Tag: dayne zorko

Queensland weekly wrap: Finals time arrives

FINALS time has well and truly arrived across the country and Queensland, which means Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) knockout action is about to get underway. Meanwhile at the elite level, both Brisbane and Gold Coast’s years are winding down having comfortably missed out on finals.

QAFL finals kick off

The QAFL Seniors and Reserves finals get underway this weekend and the competition in the Seniors couldn’t be any tighter. Palm Beach have been the top side all year and have the week off whilst Broadbeach face Morningside in a qualifying final, and Surfers Paradise face Mt Gravatt in a do or die elimination encounter.  

Broadbeach claimed second spot on the ladder with 11 wins this season, while 10 wins apiece from Morningside, Surfers Paradise and Mt Gravatt, puts them third to fifth in that order with only percentage separating them.  

In Reserve grade, it appears to be a two horse race for the QAFL Reserve crown between first placed Broadbeach and second placed Mt Gravatt. Broadbeach have 14 wins this season and Mt Gravatt have 13 to be a few games clear of their finals counterparts; Labrador, Palm Beach and Western Magpies. Much like the Seniors, Labrador (third), Palm Beach (fourth) and the Western Magpies (fifth), are all clustered together in the bottom half of the top five, making results very hard to predict.

Overall it should be a cracking finals series in both QAFL divisions. Head down to the games or catch all the action via the QAFL Facebook page.

 

Season over for Lions and Suns

The closing of the home and away season marks the end of the year for the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns. For Gold Coast it was not the ideal send off with a 102-point loss to eight place Geelong, but with speculation over Michael Barlow’s future, he did himself plenty of favours with a 35 possession game.

Alex Sexton ended the season as club leading goalkeeper with 28 whilst Touk Miller led the disposal count at 485. Jarrod Witts’ magnificent season ended with 854 hitouts, good for second in the AFL behind only All-Australian Ruckman Max Gawn.

From a team perspective the Suns are in a full rebuild, exemplified by Tom Lynch leaving the club. They will get high picks in the offseason to add to some impressive young talent that just needs time and experience. The Suns end the season in 17th with four wins, two down on last year’s total but taking into account a much more competitive competition this season.

The Brisbane Lions have ended their season with five wins, exactly the same as last season but the win-loss record doesn’t tell the whole story. The Lions have been much more competitive this season in no small part thanks to the additions of Luke Hodge and Charlie Cameron who provided immediate positive impact on the team. In addition, some Lions have had breakout seasons including the likes of; Eric Hipwood, Jarrod Berry, Alex Witherden and Hugh McCluggage.

A couple of Lions were unlucky not to be named in the final All-Australian squad. Harris Andrews and Dayne Beams made the 40-man squad but couldn’t make the final 22. Nevertheless, those two alongside veterans Dayne Zorko, and Mitch Robinson in particular had strong seasons.

Looking ahead, the future of the Lions looks very bright based off close losses this season against stiff opposition who have walked all over them in the past. With Chris Fagan and Hodge at the helm the sky is the limit for Brisbane.

Queensland weekly wrap: Multicultural initiatives hit Queensland

QUEENSLAND AFL is set to host two initiatives which look towards creating inclusion and accepting diversity in the footballing community. While the organisation of the Bachar Houli Cup and Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) were well underway this week, both AFL sides fell short of victory.

A promotion of culture in Queensland AFL

Two events will shape the week for Queensland AFL. Those events being the Bachar Houli Cup and the Brisbane Lions commencing their first ever Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The Queensland Bachar Houli Cup takes place on the August 10 at Leyshon Park. Since the cup was introduced to Victoria in 2012, it has progressed to a national event involving more than 5000 Islamic students from around the nation. This initiative was developed between the AFL Multicultural Program and current Richmond premiership player, Bachar Houli. The aim of the carnival is to introduce the young Muslim community to Aussie Rules, in the hopes of swelling participation numbers from the Muslim community to enrich the game with their culture.

Houli and Essendon’s Adam Saad are currently the two AFL players for the Muslim community to look up to and adore.

Three schools will compete at Leyshon Park; Australian International Islamic College Brisbane, Wisdom College and Australian International Islamic College Gold Coast.

