DRAFT ANALYSIS: "A versatile tall midfielder, Henderson has a penetrating kick, spreads well and is as capable in the air as on the ground. The next step for Bailey is working on his inside game and further consistency."
Bailey Henderson is an outside winger/half-forward who has come on in leaps and bounds in 2017. He has that prototype body size that at 188cm could almost have been a third tall up forward, but predominantly plays through the midfield. He is a penetrating kick with good athleticism, can play anywhere across the ground and spreads really well to win plenty of the football in different areas. Improvements Henderson could make to his game are consistency within matches, a greater presence on the inside, and greater awareness of his surroundings as a few times through the season he has been run down by opponents from lateral positions when he has had plenty of time and space.
- Penetrating kick
- Vertical leap
Bailey Henderson is a player that has really impressed me this season because he has a good all-round game for a versatile, outside player. He has a good vertical leap – scoring 70cm in the TAC Cup pre-season testing – is just as good at ground level, has a penetrating kick and can spread across the ground. He is the type of player who can play at half-forward, through the midfield or half-back and still have an impact. He was a player that can get a few metres on his opponents and provide that lead that his teammates need, and also be the player to move the ball on in transition.
He really lifted his disposal numbers throughout the 2017 season, notching up a number of 30 plus disposal games, and won many of his disposals leading out at half-forward, or gut running to the wing. Being a taller midfielder, he has a larger stride and pretty handy acceleration which sees him arch his back and weave between a couple of opponents to race away from them. When in space he has a penetrating kick that will generally go into a dangerous position, sometimes it can be off target, but as a whole he is reliable by foot.
- Inside game
The two main improvements for Henderson is his inside game and consistency. He had a number of occasions where he looked good and would have a strong influence on the game, spreading well, but on a number of occasions where the tide was going against the Pioneers, he would sometimes go missing. He had the tendency to float in and out of games and being an outside midfielder, if his inside brigade was losing the battle, he would often be ineffective running outside. His penetrating kicks can sometimes be overdone and it is a minor aspect which could be taught at the elite level.
That observation brings about the second improvement Henderson could add to his game which is his inside presence. He is a smooth mover, a big body – although light frame – and he could almost aspire to be a faster version of Patrick Cripps coming out of the stoppages. He averaged less than a clearance a game and just a third of his possessions were won in a contest. It is an area of improvement for Henderson and I would say that working on his inside game and clearance ability would be a priority given he is about 5cm too short to be a key position player. The final aspect I noted a few times was his ability to be knocked off the ball or tackled when in time and space, hinting that his peripheral vision or awareness could be worked on.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Mid rounds-rookie
In many ways, Bailey Henderson is a bit like a project player. He has the size and athleticism that screams to clubs he has something to work with, especially with his acceleration and spread. He gets to enough contests and can use the ball well by foot, it is just a case of tidying up a few areas and improving on other parts of his game. His penetrating kick is an aspect which will appeal to recruiters, and if he can build his inside game and consistency, he can take his game to the next level.
Under 18s Championships