Alex Spina (North Adelaide)
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Player comparison: Steve Johnson
Strengths: Skills, Goal sense, X-factor
Alex Spina is an incredibly talented small forward who with time, could develop into a handy pinch hitting midfielder in the same mould as a Stevie Johnson. He has fantastic skills, knows how to find the football and isn’t afraid to take the game on and set up plays for his teammates. While he doesn’t quite have the consistency to impact games on a consistent basis, he does have a lot of qualities that AFL clubs will like.
At just 181 cm, Spina is a smaller forward who can crumb and make something out of nothing. Much like with most talented crumbers, if you give him an inch, he’ll make it a mile. Given Spina has sublime skills that he uses to hurt opposition teams and a wicked goal sense that can turn games, he is one of the most interesting forward options in this draft.
Like other small forwards in this draft crop, Spina does struggle with consistency somewhat however he is likely to be the first genuine crumber selected ahead of the likes of Clayton McCartney who has also struggled with consistency throughout the year. While Spina would have liked to have more of an impact at the Under 18s Championships, he was invited to the draft combine, vindicating his hard work over the pre-season.
With the new interchange cap rule coming in and the substitute rule already in play, Spina will become a valuable commodity early on in his career coming off the bench and making an impact. He’ll be keen to build further on his endurance and consistency, but he does have that excitement factor that will make him a fan favourite at AFL level.
If Spina can progress through to the midfield later in his career like Steve Johnson has, then he will further his career and become an incredibly dangerous midfielder with a piercing kick inside 50. In terms of 2013, Spina is likely to spend most of the year, if not all, in the reserves. He may get a small opportuntity to impress at AFL level but it will be more of a taste rather than a permanent spot.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Alex Spina was selected by Port Adelaide with pick 83. Now while there’s no chance he’ll be anywhere near this pick having been snapped up earlier, it does highlight the fact that some clubs not needing a small forward or prefer to go for full-time midfielders will pass him by allowing him to be snaffled with a later pick.
As mentioned Spina will spend the majority of his early career in the reserves to gain some consistency, continuity and endurance, he will impact at some stage, probably from the substitute vest. When he does make his debut, there is likely to be a lot of excitement around him and he is the type of player to make things happen which will see him gain quite a cult following from early on in his career.