Vics bolt out of the blue and into the combine

2106 Cedric Cox Rebels debut
Cedric Cox, one of 10 Victorian bolters nominated for the AFL National Combine.

The AFL Draft National Combine list was announced on Monday, with 80 prospects nominated to strut their stuff at Etihad Stadium in October.

From the list of 80, you wouldn’t be blamed for asking- who is that guy?


Our AFL Draft Central scouts have put their heads together to give you 10 Victorian prospects who have bolted into AFL Draft calculations.

Want to know more about the draft pool? Hit us up on Twitter @AFLDraftCentral

Joshua Begley (Duncan Robertson)
Medium Forward/Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
03/07/1998 | 187cm | 87kg

After not even making the initial cut of the Eastern Ranges squad, Joshua Begley went back to Upper Ferntree Gully in the third division EFL and forced his way into the TAC Cup frame, kicking 13 goals in the first two games.

On debut against Tasmania the goals kept flowing, a bag of six majors has cemented Begley in the team ever since. In the 10 games that have followed since explosive debut, the 187cm powerhouse has kicked a further 17 goals – only going goalless three times – despite his role alternating between undersized key forward and powerful midfielder.

As a forward, Begley’s powerful frame, strong kick and sure hands mitigate his relative lack of height, and his surprising pace makes him a handful for his key defensive opponents. When he moves into the middle, his agility and strength allow him to burst into and out of packs and his bustling work around the stoppages is drawing the eye.

At AFL level, I think he will likely start at half forward, where he will present a matchup nightmare for small and medium defenders in the Martin/Stringer vein, but it is in the middle that his future beckons, once he builds a greater aerobic capacity, something his desire to work at has drawn great praise from his coaches at the Ranges.

Cedric Cox (Peter Williams)
Medium Defender (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
19/08/1997 | 184cm | 70kg

Cedric Cox is the epitome of draft bolter. The silky speedster from Western Australia only arrived in Victoria in March, signing up with local Hampden league club Camperdown.

The dashing defender who has pinch hit in the middle and up forward, has caught the eye of recruiters with his movement through traffic and high-level skill.

Rarely missing a target, Cox has great vision and glides around the ground, backing himself with plenty of run and carry.

While he does not find a heap of the ball, he is one of those players that only needs a dozen disposals to impact a contest.

Judah Dundon (Peter Williams)
Outside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/04/1998 | 186cm | 77kg

Judah Dundon is a player who has flown under the radar at the Western Jets. An outside midfielder, Dundon does not find as much of the ball as other midfielders, averaging 19 disposals, but he works hard defensively and is a good medium size. Dundon is versatile in the sense he has played both behind and forward of the ball.

Dundon is one of the better users in the draft and can be damaging on his day. His ability to move the ball in transition and get it forward is telling, which is why clubs are considering him in this year’s draft despite not making the Vic Metro cut.

The outside midfielder has recovered well from a delayed start to the season – where he had stress fractures – and has been able to string matches together for the Jets. Unfortunately for Dundon, he has a stress fracture in his leg and it will be a race against time to get him fit for testing at the National Combine.

Jack Henry (Peter Williams)
Utility (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
28/08/1997 | 191cm | 83kg

Jack Henry is a tall midfielder who can play around the ground, Henry is strong and able to stand up in a tackle.

He wins ball on the inside and outside with a big frame that he uses to win the ball at ground level or in the air.

Despite being a long kick, Henry could sharpen up his disposal a little, but overall he possesses plenty of attributes that would attract clubs.

Most importantly, he is not afraid to take the game on and backs himself when clear in space.

A high leap and reliable set shot, Henry is a point of difference in this draft crop.

Patrick Lipinski (Michael Alvaro)
Medium Forward (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
17/07/1998 | 188cm | 79kg

Patrick Lipinski is a bolter in every sense of the word. The Knights took a chance on the athletically gifted youngster, knowing well of his prowess in the game of basketball. As expected, Lipinski has great hands as a result of his sporting background.

The Eltham Panthers product works most effectively as a half forward who, at 188cm, can not only clunk a decent grab, but also pose a threat in front of goal, with just under two goals per TAC Cup match this year. He has also added a ball-winning dimension to his game, averaging 27 disposals in his last three TAC Cup games, with two best on ground performances. Expect him to excel at the combine with his eye-catching spring.

