Image Credit: East Perth FC
POSITION: Key Defender
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Hindle is a strong-bodied key defender who positions nicely to mark and fares well in the contest.” – Michael Alvaro
East Perth’s Jack Hindle has spent his fair share of time on the sidelines in 2020, but managed to show his wares in four WAFL Colts outings as a top-ager. His bottom-age resume and more recent form was even enough to warrant a Reserves berth in the final round of the season, providing a glimpse into the potential which saw him included in this year’s AFL Academy intake. While shin splints impacted his fitness throughout the season and saw him miss out on both Western Australia Under 18 All-Star fixtures, Hindle received an invite to the state combine to prove the lingering elite-level interest in his talents. He was again unable to participate in that landmark event, but has some handy traits which clubs will continue to take a look at should he be overlooked this year. Among his best attributes, Hindle is known for his solid frame and ability to position well down back, showing good form in contested situations at each level.
While perhaps undersized in terms of height, Hindle has just the right frame to compete well in last ditch situations across the backline. He measures up at 192cm, but has filled out from 89kg during preseason to 101kg at September’s WA draft combine, making for a readymade frame in terms of fulfilling his contested duties at the next level. His strength and size were shown to be obvious assets in the WAFL Colts competition, as Hindle was able to match it with key forwards and also briefly make his way into the senior grades.
It lends to his one-on-one craft, as Hindle is quite an able marker of the ball and uses his figure to either hold or wrestle to the best position whenever high balls enter his area. That kind of initial positioning and reading of the play forms another of Hindle’s strengths, as he is not the most overly athletic or agile player, but relies moreso on tracking and predicting where the ball may end up. Once he gets to a contest, you know he is in attendance given his ability to hit the aerial balls. Most often, he does so against a direct opponent and works to shut them down deep inside defensive 50.
In terms of improvements, the output side of Hindle’s game very much ties into his overall durability. Hindle was hardly afforded a consistent run at it this year given his repeat shin splint issues, leading to him missing out on arguably his most important assignments in the All-Star fixtures. Looking at the numbers, Hindle’s production for a key defender was quite sound in his first two outings (average 15.5 disposals and two marks), but he did not have the same impact afterwards with consecutive games of under 10 disposals.
Should Hindle be able to string together a continued on-field run without injury, his endurance base would also increase greatly and allow for a more sustained impact throughout the year. He still plays his role well as a key defender who can blanket opposition forwards, but could well add strings to his bow as a player who can roll off and intercept, given his marking ability and shrewd body positioning. There is a solid base in place, but still plenty to work on across the board for the promising West Australian.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late – Rookie
Given his lack of exposure this year, Hindle may be a player who is looked at next year as the National Championships expand to an Under 19 competition. He could well come on leaps and bounds with a full preseason under his belt, with a clean slate to fill and plenty to prove if he is overlooked as a top-ager. Still, there are some nice traits to work with already with Hindle’s defensive acumen and mature body, but clubs may want to see a little more of him before snapping him up – there will be plenty of opportunities to do just that, too.