Tag: ben cavarra

2019 VFL season preview: Werribee ready to roar

IT is a new season and reigning premiers Box Hill Hawks are the team with a target on their back. We take a look at each of the 15 Victorian Football League (VFL) teams with plenty of new inclusions to excite fans ahead of the season, with Werribee and Port Melbourne tipped to be some of the top sides in the competition.

Box Hill Hawks

Last season: Premiers

The Hawks have brought in a number of big ball winners to their side with tall winger, Mason De Wit and strong mid/forward Jake Frawley heading to the brown and gold with outside runner, Boadie Motton from Gippsland Power. The Hawks have also picked up Nathan Mullenger-McHugh from the Western Bulldogs, and some experience out west in West Perth’s Luke Meadows. Add in Port Melbourne’s Damian Mascitti and the talented but relatively unknown Paddy Anderson from the Hampden League, and the Hawks have brought in some page and power up forward, as well as great midfield depth. Will Hams will be a loss with a number of other players out to play local footy, while former Sandringham Dragon, Georgie Nagle has headed to Port Melbourne. The reigning premiers have built on the list that took them to the cup last season and they are a team to watch in season 2019.

Casey Demons

Last season: Grand Finalists

The Demons have traded around Stingrays, with Riley D’Arcy, Goy Lok and Ali Zijai all heading to Frankston over the summer, but have brought in premiership Stingrays, Jai Taylor and Matthew Gahan for the 2019 season. Gahan offers good movement out of defence, while the lightning quick Taylor will no doubt make it easy for Casey’s social media team to regularly draw out highlights. Heath Briggs joins his brother at the Demons, while Nick Lowden has progressed from Gippsland among a couple of Port Melbourne recruits in Luke Tynan and Anthony Vella. With a few local league players also joining the side including a familiar name with Darcy Fritsch – brother of Melbourne’s Bailey – pulling on the red and blue. It was a heartbreaking loss in the Grand Final last season and the Demons will be keen to go one better this year with the additions.

Coburg Lions

Last season: 15th (Wooden spoon)

Change was afoot at Coburg over the summer with a match day team full of players coming in, and going out of the Lions’ doors. From a VFL perspective, Matthew Harman has crossed from the Northern Blues with Alex Federico to join former Northern Knights teammates, Braedyn Gillard and Mark Baker at the club, while fellow draft prospects last year, Mitch Podhajski – who returns on a full-time basis to the club – Jack Evans and Lucas Cavallaro all switch from Calder to Coburg. Evans and Cavallaro will provide good drive out of defence, while Podhajski will be a dominant force in multiple areas around the ground. Add in former Eastern Ranges outside midfielder Xavier Fry, a couple of Gold Coast NEAFL players in Brodie Foster and Harry Simington and Canberra Demons’ Jack Baker who was close to being drafted last season, and the Lions have really built some serious depth this year. Of the departures, Hisham Kerbatieh, Nick Mellington and Sean Gregory have crossed to the Seagulls, while Tom Condon will try his hand in the SANFL With Sturt.

Collingwood Magpies

Last season: 5th (Elimination final exit)

A relatively settled line-up, the Magpies will have a bitter taste in their mouth after coming close to a double chance, only to be knocked out in the elimination final by Essendon. Adam Oxley has hung around at the club after being delisted by Collingwood’s AFL side, while Dandenong Stingrays’ co-captain Campbell Hustwaite looms as a massive inclusion who could put his name up in lights with a big season, while Alex Spencer is the other addition coming from Port Melbourne. Marty Hore and Tom Jok were drafted by Melbourne and Essendon respectively, while Gus Borthwick also departs. The Magpies will hope for a better run of injuries this season with the VFL side stretched at times last year given the amount of AFL players required at AFL level.

Essendon Bombers

Last season: 8th (Preliminary final exit)

Essendon have strategically brought in a number of over-age prospects who did have draft interest over the past two years, with key defender Daniel Hanna and Oakleigh Chargers versatile tall, Matthew Day having plenty of draftable attributes but needing to iron out a few things. Jacob Atley will also share time between Essendon and Bendigo Pioneers in his bid to get drafted with Essendon considering him for an AFL list spot last year. Nick Hind was a whirlwind last season but he will now cross to Sandringham to play with St Kilda’s affiliate, while Alex Boyse also departed the club over the off-season after some draft interest. The Bombers have also picked up former Saint, Ray Connellan, as well as Werribee’s Kurt Aylett and Port Melbourne’s Josh Tynan who should all make important contributions to the club.

Footscray Bulldogs

Last season: 9th

Footscray has bolstered its side ahead of the 2019 season, only losing Jamison Shea to Southport, while Will Hayes got his chance for the Bulldogs’ senior side. Richmond’s Nathan Drummond and Geelong’s Ryan Gardner cross to the club after being delisted last season, while former Carlton AFL player, Dillon Viojo-Rainbow has made the move further west after a stint with Port Melbourne. Interestingly, the Bulldogs have raided St Kevin’s to top up their list, with Sam Barnett, Lachlan Farrugia, Gerard Gleeson and Billy Kanakis all signing onto the club this year. Footscray would hope that the inclusions will be enough to reach the finals after narrowly missing out last year.

Frankston Dolphins

Last season: 14th

The Dolphins had moments returning to the competition for the 2018 season, but ultimately just managed the two wins from 18 games in 2018. Unsuprisingly, Frankston has looked to Sandringham Dragons and Dandenong Stingrays for young talent coming through, while also picking up some former Dragons who were delisted by their respective AFL clubs. Nathan Freeman was a feel-good story last year for the Saints, but his AFL time came to an end, as did Sydney’s Angus Styles who was delisted after one year on the rookie list. Former Stingrays, Riley D’Arcy and Ali Zijai, and former Dragon, Goy Lok all return to Frankston, along with potential Brisbane father-son James Rendell, former Mentone Grammar captain, Harry Houlahan, and Stingrays duo, Aaron Darling – who has had two consecutive knee reconstructions – and Lachlan McDonnell who was unlucky to miss out on being drafted last season. The Dolphins will also help develop St Kilda ruck, Sam Alabakis who was allowed to play for Frankston given St Kilda’s ruck depth who will play at Sandringham.

