Tag: Brent Daniels

Analysis | The importance of fitness testing in modern football recruiting

THERE has been plenty of debate when talking about potential AFL prospects pertaining to the differences between judging ‘athletes’ against ‘pure footballers’. There is an argument that fitness testing should be taken with a grain of salt and that the eye test is most important, but when it comes to players being drafted – especially in the first round – prospects are often at the pointy end in at least one fitness test.

For anyone still unfamiliar with the main fitness tests conducted during preseason and at the AFL Draft Combine, they are as follows:

  • Agility Test
  • 20m Sprint
  • Standing and Running Vertical Leap
  • Yo-Yo Test
  • 2km Time Trial

Last year’s number one pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan excelled in the 20m sprint and vertical leap tests, with his on-field speed off the mark and jump at the ball highlighting just why he excelled at those tests. The combine, if anything, gives reassurance that those traits are indeed elite and will help try and separate talents like Ugle-Hagan from any other key forwards in that year’s crop. Athleticism is very important in modern football, with players quicker and bigger than what most talented youngsters are used to at the development levels. One club which has seemingly identified this in modern times is the fast-rising Essendon Football Club.

Since 2014, Essendon seems to have had a clear strategy with the types of players they have looked at with their high picks. Below is a list of the Bombers’ top 40 selections since 2014 and which tests those players excelled at. In a lot of cases, they were top 10 in those tests at the end-of-year combine.


Pick 17 – Jayden Laverde
(Didn’t test but athleticism was a highlight of his game)

Pick 20 – Kyle Langford


Pick 5 – Darcy Parish
Average in most tests

Pick 6 – Aaron Francis
(Didn’t test but like Laverde, athleticism was a highlight in games)

Pick 29 – Alex Morgan (Since delisted)
20m Sprint, Vertical Leap, Agility

Pick 30 – Mason Redman
3km time trial


Pick 1 – Andrew McGrath
Vertical Leap, Agility

Pick 20 – Jordan Ridley
20m Sprint




Pick 38 – Irving Mosquito
Vertical Leap


Pick 30 – Harrison Jones
Vertical Leap, Yo-Yo, 20m Sprint

Pick 38 – Nick Bryan
Vertical Leap, 20m Sprint


Pick 8 – Nik Cox
20m Sprint, 2km TT

Pick 9 – Archie Perkins
20m Sprint, Vertical Leap

Pick 10 – Zach Reid
Vertical Leap

Pick 39 – Josh Eyre
20m Sprint, Vertical Leap

There is one big outlier here and that’s one of this year’s Brownlow contenders in Darcy Parish, who was only average in test results during his draft year. This could be seen as the biggest clue as to why athletic testing shouldn’t be so important, but it can also be argued that one of the main reasons for Parish’s form is due to improving his running capacity to an elite level.

Even their most recent mid-season selection, Sam Durham tested well for vertical leap and endurance, so its no surprise at least in Essendon’s case that athletic traits are a huge influence in whether the player gets taken. The current favourite for the Rising Star, Nik Cox has taken the competition by storm with his mix of athleticism and height, with that height another factor in the early Essendon selections. It was a matter of time before Cox got his nomination for the Rising Star award and in retrospect, we should have all seen his selection by Essendon coming considering all the traits he possesses are key indicators in the Bombers’ recent draft strategy.

Using this history, we can even try to narrow down the possible field of players that Essendon will look at with its first round pick in 2021. A trio of Sandringham Dragons instantly come to mind with Campbell Chesser, Josh Sinn and Finn Callaghan. All three players tested well for the 20m sprint and vertical leap during preseason, highlighting their power and athleticism. With all measuring at over 185cm, they even fill a midfield need for the Bombers. They have another prospect right under their noses in Josh Goater who made his Essendon VFL debut not long ago and is an athletic beast. His speed and leap tests were all elite and at 190cm, he would be another Essendon style selection.

The modern footballer is taller, faster and can run all day, and it is getting harder and harder for pure footballers to make it at the top level. If young, pure footballers can start to develop athleticism in their game, even if it’s an elite endurance base, that’s at least a start in the right direction.

Height used to be a detractor for clubs but now with the likes of Caleb Daniel, Kysaiah Pickett, Brent Daniels and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, that is no longer the same obstacle for potential draftees as it used to be – though you also need to have that speed and class. If you are small and have the athletic traits and determination to make it as an AFL player, then you will be on the right track. If you are tall and have those traits, your chances of making an AFL list are even higher.

Fitness testing is an important tool, not just for clubs and recruiters, but also for up and coming players – especially those at the very early level. I’m hopeful coaches of junior football are able to set up some of these tests to help young players find their best traits, enhance them and embrace them. Understandably, it takes time, money and effort on their part and not every junior club or parent has that available. Programs such as Rookie Me, the official fitness testing partner of the AFL, allow junior athletes to experience professional environments at an early age, proving another handy head-start for budding footballers.

Image Credit: Graham Denholm/AFL Photos

Classic Contests: Daniels proves a handful for the Rebels

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 8 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Bendigo Pioneers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017 when the two teams met for the first of their two battles during the TAC Cup season.

2017 TAC Cup, Round 2
Sunday April 2, 2:30pm
Alfredton Recreation Reserve

GWV REBELS 2.3 | 10.5 | 10.9 | 14.12 (96)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.2 | 7.5 | 12.10 | 16.12 (108)

Draftees in action:

GWV – Lloyd Meek (Fremantle), Flynn Appleby (Collingwood), Thomas Berry (Brisbane)*
Bendigo – Brent Daniels (GWS), Paddy Dow (Carlton), Lochie O’Brien (Carlton), Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide), Angus Schumacher (Carlton), Jye Caldwell (GWS)*

* – denotes bottom-aged

GWV and Bendigo may have finished as the bottom two TAC Cup sides in 2017, but it did not stop the regions from producing solid draftee hauls out of their respective squads. The early and late rounds of the competition often see each team come in at full strength, and it was no different as the Rebels and Pioneers went at it in Round 2, three years ago, with Bendigo coming out on top by 12 points.

Both sides could lay claim to most of their future AFL draftees in this fixture, with GWV naming all of their three while Bendigo boasted a whopping six – only missing Jarrod Brander. The Pioneers’ production line was particularly impressive given it had three first rounders – Paddy Dow (Pick 3), Lochie O’Brien (10), and Brander (13) – attracting eyes from all around the pathway programs.

In terms of form, Bendigo struggled in Round 1 to click its stacked side into gear, falling by a comfortable 51 points to Murray on neutral territory. The Rebels did not fare any better, beating out the Pioneers’ total (47) but being thumped to the tuned of 82 points by eventual premier, Geelong.

