Mitch Honeychurch (Eastern Ranges)
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Player comparison: Nat Fyfe
Strengths: Skill, clearances, vision, football smarts
Mitch Honeychurch may seem like the novelty name in the draft crop this year, but the skinny number 12 from Eastern Ranges has talent galore. He’s a dual midfielder who has the ability to win the hardball under a pack but also drift around the outside and have the nous to receive the get-and-go. While he’s not a strong midfielder by any means, Honeychurch has fantastic vision and executes passes with great skill.
Much like Fremantle’s Nathan Fyfe, Honeychurch looks like he could be snapped in half if he ever came up against a Josh Kennedy but Honeychurch holds his ground reasonably well. While he may not look like your typical inside midfielder, Honeychurch can be just that, but his best work is also done on the outside. He’s the type of player that if you need to find him, just look for the ball and he’ll be in the vicinity.
After injury delayed his season this year, Honeychurch turned it on at the Under 18s Championships being one of Vic Metro’s best midfielders. Against South Australia at Simmonds Stadium, Honeychurch was in the top three players alongside Josh Kelly and Jack Billings. While he may not have had the hype surrounding him as others, he has immense talent that could see him shoot up the draft order. Likewise against Vic Country, Honeychurch was again busy, weaving around opponents and delivering well inside 50.
Before this year, Honeychurch was considered to be somewhere around the second to third round. After a good Under 18s Championships for Vic Metro and a solid second half of his TAC Cup season, Honeychurch is one who could shoot into first round contention. In terms of skill, clearance ability, ball winning ability and vision; Honeychurch would be in the top echelon across all those characteristics.
Another advantage with the way Honeychurch plays is the fact he can impact the scoreboard by sneaking forward and find space to take an uncontested mark. In saying this, Honeychurch is surprisingly strong above his head and can take the odd contested grab against someone of a similar height. While his build sees him pushed off the ball occasionally, Honeychurch continues to push and give second and third efforts.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Honeychurch was selected by St Kilda at pick 22. He provides the outside run and ability to also win the ball on the inside that will take over from Nick Dal Santo when he eventually retires or leaves. He’s the type of player that should be able to play a couple of games in his debut season but ultimately will need to bulk up a little in order to compete with AFL-sized bodies.
Alongside his vision, ball getting, skills and clearances; Honeychurch has a habit of doing clever little things such as look-away handballs and taps to advantage that while they’ll never be registered on the stats sheet, they impact the game. An example is in a pack situation against the Murray Bushrangers in terribly wet conditions, Honeychurch intercepted a handball and as he was about to be tackled front on, had the peripheral vision to quickly dish off the handball to a teammate which eventuated in a goal. It was only a small example, but many players without the football smarts would have allowed themselves to be tackled assuming there was no glaring disposal option.
Mitch Honeychurch is one of the brightest talents in the draft pool this year and while all the talk will be about fellow Vic Metro midfielders, Honeychurch has stamped himself as a legitimate first round pick and could very well become one of the most talented players from the 2013 National Draft.