- February 16, 2000
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "A Geelong father-son prospect who has high footy smarts, great defensive attributes and a large tank."
Oscar Brownless is a name on every Cats fans lips ahead of the 2018 National AFL Draft, with the potential father-son prospect expected to land at the Cattery this year. He has played as both an inside midfielder and half-forward, with the versatile big-bodied player able to fulfil either role. Brownless is not the quickest player going around, and his kicking can be hit or miss, but his football IQ, endurance, strength and clean hands under pressure is very impressive. Often, he has the biggest impact around the half-forward line with his ability to penetrate from long range or set up a teammate inside 50. He works his opponents over with constant running and also does all the defensive things right. He is anticipated to go late in the draft due to the improvements needed in his game, but his strengths mean he has some value at the back-end of the draft and would do well developing at Geelong.
- Footy IQ
- Goal sense
- Defensive pressure
- Clean hands
Brownless’ greatest advantage over his rivals is his endurance base, which he uses to be able to cover the ground over four quarters. Often he can play long periods in the midfield, then go forward and kick a goal and mix up his playing style that way. In both the pre-season TAC Cup testing and National Draft Combine, Brownless recorded a 21.6 on the beep test, which was ultra-impressive. He has a high football IQ and can find the football more often than not, while also often winning the ball through laying strong tackles. He is best suited on the inside, and when he does get to the outside, it will be to have a long-range shot on goal, with Brownless having a number of highlights throughout the year. One was a terrific goal from the boundary line against Vic Metro at the MCG, while he also penetrated the forward 50 arc against Calder Cannons in the do-or-die Wildcard Round with a long-range bomb.
Another strength of Brownless is his clean hands through a stoppage. He is able to win the ball and quickly use it by hand or foot, but is most effective when delivering the ball through traffic by hand. To throw some numbers out there, Brownless ran at 81 per cent by hand at the National Under 18 Championships, and for a larger sample size, finished the TAC Cup season with three out of every four handballs hitting the target. His disposal by hand is more consistent, and he knows how to win it and dispose of it quickly. Brownless leads by example week-in, week-out and was the co-captain of the Falcons alongside Sam Walsh, so he is a great young leader who pushes himself to be the best he can be.
Brownless’ two key areas to improve upon are his speed and his kicking. In the pre-season, Brownless ran the 20m sprint in 3.287, one of the slowest recorded, and for a midfielder, it was quite poor. However, being an inside midfielder and more importantly, being able to use his smarts and clean hands to dispose of the ball means he can negate the fact he is on the slower side. He instead burrows his way in at packs and lays some important tackles. I found he had the most impact up forward, because he finds the space he needs to have scoreboard impact, and winning the ball inside 50 often his speed does not need to be a factor. Along with his speed, his kicking is the other area that could be sharpened up, with Brownless running at 40.7 per cent efficiency by foot at the National Under 18 Championships, and 48.3 per cent in the TAC Cup. About 15.4 per cent of his kicks were clangers, which while not the worst, was still below average. These are areas that can be improved, particularly his kicking, but they key are areas which is why Brownless will likely be a later draft prospect.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 50+
Oscar Brownless has some nice traits that will attract clubs, and in particular Geelong, to him. He has good strength, can impact a contest forward of centre, and has clean hands at a stoppage. He is slower than your average midfielder and needs to sharpen up his kicking, but his high football IQ and his massive endurance base means he can run out games and consistently impact across four quarters. Expect him to play more forward than midfield early on his career, and he may well end up a 70/30 forward who can go into the middle and have an impact as we have seen with some forward/mids. Either way, Brownless is a player anticipated to be drafted late in the National Draft.