Tag: jake stringer

Queensland weekly wrap: Scott stars for Allies; U16s go down

WITH the National Championships underway at the Under 16 and 18 levels, there has been plenty of opportunity for Queensland youngsters to strut their stuff on the big stage. Meanwhile at the elite level, it was a disappointing weekend for the AFL sides, but the Lions AFLW side roared in their winter series opener.

Suns academy prospect stars for Allies

Potential father-son and Gold Coast academy prospect Bailey Scott played a starring role in the Allies’ Round One victory over Vic Country in the under 18 National Championships. Scott was in the conversation for best on ground grabbing 23 touches and kicking two goals. The 186cm midfielder also had five clearances and five tackles to round out a complete game.

Brisbane Lions Academy’s Connor McFadyen was very solid also collecting 19 disposals, an impressive feat for a 190cm key position player who also spent some time in the midfield.

Queensland representatives in the Allies squad have a tough matchup this Saturday when they face Vic Metro, who looked in full control against Western Australia in their first-round win. Scott particularly will have his work cut out when he goes face to face with Vic Metro’s gun midfielders Bailey Smith and Rhylee West. Tip-off is 11:00am from Southport AFC, Saturday June 16.

Queensland U16 go down to Tassie

The NAB AFL Under 16 Championships started on Monday when the division two sides battled in Blacktown. Tasmania, Queensland, NSW-ACT and the Northern Territory will fight it out for the title over three rounds, with the division one state sides opening their championships later this month.

Queensland went down to Tasmania by 22 points. Read the full report here.

Tough week for Suns and Lions

It was a hard pill to swallow for the Gold Coast Suns, going down by over 100 points to fellow expansion team Greater Western Sydney. Aaron Young kicked two goals to be the Suns only multiple goal scorer whilst Jarrad Harbrow was busy off half-back with 27 touches. It’s been a tough few weeks with the loss in Shanghai to Port and now two big defeats on the trot. The Suns though have only had one true home game this season and should smell a win this coming round when they face St Kilda at Metricon Saturday afternoon.

The Lions may only have themselves to blame for their loss to Essendon. The Lions were without arguably their two most influential players in Charlie Cameron and Mitch Robinson and they proved to be big losses not being out on the field for Brisbane. The Bombers ran out 84-62 victors in a game of lacklustre finishing in front of goal.

The Lions were missing Cameron’s class in front of goal all day and it was no more evident than in the last term when three consecutive misses for goal. Daniel McStay missed from 15 metres out in front which would have put the Lions right back in it after a day where he took some great marks. Essendon did enough to win by 22 in the end, with Jake Stringer kicking three for the Bombers and Zach Merrett grabbing 29 possessions. For the Lions, Daniel Rich and Alex Witherdan got 29 apiece also with Harris Andrews also a fair case for best on ground.

The Lions have the bye next week then face the Giants at the Gabba in Round 14 on a Saturday afternoon.

Fagan pops his hammy

During the 2018 Big Freeze where coaches slid in on the Monday clash between Melbourne and Collingwood, Chris Fagan bizarrely managed to injure himself. Fagan requires surgery after scans showed he ruptured his hamstring tendon after slipping during Monday’s Big Freeze MND event at the MCG. Fagan fell awkwardly as he left the icy pool of water following his turn to take the plunge to raise money for motor neurone disease research. Fagan’s slip is another sight of bad luck for the brave Lions during this one-win season.

Lions roar in AFLW Winter Series opener

The Brisbane Lions AFLW side opened their Winter Series with a monster 18.8 (106) to 0.0 (0) victory over the GWS Giants South side. Jess Wuetschner and Sophie Conway benefitted most up forward kicking seven majors between them. The scoreboard might not suggest it, but GWS did have numerous attacking opportunities, but the Lions’ defence was rock-solid and rebounded the ball back every time.

Next up for the Lions is a home match against GWS North in two weeks’ time at Graham Road Aspley on Saturday, June 23 from 11am.

Is Brodie now the best of the 2012 bunch?

AS with any draft, there are going to be players that go on to have long and successful AFL careers, and those that unfortunately do not. The 2012 National Draft for instance has now seen two players reach 100 games in Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines (112 games) and the Western Bulldogs’ Jack Macrae (104 games), with Sam Mayes, Nick Vlastuin, Joe Daniher, Lachie Whitfield and Jake Stringer all expected to reach their century milestone in the coming weeks. However, if one was to re-draft the 2012 edition today, it is the player selected with pick 18 that may well prove to be the best of the lot, in Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy.

