Nick Favretto (West Adelaide)
Player comparison: Brent Stanton
Strengths: Ball winning ability, speed, ready-made body
Weaknesses: Lacks X-factor
Nick Favretto is another of the quiet achievers from South Australia. Not many people are talking about him yet he consistently racks up 25 possessions in the SANFL reserves against older and bigger bodies. Perhaps his lack of appearances for the strong South Australian team in the Championships have hurt him but there are other ways to get recruiters attention and Favretto is surely doing that.
There is a perception that Favretto is a very outside player and that is not 100 per cent true. Favretto gathers the majority of his possessions on the outside, using his speed to break clear to loose balls and is a neat kick so his teammates like to give him the ball. However he has a strong body, at 188 cm and 88 kg, and he can win his own ball in contested situations. His tackling has improved and he is adding more tackles to his stat sheet which is going to help him shake the outside tag.
Unlike so many others, Favretto actually has a hardened body that could cope with the rigours of AFL football and dominates in the Under 18s which is why he’s played some matches against the men. Unfortunately Favretto is still waiting to consistently play senior football so clubs can get a taste about how he competes against the more talented senior guys. He is however doing everything he can to stand out at Under 18s level in South Australia and his stats reflect that.
Favretto finds the ball with ease but at times doesn’t have the most dangerous disposal. He uses it reasonably well but won’t punish you as much as some of the other South Australian midfielders such as James Aish or Dwayne Wilson. He does have that honest approach about him that should see him rack up solid numbers at AFL level without being considered a huge star.
Favretto is very similar to Brent Stanton whom a few years ago was at the cross roads in his career. He was still racking up touches but wasn’t having a great deal of influence on the contest. Since James Hird in particular has been installed as coach, Stanton has increased his work rate and in the first half of last season, fans began to see the potential he has. While he hasn’t been able to constantly replicate that form through injury and other circumstances, Stanton has kept his place in the team when fit. This is the kind of player Favretto should look towards and aim to increase his work rate in the belief that his disposal will become more damaging.
One huge benefit he has is the breakaway speed from the contest, something that could be very useful to clubs who are seeking that outside runner to get it forward to the key targets. He might not have the greatest disposal, but it’s good enough that players can rely on him to hit targets more often than not. He’ll particularly be used to hit up that 30 metre target out of a contest to a teammate who has found space on a flank or wing.
In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Favretto was taken by the Western Bulldogs with pick 58. He could be considered the outside version of Matthew Boyd who has been a fantastic servant for the club. Given he has had limited opportunities at senior level as well at state level, Favretto is a bit of an unknown when it comes to predicting draft range. One might suggest a third to fourth round pick is about right however a club could pounce early in the second round or he may slip to the rookie draft.
Favretto has enough talent to suggest he’ll find a home in the AFL next season and he has plenty to like about him. If he can finish off the season in style, one could expect to hear Nick Favretto’s name read out on draft day.