Tag: aiden fyfe

2020 AFL Draft recap: Gold Coast SUNS

GOLD COAST took great strides in 2020 and became one of the more enjoyable sides to watch, with a raft of young talent helping the Queensland-based team to 14th place after consecutive bottom-two finishes. The Suns came into this draft having done most of their work beforehand, making the most of concessions afforded to them by the AFL to pre-list a couple of top 25 academy talents and rookie three more, while also snaring a genuine slider with Pick 7. Some senior names were also given extended chances through the Rookie Draft, making what looks like a slender draft haul at first glance a rather deep and valuable one for the rising Suns.

GOLD COAST

National Draft:
#7 Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)

Pre-listings:
Alex Davies (Broadbeach/Allies)
Joel Jeffrey (NT Thunder/Wanderers/Allies)

Rookies:
Jacob Townsend (Essendon), Jack Hombsch (Re-listed), Jordan Murdoch (Re-listed), Aiden Fyfe (Broadbeach/Academy), Rhys Nicholls (Labrador/Academy), Hewago Paul Oea (Cat B)

It was a rather short and sweet National Draft for Gold Coast – the same could not be said for viewers who stayed the course – with Pick 7 its only live selection. Elijah Hollands, a dynamic midfielder/forward with top three value, was the Suns’ man having slid down the order when North Melbourne’s selection of Will Phillips saw the dominoes fall differently than expected. The Murray Bushrangers product has exactly the kind of star quality which Gold Coast looks for at the top end, and while he may not see any game time for the first half of his debut season as he recovers from an ACL tear, he could well become the best player out of this year’s crop down the line.

He joins pre-listed academy guns Alex Davies and Joel Jeffrey on the Suns’ primary list, essentially meaning three top 25 prospects were landed for the price of one. Davies is a big-bodied inside midfielder who excels at the contest with his clean hands and poise in traffic, which made him Queensland’s top talent from a while back. Jeffrey comes in via the Suns’ access to the Darwin zone and brings terrific athleticism as a swingman. He will likely start in defence but could just as easily utilise his aerial nous as a lead-up forward with serious speed and goal sense.

Among the other academy graduates to hit the bigtime were Rhys Nicholls and Aiden Fyfe. Both were pre-listed rookie selections but had their names called out in that draft, while International Scholarship holder Hewego Paul Oea earned Category B status prior to the draft. Nicholls and Fyfe are both aggressive forward runners who can play off half-back or the wing, while ‘Ace’ Oea is a Papua New Guinea native known for his exciting speed and raw talent in the forward half. All three are prospective picks who should provide decent squad depth in the long-term.

The Suns also snared a fresh face, but one familiar to the competition in Jacob Townsend through the Rookie Draft. The 27-year-old joins his fourth AFL club and will add some experience to the forwardline. Meanwhile, Jack Hombsch and Jordan Murdoch were also taken with rookie picks as re-listed players who have been granted another chance in the Suns’ squad. The primary listing of Davies and Jeffrey pushed a number of senior names onto an extended rookie list, which again ties into concessions afforded by the AFL.

Featured Image: The SUNS’ pre-listed Academy talents | Credit: SUNS Media

Rookie Rundown: The picks you might have missed

THE 2020 AFL National and Rookie Drafts have been run and done, with plenty of fresh faces entering the elite system despite limited exposure, opportunities, and football this year. Often times, the best gems and values picks are found in the Rookie Draft and this year is no different, with a bunch of selections not read out during the official event seeing hot prospects get their chance. We take you through some of the names who have snuck onto lists via pre-listing or Category B eligibility, perhaps flying under the radar having been confirmed away from the glamour of draft night.

>> NATIONAL DRAFT: Club-by-club picks
>> ROOKIE DRAFT: Full order

Gold Coast is arguably the team with most relevance to this kind of category, with a total of five pre-listings made as part of the Suns’ draft concessions. Top 25 talents Alex Davies and Joel Jeffrey made their way onto the primary list, with the former an academy product and the latter aligned through Gold Coast’s access to the Darwin zone. Davies is a tall inside midfielder who thrives at the contest with great poise and clean extraction, while Jeffrey is an athletic swingman who stands out aerially and has great upside.

Rhys Nicholls and Aiden Fyfe are other academy graduates who were called out during the Rookie Draft, both promising to add some outside run and class to the Suns’ squad. Their listings were somewhat of a formality, but also show the growth of Gold Coast’s talent program. International scholarship holder Hewago Paul Oea earned a Category B slot after being overlooked last year, potentially bringing great speed and excitement to the forward half. ‘Ace’, as he is affectionately known, hails from Papua New Guinea and represented the Allies during last year’s Under 18 championships.

Another Queensland academy product in Carter Michael also earned rookie selection, pre-listed by Brisbane having been an integral part of the Lions’ pathway setup. The versatile midfielder’s selection slipped under the radar and was only announced after the fact, but he has long been linked with a spot on the Lions’ list. He is a Category A rookie, while Irish convert Deividas Uosis has been listed as a Category B prospect. The Lithuanian-born athlete was announced as a Lions coup early in 2020, but will only officially join their list come 2021.

Will Shaw was somewhat of a surprise get by GWS, with Marc Sheather Sydney’s only other academy selection after matching bids for Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden. Shaw is a former Giants Academy member who played for both Murray and Bendigo in the NAB League but was overlooked as a top-ager before getting his chance with the Giants, who value his outside run and class. He was eligible for selection as he falls in the Giants’ NSW zone. Sheather is a versatile option for the Swans who can play above his size up forward, down back, or even through midfield. He has athletic traits which appeal and a readymade kind of build. Both are said to have been put into Category B slots.

