DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Speedy outside midfielder who is a good ball user"
Under 18s Championships
Callan England is a lightly framed West Australian who has huge upside. He is a speedy half-back flanker who can play on a wing at times using his acceleration and agility to sidestep opponents and break the lines. He is able to hit-up targets down the field and has very few areas of which would be considered a concern. One area which does need improving is his contested ball winning which is not a surprise considering the 180cm player is just 71.7kg. Once he can add muscle to his frame he will be able to win more of his own football, having won just 31 per cent of his possessions in a contest. Going forward there is plenty to like about England and he is anticipated to be a late to rookie selection.
England is a smooth mover who played predominantly off half-back for Western Australia in the National Under 18 Championships. He averaged 20.8 disposals and 4.8 tackles per game in his four matches and was one of a number of West Australians to really put their hand up for draft selection this year. He has great speed and can burn off most opponents with his acceleration from defence. Just as impressive is his agility, which he uses to great effect. Often he will sprint forward then sidestep an opponent before continuing to move in transition.
His other main strength is his kicking which is perfect for an outside midfielder. He knows how to hit targets and is a valuable player running out of defence – he is one player you want with ball in hand. He has a great 50/50 balance between kicks and handballs meaning he has multiple ways of hurting opponents through his disposal. Furthermore, England has good upside with plenty of development left given his skinny frame and expect him to be drafted with clubs taking a long-term view on the smaller prospect.
- Contested ball
The two areas which England will be expected to improve upon is his contested ball winning ability and his size. While his role at half-back means he can afford to be predominantly outside, England will need to attack the contest more and win more possessions at the coalface if he is to progress as a full-time midfielder. He has the endurance to play through the middle full-time, and the speed and agility to hurt teams on the outside, developing an inside game will make him all the more dangerous, particularly when sprinting away from stoppages.
Secondly, England will look to spend a pre-season in the gym as he looks to bulk up his 72kg frame. To compete with the bigger bodies at AFL level, he will arguably need to be closer to 80kg and that is why he is someway off playing at the elite level. He has the tools to compete in the AFL, but will need to increase his size to win one-on-one contests and more of his own ball.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late/Rookie
Callan England is a very handy prospect who is likely to be available late in the National Draft. He is very skinny and is predominantly outside, but he has all the tools to be a damaging mover on a wing or from half-back. He makes few mistakes and is composed and likely toe be a player who attracts interest from a range of clubs in the draft. His great combination of skill, speed and agility will undoubtedly be attractive to recruiters and his huge upside will play a part in where he is drafted. Expect him to be good value late.