Kade Kolodjashnij (Launceston)
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 77 kg
Player Comparison: Courtenay Dempsey
Strengths: Kicking, decision making, rebounding, can find the ball
Weaknesses: Light frame, not a contested ball winner
Earlier in the year, AFL Tasmania high performance manager Matthew Armstrong spoke to Bound For Glory News and gave a glowing review to the best rebounding defender in the draft, Kade Kolodjashnij. He described him as an extremely hard worker mentioning he was “quick, shows leadership and has a great work ethic”.
The Tasmanian captain has had an extraordinary year. His accolades speak for themselves – an AIS member, equal best and fairest for division two, an All Australian and the MVP for Tasmania. With the best disposal efficiency of any player in division two, Kolodjashnij will more than likely be a first-round pick.
His performance in the National Championships was sensational. Going into the Under 18s Championships there were queries regarding whether he could find the ball enough to be effective. It was widely known that he could read the play and provide damaging rebounds, but whether he could prove his worth as a high calibre midfielder which was yet to be determined. With an average of just over 27 disposals across the five games, he showed that he could indeed rack up the ball. On top of that, what he did with it was outstanding.
He has a booming left foot, but you’re more likely to see him use it for short passes or rebound 50s than bomb it out of the centre square or roost 65-metre goals. He’s that type of intercept player who will hurt the opposition on the rebound with his foot skills and also his pace. For his size, he’s not as good defensively as he should be. He can take a contested mark and play that Josh Gibson type third up. But as soon as he doesn’t have support around him, he becomes exposed.
Kolodjashnij is an excellent decision maker. He rarely wastes the ball and often takes his time in choosing the right option. While there are guys in this draft that are more well rounded in their skill sets, Kolodjashnij is certainly in the upper echelon in terms of high football intelligence. He could quite easily be the best defender – excluding Darcy Gardiner – in the draft, yet he is fairly poor in terms of one on one defensive situations.
As a lanky midfielder, he has struggled in the more physical side. Yes, he is only 77 kg, but this draft is full of small midfielders. He gets pushed off the ball too easily so he struggles to win clearances. His skills are excellent for an outside midfielder, but the ramifications of being one dimensional at AFL level will generally be copping tags every week and essentially being exposed. If he can put on another 10 kilograms over the next three or so years, he could become one of the league’s best. If not, he could just become a talented kid who is simply not strong enough to play AFL.