Adelaide wasted little time in announcing the Category B listings of Next Generation Academy (NGA) members James Borlase and Tariek Newchurch, who managed to slip through past the National Draft. Both are fast-developing talents, with Borlase a strongly-built defender who is the son of 246-game Port Adelaide champion Darryl, while Newchurch is a zippy small forward with x-factor and a wonderful eye for goal. They are far from the finished product, but could play a part in the Crows’ rebuild having capped off a massive overall draft haul.

Elsewhere, a couple of monster basketball converts also earned Category B selection, with Paul Tsapatolis landing at Geelong and Mate Colina snapped up by Richmond. Melbourne NGA prospect Deakyn Smith carries some interest after missing out on this intake, but will train with the club in hopes of nabbing a spot in future. Port Adelaide father-son Taj Schofield was one who did find a home in the Rookie Draft after the Power committed to him, adding great value at essentially no cost.

Featured Image: Gold Coast Category B rookie Hewago Paul Oea | Credit: SUNS Media

2020 AFL PSD & Rookie Draft: Pick by Pick

THE 2020 AFL Pre-Season and Rookie Drafts completed today, with just one pick in the Pre-Season Draft, and in the Rookie Draft

Pre-Season Draft:

#1 Adelaide – Jackson Hately (GWS GIANTS)

Rookie Draft:

#1 Adelaide – Bryce Gibbs (Adelaide)
#2 North Melbourne – Patrick Walker (North Hobart/Tasmania)
#3 Sydney – Malachy Carruthers (Sturt/South Australia)
#4 Hawthorn – Jack Saunders (Norwood/South Australia))
#5 Gold Coast – Jacob Townsend (Essendon)
#6 Essendon – Martin Gleeson (Essendon)
#7 Fremantle – Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
#8 Carlton – Luke Parks (Glenelg/South Adelaide)
#9 GWS – Sam Reid (GWS)
#10 Melbourne – PASS
#11 Western Bulldogs – Lachlan McNeil (Woodville-West Torrens/South Adelaide)
#12 West Coast – Zane Trew (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
#13 Collingwood – Jack Ginnivan (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
#14 St Kilda – PASS
#15 Brisbane – Grant Birchall (Brisbane)
#16 Port Adelaide – Tyson Goldsack (Port Adelaide SANFL)
#17 Richmond – PASS
#18 North Melbourne – Connor Menadue (Werribee/VFL)
#19 Sydney – PASS
#20 Gold Coast – Jack Hombsch (Gold Coast)
#21 Essendon – Dylan Clarke (Essendon)
#22 Fremantle – Bailey Banfield (Fremantle)
#23 Carlton – PASS
#24 GWS – Zach Sproule (GWS)
#25 Melbourne – PASS
#26 Western Bulldogs – Roarke Smith (Western Bulldogs)
#27 West Coast – Daniel Venables (West Coast)
#28 Collingwood – Isaac Chugg (Launceston/Tasmania)
#29 St Kilda – PASS
#30 Port Adelaide – PASS
#31 Richmond – PASS
#32 North Melbourne – PASS
#33 Gold Coast – Jordan Murdoch (Gold Coast)
#34 Essendon – PASS
#35 Collingwood – PASS
#36 St Kilda – PASS
#37 Port Adelaide – Taj Schofield (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
#38 Gold Coast – Aiden Fyfe (Broadbeach/Queensland)
#39 Collingwood – PASS
#40 Gold Coast – Rhys Nicholls (Labrador/Gold Coast)

Quartet shine bright as Gold Coast confirms pre-listed players

GOLD Coast Suns have confirmed their four pre-listed players today with Aiden Fyfe, Alex Davies, Joel Jeffrey and Rhys Nicholls all committing to the club ahead of the 2020 AFL Draft. Under the AFL rules that came in prior to the 2019 AFL Draft the Suns were able to pre-list players without having to match bids on them, and have opted to select these four talented players.

Alex Davies and Joel Jeffrey were long touted as Top 25 prospects and were expected to be pre-listed from very early on in the year. For Aiden Fyfe and Rhys Nicholls, it is a reward for effort throughout 2020, having had sensational seasons with Broadbeach and Labrador in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) competition respectively.

Here is all you need to know Suns’ fans:

AIDEN FYFE DRAFT PROFILE
POSITION:
 Outside Midfielder/Defender
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Fyfe is a tall winger who is arguably better suited at half-back where he can take the game on in transition”

ALEX DAVIES DRAFT PROFILE
POSITION: Inside Midfielder
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Davies is a strong inside midfielder with clean hands, poise, and agility, making him one of the prime extractors in this year’s cohort”

JOEL JEFFREY DRAFT PROFILE
POSITION: Key Position Utility
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Jeffrey is an exciting key position prospect who utilises his terrific reading of the ball in flight and athleticism at either end of the ground”

RHYS NICHOLLS DRAFT PROFILE
POSITION: Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Nicholls is a quick, clean midfielder/defender who showed some promising signs in 2020”

Picture: Gold Coast Suns

EXPLAINER | Pocket Podcast: The best midfielders over 190cm

OVER the past few weeks, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the next edition, Chief Editor Peter Williams again sat down with AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro to compare and contrast the best midfielders over 190cm available in this year’s AFL Draft pool. It is a prototype which is in vogue at the moment among AFL circles, with clubs keen to uncover the next Nat Fyfe, Patrick Cripps, or Marcus Bontempelli with tall midfielders who are contested beasts and can take ahold of games.