Grundy was drafted from Sturt with the Magpies’ first selection in the 2012 National Draft, and after playing just the seven games in his debut 2013 season, has steadily improved his performances each year, having now played 87 games with the Magpies.

At 202 centimetres, Grundy was the tallest player drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft and like most tall players, has taken a little while to reach his full potential. But what is exciting for Collingwood fans, is that Grundy has seemingly now reached elite status as a ruck-cum-midfielder, and all at the age of just 24. 

In 2017, despite Collingwood’s disappointing 13th place finish, Grundy enjoyed a career-best season, playing in all bar two of the Magpies’ fixtures, due only to a suspension incurred from a tackle on North Melbourne’s Ben Brown in Round 20. Numbers wise, he averaged 18.4 disposals per game at 66 per cent efficiency, with 35.7 hit outs, four clearances and a SuperCoach average of 97.2 points per game.

But it is Grundy’s 2018 output which has seen him go to a whole new level, with a disposal average of 22.4 at 74 per cent efficiency, with 35.4 hitouts, 6.2 clearances and a massive jump in his SuperCoach average to an elite 128.4 points per game.

After a slow start in the Pies opening round loss to Hawthorn, with just 12 disposals and 28 hit outs, in each of his last four games Grundy has collected at least 20 touches, 30 hit outs and has named been in Collingwood’s best players on three occasions.  His performances against Carlton in Round 3 and Adelaide in Round 4 are likely to attract Brownlow votes at season’s end.

Grundy currently ranks fourth in the league for hit outs, 11th in clearances, and is the only ruck to rank inside the top 70 for disposals. 

Barring injury, Grundy should have the best part of a decade left at the top level, and could well rank as one of the best rucks in modern football. It is putting a lot of expectation to say this, but what he has shown in his career to date, particularly this season shows he has developed his body enough to impact on a whole game and attract midfielder like stats while playing a crucial role in the ruck for the Magpies.

If Grundy is able to maintain this form over a number of years, he may well be seen as the best value pick in the 2012 draft, despite the worthy efforts of some of the players drafted before him. Ultimately time will tell on that one, but as a football fan, I look forward to seeing Grundy’s progress in the weeks and years to come as he is not only exciting to watch, but that he is able to deliver in his role for the team. 

Team Building 101: From Tiger Turmoil to Tiger Time

REIGNING premier Richmond has historically been poor at team-building and drafting. From the mid-2000s until the mid-2010s, Richmond’s record of drafting players was horrific. Richmond supporters who are “twenty-something” or older, will remember the constant “trolling” by opposition supporters through this period.

The most infamous draft decision, being the selection of Richard Tambling at pick three, in front of the future Hall of Famer Lance Franklin. The forward from Western Australia, turned into the greatest athlete the game has seen, and was selected pick four by Hawthorn, one selection after the now-delisted Tambling. This however, was one of many errors that Richmond made at the time. They simply could not get anything right at the list management level. But now that has changed.

A NEW ERA OF DRAFTING

As soon as the cup is held aloft on the podium of the Grand Final, all other football departments immediately turn their attention to the winning clubs’ list. These football departments run the microscope over the winning clubs’ list to see what lessons they can learn, so that they can be on that stage as soon as possible. 

But this was Richmond. The club who are terrible at drafting! Or were they?

The fact is that Richmond’s football department absolutely nailed every draftee and trade over the past three seasons. Richmond had their fair share of first round draft selections, however this premiership was won on the back of being aggressive at the trade table and finding talent outside the first round of the draft. 

Here is a breakdown of Richmond’s premiership winning side, using the draft pick cost in selecting them or trading for them as the key.

FIRST ROUND PICKS.

Jack Riewoldt (Pick 13 – 2006), Trent Cotchin (Pick 2 – 2007), Alex Rance (Pick 18 – 2007), Dustin Martin (Pick 3 – 2009), Brandon Ellis (Pick 15 – 2011), Nick Vlasutin (Pick 9 – 2012), Daniel Rioli (Pick 15, 2015), Dion Prestia (2016 – Traded In for Pick 6).

