DRAFT ANALYSIS: "A hard nosed inside midfielder with a penetrating kick and great endurance."
Tom North is a hard-nosed inside midfielder who finished had the second highest amount of clearances in the TAC Cup of any National Combine invitee. His inside work is as good as anyone’s charging like a bull at a gate to win the ball, also averaging four tackles per game. In 2017 he also looked to improve his spread, which he did, winning ball on the wings and penetrating inside 50. One of his best attributes is his penetrating kick and his ability to hit targets over long distances is much greater than his short kicking which still needs some work. He has no trouble finding the football, being a huge accumulator over the course of the season and having a big endurance base helps him run opponents into the ground. Like many inside midfielders, North is not the quickest player running around and is not likely to burst away, but instead sidestep opponents and use his smarts to escape into space.
- Inside work
- Penetrating kick
Tom North is everything you would expect of an inside midfield – clearance expert, huge accumulator, big tank and penetrating kick. All of these attributes make him a prospect ahead of your average ‘vanilla’ inside midfielder. His penetrating kick in particular sets him aside and gives AFL clubs something they can work with given most powerful kicks are often half-back flankers or outside runners without an inside presence. The top inside midfielders can penetrate by foot, which is why the likes of Luke Davies-Uniacke and Hunter Clark are right up the top of the list.
Tom North is expected to be a much later prospect towards the end of the draft or in the rookie draft, but he is more readymade than other prospects in that draft region. He averaged 26 disposals per game, a figure that would be higher had he not been injured late in the season up at Mars Stadium where he collected nine disposals in the opening term and then was forced to miss the rest of the match, and the season. He also has good agility, which combined with his endurance makes him a tough player to get on top of. He still has a number of kinks to iron out in his game, but he has those strengths which are not too dissimilar to Essendon’s Dylan Clarke who went late in last year’s draft.
Tom North is not the slowest prospect in the draft crop, but he just does not have that next level speed he can go to in order to burst away from opponents. He uses his endurance to run throughout the four quarters and while he cannot burn off opponents through speed, he wears them down throughout the match. North is constantly on the move and he covers the ground well also getting forward on occasions to kick a goal. His speed is an area he could work on to gain an extra advantage coming out of the stoppages.
The second area he needs to improve on is his short kicking around the ground. He has that penetrating left boot which can do some damage, but in close and when needing to weigh up his kick over a short distance, North can sometimes produce a rushed kick or float the ball rather than kick through it. It led to him recording a kicking efficiency of 53.2 per cent which is not reflective of what he is capable of. Being a slower player he sometimes tries to dispose of the ball quickly but it can backfire if the opposition has set up forward of the ball. It’s an area that can be improved with further practice and confidence.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late-rookie
Tom North is a late to rookie prospect similar to Essendon’s Dylan Clarke. He has good agility and a huge tank, with a penetrating left foot which can hurt opposing teams when heading inside 50. His kicking over short distances is still a work in progress, and he can be hampered by his speed. North has no problem finding the football and is a clearance expert, so do not be surprised to see him get senior football next year should he be picked up.
Under 18s Championships