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 Brisbane Lions Academy member Tahj Abberley, a nippy small utility who was an outstanding preseason testing performer. The 179cm prospect ranked among Queensland’s top 10 in all four testing areas, utilising the speed, agility, and endurance he showcased on-field throughout his junior career. Abberley featured in all five of Brisbane’s NAB League outings and represented Queensland at the Under 16 and 17 levels and in 2020, he will be looking to crack into the Allies side while mixing up his usual midfield/forward role to feature off half-back.
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies
DOB: April 23, 2002
Position: Small utility
2019 NAB LEAGUE STATS: 5 games | 14.4 disposals | 4.0 marks | 2.8 tackles | 1.6 clearances | 1.8 inside 50s | 1.8 rebound 50s | 0.4 goals (2)
Strengths: Speed, agility, smarts, decision making
Improvements: Contested ball
PRESEASON TESTING HIGHLIGHTS:
Standing Vertical Jump – 65cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 77cm/82cm
Speed (20m) – 3.02 seconds
Agility – 7.84 seconds
Endurance – 21.1
There’s not much of Abberley, but the Lions Academy product looked unfazed by having to get stuck in. Playing through the midfield and off half-back, Abberley was clean at ground level and smart with his hands out of congestion. His four clearances bode well for more midfield minutes, but Abberley also worked well around the ground to penetrate both arcs
The bottom-ager looked most lively inside 50 during the second half, and was instrumental in Brisbane’s best few minutes of the game. He started up the field on a wing and took a nice overhead mark in the second quarter, backing it up with a courageous effort after half time. Abberley laid a fantastic tackle on the much bigger Corey Watts which went unrewarded, but he managed to snare a goal with a calm dribbled finish out the back.
Abberley was a clever user throughout the game, nipping around with good pace and agility from the midfield, forward. He started well with a goal from a free kick after sharking the ball cleanly but being taken high. His left foot was damaging too with some handy forward 50 entries helping the Maroons to push the pace.
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