Richmond drafted their “Big 4”, Riewoldt/Cotchin/Rance/Martin, across three drafts (2006, 2007 and 2009). The “Big 4” were undeniably crucial in the Premiership winning side. Dustin Martin, the Norm Smith Medallist and Brownlow Medallist in 2017 was selected at pick three, and the Demons who had picks one and two in the draft (Tom Scully and Jack Trengove) would be heartbroken as neither of their draftees are still at the club. Richmond’s ability to draft well in the first round in the past 10 years set up the spine for their Premiership, and for success in the years to come.

SECOND ROUND PICKS.

Shane Edwards (2006 – Pick 26), Kamdyn McIntosh (2012 – Pick 31), Josh Caddy (2016 – Traded In for Pick 20).

Only three of Richmond’s premiership players cost Richmond a second round draft pick. Shane Edwards, a 200-gamer and one of the games best handballers, has had a terrific career. A fan favourite and widely loved by his teammates, Edwards is one of the games most underrated footballers. He is a terrific decision maker, and although he is not a prolific ball winner, he is a beautiful kick of the ball. Caddy, a first round draft pick in 2007, was traded to Richmond after never finding his feet at Geelong. Caddy was traded in the same year his best mate, Dion Prestia was traded to the Tigers for their first round pick. 

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH (Rounds 3 onwards or Rookie selections).

David Astbury (2009 – Pick 35), Dylan Grimes (2009 – Rookie Draft), Bachar Houli (2010 – Rookie Draft), Kane Lambert (2014 – Rookie Draft), Dan Butler (2014 – Pick 67), Nathan Broad (2015 – Pick 67), Jacob Townsend (2015 – Traded In for Pick 70), Toby Nankervis (2016 – Traded In for Pick 46), Jack Graham (2016 – Pick 53)

Nine of Richmond’s 22 premiership players cost the Tigers a third round draft pick or less. That’s an incredible 41 per cent of their Grand Final side. The players listed above were not just making up the numbers either. Astbury and Grimes form the pillars of Richmond’s defence that allow Rance to play off his opponent. Houli and Lambert both had huge final series, with the former unlucky not to win the Norm Smith Medal. Nankervis had an incredible year that placed him in the top five ruckman in the league, while Graham and Townsend had remarkable rises to stardom in a short period of time. Graham kicked three goals in the AFL Grand Final while Townsend kicked 11 goals in two weeks at the end of the Home and Away season before taking that form into the finals where he kicked another five goals over three matches. 

STRONG AND BOLD

Richmond’s list managers nailed the 2015 and 2016 drafts. They selected Broad in the fourth round, and traded their fifth pick to GWS for Townsend who had a remarkable end to the year. However, it was their bold moves in 2016  that was the difference between winning the Grand Final and being stuck in relative mediocrity. 

At the end of the season, Richmond had picks 6, 42, 60, 78 to work with. The media believed that Richmond were going backwards and that they needed to trade their star players out for more picks to start a rebuild. Deledio, Rance and Riewoldt all would apparently not be a part of Richmond’s next premiership, and that Richmond should trade them while they had value. Richmond had other ideas. They traded Deledio, whose body had been wrecked by injury, for future draft picks, and lost Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Tyrone Vickery, for which they received a pick at the end of the first round.

Richmond had in essence lost Deledio and Vickery and had gained Dion Prestia, Shai Bolton, Josh Caddy, Toby Nankervis and Jack Graham. Remarkably, four of those five were premiership players within 12 months time. 

MODEL OF SUCCESS

Richmond have proven that huge rebuilds are not required if you have elite top end talent. It is crucial however, that elite talent must be there. As good as Richmond’s drafting and trading was over the past two years, they knew they had four elite players under the age of 30, that they could build their team around. Other clubs at the conclusion of 2016 who had elite talent but poor depth, such as Essendon, Port Adelaide and Melbourne, have copied Richmond’s aggressive trading model and are primed for their shot at the premiership in the coming seasons.

Melbourne looked to free agency to solidify their defence poaching promising defender, Jake Lever, from the Crows. However, I worry that Melbourne’s elite talent isn’t quite at the level of other clubs. Melbourne do have a terrific young midfield and one of the games best young forwards in Jesse Hogan and will rely heavily on them performing if they are to contend this season. 

Essendon used their selections to bring in pace and a bit of “X-Factor” in Adam Saad, Devon Smith and Jake Stringer while holding onto their early draft selections. Essendon now are extremely damaging on the counter attack, and have a terrific mix of young talent and experienced leaders. Essendon’s forward line of Joe Daniher, Stringer and Smith will put opposition defences under pressure and set them up for a big season.

