2013 Draft Profile: James Toohey

James Toohey (Oakleigh Chargers)

Height: 196 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Position: Key position utility
Player comparison: Jake Carlisle
Strengths: Marking, Athleticism, Versatility
Weaknesses: Consistency

James Toohey is an over-age prospect who missed out on being drafted in 2012. He is a tall key position utility who has the body to out-muscle plenty of opponents but instead will more likely beat them around the ground. He is a strange little package who moves quite well for a tall 196 cm switch man, but his footy smarts can sometimes see much less built players beat him one-on-one.

At 94 kg, one would expect Toohey could use his body effectively to really dominate a position, but looking at him, he looks more like a Tyson Goldsack or Tayte Pears type size where they look a bit undersized for the role. Nonetheless, Toohey has a number of aspects that make him draftable in 2013. He is similar to Jake Carlisle in the way he can take a grab and play up either end. He can switch mid-game and turn the match on its head like he did against Bendigo Pioneers earlier in the year. Toohey was put forward and booted two goals in a quarter to give the Chargers some momentum just as Bendigo were starting to get away.

It’s tough to know whether it is footy smarts that is Toohey’s true weakness. Statistically he’s a reasonably hulking man who’s athletic so one would assume he could kick several goals a game or really stamp his authority on most matches. While he has had impact from time to time, he isn’t able to sustain it for four quarters. To those who know him best, it is mostly centered around not finding a consistent position. Toohey has been moved around the field after being taught the ruck last year and hasn’t been able to settle in one particular spot.

James Toohey does have a number of strengths as well which clubs can work with. He’s a good defender who knows how to spoil and moves quite well out of defence. He will usually give the handball but does have a reasonably penetrating kick which can hit a target down the field. His disposal is neither here nor there but it’s nothing to be overly concerned about. If Toohey can beat his man each week there shouldn’t be too many worries from the club or fans.

Toohey’s greatest asset is his versatility to also go forward and kick crucial goals when required. This gives AFL clubs the chance to develop him as a key position player up either end or continue his development as a switch man. He knows how to take a grab, can kick a goal, but also is accountable and athletic enough to keep up with his opponent in the back half. Another asset he has that his friends note is his determination and unselfishness that he shows for his teammates. Unlike other players who go out of their way to get noticed, Toohey has a team-first attitude and is respected amongst his peers.

In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Toohey was taken by St Kilda with pick 75. Realistically, Toohey would be a late to rookie selection but may go un-drafted again. While this profile might seem negative, it’s more a case of not being able to pinpoint a direct weakness more just trying to explain how Toohey could better utilise his strengths across four quarters. He does have a lot to offer an AFL club and it would be surprising if at the very least if he wasn’t considered for a rookie spot by one club.


  1. James Toohey spent his year 12 focusing on his studies, duxing his year at St Kev’s. He then spent last year learning how to be ruck – this year Chargers let him show his versatility by switching from forward to centre half back, full back, full forward, tall mid fielder, ruck. You’re not going to master those positions in a week, particularly coming from a junior tennis background in NSW and spending a year living in Canada as a 10 year old. He’s got the brains, physique and determination to learn. He just needs a decent club to give him a decent chance.

  2. Yeah, I’ve got to second Sophie on that one. Having seen James’ strong focus on his studies in 2011 i was left wondering about his future footy prospects. he puts in the effort if he wants to achieve something, i can tell you that. when he has his eyes set on something he will pour his guts out for it.
    it doesn’t seem like he makes a huge impact on the ground, so i’d agree with the writer, but he’s a deceptive player – he’s clinical, he potters away off the ball and allows great passages of play to occur due to this persistence and unselfish efforts for his fellow team mates.
    another unmentioned strength; James’ determination is unsurpassable. Whilst this profile seems relatively negative, James has a plethora of skills that could be of great use. Like sophie, i too wish a coach could give him a confidence boost and bring out his best.
    If he doesnt get drafted at the end of this year, his determination will render him a top footy player one day – i can assure you that.

  3. Thanks guys, I really appreciate this information because it’s impossible to know background or mental capabilities without knowing the people who know him well. For the record on a personal level, I really like James, it’s more a case of wondering why he couldn’t impact across four quarters because it didn’t seem to be endurance. When I saw Oakleigh play Bendigo and they were down by a fair bit, the Chargers through him forward and he booted two quick goals and I thought “He’s going to tear this open” and then sort of disappeared. It’s just been moments like that where he’s seemingly about to put his hand up and be like “I’m going to turn this game on its head and show my full potential” but then disappears. It’s more of a case of myself wanting to see him play full four quarters with the potential that he obviously has because there is something that doesn’t quite click. But I really appreciate the comments and can include them for future reference. For what it’s worth, I’d have no problem with my own club taking a punt on him with a late/rookie pick as he does have that potential, just (as you said) needs a club to harness it.

  4. I have edited accordingly as you have really helped me form an accurate profile of James from the pieces I was missing. Hopefully he can get drafted 🙂

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