Bachar Houli Cup Fixture:

Game 1: AIIC Brisbane v Wisdom College
Game 2: Wisdom College v AIIC Gold Coast
Game 3: AIIC Gold Coast v AIIC Brisbane

Lions RAP plan

On Thursday, the Brisbane Lions set in motion their first ever Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. The launch was timely, falling on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. A crowd of media were there alongside Lions players and staff members to kick-off the new RAP initiative.

The RAP initiative allows the Brisbane Lions to become a more inclusive organisation with the document outlining future commitments to achieve reconciliation among the Indigenous community. The RAP also explains that the Lions will partake in programs with the Indigenous community promoting health, education and mental health and wellbeing.

The RAP program is in effect for one year commencing immediately.

 

Lions left wondering

In perhaps the story of their season, the Brisbane Lions have let anther game slip through their fingers, going down to North Melbourne 107-104 at the Gabba last Saturday afternoon. The Gabba crowd was treated to a tantalising first quarter with both sides kicking 11 goals between them. The Lions ended the first term with a perfect six straight goals to North Melbourne’s five goals one behind, to go in five point leaders.

The Kangaroos stamped their authority in the second term kicking seven goals to three as Trent Dumont led the way with 21 touches in the first half for North Melbourne. Down by a few goals like last week against Geelong, Lions fans’ hearts were in their mouths hoping for no second half hiding like last round.

Brisbane responded strongly in the second half, going blow for blow with the Kangaroos as the game tightened up. With only 30 seconds left in the game, Cameron Rayner won a holding the ball free kick 25m out from goal to win the game for the Lions. Bizarrely in a moment of pressure, Rayner went around the body from a slight angle and missed. The Kangaroos held out three point winners as Rayner was embraced by coach Chris Fagan after the match in a show of strong faith.

The Lions midfield brigade had plenty of footy with Dayne Zorko (35 disposals), Dayne Beams (29) and Tom Berry (28) continuing strong seasons. The Achilles heel for Brisbane was their inside 50 efficiency. North Melbourne were 56 per cent compared to Brisbane’s 39 per cent.

The Lions next face Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

 

Suns smashed

Suns coach Stewart Dew was left pulling out whatever hair he has left last Sunday when his side lost by 96 points to the Demons at the MCG. It was a nine goal to one opening term that set up the whitewash win for the Demons. The Suns were outclassed almost all across the paddock, with only Touk MillerAlex Sexton and Jarrod Witts putting in strong performances. Miller had 25 touches and Witts beat Max Gawn in the hitouts, 40-30. Sexton had five goals from 10 disposals going at 80 per cent efficiency.

Down by more than 10 goals at the half, the Suns were brave in the third, holding Melbourne to just two goals in a game covered in negatives for Gold Coast. In the end, Melbourne kicked 21 goals to the Suns’ seven for a resounding victory. Jesse Hogan had four majors whilst James Harmes had three for the Demons. Ball magnet Clayton Oliver impressed with 31 disposals along with 27 from Angus Brayshaw and Dom Tyson.

On a side note, Gold Coast youngsters Will Brodie and Callum Ah Chee continued to show off their talent in another good game collecting 23 and 22 disposals respectively.

Like the Lions, Gold Coast face another premiership contender next round in the form of the defending premiers Richmond. The Suns will hope for a major upset in front of their home fans from Metricon Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Queensland weekly wrap: Under 17 Futures squad announced; AFL sides go down

THE Under 17 Futures squad has been announced as they ready to face Vic Country and improve to a positive record in the series. Meanwhile, both of the Queensland AFL sides suffered losses and the another round of the Reclink Cup played out.

Under 17 Queensland team named to face Vic County

On Monday the AFL Queensland announced their Under 17 side to face Victoria Country in their third future series game was announced. The game will take place at IKON Park on Sunday, August 12. Queensland has one win and one loss so far, going down to Tasmania then beating NSW/ACT in Southport.

