Tom Lamb (Dandenong Stingrays)
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Player comparison: Jack Watts
Strengths: Finding the ball, Can tear a game apart, Athleticism
Areas needing improvement: Consistency, Attitude
If you look at his stats, Tom Lamb does not warrant the hype he’s had all year. In his 13 TAC Cup Games, he hasn’t been named in Dandenong’s best players since his third game, in early May, against NSW/ACT.
But he deserves more. Lamb averages 22 disposals per game, which is incredible for a guy who has played barely any minutes in the midfield. He managed 33 disposals at close to 70% efficiency against Bendigo, with 10 handball receives and eight marks to go along with it. He didn’t register a single vote in that game.
Why did recruiters rate him as a top 10 selection, with the potential to be one of the best in the league?
In his two finals games, Lamb has been quietly putting together some solid form. He hasn’t quite lit up the game with flashy play like in last year’s grand final, but he’s been an important reason why a merely okay Stringrays outfit has two finals wins. He’s averaged 25 disposals at 60% efficiency across the two games, as well as averaging six marks, 9.5 handball receives and 1.5 goals per game. He showed he was willing to work against the Jets, with six tackles too.
In isolated games, Lamb looks like he has all the talent. In round one he had a poor first half, but ended up winning the game single-handedly with six goals, 13 marks and 25 disposals. Since then, there has been a whole lot of pressure on the AIS graduate.
Here’s why some recruiters refuse to consider him as a first round selection: He’s run at 54% disposal efficiency for the whole year. His skills need serious work, but he does have games where he finds targets with ease. He has kicked 13 goals in 12 games. Considering six of them came in round one, you have to wonder whether he is actually much of a forward threat at all. After taking six contested marks in round one (13 marks altogether), he has taken just five more in the other 11 games. At 192 centimetres and rotating between centre half forward, the wing and half back, you’d think someone who is as prodigious as Lamb would take at least one or two per game.
In the National Championships, Lamb struggled for quite some time. He averaged 15 disposals, which isn’t bad off a half back flank, but again he ran at a really poor 57%. He only kicked the one goal in five games, but he did look okay when he moved to a back flank.
Lamb is a bit similar to Jack Watts. He has a lean body and avoids body contact in contested situations. He’s a reliable lead up target, but doesn’t quite have all the tricks of a high class key forward. Lamb is really athletic, and can run all day if he wants, but he doesn’t quite have the work ethic yet.
Lamb finds plenty of the outside ball, and if he works at it, his kicking out of the backline could be easily improved. Lamb has plenty of speed and an incredible leaping ability, and we know he can turn a game on its head if he wants.