Riley Knight (Woodville-West Torrens)
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Player comparison: Steele Sidebottom
Strengths: Possession winning ability, endurance
Weaknesses: Very safe player, lacks hurt factor
Riley Knight is a prospect who is having a fantastic season this year yet few people are talking about the young man from Woodville-West Torrens. Knight is an unassuming player who regularly accumulates high possession totals and is almost always one of his team’s best players. It is ironic that Knight can rack up 30 touches or more each week in the SANFL Under 18s, and be hardly spoken about while similar yet less talented players like James Tsitas can rack up almost the same stat sheet and get talked up as a mid-second round prospect.
Knight is an inside midfielder with very good endurance and neat footskills but due to the midfield talent South Australia had, he was forced to the forward flank in the Championships. That is no knock on Knight’s midfield ability because the likes of Luke Dunstan, Dwayne Wilson and James Aish are likely to be first round picks or early second rounders.
As a half forward Knight is very smooth and plays his role superbly. He is not a flashy player and is not extremely quick but he is skilful and plays within himself. He is a good kick but he takes the safe option more often than not, rarely pulling the trigger and going long and preferring to hit a shorter and safer target to make sure his team keeps possession of the ball. He lowers his eyes and kicks short, sharp passes to advantage which give his key forwards the best opportunity to beat their defender and mark the ball.
He is a reasonable crumber and gets to the fall of the ball but he doesn’t have the ability to play as a small forward at AFL level. Instead he is more suited to a high half forward role, delivering the ball to the forwards and working up the ground to help out the midfielders.
As a midfielder he has exceptional ball winning ability. He is not a huge contested ball winner but he is certainly not a soft outside player either. He finds the happy medium between but he is definitely more inside than outside. He is the type of player who can get 25 touches and you won’t notice him much but that is not a knock on him. He has very good disposal, particularly by foot and makes very good decisions. He doesn’t dwell on the ball and gets out of the congestion with a quick two or three steps before getting rid of the ball. Don’t expect to find Knight out on the wing taking three bounces and selling candy to opposition players because he is very unlikely to do this, instead he is more likely to be the man who put the outside runner in space to do this.
Knight is one of the fittest players in the draft this year and is sure to do well at the Draft Combine. He ran a 15.5 beep test in the 2013 Macca’s Cup Testing (SANFL Under 18’s Combine) earlier this year and has an incredible tank that allows him to continue working around the ground to rack up possessions. With the way the AFL is going, he is going to be an asset to teams due to his endurance and ability to put in multiple efforts. His endurance also stops him from going missing and ensures he is at every contest.
Knight was taken at Pick 47 by Port Adelaide in the BFGN Rising Stars Phantom Draft because he is so versatile and can go into the midfield/half forward rotations with Chad Wingard and Robbie Gray. At Pick 47 there are few better than Knight and he is one who is predicted to go much higher on draft day.