Tom Boyd (Eastern Ranges)
Height: 199 cm
Weight: 102 kg
Player Comparison: Josh Kennedy/Matthew Kreuzer in full flight.
Style: Jonathan Brown
Strengths: Marking, Agility and Kicking.
Weaknesses: Mentality when being niggled
Tom Boyd is a mountain of a man at 199 cm and 102 kg who is a huge focal point for Eastern Ranges. But as Daniel Mackney discovered on Saturday at Box Hill Oval it’s not only his tall statue that draws people to him. The game promised so much yet delivered so little. The second placed Gippsland Power versed the third placed Eastern Ranges. It was over by quarter time, courtesy of Tom Boyd. Boyd is the highest rated key forward talent since Nick Riewoldt and will be a high commodity come draft time.
In the first quarter he kicked three goals, set up another with a brilliant chase down and took numerous marks. By halftime he had five goals to his name whilst Power had a paltry one. He finished with six. His first half resembled those halftime Auskick matches where one kid monsters the rest, inturn leading parents and spectators to question his age and ponder why he isn’t playing in the higher grade.
For Tom Boyd the next grade is the AFL and all that’s left to ponder is what number in the draft he will be selected with. Most believe he won’t go past pick three and they wouldn’t be surprised if he went number one. So, if the current ladder is replicated after round 23, the Giants will look to have secured him with pick one.
Boyd’s ability to lead up to the ball and take strong contested marks makes him an extremely tantalising prospect for any AFL club. Especially with big key forwards, like Nick Riewoldt, back in vogue as they currently occupy eight of the top ten positions on the current goal kicking leaderboard.
For his size he is incredibly agile and shows terrific poise at ground level. Akin to Matthew Kruezer and Jarryd Roughead, he looks sure, capable of tackling and even crumbling when the ball hits the deck. He appears much more capable than other big men in the AFL who often make a mockery of the simple things.
Boyd is also adept at providing relief in the ruck for Eastern Ranges. Not too dissimilar to a Quinten Lynch or Jarryd Roughead role, Boyd proves to compliment the Eastern Ranges’ midfield as his agility and poise allow him to play like a Dean Cox and take marks around the ground. Even in the second half last week when Boyd saw much less of the ball, due to the Power lifting their intensity, he still competed and even moved to defense on occasions to find the ball.
He remained calm and measured during the second half as his Power opponent attempted to get under his skin and quell his influence. Forwards in the AFL get less attention and still manage to get sucked into giving away free kicks. His performance was a far cry from his round one performance against the Oakleigh Chargers’ Hugh Beasley, where he became frustrated from Beasley’s niggle and attention. It’s tough to find a weakness for such a strong marking forward, but it was the one blemish on him all year. In saying that, he still booted four goals, but three came when the game was over. Since then he has dominated, not booting less than five goals a game and also averages the most contested marks in the league. He is also currently fifth in the BFGN Rising Stars Medal.
He has a penetrating kick and makes great contact with the ball when he kicks for goal. All of his six goals on Saturday were perfect strikes that traveled goal post height. It’s fair to assume that if Boyd does end up at GWS, many young Giants fans will soon be walking around with Tom Boyd’s number on their back.