Preseason testing analysis: The best performers across every test

THE current sporting hiatus serves as somewhat of an extended preseason for the nation’s brightest AFL Draft prospects, who will be itching to get back on the field. Aside from a few scratch matches on the eve of Round 1, much of the 2020 class has had little in the way of competition thus far.

But preseason testing always serves to get the competitive juices flowing, with players from each region and academy coming together to test where they rate athletically. Rookie Me hosted the preseason testing in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, while the AFL completed testing in Western Australia and NSW/ACT.

In our next analysis of the results from those days around the country, we take a look at the best performers across each test, highlighting the athletes who excelled in more than one area. There were many who featured across top 10s in their state, but it always takes a special kind to do so in the nationwide results.

Here’s a reminder of the overall top 10s from each test:

Standing Vertical Jump:

=1. Tristan Hurford (Claremont) – 84cm
=1. Luke Gaudion (Eastern Ranges) – 84cm
3. Seth Roberts (Claremont) – 82cm
=4. Joel Western (Claremont) – 80cm
=4. Lachlan Squire (GWS GIANTS Academy) – 80cm
=6. Jack Briskey (Brisbane Lions Academy) – 77cm
=6. Zac Meloncelli (Perth) – 77cm
=7. 76cm x6

Running Vertical Jump (R):

1. Chayse Grabe-Paparone (Subiaco) – 100cm
2. Noah Farrow (West Perth) – 95cm
=3. Bailey Jenkin (Swan Districts) – 92cm
=3. Matthew Borlace (Central District) – 92cm
=3. Archie Perkins (Sandringham) – 92cm
=6. Zac Trigwell (Peel Thunder) – 91cm
=6. Zac Sanderson (Perth) – 91cm
=8. 89cm x4

Running Vertical Jump (L):

1. Tristan Hurford (Claremont) – 99cm
=2. Brandon Walker (East Fremantle) – 94cm
=2. James Sullivan (Swan Districts) – 94cm
=4. Riley Buckland (Gold Coast SUNS Academy) – 93cm
=4. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh) – 93cm
=6. Seth Roberts (Claremont) – 92cm
=6. Angus Fraser (South Fremantle) – 92cm
=8. Henry Read (Sturt) – 91cm
=8. Dominic Bedendo (Murray) – 91cm
=8. Joel Western (Claremont) – 91cm

Speed (20m):

1. Riley Colborne (South Fremantle) – 2.86 seconds
=2. Zac Meloncelli (Perth) – 2.87
=2. Riley Fitzroy (Sydney Swans Academy) – 2.87
4. Jackson Cardillo (Calder Cannons) – 2.88
=5. Michael Lewis (Sandringham Dragons) – 2.89
=5. Flynn Maguire (Oakleigh Chargers) – 2.89
=5. Charlie Brauer (Geelong Falcons) – 2.89
=8. Kobi George (Dandenong Stingrays) – 2.9
=8. Lachlan Green (Western Jets) – 2.9
=8. Jordan Endemann (Sydney Swans Academy) – 2.9


1. Blake Reid (Geelong Falcons) – 7.76 seconds
2. Charlie Lazzaro (Geelong Falcons) –  7.79
3. Harrison White (Western Jets) – 7.83
4. Tahj Abberley (Brisbane Lions Academy) – 7.84
=5. Darcy Prest (Brisbane Lions Academy) – 7.86
=5. Caleb Hammond (Brisbane Lions Academy) – 7.86
7. Oliver Wiltshire (Geelong Falcons) – 7.90
=8. Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) – 7.92
=8. Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) – 7.92
=8. Ty Sears (Swan Districts) – 7.92

Endurance (yo-yo test):

1. Harry Grant (GWS GIANTS Academy) – 22.8
2. Lachlan Squire (GWS GIANTS Academy) – 22.3
=3. Harry Sullivan (Dandenong Stingrays) – 22.1
=3. Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons) – 22.1
=5. Alex Crowe (East Fremantle) – 22
=5. Teakle Bohan (East Fremantle) – 22
=7. 21.8 x10

Only a handful of athletes from around the nation were able to feature among the top 10s of multiple tests, with the efforts of GWS Academy Member Lachlan Squire, and Perth’s Zac Meloncelli particularly impressive. Both players rated highly in the standing vertical jump department (fourth and sixth respectively), with Squire placing in second spot for endurance while Meloncelli also snuck onto the podium for his 20m sprint time of 2.87 seconds. Squire also ranked in the top three in his state for all three jumping tests, showcasing his incredible power in that area of the game while also combining it with rare endurance.

Three players, all from Claremont’s Colts squad achieved the feat of ranking among the top 10s of two jumping tests. Fremantle Next Generation Academy hopeful Joel Western was joined by teammates Seth Roberts and Tristan Hurford in placing for the standing, and running vertical jumps, with Hurford impressively notching up the nationwide best scores of 84cm and 99cm in the tests respectively.

The Tigers clearly have some athletic talent on their hands in the aforementioned trio, but were outdone for numbers among the top 10s by the Geelong Falcons and Brisbane Lions Academy. For Geelong, Blake Reid and Charlie Lazzaro made up a 1-2 in the agility test, while Oliver Wiltshire came in seventh. Charlie Brauer‘s 2.89-second 20m sprint was recognised, as Noah Gadsby‘s endurance score of 22.1. Representing the Lions, Jack Briskey was equal-sixth in the standing vertical jump, joined by elite agility testers Tahj Abberley (fourth), Darcy Prest (equal-fifth), and Caleb Hammond (equal-fifth) as high-end finishers.

In terms of overall averages, athletes from the NSW/ACT testing day fared best having come out on top collectively against the other states in the 20m sprint and yo-yo test results. It seems the state has some talented runners, with its small fleet of prospects particularly impressive – especially with top product Braeden Campbell high on the charts in a number of tests at 180cm.

Western Australia boasted the most individual first place finishers, with Riley Colborne taking out the 20m sprint stakes, while Hurford and Chayse Grabe-Paparone combined to finish top in all three of the jumping tests. Victoria was not too far behind as Eastern Ranges’ Luke Gaudion joined Geelong’s Reid in achieving a gold placing. NSW/ACT was the only other state to have an athlete claim the same honour, through Harry Grant’s yo-yo test score of 22.8.

As mentioned, there were many athletes that dominated their own state-based testing days, but only five players in the overall talent pool were able to feature in multiple top 10s for the combined results. This is a statistic certain to change once draft combines come around, with a much smaller talent pool allowing the best athletes to shine even brighter.



Picture: The West Australian

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