Queensland Under 17 Squad

1. Danial Davidson
3. Hawego Paul Oea
5. Corey Joyce
6. Jack Wingrave
7.Lachlan Barry
8. Coby Williams
9. Connor Budarick
10. Jack Mosley
14. Will Martyn
15. Bruce Reville
16. Campbell Aston
17. Josh Gore
18. Brandon Deslandes
19. Gracen Sproule
21. Matt Fraser
22. Tom Jeffrey
23. Sam Butler
24. Nick Harberer
26. Matt Conroy
27. Ashton Crossley
28. Max Newman
30. Josh Hammond
32. Tom Wischnat
33. Samson Ryan

Lions and Suns go down

The Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns both suffered losses in Round 19 of the AFL. Brisbane were brave for the first half in their 120-78 loss to Cats in Geelong. The Lions were right in the game at half time, only down 48-37 against a finals side. Unfortunately, the home side kicked away in the second half to tune of 11 goals to Brisbane’s six.

Two of Geelong’s favourite sons were the stars of the show. Tom Hawkins bagged seven goals whilst the ‘little master’ Gary Ablett amassed 38 disposals. For Brisbane, Dayne Beams continued a strong second half of 2018, collecting 37 disposals alongside Darcy Gardiner, Lewis Taylor and Dayne Zorko who got their hands on the leather for Brisbane. The Lions next face North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon at the Gabba.

In perhaps their most disappointing loss of the season, Gold Coast went down to fellow stragglers Carlton 79-44 at Metricon last Saturday night. Gold Coast came out hard taking a 14-point lead at the first change. From there though Carlton owned the game. The Blues kicked 11 goals to the Suns’ two over the remaining three quarters to run out 35 point victors.

Patrick Cripps bullied the Suns with 37 disposals and was joined by Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson who had 36 and 29 disposals each. Darcy Lang and Paddy Dow were also strong for Carlton, both kicking two goals apiece and getting a fair bit of the footy.

For Gold Coast, it was Jarryd Lyons again leading the way with 29 disposals. Will Brodie had a career high 27 disposals with Jarrod Witts winning the ruck battle over Matthew Lobbe with 60 hitouts and more than double Lobbe’s possessions.

The Suns have a tough game this week when they face the Melbourne Demons on Sunday afternoon from the MCG.

 

Lions win Reclink Brisbane Community Cup

The Brisbane Lines took out the third annual Reclink Brisbane Community Cup on Sunday July 29, beating the Rocking Horses 6.7 (43) to 5.6 (36).

The Reclink Cup features some of Brisbane’s musicians and politicians squaring off to raise funds for Reclink.

The Reclink Community Cup will make its way all around Australia in August and September, playing in; Hobart, Adelaide, Sydney, Fremantle and Canberra.

Queensland weekly wrap: State Inclusion squad announced; Suns’ Shanghai stint hangs in balance

THERE were many talking points to come out of this week for Queensland AFL fans. At the highest level, Brisbane clocked up their first win of the year, while the Suns faltered again in Shanghai to put their Chinese venture under threat. Meanwhile more locally, the State Inclusion squad was announced ahead of June’s national carnival. 

Lions get first win, Suns lose in China:

BRISBANE Lions managed to scratch the huge monkey off their backs by winning their first AFL game of 2018 last Sunday afternoon. In front of around 20,000 fans at the Gabba, they claimed a nice scalp smashing Hawthorn by 56 points in a milestone victory for the club. It was as if it was scripted for Lions coach Chris Fagan and legendary recruit Luke Hodge to beat their old side and to get off the mark for the Lions. Hodge was excellent against the team he played 305 games and won four premierships with, but it was a mix of old and new that helped the Lions get off the mark in 2018.

The stars of the day for the Lions included Eric Hipwood who had glue on his hands, marking every ball the came his way en route to kicking four goals. Second-year midfielder Hugh McCluggage finished with a career-high 27 disposals (16 contested) and had a major influence while the match was up for grabs. Captain Dayne Beams was back near his best with 28 disposals and two goals, Dayne Zorko continued his form resurgence with 30 touches, 11 tackles and a goal, while Charlie Cameron produced a Mark of the Year contender to go with two goals. The game was capped off with last series winner of The Recruit, 28-year-old Matt Eagles kicking his first goal in AFL footy in the last term. The Lions face Sydney next round.