Geelong Cats

Last season: 3rd (Semi-final exit)

Geelong has made minimal changes to its line-up for the 2019 season, with captain Tom Atkins pulling on the senior blue and white hoops so likely to roll through the VFL team this season, while former Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels midfielder Aiden Domic, has crossed to Werribee. His Rebels teammate, Charlie Wilson joins the club and will provide some firepower in attack. Gippsland Power key defender Kyle Reid comes into the Cats line-up and with a good season could be a chance to be drafted as a 19-year-old given the Cats’ tendency to draft their own state league players and ageing key defenders, while Aaron Black stays at the club after being delisted. The Cats have also headed to the Goulburn Valley to recruit Nik Rokahr and Luke Smith from the Shepparton Bears. The Cats had a terrific season last year, but fell short in finals, exiting in straight sets at the hands of eventual premiers, Box Hill Hawks.

Northern Blues

Last season: 12th

The Northern Blues have bolstered their line-up with some AFL experience, bringing in key defensive duo, Kieran Collins and Alex Johnson. Collins was close to getting a reprieve with the Blues in the AFL, but will bide his time for Carlton’s VFL affiliate, while Johnson was the feel-good story then the heartbreak story of 2018. After multiple knee reconstructions, the former Sydney defender has not given up hope of reaching the highest level again and it will be interesting to see how he fairs in the state league. Hawthorn’s Jonathan O’Rouke also joins the club with some unfulfilled potential, while South Croyden’s Frank Anderson was the name that had a few eyebrows raised when State Combine invites went out last year, but the talented former Eastern Football League star will now get the chance to step up at the higher level.

North Melbourne Kangaroos

Last season: 10th

Not a great deal of change out at North Melbourne, with Alex Morgan staying at the club despite being delisted by the AFL affiliate. Brendan Whitecross will provide invaluable experience after his time at Hawthorn, while former Sydney player, Daniel Robinson also joins the Roos for season 2019. Sam Parson crosses to the club from Box Hill Hawks, while key forward Michael Close, Liam Whelan and Steve Stroobants all depart. The Kangaroos were solid in their debut year last year, finishing 10th and pushing towards a finals birth at times. They did get smashed by the AFL Academy side early in the year, but once North Melbourne gelled, they showed what they were capable of in the competition.

Port Melbourne Borough

Last season: 7th (Elimination final exit)

The 2017 premiers bowed out in the first week of finals last year to eventual premiers, Box Hill Hawks. Like most standalone clubs, the Borough have made plenty of changes to their list, with Kieran Strachan the headline departure after being picked up by Adelaide Crows. Robin Nahas has retired and Dillon Viojo-Rainbow heads to Footscray, while Lucas Cook and Luke Tynan have also left. Into the side comes former Collingwood premiership player, Jarryd Blair, as well as a host of Oakleigh Chargers including Charlie Beasley, Jake Gasper and Xavier Fry. Gasper will replace Nahas as the danger inside 50, while Blair and experienced VFL campaigner, Ben Jolley will be the hard men in the middle with the latter the biggest transfer of the summer. Matthew Signorello has returned to Victoria after being delisted by Adelaide, while former Melbourne player, Dion Johnston has also joined the club. Patrick Veszpremi will try his luck at state level again, returning from Pascoe Vale, while Tom Goodwin (Coburg) and Geordie Nagle (Box Hill Hawks) are some of the VFL talent that have changed clubs to Port Melbourne.

Richmond Tigers

Last season: 1st (Semi-final exit)

It was not a good September for Richmond fans at any level considering two minor premiership led to a straight sets exit and a preliminary final exit. After finishing on top of the table in season 2019, the Tigers looked like going all the way, but as they found out, finals is a different ball game, even for the light technicians and despite some controversy over the finals losses – one they were left in the dark and the second was a brilliance passage of play from Nick Hind in the dying seconds being the difference – they will look to rebound in season 2019.

Sandringham Zebras

Last season: 13th

The Zebras had a disappointing season in 2018, recording a bottom four finish and have subsequently overhauled plenty of their list ahead of the 2019 season. They have made Kai Owens a more full-time member of the side, while Sam Sofronidis, Anthony Seaton, Ryan O’Meara and Nick Stamatis all go through the pathway from Dragons to Zebras. Nathan Wright provides some AFL experience, as does Sam Gilbert who has experienced the atmosphere of AFL Grand Final Day, while Port Melbourne’s Dylan Atkins is another with state league experience invaluable to the Zebras cause. A host of local players round out a long list of additions for season 2019.

Werribee Tigers

Last season: 11th

The Tigers might not have had the best season, finishing in eleventh last year, but they had two players head north to ply their trade with the Gold Coast SUNS. Both Sam Collins and Josh Corbett were pre-listed by the SUNS and will forge AFL careers, while Andrew Hooper and Kurt Aylett both head to the Bombers’ VFL side. While they have lost some experience, the Tigers are arguably the team to watch in season 2019, with AFL experience galore, as well as some seriously talented state league and former TAC Cup stars. Michael Barlow and Max Spencer (Gold Coast), Oscar Junker and Daniel Nielson (North Melbourne), Timm House (Geelong) and Jackson Edwards (Adelaide) return after stints on AFL lists, Barlow the most recognisable name of the lot. Jake Riccardi and Scott Carlin join the club on a full-time basis after playing as 19 year-olds last season, while Ryan Hebron and Josh Clayton are NEAFL players who were in the draft conversation. Key position players, Tom Boyd and Hudson Garoni will straighten the Tigers up, while Western Jets have provided four players to the club, with ball winners, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins, key position utility Hamish Murphy and Nick Stuhldreier all coming to the club. The biggest recruit might be off the field, with 2004 AFL Premiership coach, Mark Williams taking the reigns at Werribee.

