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Ripe pickings (AFL Article)

AFL.COM.AU reporters cast their eyes over the nation to reveal the next Michael Barlow or Ian Callinan, mature-aged players ready to step straight into the big time.

Leigh Osborne (Frankston): The 186cm half-back has come from the clouds, or at least East Ringwood in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, to become the most highly rated of the potential VFL draftees. The 22-year-old has a sharp burst of speed and he's a long left-foot kick, making him a classic 80m run-and-carry player.

Dolphins set to make a splash

Khan Haretuku (Frankston): The 199cm and 101kg key forward first picked up a football at 15, after which St Kilda picked him up as a NSW scholarship player. At Frankston he's taken time to develop, but his strong work ethic has served him well. Now 22, he's a strong-marking player with a thumping kick.

Kyle Martin (Frankston): Dolphins coach Simon Goosey had to work hard to persuade Martin to leave south-east suburban club Noble Park, but the 21-year-old has made the step up to VFL level with telling effect. At 182cm, he's a tough, in-and-under player who, despite playing in a team that's on the bottom of the ladder, gets tagged more often than not.

Leigh Kitchin (Frankston): After playing mostly in the reserves at VFL rival the Box Hill Hawks, the 22-year-old has flourished since seeking more opportunities with the Dolphins. At 186cm and 83kg, he's classic midfield size. What he lacks in pace, he makes up for with footy nous.

Dean Towers (North Ballarat): The 22-year-old has emerged from country club Colac to show all the attributes of an AFL player, and he ranks just behind Osborne as the VFL player most likely to be drafted. Think Hawthorn's Isaac Smith. Not only because he's a wingman who’s shot to prominence at North Ballarat, but because he's lanky (189cm), and he has speed and excellent finishing skills.

Adam Marcon (Northern Blues): The 20-year-old is a 180cm midfielder and small forward who has no outstanding attributes, but he's a good, solid footballer who knows his way around a footy oval. He's a good kick and a good mark with neat skills. Call him a natural footballer.

Myke Cook (Sandringham): Now 21, Cook played 14 games in three seasons at Adelaide before flourishing with the Zebras on his return to his native Melbourne. He's a 184cm wingman who's skilled and speedy, and he has a range of tricks. It's likely he'll receive a second chance.

Adam Cockie (Sandringham): The tough midfielder played seven matches at West Coast as far back as 2009, when he was 19, before coming to Melbourne this year to put himself under the noses of more recruiting scouts. He has good skills on both sides of his body and he tackles hard.

Billy Burstin (Port Melbourne): It's said that the 21-year-old forward is only now beginning to realise he can play. He's 192cm and 91kg, which is a reasonable size to play as a third forward. In last year's VFL Grand Final, he kicked a goal on his non-preferred right foot from the boundary line to put the Borough in front.