Will Maginness (Oakleigh Chargers)
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Player Comparison: Brandon Ellis
Strengths: Movement, Leadership, Vision
Weaknesses: Disposal efficiency
Whichever team selects Will Maginness in this year’s draft will have an excellent player on their hands. Given all the talent in the Oakleigh team, Maginness has fallen under the radar a little. However, his ability to run and carry, as well as amass possessions and bring his teammates into the game, will ensure that he is an astute selection.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Maginess was selected at pick 27 as West Coast has a bevy of good midfielders, but have looked one-paced and slow this season. Injuries to prime movers Matt Rosa and Sharrod Wellingham haven’t helped the cause. Maginness will inject some pace and class into West Coast’s midfield. His leadership abilities will also be a bonus for West Coast – along with fellow midfielder Jay Kennedy-Harris, Maginness was named co-captain of the Chargers this season.
Maginness is a ball magnet and loves to run and break lines; as demonstrated by the high number of handball receives he has been averaging in the TAC Cup this year. He generally makes good decisions, and always lifts his eyes when kicking into the forward 50 to find a teammate in space.
In more than one game this season, Maginness’ run and carry has broken games open. In the game against the Northern Knights, there were several occasions in which Maginness took the ball at half back, ran it through the centre of the ground, and kicked it into Oakleigh’s half forward line. This is an occurrence that happens regularly throughout games.
He also has the highly valued ability to know where to put himself on the ground. He knows where the ball is, where it will be kicked to, and makes sure that he gets himself to the contest. In his best game for the season against the Northern Knights, this was on full display – he amassed 38 disposals, five marks and five tackles, and was absolutely everywhere on the ground.
While contested possessions are not Maginness’ bread and butter, he is a better contested player than many give him credit for. While he prefers running along a wing or through the centre of the ground, he often burrows into packs to retrieve the ball.
That game also demonstrated his excellent leadership abilities. Maginness could frequently be heard marshaling his teammates, encouraging them, and giving them directions and instructions. He badly injured his shoulder in the third quarter, and went off the ground for a period of time, during which Oakleigh missed his run. However, such is his leadership ability that he came back onto the ground, and willed himself to the contests, all the while continuing to praise, support and direct his teammates.
The two knocks on Maginness are his poor disposal efficiency and the fact that he doesn’t kick many goals. The first problem often comes as a result of his pace – sometimes he is running so fast that he doesn’t give himself time to execute a good kick. In the game against the Knights, he had 24 kicks, 11 of which were ineffective. The second problem probably comes about as a result of his selflessness – Oakleigh has a number of strong key forwards in Marc Pittonet, Nicholas Prowse and James Toohey who the midfielders look to spot up, as well as several goal-kicking midfielders such as Jay Kennedy-Harris. However, an AFL club working with Maginness on his kicking efficiency, and allowing him to play as a goal-kicking midfielder/half forward, should ensure these deficiencies are remedied, can easily rectify both of these problems.
Regardless, Maginness is too valuable a player to pass up because of these two small flaws in his game. If he slips out of the 20s in draft range, the club that selects him will have an absolute bargain.