Matthew Rowell has been touted as the likely No.1 draft pick this year. Picture: Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images
Matthew Rowell has been touted as the likely No.1 draft pick this year. Picture: Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images

Top AFL Draft prospects rated ‘better than Walsh’

TWO of this year's top AFL draft prospects have been rated "better than Sam Walsh" by some recruiters.

Former St Kilda on-baller Leigh Montagna, who works as an opposition analyst for Fremantle, said recruiters had told him Oakleigh Chargers pair Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson were expected to eclipse Carlton's No. 1 pick Walsh.

Rowell, who was named best on ground as the Under-18 academy defeated VFL team Casey Demons last weekend, is a tough midfielder who has been likened to Joel Selwood.

He has delivered two standout performances in three games for Oakleigh in the NAB league and was named best afield in a losing team in last year's Under-18 grand final after tallying collecting 32 disposals and seven inside 50s.

Anderson, who missed out on being eligible as a father-son pick to Hawthorn by 17 games, has also been touted as a top pick.

"My understanding, speaking to recruiters, is that picks one and two in this year's draft … they are both better than Sam Walsh," Montagna said.

Noah Anderson fell short of being eligible for a Hawthorn father-son pick. Picture: Scott Barbour/AFL Photos.
Noah Anderson fell short of being eligible for a Hawthorn father-son pick. Picture: Scott Barbour/AFL Photos.

"Then there's a bit of a gap. So you want to be finishing bottom two and get that pick, as opposed to the rest.

"That's how big a pick it could be for a club that finishes bottom two this year."

Walsh, a short-priced AFL Rising Star favourite, started his career with the best four-game stretch of any player since ranking points were introduced in 2003. He has averaged 26 disposals, three tackles and six marks.

Asked on Fox Footy whether the tag of a potential No.1 draft pick fazed him, Rowell said: "I guess you can look at it like it's a bit of pressure. But I just love playing footy and I don't worry about all those things on the outside."

In October last year, outgoing Oakleigh Chargers talent manager Craig Notman said the hype around Rowell was warranted.

"The talk of being a top-five draft pick or even a little bit closer to the top of the draft table at this point in time is very well warranted," he said.

"He just doesn't do anything wrong."

The Chargers have said Anderson, also an on-baller, is "just so composed when he gets the ball in his hands".

Montagna said the talent levels of players such as Rowell and Anderson could create a trade frenzy in this year's draft.

"There is incentive this year to be getting picks one or two and you might even see some amazing trades to get up in the draft order to potentially get there," he said on Triple M.

Last year, Carlton  traded its first pick in this year's draft in a swap with Adelaide to secure Morrish Medal winner Liam Stocker at selection No.19.

News Corp Australia


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