Williamstown Seagulls

Last season: 4th (Preliminary final exit)

The narrowest of defeats in the Preliminary Final to eventual premiers Box Hill Hawks might have stung over the summer had the National AFL Draft not rolled around.By the end of November, Williamstown’s Ben Cavarra – a player with a well-documented pathways journey – finally found an AFL home at the Western Bulldogs, while Lachlan Schulz and Brett Bewley remained teammates over in the west with Fremantle. By the AFL season start, Michael Gibbons would become a Blue, making it a mammoth four players drafted by the one club over the off-season, then club legend Ben Jolley departed for rivals Port Melbourne. The Seagulls will undoubtedly drop back a bit with the serious talent that has left the club, but will be proud of the development pathway provided. In saying that, they have brought in North Melbourne’s Mitch Hibberd and Collingwood’s Sam McLarty for some AFL experience, while Joel Ottavi, Nick Mellington, Hisham Kerbatieh and Nick Sing cross from other VFL clubs. From the TAC Cup, Stefan Radovanovic will provide speed and power for the Seagulls, while former Collingwood small Ben Kennedy also joins the club, A team to watch with interest to see how they go given the amount of experience out the door, but always a team to keep an eye on.

Predictions:

Premiers: Werribee
Runner-Up: Port Melbourne
Michael Barlow (Werribee)

AFL Draft review: Western Bulldogs

HAVING bettered their draft hand during the trade period, the Bulldogs sought to bolster their midfield flexibility with their first three picks in the National Draft, while granting opportunities to two deserving VFL guns later on and strengthening their defensive stocks with rookie and Category B selections. With ready-made prospects in vogue, only three of the Dogs’ picks were genuine under 18s.

National Draft:

 

Bailey Smith – Inside Midfielder

The Sandringham Dragons skipper enjoyed a stellar year, often times spoken of as the best midfielder in the draft behind first selection, Sam Walsh. Smith broke well into top 10 contention on the back of an outstanding campaign with Vic Metro in the National Championships where he was crowned their MVP – capped by a three-goal effort against Vic Country on the hallowed MCG turf. Despite shining predominantly through the midfield this year, Smith found a home in his bottom-age season as a dashing half-back, and even proved his worth up forward when required with Vic Metro. An achilles injury ended his season prematurely and saw him miss the TAC Cup finals, but in his two games in the competition, Smith led the league in average contested possessions and clearances, exemplifying his style of play. As a consistent ball winning machine with a terrific attitude and leadership capabilities, Smith is a player who can slot straight into the Bulldogs lineup across any line and make an impact from the get-go.

Rhylee West – Inside Midfielder/Forward

Father-son gun Rhylee West has giant shoes to fill, but looks to be keen to hit the ground running having taken his father, Scott’s original number 14 guernsey. The Dogs would have been pleased to see West slip just outside of the first round having not received an invitation to draft night, settling with a well valued selection in the mid-20s that they were never going to pass up. Standing at just over 180cm, West is a tough midfielder who uses power and agility to prize the ball from contests and break away through traffic with poise. West showed his ability to drift forward with good work rate for Vic Metro over four games in the National Championships after starring in the midfield for Calder, and he may well have to start his AFL career forward of centre given his strength and nous at stoppages around goal. Partnered with Smith, West will form a key part of the talent-stacked Bulldogs midfield for years to come and looks every bit ready for the next level.

Laitham Vandermeer – General Defender/Outside Midfielder

With two prized picks out of the way, the Bulldogs were clearly confident of snaring Vandermeer at a slightly later pick after trading down in a deal with Fremantle. Vandermeer is one of two overagers taken by the Dogs out of the TAC Cup, with the 19 year-old proving his worth over a consistent 2018 season with Murray Bushrangers. Having also represented Vic Country over all four games, Vandermeer showed overall improvement in his game after being overlooked in his top age year. The dashing outside player breaks lines from either half-back or a wing, with his slick ball use and athleticism making him a damaging prospect. He lacked somewhat of an x-factor often found in outside players, but has provided a consistency this year that was too good to refuse. Vandermeer could find game time in his first year given he is another year on, and would provide handy flexibility.

Ben Cavarra – Small Forward/Midfielder

This season will stand as the year that Ben Cavarra finally earned his spot on an AFL list. The diminutive Williamstown forward has changed his game of late, developing into an effective small forward after proving himself as a ball-winning midfielder over a Morrish Medal winning TAC Cup year and multiple seasons in the VFL with Frankston and the Seagulls. Cavarra’s mix of elite speed and endurance makes him dangerous inside 50, with his smarts allowing him to both find space and the big sticks with ease. The constant knock on Cavarra has been his size and hurt factor by foot, and despite his new role making that less of a factor, Cavarra has worked hard on making his game more complete. Having done everything in his power to prove himself to AFL recruiters, Cavarra can now reap the rewards and could well find himself in the side early on, perhaps even alongside fellow sub-173cm player, Caleb Daniel in the midfield.

Will Hayes – Midfielder

With the final selection in the National Draft, the Dogs continued their trend of taking readymade players late on by snapping up their very own VFL product, Will Hayes. A balanced midfielder, Hayes earned a State Combine invite on the back of a best and fairest winning year that saw him earn votes in 17 of his 18 VFL games. A keen accumulator, Hayes averaged 26 disposals to lead Foostcray’s count, but he also works hard going the other way in his tackling and overall work rate. Hayes is another who could break straight into the Dogs’ lineup with his readymade body, and will look to impress with his smarts after building his frame over the pre-season.

 

Rookie Draft:

 

Lachlan Young – General Defender

The second 19 year-old taken by the Dogs, Young was a consistent part of Dandenong’s TAC Cup premiership-winning back six. A competitive, team-first defender, Young showed enough in his overage year to warrant selection in the first round of the rookie draft as a versatile prospect with the potential to move up the ground. Young is strong overhead and while he would be looking to find the ball more often, is an effective user by foot coming out of defensive 50. With some time in the VFL, Young can fill out and hone that versatility, while also improving on tackle numbers that AFL coaches so often look towards.

