James Toohey (Oakleigh Chargers)
Height: 196 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Position: Key position utility
Player comparison: Jake Carlisle
Strengths: Marking, Athleticism, Versatility
James Toohey is an over-age prospect who missed out on being drafted in 2012. He is a tall key position utility who has the body to out-muscle plenty of opponents but instead will more likely beat them around the ground. He is a strange little package who moves quite well for a tall 196 cm switch man, but his footy smarts can sometimes see much less built players beat him one-on-one.
At 94 kg, one would expect Toohey could use his body effectively to really dominate a position, but looking at him, he looks more like a Tyson Goldsack or Tayte Pears type size where they look a bit undersized for the role. Nonetheless, Toohey has a number of aspects that make him draftable in 2013. He is similar to Jake Carlisle in the way he can take a grab and play up either end. He can switch mid-game and turn the match on its head like he did against Bendigo Pioneers earlier in the year. Toohey was put forward and booted two goals in a quarter to give the Chargers some momentum just as Bendigo were starting to get away.
It’s tough to know whether it is footy smarts that is Toohey’s true weakness. Statistically he’s a reasonably hulking man who’s athletic so one would assume he could kick several goals a game or really stamp his authority on most matches. While he has had impact from time to time, he isn’t able to sustain it for four quarters. To those who know him best, it is mostly centered around not finding a consistent position. Toohey has been moved around the field after being taught the ruck last year and hasn’t been able to settle in one particular spot.
James Toohey does have a number of strengths as well which clubs can work with. He’s a good defender who knows how to spoil and moves quite well out of defence. He will usually give the handball but does have a reasonably penetrating kick which can hit a target down the field. His disposal is neither here nor there but it’s nothing to be overly concerned about. If Toohey can beat his man each week there shouldn’t be too many worries from the club or fans.
Toohey’s greatest asset is his versatility to also go forward and kick crucial goals when required. This gives AFL clubs the chance to develop him as a key position player up either end or continue his development as a switch man. He knows how to take a grab, can kick a goal, but also is accountable and athletic enough to keep up with his opponent in the back half. Another asset he has that his friends note is his determination and unselfishness that he shows for his teammates. Unlike other players who go out of their way to get noticed, Toohey has a team-first attitude and is respected amongst his peers.
In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Toohey was taken by St Kilda with pick 75. Realistically, Toohey would be a late to rookie selection but may go un-drafted again. While this profile might seem negative, it’s more a case of not being able to pinpoint a direct weakness more just trying to explain how Toohey could better utilise his strengths across four quarters. He does have a lot to offer an AFL club and it would be surprising if at the very least if he wasn’t considered for a rookie spot by one club.