Port Adelaide rolled the dice, losing some of their experienced depth players to bring in three mercurial players in Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff and Jack Watts. Port Adelaide’s best 22 on paper is terrific, but must remain healthy. Their depth is now poor, but as Richmond showed last year, that depth can stand up if there is competition for places and the chance at a premiership.

On the other hand, sides like Carlton are in a different phase of the premiership rebuild. They lost their best midfielder in Bryce Gibbs but went to the draft with three picks inside the top 30 to add to their current bank of young stars in Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow. Carlton are in the process of building that platform of elite blue-chip players like Richmond were in the late 2000’s. Although a “ten year plan” would sound like a nightmare for many Blues fans, Cripps has the potential to be as damaging as Dustin Martin, but not for another five years. As good as Cripps is, it takes a long time for players to reach their full potential. Carlton has a rich history of success and could be tempted to sell the farm prematurely to have a shot at the premiership. However, I think Carlton have learned valuable lessons from their mistakes over the last decade and are committed to a proper rebuild this time. Carlton fans should be excited but patient and trust the job that Stephen Silvagni is doing.  A premiership is surely worth it.

B:

5 Brandon Ellis

2011 – Round 1

Pick 15

18 Alex Rance

2007 – Round 1

Pick 18

2 Dylan Grimes

2009 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

HB:

14 Bachar Houli

PRESEASON 

Rookie Draftee (Essendon)

12 David Astbury

2009 – Round 3

Pick 35

1 Nick Vlastuin

2012 – Round 1

Pick 9

C:

33 Kamdyn McIntosh

2012 – Round 2

Pick 31

9 Trent Cotchin

2007 – Round 1

Pick 2

21 Jacob Townsend

2015 – TRADE 

Pick 70

HF:

23 Kane Lambert

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

4 Dustin Martin

2009 – Round 1

Pick 3

22 Josh Caddy

2016 – TRADE

Pick 20

F:

40 Dan Butler

2014 – Round 4

Pick 67

8 Jack Riewoldt

2006 – Round 1

Pick 13

17 Daniel Rioli

2015 – Round 1

Pick 15

Foll:

25 Toby Nankervis

2016 – TRADE

Pick 46

3 Dion Prestia

2016 – TRADE

Pick 6

6 Shaun Grigg

2010 – TRADE

Andrew Collins 

Int:

10 Shane Edwards

2006 – Round 2

Pick 26

34 Jack Graham

2016 – Round 3

Pick 53

35 Nathan Broad

2015 – Round 5

Pick 67

 

46 Jason Castagna

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

 

Key:

GOLD – Round 1

GREY – Round 2

BLUE – Round 3,4,5 or PS

All-Time Best 22: Bendigo Pioneers

IN a new feature series throughout the year, AFL Draft Central’s Brandon Hutchinson will look at a possible best 22 from each TAC Cup club. Starting with the Bendigo Pioneers and working through each of the 12 clubs, the series is likely to cause plenty of debate as to who should or should not make the side.

As you will see from the Pioneers’ best 22 that have been compiled, the midfield is stacked with guns and the defence is quite strong. With only three genuine key position players in the side, the Pioneers would aim to play a running game to trouble opponents. Due to the lack of height, Nathan Thompson has been thrown into the ruck, while the Tarrant brothers hold down the key position posts in the defence. Up forward, medium-talls who can fill-in for key position players, Andrew Walker and Jake Stringer are the focal points for the attack.

A midfield containing Dustin Martin, Joel Selwood and Ollie Wines is just about going to win every clearance, so the forward 50 entries are likely to be frequent. It will be a family affair for the Selwoods, with brothers Adam, Scott and Troy all making the team. No doubt in the future we will be adding names such as Paddy Dow, Lochie O’Brien and Jarrod Brander to the team should their careers progress as expected.

Bendigo Pioneers Best 22:

B: Brent Guerra – Robbie Tarrant – Dean Solomon
HB: Josh Hunt – Chris Tarrant – Jarryn Geary
C: Nick Dal Santo – Ollie Wines – Adam Selwood
HF: Daniel Harris – Andrew Walker – Scott Selwood
F:  Nathan Brown – Jake Stringer – Sam Kerridge
R: Nathan Thompson – Dustin Martin – Joel Selwood
INT: Michael Braun – Colin Sylvia – Troy Selwood – Rick Ladson

Backs:

Brent Guerra

Drafted as the twenty-eighth selection for Port Adelaide in 1999. During his time with Hawthorn he was developed into a strong-bodied half back flanker helping to add experience to their 2006 side.  He played in both Hawthorn’s 2008 and 2013 premiership side and received a Rising Star nomination in 2001. Guerra displayed a better consistency during his time with Hawthorn that he lacked when playing at Port Adelaide and St Kilda.