Jordon Sweet – Ruckman/Key Forward

20-year old North Adelaide premiership ruckman, Jordon Sweet is a good value project player who can provide cover if required. While he is raw at this stage, rookie picks are low risk and he should gain some valuable experience in the VFL to set him up for a crack at the next level. Hard to miss with his height and dreadlocks, Sweet is not afraid to take the game or opponents on, and flicks out handballs often as he follows up competitively. He may take time, but is a crafty versatile pick.

Cat B Rookie:

 

Buku Khamis – General Defender

The Dogs would have been thrilled to have Khamis slip through the National Draft, with many valuing him well inside the top 40 throughout the year. Clean in the air and by foot, Khamis lays claim to the lowest clanger kick percentage of any notable TAC Cup draft prospect, and has a relatively complete defensive game given he can both intercept and rebound. Despite all of his rapid improvement, Khamis is still quite raw as a late-comer to the game, and will benefit from some time in the system to further develop with the opportunity to replace the likes of Dale Morris and Matthew Suckling in a young defence. Talent and footy aside, Khamis is also an incredible story of perseverance having moved to Australia in 2006 from South Sudan, and it’s great to see him get a well deserved chance.

Summary:

The Bulldogs picked up a raft of versatile midfield options across their five National Draft selections, with another key feature of their draft haul the selection of readymade and mature-age prospects. With depth across each line achieved and a midfield set for the future, the Dogs also picked up a project ruckman, as well as some prototypical defensive cover that could prove handy in years to come.

2018 National AFL Draft selections

THE 2018 National AFL Draft selections and club by club selections as they happen today will appear here:

Round 1:

1 – Carlton – Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 – Gold Coast – Jack Lukosius – (WWT Torrens/South Australia)
3 – Gold Coast – Izak Rankine (West Adelaide/South Australia)
4 – St Kilda – Max King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
5 – Port Adelaide – Connor Rozee (North Adelaide/South Australia)
6 – Gold Coast – Ben King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
7 – Western Bulldogs – Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
8 – North Melbourne – Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston/Tasmania)
9 – Adelaide – Chayce Jones (Launceston/Tasmania)
10 – Sydney – Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans Academy/NSW-ACT)
11 – GWS GIANTS – Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
12 – Port Adelaide – Zak Butters (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
13 – Collingwood – Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
14 – GWS GIANTS – Jackson Hately (Central District/South Australia)
15 – Geelong – Jordan Clark (Claremont/Western Australia)
16 – Adelaide – Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
17 – Fremantle – Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
18 – Port Adelaide – Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
19 – Carlton – Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
20 – Richmond – Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
21 – Brisbane – Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
22 – GWS GIANTS – Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

End of Round 1:

23 – Gold Coast –  Jez McLennan (Central District/South Australia)

Round 2:

24 – GWS – Ian Hill (Perth/Western Australia)
25 – Sydney – James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26 – Western Bulldogs – Rhylee West (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
27 – Melbourne – Tom Sparrow (South Adelaide/South Australia)
28 – West Coast – Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
29 – Collingwood – Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
30 – Adelaide – Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
31 – West Coast – Luke Foley (Subiaco/Western Australia)
32 – Fremantle – Luke Valente (Norwood/Western Australia)
33 – Melbourne – James Jordon (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
34 – GWS GIANTS – Kieren Briggs (GWS GIANTS Academy/NSW-ACT)
35 – West Coast – Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
36 – Brisbane – Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
37 – Western Bulldogs – Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
38 – Essendon – Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
39 – West Coast – Jarrod Cameron (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
40 – Brisbane – Tom Joyce (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
41 – St Kilda – Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
42 – Brisbane – Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland)
43 – Richmond – Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 3:

44 – Sydney –  Justin McInerney (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
45 – Western Bulldogs – Ben Cavarra (Williamstown VFL)
46 – North Melbourne – Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
47 – St Kilda –  Matthew Parker (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
48 – Geelong – Ben Jarvis (Norwood/South Australia)
49 – North Melbourne – Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Queensland)
50 – Geelong – Jacob Kennerley (Norwood/South Australia)
51 – Sydney – Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
52 – Hawthorn – Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushangers/Allies)
53 – Melbourne – Aaron Nietschke (Central District/South Australia)
54 – St Kilda –  Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
55 – Brisbane – Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 4:

56 – Melbourne – Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
57 – Fremantle – Lachlan Schulz (Williamstown VFL)
58 – Richmond – Fraser Turner (Clarence/Tasmania)
59 – Fremantle – Brett Bewley (Williamstown VFL)
60 – Essendon – Noah Gown (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
61 – GWS GIANTS – Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
62 – Richmond – Luke English (Perth/Western Australia)
63 – Hawthorn – Matthew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
64 – Adelaide – Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
65 – Geelong – Darcy Fort (Central District/South Australia)
66 – Carlton – Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
67 – St Kilda – Robert Young (North Adelaide/South Australia)
68 – Geelong – Jake Tarca (South Adelaide/South Australia)
69 – North Melbourne – Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Round 5 onwards:

70 – Carlton – Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
71 – Gold Coast – Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Academy/Queensland)
72 – Essendon – Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
73 – Port Adelaide – Riley Grundy (Sturt/South Australia)
74 – Geelong – Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
75 – Melbourne – Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
76 – Port Adelaide – Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide/South Australia)
77 – Collingwood – Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
78 – Western Bulldogs – Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)

*Clubs matched bids to secure father-son or academy prospect

Club by Club Players:

