Height: 187 cm
Weight: 88 kg
Position: Inside midfielder
Player comparison: Elliot Yeo
Strengths: Contested marking, clearances, goal kicking, ball winning ability
Weaknesses: Footskills, often rushes possession
First year impact: Rising star nominee
Marking: Above average
Endurance: Above average
Matthew Kennedy came from nowhere at the beginning of the season, but after an impressive start to the season for NSW/ACT Rams, Kennedy has jumped into top-10 consideration. Kennedy’s season was impacted with a knee injury, sidelining him for three months including the Under 18 National Championships.
Kennedy resides in the Riverina region, which has enabled to be linked with the GWS Giants academy. On draft night, GWS are expected to match a bid for Kennedy inside the top 10 with a huge potential and someone you feel will thrive in an AFL environment.
Kennedy’s ability to play all over the ground is a strength, he can go forward and kick goals – kicking six goals in five TAC Cup games (including three against Dandenong). Kennedy’s strength is his marking, despite his size at 187cm he is a very good overhead mark.
Kennedy averaged 23.2 disposals in the TAC Cup this season, with his best game yielding 30 disposals (18 contested), nine marks & six clearances against Oakleigh in round seven. Kennedy dominated the match off half-back, rebounding the ball forward for the Rams, helping them over the line by 15 points. What was disappointing for Kennedy was his kicking efficiency at 48% in the TAC Cup, something that can be improved as he grows as a footballer. Kennedy can kick well on both feet, but often rushes possession when clearing the ball from the stoppages.
Kennedy returned from injury playing club football with Collingullie, kicking three goals in their grand final win. He also played in the Allies vs. Australia under 17 match on grand final day at the MCG, collecting 21 disposals. His efforts in that game were impressive in the middle of the ground, showing GWS he isn’t a player to pass on at the National Draft.
Kennedy runs around the ground, crouched over- appearing similar to Trent Cotchin but plays like Elliot Yeo due to his versatility to play all around the game aided by his strong marking ability. Kennedy has good endurance, running a 14.12 beep test at the national combine, as well as finishing in the top 10 in the goal kicking as well as performing well in the vertical jumps.
Ultimately Kennedy is a fantastic prospect for GWS in the future. With his ability to play in multiple positions, he has the ability to become one of the better prospects from the 2015 draft pool when looking back on this draft in years to come.