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Petracca the 2016 AFL Rising Star favourite after 2015 Draft

THE 2015 draft is done and dusted after a night where 70 young footballers had their AFL dreams come true.

With the players now at their respective clubs, focus now shifts to the impact they will have at their new homes.

For some, like Essendon’s Aaron Francis or Carlton’s Jacob Weitering, there is an opportunity to impress immediately, given their ability to assimilate straight into the AFL environment. Other players will be given more time to develop and will be looked at more as long-term projects whose influence will be seen further down the track.

A lot of intrigue will be centred around the Rising Star award next season, but with so many new players entering the competition, Sportsbet is offering odds on certain markets pertaining to player performance in 2015.

Let’s take a look at who went where and which players can potentially make an impact in 2016.

All Rising Star and Under/Over markets provided by

Pick 1: Carlton Blues – Jacob Weitering

From the moment it was confirmed Carlton would finish at the bottom of the ladder, Dandenong Stingray Jacob Weitering was the name on the lips of every Blues fan in the country.

The centre half back is the archetypical defender of the modern generation – he can play one-on-one, rebound effectively and has an accurate and penetrating kick.

Weitering’s leadership qualities have already been identified as strong point of his game, and he is earmarked as a future Carlton captain.

This year’s number one draft pick should slot into Carlton’s side and barring injury should play every game in 2016.

Jacob Weitering games played in 2016: Under/Over – 17.5 games $1.87

2016 Rising Star odds: $14.00

Pick 2: Brisbane Lions – Josh Schache

The Lions have lacked a genuine goal-kicking forward since the departure of club legend Jonathan Brown and they have got the best of this draft crop in the form of Seymour’s Josh Schache.

Josh is the son of former Brisbane player Laurence Schache, and has indicated he wants to ‘finish his father’s work’ at the Lions.

Schache is a straight shooting, hard-working forward who is capable of kicking big bags of goals.

He won the Larke Medal (the best player in the under-18 Championships) after a brilliant display and slotted 62 goals this year, including a personal best of eight on the road against Western Australia.

Schache should play round one for the Lions given the lack of competition for forward spots up North.

Josh Schache 2016 goals: Under/Over – 20.5 goals $1.87

2016 Rising Star odds: $26.00

Pick 4: Melbourne Demons – Clayton Oliver

Few could have predicted Murray Bushranger Clayton Oliver would be selected this high at the start of the season.

Oliver missed selection in the national championships this season, but bounced back in emphatic style, winning the Morrish medal as the best performed player in the TAC Cup.

After being snubbed by Vic Country, Oliver worked hard on his fitness, putting in a fantastic tail end to the season.

His draft combine results, which were much better than expected, threw his name into top-five contention.

Oliver plays an explosive style of football, with the ability to extract the ball away from congested areas and break away at speed, similar to Port Adelaide powerhouse Ollie Wines.

Clayton Oliver provides speed and strength in a midfield that has lacked both in recent times, and given Oliver’s body is already up to the rigors of AFL football, there is every chance that he will slot into Melbourne’s team in round one.

Clayton Oliver games played in 2016: Under/Over – 15.5 games $1.75-under $2.00-over

Pick 6: Essendon Bombers – Aaron Francis

After a tumultuous trade period which saw Essendon lose two leaders in Jake Carlisle and Jake Melksham, the Bombers had plenty to smile about on draft night – locking in South Australian utility Aaron Francis.

Francis is a brilliant intercept mark, plays above his size in marking contests and has sharp and effective disposal on either side of his body.

The self-confessed ‘mad Bomber fan’ was ecstatic to be taken by the club he supported growing up and will play plenty of football in his maiden AFL season.

Francis is a genuine Rising Star contender in 2016.

Aaron Francis games played in 2016: Under/Over – 15.5 games $1.87

2016 Rising Star odds: $26.00

Pick 8: Gold Coast Suns – Callum Ah Chee

The Gold Coast Suns ended their bleak season with the acquisition of Western Australian live-wire Callum Ah Chee.

The South Fremantle products’ mark on the MCG landed him in the spotlight at the end of 2014, and he has been high on the recruiters’ list of top talent since then.

Callum is the brother of Port Adelaide forward Brendon Ah Chee.

Ah Chee fills the void left by the departed Harley Bennell – adding a great dose of speed and exquisite ball use to complement a midfield already overflowing with talent.

Ah Chee has the ability to make an immediate impact and has the flare and excitement to put himself right into Rising Star calculations.

Callum Ah Chee 2016 Goals: Under/Over – 12.5 goals $1.87

2016 Rising Star odds: $34.00

Pick 11: Adelaide Crows – Wayne Milera

South Australian midfielder/forward Wayne Milera, taken at pick 11 in this year’s draft by Adelaide adds instant class to a team that has just lost their best player in the form of Patrick Dangerfield.

Milera has the potential to be one of the steals of the draft given his talent, goal sense and scope to improve.

The 18-year old was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a heart condition that required surgery mid-way through this year.

Milera bounced back just a week after the surgery to play a decisive role for SANFL club Centre Districts, kicking three goals to help snatch victory against the Port Adelaide reserves.

After playing against men for the majority of 2015, there is every chance Milera will play round one and if he is able to replicate his late-season form, he is a huge Rising Star chance in 2016.

Wayne Milera 2016 goals:Under/Over – 14.5 goals $1.87

2016 Rising Star odds: $34.00

Sportsbet’s list of the 2016 Rising Star contenders:

Christian Petracca (Melb) $7.00
Darcy Moore (Coll) $10.00
Jacob Weitering (Carl) $14.00
Callum Mills (Syd) $15.00
Clayton Oliver (Melb) $15.00
Jacob Hopper (GWS) $15.00
Darcy Parish (Ess) $17.00
Trent Dumont (NM) $17.00
Jayden Laverde (Ess) $17.00
Jake Kolodjashnij (Geel) $21.00
Toby McLean (WB) $21.00
Matthew Kennedy (GWS) $24.00
Paddy McCartin (Stk) $26.00
Orazio Fantasia (Ess) $26.00
Jack Steele (GWS) $26.00
Caleb Daniel (WB) $26.00
Josh Schache (Bris) $26.00
Aaron Francis (Ess) $26.00
Kyle Langford (Ess) $34.00
Darcy Tucker (Frem) $34.00
Charlie Curnow (Carl) $34.00
Ben Keays (Bris) $34.00
Wayne Milera (Adel) $34.00
Callum Ah Chee (GC) $34.00
Lukas Webb (WB) $41.00
Jonathon Marsh (Coll) $41.00
Jarrod Garlett (GC) $41.00
Sam Weideman (Melb) $41.00
Karl Amon (Port) $41.00
Nathan Freeman (Stk) $41.00
Connor Blakely (Freo) $41.00
Harry McKay (Carl) $41.00
Jade Gresham (STK) $41.00
Corey Ellis (Rich) $41.00
Daniel McKenzie (Stk) $41.00
Jarrad Jansen (Bris) $51.00

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