Alex Spencer (Sandringham Dragons)
Position: Key Defender
Player Comparison: Tayte Pears
Strengths: Rebounding, solid one on one, marking
Weaknesses: Strength, project player
Alex Spencer is one of the three key defender types from Sandringham whom are likely to get drafted. Alongside Kurt Heatherly and Lachlan Richie, the trio work hard off their opponents to rebound and create space. Spencer is excellent at finding the right balance between being an accountable one on one defender, whilst simultaneously knowing exactly when to break away from his opponent to create run from the backline. In short, he is a very smart rebounder.
At times during the season it was hard to get a great understanding of how the defenders matched up one-on-one. This is because the Sandringham back line was often structured so there can be a third man up to cover against the big Michael Apeness / Tom Boyd types. As Spencer has a light frame, it’s going to be an issue taking on the bigger key forwards at AFL level, especially as he’ll have to be less reliant on the help of others. In most teams, he’d be the second or third tall, however coming up against a team like Sydney or GWS, Spencer would certainly have to play on gorilla type.
This isn’t to say that Spencer isn’t able to hold his own against most forwards in one on ones, it’s just a strength issue; his defending techniques are solid. He has a decent leap and will usually spoil the ball, or if he has position he’ll back himself to mark it. Aerially, he is better than most. As a rebounding type, Spencer is excellent by foot. He’s the type to get 15 – 20 possessions off the half back line and run at between 75 – 80 per cent disposal efficiency. He’s not slow either, and he can back himself when creating run off the half back.
Spencer has plenty of upside. He looks crafty, can defend and certainly looks a promising rebounder. He’s tried his talents up forward, and with his hands he could be okay up there. Twice this year he kicked three goals in a game. Finishing his year with an average of a goal per game in the TAC Cup, he showed his ability to drift forward when required. Spencer has a few tricks up his sleeve and will probably be one of the better key defenders this year.
Given the lack of key defenders in this draft class, it almost assures a spot for Spencer, however that’s not to say he hasn’t earned it. A fantastic season with Sandringham and then selection for Vic Metro has rewarded him for his hard work. If he can bulk up in the gym over the next year, expect him to become a very handy defender for the club that selects him.