Robbie Tarrant

Initially being overlooked in the 2006 draft due to a shoulder injury, Tarrant was drafted the following year after having a standout year with the Pioneers. Tarrant was the fifteenth pick in the draft and was snagged up by North Melbourne. He did not play any AFL football in his first two years, but in 2016 was awarded North Melbourne’s Syd Barker Medal. He has a strong intercept mark and knows how to beat his opponent in a contest. He has played on some talented forwards as a backman and would make a good utility in defence.

Dean Solomon

Selected by Essendon as the twentieth pick in 1997. He went on to be a part of Essendon’s AFL Premiership side in 2000 and received a Rising Star nomination in 1999. He had a strong body and a good attack on the ball but was often let down by his lack of discipline during play. Despite that, Solomon was a part of Essendon 2000 side, arguably one of the greatest teams ever, losing only one game the whole season.

Half-Backs:

Josh Hunt

Hunt cemented himself as a dangerous backman for Geelong when he hit his breakout year in 2004. He earned himself two Premiership Medals in 2007 and 2011, but missed out on Geelong’s 2009 appearance due to an ACL injury. The stocky defender was relied on to kick in after an opposition behind due to a keen ability to get the ball moving into an attacking play with his long, precise kicking.

Chris Tarrant

Being Collingwood’s leading goalkicker from 2001-2005 is a feat that should not go unnoticed. Tarrant played as a key forward during his time with the Magpies and was known for his high marks, athleticism and leading to the ball. He won the AFL Anzac Medal in 2001, was selected for the All-Australian team in 2003 and took home mark of the year that same year. Tarrant also demonstrated his skill as a backman following his moved to Fremantle in 2006.

Jarryn Geary

The current St Kilda captain has transformed his career over the past couple of seasons from a fair contributor to one of the Saints’ crucial players. He finished second in the club best and fairest in 2016, and was named captain at the start of last season, taking over the reigns from Nick Riewoldt. At 29 years of age, Saints fans will be hoping he has a few years left in him.  

Centres:

Nick Dal Santo

Dal Santo was drafted to St Kilda in 2001 with the thirteenth selection and went on to play 18 games during his first year. He is a three-time All-Australian and played with incredible poise and skill. During his prime, Dal Santo played light on his feet and demonstrated an excellent ability as an outside midfield. His football smarts guided him nicely and he did well to keep up with other stars on St. Kilda such as Riewoldt, Hayes, Montagna and Goddard. In his final year for North Melbourne he averaged 24.8 disposals for a total of 545, topping the board in both categories. Kevin Sheedy has likened Dal Santo to triple Brownlow Medallist Ian Stewart for his bravery and skill.

Ollie Wines

Wines was picked up as the seventh selection during the 2012 National Draft for Port Adelaide in 2012, and since then has shown impeccably skilled football. The midfielder has been selected three times for 22 Under 22 team and is a three-time Gavin Wanganeen Medal recipient. He is young and improving. He has played primarily as an inside midfielder and manages to hold himself against more seasoned players.

Adam Selwood

Adam had a crack at two premierships with the Eagles in 2005 and 2006, and despite having some bad luck with injuries, has had an impressive career. Selwood received a Rising Star nomination in 2005, earned a spot in the Eagle’s starting 22 and defined himself well as a defensive midfielder. Adam also took home a premiership medallion in 2006 when the Eagles beat the Swans in their Grand Final rematch in which he played all 26 games for that season.

Half-Forwards:

Daniel Harris

One of North Melbourne’s hardest workers and onball toilers, Harris became known for his inside work and ability to shut down opposition players. He played 149 games and while he was eventually delisted at North Melbourne, found a home on the Gold Coast, playing for the Suns. He managed 11 more games to take his total to 160 and made history being a part of the inaugural Suns’ team. He retired later in the year after ongoing groin complaints.  

Andrew Walker

Walker was selected by Carlton with their priority draft pick, the second pick overall in 2003. His debut in 2004 against West Coast saw him rack up 26 disposals and three goal assists. That performance was rewarded one Brownlow vote and a Rising Star Award nomination. In 2011, Walker was also Carlton’s leading goalkicker and finish sixth in their best and fairest. During his 2006 season Walker had many successful games as a tagger and began to show consistency in his football.