Adelaide: Chayce Jones, Ned McHenry, Will Hamill, Lachlan Sholl
Brisbane: Ely Smith, Thomas Berry, Tom Joyce, Connor McFadyen, Noah Answerth
Carlton: Sam Walsh, Liam Stocker, Finbar O’Dwyer, Ben Silvagni
Collingwood: Isaac Quaynor, Will Kelly, Atu Bosenavulagi
Essendon: Irving Mosquito, Noah Gown, Brayden Ham
Fremantle: Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Lachlan Schulz, Brett Bewley
Geelong: Jordan Clark, Ben Jarvis, Jacob Kennerley, Darcy Fort, Jake Tarca, Oscar Brownless
Gold Coast: Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, Ben King, Jez McLennan, Caleb Graham
GWS GIANTS: Jye Caldwell, Jackson Hately, Xavier O’Halloran, Ian Hill, Kieren Briggs, Connor Idun
Hawthorn: Jacob Koschitzke, Mathew Walker
Melbourne: Tom Sparrow, James Jordon, Aaron Nietschke, Marty Hore, Toby Bedford
North Melbourne: Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Bailey Scott, Joel Crocker
Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Riley Grundy, Boyd Woodcock
Richmond: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Fraser Turner, Luke English
St Kilda: Max King, Jack Bytel, Mathew Parker, Nick Hind, Robert Young
Sydney: Nick Blakey, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney, Zac Foot
West Coast: Xavier O’Neill, Luke Foley, Bailey Williams, Jarrod Cameron
Western Bulldogs: Bailey Smith, Rhylee West, Laitham Vandermeer, Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes

AFL Draft preview: GWS GIANTS

GWS GIANTS enter the draft with a very strong hand, holding four picks inside the top 25. They will likely use the latter one to match a bid for a GIANTS Academy prospect, but be able to fill a need at the same time. They lost a number of players over the off-season for various reasons, and now will look to replace the likes of Dylan Shiel and Tom Scully through the draft.

List needs:

  • Ruck
  • Inside burst midfielder
  • Outside running midfielder
  • Small-medium forwards

Draft Picks: 9, 11, 19, 25, 52, 89

GWS GIANTS’ main priority in the 2018 AFL Draft is to replace those players who have departed the club and pick more readymade young players to ensure the club remains in flag contention. Their main concern would be the ruck stocks, with the departure of Rory Lobb –  Shane Mumford is set to return but he is a short-term solution.  The long-term solution will come in the form of 200cm-plus Academy ruck, Kieren Briggs. Expect him to cost the GIANTS their third, or more likely fourth selection in the draft. Clubs are keen, and the GIANTS are just as keen to hold onto the hard working ruck. So Briggs ticks the list need of a ruck.

Moving onto their other areas, they have lost Dylan Shiel and Tom Scully, as well as up-and-coming young midfielder, Will Setterfield. It leaves a bit of a hole in the midfield for a player to slot in that can burst out of a stoppage, or run all day inside or out. There are a few options they could consider with both picks at nine and 11 likely to be midfielders. They might opt for the burst speed of Riley Collier-Dawkins and pair that with the consistent, hard-running of Jackson Hately. They might opt to go smaller for their athletic desires and snap up Tasmanian midfielder and future AFL captain, Chayce Jones. Perhaps they might like the inside body of Liam Stocker – who could be there at pick 19 anyway, or the flexibility that Gippsland Power captain, Xavier Duursma offers. One would have to think if Jye Caldwell made it to Pick 9 that the GIANTS would be very quick in reading his name out given he ticks all the boxes at once. Another player who would be considered at pick 11 might be the speedy Zak Butters who offers plenty of upside for the future, or perhaps the GIANTS look to Jordan Clark as a player who could transition into a long-term midfielder.

At Pick 19, if the GIANTS picked up two midfielders, they might cast their eye on draft bolter, Sam Sturt who adds a different dimension to their forward line. Pocket rocket, Ned McHenry might be another consideration if they opt for tenacity of athleticism, while Curtis Taylor is another medium forward with talent to burn. One would expect from the 2018 National Draft that the GIANTS pick up two midfielders, one forward and a ruck with their first four picks, but if a slider appeals to them at their picks, they could easily go best available in other positions.

At Pick 59, it depends who will be left available, with other sides matching bids that could see the GIANTS’ pick move into the top 50. With so many inside midfielders available in the third round, any one of Tom Sparrow, Tom Berry or Jack Ross could be available. They might go speculative with a Harry Reynolds or Tyron Smallwood who have plenty of upside, or a mature-age player who can fill a role whether that be a back-up ruck in Darcy Fort, or a state league midfielder in Ben Cavarra or Brett Bewley. GWS also has a number of Academy prospects who might be considered with their last pick or in the rookie draft such as Guy Richardson, James Peatling, Jeromy Lucas and Mathew Walker.

2018 AFL Draft Preview: Carlton

HAVING hit the draft hard in previous years, the Blues targeted a different age bracket in this trade period and may well do the same come draft time. Should Pick 1 remain in the bag, it looks like Carlton will have an obvious choice, and the three late picks they hold allow them to either give a mature-age state league player an opportunity, or find an Under 18 diamond in the rough.

List Needs:

  • Inside midfielders
  • Outside midfielders
  • Small forwards
  • Medium forwards

 

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 1, 69, 71, 77

We may as well get it out of the way early – should Carlton hold onto Pick 1, they look more than likely to select Sam Walsh. The Vic Country and Geelong Falcons co-captain won basically every individual award available to him, while only narrowly missing out on the Morrish Medal for the TAC Cup best and fairest. Walsh provides an outstanding mix of inside ball-winning and outside class, looking like a ready-made and reliable 200-game prospect.

The Blues can then put their feet up until Round 4, with their next selection coming at Pick 69. Another certainty looms with their late picks as the Blues have nominated father-son prospect Ben Silvagni for the National Draft, meaning they must take him should he not receive a bid from another club. Other late options with Carlton connections include Subiaco midfielder Wil Hickmott, who impressed in the WAFL Colts but missed out on a father-son nomination, and Calder’s Lachlan Sholl, who is the son of ex-Blue, Brett.

That leaves two free-reign late selections. Given the constant need to bulk up their midfield and provide guaranteed ball-winning support to newly appointed co-captain Patrick Cripps, Carlton should jump at the opportunity to bring in some much needed depth.