For the most part, the discussion centred around three key draft talents in said category; Alex Davies, Reef McInnes, and Caleb Poulter. Each of them are regarded as top 25 talents in this year’s crop and shape as the three best 190cm-plus midfielders. Unfortunately for the sake of most fans, both Davies (Gold Coast) and McInnes (Collingwood) are already tied to AFL clubs through their respective academy systems. Davies is set to be pre-listed by the Suns, while Oakleigh’s McInnes could attract a bid between picks 15 and 25. That leaves Poulter, a South Australian bolter of sorts who is the ideal hybrid type and may have clubs fighting over his services in the late-first to early-second round.

To listen to the discussion in full, click here.

PLAYER PROFILES

(click on their names highlighted in red for full draft profiles)

Alex Davies
Gold Coast Academy/Allies

Height: 192cm
Weight: 85kg
DOB: March 18, 2002

Plays… almost exclusively on the inside as a primary ball winner.

Reef McInnes
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

Height: 193cm
Weight: 86kg
DOB: December 12, 2002

Plays… at both ends when required, but thrives on the inside with his size and athleticism.

Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia

Height: 192cm
Weight: 79kg
DOB: October 12, 2002

Plays… inside, outside, and up forward with great presence and class.

Other players who entered the discussion include:

Josh Green – brother of Tom who is also tied to the GWS Academy, can play key position or inside midfield.
Lachlan Carrigan – Sandringham wingman who is developing quickly, runs well and has a damaging kick.
Saxon Crozier – Brisbane Academy product who is versatile but outside leaning, and boasts a thumping boot.
Aiden Fyfe – Gold Coast Academy wingman/half-back who is highly athletic and may attract interest from other clubs.

The likes of Elijah Hollands (189cm), Archie Perkins (188cm), Jack Carroll (187cm), and Nathan O’Driscoll (187cm) were among the first round candidates to narrowly miss the 190cm cut, but are similarly tall midfielders who could provide the same kind of value as those listed above.

>> Power Rankings: November Update

Past Episodes:

Logan McDonald vs. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Best academy and father-son hauls
Brayden Cook vs. Conor Stone
Key defenders kicking comparison
Offence from defence
Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Heath Chapman
The top non-aligned midfielders

Top 10s: 2020 National AFL Draft Combine

AFL DRAFT combines have wrapped up around the nation, giving an insight into how each elite level hopeful stacks up athletically. For most prospects, it was a chance to showcase just how much they had improved since preseason, especially after a full season of football – albeit compromised. For the Victorians in action, they finally got to show their wares after a substantial amount of time away from the field, with a number of them registering results indicative of remarkably hard work in the meantime.

Having taken a look at the top 10 results from each test, we now look back at the combines as a whole to further put under the microscope those who performed well across the board. Needless to say, these athletes can certainly play too, with plenty of first round prospects scattered across the pointy end of each leaderboard. Furthermore, these are the players who have earned National Combine invites; meaning they have done so at the request of at least three-four AFL clubs, or by having previously earned passage into their respective academy hubs.

>> SCROLL for all the top 10 results

Among the top overall performers, three West Australians managed top 10 results across four different tests. Peel Thunder’s Isiah Winder is arguably the best draft prospect of the lot, a classy small midfielder who achieved top two results in the standing vertical jump and running vertical jump (right). To top it off, he also came fifth in the 20m sprint and sixth in the agility test. He uses all those traits on-field too, and looms as a potential second round pick. West Perth defender Kellen Johnson and Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Chris Walker were the other two WA products to complete the feat, doing so in all three jumps and the agility test.

Godfrey Okerenyang, who took out the 2018 AFL Grand Final sprint and comes from a strong athletics background, was the only other player to manage top 10 results in four different tests. The GWS Academy hopeful leapt for the biggest standing vertical jump (84cm) and running vertical jump (right, 92cm), while also placing third in the 20m sprint. His podium finish in the running vertical jump (left) rounded out the four-peat. He looms as a more prospective pick at this year’s draft, having only recently committed to pursuing a footballing career.

Another two high-upside late chances who are already tied to clubs in Josh Eyre (Essendon, NGA) and Aiden Fyfe (Gold Coast, Academy) each racked up hat-tricks of top 10 features. Like most of the others, they were prominent in the jumping tests, while also respectively running the eight and ninth-best 20m times. In the most compromised draft crop ever, the likes of Reef McInnes (Collingwood NGA) took out first place in the speed test with a searing time of 2.78 seconds, while Sydney Academy member Braeden Campbell and Bulldogs NGA gun Jamarra Ugle-Hagan were also among that top 10 with equal times of 2.90 seconds. The latter two are expected to attract bids within the top 10.

There were plenty of other first round prospects to light up the track, too. WA key defenders Denver Grainger-Barras and Heath Chapman showed their wares in the agility and endurance departments respectively, while fellow sandgroper Jack Carroll was a standout jumper – even while sporting a cast on his broken wrist. Archie Perkins was another to impress in multiple categories, with Vic Metro hub teammates Finlay Macrae and Nikolas Cox acing the 2km time trial. Others to excel across the board included Nathan O’Driscoll, a second round candidate, and Brodie Lake, who hails from the Northern Territory but made the move to South Australia this year. He is eligible to be pre-listed by the Gold Coast Suns via their access to the Darwin zone.

