2013 Draft Profile: Meyrick Buchanan

Meyrick Buchanan (Geelong Falcons)

Height: 177 cm
Weight: 77 kg
Position: Forward
Player comparison: Trent Cotchin
Strengths: Agility, footy smarts, decision making
Weaknesses: Limited football action

Meyrick Buchanan is by far the most interesting prospect in this draft along with Dayle Garlett. The reason? Both have question marks over their football but the difference is Buchanan has no off-field dramas, more on-field question marks. A couple of years ago, Buchanan was rated as one of the highest talents at Under 18s level but instead elected to make the tough choice of picking cricket over football. With two years left on his Cricket Victoria contract, the talented Buchanan has back-flipped and decided to try out football again.

The brother of Sydney premiership player and Brisbane Lions player Amon, Buchanan made the agonisingly tough choice to head back to the oval ball sport after having concerns about his chances at the top level. One talent identifier posed the question of ”How many kids are out there who could do a Mike Hussey, and churn away at it until they’re 30 before they get a go at the top level?” in an interview with The Age earlier in the year. Obviously this may have been a consideration of Buchanan’s while making the choice between cricket and football earlier this year.

The main concern is obviously how to get Buchanan up to scratch with the football he’s missed but given his talent and dedication, that hardly seems a problem. He’s played a mixture of matches for the Falcons and for the Werribee Tigers in a bid to put his hand up to recruiters. Given the obvious differences between the two sports, a more bursting endurance base might be needed such as high interval training rather than an all-round fitness regime. Given many clubs have seen him in prior years, there’s no doubting he has the talent to get drafted and his short hiatus in the bat and ball game won’t deter clubs.

As a small forward, Buchanan has all the tricks of the trade required such as agility, pace and footy smarts. He knows how to find the goals and stands up when called upon. Despite being belted by Eastern Ranges at Simonds Stadium earlier in the year, Buchanan booted three goals and was one of the few to hold his head high in the huge loss. He’s played less matches than many others at TAC Cup level, but he is one that will no doubt bring up plenty of questions come draft time.

He’s obviously older than any other player in the TAC Cup (born 1993) so he does have that slight advantage, but given his stints at VFL level, he should show enough to prove he can still match it with the bigger bodies. Given his natural talent to kick goals and make things happen, Buchanan is one to certainly watch in the TAC Cup finals. A good series could see him shoot up the draft order and be pounced upon earlier than expected. No doubt he is probably a late pick at this stage, but could be a diamond in the rough for sure.

Geelong Falcons coach Andy Althorpe compared him to Trent Cotchin. “He’s a little bit smaller than Cotchin but he’s very creative in that way. He’s very smart and he always has plenty of time, so in many ways he’s similar to him (Cotchin),” he said. While he won’t go pick two, he’ll no doubt be a really good late selection for whoever takes the chance on him.

In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Buchanan was selected by West Coast with pick 81. This may well be the right stage of the draft when we can see Buchanan’s name pop up. On talent from a few years ago he would potentially be a second or third round pick but depending on how clubs rate him to date means he could slip. It’s hard to see the talented, enigmatic forward not being selected and one would imagine that a big factor in his decision to switch back to football would be that clubs are keen on him playing AFL so there is little doubt that he’ll be selected at some stage and provide some real X-factor in a forward line.

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