- July 23, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS "Raw tall utility who is a clean kick and has the engine to play on the wing."
Charlie Ballard is an exciting 195.5cm utility. In the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, Ballard averaged 18 disposals and four marks – often playing on the wing. At school level for Sacred Heart, he played at both ends where he used his ability to read the ball to make a significant impact as a key defender and was able to hit the scoreboard when he played up forward. Ballard has plenty of filling out to do, but has shown some impressive signs at all levels to suggest he could be a player of the future. The “Double Blues” player was lucky enough to be part of Sturt’s SANFL Reserves and Under 18s premierships in September.
- Intercept marking
- Kicking Skills
Charlie Ballard has the ability to get around the ground and at his size makes him a tantalising target for his team when transitioning the ball from defence to attack. In his five games in the SANFL Under 18s, Ballard averaged 20.6 disposals and six marks – often intercepting the ball on the wing.
Despite his light frame, he was willing to intercept the ball and compete around the ground. For a player of his size, he is deceptively quick on the burst and was rarely beaten in too many one-on-one contests. Defensively he can apply pressure using his good agility and force turnovers.
Ballard’s kicking skills make him standout on the outside, where he can hit a pinpoint pass on his preferred right foot. Ballard scored a good 24/30 on the kicking test at the National AFL Draft combine, but showed at times throughout the season for Sturt and South Australia he could have some damaging kicks inside 50.
- Breakaway speed
- Inside tackling
While Ballard tested with a time of 3.05 seconds in the 20m sprint at the NAB AFL Draft Combine (better than average), some other outside midfielders possesses more speed than Ballard. Up against other midfielders that run sub three second 20m sprints, Ballard may be able to improve this – but there will be a trade off with adding to his frame and ensuring his speed remains above average.
Defensively Ballard has shown an ability to chase down and tackle opponents, however on the inside at the moment with his skinny frame he can get brushed off – of which 10 kilograms would fix. His tackle averages of 1.5 (SANFL Reserves), 2.4 (SANFL Under 18s) and 1.8 (National Under 18 Championships) suggest there is plenty of room for improvement.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 20-40
Charlie Ballard is a talented mobile tall utility with an ability to be one of those game changing players of the ilk of Marcus Bontempelli and Nick Riewoldt. Where and how he gets used will be the exciting challenge for whichever team chooses him and with the multitude of playing positions so far, could be used in one spot, or in a number. We could see supporters saying in a few years, “we need two of him”. As good kick and having the ability to link the play, makes him critical as well as his willingness to back into a pack and then clunk the intercept mark and rebound the ball will make him a game changing prospect.
SANFL Under 18s
Under 18s Championships