Scott Selwood

Selwood’s career started off a little rocky but he slowly managed to find his feet. He played mostly as a tagger and an inside midfielder for West Coast from 2008-2015. In 2012, he was awarded the John Worsfold Medal, beating Shannon Hurn and Dean Cox. In 2016, Selwood moved to Geelong to join his brother but missed a few games due to injury. However, he did manage to play eleven games and returned as a dominant tagger for the Cats.

Forwards:

Nathan Brown

Drafted in 1996 by the Western Bulldogs at tenth overall, the Morrish Medal winner played a total of 219 games across 13 seasons. Brown was a dangerous medium forward who kicked 348 goals throughout his AFL career. He is a four-time International Rules Series player and a winner of the Jim Stynes Medal. Brown’s clever read and attack on the ball made him a damaging forward for the Western Bulldogs and eventually the Richmond Tigers.

Jake Stringer

Jake Stringer is a Western Bulldogs’ three-time leading goalkicker from 2015-2017. Drafted in 2012 as the fifth selection, it took Stringer only three years to develop into a strong forward for the Bulldogs, putting through 56 goals for the 2015 season. He was selected in the same year for the 22 Under 22 team and the All-Australian side. In his fourth year, Stringer became a premiership player and assisted his team in their win. He is a big-bodied forward who plays well in the air and has been known to do well through the midfield. He is damaging on the board and does not shy away from a contest.

Sam Kerridge

Drafted by Adelaide at selection 27 in the 2011 National Draft, Kerridge only played one game in his first season on AFL before running out in 11 the following year. He became a tagger for Adelaide and worked to lessen the damage of key opposition players. Kerridge was traded to Carlton to 2015 where he played all but one game and cemented himself nicely within the side. He can be a damaging forward when he needs to be but has shown plenty of promise as midfielder or tagger.

Onballers:

Nathan Thompson

Thompson is a strong forward and excellent goal scorer. In 2003 and 2004 he was the leading goalkicker for Hawthorn, and the year’s following at North Melbourne in 2005 and 2006, he led their goalkicking all the same. He was a strong overhead marker and was a dominant force in both forward lines. He was not known as a ruck, but for the purpose of this team, is the most likely to ruck, along with the Tarrant brothers.

Dustin Martin (Richmond)

Probably the biggest name in the AFL at the moment, it should come as no surprise to see Dustin Martin on this list. In 2017, Richmond’s powerhouse took home the Jack Dyer Medal, an All-Australian selection, the Leigh Mathews Trophy, the Champion Player of the Year Award, the Gary Ayres Award, the Brownlow Medal, the Norm Smith Medal and a win in the Grand Final. In 2009, Richmond used their first pick to snatch up Martin from the Bendigo Pioneers, selected third overall. He has come to be one of the most valuable midfield utilities in the league, and was the first player history to take home both the Brownlow Medal and Norm Smith Medal in the same year.  His accolades should come as no surprise once you see how damaging this man can be to any side.

Joel Selwood

Captain of Geelong since 2012 and a three-time Premiership Player, Joel Selwood has defined his football through his keen sense of leadership and his prowess throughout the midfield. Selwood is a six-time All-Australian, captaining the side in 2013, 2014 and 2016. He is a four-time winner of the AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award, and a three-time winner of the Carji Greeves Medal. For the 2006 National Draft, Selwood was the 7th pick and Geelong’s first choice. He went on to win the AFLPA Best First Year Player Award and the AFL Rising Star Award in his first year. Since then he has scored highly in many statistical groups and is still one of the most talented players in league after 11 seasons.

Interchange:                          

Michael Braun

Braun played with the West Coast Eagles from 1997-2008. He received two Rising Star nominations in 1997 and 1998 and won the Ross Glendinning Medal following the Western Derby match in 2007. Braun also played in West Coast’s grand final side in 2006 and took home a premiership medal. He was picked by West Coast as the fifty-third selection in the 1996. Braun proved to be a valuable asset for West Coast throughout the midfield.

Colin Sylvia 

Sylvia was picked with the third selection in 2003 by the Demons.  He received a Rising Star nomination in 2005 after coming back from a groin injury the previous year. He was seen as one of the most impressive young players at the time. He was a dominant force for the Demons as the years went on but his career was held back by injuries. After failing to meet fitness standards, Sylvia was relegated to the WAFL before retiring from the AFL.