The home side was unlucky not to share the spoils in a tight opening term, as both teams shared five scoring shots each. Bendigo would sneak ahead via its greater conversion, managing to split their chances 3.2 to GWV’s 2.3. It only worked to kick the Rebels into gear, as they took advantage of the more open contest to pile on eight second term majors and lead by 19 points at the main break.

Bendigo’s four goals in the term split GWV’s momentum and gave the Pioneers a sniff, with their top-end talent helping to spark an incredible turnaround. It was now the visitors’ turn to batter the scoring end, notching five goals while keeping GWV goalless to swing the lead 13 points in their favour. The Rebels could not recover enough, with their need to attack leaving them exposed the other way as both sides managed four goals apiece in the final term.

Brent Daniels‘ handful of goals meant he was exactly that for the GWV defence, and he could have had a massive day out had it not been for his four behinds. He was beaten out to best afield honours by Dow for his 21-disposal effort, while fellow Carlton recruits O’Brien and Angus Schumacher managed 26 and 21 respectively. A bottom-aged Jye Caldwell was also named among the best having racked up 19 touches, with Port forward Kane Farrell held to 12 and a goal.

Brisbane’s Thomas Berry notched 18 disposals, eight tackles, and a goal in an outstanding bottom-aged display, but had Collingwood VFL gun Cal Wellings beat him out to best-on recognition with 35 touches, 10 marks, and nine tackles. Freo bigman Lloyd Meek served his role in the ruck with 23 hitouts, while the final draftee afield, Flynn Appleby managed 13 disposals.

GWV would go on to shake the poor start with their five wins making for a superior tally to Bendigo’s three. The Rebels would also gain redemption in the return fixture, downing the Pioneers by 27 points. Still, their seven draftees over the next two drafts can only be labelled as a success.

Draft Central All-Star Teams: Bendigo Pioneers

BENDIGO Pioneers have had some serious top-end quality players to come through the program, and in the first of a new All-Star Series, we name a best 24 from each of the major regions. Already you have had the chance to vote on the Pioneers’ best ever player to come out of the region with Richmond star Dustin Martin earning a deserved nod and gaining the captaincy with Joel Selwood second and winning the vice-captaincy. All of our All-Star teams will go into a vote of their own once the teams are completed to battle it out and see which region has the best AFL stars.


Not blessed with a plethora of talls over the decades, Carlton’s Luke Livingston (46 games) earns a spot at centre half-back as the least capped player in the side. Troy Selwood (75 games) is the other player to record under 100 games but make the team, and fittingly he joins his brothers, Joel, Scott and Adam in making up a sixth of the team.


As already mentioned, Livingston stands at centre-half back to team up with North Melbourne best and fairest winner, Robbie Tarrant as the key planks in the back 50. Alongside them are some underrated players who would not mind a scrap. The first thought that comes to mind when you see Dean Solomon, Josh Hunt, Jarryn Geary and Brent Guerra as the other defenders, is that you know they will keep most opposition forward lines honest and irritate them to no end. Solomon and Hunt in particular will niggle their opposition and provide some super boots out of the defensive 50. Rowan Warfe on the bench is an option to replace one of those players as depth too.


This is where the team shines. A combination of Martin and Joel Selwood onball means they will win a truckload of contested ball and through sheer power get it forward. The pair has nine All-Australians, five best and fairests, a Brownlow, a Rising Star Award and five premierships between them. Joining them in the midfield is 300-gamer Nick Dal Santo who is the other clear standout when it comes to top players of the modern era. With Scott Selwood and Michael Braun also in the side, it is fair to say the majority are hardened midfielders who will not back down from a challenge. That continues on the bench with Ollie Wines, Daniel Harris and the other two Selwoods, it is clear the Pioneers seem to have an abundance of fierce midfielders.


We are not entirely sure how this forward line would work, but it has the potential to be exciting. Imagine Andrew Walker and Chris Tarrant patrolling the airways, and Nathan Brown and Jake Stringer fighting over the ground balls and leads. Ben McGlynn provides the defensive pressure that, quite frankly the other smalls do not offer, while Corey Jones is the logical key forward to join Tarrant in attack. Nathan Thompson would usually be chosen as the starting forward, but his stint as an undersized ruck means he can play in the role that realistically has no one else there. On the bench, the late Colin Sylvia could play a role in attack or float onto a wing and provide some class. There might be a Mark or Goal of the Year in this forward line, or it could be a complete disaster. Either way it would be worth watching.


From the earlier years, Mark Alvey (Western Bulldogs/Essendon, 59 games) was considered, while Adelaide and Carlton mid/forward Sam Kerridge (69 games) has the most matches of non-current players not in the side for the Pioneers. Of the modern crop, the likes of Paddy Dow (39 games), Lochie O’Brien (35) and Brent Daniels (33) have already started promising careers and could well force their way into the side in coming years. For those who have a particular interest in the TAC Cup / NAB League system, one might raise Clayton Oliver as a potential player for this team. While he did play three games, he moved for school purposes and joined Murray Bushrangers where he ultimately went from nowhere on the radar to a top five pick. So in future, the team that the player was drafted out of in their top-age year is the team they are eligible for.

Classic Contests: Bushrangers’ seven-goal last term blows away Pioneers

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 2 clashes in the NAB League this year between Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017, when the sides went head-to-head in an opening round meeting down at Punt Road in what was a tight game for three quarters before the Bushrangers stormed to victory in the last term.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.1 | 3.3 | 6.8 | 13.13 (91)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.3 | 2.5 | 4.8 | 5.10 (40)

Round 1 | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Swinburne Centre, 3.15pm

There was no form to go off for either side heading into the opening round’s clash at Punt Road, with both sides having a number of draft hopefuls on show. Over-ager Ben Paton was one of a number of prospects who were unlucky not to end up on an AFL list the year before, while the Bushrangers had a number of talls such as Hudson Garoni, Jacob Koschitzke, Jordon Butts and Ben Kelly who would trouble a lot of opposition sides. Coming off a Grand Final loss to Sandringham Dragons the year before, the Bushrangers were looking good for another deep finish after double-figure players were drafted in November. The Pioneers changed coaches with Rick Coburn coaching his first match in this game, with Paddy Dow leading a number of top draft prospects for the year, though there were still a few out of the side for this match. Others who would end up on AFL lists included Angus Schumacher and Kane Farrell who also played in the match, while a host of players would enter the state league system in the coming years.

