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 in some capacity leading into 2020. 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 Sturt’s Tom Powell, the most prolific ball winner in this year’s SANFL Under 18s competition after four rounds. The handball happy Double Blues gun leads the league for disposals (34.5 per game), clearances (10), and inside 50s (six), putting him right up there for draft contention. His remarkable form comes off the back of a heavily interrupted bottom-age campaign and hip surgery in November, but he has come back better than ever.
While Powell is a master of extraction and distribution, his fitness testing results point to him being quite the explosive athlete. Having worked on his running ability and strength during preseason, Powell is beginning to look more and more well-rounded with each passing performance, and is firming as a true bolter among this year’s crop.
DOB: March 2, 2002
Position: Inside Midfielder
Strengths: Accumulation, contested ball, handball efficiency, awareness
Improvements: Strength, repeat running
2020 SANFL U18s stats: 4 games | 34.5 disposals | 3.0 marks | 4.3 tackles | 10 clearances | 6.0 inside 50s | 3.3 rebound 50s | 0.3 goals (1)
PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:
Standing Vertical Jump – 71cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 88cm/89cm
Speed (20m) – 3.04 seconds
Agility – 8.35 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo) – 20.5
2020 SCOUTING NOTES:
By: Ed Pascoe
Mr Consistent, Mr Prolific, you could also call him the best young midfielder in South Australia at the moment as he again had a huge game as he continues to catch the eye of scouts. Powell again was a ball magnet both at stoppages and on the outside where he found the ball with ease and again used it cleanly and sharply – especially by hand.
Powell’s kicking has been the one area that has only been ok, but he managed to hit a fantastic pass inside 50 in the last quarter and if he can do that more often, he could become an even bigger threat. Powell finished the game with 36 disposals, four tackles and 11 clearances and is showing no signs of letting up this year as he pushes his case to recruiters for this year’s draft.
By: Michael Alvaro
Powell was far and away the best afield, setting himself apart with an unmatched ball winning ability, and consistent impact on the contest where it mattered most. The balanced midfielder is one of the finest exponents of the handball in this year’s crop, and would have run very close to 100 per cent efficiency in that area – something he has been known to achieve on recent form. But what was perhaps most pleasing about Powell’s game on Saturday was the added dimensions to his craft; showcasing his improved work on the spread, and aptitude in running with the ball, and a higher output by foot.
While Powell’s agility and awareness at the contest remained, it was clear that the confidence he gained throughout a dominant third term allowed him to better take the game on with some daring dash away from the contest and sharp disposal on the end of it. He was nothing short of dominant in against the relatively small Westies midfield, collecting a monster 39 disposals, 14 clearances, and eight inside 50s. All the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place, with Powell’s potential being met after long stints on the sideline last year.
By: Ed Pascoe
t was like déjà vu watching Powell, who had another incredible game through the midfield. He really is just a machine at stoppages, winning the ball at will. Powell’s style isn’t fancy – you wont see him bursting out of stoppages – but what you will see is an extremely efficient midfielder who is clean at gathering the ball and even cleaner with his delivery by hand, whether that’s on his left or right which not many players have.
Powell’s kicking and ability on the outside would be the main focus area for him as his inside game is just about flawless and with the amount of footy he wins he could really turn that into a more damaging package, like Lachie Neale. Powell finished the game with 35 disposals (21 handballs), seven clearances and five tackles backing up a his 34 disposals last week.
By: Tom Wyman
Recruiters will be encouraged to see Powell have some success early on in the season, given his recent battles with injury. The Sturt on-baller was everywhere at Elizabeth Oval, finishing with 34 touches. Akin to fellow-on-baller Liddy, Powell started the contest well, bursting out of the midfield following the opening bounce, having a bounce and streaming inside-50 before snapping a behind.
While he put together a very strong game, it could have been even better had he converted some of his attempts on goal. Expect to see more of Powell in the Reserves later in the season, as he appeared a cut above Under 18 level against the ‘Dogs.
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