Darcy Hourigan (South Adelaide)
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Position: Key Forward
Player Comparison: Jack Darling
Strengths: Marking, Strength, Goalkicking
With the exception of Tom Boyd, Darcy Hourigan may well be the best big forward in this draft. Hourigan is well built, very good on the lead, and is very strong, which enables him to take big pack marks as well as beat his defender in a one-on-one contest. Playing in the SANFL this season also gives him that edge over the other forwards, as he’s up against matured bodies and more experienced players each week.
Darcy had a fantastic championships as he was crowned leading goal kicker, booting 16 goals in five games, including three each against quality division one opponents Vic Metro and Western Australia. He also made the Under 18’s All-Australian team, one of five South Australian players to do so.
Against Vic Metro, Hourigan showed just how dominant he could become in the forward line. He was too good for his opponent, leading him up the ground several times to get the ball and also staying deep in the forward line and taking contested marks. He took nine marks, had five inside 50’s and kicked three goals that day. He was just too strong and too good, which lead to SA getting the victory by just three points in the end.
His best game of the Championships may have come in the final round, against Western Australia. Hourigan again was dominant in the forward line, taking nine marks and kicking three goals. At times, Hourigan came as far as centre wing to receive the ball, and was then the man that set up the forward attack with his big left boot. He is also quite an accurate set shot, and can kick a goal on the run, which isn’t that easy for a man of his size. Hourigan’s stellar Under 18s Championships elevated him to a potential top 20 draft pick, as many teams liked what they saw.
In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Darcy Hourigan was selected by Gold Coast Suns with their compensation pick. Already having Ablett and O’Meara on their list, and possibly taking someone like Josh Kelly or Dom Sheed with their first pick, they’ve got the midfield quality to put the ball to Hourigan’s advantage every time. Just kicking the ball in the vicinity of Hourigan is good enough, as his contested and overhead marking is elite.
When he began his footy career in the SANFL Reserves, Hourigan was actually played as a backman. Even though he has cemented himself as a forward at this stage of his career, being able to do a job down back if required is a very handy attribute for a top draft prospect as versatility is something that the recruiters love to look at.
With teams like Gold Coast, GWS, Melbourne and St Kilda all having selections around the pick 19 mark, Hourigan may find that he gets a lot of senior action in 2014. He has the ability to be that second target man on the lead, but also with his body almost AFL ready, he could prove a real handful for defenders in a one out situation.