It was clear from early on that the Pioneers would be no pushovers against a Bushrangers side that had seen much success of late. By quarter time, the Bendigo team led by two points in a low-scoring affair, though by half-time, Murray had regained control, albeit only slightly to lead by a mere four points at half-time. The game remained fairly even in the third quarter, but it was clear the favourites were starting to get on top, but not making the most of their chances. The Bushrangers booted 3.5 to 2.3 to extend the lead out to a straight two kicks by the final break. With the game at breaking point, nothing would be left on the line and Murray soon showed some of the talent that had taken it to last year’s grand final. The Bushrangers piled on 7.5 to 1.2 in a barnstorming final term to run away with a 51-point win. While the margin might not have been indicative of the overall closeness between the sides for the match, it did show what Murray was capable of when the Bushrangers got a run on.

Of all the areas, Murray dominated the inside 50 count 54-36 with a high proportion coming in the final term, whilst winning the clearance battle 33-19. With first hands on the footy, it was more surprising to see the Bushrangers also winning the tackle count on the day, 65-61. With five multiple goalkickers, the Bushrangers shared the load and were able to provide unpredictability going inside 50.

Nicholas Richards ended up with the most touches in the game, finishing with 27 disposals, five marks, four tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s and a goal, while Paton’s kicking ability stood out in a best on ground performance thanks to 23 disposals (17 kicks), five marks, two tackles and 11 rebounds coming out of defence. Future Hawk, Harry Jones would pick up 26 touches (11 contested), four marks, three tackles, two clearances and six inside 50s, as Angus Hicks dug deep for 23 disposals (11 contested), five tackles, seven clearances and six inside 50s. Dave Smith booted two goals from 20 touches and five marks, while Joe Richards, Nathan Oakes, Garoni and Jessy Wilson also hit the scoreboard with a couple of majors. Butts finished the game with 15 touches, nine marks and two rebounds showing off his ability to find the ball that would lead to him becoming a Crow in time.

Dow was a star on the day with 23 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds showing why he was talked up in such a high way. The work in defence from Tom Campbell (11 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and five rebounds) and Jose Milado (18 disposals, six marks and seven rebounds) earned the pair the top votes from the coaching staff. Darby Henderson (22 disposals, five marks, five tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds) and Matt Harvey (21 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s) found plenty of the ball, while Jacob Atley also shone in defence with 19 disposals, six marks and nine rebounds. Of the future draftees, Schumacher had 14 disposals, four marks, six tackles and two rebounds, while Farrell finished with 13 touches, eight marks and four inside 50s.

Murray finished fifth on the table but fell to Sandringham Dragons in the elimination final at MARS Stadium, the second consecutive final the Bushrangers had lost to the Dragons after the 2016 Grand Final as Charlie Spargo would join Paton, Jones and Doulton Langlands on AFL lists at the end of the 2017 year. The Pioneers would finish on the bottom of the table with just three wins, 10 points behind the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, but would have three players drafted in the top 13 (Dow, Lochie O’Brien and Jarrod Brander), and six in total (Farrell, Schumacher and Brent Daniels) in what was a huge draft period for the program.

NAB League season preview: Bendigo Pioneers

AN ADDITIONAL training base, renewed optimism and fresh opportunities headline a successful off-season for the Bendigo Pioneers. The club with the largest land mass in the competition is ready and raring to go in season 2019, after a number of top-agers impressed as bottom-agers last season. Talent Manager Stephen Sharp said he was optimistic about the year ahead.

“We had a reasonably strong 17-year-old group last year who are obviously now top-age,” he said. “We think we’ve got some good prospects, and getting access to all our kids together would be a dream for us, to be able to have them all train together and play together because we think that would be able to help our performances. “Not mentioning wins because it’s not the focus of the program. “We’re pretty excited, but we do get access to most of them.”

While some of the Pioneers top prospects, Brodie Kemp and Thomson Dow will board at Geelong Grammar, Bendigo will have access to them in the first few rounds and late in the season. It will boost the Pioneers, who Sharp said have a number of raw potential draft prospects for the 2019 season.

“(Kemp) would be one of the top prospects,” Sharp said. “There’s himself, there’s Thomson Dow, there’s Flynn Perez who’s out with an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) for the year, he’s had an ACL reconstruction so he won’t play any footy, but he’ll get himself ready for the combine. “He’s a real leader. “There’s James Schischka, there’s Aaron Gundry who’s about 200cm. “We’ve got Matt Hird who’s a developing tall who’s had a bit of injury interruption, he’s 203cm, he ran in the state trials of 800, 1500m for his school in NSW, he lives in Barham. “We’ve got some raw talent up there. “Braydon Vaz is another key forward/defender, hybrid sort of player. “Cooper Vick, we’ve got some good talent at the top end. We think we’ve got a handful, whether that be five, it could be one.”

Sharp said the 2019 draft crop had the potential to emulate that of the 2017 crop which saw Paddy Dow, Lochie O’Brien, Angus Schumacher (all Carlton), Jarrod Brander (West Coast), Brent Daniels (GWS GIANTS) and Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide) all land at AFL clubs.

“We think there’s good prospects this year, not too dissimilar to 2017,” he said. “We were a bit lean last year, we thought we might get two. “We thought Jacob Atley might have gone, and he was pretty close, I think Essendon were keen to take him. “He’s been contracted to their VFL. “Obviously Jye Caldwell went to GWS at 11. “But we think there could be three or four.

“We’re happy with the way the program is progressing. “We’ve had 14 players drafted in the past four years, just under four a year. “If you can get another four this year, that keeps that consistency up there which is really good. That sends a good message to the kids in our region, if you come into our region you can get drafted.”

With the Bendigo region stretching up to both the New South Wales and South Australian borders, the Pioneers network stretches across the north west of the state. While the region is large, it provides its own challenges with travel a staple of Pioneers players routines. Sharp was excited to announce a fourth training base to reduce travel over the off-season.

“I think it’s ticking along well,” Sharp said. “We’ve got some really good staff, we’ve opened up a Moama training base this year so we’ve got four regional centres, so we’ve got Bendigo, Moama, Swan Hill and Mildura who train from November through to nearly the end of February. “Purely because of the size of the region we can’t get everyone together. “In saying that we do have our testing down here in Bendigo at the end of December and had some trial games in early February, which is always good to get the kids together when we can.”

In 2019, the new-look NAB League features interstate sides once again, and brings back memories for Sharp, who recalls a time when non-Victorian sides were a regular fixture on the then-TAC Cup calendar. Sharp said Tasmania being a full-time side was particularly exciting for the competition and the Pioneers program.

“It’s exciting for us because I was involved many years ago with the NSW/ACT Rams when we were in Canberra,” he said. “The (Tasmania) Mariners and the Rams were a part of the normal fixturing back in that 96 (1996) through to the early 2000s. “So we’re excited by that prospect because we played Tassie in Tassie in 2015 in May, and we play them twice this year.”

