Tom Muir (Gippsland Power)
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player Comparison: Grant Birchall/Tyson Goldsack
Strengths: Superb run-and-carry, versatile, decision-making
Weaknesses: Body strength
The 2013 AFL Draft this season is packed with quality midfield players. The main talk has been about how many midfielders there are to choose from, but there are also many players who can fly under the radar in terms of draft talk, and one of these talented players, is Gippsland Power’s centre half-back, Tom Muir.
Muir was a top age player last season, but after missing out in last year’s draft, was invited back to be one of Gippsland’s over-age players. He played more of a forward role last season, but this season, coach Nick Stevens, decided to throw Muir into the halfback position, and it has paid dividends.
A strength that Muir uses very well to his advantage is his decision making. He knows exactly when to leave his direct opponent to switch over to help out at another marking contest, or when not to, because of the risk of the ball going behind the contest and his opponent gathering it freely. This skill takes some defenders a long time to develop, but Muir has caught onto it quickly and has saved many goals during the course of the season through his decision-making.
Throughout this season, Muir has run the ball out of the defensive 50 for the Power. His run and carry is one of the most important strengths that he has, which helps him create goals for Gippsland. It goes hand in hand with his decision-making, and he knows when to run out of the 50 to either receive the ball, or kick it to a leading player and create space and catch the opponents out of position. His run and carry is a huge reason why Gippsland are competitive in every game they play.
One area that Muir can struggle with now that he is playing more towards the back line is his body use in marking contests. If his opponent is bigger than him body wise, then he can be pushed out of contest. If he was able to work on the way he positions himself for long kicks inside 50 and try and bring the ball to ground as much as he can, he would become one of the most versatile back line players in the TAC Cup, being able to play deep in defence, as well as running the ball out with his speed and kicking skills.
Although playing back line this season, Muir can play in multiple areas of the ground. He is quite tall, so he can play a permanent forward role if Stevens needed a third tall to go with Declan Keilty and Josh Scott, but because of his great stamina and running, he can also play wide out on a wing. He has a large height advantage on many wing men in the TAC Cup, and could easily out mark them and run and deliver into the forward 50.
Although missing out on last seasons draft, Muir has come back to Gippsland as an over-age player, and has shown his skills in many areas. His run and carry is his greatest skill, with his decision-making, and his ability to play across most parts of the ground is another area that shows how versatile he is. Teams that would look for a versatile player like Muir, could be the Lions and Port Adelaide, who lack in tall running halfback players.