NATIONWIDE AFL DRAFT COMBINE TOP 10s

Standing Vertical Jump:

1. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy) – 84cm
=2. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) – 76cm
=2. Pierce Roseby (Sydney Academy) – 76cm
=4. Jack Carroll (East Fremantle) – 74cm
=4. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 74cm
=6. Kellen Johnson (West Perth) – 73cm
=6. Shannon Neale (South Fremantle) – 73cm
8. Harry Grant (GWS Academy) – 70cm
=9. Jaiden Hunter (Perth) – 69cm
=9. Sam Frost (GWS Academy) – 69cm

Running Vertical Jump (R):

=1. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy) – 92cm
=1. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) – 92cm
=3. Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers) – 91cm
=3. Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons) – 91cm
5. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 90cm
=6. Josh Eyre (Calder Cannons) – 87cm
=6. Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts) – 87cm
=8. Liam McMahon (Northern Knights) – 86cm
=8. Shannon Neale (South Fremantle) – 86cm
=10. 4x players (Isaac Chugg, Aiden Fyfe, Jack Carroll, Kellen Johnson)

Running Vertical Jump (L):

1. Dominic Bedendo (Murray Bushrangers) – 99cm
=2. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy) – 95cm
=2. Aiden Fyfe (Gold Coast Academy) – 95cm
=4. Kellen Johnson (West Perth) – 94cm
=4. Sam Berry (Gippsland Power) – 94cm
=4. Brodie Lake (NT Thunder/Central District) – 94cm
=4. Jack Briskey (Brisbane Academy) – 94cm
=4. Eddie Ford (Western Jets) – 94cm
=9. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 93cm
=9. Josh Eyre (Calder Cannons) – 93cm

20m Sprint:

1. Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers) – 2.78 seconds
2. Max Holmes (Sandringham Dragons) – 2.80
3. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy) – 2.86
4. Liam Kolar (Northern Knights) – 2.87
5. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) – 2.873
=6. Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers) – 2.89
=6. Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers) – 2.88
8. Joshua Eyre (Calder Cannons) – 2.89
9. Aiden Fyfe (Gold Coast Academy) – 2.898
=10. Braeden Campbell (Sydney Academy) – 2.90
=10. Fraser Rosman (Sandringham Dragons) – 2.90
=10. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers) – 2.90

Agility Test:

1. Brodie Lake (NT Thunder/Central District) – 7.90 seconds
2. Mitchell Duval (West Adelaide) – 7.98
3. Harry Grant (GWS Academy) – 8.00
4. Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth) – 8.12
5. Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts) – 8.13
6. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) – 8.18
7. Marc Sheather (Sydney Academy) – 8.23
=8. Kellen Johnson (West Perth) – 8.27
=8. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 8.27
10. Taj Schofield (WWT Eagles) – 8.31

2km Time Trial:

1. Harry Sharp (GWV Rebels) – 5 minutes, 28 seconds
2. Fraser Rosman (Sandringham Dragons) – 5:52
3. Liam Kolar (Northern Knights) – 6:02
4. Nikolas Cox (Northern Knights) – 6:03
5. Sam Berry (Gippsland Power) – 6:10
6. Ryan Angwin (Gippsland Power) – 6:11
=7. Matthew Allison (Calder Cannons) – 6:17
=7. Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers) – 6:17
9. Heath Chapman (West Perth) – 6:20
=10. Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth) – 6:23
=10. Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons) – 6:23
=10. Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays) – 6:23

>> Power Rankings: November Update

Combine results in full:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
2km

Preseason testing results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

Featured Image: Oakleigh’s Finlay Macrae runs the 20-metre sprint | Credit: Graham Denholm/AFL Photos

Top 10s: 2020 National Draft Combine – Running & Standing Vertical Jumps

AFL DRAFT combines have wrapped up around the nation, giving an insight into how each elite level hopeful stacks up athletically. For most prospects, it was a chance to showcase just how much they had improved since preseason, especially after a full season of football – albeit compromised. For the Victorians in action, they finally got to show their wares after a substantial amount of time away from the field, with a number of them registering results indicative of remarkably hard work in the meantime.

Having already looked at the 20-metre sprint times and agility test results, we now shift our focus to the standing and running vertical jumps. These tests are essentially self explanatory, designed to measure how high athletes can jump; firstly off a standing start, and then by leaping off either foot on the run. The results are measured by scaling each athletes’ absolute score with their respective heights, as to prevent taller players from dominating and to gain a greater reading of true vertical ability.

>> SCROLL for all the top 10s

It is worth noting, the standing vertical jump test was only conducted at the NSW/ACT, South Australian, and West Australian combines, though the running vertical jumps were measured at each event.

Three players registered top 10 leaps across all three tests; namely Godfrey Okerenyang, Chris Walker, and Kellen Johnson. Okerenyang, a GWS Academy member, hails from a high-level athletics background and dominated the power-based tests across the board. His 84cm standing jump was the best effort nationwide, as was his running vertical jump off the right side (92cm). Walker is a Fremantle NGA prospect out of East Fremantle, and the twin brother of top 30 hopeful Brandon Walker, who did not participate in the event. West Perth’s Johnson came back onto the radar having made a late-season return from injury, and served a handy reminder of his athleticism as a key defender.

Another two players already tied to clubs also managed to achieve top 10 results in the running jumps off both feet. The first was Josh Eyre, a Calder Cannons graduate who is part of Essendon’s NGA program. He is quite a raw key forward, but clearly has the athleticism to also run out as a utility. The other player to do so was Aiden Fyfe, one of the standout Gold Coast Academy members. He is a classy outside type who played senior QAFL football this year. Both loom as late draft chances.

After Okerenyang took out two events, he was resigned to second spot in the running vertical jump (left) as Murray forward Dominic Bedendo put in the highest jump overall, powering 99cm vertically. In terms of top-end draft prospects around the mark, Denver Grainger-Barras notched an 87cm running jump off his right side, while first round hopefuls such as Jack Carroll and Archie Perkins also showed off their aerial aptitude in the same test. Perkins, along with Bedendo and Jack Briskey, also featured in preseason top 10s in the jumping categories. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Joel Western, and Brandon Walker are familiar names to have also snuck onto those lists, but the latter two did not test this time around.

