Hugh Beasley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Position: Key Back / Key Forward
Player Comparison: Daniel Talia
Strengths: Locking down an opponent, hitting the scoreboard, plays above his size
Areas needing improvement: finding the footy, rebounding
Hugh Beasley was arguably the best key back in the TAC Cup last year. He went undrafted, but has come back as a 19 year old with more strings to his bow. Beasley held Tom Boyd well in round one of 2013. Despite Boyd kicking four goals, two of them were gimmes and the other two came very late in the game. Beasley gets in his opponents head and throws them off their game without infringing.
Beasley continued that form and has been one of the most under rated performers and that comes down to his lack of rebounding. He is a pure lock down defender. One of the issues that he faces is he comes in at 190cm, and that in between size makes it tough for clubs to draft him.
In terms of one-on-ones, Beasley is rarely outmuscled despite the heigh difference and his flexibility allows him to beat opponents up both ends.He has a nice lead and clunks marks which helps his case. In defence, he prefers the spoil, but can take a grab when required.
Unfortunately for Beasley, injuries last season meant he was overlooked in the draft, but from this season, particularly early was impressive. He has booted 10 goals from 12 games, including four goal hauls against Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons.
However, Beasley may go late in the draft and become great value, as he now can go forward. Beasley has kicked three or four goals on several occasions this year, and he’s been an excellent marking target. He’s worked well swapping with Darcy Moore, and the Chargers have been unpredictable up front.
Beasley doesn’t quite have the endurance to run up the field and find the football, but when you look at 190cm key defenders in the AFL, only Scott Thompson and Josh Gibson come to mind. Beasley is not in that elite defensive group, and he doesn’t rebound and find the footy like Thompson.
In the last couple of weeks, Beasley has improved his output, finding 20 and 17 disposals respectively, taking 15 marks combined. He also had 21 disposals and took eight marks in another top game for the Chargers. While he might not provide the run, he intercepts forward 50 entries and is starting to find the football a bit more.
Beasley has his flaws like any player, but is ultra consistent and can play on a range of opponents. His flexibility to play down back or up forward helps and while he is more likely to be a late to rookie selection, Beasley has been super impressive at times, and someone who could really excel in an elite environment.