Height: 201 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Strengths: Athleticism, upside, spread from stoppages
Weaknesses: Defensive efforts, strength, contested football
Player comparison: Nic Naitanui/Billy Longer
First year impact: Long-term prospect
Marking: Above average
Endurance: Above average
Dandenong Stingrays (TAC Cup): 11 games, 3.9 kicks, 6.7 handballs, 10.8 disposals, 70 per cent disposal efficiency, 3.2 marks, 1.5 tackles, 20.2 hitouts
Vic Country (under 18 championships): 6 games, five kicks, 5.7 handballs, 10.7 disposals, 69 per cent disposal efficiency, 4.2 marks, 1.2 tackles, 22.8 hitouts
If you are an AFL club come November and want a genuine ruck talent look no further than Gach Nyuon.
Nyuon is a Sudanese ruckman with superb leap which allows him to get first use of the ball to his midfielders. Last year Nyuon played limited games for the Dandenong Stingrays and put in some performances which, looking back on, might not be as good as Nyuon hoped.
He also played five games for Vic Country as a bottom-ager and played second fiddle to Rowan Marshall who is playing good footy at the North Ballarat Roosters. Last year was mainly one of development.
At the beginning of this year Nyuon was playing for the AFL academy when he took his first step towards becoming close to, if not the best, ruckman in the draft. He gathered 11 disposals and had 19 hitouts. He then went on to play some great footy for Vic Country leading to him gathering under 18 All Australian honours.
He ran hard, gave his midfielders an advantage and also provided a target around the ground. He averaged 11 disposals and 23 hitouts per game.
He is also currently the only Sudanese player to ever get All-Australian honours. This form continued into his TAC Cup games where in the second half of the season he averaged 12 disposals, four marks and 24 hitouts.
Where Nyuon separates himself from the other ruckman is his athleticism. His leap is phenomenal. He equalled Nic Naitanui’s record for the absolute running vertical jump (measured from the ground to the point where his fingers touch) with a staggering 362 cm.
He clocked in a 2.95 second 20 metre sprint, which is an elite level speed for any player at his age. The only player taller than 192 centimetres who ran a faster time was Callum Moore. This is why most ruckmen can’t contain him at the under 18 level and why he will probably be the first ruckman taken in the draft.
Nyuon’s potential is through the roof. His athleticism, late start to the game and skinny frame all are key indicators of his upside. If his body develops like you hope it does we could see another ruckman who covers the ground well and poses to be a difficult match-up. Nyoun probably has the ability to develop into a centre half back as well.
His ability to spread from a contest is something that ruckmen at this level rarely learn. We often see Nyuon burn off his opponent and gather uncontested possessions. Most ruckmen bully their smaller opponents at the underage level, a luxury Nyuon hasn’t had. This had lead him to work harder outside the contest and find more possessions on the outside, something that Andre Parella and other big contested ruckmen won’t do.
Although his upside may be great, his strength is poor. If Nyuon is to make it at the next level, he’s going to gain at least 10 kilos so he can compete with the monsters at AFL level like Shane Mumford and Aaron Sandilands. Nyuon has also had trouble gathering contested football.
Another weakness he has is his defensive efforts. His tackling numbers are poor for a ruckman and if he could make that effort defensively he could add another string to his bow, making him a more appealing prospect.
In any team, Nyuon adds ruck depth and within a few years could make his debut. The Nic Naitanui comparison has come up time and time again for Nyuon and why wouldn’t you compare him to Naitanui? They’re both athletic ruckmen with similar physical traits, but Naitanui has that physicality Nyuon doesn’t. He also reminds me somewhat of Billy Longer as someone who also gathers lots of disposals and on his day can play as that extra midfielder.