AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season a month earlier where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Peter Williams chatted with Sandringham Dragons’ Archie Perkins at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.
An explosive midfielder-forward, Perkins lit up the pre-season testing event with elite scores in the running vertical jumps and agility test, while notching a 2.94-second 20m sprint to boot. Having proven his worth in a lot of time forward of centre across 10 NAB League games in 2019, the powerful186cm jet is looking to spend more minutes further afield and use his bursting pace at the stoppages while winning more of the ball.
The Brighton Grammar student was again poised to juggle commitments between school football, representative duties for Vic Metro, and his playing time with Sandringham throughout his final year of study, making for a busy schedule. But with the footballing calendar currently up in the air, Perkins will have to wait along with his fellow draft hopefuls to finally get out on the park. Having already featured in the Under 17 All Stars showcase game on grand final day last year, plenty already know of the youngster’s potential.
PW: How’s the day been so far?
AP: “Yeah it’s been pretty good. “It’s pretty interesting to see where you sit in all these tests but it’s important to realise it’s only a minor part of the year and so I’m just looking forward to the season.”
What do you see as your strengths in terms of these fitness tests?
“In the tests, probably the 20m. “So acceleration and also the vertical leap.”
And on-field, what do you see as your strengths there?
“Probably my explosiveness from the stoppage and also athletic ability. “So overhead marking for a midfielder, and also a bit of goalkicking now.”
What would your ideal position be?
“Starting inside mid with the ability to rest forward.”
Will you get more time there this year?
“In the midfield? Yeah, hopefully. “So hopefully I can start in the midfield this year for all the teams I play for and get to rest forward too.”
You’ll have school footy as well?
“Yeah, at Brighton Grammar.”
So how do you go about balancing everything?
“Well we get to focus on school footy throughout the whole middle of the year but then get to go back to (the) Dragons as well which is good when we have a bye and in the holidays.”
What are you looking to improve on within your game?
“Probably just starting to win a bit more of the football as a midfielder. “So pushing up over the 20 possession mark (per) game, but also keeping up my goalkicking and not losing my strengths as well.”
Obviously you had a strong squad last year, what has that done for your development working with some of those top-agers?
“Oh heaps.” Guys like Finn Maginness, Josh Worrell and all those types of blokes. “Obviously it was a really good draft year for the Dragons last year so yeah, obviously at training it was really high quality last year so it allows you to take that into this year and try to replicate what happened last year.”
So do you now look to take their role on and be one of the leaders in the group?
“Yeah for sure, definitely. “It always helps the standards of training and everything, and just overall will help the team if the leaders are setting the example. Otherwise it’s harder to achieve what you want to.”
How’ve you found training at RSEA Park, being an AFL venue?
“It’s really good. “It is an AFL facility so being able to have access to that is really good; you get the gym, it’s a super high quality gym, all the ice baths and everything. “You’ve got everything you need, it’s really good.”
Looking forward to getting out there in your last practice games?
“Yeah, it’ll be my first hit-out for the year so I’m looking forward to putting everything into action and hopefully starting the season well.”
And what goals would you like to tick off this year?
“Firstly to just try and win as many games with the Dragons at the start, then for school hopefully to win the footy premiership, then play for Metro in the middle of the year in the (national) carnival, and then going to the finals with the Dragons at the end of the year. And obviously to get drafted at the end.”