Sharp said the club was excited to both travel down to Tasmania in July, and welcome the Devils to Queen Elizabeth Oval in May.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to get away and stay overnight, so we’re looking forward to playing Tassie,” he said. “Particularly with them coming here adds a bit more profile to our program with an interstate team coming here.”

With an exciting batch of raw talents in 2019, Sharp said spectators could expect the Pioneers to play an exciting brand of football to give themselves the best chance of being drafted, while maintaining accountability.

“I think that’s a philosopy of our program,” he said. “We’ve got to showcase the kids’ talents; defensive mindset and accountability when need be, but you’ve got to get the footy and take the game on and showcase what you’ve got because it is that sort of program, so Rick’s got a really simple game style. “We’re working his coaching principles around teaching the fundamentals, your clean ground ball, your kicking skills, your handballing, your marking, your decision making, all that simple stuff is a real strong focus of his coaching. Whether he’s coaching groups or throughout our region, you can get caught up in structures of the game, gameplans and setups and all that, but if you can’t execute it… you could have the best gameplan in the world couldn’t you? We thought we’d keep it pretty simple.”

The Bendigo Pioneers begin their season on Sunday, March 24 against Geelong Falcons at Central Reserve, Colac.

TAC Cup preview: Bendigo Pioneers

BENDIGO Pioneers are coming off another year of potential, but falling short during the season, taking out the 2017 wooden spoon. They had plenty of moments throughout the year that showed recruiters and fans that there was plenty of talent, which was highlighted on draft night with an equal club-record seven draftees selected – six in the AFL National Draft, and two in the top 10. While that did not equate to wins on the field, the Pioneers were rarely at full-strength given their star players had school and state commitments throughout the season.

Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien will now be able to show off their class for Carlton on the biggest stage, drafted along with Angus Schumacher. Jarrod Brander (West Coast), Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide) and Brent Daniels (GWS) were all drafted interstate, while Derek Smith Jnr was picked up by Richmond under the Next Generation Academy program.

In 2018, the Pioneers might not have the ridiculous top-end class they did last year, but there are still a number of highly rated prospects. At the top of most recruiters lists will be Jye Caldwell – a player who burst onto the scene at the National Under 16 Championships – and Jacob Atley, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his brother’s Shaun and Joe. In terms of depth, Daine Grace showed signs at times he could be an imposing tall with good agility, while Liam Marciano and Phill Moimoi are other players who stood out in their bottom-age years.

One overager we are excited to see back is Bailey Henderson who had a good mix of skill and poise, and was unlucky not to be drafted last year. He will be a real figurehead in the midfield and expect him to be working more on his inside game to add another string to his bow. Overall in 2018, the Pioneers will have just two players – Henderson and Atley – who played double figure games last season. Grace played seven games and Marciano six, the only four players with more than five games to their name.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

There is no hiding the fact that the Bendigo Pioneers did not have a good season on paper last year, especially considering the high hopes that a squad with the talent the Pioneers had. In saying that, they did knock off grand finalists Sandringham Dragons in round six, as well as GWV Rebels (round two) and Western Jets (round eight). After holding a win-loss record of 3-5 after eight rounds, there was hope in the team making its first finals series in some time, but unfortunately for the Pioneers, they lost the last 10 games of the season to finish 3-15.

They did take it up to Calder Cannons, Northern Knights and Gippsland Power in the second half of the season however, so there were some positives to take out of it. While the results were not ideal, the number one goal of the competition is development and the Pioneers nailed it in 2017. They had seven drafted and a couple of those already look like making an impact at AFL level. It was a credit to the hard work the Pioneers staff put in, with many travelling long distances and spending many hours getting the players up and about for the weekend games.

2018 Snapshot:

Bendigo Pioneers are renowned travellers and they start their season on the road this Saturday at Mars Stadium against the GWV Rebels. They then travel to Shepparton in round two to face the Murray Bushrangers, before back-to-back games at Queen Elizabeth Oval against Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers. The Pioneers play just six games at Queen Elizabeth Oval in 2018, and none at Epsom Huntly Reserve, meaning road trips are inevitable. They will hope to get off to a good start this weekend and try and notch up more wins this season. In a fixture anomaly, the Pioneers face the Rebels three times in the season – twice in Ballarat and once in Bendigo.

2018 Fixture:

Bendigo Pioneers

MARS Stadium
Deakin Reserve
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Preston City Oval
Rams Arena
Box Hill City Oval
Burbank Oval
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Windy Hill
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Shepley Oval
Trevor Barker Oval
Queen Elizabeth Oval
MARS Stadium
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Ikon Park

Bendigo Pioneers 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Bendigo Pioneers

Finished: 12th
Wins: 3
Losses: 15
Percentage: 68
Points: 12

Players Drafted: (7)

  • Paddy Dow (Carlton)
  • Lochie O’Brien (Carlton)
  • Jarrod Brander (West Coast)
  • Brent Daniels (GWS Giants)
  • Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide)
  • Angus Schumacher (Carlton)
  • Derek Smith Jnr (Richmond)

2017 Review:

While the on-field results were once again not what the Bendigo Pioneers had hoped, draft night was a raging success with a massive six players drafted from the club – and Derek Smith Jnr added as a Category B rookie at Richmond – its best ever result. Many believed this year was the year the Pioneers could finally break the finals hoodoo of the past decade, and while it was not to be, their development – as with those at Geelong Grammar where a number of the draftees boarded – should be praised for their work.

Carlton was the biggest benefiary, taking two Pioneers in the top 10 in Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien, while also picking up a third Bendigo boy in Angus Schumacher late in the draft. Jarrod Brander was touted as a top five pick early in the season but drifted as far as West Coast before the Eagles decided enough was enough, while pint sized speed machine Brent Daniels headed to the Giants and Kane Farrell found a home at Port Adelaide.

It was a great result for the club with outside midfielder Bailey Henderson considered the unluckiest to miss out, but given his future scope all is not lost. Darby Henderson topped all statistical charts for the season taking out the Pioneers best and fairest and it will be interesting to see where his future lies whether it be in the state leagues or back as an over-ager. Meanwhile the likes of Jobee Warde, Matt Harvey, Laine Fitzgerald and Lewin Davis were also impressive at times throughout the season.


2018 Preview:

Looking ahead to 2018, the Pioneers might not have the bucketload of talent they had in 2017, but there are still a couple of top-end prospects from which are likely to go high on draft night. Leading the way are Jye Caldwell and Jacob Atley who the former has been touted as a top picks since the under 16s, while Atley has been consistent over the past couple of seasons.

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers) 189cm | 75kg | General Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (14) 16.8 disposals | 5.9 marks | 2.4 tackles | 3.5 rebounds | 59% KE | 62% DE | 41% CP

Atley is a clean mover who knows how to find the football and was one of the better rebounders in the TAC Cup last season. Expect him to spend time through the midfield in his top-age year and he has a good balance between offensive and defensive traits, providing plenty of drive for the Pioneers.

Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers) 181cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (2) 17.7 disposals | 2.7 marks | 5.3 tackles | 3.3 clearances | 76% KE | 81% DE | 47% CP

Caldwell is a special talent and could well go top 10 on draft night with a consistent season. A lovely kick of the football and a high contested possession rate at the same time, Caldwell mostly played forward when representing Vic Country at the National Under 18 Championships, but is expected to be more of an inside midfielder next season. He tackles hard, wins the clearances and is so balanced inside or out so it is not hard to see why he is a promising prospect.

Others to keep an eye on:

Daine Grace (Bendigo Pioneers) 195cm | 79kg | Key Position Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (7) 4 disposals | 2.1 marks | 1.6 hitouts } 0.6 goals | 50% KE | 71% DE | 61% CP

Liam Marciano (Bendigo Pioneers) 173cm | 62kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (6) 19 disposals | 4.3 marks | 2.7 tackles | 2.5 inside 50s | 55% KE | 68% DE | 28% CP

Phill Moimoi (Bendigo Pioneers) 181cm | 83kg | Outside Midfielder/Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (6) 9.8 disposals | 3.8 marks | 1.8 tackles | 1.5 inside 50s | 46% KE | 54% DE | 38% CP



Bendigo Pioneers will look back at 2017 fondly with a record number of players drafted and some great talent heading to AFL clubs. While 2018 might be different, the Pioneers will be looking to see the load shared between its players who have seen what is possible with hard work. It will be interesting to see what the squad looks like in 2018 with a few key position players and smaller pocket rockets a chance to impress in front of recruiters.

Matt Balmer’s 2017 Final AFL Draft Power Rankings Part 1

EVERY month since May, Matt Balmer has ranked his players from the 2017 AFL Draft pool. With less than three weeks until the November 24 National AFL Draft, he counts down the players ranked 50-1 over the next two weeks. Today will be 50-26, before next Monday’s final rankings from 25-1.

Having seen just under 90 games throughout the season, it is always hard to come to a final order and I have ranked the players how I would if I was an AFL club going into the draft come November, ticking names off the list as they are called out.

Please note this is NOT a Phantom Draft – purely just how I rate the players. For this exercise, no mature agers have been considered.

#50 Jackson EDWARDS
Outside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
11/10/1999 | 184.5cm | 75.0kg

Scouting notes: The son of Tyson is eligible for father-son to Adelaide at the end of the season. Possesses a nice clean left foot on the outside where he plays his best across half back or on the wing. At times he could be a bit more damaging with his disposals, rather than finding the safe target short.

Strengths: Agility, accumulation, kicking
Improvements:  Hurt factor, contested ball

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.18 | Agility (secs) 8.39 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

Under 18s Championships

2016South Australia000000000000000000000
2017South Australia49479618306513011770412.311.824.

Key Position Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/05/1999 | 195.6cm | 85.2kg

Scouting notes: Key Position defender who should fill out in an AFL environment. His best can be very good and has held down the key post for Vic Country in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships over the last two years.  His intercept work is getting better and has become more sure of himself when dropping off his man. Kicking can be shaky under pressure – but is another element to his game that has improved throughout the season.

Strengths: Intercept marking, endurance, rebounding
Improvements:  Confidence, strength

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.13 | Agility (secs) 8.63 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2


NAB League Boys

2016Dandenong Stingrays243054190060000054.
2017Dandenong Stingrays61671284553772333221087.68.416.

Trial matches


Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country14132790050000034.
2017Vic Country22234523212380025045.55.811.

#48 Jake PATMORE
Outside Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
29/01/1999 | 181.1cm | 71.75kg

Scouting notes: Speedy outside midfielder who can play as a rebounding defender. Wins plenty of the ball and has slimmed down during the season. Patmore has plenty of scope for development. AFL Academy member.

Strengths: Agility, accumulation, speed
Improvements:  Inside game, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.02 | Agility (secs) 8.43 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

Under 18s Championships

2016Western Australia24164040030000046.
2017Western Australia50419118226717059100412.510.322.

WAFL Colts


WAFL Reserves


#47 Matthew DAY
Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers)
01/04/1999 | 189.2cm | 79.4kg

Scouting notes: The Chargers midfielder missed out on Vic Metro selection but uses his nous in the contest to get the ball moving forward. Was a high level basketballer, before recently making the full-time switch to football. Wins the contested ball and is willing to tackle hard to win it back.

Strengths: Inside work, kicking, speed, future scope
Improvements:  Accumulation, raw, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.00 | Agility (secs) 8.64 | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A


NAB League Boys

2017Oakleigh Chargers14584229421221126925847913169.15.314.
2018Oakleigh Chargers7641117404966215515222116.93.710.

#46 Brent DANIELS
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
09/03/1999 | 170.5cm | 70.4kg

Scouting notes: The inside midfielder was superb in the Vic Country Under 18 trial match in 2016, but showed his skills across half forward for Vic Country in the National Under 18 Championships in 2017. Daniels possesses elite speed and can play as an inside midfielder, but possesses a good goal sense and can pressure opposition defenders up forward.

Strengths: Skill, speed, goal sense, agility
Improvements:  Hands in close, overuse of the footy

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.95 | Agility (secs) 8.11 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5


NAB League Boys

2016Bendigo Pioneers3129609001500004310.39.720.
2017Bendigo Pioneers70741442382842303323913710.010.620.

Trial matches


#45 Sam TAYLOR
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
05/05/1999 | 196.1cm | 87.3kg

Scouting notes: A Key Position Defender who has flown a bit under the radar. Taylor was prominent in the AFL Academy game against Northern Blues at the start of the year, and is a good one-on-one defender. Taylor rebounds the ball ok by foot and is willing to take intercept marks.

Strengths: Marking, rebounding, positioning, athleticism
Improvements:  Kicking, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) 8.51 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8

Under 18s Championships

2016Western Australia691570000000023.
2017Western Australia202444142124411013045.

WAFL League

2016Swan Districts000000000000000000000
2017Swan Districts40529232001900000700000000

WAFL Colts

2016Swan Districts704411442001420000800000000
2017Swan Districts787215058003090002800000000

WAFL Reserves

2016Swan Districts000000000000000000000
2017Swan Districts7411400900000100000000

#44 Tom McCARTIN
Key Position Forward (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
30/12/1999 | 192.6cm | 84.0kg

Scouting notes: One of the late bloomers of the 2017 AFL Draft pool. The brother of St Kilda’s Patrick has a late December and is still in Year 11 – meaning he will need to finish school in 2018. Clubs won’t be put off by this however and the talented forward showed in the first quarter of the TAC Cup Elimination Final that he can be a damaging player. McCartin marks well overhead and is an agile footballer. He has plenty of scope for development.

