Northern Territory’s Most Draftable Players for 2016



This list is essentially a collaboration of opinions from AFL recruiters, player managers, freelance draft experts and myself.


Brandan Parfitt

Nightcliff midfielder Brandan Parfitt is up there with the best young footballers that I have ever seen come through the ranks at NTFL level. His performances at senior level – which include winning the Tigers’ Best & Fairest at the age of 16 – have outshone many other first-round selections from the Northern Territory in previous years. His transition into the SANFL with North Adelaide and performances with Northern Territory in the last two NAB U18 Championships will no doubt result in the creative midfielder being selected early in the draft.


Jamie Hampton

The younger brother of current Adelaide listed player Curtly is a big chance to find himself on an AFL list come late November. The rebounding defender possesses similar playing traits to his brother including blistering speed and a penetrating kick. I have not seen a lot of Hampton over the years but was impressed with his game against NSW/ACT a fortnight ago, where he was clearly in the Territory’s top handful of players despite a heavy tag.


Rohan Armstrong

Armstrong has catapulted himself into strong draft contention on the back of some eye-catching performances for the Northern Territory during this year’s Division Two championships. He was adjudged the Territory’s best player over the carnival and was subsequently rewarded with selection in the Allies squad for the Division One carnival. Given that he had interest from AFL scouts before the Division Two carnival, his performances across the three games for the Northern Territory will certainly do his chances no harm. It will be interesting to see how he performs against better opposition but so far he has ticked all the boxes and could be a gem. He averaged 24 disposals and five tackles in his two appearances in the TAC Cup for the Northern Territory, being named in the best players on both occasions.


Lachlan McKenzie

In racing terms the Nightcliff junior footballer would be considered a ‘bolter’. There was little fanfare over the defender in the early stages of the year but he has slotted in to the Northern Territory U18 side and played a vital role in the back half. He has certainly caught the attention of a recruiter from a non-Victorian AFL side that is one of the most well renowned names in the business. McKenzie spent the pre-season training with Richmond’s VFL side and is currently playing with VAFA club St Kevins. McKenzie had 32 possessions in his one and only TAC Cup game for the NT this season and has continued his excellent form with a number of solid performances in the Division Two championships. I have always thought McKenzie is underrated at NTFL level; he can kick the ball a mile and has an uncanny knack of knowing where the football is going to be. As a former All-Australian at U15 level he certainly has the credentials to get drafted and he has been given an opportunity in the form of selection in the Allies squad.


Ben Long

Another member of one of the most respected football families in the Northern Territory is showing impressive form coming through the ranks. I rate Long very highly as a footballer, and given his selection in the Allies squad, so must plenty of others. Most of the Long footballers are late developers and Ben burst onto the scene in the NTFL for St Marys last season and would have been a member of the premiership winning side if not for suspension. Long has a hard edge to his game and attacks the man and football at a hundred miles an hour. But he also has the poise and skill that is synonymous with other members of his family. He was excellent in the Northern Territory’s final game of the Division Two championships against NSW/ACT and will get an opportunity with the Allies.


Tony Olango

For me, Olango is the most intriguing Northern Territory prospect in this year’s draft. Any time you see a 200cm-plus player running down the wing taking bounces, selling-candy and generally using the football well by foot it is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Olango is a very late starter to the game and simply oozes potential. If he misses out on selection this year I fear that it could come back to haunt the clubs that overlook him. Despite his obvious potential, Olango needs to show recruiters he can increase his physicality, contested marking and ruck dominance. He almost plays like a small crumbing player with a 202cm frame. But all things considered, if I were an AFL recruiter I would certainly be reading his name out in either the National or Rookie Draft.


Ezekiel Frank

After a terrific underage season in the TAC Cup last year with North Ballarat, it appears as though Frank has fallen out of favour with some recruiters. He was overlooked by Allies selectors which may hinder his draft chances but there is no doubting his potential as a footballer. He has shown he can play good football at senior level with some eye-catching games for Palmerston in the NTFL and also the NT Thunder in the NEAFL. Frank possesses great athleticism and is the prototype size for an AFL footballer. Despite not being able to showcase his ability in the Division One championships, Frank is well-known to AFL recruiters and if he is to finish the season playing good football for Thunder he will give himself the best possible chance on draft day.


William Rioli

This has the potential to be one of the feel-good stories of 2016. Anyone that has seen William Rioli play football knows just how talented this man is. He has been a fantastic contributor for St Marys and Tiwi Bombers in the NTFL for a number of years now but has taken his game to another level since joining SANFL club Glenelg at the start of last year. The criticism on Rioli has always been his fitness and body shape but the silky-skilled forward is currently in fantastic condition and he is reaping the rewards of his hard work. There has been whispers of AFL interest for a while now but his four-goal effort in the state game against the VFL will really make recruiters stand up and take notice. It is a big call, but I believe William is right near the top of the most talented Riolis and given the right training in an AFL environment, he could be a revelation at the top level.


Nigel Lockyer

Probably the most left-field selection in this list but there has been some interest in the basketball convert. The Centralian played most of the Division Two championships in the backline and his athleticism and defensive capabilities were a highlight. Lockyer missed selection for the Allies so hopefully he will be given an opportunity to showcase his talent at NEAFL level with the NT Thunder.


Daly Shannon/Michael Hagan

I could not split these two for tenth position on this list. Both players were overlooked for selection in last year’s drafts but played decent football as an overage player in the Division Two championships this year despite not being selected for the Allies. Shannon and especially Hagan were looked at closely in 2015 so will be monitored by AFL recruiters in 2016. Shannon impressed on debut for NT Thunder last week and can play in a number of positions on the ground with his football smarts and overhead marking two of his best attributes. Hagan is already a premiership player with Thunder and will be an integral member of the side against this year. As we saw with Ryan Nyhuis last year, the NEAFL is a great pathway to the AFL and if Shannon or Hagan produce some quality football in the backend of the season, who knows what could happen.


Twitter – @jclark182

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About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. The Wrap says

    I’m holding onto this list and passing it on to Dimma. There’s heaps on there that sound ripe for a Melbourne Winter. Thanks JC.

  2. kath presdee says

    The frustration I had with Curtly Hampton is that he was just as likely to have a brain explosion as he was to do something brilliant. Quite often the brain explosion was at the end of a brilliant mark and run out of defence… when he’d kick to the opposition or out on the full.

    If Jamie has similar talents and more consistency then he’ll be an asset on any AFL list.

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