With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.
Points: 32 (eliminated in elimination final)
Players Drafted: (2)
- Callum Porter (Western Bulldogs)
- Changkuoth Jiath (Hawthorn)
Gippsland Power had an improved year in 2017 compared to the previous year, finishing inside the top eight after a strong finish to the season. The Power should plenty of heart throughout the year and had a number of impressive games throughout the season, competing with the top teams at their best, but just fell short of the top-end talent which saw other sides advance further in the TAC Cup finals series.
On draft night, Gippsland had just the one name called out in the all-round midfield star Callum Porter who lived his dream when the Western Bulldogs selected him in the National Draft. Teammate Changkuoth Jiath also made it onto Hawthorn’s AFL list as a Category B rookie under the Next Generation Academy system.
The most unlucky not to have his name called was the lightly built Matthew McGannon, but there were plenty of others on the cusp with interest in midfielders Nick Hogan and Will Stephenson, as well as Aidan Quigley, Julian Patterson, Austin Hodge, Sean Masterson and Will Leslie.
Gippsland Power is set for a bumper draft in 2019, but next year there are still a few prospects who have shown some nice signs early, including the talented by lightly built Xavier Duursma, and the even lighter Irving Mosquito who is as exciting as anyone else in the draft crop when he gets going.
Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power) 184cm | 70kg | Inside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (18) 15.6 disposals | 3.8 marks | 4.3 tackles | 1.7 clearances | 54% KE | 64% DE | 53% CP
Duursma has shaped as Gippsland’s top prospect for 2018 after a really consistent season playing on the wing and across the flanks. He is not a huge notable ball winner, but he moves well and tackles hard. He needs to put on a bit of muscle to have more a presence one-on-one on the inside, but he works hard and once he gets going he looks good so expect him to be a full-time midfielder in 2018.
Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power) 174cm | 66kg | Small Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (12) 14 disposals | 4 marks | 2.8 tackles | 4.3 inside 50s | 1.3 goals | 55% KE | 64% DE | 55% CP
‘Mozzie’ is a player you just cannot help but get excited about. He might be inconsistent at times, but his highlight reel is insane. He takes the huge hangers, kicks the amazing goals and just has that touch of class about him wherever he goes. For a small forward to average 4.3 inside 50s from 14 disposals, it shows he works hard pushing up the ground and he lays tackles adding to that precious forward pressure.
Others to keep an eye on:
Bailey Beck (Gippsland Power) 181cm | 69kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (17) 15.2 disposals | 3.4 marks | 4.1 tackles | 1.9 hitouts | 1.2 clearances | 2.1 inside 50s | 57.9 KE% | 66% DE | 40% CP
Kyle Reid (Gippsland Power) 192cm | 88kg | Key Position Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (16) 8.1 disposals | 3.1 marks | 1.7 tackles | 0.8 goals | 59% KE | 65% DE | 41% CP
Gippsland Power might have just had the one name called out on draft night and two players added to AFL lists, but there were signs throughout the season to show that plenty of players had developed from start to finish. McGannon is a player who could easily come back and play as an over-ager and prove his worth after essentially being almost a bottom-ager this year, and a lightly built one at that. The Power always have lesser known players compared to other clubs simply because of the media promotion, but one gets the feeling that the 2018 and in particular 2019 draft eligible players will really get the football world talking in the next two years.