Strengths: Contested marking, endurance, cleanness at ground level, agility
Improvements:  Goal kicking, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.12 | Agility (secs) 8.36 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5


NAB League Boys

2017Geelong Falcons936215573718930233309137.24.811.

Under 18s Championships

2017Vic Country712191061441030032.

#43 Ethan FLOYD
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
15/07/1999 | 180.0cm | 70.7kg

Scouting notes: Outside midfielder who possesses a pinpoint left foot pass. Can run hard all day on the wing and has a good mix of speed and endurance – standing out in his bright boot. He has the ability to play across half back and provides good rebound and can get the ball inside 50 and find a target.

Strengths: Kicking penetration, speed, endurance, ground coverage
Improvements:  Inside game, foot skills under pressure, tackling numbers

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.98 | Agility (secs) 8.46 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5


NAB League Boys

2016Geelong Falcons10634140250027000051010.63.414.
2017Geelong Falcons21284296657720820013673821613.35.318.
2018Geelong Falcons2873571121100366039.32.311.

Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country000000000000000000000
2017Vic Country211132952770035037.03.710.

#42 Brandon STARCEVICH
Balanced Midfielder (East Perth/Western Australia)
24/07/1999 | 186.6cm | 84.4kg

Scouting notes: A strong riser in the second half of the year where he can attack a stoppage at speed and clear the ball out reasonably effective by foot. Finished the season on a high with 18 disposals and four inside 50s in the Under 18 All Stars game at the MCG on Grand Final day. Possesses elite speed and agility, with his inside game are area that has improved. Not a big ball winner.

Strengths: Versatile, speed, agility
Improvements:  Inside game, consistency, ball winning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.87 | Agility (secs) 8.08 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

Under 18s Championships

2016Western Australia1531830080000135.
2017Western Australia321850924261215102448.04.512.

WAFL Colts

2016East Perth8138119270018200021000000000
2017East Perth9350143290039100051000000000

#41 Trent MYNOTT
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/10/1999 | 184.8cm | 75.1kg

Scouting notes: Inside midfielder who has plenty of scope for development. Mynott can win the contested ball and clear it effectively out to an outside runner by hand. Is willing to do the defensive work and tackles hard to get the ball back. Kicking has room for improvement.

Strengths: Clearances, acceleration, agility
Improvements:  Speed, kicking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.22 | Agility (secs) 8.20 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2

NAB League Boys

2016Eastern Ranges784111920003300005711.15.917.
2017Eastern Ranges116631792695773304521167814.57.922.

Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro263157111344150164038.710.319.

#40 Will WALKER
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons)
30/03/1999 | 186.5cm | 78.2kg

Scouting notes: Zippy half forward flanker who has improved his contested ball abilities in the second half of the year. Wins the ball in the midfielder and spreads well from a stoppage. At times he can just bang the ball on his boot – but he has the power to kick the ball over 50 metres and his clearance work is very good. Comes from a former soccer background.

Strengths: Speed, agility, clearance work, rawness
Improvements:  Kicking, contested ball winning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) 8.74 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1


NAB League Boys

2016Sandringham Dragons623799230025000015115.
2017Sandringham Dragons21817138982161228761666917221911.

#39 Toby WOOLLER
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
16/03/1999 | 192.7cm | 89.9kg

Scouting notes: Key Position Forward who has played as a hybrid midfielder at times for the Oakleigh Chargers. While still likely to end up a second or third tall at the next level, Wooller is a good mark and knows where the goals are. Is mobile enough to get up and down the ground on multiple leads. Is the grandson of Geelong’s Fred Wooller.

Strengths: Contested marking, scoreboard impact, work ethic, strength, leadership
Improvements:  Speed, kicking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.12 | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8


NAB League Boys

2016Oakleigh Chargers87301176300151500010108.
2017Oakleigh Chargers2127628892145152773532555431613.34.818.

Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro13619791031080126.

#38 Nathan KREUGER
Tall Utility (South Adelaide/South Australia)
25/06/1999 | 195.7cm | 88.9kg

Scouting notes: A raw talent who has had some incredible moments over the last 12 months. His work in the South Australian trials were good last year and early this year. Can play as a tall at either end, but most excitingly moves well athletically enough to play as a flanker. Uses the ball well off his left foot and there are some moments that get you really excited about this kid. Can play through the midfield but showed his strength up forward for South Australia in the National  Under 18 Championships.

Strengths: Agility, strength, marking, versatile
Improvements:  Raw, skills, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.03 | Agility (secs) 8.21 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.4

SANFL Reserves

2017South Adelaide109195121051021133.

SANFL Under 18s

2017South Adelaide10940149497583392224331513119.93.613.

Under 18s Championships

2016South Australia000000000000000000000
2017South Australia11718810731260125.

#37 James WORPEL
Inside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
24/01/1999 | 185.1cm | 85.5kg

Scouting notes: Cracks in hard winning the ball in the contest and is one of the best clearance players in the 2017 draft pool. Question marks are on his kicking, where at times he will just bomb it out of the packs but he did show in the National Under 18 Championships that he was able to stop and find a target without rushing. Tackles well but has areas to address to be a top 30 selection.

Strengths: Inside game, tackling, leadership, scoreboard impact
Improvements:  Kicking, agility

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.08 | Agility (secs) 8.89 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8


NAB League Boys

2016Geelong Falcons183812643100760000111314.
2017Geelong Falcons236106342361701771092748219111614.86.621.

Trial matches


Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country3017473001700002310.05.715.
2017Vic Country453479163842330161662411.38.519.

#36 Jackson ROSS
Outside Midfielder/Medium Forward (Haileybury College/Eastern Ranges)
22/06/1999 | 192.5cm | 74.5kg

Scouting notes: Booted 29 goals playing as a centre half forward and on the wing for Haileybury College in the APS school competition. Comes from an elite tennis background and is still quite raw in football terms. Has a long kick and is able to use it on either side of his body. Very athletic and is a player with plenty of development left.

Strengths: Upside, mobility/versatile, kicking, scoreboard impact
Improvements:  Consistency, tackling, reading the game

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.09 | Agility (secs) 8.46 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8


NAB League Boys

2016Eastern Ranges74381122300160000589.34.814.
2017Eastern Ranges13937176367595270223615161013.93.717.

#35 Gryan MIERS
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
30/03/1999 | 177.6cm | 77.4kg

Scouting notes: Small forward who shot to frame after booting seven goals in the TAC Cup Grand Final. Whilst he doesn’t possess elite speed, he has smarts around goal and is willing to kick the ball off either foot. Has played some time on the inside, but is destined to be a small forward at the next level.