THE TOP 10s

Standing Vertical Jump:

1. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy) – 84cm
=2. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) – 76cm
=2. Pierce Roseby (Sydney Academy) – 76cm
=4. Jack Carroll (East Fremantle) – 74cm
=4. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 74cm
=6. Kellen Johnson (West Perth) – 73cm
=6. Shannon Neale (South Fremantle) – 73cm
8. Harry Grant (GWS Academy) – 70cm
=9. Jaiden Hunter (Perth) – 69cm
=9. Sam Frost (GWS Academy) – 69cm

Running Vertical Jump (R):

=1. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy) – 92cm
=1. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) – 92cm
=3. Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo) – 91cm
=3. Archie Perkins (Sandringham) – 91cm
5. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 90cm
=6. Josh Eyre (Calder) – 87cm
=6. Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts) – 87cm
=8. Liam McMahon (Northern) – 86cm
=8. Shannon Neale (South Fremantle) – 86cm
=10. 4x players (Isaac Chugg, Aiden Fyfe, Jack Carroll, Kellen Johnson)

Running Vertical Jump (L):

1. Dominic Bedendo (Murray) – 99cm
=2. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy) – 95cm
=2. Aiden Fyfe (Gold Coast Academy) – 95cm
=4. Kellen Johnson (West Perth) – 94cm
=4. Sam Berry (Gippsland) – 94cm
=4. Brodie Lake (NT/Central District) – 94cm
=4. Jack Briskey (Brisbane Academy) – 94cm
=4. Eddie Ford (Western) – 94cm
=9. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 93cm
=9. Josh Eyre (Calder) – 93cm

Stay tuned for top 10 results from each of the remaining tests.

>> Power Rankings: November Update

Preseason testing:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

Featured Image: Josh Eyre testing at the Vic Country Draft Combine | Credit: AFL Photos

Top 10s: National Draft Combine testing – 20m sprint

AFL DRAFT combines have wrapped up around the nation, giving an insight into how each elite level hopeful stacks up athletically. For most prospects, it was a chance to showcase just how much they had improved since preseason, especially after a full season of football – albeit compromised. For the Victorians in action, they finally got to show their wares after a substantial amount of time away from the field, with a number of them registering results indicative of remarkably hard work in the meantime.

The 20-metre sprint is the test used to measure an athlete’s burst of speed, and often yields some of the most looked-at data from such testing events. Looking at the combined results from each state and region, the overall top 10 features six players who measure up at over 190cm, showcasing just how exciting some of these budding draftees are as prototypical, modern day athletes.

>> SCROLL to see the top 10 results

Six players who registered top 10 times are also already aligned to AFL clubs, headlined by Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy (NGA) member and consensus number one prospect, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. Another NGA product, Reef McInnes (Collingwood) took full toll with a tailwind to notch a nation-wide fastest time of 2.78 seconds, remarkable considering his 193cm/86kg frame and the fact he is an inside midfielder. Standout Swans Academy member Braeden Campbell equalled Ugle-Hagan’s effort as both managed the equal-10th best time.

There also looms some real bolters in the pack, with the likes of Liam Kolar, Max Holmes, and Fraser Rosman all notching elite times of 2.90 seconds or better. Kolar and Rosman are athletic tall forwards who are quite raw but can compete aerially, while wingman Holmes is a national hurdles champion and the son of Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Lee Naylor. Essendon NGA hopeful Joshua Eyre was another surprise packet, dominating across the board and ranking eighth in this particular test.

Godfrey OkerenyangIsiah Winder, and Aiden Fyfe joined Campbell as the only non-Victorians to earn top 10 status, with West Australian Winder also the smallest player among them at 180cm. He is fresh off a season which saw him earn a senior berth at Peel Thunder, proving a classy user through midfield. Keen watchers may remember Okerenyang from the 2018 AFL Grand Final sprint, which he took out, while Fyfe is a wingman out of Gold Coast’s Academy.

Incredibly, none of the top 10 runners featured on the same list during preseason, though Campbell was among the best NSW/ACT sprinters at that time.

Top 10 times:

1. Reef McInnes (Oakleigh/Vic Metro) – 2.78 seconds
2. Max Holmes (Sandringham/Vic Metro) – 2.80
3. Godfrey Okerenyang (GWS Academy/Allies) – 2.86
4. Liam Kolar (Northern/Vic Metro) – 2.87
5. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder/Western Australia) – 2.873
=6. Zavier Maher (Murray/Vic Country) – 2.89
=6. Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo/Vic Country) – 2.88
8. Joshua Eyre (Calder/Vic Metro) – 2.89
9. Aiden Fyfe (Gold Coast Academy/Allies) – 2.898
=10. Braeden Campbell (Sydney Academy/Allies) – 2.90
=10. Fraser Rosman (Sandringham/Vic Metro) – 2.90
=10. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh/Vic Country) – 2.90

Stay tuned for top 10 results from each of the remaining tests.

>> Power Rankings: November Update

Preseason testing:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

Featured Image: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan runs the 20-metre sprint | Credit: AFL Photos

QAFL wrap and scout notes: Morningside claim premiership glory over undefeated Broadbeach

Morningside has won their tenth club premiership with a thrilling nine-point victory over the previously undefeated Broadbeach. Aside from a 15-minute patch in the second quarter, the Panthers were the better side all day and are very deserving premiers. Superstar midfielder Matthew Payne backed up his third Grogan Medal win during the week by earning the Joe Grant Medal for best on ground in the Grand Final. At age 35, this is an incredible feat to go with another premiership medallion.

