Lloyd Perris (St George)
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Player comparison: Kieran Jack
Strengths: Endurance, leadership and footy smarts.
Weaknesses: Injury history, hurt factor with disposal
Not many eighteen year olds have the resume that St George’s Lloyd Perris does. Perris is an AIS/AFL Academy member, winner of the Cameron Ling and Ben Mitchell medals, an All Australian team member and NSW/ACT MVP. There is a reason why he is being touted as the steal of the draft, as the Sydney Swans can pick him up with their last draft pick as he is a Swans scholarship holder. He has all of the qualities you want from a midfielder and the Swans can take him at the end of the draft. That sounds like a steal to me.
Perris is an elite runner and it is the main strength to his game. He has a huge motor and it allows him to get from contest to contest around the ground. His work rate is immense and he runs both ways, a quality which is greatly desirable in the open, flowing modern game. Perris is a very smart footballer and this helps him on the field, allowing him to run to the right spots both offensively and defensively. He always seems to be where the ball is and that is because he runs to the right spot every time and has got to the contest early enough to set up and give himself time to pick the right option.
Perris is the inaugural winner of the Cameron Ling medal and won the Ben Mitchell medal this year for his performances in the AIS/AFL Academy. Almost more importantly, the medals were awarded based mainly on leadership qualities rather than skill. What you are getting with Perris is a very selfless and switched on player, who was awarded top votes in competitiveness, patience, loyalty, sacrifice, respect, hard work, professionalism, desire and determination categories. Perris is clearly a great leader and motivator, and his determination is demonstrated by his recovery and return this year from a knee reconstruction as a bottom-ager. Perris has come back from the devastating knee injury and had a fantastic season, winning All-Australian selection and the NSW/ACT MVP.
Despite his high work rate, Perris doesn’t appear to have a great turn of speed. He can accelerate quickly but often does just enough to break clear of his opponent and then disposes of the ball. He doesn’t need speed, using his incredible football brain to analyse what is ahead of him and get rid of the ball quickly before following up on his kick and getting to the next contest.
Perris has very good inside ability but his outside game is far less polished. He is one of the better stoppage players in the draft this year, despite not having the large frame of other bullocking inside mids. Although he is a good kick, Perris does not have the elite disposal or weapons that many of the likely top draft prospects do. Perris is a neat kick but not particularly penetrating or damaging. He is unlikely to be the type of player to pick the ball up and deliver a spearing 45 metre pass onto the chest of the forward, but is more likely to guide the ball to the space in front of the forward, directing him to the best spot. By hand Perris is very good, dishing off the ball to outside receivers, even when in heavy traffic.
Perris is likened to Kieran Jack but in reality he is a typical Sydney midfielder and will fit in seamlessly to the Swans on-ball brigade next year, should they decide to select him. He is a hard running, two way worker with neat footskills and is prepared to win his own ball. He has trained with the Sydney team at times this year and did part of their pre-season with them this year so he should know the structures and game plan.
Perris is not going to be the best midfielder straight off the bat, and is likely to need a couple of years in the AFL system before he starts to produce, much like Tom Mitchell. But whichever team picks him up can be assured that he will give his all to ensure he makes it as an AFL footballer and will do anything to improve himself as a footballer.