DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Oscar Clavarino is a rebounding defender who fills the hole in defence well. He is good overhead and has good skills over short distances, but has question marks over his confidence."
Oscar Clavarino is one of those draftees that seems to bring about a different opinion, depending on who you speak to because of how they rate his ability. This season I have already heard everything from first rounder to undrafted, which is rare in most draftees in their top-age year. The reason so many are unsure of where he goes, is because of his role. Despite being the size of a key position defender, he is best suited to the intercept and rebounding role more often reserved for mid-sized players. His disposal is top notch, his intercept marking and rebounding among the best in the TAC Cup and his endurance is very high for a taller player. But the question marks over his game are his confidence, lighter frame and he is not overly athletic. So the biggest question is just what role does he fill at AFL level?
- Short kicking
- Intercept marking
Clavarino’s upside is quite good for a taller player because his disposal is among the best in the draft crop, holding a kicking efficiency of 74 per cent – ranked second of all National Combine invites behind Oakleigh speedster Ed Richards. However as will be discussed later, his tendency to only kick short is a key reason for this stat. He also averaged 5.6 marks and 2.6 rebounds per game, placing himself among the elite defenders in those areas. He is a natural at reading the ball in flight and positioning himself accordingly, but is certainly suited to the spare man or third man up role. With the ball, Clavarino is a safe user his teammates can rely upon, while any high floaters inside his defensive 50, will almost always see him chop off the attack and drive the ball back the other way.
Another impressive trait Clavarino has is his endurance, which is high for a taller player. He scored 21.2 on the yo-yo test at the National Combine and showed throughout the 2017 TAC Cup and APS season that he could run out games easily. He is a strong performer in the back half, and a reliable player to have the ball in his hands, as well as a player teammates know will present as an option in that defensive 50.
- Lighter frame
For me there are two aspects of improvement for Clavarino that expand into other little areas for the 195cm, 85kg defender to work on. The first is his strength, which has seen him add five kilograms to his frame since the start of the season. While he has impressed at under 18s level, he was outbodied against the mature players in the Northern Blues outfit when the VFL side took on the AFL Academy team early in the season. He is not too bad one-on-one at TAC Cup level, but even some of the stronger players there could outmuscle him at times.
The more important question I have over Clavarino is his confidence. At times he looked unsure whether to kick long or just play it safe inside the defensive 50. While his kicking efficiency is elite, in games his kicks are often short to a teammate in defensive 50, or hit up the first option, which for me looked like he was unwilling to take the risk kicking long. Remarkably, of all the National Combine invites, he ranked the lowest in long kick percentage, with just 10 per cent of his kicks travelling more than 40m. Furthermore on his confidence, there are question marks over his hardness at the contest. He is great at dropping off and taking good marks when on his terms, but there are times where he has chosen not to enter a contest where he should have, and this is something that will need to be improved, but with confidence it could.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Third round-rookie
Oscar Clavarino is an interesting prospect. He has the tools to become a handy rebounding defender, but his confidence and lighter frame holds him back. He has added muscle to his frame already this season and the AFL club which selects him will look to continue that strength building and to develop his confidence playing in defence. He needs to work on his hardness and back himself in to kick long more often as kicking clear of the opposition zone and getting the ball forward faster is important in the modern game. Overall Clavarino drops further than many might expect based on his highlights, but I still expect he lands somewhere just because of the upside he brings.
Under 18s Championships