Fans piled into Yeronga for the clash and delivered an amazing atmosphere. Yeronga is a beautiful ground, but it is also much smaller than these two sides were used to. Broadbeach were the best side through the home and away season and were hungry for their first flag since 1996. Morningside had only lost one game for the season, which was to their Grand Final rivals by 50 points in Round 9. They clearly learnt a lot from that game, as they immediately got their matchups right and controlled the stoppages for the majority of the match.

It was a good old-fashioned arm wrestle early, as both sides had their opportunities but failed to capitalise. After some nice work from Saxon Crozier on the wing, former Brisbane Lions rookie Reuben William snapped the opening goal of the game at the ten-minute mark. Broadbeach immediately responded with a goal through Kai Sheers after he won a free kick for too high. There was plenty of heat in the contest early, including a brutal bump to the head of classy Morningside half-back William Pendlebury. Although the start was a bit scrappy, this was mainly due to the relentless pressure being applied by both sides. Morningside got another goal after a poor handball from Bailey Reeves went straight into the hands of young Panthers forward Nathan Colenso. The Panthers went into quarter time with a seven-point buffer that probably should have been more given the number of chances they had late in the quarter.

Morningside had a chance to snag one early in the second, but they kicked a behind. From that kick in, Connor Nutting started a great piece of transition play with a strong contested mark at half-back. Broadbeach went end-to-end and Ryan Gilmore kicked their second goal. Livewire forward Josh Gore followed this with a goal from a stoppage, then a bit of individual brilliance from Brandon Chadwick gave the Cats some breathing space. Morningside committed a shocking turnover coming out of defence just minutes later, and Blake Erickson capitalised with a goal from 50. This made it four unanswered goals for Broadbeach, and it looked like they were about to run away with the game in similar fashion to Round 9. However, Morningside responded this time. Blake Coleman put through an important goal after some great run and link-up down the outer wing, then key forward Matthew Hammelmann clunked a contested mark in the pocket and put through a clever snap to bring his side back within four points. Exciting Panthers duo Coleman and William took over from there, kicking back-to-back unbelievable soccer goals to give their side an eight-point lead at the half.

In the opening minute of the third, Gilmore got an unfortunate concussion when diving for a mark on the 50-metre arc and as a result did not take any further part in the game, but did earn a free kick for that contest. Former Gold Coast player Clay Cameron was able to take the shot, but his kick faded late with the breeze and hit the post. The Panthers went straight down the other end and Hammelmann booted through his second from a set shot outside 50. The game went back and forth in the third until Gore got loose in the goal square and kicked his second for the day. Morningside held a seven-point lead at the final change.

The Panthers absolutely suffocated Broadbeach for the first half of the final term, as the Cats could not get any quick forward movement going out of their defence. More individual brilliance from William on the goal line gave the Panthers a 13-point lead early in the term, then Payne almost kicked a goal straight from the centre clearance but just did not get enough purchase on the kick. Morningside had a couple more golden chances to put the game away, including a set shot to Coleman after he took an amazing hanger in the forward pocket. He missed the shot, then hit the post with a difficult snap from a stoppage just moments later. Broadbeach were very lucky to be within three goals at this stage, as the ball had barely exited their defensive half the whole quarter. Finally, the Cats got themselves a forward stoppage at the 19-minute mark and Cameron put through a clever snap on the left. This brought the margin back to ten points and Broadbeach had all the play for the next five minutes. Then, the unimaginable happened. The Cats earned a free kick in the goal square for a hold and would have kicked a certain goal. However, one of the Cats players elected to take the advantage, snapped at goal, and kicked a behind.

From there, Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds stood up with two clutch intercept marks. Although he missed his chance to become an unlikely goal scorer from a set shot, he did well to get the ball to the other end and take some time off the clock. The Cats went end-to-end from the kick in, but Panthers defender Bradley Dale ran back with the flight to take an outstanding mark five metres out from their defensive goal. The siren went just seconds later, and Morningside finished with an astonishing eight-point victory. It made for remarkable scenes at the ground as many players, coaches and fans ran onto the field to celebrate with the Morningside team. It has to be considered one of the great grand final victories in recent memory, and the jubilant post-match scenes were exactly what footy is all about.

While stars including Payne, Pendlebury and William will understandably get most of the attention, some young prospects also stood up under immense pressure.

Broadbeach 1.1 | 5.1 | 6.5 | 7.8 (50)
Morningside 2.2 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 8.11 (59)

GOALS:

Broadbeach: J. Gore 2, B. Erickson, R. Gilmore, K. Sheers, B. Chadwick, C. Cameron
Morningside: N/A at time of publishing

BROADBEACH:

#31 Aiden Fyfe

Fyfe was given third best by the Broadbeach staff on the day, and I would agree with this assessment. He played at half-back for most of the game, a role he has proven to play very well. Fyfe took a nice contested mark against Crozier in a one-on-one contest from a kick in early, then found his target in Chadwick down the wing with a beautifully weighted kick. He was great in one-on-ones all day, highlighted when he had another huge win in one of these situations at half-back in the last quarter. Fyfe out-bodied his opponent brilliantly in this contest, proving that he is much stronger than one would think.

Fyfe’s desperation in defence was noticeable all day, as he worked hard to track down loose balls and not allow opposition forwards any clean possessions. He was willing to push up to lock the ball in his side’s forward line, and he was good at getting onto his left and delivering some quick forward entries to the advantage of forwards.

