- October 23, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Nick Coffield is a natural leader and athlete, giving him the potential to dominate in any role he plays, making him the complete modern footballer"
The Northern Knights skipper has come on leaps and bounds this year in both the TAC Cup and National Under 18 Championships. He made good on his pre-season promise to “make the Knights great again”, leading them to a finals appearance while also playing a key role in Vic Metro’s success. His mix of athleticism and footy smarts saw him catch the eye of many a recruiter, and sent him storming up the draft order. With an abundance of strings to his bow, Coffield has showed he can offer almost everything an AFL coach could ask for both on and off the field.
- Work in tight spaces/evasiveness
Coffield tested as one of the fastest players in the draft pool with a sub-three second 20m sprint time. Add to that his sizable vertical leap, 190cm frame and strong hands, and you have a ready-made AFL athlete. The most promising thing about Coffield is that he combines his athletic traits with a high-level football IQ, which has inevitably seen him draw comparisons to Scott Pendlebury.
Like the Collingwood skipper, Coffield provides a cool head amidst the mayhem of stoppages, weaving his way through traffic and turning on dimes. His clearance work has improved out of sight this year and more midfield time has really aided that side of his game. And with one of the most accurate kicks in the TAC Cup this season, Coffield’s efficiency has seen him stand out even more as clubs at the top level try to claim the best ball users.
Despite his midfield prowess he looks most comfortable across half back, where he can use his solid overhead marking to intercept and then use his pace to rebound. His ability to launch and take marks overhead also proved useful up forward this year, as he snared a bag of four and a game-winning goal to prove his versatility. The last piece of the puzzle for Coffield is his undoubtable leadership – as skipper of the Knights and second-in-charge for Vic Metro, ‘Coff’ constantly stood up when it mattered and lead by example with a cool head and unreal class.
- Contested ball winning
With such a complete game, you find yourself clutching at straws a bit when trying to find a weakness in Coffield. The only glaring example comes with his tackling. That’s not to say that he’s a bad tackler, but his average of only two per game is below what you would come to expect from an elite midfielder or defender. With such a high emphasis on his leadership, Coffield will want to improve on upping those numbers, too.
Coffield’s inside game and contested ball winning can improve too. At the mid-point of the season he was at about 45 per cent contested ball numbers, but played primarily off the half-back flank for the remainder of the Northern Knights’ TAC Cup season. This saw a drop in his contested ratio to 34.7 per cent. While some concerns have surrounded his ability to play midfield long-term it is more the fact the Knights had an abundance of inside midfielders and I have confidence he will be able to play midfield full-time at AFL level.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 6-12
Nick Coffield looks to be a safe pick inside the first round at this stage, with all the right qualities and an admirable drive helping him to stand out. His rare class and ability to skip around traffic is great to watch, and whichever club picks him up will have a ready-made gun who looks like he could be an AFL mainstay. He would be hard to go past at pick six for Collingwood, but St Kilda looks a more likely destination with either pick eight or nine at this stage.
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Under 18s Championships