THIS week, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the second edition, Chief Editor Peter Williams again sat down with AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro to discuss some of the best attacking defenders available in this year’s crop.
Whether it be the typical run-and-gun half-backs, those with booming kicks, or key position types who prove dynamic for their size, there are plenty of prospects who fit the mould of defenders who like to spark offensive chains. These are players who possess a range of weapons and can generate transitional play by cutting off that of the opposition, making them damaging on the counter. Some may still be honing their defensive craft, but remain eye-catching figures on the field.
Here’s a summary of some of the players discussed:
Heath Chapman – A player who featured in our discussion about key defensive kickers, Chapman has shot into first round contention this year. At 193cm, he is prolific in the air to intercept, but also has the running capacity to move the ball on quickly and chain his rebounding possessions. Add a penetrating and accurate kick on the end of it, and you have an extremely damaging defender.
Lachlan Jones – Another first round candidate, Jones is tied to Port Adelaide’s Next Generation Academy (NGA). His attacking prowess comes from his brute strength and aggression, able to straight-line the ball, win it, and begin quick rebounding plays. He can also bomb the ball long, breaching both arcs while hitting short targets when required. He fills a number of rolls in the back half, and topped off his season by taking the SANFL League mark of the year.
Brandon Walker – An athletic medium-sized talent who loves to take the game on from half-back with his strength, speed, and agility. As he either bursts away from ground ball gets or chimes in to intercept overhead, Walker then makes sound decisions by foot as he advances past the wing. He is another NGA product, tied to Fremantle’s program.
Connor Downie – Perhaps more of a utility than the others, Downie can play on all three lines and make an impact with his line-breaking run and booming left-foot kick. The Eastern Ranges skipper may not be the most explosively quick player, but is a good size and proves difficult to stop at full flight. Also known to sink long-range goals on his favoured side, Downie is aligned to Hawthorn as an NGA member.
Others discussed include;
Malachy Carruthers – a bolting medium defender who marks well overhead and possesses a weaponous kick.
Luke Cleary – from the Sandringham Dragons program, he competes well aerially and finds targets by foot.
Sam Collins – the strong-marking Tasmanian loves taking the game on but can refine his decision making to better utilise his penetrative kick.
Jye Sinderberry – measures at an in-between kind of size, but reads the play well and is ultra competitive, moving from half-back up to the wing.
Charlie Byrne – his left foot is his greatest weapon, and he learned his craft off 2019 GWS draftee Lachlan Ash at Murray.
… and more.
Half-backs are often tagged as dime-a-dozen, but there are many types in this year’s cohort with some handy points of difference. Coming in a range of shapes, sizes, and style, clubs will have a keen eye on many of these prospects within the first half of the draft, though some may also provide great value at the back end.
To hear the podcast in full, click here, and keep an eye out for the next edition of our pocket podcasts.
Ranking the best key defenders by their kicking abilities