Troy Selwood

Selwood’s endurance saw him take up the role of a tagger for the Brisbane Lions. He played 75 games for the club before being delisted at the end of 2010. In an attempt to get back into AFL football, Selwood joined the Geelong Cats VFL side of which he was appointed co-captain in 2011. He would later lead his team to a premiership in where they defeated Port Melbourne by 33 points.

Rick Ladson

Ladson played every game in 2008 and, as a result, was a part of Hawthorn’s premiership winning side. He was taken in 2001 at Pick 16 and developed into a pivotal part of Hawthorn’s side. He mostly played as a defender and an outside midfielder, but his career was limited due to injuries.    

2015 Draft Profile: Charlie Curnow

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Charlie Curnow (Geelong Falcons)

Height: 191 cm
Weight: 95 kg
Position: Medium forward/inside midfielder
Player comparison: Jake Stringer
Strengths: Contested marking, endurance, game-breaking ability
Weaknesses: Football smarts, positioning, consistency
First year impact: Short-medium term prospect

Kicking: Average
Marking: Above average
Speed: Below average
Endurance: Above average

Charlie Curnow is one of those players that everyone has a different opinion about. There are those that love the fact a medium sized forward can play taller, then go into the midfield and win the hardball. Then there are those that are unsure of where his future at AFL level lies.

Right now, Curnow is expected to go top 10 just purely because of his uniqueness. In many ways, clubs that draft Curnow are almost getting two players in one, but the only concern is, he is not elite in either position, and rather a very solid player who has game-breaking ability, but does not show it enough.

This year has been tough on Curnow who was injured earlier in the year and missed the first half of the season. Earlier in the year, Curnow had been good, without being impressive, having short stints in the midfield, while going forward and kicking goals. The concern was that he would go missing for a quarter or two, then pop up, kick three goals and be remembered for 20 minutes of sensational football.

Since coming back he impressed at TAC Cup level, kicking 13 goals in four games, including four goals against the North Ballarat Rebels in the first final. But since half-time in that match, the concerns recruiters had earlier in the season reappeared. In the game, which the Falcons lost by 12 points, Curnow also kicked five behinds, which while he was certainly not to blame for the loss, in fact being one of the best, he was nullified after half-time and when he did get his opportunities, he missed.

A few years ago, Brendan Fevola quipped to an opponent about having front row tickets to see the ‘Brendan Fevola show’ before booting a bag after being held in the first half. This is similar to how Curnow plays. Not in the attitude sense, but in the way that he can be well held, then just come out of nowhere, kick a bag and then be celebrated as a champion.

Make no mistake, Charlie Curnow has the potential to be a star, he just needs to do it across four quarters consistently. In the disappointing loss to Eastern Ranges, Curnow was well held by bottom-aged Jack Maibaum and he booted 0.3 in a underperforming Falcons side.

In a way, his role this year was largely determined by the lack of quality big key forwards for the Falcons and Curnow was thrown down there to crash packs and be that x-factor. When he did play in the midfield, he was impressive because he has the tank and the body to bury under packs and extract the ball to a teammate.

If he had of played a full-season of midfield pinch-hitting forward, it might have given draft watchers an idea of his future at AFL level. Right now, he will play that third tall who might drift through the midfield, but a permanent midfield role would be an unknown.

In terms of Curnow’s strengths, his contested marking is the biggest thing that physically makes him stand out from the crowd. For someone who is not the biggest full-forward, Curnow crashes packs, leaps over players and becomes that big forward target that players can kick to and rely on to take a grab. He is already 95 kilograms, so his body is ready for AFL.

As already mentioned, the one huge tick Curnow receives and is the main reason he will be a top 10 prospect, is his ability to turn it on and look almost untouchable at times. Whichever club selects him, fans will not help but be excited, because if he is able to turn it on at AFL level, the ball will just levitate towards him and supporters will begin expecting him to be the saviour up forward.

These pressures could impact on his career, but Curnow seems like it would not worry him, in fact he would thrive on it. He loves to celebrate a goal, even when it has not actually sailed through, having being caught out pumping the arms, only for it to hit the post or miss to the left. But, at least teammates and fans can feel the energy from the pitch, because Curnow certainly has a lot of it.

His ability to push into the midfield and play a role there, even in short stints, shows he has above average endurance, certainly for a medium forward. Players of that height like Josh P. Kennedy at the Swans become a danger when they are under a pack because of their huge frames that can just keep players off the ball and win that crucial contested situation. Curnow is no different and this could be his future potentially.