Strengths: Footy IQ, endurance, goal sense, X-Factor
Improvements:  Speed, vertical leap

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.19 | Agility (secs) 8.39 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5


NAB League Boys

2016Geelong Falcons4621671600220000359.
2017Geelong Falcons202892917011416862018532501711.

Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country000000000000000000000
2017Vic Country41297018175215071112410.37.317.

#34 Harrison PETTY
Key Position Defender (Norwood/South Australia)
12/11/1999 | 195.3cm | 81.9kg

Scouting notes: Key positioned player who reads the play well and positions himself well behind the ball. Is composed with ball in hand and is usually clean to dispose of the ball off his right foot. Petty is also confident with when to intercept the ball overhead. Won South Australia’s MVP after a superb National AFL Under 18 Championships.

Strengths: Positioning, composure, kicking, intercepting
Improvements:  Speed, strength

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.17 | Agility (secs) 8.29 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2

SANFL Reserves


SANFL Under 18s


Under 18s Championships

2017South Australia252449172624821213046.

#33 Charlie SPARGO
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
25/11/1999 | 171.6cm | 70.2kg

Scouting notes: Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard. Despite his size he wins the ball in the contest and tackles hard. Is one of the few midfielders who has a good goal sense and is a hard match-up when deep inside 50. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Had shoulder surgery which ruled him out for the season.

Strengths: Goal sense, speed, agility, endurance, tackling
Improvements:  Marking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

Division 2


NAB League Boys

2016Murray Bushrangers53288118001400007510.65.616.
2017Murray Bushrangers000000000000000000000

Under 18s Championships


#32 Andrew McPHERSON
Medium Defender (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
20/06/1999 | 185.7cm | 79.4kg

Scouting notes: A good ball user across half back where McPherson just gets the job done. He showed promise in the National AFL Under 18 Championships last year, but missed the carnival in 2017 due to injury. McPherson rebounds it well and can play across the wing. Reads the play well and has a good mix of attack & defence. The AFL Academy member dealt with a quad injury throughout the first half of the 2017 season.

Strengths: Endurance, kicking, footy smarts, rebounding
Improvements:  Inside game, athleticism

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

SANFL Reserves

2017Woodville-West Torrens3835731821511085120312.711.724.

SANFL Under 18s

2017Woodville-West Torrens35804410112013.

Under 18s Championships

2016South Australia282149140080000039.
2017South Australia000000000000000000000

Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
12/04/1999 | 185.1cm | 77.7kg

Scouting notes: The fastest player in the TAC Cup with a 20m sprint time of 2.82 seconds recorded earlier in the season. He is willing to take opposition players on and burn them off along the wing. Also possesses a very good leap. His kicking on the run is a work-in-progress and needs work, but his eye catching displays are continuing to get better and more consistent. He comes from an elite basketball background. His contested ball numbers are very good.

Strengths: Speed, agility, inside game
Improvements:  Kicking, endurance, accumulation

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.87 | Agility (secs) 8.64 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.7

NAB League Boys

2016Northern Knights11102160054000425.
2017Northern Knights156912375014310759035681714169.85.714.

Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro1513287131490135135.

#30 Dylan MOORE
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175.8cm | 65.9kg

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who isn’t afraid of winning the contested ball. His ground ball numbers are very good and is a big ball winning midfielder. Moore can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. Has a decent jump for a small midfielder which he can show off up forward. He also a very good endurance base but is one of the few players sub 180cm who do not possess elite speed. Is a smart footballer and just gets to the right position to win the ball. Clearance work is super.

Strengths: Endurance, kicking, contested ball winning, scoreboard impact, clearance work
Improvements:  Speed, marking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.14 | Agility (secs) 8.48 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 22.3

NAB League Boys

2016Eastern Ranges282654120060000147.06.513.
2017Eastern Ranges125106231321161145204240189913.911.825.

Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro35579210455013012133348.814.323.

#29 Jordan HOULAHAN
Medium Forward (Sturt/South Australia)
19/02/1999 | 185.7cm | 75.9kg

Scouting notes: Medium forward who possess a very good leap and is a straight kick in front of goal. The AFL Academy member will likely adjust to AFL life in a similar role to Sydney Swans 2016 draftee Will Hayward. Has come back from a shoulder reconstruction and was a solid performance up forward in the National Under 18 Championships. Also played a few games as a midfielder at SANFL level. Was a dual premiership player for the Double Blues in the SANFL Under 18s and SANFL Reserves.

Strengths: Contested marking, kicking skills, leap, versatility
Improvements:  Consistency, leading patterns, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1


SANFL Reserves


SANFL Under 18s


Under 18s Championships

2017South Australia2514391224131414131746.

#28 Zac BAILEY
Inside Midfielder (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 181.0cm | 81.1kg

Scouting notes: Has a great burst of speed and he isn’t afraid to collect the ball and burst out of a stoppage getting distance on himself from his opponents. The right footer is usually a clean kick but can have the odd poor game by foot. Bailey wins the contested ball and tackles well.

Strengths: Contested ball winning, speed, kicking, tackling
Improvements:  Marking, endurance, hitting the scoreboard

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.98 | Agility (secs) 8.69 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.6


Division 2

2017Northern Territory000000000000000000000

SANFL Under 18s


Under 18s Championships


#27 Ryley STODDART
Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/10/1999 | 184.6cm | 73.7kg

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is what you want in a half back flank. Kicks it well on his left foot, makes very good decisions and will get to the right positions. His defending one-on-one is okay and is not a big disposal winner, but is a player who will make his 15-20 touches hurt the opposition when he drops off. Dubbed as a Kade Simpson clone by SEN 1116 Draft Analyst Brett Anderson. Finished the year with some impressive performances and showed he can push further up the ground and hit the scoreboard.

Strengths: Agility, kicking, composure under pressure
Improvements:  Tackling, one-on-one defending

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A


NAB League Boys

2017Eastern Ranges114511653858891504223641011.

Under 18s Championships

2017Vic Metro1830486182640138044.57.512.

#26 Joel GARNER
Balanced Midfielder/General Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 184.2cm | 82.6kg

Scouting notes: Balanced Midfielder who has struggled to find his feet at times thrown around in multiple positions around the ground at school, TAC Cup and Vic Metro level. He uses the ball well off his left foot, hitting targets on the run or standing still. His handballing in close is another strength and he is able to clear the ball from a stoppage with ease. Screams X-Factor at times and may have found his best position across half back. Is an outstanding leader.

Strengths: Leadership, kicking, quick hands, inside game
Improvements:  Endurance, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.18 | Agility (secs) 8.85 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

NAB League Boys

2017Eastern Ranges114511653858891504223641011.

