- January 24, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "James Worpel is a natural born leader who loves the contested side of football and fierce tackling. His kicking is an area that will need to improve, but his inside game is top notch."
James Worpel is the type of player clubs can look towards for a leader and someone who they can rely on to stand up when the going gets tough. He is fierce, resilient and just seems to love the contested side of football. His ball winning numbers are not as high as others, but his work in close and around the stoppages is quite impressive. Adding to that, his endurance levels are really high and he is generally a consistent performer over four quarters. Unfortunately his kicking lets him down, averaging just 43.6 per cent efficiency in the TAC Cup – the second lowest non-key position player of all National Combine invitees. Worpel also lacks agility, which is why he is suited to the inside, a role he plays well. But unlike many inside midfielders, Worpel impacts the scoreboard and brings others into the game.
- Inside game
- Scoreboard impact
Worpel is a fierce competitor who is the type of player that will win teammates over quickly with his actions on and off the field. He goes in hard and plays the ball and never backs down from a challenge. He stands up for his teammates and is quick to defend any teammate getting attention from an opposition player. He co-captained the Geelong Falcons this year and became a premiership captain, something that will hold him in good stead for the future. His inside work such as hands in close, clearance ability and regulation tackling has become what Worpel is best known for in the TAC Cup. He crashes in hard and most games comes away with a bloodied nose, bruised head or other assorted injury, including one game where he was concussed in the opening few minutes and sat out the rest of the match.
Secondly, his ability to influence the scoreboard should not be understated either. While he kicked just 11 goals in 16 games, he had 12 scoring assists and a average of two score involvements per game, which is quite good for an inside midfielder. In his bottom-age year, Worpel played forward more and had a greater impact inside 50, beating opponents one-on-one and then kicking vital goals. A big goal from outside 50 against Gippsland Power in the elimination final when the game was on the line earlier in the match showed the leadership Worpel had to take the moment upon himself.
Worpel has two glaring improvements which hinder him from going to the next level. The cause for concern with his game is his kicking which as previously mentioned is poor, even for an inside midfielder. But rather than just quote the stats, there are technical aspects to his low efficiency. Most of his kicks often come under pressure, or when he does win the ball, sometimes his kicking action sees him off balance and he puts too much of an emphasis on penetration rather than trying to hit up an easier target. But putting an emphasis on penetration, he leans back on his kick, forcing it to loop or float which enables opponents to have a greater chance of spoiling, or getting to the ball drop. If he can take an extra second or two to put more emphasis on placement rather than penetration I dare say his kicking will improve.
Secondly, Worpel’s other area of improvement is his agility. It was clear in the second half of the season, Worpel played more of an outside game than he had earlier in the year, to work on his spread. He still won the ball, but I felt he is still much more suited to the inside than outside. Not having the foot skills or agility, it does hinder Worpel from developing a full outside game, but I also can imagine him working as an inside midfielder at the top level. To progress he will still need to iron out his kicking, but no doubt he has the mentality to continue working on that area.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 30+
James Worpel is a hard worker with an insatiable appetite for contested football. One thing you know you will get out of Worpel is a four quarter effort and a never-say-die attitude. His inside game is among the best in the TAC Cup, but his glaring improvements hinder him from going to the next level. If he can develop his kicking and continue to work on his spread, then he will become a more balanced player. Worpel is more ready-made than most to make his debut early in the season, but again he is in a similar boat to Essendon’s Dylan Clarke where he is physically ready, but a few improvements need to be made first. Overall, a determined player who will do everything in his power to be the best player he can be.
NAB League Boys
Under 18s Championships