AFL Draft Watch: Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth/Western Australia)

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 pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Perth Demons’ product Nathan O’Driscoll, who already looms as one of Western Australia’s top draft prospects for 2020. The 18-year-old has some handy role models to feed off en route to his AFL dream, with older sister Emma already playing at the elite level for Fremantle, while former Perth teammate Deven Robertson was drafted to Brisbane on the back of a Larke Medal-winning campaign for the Black Ducks.

O’Driscoll already has some notable experience under his belt too, having earned All-Australian honours at Under-16 level in 2018, running out as a bottom-ager for Western Australia at last year’s Under 18s carnival, and starred in the Under-17 All-Stars showcase on AFL Grand Final Day. He featured mostly on the outside or off half-back with the step-up in competition, but has his eyes set on some more midfield minutes in 2020.

The 187cm prospect has a penetrating boot which he uses to gain good meterage, making him a fantastic attacking threat from behind the ball or out of the middle. The thing that sets O’Driscoll apart though is the addition of his work going the other way, with hard tackling and shrewd reading of the play also part of his well-rounded game. Having only dropped below 20 disposals once at WAFL Colts level in 2019, O’Driscoll is primed to become a key member of each side he suits up for in 2020.

PRESEASON TESTING HIGHLIGHTS:

Standing Vertical Jump: 67cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L):
86cm/80cm
Speed (20m): 2.99 seconds
Agility: 8.46 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo):
21.8

PLAYER PAGE:

Nathan O’Driscoll

Height: 187.0cm
Weight: 76.1kg
Position: Half-back/midfield

2019 WAFL COLTS STATS: 7 games | 25.1 disposals | 4 marks | 7.6 tackles | 0 goals
2019 UNDER 18 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS STATS: 3 games | 16 disposals | 1.7 marks | 6.7 tackles | 3 clearances | 2.6 inside 50s

Strengths: Contested ball, kick penetration, tackling, endurance, burst

SCOUTING NOTES:

2019 Under 17 Futures All Star game

By: Peter Williams

Spread well to win the ball in all thirds of the ground and found plenty of it, particularly early. He took a strong mark at half-forward in the first term and then won a lot of his touches at half-back as the game turned against his side. He would play the defensive side of the wing to mop up and kick long, providing a release option for his side going forward.

2019 WAFL Colts Round 17 vs. Subiaco

By: Lenny Fogliani

The 2018 AFL Under 16s All-Australian defender showed off his versatility by playing as a midfielder for the Demons. Against Subiaco, O’Driscoll collected a team-high 29 possessions, laid an equal-game high 10 tackles, grabbed five marks and recorded three inside 50s to be Perth’s best on a tough morning.

2019 Under 18 National Championships vs. Vic Country

By: Lenny Fogliani

Another bottom-age prospect, O’Driscoll was brilliant on the half-back line for the Sandgropers. He finished with 21 possessions, six tackles, four marks, four inside 50s and two rebounds, providing good zip on the outside and damaging run forward.

2018 WAFL Colts Round 21 vs. Subiaco

By: Lenny Fogliani

The Northam product was superb in the midfield for the Demons with 27 possessions, eight tackles and two marks. On a bleak day for Perth fans, O’Driscoll was a beacon of light with his ball-winning ability, composure, and skill execution all on display.

Picture: Eliza Wynn