- December 15, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Elite junior cricketer who has turned his focus to AFL as a versatile medium tall”
Nathan Murphy’s rise as an AFL Draft prospect was done behind the scenes, as a more public battle drew out over Will Sutherland and whether the dual-sport athlete would put football or cricket first. Fremantle was a club that first kept tabs on Murphy as a bottom-ager in 2016, but it was a performance for Brighton Grammar down at Geelong Grammar in May that changed everything. Murphy booted seven goals in a standout match up forward, at times matched up on likely first round draftee Jarrod Brander. The medium forward continued his rise throughout the APS school boy season, booting 27 goals. Murphy re-joined the Sandringham Dragons, finishing the season averaging 16.1 disposals from eight games, mixing between playing as a third tall at either end of the ground. Murphy is very raw, but marks the ball overhead well and continues to show improvement.
- Intercept marking
- Cleanness at ground level
Murphy was mostly deployed as a third tall defender for the Sandringham Dragons. He possesses very long arms, averaging just under five marks per game. His intercept work is very good and he is able to read the game well to know when to defend and when to drop off. At school level, whilst he played majority of the year up forward – bar the opening two games, Murphy showed against Geelong Grammar he could drop back into defensive 50 and on one occasion intercepting the ball over likely top 20 pick Jarrod Brander.
Murphy’s versatility make him an intriguing prospect. He dominated up forward for Brighton Grammar and was also a standout in his game up forward for the Dragons against Bendigo Pioneers, booting three goals from 17 disposals and seven marks. He does look a natural defender and his work in the latter half of the year were impressive. His agility gives him the ability to play either tall or small at either end, often matching it with some of the better key defenders in the APS school boy competition.
Similar to other dual-sport athlete Will Sutherland, Murphy is very clean at ground level. He is able to mark the ball low to the ground, but most of all his work picking the ball up cleanly from ground level is outstanding. He rarely fumbles grabbing the ball off the ground or on the half-volley – with no doubt his hand-eye coordination and wicket keeping skills in cricket playing some shape of helping this.
- Set shot goal kicking
- Midfield craft
An area that Murphy can improve up forward is his set-shot kicking. While it is an area that he’s worked hard on in the second half of the year, since moving forward – he could’ve booted many more goals especially at school level where he had games of 3.5 and 5.5 in front of goal. To improve this – it will likely take Murphy some time with the technical staff at his football club who should well be able to ‘fix’ the technical aspects of his set shot routine.
Murphy was originally a midfielder for the East Sandringham Zebras, before a big growth spurt in his final few years and a focus on cricket took over. Speaking to some clubs, they feel that Murphy may be able to transition back to that midfield role and if he can work on his midfield craft in the State Leagues and at training – in five years time he could well be a 188cm midfielder where he is aided by a good endurance base, having run in the Top 15 for the Yo-Yo test.
At times when marking the ball, Murphy can double grab the ball. While not a huge flaw in his marking technique, it is something that can easily be improved and while he does double grab the ball occasionally – it hasn’t been the difference between him marking the ball or an opponent being able to get the ball on the second grab and ‘steal’ it off Murphy.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 5-20
There is a huge amount of upside for the club that drafts Nathan Murphy, with talk suggesting he may find a home inside the top 10 – after receiving an invite to the National AFL Draft. Murphy is a versatile third tall that may be able to transition into a midfield and has shown enough signs in his draft year that he can develop into a fine AFL player.