IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central takes 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.
Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is classy Eastern Ranges captain Connor Downie, who was one of the few bottom-agers to crack last year’s stacked Vic Metro line-up. Utilised mostly as an outside midfielder and half-back during his bottom-age year, Downie became a key member of the Eastern side which took out the NAB League minor premiership. The well-built Hawthorn NGA prospect looks primed for more inside midfield minutes in 2020 though, with his class on the ball and ability to find it both transferrable assets.
NAB LEAGUE PRESEASON TESTING HIGHLIGHTS:
Vertical Jump: Average (#52)
Running Vertical Jump: Average (#47)
Talent manager Sean Toohey on Downie:
“Connor is flying at the moment, we had our camp on the weekend and was voted in as our 2020 captain so I don’t think that will be any real surprise. “He’s in really good shape.”
Position: Half-back/outside midfielder
2019 NAB LEAGUE STATS: 14 games | 16.4 disposals | 2.6 marks | 1.4 tackles | 1.6 inside 50s | 3.8 rebound 50s | 9 goals
Strengths: Versatility, leadership, kick penetration, efficiency
Improvements: Inside craft
2019 SCOUTING NOTES:
By: Michael Alvaro
Gave a glimpse into his role for next year with a mix of time between his usual outside position and in the midfield. Downie’s willingness to get on his bike at every opportunity and move the ball forward was a feature, fitting the metres-gained role well on the outside. He would often dish off on the move and continue his run to get it back, ending his move with a long kick forward on his customary left side.
By: Ed Pascoe
The Hawthorn NGA prospect continued his fine form in this year’s finals series with another stellar game on the wing; showcasing his ability to get around the ground and cause havoc with his silky left boot and marking ability across the ground… Downie glides across the ground well and looks to have great athleticism to go with his skill.
By: Ed Pascoe
Downie is not eligible to be drafted until next year but he has already made a name for himself this year and had another strong performance, showcasing his run and dash and willingness to drive the ball forward. Downie showed great composure and intent throughout the game and worked hard up and down the ground. His left foot can really be a weapon when given time and space.
By: Michael Alvaro
The hero of the day… his moment in the sun came on the back of staying with the play and laying a strong tackle to force the spillage and deciding free kick, converting cooly after the siren to win Eastern a thrilling contest.
By: Sophie Taylor
Found some good space to clear the ball early, made a solid kick inside 50 to player on the move, and showed good run and carry with the flow of the game. Took a great intercept mark in the second for an attempt at goal, slotting one of his three majors. Put his hand up for Metro selection once again after coming out of the side for this week.