Luke Reynolds (Port Adelaide)
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Player comparison: Lance Franklin (smaller)
Strengths: Athleticism, X-Factor, versatility
Weaknesses: Consistency, decision making
Luke Reynolds is one of the most interesting players in the draft this year. He has that unique ability to turn it on and threaten to tear open a game but can’t quite put four quarters of consistent football together at this stage. The way that Reynolds plays taller than his 186 cm build and has fantastic athleticism reminds many of a younger, smaller Buddy Franklin.
While he has a fair way to go to live up to that hype, Reynolds has plenty to like about the way he goes about it. His best asset is his ability to spin around to his preferred foot and kick a goal from outside 50. This was evident in South Australia’s win over Western Australia at Etihad Stadium in which Reynolds got the Redlegs started after the Sandgropers got the jump on them.
Reynolds has played as a third tall before with a decent grab overhead and great positioning where he can time his leads to perfection. Often Reynolds will make long leads up to the wing and be that player that kicks it inside 50 to one of the key forwards. While resting ,Reynolds can assist the talls and play from a pocket where he causes players to be aware of his presence. While he doesn’t have the body that other forwards have, he is usually more athletic than most defenders.
Of all the players in the 2013 draft crop, Reynolds has one of the highest X-factors simply because he has so much potential to turn a game and impact contest after contest. A big bonus about Reynolds is if he can build his endurance base a bit more he can also move into the midfield and use his athleticism to impact around the contest. He isn’t one to bury himself under packs, but his run and movement around the outside would provide another avenue for a club needing a versatile player.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Reynolds was selected by Hawthorn with Pick 35. In many ways it would be surprising to see Reynolds available at that stage of the draft. With his characteristics and potential, Reynolds could very well push inside the first round for a club that would be willing to pounce early. He might have a few things to work on but with athleticism and X-factor that he possesses, Reynolds is a valuable prospect.
The other aspect of his game that Reynolds needs to improve is his decision making. At times despite his obvious talent, Reynolds can sometimes rush his disposal and make an err in judgement by picking the wrong option. This could mean trying to go for the impossible goal or pass to an opponent under pressure without using an extra few seconds to size up the right option and execute the pass appropriately.
Luke Reynolds is one of the most talented players in the 2013 draft crop and has a bundle of potential that would make plenty of clubs licking their lips at the prospect of drafting him. He is likely to go anywhere in the first to third rounds depending on who sees the maximum potential in him. Regardless, Reynolds will no doubt find a club and become a genuine hot prospect over the next few years.