With the draft drawing ever closer there appears to be movement in the predicted draft order, with a few later movers, and the requisite sliders.
For those who missed HPN’s first version of the Consensus Phantom Draft (and the methodology behind it), please check it out here.
Remember that this is a simple average of draft positions – we do not take account of projected needs or drafting strategy at all. A consensus phantom draft can be seen as identifying the expert consensus as to “best available” at each pick.
Phantom Draft Pool
- Paige Cardona (Footy Prophet)
- Riley Beveridge (Fox Sports)
- Brett Anderson (Inside Football/SEN) (no link as requires subscription)
- Cal Twomey (afl.com.au)
- Knightmare (BigFooty)
- Luke McAlister (Bound For Glory News, but posted on his Twitter account)
- Josh Poulter (Over The Line Sports / Footy Extra / Bigfooty)
- Bigfooty Community Phantom Draft (each club is selected by a different person – this will be an interesting exercise in testing the wisdom of the crowd)
- u/pigeon_rat (reddit)
- Matt Balmer (Bound for GloryNews, taken from Twitter)
- Tom Baluch (The Roar)
- AFL Mock Draft
- Sam Landsberger (Herald Sun)
We still await a few more, most notably Emma Quayle, last year’s most accurate phantom drafter.
The Power Rests With Melbourne
It seems fitting that the AFL’s recent draft experts, Melbourne, have the biggest role in shaping how the 2015 AFL draft unfolds. The Demons have a lot riding on this draft, having traded their 2016 first round pick to Gold Coast for better 2015 draft position, and then improving their position again by trading with GWS.
Right now, our phantom drafters seem split, or confused, about what the hell Melbourne will do with their first pick. All thirteen phantom drafts have Melbourne nominating Callum Mills, with Sydney immediately matching. Then it gets a little bit trickier. Many of our thirteen experts have the Dees nominating Jacob Hopper immediately after, forcing GWS to surrender some of their rich point bounty.
Until Friday, the wider assumption was that Melbourne was likely to then pick Darcy Parish, with the outside chance that Charlie Curnow would have his name read out. But the week before the draft is a long time, and in that time Curnow had a run in with Geelong’s finest, and Clayton Oliver’s name started getting kicked around in association with the pick. As we sit right now, only three drafters have moved onto Oliver to Melbourne, but they among the more reputable voices (Landsberger, Twomey and Knightmare).
As of Sunday night, Parish is still the CPD pick to go to Melbourne, but this might change very soon. Expect to see Oliver shoot up the next version of the CPD.
Speaking of Oliver’s rise, several players have seen their stock go skywards in the past couple of weeks:
- Clayton Oliver to pick 10 (up 4),
- Callum Ah Chee to pick 14 (up 3),
- Ryan Burton to pick 15 (up 3),
- Daniel Rioli to pick 26 (up 3).
The biggest riser of them all, however, is Brandon White. In the first CPD, White barely rated a mention, but since then he’s shot up up 9 spots to pick 38. Cunningham, Crocker and O’Kearney have also seen positive movement in the later second round, solidifying their spots in the predicted draft order.
On the other side of the equation, some players have suffered falls after not having played real football for a good two months. Football certainly is cruel sometimes:
- Rhys Mathieson to pick 19 (down 6),
- Eric Hipwood to pick 13 (down 3),
- Bailey Rice to pick 30 (down 3),
- Harley Balic to pick 18 (down 2).
Later “Sure Things”
Each draft there always seems to be picks where the intention of the given club seems to be pretty well known. This year is no different, with the following later picks having a majority high consensus:
- Kieran Collins to Hawthorn,
- Jade Gresham to Carlton,
- Ben McKay to the Dogs, and
- Brayden Fiorini to the Dogs.
Too Close To Call, Or Not
With such a large and diverse group, it’s often surprising how similarly they think:
- Harry McKay 9 to 14,
- Luke Partington 20 to 34 with pick 20 being a substantial outlier
Or how differently they can consider the same players:
- Clayton Oliver 4 to 16,
- Ryan Burton pick 9 to pick 29,
- Harry Himmelberg pick 20 to pick 54.
I guess we’ll find out who is right on the day.
The Josh Dunkley Mail
Not one phantom draft has Father/Son commit Josh Dunkley going to Sydney despite the CPD having him being tipped between 18 and 36, mostly where Sydney can afford to match. This can be partially explained by the fact that most drafts are from before he nominated for Sydney, with rumours reported in the newspapers had him declining the option.
Sydney can match the consensus pick of 28 without deficit in 2016. Immediately after a Mills bid at 3 the Swans will have the points to match pick 26, but this will improve further after GWS and Brisbane use multiple second rounders to match for their talent, and Sydney’s picks slide back up. By the time Dunkley is selected, the Swans should be able to afford a pick in the early 20s for Dunkley.
This article at The Roar explains roughly how that works and projects pick 21 being matchable without deficit. Our calculations look similar – with the consensus selections listed above, Sydney end up with 713 points (picks 45, 56, 62 and 66), and able to match pick 20 with just 2 points of deficit.
Even if it works out that Sydney end up with less points, Sydney’s deficit would be minimal next season, probably costing just one or two 2016 draft positions for matching pick 20. Given the effort that Sydney has put into securing Dunkley, and the resonance that that surname has on the fanbase, we are firmly predicting that Sydney will match any bid for Dunkley in the 20s.
The Final HPN Consensus Phantom Draft
This isn’t our last effort for the 2015 draft year, as we hope to shoot another CPD out on draft day, around 3pm, which should include the final phantom drafts from all of our experts.