- May 7, 2000
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "A versatile key position prospect with the lineage to suggest he has plenty of scope for improvement."
Looking to continue the family tradition, Ben Silvagni is “desperate” to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Sergio, father Stephen, and brother Jack in donning the navy blue jumper. While his progress has been kept relatively under wraps, Silvagni has put in decent showings across school, TAC Cup and National Championships levels playing mainly as a key forward. Like Jack, his top-age year has been somewhat hampered by injury, with a damaged thumb keeping him out of action for the last two months.
While he never quite tore games apart, Silvagni impressed at school level for Xavier College and managed a goal per his four TAC Cup games from 12 scoring shots early in the year. It was at the National Championships where Silvagni most notably caught the eye though, with a move down back highlighting his potential to be an effective swingman. Possessing the strong overhead ability that his name would suggest, Silvagni has the natural footy smarts to-boot, along with a decent starting size which can be further developed at the next level.
- Leading patterns
Many of Silvagni’s strengths lend to each other, and are utilised in tandem to make up a simple, but effective style. Silvagni started off the year with the look of a natural forward, beating opponents on the lead and showing a strong set of hands overhead. Around half of Silvagni’s TAC Cup disposals came from marks, showing his aptitude in providing a target and taking advantage of when the ball came his way. His leading patterns were impressive, and despite not being the quickest off the mark, Silvagni was often able to find enough space to easily beat his man to the punch and take the ball in under little pressure. He did not always have to show it off, but Silvagni also has the ability to mark well in contested situations, while also finding ways to reel it in at ground level with good athleticism. That athleticism is a handy gift for someone of his size, with the Oakleigh Charger measuring up around the 195cm mark which makes him a handful for both taller, less athletic defenders and smaller, less strong opponents.
Silvagni’s size and marking ability also lends to his unearthed versatility, as he used both traits well to fit the mould of a lock-down defender at the National Championships. It was a smooth transition for the mobile tall, and is an asset that will forever prove valuable if he can translate that form to the elite level. With a still reasonably raw skillset, Silvagni has a good amount of scope for the future if he can keep on the park and sharpen the areas around his most obvious strengths. While he has by no means consistently been one of the best key-position prospects throughout the year, Silvagni has great potential and the right traits for a player in his position.
- Defensive pressure
- Goalkicking accuracy
For all the obvious potential, there are certainly holes in Silvagni’s game that can be sharpened as he develops, but they will be crucial to him making a real impact at the next level. While he possesses valuable base attributes for a key position player, the father-son prospect will definitely look to add breadth to his game. A key area for improvement that will help him at either end of the ground is his defensive pressure. While his ability to work at winning the ball at ground level is quite good and he is admittedly a key position player, Silvagni is not a huge tackler – averaging just over one per game in multiple competitions. The most threatening talls have a real presence both in the air and on the ground, and an ability to have more influence without the ball would be valuable for Silvagni.
Another area that will help with Silvagni’s consistency and impact is accumulation, as he is hardly a high possession getter. As mentioned, he has not yet been able to make a game his own, and that can be put down to a lack of consistent ball-winning throughout the game. If he can find the ball further up the ground and keep on marking inside 50, he’ll bring the dual-threat that AFL sides (namely Carlton) are after.
The final piece of the puzzle for Silvagni in developing a more sound game could perhaps be his goalkicking accuracy. While he looks a natural footballer and has a lovely kicking action, he misfired in front of goal this year in the TAC Cup with 4.8. Some of those misses, in particular the four behinds he scored against Northern, can be put down to the added pressure of TAC Cup football compared to the APS level.
Overall, there is plenty of potential there for Silvagni, but also a few key areas that can be worked on
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late/rookie
Ben Silvagni is an exciting key position prospect who will undoubtedly follow his bloodlines and find his way to the Blues. With strong marking ability and the potential to play as a swingman, Silvagni can fill a role wherever needed at the next level, and could well provide solid depth if required in his first couple of years. He is more of a project player at this stage though, with plenty of room to improve and young competition for key position spots at Carlton. Expect a bid to come from the Blues late on, that is if Essendon don’t try and nab a Silvagni again.
NAB League Boys
Under 18s Championships