Meanwhile, the trip to Shanghai wasn’t pleasant for the Gold Coast Suns players who suffered a 40-point loss to Port Adelaide in wet conditions at Jiangwan Stadium. The Suns fought hard to deliver an improved performance from their drubbing in last year’s inaugural China game, but were no match for the resurgent Power. Port’s 11.16 (82) to 6.6 (42) victory on Saturday lifts them to fourth on the ladder.

Gold Coast teenager Jacob Heron joined the exclusive group of players to make his AFL debut outside of Australia and slot a goal with his first kick. Both sides have the bye next week to recover from the long trek to Shanghai, but after a week off, the Suns finally return to Metricon Stadium where they will face Geelong.

##

Suns Shanghai experiment in the air:

Reports have been flowing in the last few days around the AFL that the Gold Coast Suns could lose their right to AFL in Shanghai to a Victorian club. AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has declared he will open discussions over next year’s Shanghai match to Victorian teams. Also, Victorian Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis has been in Shanghai this week lobbying hard for a Melbourne team to take over next year. St Kilda have been rumoured as the most eager club to take over the Shangai expeditions, perhaps with plans to help erase their millions in debts.

This story is sure to develop over the coming weeks.

##

2018 Queensland State Inclusion team announced:

Last Friday AFL Queensland announced the 2018 State Inclusion team after trials were held in May. The squad includes 16 players and three emergencies. The Queensland side will take part in the AFL National Inclusion Carnival starting June 18 in Launceston. The AFL National Inclusion Carnival is round robin tournament for talented footballers with an intellectual disability.

2018 Queensland State Inclusion Team:

Luke O’Neal
Damien Harvey
Joshua Correa
Nathanial Gill
Joshua McGrath
Brad Lawrence
Brent Morris
Shaun McKee
Dylan Evans
Robbie Van Allen
Connor Dixon
Matt Bedford
Joseph Ryan
Johnny Lawrence
Reagan Taylor
Zachary Kimber

Emergencies:

Ben Haack
Phil King
Andrew King

##

Celebrating National Volunteer Week in Queensland AFL:

National Volunteer Week takes place from May 21-27, celebrating and commending AFL volunteers from the around the state. Every day this week, AFL Queensland honours special volunteers that have had a profound impact on developing and nurturing footy across the state. To see the tributes and for more information follow the #AFLQvolunteerweek and #THANKYOU hashtags across social media.

Queensland weekly wrap: Q-Clash weekend provides thrillers

THE Q-Clash was the centre of focus in Queensland football this week at both the AFL and Under 18 levels. While the senior Suns clung on to victory at the Gabba, the Lions academy claimed bragging rights to even the ledger. The other big story of the week was the landmark occasion of the first ever QAFL games being live-streamed.

AFL Round 5 | Q-Clash 15 – Gold Coast Suns vs. Brisbane Lions

Gold Coast were able to edge out Brisbane on Sunday afternoon to win the fifteenth Q-Clash by just five points. It gave the Suns their third win of the season, whilst the Lions remain winless after five rounds.  The Suns led by as much as 27 points in the third term and had to withstand a final quarter Lions comeback, but hung on to win 11.10 (76) to 10.11 (71) after successive losses in Perth. Brisbane’s number one draft pick Cam Rayner had a flying shot at goal from 50m in the final seconds to draw the contest but pulled it wide for a behind.

Touk Miller of the Gold Coast Suns showed how to play a team role to perfection at the Gabba. Miller went to Dayne Zorko and made the Lions star’s night a miserable one. At every opportunity, Miller got stuck into the All Australian, pushing, shoving and giving him no breathing space.  Zorko finished with a paltry 10 disposals and had minimal influence, while Miller became more and more involved as the night wore on, racking up 21 touches, including seven clearances. Co-captain Steven May played easily his best game of the season, while David Swallow, Brayden Fiorini and Jarrod Harbrow also excelled.  The goal of the night was a toss-up between Fiorini’s one step bomb from a stoppage just outside forward 50, and Charlie Cameron’s snap goal in the final term.

The loss will sting the Lions. It is the fourth time in five rounds they have had a chance to win in the final term, yet they remain winless.

