2013 Draft Profile: Fraser Fort

Fraser Fort (Geelong Falcons)

Height: 196 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Position: Key Position Utility
Player comparison: Michael Johnson
Strengths: Marking, Athleticism, Versatility
Weaknesses: Goal kicking

Fraser Fort is a quiet achiever of sorts who has gone from an impressive leading forward to a dour defender. His ability to play at both ends as well as pinch hit in the ruck is crucial to appealing to AFL clubs given the need for dual positioned ruckmen. Fort is the younger brother of Darcy who missed out on being selected in last year’s draft, however Fraser is much more highly sorted due to his key position roles.

Fort began the season up forward booting multiple goals each week, but his goal kicking left a lot to be desired. Despite booting three to four goals some weeks, he’s usually shank a few shots that would either register as behinds or potentially miss everything. The move to defence was a great move by the Falcons as he cleared up space for Hugh Goddard and Patrick McCartin while also using his strength and speed to help nullify some of the oppositions best forwards.

Fort is really strong overhead and is deceptively quick on the lead. Despite being 196 cm, he is surprisingly nimble and has a solid turn of speed that most players of his height are unable to achieve. He tends to prefer marking on long leads rather than one-on-one and isn’t afraid to make multiple leads to finally receive a pass inside 50. When in defence he positions himself well and has good closing speed on opponents.

While Fort may look like a lanky, gangly man-boy, his athleticism and strength is something that could further improve in the AFL system. He could well become an athletic ruck who could play at either end depending on the needs of a club during a particular game or time period. Unlike his brother, Fort could find himself going in the first three rounds due to lack of key position players, but could slip later if clubs are more keen on stronger key position players.

With Fort’s main weakness being consistency when kicking for goal, Fort should develop into a handy key defender who could pinch hit in the ruck much like Paddy Ryder started in his career. Arguably Fort is most like Michael Johnson but a little bit taller with Johnson having pinch hit in the ruck at times. If one pictures a cross between Ryder and Johnson, you are probably onto a similar player to what Fort is. He obviously has some clear flaws in his game and needs to bulk up a bit more only being 84 kg, but Fort has the characteristics to develop.

In terms of defensive qualities, Fort is able to both out mark his opponent or spoil strongly so his transition from key forward into key defender wasn’t a huge change. It erases his errant goal kicking so is able to cover up a rare flaw while helping him become more attractive to AFL clubs. He has impressed for Vic Country alongside his Geelong teammates in Hugh Goddard, Darcy Gardiner and Jye Cross and will be very keen to continue his form for the Geelong Falcons in the last half of the year. AFL recruiters should get the benefit of seeing Fort playing at Etihad Stadium during the TAC Cup Grand Final with the Falcons heavy favourites to win the flag.

If everything falls into place for Fort, he should find a home in the National Draft as he is in the top 10 for key position defenders and with a number of clubs such as Brisbane, Melbourne and Port Adelaide potentially requiring his services, Fort should be a safer bet than his brother to find a home in November.

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