They may look at bringing in some clearance grunt, with the likes of Dandenong’s Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan likely to still be on the board, while interstate prospects Tom Lewis and Rylie Morgan are also ones who could provide midfield strength. Mitch Podhajski is another who has thrived in his overage year, with his experience at VFL outfit Coburg suggesting he can match it with mature bodies. Should they look towards outside run, Walsh’s Falcons teammate Brayden Ham is a player with great upside as an athletic phenom. Daly Andrews and Jacob Atley are options who can also drift forward from a wing, with Bendigo’s Atley looking to join his two brothers in the AFL and continue Carlton’s recent trend of picking Pioneers.

While they may look to cover a couple of bases with the aforementioned names, the only other area Carlton may want to bolster is its forward stocks. They look set in terms of talls with the recent addition of Mitch McGovern, but the Blues could look to a couple of established state league players to fill out the forward 50. Williamstown’s Ben Cavarra is a player who has long been touted as an AFL-level prospect, while Northern Blues general forward Jesse Palmer is one who can provide a third marking option after leading his side’s goalkicking.

Other state league players worth a look include ex-Crow and two time Magarey Medallist Mitch Grigg, as well as Cavarra’s Williamstown teammate Brett Bewley. Both could provide the midfield depth Carlton is after, while also fitting the age profile that needs bolstering most. With two selections all but in the book, the Blues will have to be crafty with their two remaining National Draft selections, and could use their rookie selections on state league players hungry for the opportunity. They will also have the option to continue their recent preference of packaging players from one or two sides, and it could pay dividends.

Cavarra and Saywell top combine performers across nation

WITH just a few weeks until the 2018 AFL National Draft, hopefuls across the country are waiting in anticipation to have their names called out on November 22-23. After a long, but hopefully rewarding season, players were invited to either National, State or Rookie Me combines depending on the level of interest from clubs. Players are always keen to compare themselves against the best, and with athletes testing in multiple locations across a few weeks, we have compiled the combined top 10 from all the combines to show those who have performed exceptionally in the respective tests.

Among those to test well across multiple athletic disciplines were mature-ager, Williamstown’s Ben Cavarra was the clear standout at the Rookie Me Combine, and his numbers stack up against the countries’ best, with a third placed finish in the 20m sprint, agility test and standing vertical jump, equal sixth in the running vertical jump (right) and equal eighth in the Yo-yo test. Norwood’s Isaac Saywell, was impressive at the South Australian State Combine, and matched it with the top athletes across the country, finishing second in the vertical jump, and first and equal third in the running vertical jumps, as well as equal eighth in the Yo-yo test. The other player who recorded more than two top 10 placings in the overall scheme of things was Peel Thunder’s Jason Carter, who finished second in the 20m sprint, fourth in the standing vertical jump and ninth in the standing vertical jump (left).

Athletes with two or more placings in the top 10 were West Australians, Wil Hickmott and Jarvis Pina, South Australians Izak Rankine, Kai PudneyKade Chandler and Boyd Woodcock, Vic Metro’s Xavier O’Halloran and Alastair Richards, Queensland’s Ryan Gilmore and Darcy Marsh, and Tasmanian, Chayce Jones.

20m sprint

1 Wil Hickmott (Subiaco/WA) 2.86 seconds
2 Jason Carter (Peel Thunder/WA) 2.87
3 Ben Cavarra (Williamstown/VFL) 2.89
4 Tom McKenzie (Northern/VM) 2.90
5 Connor Rozee (North Adelaide/SA) 2.91
5 Will Hamill (Dandenong/VC) 2.91
5 Dylan Curley (East Fremantle/WA) 2.91
8 Izak Rankine (West Adelaide/SA) 2.93
8 Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder/WA) 2.93
8 Guy Richardson (GWS Academy/NSW-ACT) 2.93

Agility

1 Cody Hirst (Eastern/VM) 7.732 seconds
2 Kai Pudney (WWT/SA) 7.901
3 Ben Cavarra (Williamstown/VFL) 8.016
4 Izak Rankine (West Adelaide/SA) 8.039
5 Matthew Green (NT Thunder/NT) 8.058
6 Xavier O’Halloran (Western/VM) 8.063
7 Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide/SA) 8.090
8 Lachlan Gadomski (Kingborough/Tasmania) 8.104
9 Wil Hickmott (Subiaco/WA) 8.13
10 Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder/WA) 8.15

Yo-yo test

1 Brett Bewley (Williamstown/VM) 22.4
2 Brayden Ham (Geelong/VC) 22.2
2 Ned McHenry (Geelong/VC) 22.2
4 Sam Walsh (Geelong/VC) 22.1
4 Luke English (Perth/WA) 22.1
4 Kai Pudney (WWT/SA) 22.1
7 Will Golds (Oakleigh/VM) 21.8
8 Xavier O’Halloran (Western/VM) 21.6
8 Oscar Brownless (Geelong/VC) 21.6
8 Isaac Saywell (Norwood/SA) 21.6
8 Ben Cavarra (Williamstown/VFL) 21.6

Standing Vertical Jump:

1 Ryan Gilmore (GCS Academy/QLD) 83cm
2 Isaac Saywell (Norwood/SA) 80cm
3 Ben Cavarra (Williamstown/VM) 79cm
4 Ely Smith (Murray/VC) 77cm
4 Jason Carter (Peel Thunder/WA) 77cm
6 Alastair Richards (Sandringham/VM) 75cm
6 Tobe Watson (Swan Districts/WA) 75cm
8 Jordon Butts (Murray/VC) 74cm
8 Kody Eaton (East Fremantle/WA) 74cm
10 Kade Chandler (Norwood/SA) 73cm
10 Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide/SA) 73cm

Running Vertical Jump (R):

