FOR THE first time in 2021, here is the Phantom Form Guide.

Our June ranking of the best 20 prospects in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft pool is in, with it to be updated each month until November's national draft.

Since 2013, the Phantom Form Guide has started after the mid-year championships has been completed. But this year, with the championships yet to start, we are kicking off before the national carnival takes place.

The 2021 draft pool has had its share of interruptions, particularly in Victoria, but the talent class remains especially even, with a number of prospects on the fringe of this top-20 who were considered. 

Remember this is not a mock draft – it is our rankings of the best players and does not take into account where father-son or Academy bids could come. 

Defender
183cm/75kg
31/12/03
Northern Knights/Vic Metro

An attacking half-back who plays with a competitive spirit and aggressive flair. Wilmot likes to take the game on from defence, with the wiry half-back also a tough opponent with a physical edge. He co-captained Vic Metro in the second trial game last weekend and has his fans among clubs as a potential top-20 pick.

Midfielder/forward
184cm/73kg
10/2/03
Greater Western Victoria Rebels/Vic Country

Butler is a prospect who could rise in the second half of the year. The Rebels midfielder has enjoyed a consistent season, showing some real class around the ball, quick and smart decision-making an ability to make an impact around goal as well. He's strong when the ball is up for grabs and can use it precisely. The younger brother of Saints forward Dan, Butler missed Vic Country's trial match with a sternum injury but may be back this week. 

Key forward
195cm/91kg
1/12/03
East Fremantle/Western Australia

It has been a productive season for Williams, who is one of a number of key forward options available in Western Australia. The 17-year-old marking target has kicked 23 goals in eight games for East Fremantle, proving to be difficult to stop in the air and also playing as a pinch-hitting ruckman. Williams is also a member of the NAB AFL Academy squad. 

 
Jack Williams of WA Gold attempts to slip from a tackle by Kellen Johnson of WA Black during the Western Australia AFL Draft All Stars game 2 in October, 2020. Picture: Getty Images

Midfielder
181cm/79kg
15/8/03
Northern Knights/Vic Metro

Ward has been in sensational form of late, starring in the Knights' NAB League win over Oakleigh two weeks ago with 34 disposals and six clearances and then backing it up with an impressive display as Vic Metro's captain in Sunday's trial game, with 22 possessions and a goal. Ward is an inside midfielder with polish and a strong work ethic. He is able to rip the ball out and get it going his side's way but can also be relied upon for two-way running.

Key forward
195cm/83kg
East Perth/Western Australia

It has been an incredible season so far from Amiss, who has been a latecomer into the West Australian talent program after blitzing at colts level. The key forward has been the most dominant in the country for his age, booting 37 goals in nine games, including a haul of seven last week against Peel Thunder. Amiss doesn't need many disposals to impact games, and he is deadly accurate, booting only eight behinds this year. A number of clubs will be lining up to take a swing at Amiss. 

Midfielder
192cm/80kg
16/3/03
Subiaco/Western Australia

It is Johnson's height that separates him as an inside midfielder in this year's pool. Having played in Subiaco's colts flag last season, where he picked up 21 disposals and a goal, Johnson this season has been elevated to the senior squad for experience there. He played three games at League level before going back to the Colts, where he has been more at home, picking up 30 disposals against Perth in round nine. 

Midfielder/forward
188cm/80kg
2/12/03
Subiaco/Western Australia

Erasmus burst onto the scene late last year, having an exciting finals series for Subiaco including a standout four-goal game in the colts' under-18 Grand Final. He has played mainly as a midfielder this season and showed his ability there, too, averaging 28 disposals across four colts games this year. Erasmus has a good vertical leap and some spring to his game and is a nice size to impact and hold his own in contested situations. 

Midfielder/defender
186cm/83kg
27/4/03
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Country

It has been an interrupted campaign for Chesser, who had knee surgery on a meniscus issue that threatened to derail his draft season. Fortunately, however, he will return this weekend for the Dragons after building up his training in recent weeks. Chesser is a player who breaks the lines with a capacity to kick the ball long and take the game on – either as a midfield option or from half-back as a creative player. 

Ruckman
200cm/70kg
12/4/03
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country

It was Andrew's start to the season that caught the eye of scouts, with the Dandenong Stingrays big man putting in some exciting performances as an athletic ruckman who can also follow up at ground level. He blitzed the opening game of the season with 22 disposals, six clearances and 11 hitouts against Gippsland and continued in the same vein to be selected for the NAB AFL Academy's VFL clash. Concussion ruled him out in recent weeks. Andrew, who was born in Egypt and whose parents are South Sudanese, is tied to Melbourne's Next Generation Academy but the Dees won't get to match a bid if it comes inside the first 20 picks. 

Midfielder
181cm/77kg
27/1/03
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro

Sonsie has had some standout games for the Ranges this NAB League season and also stepped up to impress at VFL level in his appearance for the Box Hill Hawks, where he kicked two goals from 24 disposals. A midfielder with the ability to burst out of a stoppage and with some speed off the mark, Sonsie can also hit the scoreboard. He is nursing bone bruising in his knee from the NAB League last week. 

