AFL draft 2022

From Aaron Cadman to Will Ashcroft, these are the top picks in the 2022 AFL Draft

Over the next two nights, several dozen young people’s dreams will come true when their names are read in the 2022 AFL Draft.

Years of hard work and training will finally pay off when they start wearing the colors of their new club.

As the future of the AFL changes more than ever, fans of all kinds across the country will learn of new names to pin their hopes for the premiership.

Usually the first pick goes to the club that finished last season first, but North Melbourne traded the pick to GWS, scoring the second and third picks in return.

It was the first time an election has been traded since 2001, when Hawthorn was able to purchase premiership captain Luke Hodge in a trade with Fremantle.

Outside of each season, fans and experts around the world speculate which of these young men will go to which club.

ABC Sport has collected and compiled these predictions to best calculate who your club will pick each day of the auditions.

These are the main stories leading up to the 2022 AFL Draft.

The race to choose one

This year, he holds the number one pick to audition for the fourth time in GWS’ short history, more than any club other than the other two clubs. But there’s a chance they won’t end up with their first pick.

The selection for the first pick seems to converge around two options – Gold Coast midfielder Will Ashcroft and Darley, tall man Aaron Cadman from Victoria.

Even if the Giants pick Ashcroft, it’s extremely unlikely that the dominant midfielder will go anywhere other than the Brisbane Lions. This is because Will is the son of three-time Lions prime minister Marcus Ashcroft and is available to the club under father-son rule.

This gives Brisbane the right to match any selection in young Ashcroft using the AFL’s Draft Value Index system.

It’s increasingly likely that the lions are gearing up for Ashcroft to pass the first election, and potentially even the second and third.

This is similar to the «fall» of Collingwood father-son player Nick Daicos, who was touted as the most talented player in last year’s draft crop.

A good guide to figuring out who to bid on a high-rated father-son or academy player is to look at recent trades between clubs. Lions traded to both GWS and North Melbourne during this trading period.

The Lions traded a selection later in this draft for an election at next year’s audition – suggesting they wouldn’t need much draft value to match Ashcroft and other father-son candidates, Jaspa Fletcher.

If one or both players slip, expect Brisbane to continue trading the selections and next year’s audition.

Cadman would be much more than a consolation prize for the Giants – indeed, other clubs were trying to trade the draft order to pick the tall one.

With his youthful speed and stamina, he has the rare ability to find himself outdoors in the chaos of modern football.


His vision is excellent on the field, he can read the game and find himself in space. He’s a little undersized for a modern power forward, but he has shown the ability to outrun almost any opponent. The Giants may see more than a passing resemblance to their former squire Jeremy Cameron’s play in Cadman.

By contrast, Ashcroft is a do-it-all player, dominating games in midfield and contributing to other roles on the court. He was the standout player to take home the Larke Medal at this year’s Under-18 National Championships.


In competitions, he can both win hard balls indoors and use them effectively outside. Ashcroft may not be able to break through the tough Lions midfield from day one, but he’ll likely take games in his first season.

First layer and beyond

This year, a group of four potential candidates has apparently distinguished themselves at the top of the draft rankings; mid-range forward Harry Sheezel and physical midfielder George Wardlaw join Cadman and Ashcroft at the top.

From there, the spread expands. Essendon and Hawthorn’s calls in the fifth and seventh picks respectively appear to be shaping the top ten with Mattaes Phillipou of Adelaide and Elijah Tsatas of Melbourne, two of which Essendon should pick, but could potentially lose a few more elections if they’re both not selected there. .

Due to the large number of football canceled by COVID, there are significant uncertainties about the composition of this draft class.

This year’s crop is heavier for midfielders and smaller players, and a little lighter for longer abilities. Cadman is the only tall player scheduled to make the top 10, and there will likely only be four tall players in the first round of the draft.

Another way to resolve uncertainty is to look at the player most frequently tied to a club by draft experts.

This helps identify islands of certainty. The earliest example is Jhye Clark, a Geelong Falcons player associated with the Cats. The Geelong-to-Geelong connection is not new.

Twice in the last three years, a player from the Geelong system was the first to be called by the Cats. In the past six seasons, 40 percent of the national draft picks were locals – but they were usually picked later.

Moreover, Carlton is heavily linked with Sydney and Oliver Hollands to defend Melbourne, Josh Weddle for key forward Matthew Jefferson.

The most docked players are those affiliated with clubs through father-son or academy processes.

Three to five father-son players are expected to be selected in the top 30 picks. The Bombers holding Election 22 will soon be sweating over whether they can «double dip» with a live pick before a meeting with Alwyn Davey Jr.

A particularly interesting case is the case of St Kilda’s Next-Gen Academy candidate, Cameron Mackenzie, who can be matched with a selection after age 40 – long after he had to be bounced off by a club.

The consensus is that the Saints have a real chance to get him at 10 with their «natural» picks and lock the tethered ability.

The draft may also be short as clubs wait to pass several selections as they increasingly value the flexibility of the open roster position in the pre-season towards the summer and the additional signing period until March.

This draft is also seen as a little shallower than the shaping up of next year’s draft. This assessment has seen several clubs seeking multiple picks for 2023, at the expense of the four teams that have brought in big-name contenders during this fertile trading period.

Regardless, the future of the game will likely take shape over the next two nights.

When is the AFL Draft?

The 2022 AFL Draft will be held over two days, starting tonight and ending tomorrow night, and kicks off at 7pm AEDT on Fox Footy and Kayo Sports. The first round of the draft will take place tonight before the rest of the elections are held on Tuesday.

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