Dayle Garlett (Swan Districts)
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Position: Outside midfielder/ small forward
Player Comparison: Andrew Lovett
Strengths: Speed, capable of the sublime, superb ball user, hits the scoreboard
Weaknesses: Attitude, tackling
The biggest question this year is will Garlett even get drafted. He’s having a career best year and nearly got through the season without stuffing up. He posted a picture on Instagram with his middle finger pointed to the camera. In reality, it’s just not a big deal at all. Last year he got in heat for a photo of him drinking on Instagram. The media beat up over this is ridiculous. He’s got a party first attitude, which made 18 teams pass on a top five talent. His form this year warrants early selection, but chances are if he does get drafted, it’ll be later on to a team who are willing to bite the bullet.
Garlett is simply a superb kick of the ball. He hits targets precisely, even when he’s sprinting. He only needs two steps to slow down when running at full tilt to hit a target. One impressive part of his game is that he’s like a creative midfielder in soccer. When he’s in space, he has the vision, the intelligence and the execution to launch a risky ball into space so his team mate can run onto it. Most players can’t do that, but when he does it, it breaks the game open as he utilises the space.
In his 15 games this season for the Swan Districts seniors (he’s only played two reserves games), he’s averaged 16.4 disposals, 6.3 marks, 2.8 goals, 1.5 behinds and 1.6 tackles. His 42 goals this season include a bag of six, three bags of five and two bags of four. Garlett has only gone goalless in two games and has been a multiple goal kicker in 11 of his 15 games.
His goal kicking consistency has been matched by his disposal count. He’s only had one game with less than 10 disposals. He’s yet to crack the 30 disposal mark, but he’s been close. Garlett’s had five games with eight or more marks, including one game where he grabbed 13. This exemplifies his hard outside running to get into space. However, he can also take a contested mark. He’s taken a few screamers this year in packs and he’s also generally a fairly solid mark for his size.
His speed is what grabs recruiters’ attention though. He’s a line breaker in every sense of the word. He bolts down the wing and he’s also got a good enough tank to play more than 50% game time as a midfielder. Garlett is very similar to Lewis Jetta and Andrew Lovett, in that he can break games open and do what no one else can. Like Lovett though, there’s a question of whether the talent outweighs the attitude.
In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Garlett was selected by Essendon with pick 52. At this late selection he is clearly best available and has been for some time but with the risk over his off-field misdemeanors hanging about in recruiters minds, it will take a brave recruiter to select Garlett. It does give Essendon some extra leg speed and X-factor on the outside and present another reliable goal scoring option.
The reality is there’s a lot of young players who have incredible talent but don’t have their heads screwed on right. Garlett’s attitude issue can easily be rectified if he has the right people around him. His talent is far too good to pass up.