 

Midfielder/forward
185cm/71kg
20/1/03
South Adelaide/South Australia

A training incident last week saw Draper succumb to an ankle syndesmosis injury that will see him sidelined for some time. It is a blow given Draper is one of the unique and exciting players in this year's group, a wiry prospect who is capable of taking marks across half-forward, dodging through congestion and hitting the scoreboard. Was best-afield for South Adelaide's under-18 side before his ankle injury, gathering 30 disposals, four marks and five inside-50s in an eye-catching display.

 
Arlo Draper (left) competes with Malachy Carruthers during the SA Draft Combine All Stars game in October, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Midfielder/forward
183cm/81kg
31/7/03
South Adelaide/South Australia

Although currently sidelined with a syndesmosis ankle injury, recruiters are well aware of Roberts' talents as a midfield prospect. Just before he went down with the injury, which will keep him for another two months, the 17-year-old made his debut at senior level for South Adelaide and didn't look out of place. A competitive and savvy midfielder who enjoys throwing himself into the contest. 

 
Matthew Roberts (left) and Matthew Johnson during a NAB AFL Academy training sessions in April, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Half-back/midfielder
186cm/73kg
7/1/03
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

Sinn returned to the field last week after more than two months out with a hamstring tear that he suffered in the lead up to the NAB AFL Academy's game against Geelong VFL side. The rebounding half-back was busy for the Dragons, and even spent some time in attack. Sinn is a fast, line-breaking mover out of defence who can be a 100-metre player, particularly when he takes the kick outs. The left-footer will also spend some time in the midfield as the season goes on.

Forward/midfielder
180cm/78kg
11/4/03
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country

Rachele hasn't dominated this season but he has undeniable talent and ability, particularly around goal. He's a generally good finisher and capable of some exciting things inside-50, including sharp goalkicking and being a strong target in the air for his size. The former junior soccer star plays with some theatre and makes things happen, and booted two goals for Vic Country in the trial over the weekend. 

Key defender
195cm/84kg
4/4/03
Greater Western Victoria Rebels/Vic Country

In a draft pool without the top-end talls of previous years, Gibcus is a standout. The key defender is aggressive in the air, flying for his grabs and being an intercept weapon in the back half. He also uses the ball well out of defence and has also been thrown forward on occasions. Gibcus' form saw him added to the NAB AFL Academy squad earlier this year and he's continued to be an exciting defender for clubs to track.

Midfielder
183cm/80kg
16/9/03
Greater Western Victoria Rebels/Vic Country

Hobbs has wasted no time in reminding people of his talent in the past two weeks. After being sidelined for two months with an ankle injury, the hard-edged midfielder returned to the NAB League and was brilliant with 34 touches and 2.2. He backed it up with a best-on-ground showing as Vic Country captain in last week's trial match with Vic Metro where he had 37 disposals, also pushing forward to kick two goals to complement his midfield display. Hobbs is a hard-at-it inside ball-winner who has power and aggression and a big work ethic. Think Taylor Adams, who he trained alongside at Collingwood in the pre-season. 

Midfielder
189cm/82kg
26/4/03
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

A riser in the draft pool through a number of factors. Callaghan has put performances on the table: he started the season in strong form to be added to the NAB AFL Academy, has been a level above in the NAB League (he gathered 31 disposals in his last outing there) and was also excellent for Vic Metro in last week's under-19s trial game. As well as being a great size and shape for a modern midfielder, Callaghan has the skills to boot, a long-range kick on his preferred left foot and an ability to run all day on the wing. A damaging player who is getting better and better.

Forward/defender
204cm/75kg
19/7/03
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

The newest player in the discussion for the No.1 pick. Darcy has pieced together an outstanding season, dominating as a key forward who can also play in defence and the ruck. The Western Bulldogs father-son is best suited to attack, as seen on Sunday when he kicked six goals in a best-on-ground display for Vic Metro in its trial game against Vic Country. The best thing about Darcy is his agility and athleticism for a player his size. He kicks goals from set shots, snaps, taking the ball out of the ruck, from ground-level pick-ups and everything in between. Recruiters are talking about Darcy, the son of former Dogs ruckman Luke, as the potential best prospect in 2021. 

 
Sam Darcy celebrates one of his six goals in the U19 Vic Metro v Vic Country trial game in June, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Midfielder
183cm/77kg
21/6/03
South Adelaide/South Australia

Having made his debut at senior level last season for South Adelaide, Horne entered this year with great expectations upon him. He hasn't let anyone down, with the strong-bodied midfielder/half-forward impressing in the SANFL. Horne is quick and eye-catching – he can mark the ball well above his head and float across packs as well as hit the scoreboard – and he is also tough – he has dealt with close attention throughout this season and stood up well, and also on occasion whipped out a brilliant fend off. He's AFL-ready. 

 
Jason Horne of the NAB AFL Academy takes a big mark during the match between the NAB AFL Academy and the Geelong Cats VFL side at GMHBA Stadium on April 24, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. Picture: AFL Photos

Midfielder
183cm/72kg
3/1/03
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

If you've seen Daicos' highlights reel you would know the hype is real. The Collingwood father-son prospect has had a dominant draft season reaching rare heights. The silky midfielder does it all around the ball: he can play as an inside or outside option, his foot skills are elite on both feet, he weaves in and out of traffic to find space and he can twist out of trouble. He has averaged 37 disposals in the NAB League for the Chargers and booted 10 goals in five games, and in between that was the NAB AFL Academy's best player against Geelong's VFL side and also starred for Collingwood's VFL side earlier this season. A ball magnet with special tricks.