James Tsitas (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Player comparison: Sam Mitchell
Strengths: Clearance, contested work, leadership
Weaknesses: Hurt factor
James Tsitas is your typical hard nut inside midfielder who plays a ferocious brand of football that inspires his teammates. As co-captain of the Geelong Falcons, Tsitas is a great leader who continually battles contest after contest and works well with fellow Geelong midfielders such as co-captain Lewis Taylor and Nic Bourke.
Throughout the the 2013 TAC Cup season, Tsitas has continually racked up the ball and been a leading star in the Falcons side. While he has missed a number of games through AIS and Vic Country duties, he is now back and doing what he does best – bury himself under a pack and feed out a quick handball to a teammate.
While his contested work and clearance ability is amongst the best in the league, Tsitas can tend to lack the hurt factor that other midfielders in the 2013 draft crop have. It’s not to say there is anything wrong with his disposal, he just doesn’t have the piercing efficiency that other top midfielders have such as Josh Kelly or James Aish. In many ways he is just like Sam Mitchell, someone who is able to influence his team through his actions rather than through a particularly skillful piece of play.
Tsitas is also managed carefully due to the way he plays, regularly having short intervals on the bench before going out for another interval of time until his body needs another rest. Such is his ability to find the ball, Tsitas has not collected below 25 disposals all year for the Falcons. While he didn’t have that kind of impact at the Under 18s Championships, it still shows that he has no problem getting leather poisoning which was obvious with his 42 disposals against the Northern Knights.
At the start of the year, Tsitas was seen as a likely first round pick but with so many midfielders pushing for contention, Tsitas could be one of those famous sliders where a club snatches him up in the mid-second round and gets a bargain. He might not have the hurt factor that other midfielders have, but his “never-say-die” attitude and pack-crashing style will see many clubs, particularly those needing hardened bodies, keen on the young man from Geelong.
Described as a guy who is a bit ‘rough around the edges’ but none-the-less a lovable character, Tsitas is the kind of guy who isn’t afraid to banter with the opposition. On a few occasions Tsitas hasn’t held back from telling an opposition what thoughts are on his mind as he tries to get into the head of opposition midfielders. Regardless of what he does, Tsitas regularly lets his football do the talking and has the courage to regularly put his body on the line.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Tsitas was drafted by Essendon with Pick 34 in what would be a huge coup for the Bombers. They could always do with another inside midfielder to assist captain Jobe Watson and Tsitas could well and truly fit that need. Tsitas also has the body that he wouldn’t be too far off playing seniors at AFL level and with time should increase his endurance to really hurt opposition teams.
James Tsitas is a somewhat unfashionable footballer who may not have the best skills going around but what he offers to a club is invaluable leadership and second efforts around the contest. Tsitas could find a club anywhere from the first round to the late second and would be a very neat pick up for anyone needing a tough, uncompromising inside midfielder.