Jonathon Marsh (East Fremantle)
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 89 kg
Position: Key Forward
Player comparison: Taylor Walker (smaller)
Strengths: Speed, Endurance, X-factor
Jonathon Marsh is by far the most interesting “key” forward in this draft. In the 2013 draft crop there are the power forwards such as Tom Boyd and Michael Apeness, the undersized marking forwards such as Darcy Hourigan and Dallas Willsmore and then the smaller forwards who can play taller such as Josh Scott. Marsh is a combination of the latter two except with blistering pace and impressive endurance. For someone who is 191 cm, he moves around the ground with ease and could no doubt play a multitude of roles at AFL level.
Marsh is the kind of forward who will make numerous leads and once he’s in front of his opponent, it’s all over. He’s far too quick for your average defender, and can see off many midfielders as well. He’s solid overhead without being incredibly strong, but he has that ‘Buddy’ feel about him where he could tear a game apart.
He doesn’t come with the same fanfare that Buddy Franklin did in 2004, but he does have that energy and excitement that Franklin does bring to the game. Obviously being 191 cm, he is undersized for a key forward, but given his athleticism, he could play up the ground as well. If anything, Marsh is quicker than Buddy and more accurate with his goal kicking but doesn’t quite have the endurance base of Franklin. As mentioned, it’s solid but could improve further to help his case of versatility.
He has been compared to Taylor Walker because of his ability to turn and baulk opponents at will. While his size may be a concern for some recruiters, it won’t see him slip too far down the order with some rating him a first round choice. While he didn’t dominate at the Under 18s Championships, he was quite impressive and did no harm to his draft chances.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Marsh was taken with pick 90 which quite frankly is crazy. He will go in the first three rounds in all likelihood but given preference with more sized key forwards, Marsh may slip lower than some anticipate. There is no way he’ll be around at pick 90 which is more so an oversight by our recruiters. He’s one of those players that slipped through the cracks before being stolen by Hawthorn with the last pick.
Some have anticipated that Marsh may well be the first key position forward taken after Tom Boyd. This may well be the case, but the of course the biggest concern for teams wanting to use a high pick on Marsh is whether or not he can make the grade as a key forward or whether he develops into that high half forward or wing man.
Jonathon Marsh is an incredibly athletic undersized key forward who will burn opponents off with his pace similar to a Taylor Walker, Jeremy Cameron or Lance Franklin. He is still strong overhead but not compared to other key forwards in this draft crop. Without a doubt, Marsh will be taken in the National Draft and go to a club which is in desperate need or some X-factor, pace and goal sense which he provides in spades.