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NAB AFL Draft: First Round Selections

The 2018 NAB AFL Draft has arrived, and will bring you updates throughout the night on our newest SUNS. 

To watch every pick live, tune into Foxtel from 5.30PM AEST plus keep your eye on all SUNS social channels for exclusive behind-the-scenes content. 

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With Pick #2 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft we have selected Jack Lukosius.

A key forward with an ability to shift a game with his athleticism, running ability, footy smarts and elite ball use, Jack Lukosius has performed well and proven himself at senior level all year. Lukosius is an excellent athlete for a player his size (195cm, 83kg), running 2.98 seconds over the 20-metre sprint at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, and he also finished in the top 35 per cent for players who tested in the YoYo and 2km time trial.

Lukosius is a natural player who reads the game well, and uses his burst of speed to get off the mark and away from opponents. He's one of the best kicks to come through the draft in recent years – in the field and with his goalkicking. He finished in the top-10 for the goalkicking and kicking tests at the Combine.

A relaxed, laidback character, Lukosius has taken the hype in his stride since his breakout four-goal performance in his senior SANFL debut last year. Some recruiters believe Lukosius could also start as a defender, where he played at times this year, because of his reading of the play and clean hands. The 18-year-old models his game on Hawthorn star Jack Gunston, and it's a good comparison. Both use their running capacity to work up the ground and convert their chances around goal.

WATCH: Lukosius Highlights

With Pick #3 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft we have selected Izak Rankine.

Izak Rankine has been touted as arguably the most exciting player in this year’s draft pool. The South Australian debuted at SANFL level as a 16-year-old and was named as an All Australian the past two years, the only player in this year’s draft to earn such honours. Rankine showed his pace and movement at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, when he won the agility test with a time of 8.039 seconds and came third overall in the 20-metre sprint, running 2.93 seconds. Rankine plays quick, too, regularly taking the game on, tucking the ball under his arm and going for it.

Last year, while playing in the under-17s NAB AFL All Stars 'futures' game, Rankine was so dominant for his side that they made him swap teams at half-time to even up the contest, and in the title-deciding game of this year's under-18 carnival, it was Rankine who set up the win in the first quarter by kicking three goals and finishing with five to lead his state to victory.

He has senior experience and form at that level, and has shown across the past two years that he lifts for the games that matter. He enjoys the crowd, plays with creativity and pizazz, and wants the ball in his hands.

The explosive forward is deadly around goal, tough at the contest and doesn't shirk an issue. He has the charisma to light up a game and know when to take control. Rankine plays in a similar way to Chad Wingard in the way he attacks the ball at ground level and has the X-factor to change games in a matter of moments. He will be able to be used in the midfield and also as a half-forward, and he has the mature body to be able to make an impact at AFL level next year.

WATCH: Rankine Highlights

With Pick #6 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft we have selected Ben King.

Ben King started his season in the backline where he had played most of his football, but quickly proved he was one of the most versatile players in this year’s draft when he switched forward to cover the absence of his twin brother Max. In fact, the day Max suffered an ACL injury in Melbourne schoolboy football which ruled him out for the rest of the season, Ben went forward to kick 11 goals to kickstart his time in attack.

Not only is King exceptionally tall at 202cm, he's also brilliantly athletic. He ran the 20-metre sprint in 2.97 seconds at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and is excellent at ground level. When playing forward, that means if he doesn't grab the ball in the air he's still a threat at ground level, and it was often the case this season that King would beat his opponent to the ball after a marking contest, break a tackle and then snap a goal. He averaged three goals a game at the National Championships, including five against Western Australia and four against South Australia. 

King’s ability to impact games at both ends of the ground, as well as his high marking, has drawn comparisons to St Kilda backman Jake Carlisle and makes him a very appealing prospect for clubs searching for a talented tall. His recovery on the ground plus his reach in the air means he will equip himself well at AFL level.

WATCH: King Highlights