Who’s leading the way?

Draft prospect Hayden Young is expected to go high in the AFL Draft. 195934 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

With just one round left to play in the 2019 NAB League home and away season, Tyler Lewis has taken a look at the individuals from the Dandenong Stingrays across the season in his best and fairest form guide.

Based on the NAB League website throughout the season, the Stingrays have entered their best players each round, with notable names featured every single week, giving the perfect indication of who has excelled this season.

Up until his shoulder injury a few weeks ago, Bailey Schmidt was bolstering himself as a potential draftee to any club that was looking for a ruckman with another year of development under his belt.

Schmidt’s performance early in the season was rewarded to a call up to VFL where his first game at Frankston was the Dolphins’ only win for the year so far. Schmidt himself converted two majors on debut.

Upon return to Dandenong, Schmidt demonstrated his improvement in the ruck against quality opposition in Sandringham.

Lachlan Williams’ strong year at NAB League level has emerged him as one of the bolters of this year’s draft – he has the ability to play a number of roles and is the type of player that will not disappoint on an AFL list.

Williams has shown he has the ability to get the job done up the ground and conversely impact the scoreboard when up forward.

The 17-year-old earned an invitation to the National Combine where his kicking will no doubt be a feature.

Averaging 16 disposals in 2019, Williams is a player the Stingrays trust distributing the ball by foot.

Jack Toner has been the barometer of consistency in 2019 and it is no surprise he has been one of the stars of the season.

Toner often starts in the engine room of the Stingrays side but will work up and down the lanes of the ground finding the football.

So far this year, Toner has reached the 20 disposal milestone seven times and four times in the last five weeks.

Playing the 13 matches this year; Toner is indisputably in contention for the Team of the Year at season’s end.

With the most games in a Stingray jumper by any player this season (14), Clayton Gay has had a building season as a bottom aged player.

Gay has ridden the ups and downs of the Stingrays ins and outs this season, often being thrown at either end of the ground.

When forward, Gay looks dangerous around goals and often hits the scoreboard – when back the left-footer provides composure and will collect a plethora of rebound 50s turning defense into attack with one swing of his leg.

The bottom age year that Clayton Gay has had is a perfect platform for him to explode in his draft year next year.

One of the biggest challenges for a top prospect coming into their draft year is handling the expectation.

Hayden Young not only handled that expectation but impressively exceeded it.

The top prospect has played less games than the usual Stingray with Vic Country duties but when wearing the Dandenong colours has been a noticeable class above – playing at all corners of the ground.

Often carrying a tag or two, keeping Young’s impact out of the game for the entire match seems like the impossible task.

In the recent match against Gippsland, Young was being closely followed and handled at the stoppages having only two disposals to the first break – but it didn’t take long for him to assert his caliber going into half-time as the grounds leading possession getter with 15.

Despite having a tremendous home and away season, all eyes will be on the youngster in the finals series.


Hayden Young (27 votes)

Clayton Gay (25)

Jack Toner (25)

Lachlan Williams (19)

Bailey Schmidt (16)

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