Where they came from—2021 NAB AFL Draft (Medium/Tall MIDs)

Former Portland Tigers star, Jamieson Ballantyne will be hoping to hear his name on draft night. Photo by Warrnambool Standard

In the lead up to the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan is releasing a list of the drafts 'Top Prospects' every Thursday in different positional groups.

Part 1: Medium Forwards

Part 2: Medium Defenders

Part 3: Tall Forwards/Rucks

Part 4: Tall Defenders

Part 5: Small Forwards/Defenders/Mids

Part 6: Medium/Tall Midfielders

Sheehan will profile all 126 of the boys invited to the 2021 Nab AFL Draft Combine in the lead up to the event to be held on Wednesday November 24 and Thursday November 25.

To recognise the important role that community clubs play in developing our elite talent, AFL Victoria is releasing a Victorian focused list each week with accompanying photos of the prospects at their local clubs.

The NAB AFL Draft is part of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfil their dream of playing in the AFL.

All information on the 2021 NAB AFL Draft can be followed through the AFL Draft Hub at www.afl.com.au/draft.

Medium/Tall Midfielders

Jamieson Ballantyne

Community Club: Portland FC

State: Victoria (Country)

Height: 183cm

Weight: 78kg

Date of Birth: 16/04/03

Wingman who really caught the eye with his running patterns and endurance using his natural footy smarts to win the ball, drawing some comparison to Geelong's running machine Isaac Smith. A consistent performer for the GWV Rebels this year playing 10 games and averaging 17.9 disposals (six contested) and four inside 50s, he commutes from Portland three hours from the training /playing base in Ballarat twice a week, giving a sense of his commitment. Also represented Victoria Country in AFL Challenge match against Victoria Metro, impressing with 15 disposals in a promising performance. Ranked in the top five nationally for 2km with his time of 6 minutes 19 seconds at the Draft Combine in Bendigo for Victoria Country.

Sam Butler

Community Club: Lake Wendoree FC

State: Victoria (Country)

Height: 184cm

Weight: 76kg

Date of Birth: 10/02/03

Medium midfielder/forward with exciting pace both away from stoppage and giving him separation to allow shots at goal. Brother of St Kilda's Dan, with similar attributes and can be very effective as a pressure forward with goal sense as well. Had an excellent season with the GWV Rebels, averaging 17.6 disposals at 72 per cent efficiency in nine matches with an average of 4.8 tackles and 0.8 goals per game. Eye-catching at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in Bendigo with his 2.97 seconds for 20 metres on a slow track, which was equal top for the day, while his 2km time of 6 minutes 23 seconds confirmed his endurance.

Finn Callaghan

Community Club: Mordialloc-Braeside

State: Victoria (Metro)

Height: 191cm

Weight: 86kg

Date of Birth: 24/04/03

Left-footed medium midfielder who burst onto the scene with dominant performances early with the Sandringham Dragons, winning selection in the Australian Under-18s team for its Challenge match against Geelong (VFL) and showcasing his natural talent and athleticism. Can play inside and excel at stoppages or on the outside on the wing using his penetrating kicking to give good service to his forwards. Has unique aerial ability as well as goal sense, making him a difficult match-up at his size when he goes forward. Due to injury, played just six matches in the NAB League averaging 24.3 disposals (eight contested), three clearances and 3.2 tackles, winning him the Dragons' best and fairest award as well a selection in the NAB League Team of the Year in 2021. He finished the year with an impressive 6 minutes and 10 seconds for 2km (Strava tested) at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. Comes from a sporting family, with his father representing Australia in the Commonwealth Games in the 400 metres and his mother competing in the national youth championships in the long jump.
Campbell Chesser

Community Club: Lavington Panthers FC

State: Victoria (Metro)

Height: 186cm

Weight: 83kg

Date of Birth: 27/04/03

Medium midfielder who can also use his line-breaking pace and long kicking to provide drive from defence. An All-Australian at Under-16s level in 2019, we only saw thin slices of his undoubted flare and athleticism in three NAB League games due to injury, averaging 18.3 disposals (14 uncontested) at 76 per cent efficiency. A state-ranked underage sprinter, he was appointed joint captain of Victoria Country Under-19s this year, underlying his leadership potential. Confirmed his overall athleticism with a 6 minute 20 second time for the 2km in Draft Combine Strava testing.

