2014 Draft Profile: Christian Petracca

Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges)
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 92 kg
Position: Midfielder/forward
Player Comparison: Chad Wingard/Josh Kennedy (Sydney)
Strengths: Contested marking, goal kicking, contested ball winning
Areas of Improvement: Disposal efficiency
Suitable Teams: Melbourne, Brisbane, North Melbourne, Richmond

In my mind, anywhere past pick seven or eight and Christian Petracca Petracca becomes a steal.

Talent wise, Petracca is worthy of a top five pick, and on output, he’s number one. He’s a strong bodied forward-cum-midfielder, but to pigeon hole him as one or the other is to misjudge him.

After kicking over 40 goals as an underager – keep in mind Tom Boyd, Michael Apeness and Dan McStay all played in that forward line at times – Petracca hired a running coach and dropped six kilograms over the summer. His dedication and professionalism is at the upper echelon.

Now he is the vice-captain of the Ranges and a full-time midfielder. He can do it all. His body is strong enough to dominate on the inside and his skills are good enough to damage on the outside. Don’t worry about his disposal efficiency, as many of his kicks come from contested situations.

He reminds me of Chad Wingard as every disposal he has changes the game. He often records five or more inside 50s per game and they are usually lace out. He is the best contested mark for his height and he could easily beat most key defenders in the air.

He is an absolute game changer and has the most x-factor in this draft class. He can rack up the ball consistently too, so he is an unquestionable prospect this year. You only have to look at his work for Vic Metro, where he has been in the top two ball winners in every game he has played.

His two Metro games so far have yielded him impressive stats:

– vs. Western Australia: 27 disposals at 85%, two goals, one behind, seven marks, four tackles, seven clearances, nine contested possessions and four inside 50s.
– vs. Vic Country: 31 disposals at 65%, seven marks, three tackles, four clearances, 11 contested possessions and six inside 50s.

In 2012, Petracca averaged 19.4 disposals as a half forward, with 2.4 goals per game and only two goalless games. In six of his 17 games, he had three goals of more, including hauls of six and five. His Preliminary Final performance against the Falcons had him score over 200 Champion Data points, as his five goals, five behinds, 11 marks – an incredible nine of those contested – and 23 possessions showed that he is indeed the most impressive player in this year’s crop.

In 2012, he displayed his ball-winning skills even more, with an average of 23.8 disposals in five games as well as 1.6 goals per game. He’s also averaged 4.2 tackles, and although he’s only averaged 4.6 marks per game this year, he highest total was 11 marks, and two of those marks per game have been contested.

The only ‘downside’ is that he is not a key forward, but any side which drafts him gets a strong forward and elite midfielder with the one pick. There is no player who can produce the numbers that he can. He is a once in a generation type of guy.

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