AFL Draft Watch: Jackson Cardillo (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

IN a build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central will take a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under-17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at the NAB League Preseason Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Our first AFL Draft watch focuses on Calder Cannons’ Jackson Cardillo who lit up the track at the NAB League Preseason Testing Day, recording the best 20m sprint at the event clocking up a sizzling 2.88 seconds. While it was clear from watching the speedster burst out of the stoppages in his bottom-age year, Cardillo put that on-field ability on display at Maribyrnong College in March, where he was also above average in the vertical jump, running vertical jump and agility test. While his endurance is an area he could improve, his agility (8.15 seconds) and running vertical jump (82cm) were particularly impressive.


Speed: Elite (#1)
Vertical Jump: Above Average (#29)
Running Vertical Jump: Above Average (#38)
Agility: Above Average (#39)

Jackson Cardillo said on how he felt he fared:

“Not too bad, I pride myself on my sprinting so that’s the one I target, I think I did alright. “The rest of them, I think i did alright (too).”

Talent Manager Tom Lonergan said in the preseason:

“Cardillo obviously can play forward and midfield, so we’d like to think all those guys (Vic Metro hub members) can play in multiple positions.”


Jackson Cardillo

Height: 185.5cm
Weight: 77.5kg
Position: Inside Midfielder/Forward

2019 NAB LEAGUE STATS: 18 games | 13.2 disposals (54 per cent contested) | 2.1 marks | 2.6 clearances | 3.8 tackles | 2.6 inside 50s | 11 goals

Strengths: Explosive speed, kick penetration, stoppage presence
Improvements: Disposal consistency


Wildcard Round vs. Tasmania Devils

By: Taylah Melki

Worked hard across the ground to provide an option and use his assets to his advantage. Cardillo showed good pace out of the middle to run through corridor and spear the ball forward. Displayed good tackling pressure to win a holding the ball call and ran hard throughout the match. He used his quick hands to keep the ball moving and stepped up in the last term winning his fair share of the ball.

Round 17 vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Michael Alvaro

Started brightly with a goal in the first term and found a lot of his possessions going forward, proving dangerous when in full flight. While he can sure up his short-range kicking at times, Cardillo made a couple of neat plays in-tight when keeping his hands free and shifting to release around opponents, while also getting good penetration with longer kicks going inside 50. Clunked a really strong mark from behind in the third term and came off worse for wear, but that kind of attack is just part of his game.

Under 17 Futures Game vs. Queensland

By: Michael Alvaro

Having shown his aggression and ball winning ability on the inside in his NAB League outings, Cardillo spent most of his time on the wing and at half forward in this game. His forward running proved effective, hitting up Reef McInnes inside 50 in the first term and moving up towards attacking 50 with intent. After lacking oomph on a snap attempt in the second term, Cardillo made amends with a nice set shot finish after the half time siren for his only goal of the game. He would go on to miss another chance on the run when he had a touch more time to find the intended target, and attended the centre bounces late on.

Round 15 vs. GWV Rebels

By: Michael Alvaro

He might only be a bottom-ager, but Cardillo keeps on providing good grunt in the engine room, battling hard to break tackles and applying his own with force throughout the day. He was a little down on some of his recent numbers but still popped up with a few nice touches around the ground – marking strongly on forward wing in the fourth quarter and later faking a set shot to find Sam Ramsay a little further inside attacking 50.

Round 14 vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Michael Alvaro

The bottom-ager was tenacious in the contest, accumulating throughout the day and stringing together clearing kicks. His tackling intent was shown in the second term, giving away an overzealous high free kick but following it up with a holding the ball tackle as Bendigo played on. Cardillo also fared well when used up forward, finding space inside 50 on the back of a turnover to mark and goal, while also improvising a kick to assist a Jake Sutton goal as he gathered on the move. Really rate his aggression and willingness to break tackles.