1 Isaac Saywell (Norwood/SA) 94cm
2 Kade Chandler (Norwood/SA) 93cm
3 Sam Sturt (Dandenong/VC) 91cm
4 Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Academy/QLD) 90cm
5 Chayce Jones (Launceston/TAS) 85cm
6 Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers/VM) 84cm
6 Declan Carmody (Glenelg/SA) 84cm
6 Tom Medhat (West Perth/WA) 84cm
6 Ben Cavarra (Williamstown/VFL) 84cm

Running Vertical Jump (L):

1 Mihail Lochowiak (Sturt/SA) 96cm
2 Bailey Williams (Dandenong/VC) 94cm
3 Isaac Saywell (Norwood/SA) 93cm
3 Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Academy/QLD) 93cm
5 Alastair Richards (Sandringham/VM) 92cm
5 Ryan Gilmore (GCS Academy/QLD) 92cm
7 Chayce Jones (Launceston/TAS) 91cm
7 Jake Tarca (South Adelaide/SA) 91cm
9 Josh Kemp (Calder/VM) 90cm
9 Jason Carter (Peel Thunder/WA) 90cm

Draft dream not over for 2018 state combine nominees

MORE than one hundred draft hopefuls will test themselves under the watchful eye of AFL club recruiters at the various State Combine’s around the country. After the list of National Combine invitations was released last week – indicating those players with the most draft interest – last night the full list of State Combine, and Rookie Me Combine lists were released.

EIGHTY INVITED TO NATIONAL DRAFT COMBINE

A total of 126 players were nominated for the combines, with Vic Country having 26 players nominated, ahead of South Australia with 24, and Western Australia and Vic Metro with 21 each. It has also proved a bumper year for the Victorian Football League (VFL) with 13 players nominated to test, behind the four Division One states. New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) has eight players nominated, the highest of the Division Two states, while Queensland has seven, and Northern Territory three and Tasmania three.

In terms of individual clubs, Dandenong Stingrays trumps all others, having 12 nominees, making it 17 players heading to testing in 2018. Murray Bushrangers is next with seven, followed by Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers (six), as well as South Australian club Norwood. Fellow South Australian club South Adelaide, West Australian clubs Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, and Sandringham Dragons, all have four nominees. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Sturt, South Fremantle and Claremont have three apiece. In terms of Academies, the GWS Academy had six players nominated, Gold Coast and Brisbane Lions Academies both had three, and Sydney Swans Academy had one.

 

Full list of State Combine nominations:

NSW/ACT: [6]

Riley Bice (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
Jeromy Lucas (GWS Giants Academy)
Nick Murray (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
James Peatling (GWS Giants Academy)
Guy Richardson (GWS Giants Academy)
Mathew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)

Northern Territory: [2]

Michael Mummery (NT Thunder)
Izaak Wyatt (Southern Districts)

Queensland: [4]

Caleb Graham (GC Suns Academy) 
Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Tom Matthews (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan McDonald (GC Suns Academy)

South Australia: [24]

Finn Betterman (Glenelg)
Connor Bristow (Norwood)
Chris Burgess (West Adelaide)
Declan Carmody (Glenelg)
Kade Chandler (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Tate Coleman (South Adelaide)
Jacob Collins (Norwood)
Job Colwell (South Adelaide)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Darcy Fort (Central District)
Martin Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Tom Lewis (Sturt)
Mihail Lochowiak (Sturt)
Tyler Martin (Norwood)
Aaron Nietschke (Central District)
Matthew Nunn (Norwood)
Kai Pudney (Woodville West Torrens)
Isaac Saywell (Norwood)
Jake Tarca (South Adelaide)
Casey Voss (Sturt)
Callum Wilkie (North Adelaide)
Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide)

Tasmania: [1]

Rhyan Mansell (North Launceston)

VFL: [8]

Jake Aarts (Richmond VFL)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown)
Sam Collins (Werribee)
Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Ethan Phillips (Port Melbourne)
Corey Rich (Frankston)

Vic Country: [21]

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers)
Stephen Cumming (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matthew Gahan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers)
Noah Gown (Gippsland Power)
Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)
Jed Hill (GWV Rebels)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)
Matty Lloyd (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers)
Jamie Plumridge (Dandenong Stingrays)
Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Bailey Schmidt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Taylor (Dandenong Stingrays)
Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro: [18]

Frank Anderson (South Croydon)
Joseph Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)
Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers)
Kyle Dunkley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mason Fletcher (Calder Cannons)
Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)
Jake Gaspar (Oakleigh Chargers)
Sam Graham (Calder Cannons)
Harry Houlahan (Sandringham Dragons)
James Jordan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Kemp (Calder Cannons)
Justin McInerney (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)
James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)
Harry Reynolds (Sandringham Dragons)
Alistair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers)

Western Australia: [21]

Jason Carter (Peel Thunder)
Dylan Curley (East Fremantle)
Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Kody Eaton (East Fremantle) 
Harry Edwards (Swan Districts) 
Patrick Farrant (Swan Districts) 
Ethan Hansen (Perth) 
Wil Hickmott (Subiaco) 
Corey Hitchcock (Claremont)
Jack Mayo (Subiaco) 
Tom Medhat (West Perth)
Louis Miller (East Perth) 
Luke Moore (South Fremantle) 
Rylie Morgan (Claremont)
Matthew Parker (South Fremantle) 
Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder)
Tyson Powell (Peel Thunder)
Regan Spooner (South Fremantle)
James Sturrock (Peel Thunder)
Tobe Watson (Swan Districts)
Graydon Wilson (Swan Districts)

Rookie Me Combine: [21]

Ryan Hebron (Sydney University)
Joey Reinhard (Sydney Swans Academy)
Adam Tipungwuti (Western Magpies)
Matthew Green (NT Thunder)
Ryan Gilmore (GC Suns Academy)
Jack Tomkinson (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan Gadomski (Kingborough Tigers) 
Matthew McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Ben Cavarra (Williamstown) 
Jay Lockhart (Casey Scorpions) 
Hayden McLean (Sandringham VFL) 
Kieran Strachan (Port Melbourne) 
Charlie Thompson (Richmond VFL)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Kyle Clarke (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Conway (Geelong Falcons)
Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matt Neagle (Wodonga Raiders)
Tye Browning (Calder Cannons)
Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons)
Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

Ben Cavarra: An underrated champion

Premiership captain. TAC Cup medal winner for best-on-ground in a grand final. Vic Metro representative. Tied Morrish Medal winner for the TAC Cup’s Best and Fairest. Likely Eastern Ranges Best and Fairest winner.

