Matthew Rowell headlined a group of 14 NAB League players selected in Wednesday night’s first round of the 2019 NAB AFL Draft, with the Oakleigh Chargers midfielder becoming the ninth consecutive top draft pick from Victoria’s premier under-18 competition.
* Read more about each first-round selection from the NAB League further down the page.
Gold Coast’s selection of Rowell puts him in the same company as Sam Walsh (ex-Geelong Falcons, 2018), Cameron Rayner (Western Jets, 2017), Andrew McGrath (Sandringham Dragons, 2016), Jacob Weitering (Dandenong Stingrays, 2015), Paddy McCartin (Geelong Falcons, 2014), Tom Boyd (Eastern Ranges, 2013), Lachie Whitfield (Dandenong Stingrays, 2012) and Jonathon Patton (Eastern Ranges, 2011) as recent NAB League players taken at pick no.1 in the national draft.
Rowell was one of six NAB League players selected in the top 10 of this year’s draft, alongside:
- Pick no.2: Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers to Gold Coast);
- Pick no.4: Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers to GWS);
- Pick no.6: Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons to Adelaide);
- Pick no.7: Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays to Fremantle); and
- Pick no.8: Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power to Fremantle).
Other NAB League players taken among the 21 picks in the draft’s first round were:
- Pick no.11: Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power to Gold Coast);
- Pick no.14: Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons to Port Adelaide);
- Pick no.15: Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays to Western Bulldogs);
- Pick no.16: Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons to Geelong);
- Pick no.17: Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers to Carlton);
- Pick no.19: Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays to Geelong);
- Pick no.20: Sam Philp (Northern Knights to Carlton); and
- Pick no.21: Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers to Richmond).
Overall, NAB League players represented 67 per cent of first-round draft selections (14 out of 21).
The remaining selections in the 2019 AFL Draft will take place on Thursday from 7pm, while the 2019 AFL Pre-Season and Rookie drafts will be held on Friday morning from 10am.
* CLICK HERE to see the stories in our 2019 AFL Draft Watch series, featuring one of the leading draft prospects from each NAB League club.
MATTHEW ROWELL (Oakleigh Chargers)
Pick no.1 to Gold Coast
Hard-nosed 180cm midfielder Rowell this year won an unprecedented second straight medal for best-on-ground in the NAB League Boys Grand Final, recording 44 disposals and two goals in Oakleigh’s premiership triumph over the Eastern Ranges. The Canterbury (Yarra Junior FL) product averaged 32 touches, 8.5 tackles and 4.5 inside-50s per game to win the Chargers’ best-and-fairest award from only seven matches, while he also earned NAB League Boys Team of the Year and AFL Under-18 All Australian honours having represented Vic Metro at national level.
NOAH ANDERSON (Oakleigh Chargers)
Pick no.2 to Gold Coast
A 191cm attacking midfielder, Anderson played a key part in Oakleigh’s run to the 2019 NAB League Boys premiership, averaging 28 disposals and four inside-50s per game as well as kicking 14 goals across seven matches. The Boroondara Hawks (Yarra Junior FL) product was named in the NAB League Boys Team of the Year and skippered Vic Metro in the AFL Under-18 Championships, after which he earned AFL Under-18 All Australian selection.
LACHLAN ASH (Murray Bushrangers)
Pick no.4 to GWS
Dashing 186cm defender/midfielder Ash was named a co-captain at both the Bushrangers and Vic Country this year. The Shepparton (Goulburn Valley FL) and Katandra junior won NAB League Boys Team of the Year selection after averaging 23 disposals, five marks, three rebound-50s and three inside-50s per game in 10 matches for Murray and also earned AFL Under-18 All Australian honours following the AFL Under-18 Championships.
FISCHER McASEY (Sandringham Dragons)
Pick no.6 to Adelaide
197cm key-position player McAsey starred at this year’s AFL Under-18 Championships, claiming Vic Metro’s MVP award for his efforts playing in defence. The East Brighton Vampires (South Metro Junior FL) product also played roles in attack for the Dragons though, kicking five goals as well as averaging 12 disposals and 4.5 marks per game across seven matches to earn NAB League Boys Team of the Year honours.