Mitchell McCarthy (Sam Mills & Peter Williams)
Ruckman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
10/10/1997 | 196cm | 87kg

Mitchell McCarthy is one of those modern ruckman who moves well around the ground, and what he lacks in height, he makes up for in athleticism.

McCarthy didn’t play a game as an underage player on the Stingrays list in 2014 before taking up a high school basketball scholarship offer in the USA for 2015 only returning to Australia in December. At 196cm, he has been playing predominantly in the ruck this season, using his elite leap to combat taller opponents.

McCarthy has strong hands, which combined with his jump makes him a valuable aerial presence around the ground. He covers the ground well for a player his size and given his basketball success and athletics traits, there is no surprise he was nominated.

Injury cruelled his year as the mobile ruck began to impress in a number of games, working his opponent over around the ground and it is hopeful that McCarthy can take some part in the testing.

While he has not been exposed to much time up forward or back, it could be something clubs may explore if he is drafted.

Bailey Morrish (Matt Balmer)
Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
18/05/1998 | 186cm | 76kg

There is a real possibility that Bailey Morrish wins a few of the tests at the Draft Combine in October. At the TAC Cup testing at the beginning of the season, Morrish placed first in the vertical jump, second in the agility and ran a sub three second 20m sprint.

Morrish carries these traits over onto the field, where he has had some eye catching moments coming from the defensive half of the ground. However, he isn’t a big disposal winner, averaging 14 disposals in the TAC Cup this year.

Morrish does have the ability to push up the ground onto a wing, but his good rebound ability means he’s best suited to play across half back.

Harry Morrison (Matt Balmer)
Medium Defender (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
12/11/1998 | 182cm | 73kg

Injuries have plagued Harry Morrison over the last two seasons, but he looks to be over those concerns with a solid patch of football over the past month.

Morrison recovered from an ACL injury late last season, playing the final seven matches for the Bushrangers before an ankle issue kept him out for a month at the beginning of the season. Morrison returned, but suffered a back issue which kept him out for two months.

Despite missing the Under 18 Championships for Vic Country, Morrison has showed good signs in 2016 playing mostly across half back. In the last few weeks, Morrison has pushed further up the ground onto a wing where he’ll likely spend most of his time at the Bushrangers for the remaining half of the season.

Morrison is one of the most agile players at the Bushrangers and his work in traffic is great. Morrison makes good decisions with his strong skill set but clubs will question the injuries he has suffered over the last 24 months.

Esava Ratugolea (Matt Balmer)
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
24/07/1998 | 194cm | 95kg

A injury related start to the season saw Esava Ratugolea miss preseason and the opening seven rounds of the year for the Bushrangers. That didn’t hold Ratugolea back however, when a bag of eight goals against Bendigo saw him rushed into the Vic Country squad for the final two games of the carnival.

The Fijian tall has kicked 15 goals in five TAC Cup games and has been the Bushrangers back up ruckman averaging 11 hitouts a game.

Ratugolea is very raw, but his athletic ability which saw him run an elite 2.92 second 20m sprint at the testing earlier in the season is superb.

Ratugolea showed promise in his two games for Vic Country, crashing packs and showing off his great vertical jump. Expect Ratugolea to be one of the better testing talls at the National Combine.


Luke Ryan (Josh Poulter)
Medium Defender (Coburg/VFL)
06/02/1998 | 185cm | 87kg

Luke Ryan is a rebounding defender who reads the play exceptionally well. Ryan is the only state league player who made the National Combine and has been touted as high as a Top 20 selection come November.

Ryan signed on late for Coburg in 2016 after missing the Essendon VFL cut. He spent time last season as a 19-year old at the Calder Cannons playing four games and averaging seven marks per game, but was undrafted.

Ryan made his debut in Round 3 for Coburg in the VFL against Box Hill, where he was adjudged best-on-ground, winning the Gibbs-Lines medal with a 30 disposals, 12 marks and 10 rebound-50 performance. Ryan us clean with possession around the ground and has great decision making skills. In one-on-one contests, Ryan is rarely beaten even when out of position.

So far this season, Ryan is averaging 21 disposals and seven marks at VFL level.

Ryan’s ability to read the play will excite clubs where he’s expected to be the first mature-aged recruit called out in 2016.


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