Usually, winning all of these accolades in a season would point to the player in question having high draft prospects, and being regarded as one of the best young players in the TAC Cup system. Usually, such a player would be named in the top 20 possible draft picks of the coming year. Usually. But this is not a usual situation.

All these accolades belong to Ben Cavarra, the pint-sized Eastern Ranges midfielder and captain, who, despite a superb TAC Cup season, was not invited to the AFL’s Draft Combine in October. He heads a list of young players who have had good seasons who missed out on an invitation, a list which includes Gippsland Power forward Josh Scott, the league’s leading goal kicker for the season. Ironically, Scott also tied with Cavarra, Geelong’s George Cameron and Bendigo’s Jacob Chisari for the TAC Cup medal.

There are several knocks on Cavarra’s game that are likely the reason behind his omission from Combine testing. One is his height – at 173 centimetres, Cavarra is diminutive by today’s modern standards, in which midfielders are generally between 180-188 centimetres. The second is his kicking efficiency – often, Cavarra bursts out of packs at such speed and with such intensity that his kicking is almost a secondary thought, such is his desire to put the ball to advantage. Precise and effective kicking has become an art form in the AFL, and Cavarra’s deficiency in this area may have let him down. Finally, the fact that Cavarra is surrounded by highly rated prospects Tom Boyd, Michael Apeness, and Mitch Honeychurch

However, the positives of Cavarra’s game far outweigh the disadvantages. He is the engine room for the Ranges, constantly plucking the ball out of packs and getting into the hands of his team’s running midfielders and half forwards. He burrows into packs, winning more clearances and contested possessions than most other players. He has great vision and football awareness, and even when his kicks miss the target, he is able to put them to advantage. His second efforts are second-to-none, often backing up two or three times in his sheer desperation to get the ball. Perhaps most importantly, however, he is a fantastic leader on the field, always encouraging and supporting his teammates, and issuing instructions.

His game in the grand final victory on Sunday was just another example of typical Cavarra worth ethic and determination. He amassed 30 disposals, and seemed to have a role in every contest. His gut running and ability to win the contested ball helped Eastern to an insurmountable 62 to 13 lead at half time, a lead that they built on in the third and fourth quarters. In the third quarter, when it seemed that Dandenong were beginning to win the contested ball and more one-on-one contests, Cavarra stepped in to ensure his team still won their fair share of contests.

All these attributes are things AFL clubs love, and which are difficult to teach. With Cavarra, any club will have a great on-field leader who gives an honest performance each week. Which makes his omission from the Draft Combine all the more startling.

Cavarra plays like a player who has had to work hard to get the most out of himself as a footballer, who has not been able to take anything for granted. He plays every game like his life depends on it, never shirking from a contest. The accolades he has won this year are a testament to his work ethic. If he does not get drafted, it will surely not be through lack of trying.

2013 Draft Profile: Ben Cavarra

Ben Cavarra (Eastern Ranges)

Height: 173 cm
Weight: 69 kg
Position: Midfielder
Player comparison: Dan Hannebery
Strengths: Speed, Ball-winning ability, leadership
Weaknesses: Size, kick penetration

Ben Cavarra is one of those players in this year’s draft pool who’s exact draft range is still a mystery to most people. He has the potential to be as selected as high as pick 30, but may also slip down to as low as pick 50, based on who is left on the board. Regardless of where Cavarra ends up, he’ll be a great addition to his new club.

What Cavarra lacks in size, he makes up for in almost every other aspect. He is an elite ball winner and very good when it comes to tight congested situations. He’s usually the player at the bottom of the pack, feeding it to the outside runners. Cavarra also has brilliant awareness, knowing exactly when he’s got space, or when he should get rid of the ball. He doesn’t have much weight on him, but he has very good core strength which often allows him to stand up in tackles, giving him that extra second of time to get the ball out to a teammate.

During the National Championships, Cavarra amassed 86 disposals, the third highest amount in the Vic Metro team. Easily his best performance of the Champs came against Queensland in Round 1, where Cavarra collected 35 touches, along with seven inside 50’s and two goals. Throughout the tournament, Cavarra went at 72% disposal efficiency, which is quite good for an inside player.

One thing Cavarra has in his favour over many others in this draft, is his speed. As an outside runner, Cavarra would have to be alongside some of the quickest players in the draft. As well as his speed, his low centre of gravity allows him to change direction quite quickly, meaning that he has the ability to weave around opposition players. However, Cavarra isn’t a player that would try and take on four or five players with the ball, he has a good head on his shoulders, and always does the team thing.

Another advantage that Cavarra has over other potential draftees, are his leadership abilities. At the start of the season, Cavarra was selected as captain of the Eastern Ranges, ahead of players such as Tom Boyd and Mitch Honeychurch. Cavarra has lead his team to second on the ladder, only weeks out from the finals. If he’s able to lead his team to a successful finals series, that may just increase his draft valve in the eyes of many recruiters.

In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Cavarra was selected by Richmond with its third-round pick. Richmond already has an elite midfield, so this pick may have been one for the future. It may take him a bit longer to develop then other players, but a midfield with the likes of Cotchin, Martin, Deledio, Foley as well as Vlastuin and Cavarra, seems like a very daunting prospect for opposition teams.

With Cavarra only currently sitting around the 70kg mark, 2014 may just be a year focused on developing his body, rather then playing senior games. If he’s able to add 10-15kg to his body over the next couple of seasons, Cavarra has the ability to be a 10 year midfielder in the AFL.