Hugh Goddard (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 195 cm
Weight: 93 kg
Position: Key defender/forward
Strengths: Athleticism, versatility, booming kick
Areas of improvement: Inconsistent
Player comparison: Sam Day/Lachlan Keeffe
Hugh Goddard is a top 10 pick who has dropped in draft consideration after being outed as a possible number one pick earlier in the year. There are a few reasons for that – a disappointing Under 18s Championships, failing to dominate when at TAC Cup level, and playing up both ends to the point of not settling in one position or another.
Unlike his teammate Patrick McCartin or fellow key tall Peter Wright, Goddard has failed to dominate at TAC Cup level or at the Under 18 Championships this year. Now he is incredibly quick and mobile for his size and almost has a graceful element about him that is beautiful to watch. He also has a great turn of speed that almost makes him look like a crumber at times.
Much like other athletic key forwards such as Lance Franklin, Goddard is not overly good overhead. He can obviously take grabs like any forward, but isn’t a contested marking beast like a McCartin or Wright. This is another reason he is arguably considered a rung below them and why he’s likely to go in the latter stages of the top 10.
This season Goddard has primarily played in defence, but also often thrown into attack for stints during games. In 2013, he played up forward for 75 per cent of the season, only dropping back when required due to players missing or to fill a void. It is this shifting that while it promotes his flexibility, can make some wonder where he fits.
Goddard is a solid spoiler and much like a Lachie Keeffe, he has great closing speed and reads the play reasonably well. He’s good one on one in the air, and even though he’s not overly strong overhead, he has the ability to spoil his opponent and then use his athletic capabilities to follow up.
Without a doubt, Goddard’s greatest asset is his athleticism. For a key position player, he glides around the field and can cover ground quicker than many midfielders. He isn’t one that is going to be an elite kick and used as that half back anchorman, but he’s reliable enough that he’ll hit targets more often than not.
One impressive element he has in his arsenal is his booming kick that can see him roost goals from outside 50 metres. It is this that sets him aside as a potential centre half forward in the future. Unfortunately his technique isn’t as fluid as McCartin’s and once again, this is another reason why he might not be talked about in the same vein.
Goddard is an incredibly talented player, who on his day will be a very versatile and solid footballer. His draft stocks have dropped in the last 12 months from a potential number one pick to just inside the top 10. This isn’t to say he won’t excel at AFL level, he just needs to learn a few tricks and how to use his body better.
If Goddard can continue to build on the assets he has, become a bit better at ground level and improve his goal kicking technique, there’s no reason why he can’t become an exceptional AFL player. There’s no doubt that whatever clubs selects him, will be getting a very good player and someone who will be a very good option for the future.