Nick Daicos

Community Club: Kew Rovers

State: Victoria (Metro)

Height: 182cm

Weight: 73kg

Date of Birth: 03/01/03

Medium midfielder who had the ball on a string in his NAB League matches, where he averaged 35.8 disposals and two goals in five appearances, and representative games for both the Australian Under-18s team (29 disposals) and Victoria Metro (41 disposals), in a clear indication of his undoubted talent. A creative player who has clean hands and wonderful vision, he reacts quickly to bring his teammates into the game. Very nimble on his feet, he steps through traffic with his natural speed and pushes forward to regularly hit the scoreboard. His running patterns are elite along with his overall footy smarts and he absorbs the pressure in congestion. Predominately a ground-level player who keeps his feet and remains in the contest. He's also a student of the game, no doubt absorbing so much from his legendary father Peter and his brother Josh, who he is set to join at Collingwood with the Magpies committed to matching any rival club bid under the father/son rule.

Nick Daicos as a junior for Kew Rovers

Josh Goater

Community Club: Sunbury FC

State: Victoria (Metro)

Height: 190cm

Weight: 80kg

Date of Birth: 02/06/03

Versatile midfielder who uses his height, natural spring, speed and agility to win and use the ball efficiently in a range of roles both inside and outside and can also play in defence. His vision, decision-making and execution by hand and foot is a real weapon and stood out in his seven matches in the NAB League, averaging 24 disposals at 85 per cent efficiency with four clearances for the Calder Cannons. Backed that form up to be one of Victoria Metro's best in its win over Victoria Country at Under-19s level with 23 disposals, with his pace and ball use drawing comparisons with Port Adelaide young gun Xavier Duursma.

Josh Goater at his community club, the Sunbury Lions

Ben Hobbs

Community Club: Horsham Demons FC

State: Victoria (Country)

Height: 183cm

Weight: 79kg

Date of Birth: 16/09/03

Medium midfielder who is a hard-edged beauty who excels one-on-one and consistently extracts the ball out of congestion. Has elite game sense, reading the cues in winning the loose ball and has been ultra-consistent from the Under-16s championships in 2019 when he won All-Australian selection and Victoria Country's MVP. Has similar traits to Port Adelaide star Travis Boak with his competitive edge and ability to hit the scoreboard, averaging 25 disposals (11 contested), 5.2 clearances and five tackles in six matches for the Rebels and winning Team of the Year honours. Co-captain of Victoria Country at Under-19s level, he showed his trademark ball-winning ability and zest having 29 disposals to be among his team's best players. Showcased his athleticism with an 80cm running vertical jump and 6 minutes 32 seconds for 2km at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in Bendigo for Victoria Country.

Ben Hobbs wins best on ground for the Horsham Demons. Photo by the Weekly Advertiser

Mitch Knevitt

Community Club: Grovedale FC

State: Victoria (Country)

Height: 193cm

Weight: 81kg

Date of Birth: 08/01/03

Tall midfielder who had an outstanding season after recovering from an ACL injury two years ago and missing last year due to COVID shutdown. An outstanding performer for the Geelong Falcons, averaging 24.3 disposals (50 per cent contested), 4.4 clearances and 4.3 tackles, he won their best and fairest award as well as a place in the NAB League's Team of the Year. Has the elite speed and endurance combination which allows him to transition both back and forward. Uses his height and overhead marking both through the midfield and up forward to impact the game. Continued his form being among Victoria Country's best players with 23 disposals against Victoria Metro in the AFL Challenge match this year. Confirmed his elite acceleration for his size with 2.98 seconds for 20 metres and 6 minutes 18 seconds for 2km at the Draft Combine in Bendigo for Victoria Country.

Ned Long

Community Club: Fitzroy JFC

State: Victoria (Metro)

Height: 195cm

Weight: 92kg

Date of Birth: 05/02/03

Tall midfielder who started the year impressively with the Knights before an ankle injury curtailed his season. Has a real physical presence whether at stoppages in the midfield or when he goes forward. Has a genuine competitive streak you can see in his one-on-ones and very creative with his hands. Uses his endurance to great effect around the ground and has strong marking overhead when forward, drawing comparisons in the way he plays to Carlton captain Paddy Cripps. In his three games in the NAB League, averaged 22 disposals (10 contested), 5.7 tackles and 3.7 clearances. Confirmed his running capacity with a strong 2km run of 6 minutes and 5 seconds (Strava tested) as part of the Victorian Metro Draft Combine.

