- June 8, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "One of the draft crop's most consistent players who is powerful and a leader who stands up in big games."
Luke Davies-Uniacke is arguably the favourite to be selected by Brisbane with the first pick in the AFL National Draft. Davies-Uniacke is a powerful inside midfielder who also wins his fair share of ball on the outside and uses his penetrating kick to unload from outside 50 or hit a leading forward lace out. He is strong overhead, has great power and acceleration coming out of stoppages and most importantly stands up in big games. This was clear from his performance against Eastern Ranges in the elimination final when he stood tall with the Stingrays’ backs against the wall. That day he was best on ground and just did everything right, pushing himself to the point of exhaustion for his team and no doubt club recruiters at Victoria Park took note that day.
- Penetrating kick
- Contested marking
- Big game player
Davies-Uniacke is a ready-made unit who can slot into any side’s midfield. Ideally he is that inside midfielder who can push forward and take a strong grab and kick a goal, but ideally you want him in at the coal face fetching the ball and powering away to kick inside 50. He might not be overly quick across the ground, but he is not slow, and has that acceleration that sees him get clear of his opponents over the first few steps. Naturally he has a penetrating kick that matches his game style and he can easily clear 50m when setting his sights on goal or going long. It is also hard to believe kicking was once a weakness for Davies-Uniacke, finishing the TAC Cup season with a mind-boggling 70 per cent by foot despite winning 47 per cent of his possessions in a contest.
He really stands up in big games and is a natural born leader who loves the contest. He uses his big frame to outmuscle opponents in close, at ground level or in the air and was impressive for Haileybury in their premiership-winning side for the APS competition. He returned to Dandenong later in the season and while his numbers were not huge, he played predominantly forward and upon returning to the midfield in finals, stood tall and reminded everyone of what he was capable of. Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan was in attendance at the preliminary finals at Simonds Stadium, so one cannot help but wonder if he cast an eye on the potential number one recruit.
Davies-Uniacke is certainly a natural footballer. He has had his fair share of injuries over his junior career and he could improve both his endurance and speed. This is to say he is not slow, but his average speed is not as high as others around the ground. Limited testing due to injury also restricted clubs from getting an idea of his pace, but there are no question marks over his first few metres from a stoppage – his acceleration is top notch.
Again given his limited football at times over the years, he can still build his endurance, spending time forward, but it is something he copes with given his huge workload required of an AFL AIS Academy player who not only represents the Academy, but his TAC Cup club, state and school. I think these areas are easily improved upon, particularly his endurance once he is able to get a full pre-season under his belt in an AFL system.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Top 5
Luke Davies-Uniacke is the favourite to be selected at pick one if there had to be a favourite. He is a leader, powerful, strong overhead or at ground level, can play through the middle or up forward and just ticks a lot of boxes. He does have a few athletic areas in which he could improve, but his trademark acceleration out of a stoppage kicking forward shows he is capable of burning off opponents over the first few metres. He is among the best kicks, particularly from long range and just has an impact wherever he plays. Expect him to potentially play from round one if fit and he will enhance the culture of the club with his laid back attitude but dedication to becoming the best possible player.
NAB League Boys
Under 18s Championships