Final Scores:

BRISBANE          2.3     4.7      7.9      10.11     (71)                 
GOLD COAST     4.2     7.3     10.6     11.10     (76)         

Goals:

Brisbane:  Hipwood 3, Cameron 2, Taylor, Bailey, Rayner, Zorko, McStay.
Gold Coast: MacPherson 2, Lynch 2, Fiorini 2, Lyons, Young, Day, Holman, May.

##

Under-18 Academy Series – Brisbane Academy vs. Gold Coast Academy

The Q-Clash rivalry was in full effect in the second round of the Under 18 Academy Series as the Lions and Suns faced off. A brilliant seven goals to zero first term by the Lions helped set up their 12-point victory. The Suns would claw their way back throughout the match kicking 11 goals to four over the final three terms in a display of guts and determination.  

Standout performers for the Lions included small midfielder Jesse Quint, racking up 20 touches and a goal. Caleb Franks totalled a massive 37 disposals to lead all the ground in that category, while snagging two goals himself. Thomas Griffiths was also impressive gathering 25 touches and rebounding well across half-back.

For the Suns, Bailey Scott again was in the best players, collecting 19 disposals and two goals. Labrador midfielder Cooper Portelli had 25 disposals and eight marks, while Matthew Smith kicked three goals up forward.

Final Scores:

BRISBANE LIONS           7.1       9.5       10.10   12.11 (83)
GOLD COAST SUNS        0.0       5.3       7.4       11.5 (71)

Goals:

Brisbane: Franks, McFadyen, Tomkinson 2, Pettigrove, Quint, Matthews, Jeffrey, Smith, Ansell
Gold Coast: Smith 3, Scott 2, Portelli, Katsiris, Haua, Wingrove, Burke, Miles

BEST

Brisbane: Quint, Tomkinson, Franks, Stackelberg, Matthews, Pettigrove
Gold Coast: Portelli, Smith, Scott, Gore, Stone

##

First ever QAFL games live streamed

AFL Queensland provided their first complete live streams of QAFL matches over the weekend.  On Saturday, QAFL viewers were treated to an absolute thriller between senior sides Mt Gravatt and the Western Magpies. In a game that was neck and neck throughout, the Mt Gravatt Vultures escaped six-point winners at home.

On Sunday, the second live streamed match was between Surfers Paradise and last year’s runners up Labrador. After a three goals to zero opening stand by Labrador, Surfers responded in the second term, kicking five goals to two to lead by four points at the half. The sides would go back and forth in the second half with Surfers helping themselves to a big opening round upset thanks to having 28 scoring shots to Labrador’s 17.  

At a minimum, one QAFL game each week will be streamed at www.aflq.com.au/qafl-live throughout the season. An additional six games will also be broadcast to showcase the bigger matchups of the year.

Queensland weekly wrap: Lions win Youth Girls Academy Series

BRISBANE Lions Youth Girls Academy were the top performers at the weekend’s Northern Academy Series, while their AFL counterparts pushed Port Adelaide all the way in Adelaide, but the Gold Coast Suns went down to Fremantle in a “home” game at Optus Stadium.

Lions and Suns compete in Youth Girls Northern Academy Series

Brisbane Lions have triumphed in the Youth Girls Northern Academy Series with three victories over the GIANTS, Gold Coast Suns and Sydney Swans. The Lions defeated the GIANTS by one point in the opening game, before a 46-point victory over the Suns and 20-point victory over the Sydney Swans followed. The Suns won their two other matches with a 23-point victory over Sydney and a 42-point victory over the GIANTS, restricting both sides to a combined two behinds in their matches. A total of 60 players took part in the series from Queensland, with 28 representing Brisbane Lions and 32 representing the Gold Coast SUNS.

For more information on how the series went down, head to the AFL Queensland website.

AFL Round 3 

Brisbane Lions vs Port Adelaide Power

Port Adelaide survived a goalless last quarter to beat the incredibly brave and luckless Brisbane Lions by five points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Inspired by Stefan Martin, who had an amazing 30 disposals and 48 hit-outs, the Lions came back from 18 points down at three-quarter time and battled hard. The Power looked completely drained after a six-day break from a tough away encounter against the Sydney Swans. Port was expected to win – they have been touted by many to finish in the top four – but the Lions seemed to believe they were always a chance.

