Jarman Impey (Murray Bushrangers)
Height: 176 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Position: Small forward/midfield
Player comparison: Matthew Stokes (small forward who will be able to go through the midfield in a few years once he builds up his endurance).
Style: Michael Walters
Strengths: Disposal (particularly by foot), decision making, goal sense. acceleration, clean hands, composure
Weaknesses: Endurance, consistency, mentality
A quality small forward can be the difference between a good team and a great team. Jarman Impey of the Murray Bushrangers is a quality small forward who is a great chance at getting his name called out on draft day. Impey is an enigmatic small who is great at ground level, kicks goals and can take a turn in the midfield. With improvements on his endurance, he could become a game breaking player like Cyril Rioli who can change games in the middle or up forward.
Despite being small in stature, Impey possesses an AFL ready body. He has great core strength and is rarely pushed off the ball. Impey may put on more weight when he goes through a full AFL preseason but he doesn’t need to put on much more as he has filled out relatively early compared to his peers.
Impey is very explosive and quick over the first five to ten metres which allows him to hit packs hard and escape from contests with a break on his opponent. Despite having fantastic acceleration, Impey’s top speed is not as fast as you would expect, however he is still quicker than most players. It’s just that you expect more from him after such a quick first three steps. On multiple occasions this year Impey has hit the contest at top pace and burst through before steadying and kicking a goal or hitting up a target inside 50.
Impey has a superb ability to hit up targets by foot and by hand, which is probably his greatest asset. Whilst he is not a particularly long kick, he hits up targets within his range with ease and has a good, penetrating kick. Despite only kicking at 46% efficiency this year, he is an elite kick of the footy, This statistic is more of a reflection on the lack of marking forwards in the Bushrangers team, as the main target is quite often undersized key forward Jydon Neagle.
Impey is one of those players who does not need a lot of the ball to impact the game, however he also lacks the mental toughness to find his own ball when things are going against him. His better games have been during victories, which is understandable for a small forward when there is limited supply, however it is concerning to see his influence on the game drop off considerably when the team is doing badly. A factor in this may be his poor endurance which doesn’t allow him to work hard up to the wings to get the ball when it isn’t coming into the forward line much. Despite these weaknesses, his worst game this year has been a 14 possession game where he kicked 2 behinds and battled illness, which is certainly not a terrible game.
A desirable quality in small forwards is goal sense and Impey has it in spades. Impey has kicked 8.10 in 5 TAC Cup matches this year while rotating through the midfield, and backed it up with a 3 goal performance for Vic Country in the Under 18 Championships match against Northern Territory. Impey seems to have a lot of time when he has the ball and has the composure to either pass off to a better option or slot home a goal from nearly anywhere in the forward 50.
Whilst he has a few deficiencies to his game, you would find it difficult to find a draft prospect with no flaws to their game. Impey’s strengths far outweigh his weaknesses, and his main weakness can certainly be improved after an AFL preseason. Impey rates as one of the better small forwards in the draft this year and is likely to go in the second or third round to a team like the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, Richmond or North Melbourne who are in need of a speedy small forward.