Height: 182 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Position: Outside midfielder, small defender
Strengths: Speed, agility, clean hands, taking the game on
Weaknesses: Inconsistency, impact over four quarters, disposal accumulation
Player comparison: Blaine Boekhorst
First year impact: Long-term prospect
Kicking: Above average
Northern Knights (TAC Cup) – nine games, 9.4 kicks, 7.3 handballs, 16.7 disposals, 75.4 per cent efficiency, 4.1 marks, 4.2 tackles, 0.1 goals
Vic Metro (under-18 championships) – four games, 7.5 kicks, 6.2 handballs, 13.7 disposals, 68.7% efficiency, 4.2 marks, 2.7 tackles, 0.2 goals
Tyrone Leonardis is another Northern Knights bolter who has thrown his name into the hat for this year’s draft.
Blessed with pace and agility to go with his daring play style, Leonardis makes his presence known each time he gets the ball.
Although he has never been a high disposal getter, with his TAC Cup average at a respectable 16.7 having only once cracked the 20-mark, Leonardis seems to pop up in short bursts that can break a game open.
He usually makes the most of his disposals nonetheless, with his efficiency of 75.4% up there with some of the best in the TAC Cup.
Leonardis has been a regular on the wing for the Knights after making his way into the side late last year, with his speed and left-foot kick helping him to stand out in a team that boasts a host of high disposal winners.
He is always looking to take on an opponent and break the lines, often finishing off his dashes in the wide areas with a long kick inside 50.
Despite that kind of play suiting his style, Leonardis tends to also have a very good short range kick, which he uses to allow himself time to receive and continue chains of possession.
On top of that, Leonardis uses one of the oldest tricks in the book – the one-two – with teammates in order to advance up the field, and the Knights game plan certainly suits that area of his game.
Leonardis is mostly positioned just off the packs or at the drop of the ball, waiting for his opportunity at ground level.
That is where he excels, with his clean hands and rapid acceleration allowing him to break free and deliver the ball with time.
Yet, despite all of his outside work, do not be surprised to see Leonardis going back with the flight of the ball or attempting to rip it off an opponent, he is not afraid of the contest.
The method in which Leonardis distributes the ball is as dynamic as his footwork, with his handball-to-kick ratio fairly even at 9.4 to 7.3 in the TAC Cup and 7.5 to 6.2 in the national championships.
With such a daring mentality comes a downside though, and while his decent size and strong core allows him to get a disposal off more often than not, he will find himself getting caught with the ball much more frequently at higher levels.
One of the upsides of his game however is that he is able to go and get his own ball. While a lot of his possessions are still uncontested – mostly because his opponents can not catch him – Leonardis receives just 54% of his possessions off teammates with averages of 5 handball receives and 4.1 marks.
This will bode well for him at higher levels, as coaches will be confident that he will find a way to impact contests on his own accord.
Speaking of impact, Leonardis seems to drift in and out of games at times, which is not unusual for someone with his attributes.
On a larger scale, there has been a trend throughout Leonardis’ season, seeing him have two good games followed by one average game. Since the start of the season, Leonardis has accumulated an average of 5.1 less disposals in every third TAC Cup game that he has played.
Furthermore, Leonardis has managed to be named in the best in back-to-back weeks twice, only to drop out of that form the following week, showing that his best is very good, but it is not always at the fore.
Despite that, Leonardis displayed some good form in the national championships, being named in the best in one of his four games and generally maintaining his TAC Cup averages. His disposal counts and efficiency were down, but that is to be expected when facing better opposition.
Still, Leonardis put his best foot forward and did some nice things off half back, often seen linking up with Northern Knights teammate Brayden Fiorini when transitioning out of defence.
Leonardis showed his ability to play in a more defensive position in the championships, and that may help him come draft time. His pace and surprising grit would be an asset to any side looking to improve on players who can keep dangerous small forwards at bay.
With his skill and fast legs on the outside, Leonardis fits the mould of someone like Blaine Boekhorst, who is lighting quick and also averages around 15 disposals with an even kick to handball ratio.
He could also be likened to Michael Hibberd or Heath Shaw if he assumes a role off half-back, as he could easily be a damaging rebounding defender.
Overall, Leonardis is the sort of player that stands out to recruiters, with his athleticism and x-factor putting him in good stead for a chance at AFL level. If he can improve his inconsistency or even add goals to his game, he could be a good impact player in years to come. It is tricky to gauge just where he will be picked, but he should feature at around the 30-40 mark come draft time.