The Lions turned up in hot conditions ready to produce a highly respectful performance, going down fighting to the bitter end. Charlie Cameron started at full-forward and kicked three telling early goals on his old hunting ground, and for Brisbane to lead by 11 points at half-time was a huge wake-up call for the Power. When they did, they were back to their controlling best, but again not without needing to work hard for each possession. Port regrouped after half-time and found their cleaner flow, definitely with more vigour. They tested the resilience of the Lions, switching the play and forcing them into growing errors amidst the extended pressure.

For 43 of the first 75 minutes of match play the Lions led and looked like deserving winners. Of course, ultimately Port clawed their way back through tenacity and a rise in intensity, but for the Lions to hang in there for so long speaks volumes for the path coach Chris Fagan is taking them on. There were Brisbane’s hardy perennials like Luke Hodge who masterminded the defence, Dayne Zorko who was brilliant in the midfield, and Mitch Robinson who was inspirational with his attack on the ball, but it was Stefan Martin with some magnificent ruck work that really gave the Lions a big chance. Port kicked seven goals to the Lions’ five in the second half to escape with the game which went right down to the wire. Next Saturday afternoon the Lions face reigning premiers Richmond at the MCG.

Final Scores: Port Adelaide 14.13 (97) defeated Brisbane 14.8 (92)  

Gold Coast Suns vs. Fremantle Dockers

Gold Coast Suns’ undefeated run came to an end on the weekend at the hands of a Nat Fyfe-inspired Fremantle Dockers outfit at Optus Stadium. With the Commonwealth Games in full swing on the coast, the Suns sold their home game to the Dockers and it proved to be a winning factor in the game. While the crowd wasn’t nearly as strong as the previous numbers Perth’s new stadium has yielded, the Freo fans surely helped to will their side over the line. It took special performances from Michael Walters (23 disposals, six tackles, two goals) and Ed Langdon (27 disposals, five marks, five tackles), alongside their skipper, for Fremantle to break the half-time deadlock and come away with the four points.

While it was a fairly even contest for most of the game, the Dockers ended up dominating the key stats – winning the disposal count 387-324, clearances 37-29 and contested possessions 154-135 – and the margin could have been more had they kicked more accurately in front of goal with 31 scoring shots to 18. For the Suns, Jarryd Lyons continued his admirable early season form with a complete performance of 30 disposals, ten tackles, seven clearances and two goals. Jack Martin pitched in with 21 disposals, six marks and a goal alongside Kade Kolodjashnij (22 disposals, seven marks) and Touk Miller (19 disposals, six tackles, five clearances).

One of the more pleasing performances came from the injury riddled Sam Day, who booted three goals from his ten disposals and five marks with Tom Lynch kept quiet. Besides the loss, coach Stewart Dew will also face the concern of potentially losing star wingman Pearce Hanley to another shoulder injury after he suffered a dislocation in the first half. Overall, the result came from a mix of Fremantle’s brilliance and a somewhat disappointing Gold Coast effort. The Suns will again head to Optus Stadium to face West Coast in round four. Final Scores: Fremantle 13.18 (96) defeated Gold Coast 10.8 (68)

2014 Draft Profile: Caleb Daniel

bfgnprofiles

Caleb Daniel (South Adelaide)

Height: 168 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Position: Midfielder/forward
Strengths: Pace, agility, endurance, core strength, disposal, inside ability
Areas of improvement: Nothing within his control
Player comparison: Dayne Zorko (more skilled version)

Caleb Daniel is a special player. On ability he’s the best player in the draft crop, no player possesses close to the same natural talent. However, Daniel is one of the smallest players to play the game. It’s about the one thing that can make even the best drop down the draft boards. If drafted, Daniel will be the smallest player in the AFL.

