period at Punt Road and was included in the All-Australian squad after a standout 2020 season.

It also does not apply to Luke McDonald, who has the next most appearances in this backline, having pulled on the blue and white 141 times for North Melbourne after being drafted at pick eight in the 2013 National Draft.

McDonald won their best and fairest in 2020 after a career-best season and currently serves as co-vice-captain.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 29: Luke McDonald of the Kangaroos (R) next to Jamie Macmillan during the round six AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium on April 29, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Jesse Hogan, however, fits neatly into the aforementioned category, having won the 2015 Rising Star Award at Melbourne before struggling with injury and off-field issues.

A move to Fremantle was ultimately unsuccessful but he has begun to impress after moving to GWS in 2020.

Jimmy Toumpas was highly touted prior to being drafted with the fourth pick in the 2012 National Draft. However, he failed to deliver on those lofty expectations across stints at Melbourne and Port Adelaide and was delisted in 2018.

Matt Scharenberg's career was derailed by three knee reconstructions that restricted him to just 41 games between 2014 and 2020 at Collingwood.

Sam Colquhoun played just 16 games for Port Adelaide before being delisted in 2016.


The midfield crop is comprised predominately of players who are still plying their trade at AFL level.

Jonathan O'Rourke and Nathan Hrovat are the exceptions, with O'Rourke playing 21 games at GWS and Hawthorn and Hrovat playing 69 at the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne.

The player at the coalface in this side is also the one that last year earned the highest individual honour in AFL football.

Ollie Wines has played over 200 games for Port Adelaide and during that time he served for a year as co-captain, won the Brownlow Medal and was selected in the All-Australian side last year.

James Aish had a very successful junior career, winning back-to-back SANFL premierships in 2012 and 2013.

He plays for Fremantle and has featured 137 times across his career with Brisbane, Collingwood and the Dockers.

Lachie Whitfield has been a prominent figure at GWS, becoming their first two-time best and fairest winner in 2020.

He is signed until 2027 and is expected to be a key part of GWS's rebuild after a year of change.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 29: Lachie Whitfield of the Giants looks to handpass during the round 19 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Fremantle Dockers at Spotless Stadium on July 29, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It is no surprise that Brodie Grundy was selected to be the ruckman of this side given that he has been no stranger to All-Australian selection for his position during his AFL career.

Grundy was selected in the All-Australian side in 2018 and 2019 and won the Collingwood best and fairest in both of those years.

He moved to Melbourne in this year's off-season where he will partner fellow ruckman Max Gawn in what will be a potentially career-defining move for the 203cm big man.


The forwards have not fared well compared to the midfielders in terms of longevity on an AFL list, with just 50 per cent still playing at the level.

This group includes Brisbane key forward Joe Daniher who has played 151 games during his career, most of which were at his former club Essendon.

Daniher was selected as an All-Australian in 2017 after a career-best season and won his maiden best-and-fairest concurrently.

Jack Billings has played one more game than Daniher despite debuting one year later and was in the St Kilda leadership group until last year.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 02: Joe Daniher talks to the media at press conference at Lion Park on November 02, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. The 26-year-old key forward joined the Lions on a three year deal on Friday, as free agent from Essendon. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Jack Martin has shown flashes of his prodigious talent throughout 135 games with Gold Coast and Carlton.

However, injury has often been an issue for Martin, and he hasn't played more than 20 games in a season since 2017.

Taylor Garner was one game shy of the 50-game milestone before his exit from North Melbourne last year, having struggled with injury and form throughout his career.

Ben Kennedy showed flashes of his talent during his time at Collingwood and subsequently Melbourne but was delisted after 40 games in 2017.

Matthew McDonough played 10 games for Richmond and was delisted at the conclusion of the 2015 season.


None of the players on this interchange bench remain on an AFL list.

Jackson Thurlow played 63 games with Geelong and Sydney between 2013 and 2020.

Andrew Boston played just 16 games with Gold Coast during a three-year stint with the club, retiring due to a lack of desire to play the game at AFL level in 2015.

Dayle Garlett endured a difficult time at Hawthorn, quitting the club in 2014 and subsequently spending a significant stint in jail.

Jake Neade was an exciting player for Port Adelaide, playing 66 games before being delisted in 2018.

2012 Under-18 All-Australian Team

FB: Sam Colquhoun, Matt Scharenberg, Luke McDonald
HB: Jimmy Toumpas, Jesse Hogan, Nick Vlastuin
C: James Aish, Ollie Wines, Lachie Whitfield
HF: Jack Billings, Taylor Garner, Jack Martin
FF: Ben Kennedy, Joe Daniher, Matthew McDonough
FOLL: Brodie Grundy, Jonathan O'Rourke, Nathan Hrovat
INT: Andrew Boston, Dayle Garlett, Jake Neade, Jackson Thurlow