Height: 180 cm
Weight: 77 kg
Position: Small Forward
Player comparison: Lindsay Thomas
Strengths: Pace, goal kicking ability
Weaknesses: Impact on games
Small forward Billy Hogan is one of the most exciting forwards in this year’s draft. His pace around goals, and ability to crumb goals ensures that he has the ability to make something happen. North Melbourne chose him at this pick as he will inject some class and much needed support for Lindsay Thomas into the North Melbourne forward line. This will release the likes of Brent Harvey to play more in the midfield, which would be a boon for North’s ever-improving midfield.
Hogan has the ability to turn a game on its head, and his goal kicking is first rate. He has been goalless only four times this season in 13 games for the Chargers, and has kicked a total of 20 goals for the season. Five times this season he has kicked the most goals of any player on the ground, including a five-goal haul against Gippsland in round one this season. He has also been named in the best players on the ground six times this season, his most impressive game coming against the Murray Bushrangers, in which he kicked 3.3, amassed 33 disposals, had 15 handball receives, took eight marks and had five tackles.
The run and carry Hogan is able to provide at half forward would be an asset to any team. The fact that he is averaging six handball receives a game is testament to how much his teammates look for him to be the run and carry player into the forward line. Another of Hogan’s strengths is his ability to apply forward pressure. In the modern game, where forward pressure has become so important, this would be a valuable asset for any club. He averages four tackles a game, most of these occurring in the forward 50.
Hogan’s weakness is his disposal efficiency and tendency to fade out of games. He often takes the ball on the run, and fails to make good use of it once he gets it. Whilst a sure hand around goals, his disposal in general play lets him down. He also often fades out when the game is there to be won. Much of his success and influence in games seems to happen when his team is winning, or when the game has already been decided.
While he hasn’t been as talked up compared to some of his teammates such as Jack Billings or Jay Kennedy-Harris, Hogan’s ability to pinch hit in the midfield and drift across half forward as well as playing that permanent forward role makes him a very valuable a dangerous target at the key forward’s feet. While his consistency may be a worry during games, he regularly performs in patches and if he can put four quarters together, he has that X-factor about him that will have plenty of fans excited about his development.
However, at an AFL club, Hogan will be able to work on having more influence in games. His skill and talent around goal make him an exciting prospect for any club, and they would be silly to pass on him because of his few flaws.