- March 8, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "One of the most exciting talents in the draft, Aidan Bonar has been a revelation coming off two knee reconstructions to be in serious contention for a first round selection. He still has plenty to work on, but oozes X-factor."
Aidan Bonar was always internally highly rated as a youngster, but after two knee reconstructions, became the forgotten man. Returning late in the season, the Dandenong Stingrays’ X-factor became an eye-catcher with his dash, vertical leap and ability to make magic happen when he had the football. He still has a long way to go in terms of playing AFL football after missing so much development with his injuries, but in terms of what he is capable of, many believe he is an untapped talent that could go far with the right coaching. There were very little expectation for the tall forward/inside midfielder coming back to the TAC Cup, but his glimpses certainly showed he had what it takes to become an AFL footballer.
Bonar is a player that many have asked about in the recent months such has been his rise up the ranks since returning from injury. He oozes X-factor, has elite acceleration and topped the charts with his vertical leap at the National Combine. He has all the raw traits to becoming a sensation and cult hero at the next level. It was hard for football followers not to get excited when a 189cm player who plays taller than he is, can run and jump like Bonar can. His kicking despite efficiency being poor in the TAC Cup, is rated as high as they come over long distances. His short kicking can sometimes miss targets, but as a whole, his kicking is a strength.
Based on his athletic traits alone, it is hard seeing him slip out of the second round, and some rumours have St Kilda considering him with one of their top 10 picks – a remarkable transformation from forgotten man to potential top 10 draftee. The other strength of Bonar’s that is often forgotten is his versatility. He played at both ends and through the middle at times in the TAC Cup, but seems to have the most impact as a half-forward. In the All Stars game he impressed through the midfield and will be much better for the run. At AFL level, expect him to play up forward before progressing into the midfield with time. While he was okay in defence, he did not have the same influence as when he was further down the ground.
The two knocks for me are his endurance and his consistency. For all his exciting factors, he has to build his consistency. This of course will come with time and once his endurance base grows. One can hardly blame him given he has spent two years out of the game, but despite the obvious appeal towards Bonar it is worth remembering he still has areas he needs to develop. The other improvement Bonar needs to make is building his tank. It is no surprise again given he has missed two years out of the game, but his endurance is quite poor as it stands, which is why he mostly stayed forward or back in his matches with the Stingrays. His endurance results at the National Combine were in the bottom 12 across both the 2km time trial and yo-yo test. Again, it is an improvement which will come with time, but a reason why he is unlikely to play AFL football in the near future.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 7-20
Aidan Bonar is a draft prospect that is hard not to get excited about. He fits the resurrection tag of coming from the forgotten lands of back-to-back knee reconstructions to impress recruiters in the second half of the season. He still has a long way to go in regards to playing senior AFL football, but he certainly has an athletic base which very few have. If he can buy in to the club that selects him’s program, then Bonar could become anything and could well be one of the better prospects out of this draft crop if he develops the way that many hope he can in the future.
NAB League Boys