HAYDEN YOUNG (Dandenong Stingrays)
Pick no.7 to Fremantle
Stingrays captain Young averaged 22 disposals, four rebound-50s and three inside-50s per game across 12 NAB League matches as a skilful 188cm defender/midfielder in 2019. The Somerville (Mornington Peninsula Junior FL) product claimed Dandenong’s best-and-fairest award and NAB League Boys Team of the Year honours, while he was also named an AFL Under-18 All Australian following his performances for Vic Country.
CALEB SERONG (Gippsland Power)
Pick no.8 to Fremantle
Serong stood out in Vic Country’s 2019 AFL Under-18 Championships campaign, co-captaining the team, winning its MVP award and earning AFL Under-18 All Australian selection. The Warragul (Gippsland League) junior also appeared in five matches for the Power as a 179cm midfielder/forward, averaging 24 disposals, 5.5 tackles and one goal per game and being named in the NAB League Boys Team of the Year.
SAM FLANDERS (Gippsland Power)
Pick no.11 to Gold Coast
Flanders excelled as a dangerous 182cm midfielder/forward in 2019, averaging 22 disposals, 4.5 tackles and 4.5 inside-50s per game as well as kicking 13 goals across 12 NAB League matches. The Moe (Gippsland League) junior took out the Power’s best-and-fairest award and claimed spots in both the NAB League Boys Team of the Year and AFL Under-18 All Australian Team following his national campaign for Vic Country.
MILES BERGMAN (Sandringham Dragons)
Pick no.14 to Port Adelaide
Bergman emerged during the 2019 season as a 189cm midfielder capable of providing an attacking threat when moving the ball forward. The Hampton Rovers (South Metro Junior FL) product averaged 14 disposals, 5.5 marks and four tackles per game as well as kicking 12 goals across 13 matches for Sandringham and also represented Vic Metro at the AFL Under-18 Championships.
CODY WEIGHTMAN (Dandenong Stingrays)
Pick no.15 to Western Bulldogs
Dynamic 178cm forward Weightman announced himself with a stellar AFL Under-18 Championships campaign for Vic Country this year, which earned him AFL Under-18 All Australian honours. The Beaconsfield (AFL South East) product also won NAB League Boys Team of the Year selection, kicking eight goals as well as averaging 16 disposals and 3.5 inside-50s per game in six matches for Dandenong.
COOPER STEPHENS (Geelong Falcons)
Pick no.16 to Geelong
A broken leg suffered in Round 3 ended Stephens’ 2019 campaign prematurely, but the 188cm midfielder had shown enough of his talent in his bottom-age 2018 season with the Falcons to impress recruiters. The Colac (AFL Barwon) product was a co-captain at Geelong this year and won at least 22 disposals in both of his completed NAB League matches.
BRODIE KEMP (Bendigo Pioneers)
Pick no.17 to Carlton
Versatile 192cm utility Kemp suffered a season-ending ACL injury in July after proving his ability to play in all three areas of the ground. The Echuca (Goulburn Valley FL) product was named an AFL Under-18 All Australian having filled multiple roles at Vic Country and added NAB League Boys Team of the Year honours for averaging 17 disposals and three marks per game in three matches for Bendigo.
SAM DE KONING (Dandenong Stingrays)
Pick no.19 to Geelong
De Koning’s intercept-marking and mobility as a 201cm defender saw him earn AFL Under-18 All Australian honours following a standout campaign for Vic Country on the national stage. The Mornington (AFL South East) junior also played as a key forward at times for Dandenong, winning NAB League Boys Team of the Year selection after averaging 10 disposals and three marks per game in 11 matches.
SAM PHILP (Northern Knights)
Pick no.20 to Carlton
One of the ‘bolters’ of this year’s draft crop, 186cm midfielder Philp excelled at NAB League level in 2019 after missing Vic Metro’s AFL Under-18 Championships squad. The St Mary’s (Yarra Junior FL) product combined ball-winning ability and an explosive burst of speed to claim Northern’s best-and-fairest award and NAB League Boys Team of the Year honours, averaging 19 disposals and four tackles per game in 16 matches.
THOMSON DOW (Bendigo Pioneers)
Pick no.21 to Richmond
184cm midfielder Dow overcame an injury-riddled bottom-age 2018 season to represent Vic Country in all four of its outings at the 2019 AFL Under-18 Championships. The Swan Hill (Central Murray FNL) product also averaged 19 disposals and four marks per game as well as kicking five goals across five matches for Bendigo this year, showcasing his explosiveness from congestion and composed decision-making with ball in hand.