James Rose (Sturt)
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Strengths: Football IQ, courage
Areas of improvement: Accumulation, kicking
Player comparison: Aaron Edwards
A medium sized marking forward who can play all over the ground, James Rose is the type of player who flies under the radar but still performs a role coaches love.
From the prestigious Scotch College in Adelaide, Rose has really impressed playing in the SANFL reserves for Sturt, often being in the best players. Rose also had a fantastic under 18 championships for South Australia as a staple of their forward line.
Rose is the typical South Australian player – not incredibly fast or skilled and a few centimetres smaller than you’d like him to be but just a natural footballer. Rose possesses some real smarts that you can’t train.
When forward he leads hard and straight at the ball, never slowing down for any reason and crashing through anything that is in his way. He took several pack marks early in the championships that epitomised this, with his aggression and courage something rarely seen in juniors. One on one Rose is capable, but it’s not his specialty.
At ground level Rose is clean and moves well, but doesn’t possess the electricity of a small forward. By foot Rose is solid but not spectacular, with his kicks normally hitting targets but rarely penetrating. Rose is also a hard worker, with his ability to gut run and hit the red zone to burn his opponent off a highlight. Down back Rose has shown he can read the play well off a half back, while he’s also shown some ability off a wing.
Most of the knocks on Rose are size related. At 186 centimetres he’s definitely too small to play as a key forward, while he lacks the ground level prowess and athleticism to play as a small. Through the middle he hasn’t shown the ability to accumulate heavily and with his pace and skills, he probably doesn’t have much of a future as an outside mid.
With his courage and aggression though, it remains to be seen as to whether he could make a name for himself on the inside – there is no exposed form to indicate either way. In defence Rose has shown he’s capable at the lower levels, however with his size and pace combination he isn’t someone who could be defensively versatile with who he matches up on.
If Rose is to make it, barring some handy speed gains, a growth spurt or an improved kick – his kicking technique is awkward which might put a ceiling on how much it can improve – he’s going to remain limited to playing as a forward.
Rose, despite his shortcomings, still looms as an attractive prospect for a team wanting another dimension in their forward line. Right now he projects as an Aaron Edwards type undersized key forward type, except Rose is a better reader of the play.
The ceiling on Rose is probably a Tom Lynch (Adelaide) kind of role as a third tall who plays more as a high half forward. Rose may not be able to get separation quickly when leading, but his ability to hit the red zone and burn his opponent allows him to often have real separation by the time he hits half forward.
His courage and contested marking ability also gives him a point of difference as an extra target from kick-ins and along the wings. This could bode well for Rose to eventually play in a high half forward link up role.