Connor McFadyen in action for Brisbane against Aspley. Photo: David Layden/NEAFL.

By NEAFL Media


The 2018 NAB AFL Draft is only days away, and we’ve profiled some of our competition’s best prospects.

In Part 1 of our draft preview, we take a look at some of the NEAFL’s best Under-18 and Under-19 Academy players.


Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy)

DOB: 04/12/2000. Height: 190cm. Weight: 81kg.

Connor McFadyen is perhaps the best prospect emerging from Queensland ahead of the draft and at 190cm, it’s hard not to be impressed by his athletic ability. Able to play through the midfield or as a marking option inside 50, McFadyen possesses quick hands and has shown a knack for clunking contested marks regularly. Connor was outstanding for the Allies and his draft rating certainly lifted due to these performances. McFadyen managed to play five games for Brisbane throughout the 2018 NEAFL season where he kicked six goals and averaged 9.4 disposals, playing mainly as a third tall forward while also floating through the midfield.

Keidean Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy)

DOB: 31/03/2000. Height: 182cm. Weight: 75kg.

Keidean Coleman was a consistent performer for the Allies throughout the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships where he operated in his usual role as a running defender. An efficient ball user by hand or foot, Coleman loves to use his speed and break lines. He played eight games for Brisbane in the NEAFL, averaging 15.5 disposals (at 82 per cent efficiency), 3.9 tackles and 2.3 rebound 50s. After relocating to Brisbane from the Northern Territory when he was 10 to chase greater opportunities in both school and football, the ‘league-ready’ Coleman is a Lions Academy member and could find his way to the Lions during the draft.

Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

DOB: 12/09/2000. Height: 194cm. Weight: 84kg.

Caleb Graham is a Cairns junior who was deployed as a key defender for the Allies at the NAB Under 18 Championships where he performed admirably. His best is often seen when he plays as the third tall defender and is given the ability to intercept the ball. Graham has played 14 games at NEAFL level for the SUNS over the past two seasons and in 2018, averaged 11 disposals and 4.8 marks. A bright, young talent with plenty of potential, Graham is one academy prospect the SUNS will be keen to secure.

Dirk Koenen (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

DOB: 01/01/2000. Height: 194cm. Weight: 87kg.

A key defender, Koenen is fast off the mark and consistently shuts down leading patterns of opposition forwards. At 194cm, Koenen is a good size for AFL level and consistently competes hard both at ground level and in the air where he was rarely exposed against some of the best Under 18s in the country. Koenen, who relocated to the Gold Coast from Townsville at 15, made his NEAFL debut in 2017 and tested at this year’s AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne.

Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

DOB: 09/07/2000. Height: 186cm. Weight: 64kg.

For the Allies, Bailey Scott operated almost exclusively through the midfield but can dually operate inside 50 where he’s shown a knack for hitting the scoreboard. Destined to land at North Melbourne after nominating the club under the father-son rule, Scott boasts clean hands around the contests and has no issue finding the ball – highlighted by his performance against West Australia where he collected 30 possessions. Scott played four NEAFL games in the backend of 2018 – adding from eight in his debut 2017 season – where he averaged 22.5 disposals and 3.3 inside 50s. Bailey captained both the SUNS in the academy series and Allies in the NAB National Championships.

Kieren Briggs (GIANTS Academy)

DOB: 06/10/1999. Height: 200cm. Weight: 103kg.

Kieren Briggs has taken full advantage of his season as part of the GWS GIANTS’ Under-19 Academy squad, with the imposing 18-year-old putting himself in the AFL Draft spotlight after a dominant year at underage and NEAFL level. A ruckman/tall forward who imposes himself on the game with his physical presence in contests and strong hands, Briggs had an outstanding NAB AFL Under-18 Championships for the Allies, winning the MVP award after winning the same honour for the GWS Giants in the AFL Academy Series. Making his NEAFL debut in 2017, Briggs also earned Under-18 All-Australian honours this year before finishing off the season in the NEAFL.

Bailey Stewart (Sydney Swans Academy)

DOB: 21/05/1999. Height: 180cm. Weight: 79kg.

Bailey Stewart enjoyed a breakout season in the NEAFL to establish himself as a star of the future. The Pennant Hills junior plays as a midfielder or medium-size defender and played a key role for the Academy at last year’s U18 National Championships. Tough, disciplined and has great endurance, Stewart kicked 12 goals from 18 NEAFL games in 2018, averaging 16 disposals and five tackles in the process. He earned a NEAFL Rising Star nomination in Round 8, a week before a best-on-ground performance against Sydney University where the 19-year-old impressed with 25 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles and three goals.

Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans Academy)

DOB: 27/02/2000. Height: 195cm. Weight: 82kg.

Gun father-son academy prospect Nick Blakey nominated Sydney Swans as his preferred destination in this years’ NAB AFL Draft. A tall forward who is exceptional overhead and extremely athletic, Blakey has the ability to play in multiple positions across the ground. He booted two goals in his debut NEAFL match against eventual premier Southport in Round 7, and the Swans are well placed to match any bid on the exciting youngster. Winner of the Harrison Medal in 2017 in the Division Two NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and runner-up this year, Blakey is the son of former Lion and Kangaroo star John Blakey.



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