Fitzroy JFC's, Ned Long kicks long

Connor Macdonald

Community Club: Doveton FC

State: Victoria (Country)

Height: 185cm

Weight: 83kg

Date of Birth: 13/01/03

Medium midfielder with excellent all-round athleticism and game sense which allows him to get to multiple contests and become a prolific ball winner. His game style has been compared to St Kilda captain Jack Steele and he possesses natural leadership attributes as captain at Haileybury College. Found plenty of the ball with the Stingrays, averaging 29.8 disposals (14.2 contested) with 5.5 clearances and 4.8 tackles in four matches and backed that up with a solid performance for Victoria Country at Under-19s level in the AFL Challenge match with 25 disposals. His elite endurance was confirmed with his 6 minutes and 8 seconds for the 2km (Strava tested) as part of the Draft Combine in 2021.

Connor Macdonald has been a star since his junior days at Doveton
Jai Serong
Community Club: Warragul FC
State: Victoria (Country)
Height: 193cm
Weight: 82kg
Date of Birth: 16/02/03
Tall midfielder who can push forward to become a marking target, as well as play in defence. Very athletic type who displayed his physical attributes with his 86cm running vertical jump, along with his 3.05 seconds for 20 metres and 6 minutes 24 seconds for the 2km test, all in the top bracket for his size. Has sound fundamentals, being clean overhead and at ground level as well as displaying sharp vision and awareness with the ball in hand. Brother of Fremantle NAB AFL Rising Star winner Caleb, he also was a talented state-level underage cricketer, making a choice in his draft year to pursue AFL. Played seven matches with the Gippsland Power in the NAB League, averaging 16.7 disposals, as well as playing for Victoria Country in Under-19s AFL Challenge match in July.
Cooper Whyte
Community Club: Grovedale FC
State: Victoria (Country)
Height: 181cm
Weight: 79kg
Date of Birth: 24/02/03
Left-footed medium midfielder who is both tough in the contest and has a touch of flair. Clean and composed in heavy traffic he's able to use his speed to burst from stoppage and has the vision and foot skills to set up his forwards. A state-level basketballer, he had a very consistent season with the Geelong Falcons in the NAB League, playing 11 matches and averaging 16.1 disposals, 3.8 clearances and 4.7 tackles. Tested soundly in all areas at the Victoria Country Draft Combine in Bendigo with 3.02 seconds for 20 metres, 6 minutes 32 seconds for the 2km and a running vertical jump of 80 cm.

Cooper Whyte (L) and Mitch Knevitt (R) will represent Grovedale on draft night
Marcus Windhager
Community Club: Beaumaris FC
State: Victoria (Metro)
Height: 185cm
Weight: 85kg
Date of Birth: 16/05/03
Explosive medium midfielder who is a contested ball winner with the ability to find space in heavy traffic with his agility. Also a dangerous player when he pushes forward, he has overcome an ACL injury two years ago to play some exciting football at college and club level this year. Averaged 15.8 disposals for the Dragons in four NAB League games and showed a strong indication of his potential for Victoria Metro in AFL Challenge against Victoria Country, being among the best players. Eligible for St Kilda under Next Generation Academy and they can match any bid from selection 21 onwards. An injured back ruled him out of Draft Combine testing at year's end.
Karl Worner
Community Club: East Burwood FC
State: Victoria (Metro)
Height: 188cm
Weight: 81kg
Date of Birth: 16/06/02
Smooth-moving wingman who uses his elite endurance to run all day and provide a connection between defense and the forward half. A good user of the footy and strong overhead he makes good decisions with his ball use. A student at RMIT, he had impressive form at the Chargers averaging 17.7 disposals in six matches and earning selection for Victoria Metro in AFL Challenge match, showing composure at the level having 13 disposals in an encouraging performance. Another midfielder to show elite endurance with his 6 minutes and 7 seconds for 2km outstanding in Victoria Metro Draft Combine Strava testing.