Aside from consistency, the one aspect of Curnow’s game holding him back is his footy smarts and positioning. Curnow plays off instinct, which is great for fans knowing he wants to hunt the ball, but often it could be at the detriment of his teammates.

Often, Curnow will lead into spaces where a man has dropped back into a hole, or where his teammate has already lead, rather than creating space or heading in the other direction. In doing so, he brings a crowd with him, bringing more defenders to the marking contest and often an easy spoil is made. Curnow has been coached on this throughout the year, having to understand the leading patterns and leading to advantage and knowing when to stay at home and let his teammates go.

When on the lead, Curnow is strong overhead, with vice-like grips, but is not quick. Many would back him in an arm wrestle or where he leads from behind his opponent, but when in front, the kick to him needs to be perfect as a defender could catch up to him on the lead and spoil.

While Curnow needs to tweak these few things, they are coachable and at the right club, he could settle in nicely. In terms of his impact, his body is physically prepared for AFL football, being 95kg, but he will need to learn how his future club’s forward line works and be worked on in terms of his strategy and role up forward, so most likely he will play late 2016, or 2017.

Make no mistake, Curnow will be drafted this year and most likely in the top 10, if not, certainly first round. He is a talented forward that just excites the crowd and has that game-breaking ability similar to Jake Stringer, about him. If he can continue to develop his midfield game, then move into the midfield to play a role similar to Sydney’s Josh Kennedy and pinch hit forward kicking two goals a game, he will be a fan favourite.

Curnow is undoubtedly one of those players that will be closely watched over the years, because development will be the key whether he succeeds or fails at AFL level. With the tools he has to offer, draft watchers would love to see him on the big stage strutting his stuff.

How injuries affect draft stock

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Calder’s Jake Lever is, in my mind, the most intelligent key defender to come through the TAC Cup in many years. He reads the play like Harry Taylor, intercepting everything, and then sets up the play as a backline general.

He also has the athleticism and talent to set up rebounds and find plenty of the ball. However, he’ll be out all year whilst recovering from his ruptured ACL and his aim to be fit for the draft combine.

Right now, he’s an assistant coach for the Vic Metro backline, which is pretty impressive for an 18-year-old. He looked certain to be a top five pick this year until he went down. To assess where he will be drafted, let’s go over the recent highly touted players who spent most of their draft years on the sidelines.

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These are just some of the higher profile cases in the past three years, there are plenty more. In Lever’s case, there are several things that must be considered when placing his draft stock. Firstly, how much of a look at him did recruiters have?

Jake Lever 2013 TAC Cup statistics
Matches: 11
Average kicks: 12.4
Average handballs: 6.8
Disposal efficiency: 69.8%
Average marks: 6.5
Average contested marks: 1.8
Average handball receives: 6
Average tackles: 2.5

Jake Lever 2013 Under 18 carnival statistics
Matches: 4
Average kicks: 9.8
Average handballs: 7.8
Disposal efficiency: 72.9%
Average marks: 3.5
Average handball receives: 7.5
Average tackles: 1

With those stats in mind, they had at least 15 games to assess him, which was certainly enough to showcase his talent. For talent shown, he will get a tick in recruiters’ minds.

The second aspect is the recent history of key forwards who had injury troubles in their draft years. The two best examples in the past couple of years were Cameron Conlon and Jake Stringer.

Conlon was always going to be difficult to take. He had set the world on fire in the first few games as an under-ager in 2012, but he only played a few games before going down with an injury. Personally, I was still surprised that he wasn’t drafted, as he was one of the few talented key forwards with great height and athleticism. But that small sample size wasn’t enough for recruiters.

Stringer was a different kettle of fish. He was one of the truly dominant players for the Rebels and was touted as equal to or better than his teammate Ollie Wines. The fact that he was a midfielder who showed his talent as a key forward after breaking his leg makes it hard to tell whether recent history will apply to Lever.

Most importantly is the depth of talls in this draft. There is far more gold in the talls this year than ever. Key backs in Darcy Moore, Sam Durdin and Hugh Goddard headline the draft, but on exposed talent, Lever is the best pure defender.

Taking all this into account, it is still possible that Lever squeezes into the top five, but it’s likely that he will drop closer to the eight to 12 mark. That would be one of the biggest draft day steals in recent history.