Fyfe has strong hands under pressure, as shown when he took a nice contested mark at the 23-minute mark of the final term. He is also willing to fly as the third man up to help his teammates in defence, which was evident when he took an intercept mark in the opposition’s goal square during the third quarter. Fyfe also has a booming left-foot kick, works to get a lot of handball receives and has the composure to kick the ball short when necessary. Although he has a reliable short kick in defence, he did give one kick across goal in the third term a bit too much air and it was intercepted. Thankfully, the end result was only a stoppage. This was the only noticeable mistake Fyfe made through the entire match.

#35 Josh Gore

Gore, a lively small forward, was Broadbeach’s only multiple goal scorer on the day. He applied plenty of forward pressure early in the game, highlighted by a strong tackle on Pendlebury at a stoppage. His speed and intense pressure forced opponents to rush their kicks out of defence, and this led to multiple turnovers and repeat inside 50s for his side. In the second term, Gore got on the end of a chain of handballs from a forward 50 stoppage to kick a nice goal and give his side the lead. At the 16-minute mark of the third, he read the flight of the ball well to take a mark and kick his second from the goal square. He finished with 2.2, as twice in the game he misjudged the breeze and missed set shots that he should have nailed. Gore’s finish to the game was strong, as he was one of the few Cats players that moved the ball forward quickly at half-forward.

#56 Bailey Reeves

Reeves’ work rate was outstanding once again on Saturday, as he worked tirelessly from contest to contest to have an impact. The wingman provided a short lead-up target through the centre of the ground on numerous occasions, and he always held his marks. However, he often chose to kick long to a contest from wing and half-forward positions. Reeves’ main highlight of the day was a courageous intercept mark flying across the pack in the defensive 50 during the second term. His tackling was consistently strong and he never shied away from a contest. A lowlight was a poor forward handball in defence that handed Colenso a goal during the first term. If Reeves maintains his exceptional work ethic and continues to refine his skills, he should be a good player for a long time.

MORNINGSIDE:

#23 Blake Coleman

Coleman played deep in the forward 50 for the Panthers and was undoubtedly one of their best players. The Brisbane Lions Academy prospect started the match with a lead-up mark in the opening minute and a strong tackle on Kwaby Boakye. Coleman used his electric speed to find space from his opponent early and provide a great option for teammates moving the ball forward.

He took a nice mark back with the flight on the wing early in the second quarter, then delivered a short pass onto the chest of Colenso. Just 15 seconds later, he pushed forward to apply pressure and cause a turnover, which highlighted how hard Coleman was willing to work to get to contests during this game. He kicked his first goal for the day shortly after to shift the momentum back Morningside’s way after four unanswered goals by Broadbeach. Coleman started the play on the wing with a handball inside, then burst forward hard to get on the end of the link up play and kick a simple goal in the square. He kicked another goal in the same quarter with a soccer from the goal square to put his side back in front.

Coleman frequently used his elite leaping ability to fly for marks. Multiple defenders went with him when he jumped for marks because he is so dangerous in the air, and this created space for his teammates on the ground. At the start of third, he won an important one-on-one marking contest at half-forward then composed himself to find Hammelmann with a clever short pass inside 50.

At the start of the last quarter, Coleman was very lively once again. He repeatedly collected the ball cleanly off the ground and could not be tackled because of his impressive combination of strength, speed and agility. Coleman took an absolute screamer in the forward pocket at the 12-minute mark that will be on his highlight reel for the years to come. He missed the tricky set shot from the boundary, and just minutes later he hit the post with a difficult snap from a stoppage. Coleman played a major role in making Morningside’s win happen and Brisbane Lions fans should be ecstatic about what may potentially be coming their way next year. 

#27 Saxon Crozier

Crozier backed up his outstanding game last week with another strong performance in the Grand Final. He started the game on fire, positioning himself well defensively at stoppages and using brilliant hands and link up through the middle on numerous occasions. He showed composure in a contest at the seven-minute mark when others were panicking under pressure, and his handball inside set up the opening score of the game. Crozier followed this up with a clean collect off the ground while running down the wing, then composed himself to get an inside 50 to set up the opening goal of the game.

In the second term, he took too long to get rid of the ball a couple of times and got caught by tackles and smothers from the opposition. However, Crozier adjusted to Broadbeach’s increased intensity late in the term and went back to having his usual impact. He combined nicely with Toby Triffett by hand in traffic to get an inside 50, then laid an important tackle to win a holding the ball decision at half-forward.

Crozier produced a clever rove at a stoppage early in the third to move the ball forward. He always retains his width at stoppages, which gets him easy possessions while others get sucked into the contest. Crozier’s tackling intensity definitely lifted in the third term, highlighted when he laid a strong tackle on Gore in defensive 50. He was also composed in traffic, as shown when he spun around opponents and took tackles whilst giving handballs to create space for teammates.

In the last, a beautiful left-foot kick down the line to Liam Dwyer demonstrated how competent Crozier is on both sides of his body. He repeatedly took some sting out of the contest in this term by chipping the ball around with teammates to control possession. This has become a regular feature of Crozier’s game, as he runs hard in final quarters when his team is in front to get these possessions all over the ground. It gave his tired teammates some time to rest and successfully took time off the clock.

