Should your club be on the lookout for a medium forward in the 2021 National Draft, they won't be short on options for this year's crop.
Whether an AFL side is looking to swoop on a pacey attack, pressure forward or mercurial goalsneak between the first, second or third round, a name is sure to fall into place when they're on the clock.
With next month's Draft nearing, AFL Talent Ambassador and veteran list guru Kevin Sheehan has provided insight into the top talents for clubs looking toward boosting their medium forward stocks.
Neil Erasmus (Subiaco)
Erasmus is tipped to land at the top-end of the Draft, with the Dockers a likely suitor given his local connection and the Cockburn club holding Picks 6 and 8 to start their night.
Has shown plenty of promise from midfield in the WAFL U18s, but is also capable of moving forward and having a resounding impact on the scoreboard.
Sheehan says: Medium forward with exciting natural sporting talent only this season focusing purely on an AFL career after being an elite underaged cricketer. Dominated Under 18s in the WAFL earlier in year averaging 28 disposals,7.8 marks and 6.3 clearances along with a state trial before injury resulting in him missing all NAB AFL Challenge matches against South Australia. A mercurial type of player his overhead marking and footy smarts help make him an exciting prospect.
Arlo Draper (South Adelaide)
A flashy forward option that will demand a first-round selection, Draper is another versatile option that is capable of moving into the midfield further down the tracks.
Suffered a shoulder injury in the weeks leading to the combine, however scouts will have plenty of footage to utilise after a promising season at junior level and a short stint with South Adelaide in the SANFL.
Sheehan says: Medium forward with a few tricks which make him difficult to contain including his aerial ability, dazzling speed and agility which can turn an opponent inside out. Has a touch of Connor Rozee’s class about him and has already played a couple of senior matches with South Adelaide coming up through the grades after dominating Under 18s where he averaged 24.4 disposals in nine matches.
Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons)
Took home the Dragons' Coaches Award this season and finished fifth in the best and fairest count following a strong second-half to his 2021 campaign.
A player able to accumulate the ball with some ease and look to aid his fellow forwards or impact the score. A real threat is would be an ideal third forward option.
Sheehan says: Medium forward who also has shown the versatility to adapt well to playing on the wing this year using his lively speed and thrilling marking to great effect. An innate ability around goals adds to his armoury he played for both the Australian Under 18s and Victorian Metro Under 19s in representative matches this year giving encouraging glimpses of his potential. Has Jack Gunston traits as a lead up forward and this year played seven matches for the Sandringham Dragons averaging 15.7 disposals and a goal a game earning “Team of the Year” honours for his overall performances.
Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays)
An athletic half-forward that would be a great threat to opposing defences with his efficient and clean ball movement.
Able to play both small and tall, Bergman has the potential to be a bargain selection later into the draft and could emerge as a long-term prospect should he add muscle across the course of his career.
Onballer James Cahill, brother of Bomber Ned, noses out Miller Bergman for the Dandenong Stingrays best and fairest. And Sam Frangalas judged the club's rising star. pic.twitter.com/ETTRBovego
— Paul Amy (@PaulAmy375) September 24, 2021
Sheehan says: Medium forward who also plays on the wing or at half back. He’s the player his team loves to see with the ball in his hands being a great decision maker and user of the ball by hand and foot. Very lightly built now but has the repeatable skills and athletic traits to be a real AFL prospect as he develops physically. Showed his considerable potential in representing Victoria Country Under 19s in NAB AFL Draft Challenge match against Victoria Metro in July as well as impressing in seven matches for the Stingrays averaging 17.7 disposals at 79% efficiency.
Mitch Owens (Sandringham Dragons)
A Next Generation Academy product for St Kilda, the talented teenager is set to continue calling Moorabbin home as a selection in the top 20 remains unlikely.
Will offer great depths to Brett Ratten's forward line and could eventually make a move into the midfield further into his career.
Sheehan says: grabbed his chance when he received a last-minute call up to the Victoria Metro Under 19s team for its NAB AFL Challenge match against Victoria Country gathering 29 possessions, seven marks and kicking a goal to be one of his sides best. Can also play inside midfield and use his height at stoppages to great effect after growing over 10 cm in past 12 months. A strong overhead mark as well he has continued his impressive season with the Dragons averaging 18.6 disposals in five matches.
Paul Curtis (Western Jets)
A smaller option that is able to have a big impact in attack, Curtis is a livewire forward that has a sharp eye for goal and is capable over his head despite his size.
Showed plenty of upside for the Jets and Vic metro this year in a small sample size, putting list managers on notice.
Sheehan says: Medium forward with a sharp eye for a goal who burst onto the radar with four goals for the Western Jets in the NAB League early in the year before carrying that goalkicking form into Victorian Metro trials and then playing in the game against Victoria Country kicking a total of six goals in those two matches. A left footer who anticipates well as a forward and first to move, he has strong hands overhead and on the lead. Played seven matches for the Jets averaging 12.1 disposals and two goals with his overall performances in the NAB League and for Victoria Metro earning him “Team of the Year” honors.