In 2013 as an underaged player he averaged 17 disposals across 10 games. An ankle injury prevented him from playing early this year but he made his way back for the second half of the championships. Despite having no match practice and very little conditioning, Daniel managed to average 20 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency, four marks, four inside 50s, five tackles, two clearances and two goals in his three games. Particularly impressive was a 27-disposal, three-goal game in round five and a 21 disposal, three-goal and 217 champion data ranking point game in round six. In three SANFL games since the championships he’s averaged 16 disposals a game at 84 per cent efficiency.

Athletically Daniel excels. Last year he ran a 15.7 beep test, this year he reportedly ran a 16.1. There’s every chance he’ll break Billy Hartung’s record of 16.6 at the combine this year and at worst he’ll be in the all time top three. He also ran a 2.99 second 20-metre sprint last year and a 10.09 minute three-kilometre time trial, both likely to have improved throughout this year. Daniel is a very good chance of ranking in the top 10 for the 20-metre sprint, three-kilometre time trial, beep test, agility run and repeat sprints at the combine. It’s rare that a player is elite in both sprint speed and endurance, but Daniel is.

Daniel isn’t just an athlete though, he’s a footballer too. Below the knees his hands are excellent and he doesn’t ever fumble with his pickups always clean. When receiving a handball irrelevant of how poor the handball is, whether it’s behind him, on the ground or too far in front of him he collects it cleanly without breaking stride. By hand and foot he is excellent. Not only is he technically a good kick but his vision and decision making are elite. No matter the pressure he’s under, Daniel is able to effectively execute high degree of difficulty kicks with ease.

He spots targets in space others aren’t able to and whether it be across his body or on the outside of his foot, he’s able to execute the kick to perfection. By hand he’s able to hit targets to advantage and release runners with ease. While Daniel is an excellent user of the ball in space, under pressure he’s even better being able to always find targets even in heavy traffic. Daniel’s ability to evade the tackle is excellent and on the rare occasion he is tackled he’s able to get his hands free and fire off an effective handball. While Daniel’s disposal efficiency at both SANFL and under 18 level is excellent, not only are his disposals effective but they’re damaging; they’re not just cheap handballs out the back or long bombs to contests, nearly every time Daniel gets the ball you can be sure his disposal is going to lead to the team being closer to a goal.

Daniel has the ability to turn hard ball gets into uncontested possessions with ease, while also regularly winning 50/50 contests leading to an inside 50 mark. He breaks games. While in the championships Daniel played more of a forward flank/outside midfielder role, at SANFL level he’s played more of an inside role at times. He truly is a balanced midfielder and a volume accumulator. If he’s around the play he finds a way to win the ball whether it be gut running to provide an outside link up option or burrowing in hard and winning the contested ball.

Defensively Daniel works hard. With his pace and agility he’s able to corral and apply pressure with real intensity. He keeps track of his man and runs both ways. He’s always looking to tackle when not in possession and despite his small stature, at under 18 and SANFL level he’s been able to tackle with some real force and efficacy. At his size his tackling proficiency is no guarantee to translate to AFL level, but at worst with his work rate he’ll still be able to apply pressure. There isn’t much wrong with Daniel’s game.

In the championships he managed six goals from three games however of those three were handball receives into on the run shots from outside 50 and one was from an uncontested mark 45 metres out that he’d never have been allowed to get at AFL level. Before the championships he hadn’t shown much to indicate he had a forward game and while his performances in the championships were a real step forward, two games of three goals is a small sample to be making judgments on his ability in the forward 50. The other knock on his game is that when kicking long he is prone to swinging out onto his right foot and kicking across his body instead of through the ball, something that is easily fixed.

The knock on Daniel is his height. And it’s a big one – players of his height are traditionally looked over. While there aren’t any players of Daniel’s size in the AFL right now, that’s not to say there’s not a place for one – he is simply better than all the sub 170 players that have been rejected in the past. While at AFL level he won’t be afforded the same freedom he is at lower levels, with his skills, athleticism and football smarts there will always be a place for him regardless of size.

Jake Neade was given a chance at 170 centimetres and Daniel, being only two centimetres smaller, would be able to perform and impact like Neade did at the absolute worst. Dayne Zorko too is a small half forward/midfielder who found a place in the league through hard work and size hasn’t held him back. With Caleb Daniel’s work ethic and character there’s no reason why he can’t defy the odds and make the grade.