#32 Nathan Colenso

Colenso played his role as a lead-up forward very well on the big stage. He kicked an early goal with a left foot snap after intercepting an errant handball, and had a chance to kick a second later in the term. This came about because Colenso played in front while his defender lagged off him, so was able to take an uncontested diving mark from a quick kick inside 50. However, he missed the shot at goal. He took a couple of lead-up marks down the corridor in the second term, but he was not sighted too much otherwise. In the third, he laid a strong tackle at half-forward to earn holding the ball decision at the 21-minute mark. His tackling has been outstanding this year, as he always makes opponents pay when they try to take him on. Colenso laid another strong tackle at start of the last quarter to earn a free kick and kicked long to find Hammelmann at half-forward. His kicking is usually quite reliable, and this was no exception. 

#35 Toby Triffett

Triffett was made for a tough, congested, high-pressure final like this. He is a contested animal that attacks the ball with pace and loves to lay a strong tackle. Early in the game he played as a forward, where he crumbed contests with intensity and aimed to create chaos. In the second quarter, he laid a huge crunching tackle on the wing that left his opponent slow to get up. He also linked up well down the wings to help his teammates transition the ball. After Broadbeach hit the lead, Triffett ran from the forward 50 into centre square to win an important centre clearance for his side. He was moved into the middle shortly after, which showed how much the coaches trust him because this was when Broadbeach were getting on top. Triffett won many contested possessions in there and aggressively sought to find his own footy. With some clean quick hands in tight on the wing, Triffett released a teammate and helped set up an important goal to Coleman. He continued his contested ways in the second half with some more strong tackles, and he also took a couple of important marks at half-forward.

 

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Out to impress: QAFL Seniors Grand Final preview – Broadbeach vs. Morningside

AFTER nine regular season rounds and two enthralling weeks of finals, it all comes down to this. Undefeated minor premier, Broadbeach meets Morningside (2nd, 7-1) in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Grand Final on Saturday afternoon, and there is plenty of young talent primed to impact on the big stage.

In a new-look QAFL preview, Draft Central again narrows its focus to the young guns in action across the two best sides in the competition, including a bunch of Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academy products. We take a look at who shone when the sides previously met in 2020, while also touching on the strengths of some budding AFL Draft prospects in action.

2020 QAFL Grand Final

Broadbeach vs. Morningside
Saturday, September 26 | 2:30pm
Leyshon Park, Yeronga

Previous meeting…

Round 9 – Broadbeach 13.16 (94) def. Morningside 6.8 (44)

GOALS:

Broadbeach: C. Nutting 3, C. Cameron 3, J. Moncrieff 2, J. Fisher 2, R. Gilmore, B. Chadwick, B. Reeves
Morningside: L. Edwards 2, M. Hammelmann, S. Crozier, E. Mallan, B. Coleman

BEST:

Broadbeach: K. Boakye, E. Reeves, M. Lower, C. Cameron, B. Lowe, S. Mills
Morningside: W. Pendlebury, E. Mallan, L. Russ, R. William, B. Kethro, H. Joyce

It took until the final home-and-away round for the season’s two undefeated outfits to meet, with Broadbeach the side which would stand clear after a statement-making 50-point victory. The Cats’ range of scoring options ensure they pulled away strongly in the second half, overcoming some early woes in front of goal to put Morningside to the sword. Usual suspect and former Gold Coast forward Connor Nutting booted three goals in the winning effort, with fellow SUNS Academy graduate Ryan Gilmore and Bailey Reeves also hitting the scoreboard. For the Panthers, who showed plenty of room for improvement, current Brisbane Academy prospects Saxon Crozier and Blake Coleman also found the big sticks, but 24-year-old leading goalkicker Matt Hammelmann was kept to just one major in a big tick for Broadbeach’s defence.

The finals journey…

After both earning a week’s rest as the top two ranked teams, the preliminary finals proved a relatively straightforward stage for either side. Broadbeach scrapped to beat Sherwood, who employed some defensive tactics, to the tune of 43 points to book its spot in the decider. It should prove a handy tune-up for the Cats as their defence held up well, though the finishing up forward could do with some sharpening. Meanwhile, Morningside held off a pesky Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) to advance via a 19-point victory. Crozier, Coleman, and Hammelmann were all again among the goals, but Victorian recruit Matthew McGannon was named best afield for his efforts through midfield. The Panthers will need another big effort from their forwards this coming Saturday.

Ones to watch…

A race against time will determine whether leading Queensland draft prospect Alex Davies returns to action for Broadbeach. The big-bodied inside midfielder has only managed one outing for the Cats in 2020, and is recovering from an elbow injury which saw him miss the Academy Series. It could be a risk to play him ahead of next month’s draft combine, but he would add clean extraction skills in what is usually the most hotly contested game of the season.

Conversely, another current SUNS Academy player in Aiden Fyfe promises to break the game open for Broadbeach, with his sharp ball use by foot and outside run making for valuable assets when the Cats are in need of a spark. Set to be stationed either off half-back or on the wing, Fyfe looms as a good counter to some of Morningside’s runners. Namely, Saxon Crozier‘s capacity to penetrate on the outer will be a key to much of the Panthers’ success, along with Blake Coleman‘s creativity in attack. Both make up two of the leading Lions Academy prospects for 2020, and have adjusted well to senior football.

Staying with the midfield battle, Broadbeach’s Bailey Reeves has a good mix of ball-winning traits both inside and out, and should battle well against the likes of Toby Triffett and Matthew McGannon, two of Morningside’s prime movers. Up forward, livewire small Josh Gore will look to go big having turned heads in his over-age year. The SUNS Academy graduate should keep a Panthers defence which boasts Nathan Colenso busy alongside the likes of Connor Nutting and Ryan Gilmore. Both Gore and Nutting have booted 17 goals this season.

Tip: Broadbeach by 15

Featured Image: Broadbeach young guns Alex Davies and Josh Gore celebrate after a goal | Source: Russell Freeman Photography