- November 25, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Bite sized midfielder who was ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a shoulder injury whilst playing for the Allies."
Charlie Spargo is 2017’s forgotten man (along with Aaron Darling) after injuring himself before playing a match in the 2017 TAC Cup. While Spargo did play some school football for Melbourne Grammar and made a brief appearance for the Allies in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships this year, we have to look closer at what he produced in 2016, playing as a 17 year-old for the Murray Bushrangers. Last year he was a super clever small forward who did not mind the hard stuff, getting in and under packs and providing forward pressure to conjure goals for his side. He also had a dangerous offensive game which saw him use his goal sense and smarts to outwit his opponents, and use his great agility to evade them in tight situations. Unfortunately his injury does mean limited exposure and sliding down the draft order somewhat, but expect him to end up at a club somewhere in that second round stage.
- Footy smarts
- Goal sense
Spargo is a modern small forward who provides as much defensive pressure as he does offensive pressure. He has a high footy IQ, great goal sense and also has the athletic traits to boot. He has great endurance, speed and agility which makes him a triple threat to opposing defenders. The advantage Spargo has over other small forwards is the fact that he can hurt opponents in a number of ways. Some forwards are strong, others are quick and others are smart. Spargo is all three – albeit the strength relative to his diminutive stature. At 172cm it can often put clubs off, but Spargo has enough tricks up his sleeve to attract interest from most clubs.
Spargo might not have had much chance to stake his claim on the football field this year, but his performances as a bottom-ager were quite impressive and up until pre-season he was a member of the GWS Giants Academy. After a landmark ruling which saw him and fellow Academy member Jarrod Brander no longer eligible for the Academy, Spargo is available to any club without GWS able to match a bid. He might be some way off playing senior football, but all going well he will have recovered from his long-term injury and be right for pre-season at an AFL club.
- Midfield development
- Match fitness
Much like his strengths it is hard to say too much on what Spargo needs to improve on having not played in 12 months. But from all reports and what is the norm, Spargo was denied a chance of playing midfield this season which is the traditional pathway for bottom-age small forwards. It is often this development which sets aside the versatile forwards from the pigeonholed ones. Jack Higgins is a great example of a player who added more strings to his bow with midfield time and Spargo would have gone down a similar track. While his accumulation is not the same as Higgins, he is equally as dangerous around goals.
His two improvements are his midfield development and just match fitness after a year off. He needs to get more minutes into his legs and build up that midfield game which he would have done in 2017. Instead he is probably a year behind, so expect him to hone his craft in a state league. His body is fairly ready for AFL football, but he will want to build up the strength to ensure he can compete at the elite level.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Second round
Charlie Spargo is an exciting pocket rocket who was denied the chance of developing his game and becoming a versatile midfielder/forward this year. He has a high footy IQ, very quick, agile and can run all day, and is a worry for opponents around goal. Spargo is expected to be selected somewhere in the second round and if he can get a full pre-season under his belt, he can begin to focus on his future football. He has shown plenty in his limited time through his bottom-age year so there is quite a lot to work with from an AFL club’s perspective.
Under 18s Championships