- April 22, 1998
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "An over-age ruckman, Lloyd Meek has worked on his ground level ability, strength around the contest and influence up forward to become one of the better ruck prospects in the draft crop."
Lloyd Meek has accomplished what every 19 year-old TAC Cup player hopes to achieve, which is making the necessary improvements to deficiencies which caused the player to go undrafted in their top-age year. For Meek, it was about improving his influence at ground level, using his body more effectively in the contest, and showcasing his ability as a resting forward. In my opinion the first two he could tick off in 2017, and the third is a work in progress. There are still areas for Meek to develop his game, but he has come along in leaps and bounds this season and looks likely to be drafted later in the AFL National Draft.
- Ruck work
- Hands at ground level
- Contested marking
Lloyd Meek has always had a bigger frame perfect for ruck work, but in 2017 he has really begun adapting to his bigger body and influencing contests through his ruck work. In 2016 there were times where he would not fully use his body to effect, similar to Jarrod Witts pre-Gold Coast days. But this season, Meek has come out of his shell and has lifted his intensity around the football and become, in my opinion, the second best Victorian ruck prospect behind Sam Hayes.
The immediate thing you notice with Meek is his smarts at a stoppage and his knowledge of where his midfielders are at all times. There are countless times where he will tap it behind him knowing a teammate will run to the position, or he will punch it clear to the advantage of his teammates. Likewise when it is his time to go, Meek will get low and shovel the ball out which is rare for a ruckman of his stature, improving his ground level presence this season beyond a doubt.
Finally another area he has continued to develop is his contested marking, which was a feature last year, but with his ability to use his body in marking contests, he has taken it to the next stage in his development. He lifted his average disposals up to 13.6, while his hitouts also rose by six per game. His impact around the ground was noticeable and it has given the recruiters something to think about this year.
- Goal kicking
Meek still has a number of areas in which he can improve, and a couple of them are no suprise. At 202cm and 104kg, Meek is not the most agile player and his mobility can often be a concern against more athletic types. While he still covers the ground fairly well, moving between the arcs, he can get caught if his agile opponent gets a few metres on him up forward. Meek will beat his direct opponent one-on-one more often than not, but on the lead where speed is involved, is not his forte. He does not have a particularly high vertical leap, particularly at throw ins, so he uses his strength and nous to win more than his fair share of hitouts.
Secondly, Meek’s contested marking has continued to evolve, but his goal kicking, in particular his set shots, still need work. He clunks terrific grabs inside 50 while resting forward, but can often let himself down with a shank or a kick with more power than placement. If he can work on his goal kicking, he could be that resting ruck who kicks one or two goals a game while forward. As a presence though, Meek can bring the ball to ground when he does not mark it and his follow-up work is really good. His mobility will bring question marks as he could probably not play in a team with a couple of strong, slow forwards.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late/rookie
Lloyd Meek is one of the more likely 19 year-olds to be picked up in this year’s drafts. He has gone from a pigeonholed ruckman with just a big frame, to a player who can provide a presence around the ground. His disposal numbers, marks and hitouts are up in 2017, and he just needs to work on his finishing ability. While his mobility and speed will always be a factor in team selection, Meek does add a point of difference with quick hands at ground level, making him a more attractive prospect than that of a traditional big-bodied ruckman. Rucks of his size are almost always rookied, but with the emergence of Sean Darcy this season after the big Geelong Falcon was taken in the third round last year, Meek could sneak into a club craving a more ready-made ruck replacement.
Under 18s Championships