Under 18s Championships

2017Vic Metro1830486182640138044.57.512.

So that’s my players ranked 50-26, if you want to know more: Send me a Tweet @MattBalmer7 before my final 25-1 is released next Monday night.

2017 AFL Draft Combine: Day 3 results

AGILE tall Aiden Bonar and exciting West Australian Kyron Hayden were among the top performers on day three of the 2017 National AFL Draft Combine.

Players were subjected to a busy day of testing, with the jumps, sprints and agility events held in the morning. The inaugural Yo-Yo test was run in the afternoon, before players meet with AFL club recruiters after dinner.

Bonar equalled the record for standing vertical jump with a leap of 89cm, matching that of Adelaide’s Jordan Gallucci 12 months earlier, while Hayden leaped into the record books with a massive 105cm jump in the running vertical leap. Hayden finished seven centimetres behind Bonar in the standing vertical jump.

In the 20m sprint, raging favourite Jack Petruccelle raced home in 2.87 seconds, marginally ahead of Bonar and Bendigo Pioneer Kane Farrell who both recorded times of 2.90 seconds. Ruck/forward Ben Miller raised eyebrows with a huge 2.91 seconds, equal with Northern Knights captain Nick Coffield.

Miller went even better in the agility test, equalling Farrell with a time of 8.10 seconds. Farrell’s teammate Brent Daniels finished just one hundredth of a second behind, while Eastern Ranges’ Trent Mynott finished in 8.20 seconds. Irish star Stefan Okunbar also recorded a few highlights with a top 10 finish in the 20m sprint and agility test.

Endurance beast Andrew Brayshaw took out the new yo-yo test with a score of 22.4 ahead of Vic Metro teammate Dylan Moore and speedster Matthew Ling. South Australian Alex Martini, tall defender Aaron Naughton and the exciting Jaidyn Stephenson were the next highest scorers. Geelong Falcons’ Ethan Floyd, Tom McCartin and Gryan Miers joined Ling in the high scorers showing off the top endurance at the club.

Friday is the final day of the 2017 National Combine, with the 2km time trial to take place in the morning.


20-metre sprint
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 2.87 seconds
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 2.90
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 2.90
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 2.91
Nick Coffield (Vic Metro) 2.91
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 2.95
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 2.95
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 2.95
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 2.95
Nicholas Shipley (Allies) 2.95

Agility test
Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers) 8.10 seconds
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 8.10
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 8.11
Trent Mynott (Vic Metro) 8.20
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 8.21
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 8.22
Mitchell Podhajski (Vic Metro) 8.26
Oscar Allen (Western Australia) 8.27
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 8.29
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 8.30
Callan England (Western Australia) 8.30
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 8.30
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 8.30

Standing vertical jump
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 89cm
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 82cm
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 80cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 79cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 77cm
Jordan Johnston (Vic Country) 75cm
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 74cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 74cm
Adam Sambono (Allies) 73cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 73cm

Running vertical jump
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 103cm – NEW RECORD
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 95cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 95cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 92cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 89cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 88cm
Oscar Allen (Western Ausralia) 88cm
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 88cm
Matthew Day (Vic Metro) 87cm
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 87cm

Yo-Yo test:
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 22.4 level
Dylan Moore (Vic Metro) 22.3
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 21.8
Alex Martini (South Australia) 21.8
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 21.8
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 21.8
Callan England (Western Australia) 21.6
Nick Shipley (Allies) 21.6
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 21.5
Ethan Floyd (Vic Country) 21.5
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 21.5
Cillian McDaid (Ireland) 21.5
Gryan Miers (Vic Country) 21.5

Scouting notes: 2017 NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game

JAIDYN Stephenson pushed his claims as a possible top five pick with a best-on-ground display at the MCG on Saturday.

In the second year of the AFLs annual showcase, the contest pitted the best 50 2017 draft eligible prospects against each other, split into two sides named after former Geelong great Corey Enright (Team Enright) and North Melbourne champion Brent Harvey (Team Harvey).

MATCH REPORT: Stephenson stars in 2017 NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game

Scouting notes: 

Team Enright:

#2 Lachlan Fogarty – Just gets to the right spots in the attacking half of the ground and is effective in getting the ball inside 50. Had a game-high seven inside 50s and again showed off his attacking flair. Is willing to tackle his opponents and pressure them at every moment.

#7 Brayden Ainsworth – Was effective in getting the ball out of the stoppages by hand and finished with seven clearances for the day. His pronounce influence was around the ground, compared with in at the centre bounces, but he was able to win the contested ball and was willing to work hard defensively.

#23 Nicholas Shipley – Linked up well on the outside and was often at the bottom of the packs attempting to win the ball. Had a few clearances and was able to have a few runs with ball in hand. More of a handball first, kick second player out of traffic.

#24 James Worpel – Was a beast at the centre bounces and didn’t show any signs of soreness after playing some six days before. By hand, he hardly missed a target – whipping the ball out from the centre bounces and clearing it to a teammate. He had a game-high five centre clearances and his contested ball winning was on show. Will be interesting to see where he ends up come November.

#26 Nick Coffield – Coffield is one of the best users of the football, by hand or foot. His burst of speed and efficiency makes him a highly touted top 10 prospect. His work rebounding the ball and kicking it long from either the kick outs or in defensive 50 were very good and he has been a big riser throughout season 2017.

#27 Oscar Allen – Despite hardly taking part in training on the Thursday before the game, the 2017 Larke medalist was a marking machine, pulling off seven for the game. Allen finished with 2.3 in front of goal – including the first goal for the day, but he was impressive overhead and was able to kick effectively for goal in set shot situations.

#32 Sam Hayes – Inside 50 Hayes was far too good for Connor Ballenden early in the contest and could’ve finished with three goals for the day had he kicked straight. He played majority of the game up forward with Lloyd Meek and Ned Reeves rucking – and it allowed him to show his strengths up forward clunking four marks for the day. Probably one of the few games where he has predominantly played up forward rather than sharing the ruck load.

Team Harvey:

#1 Brent Daniels – The zippy midfielder was able to win the football on the outside as one of the bigger ball winners (23 disposals) for Team Harvey. Daniels stoppage work was good around the ground and he was able to get to the hit-zone on multiple occasions. Bobbed up and booted a goal in the final quarter.

#5 Zac Bailey – Started well with five disposals in the opening term and was able to spread effectively from the stoppages. He used his agility well and was willing to work hard up and down the ground. He did have a few clangers by foot throughout the day, but it was a reasonable showing from the inside midfielder.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – While his return of 13 disposals doesn’t look large from the stats sheet, his effectiveness in the third term was huge when Team Harvey put the foot down. Stoddart used it very well going inside 50 and wasn’t afraid to throw out a fend off and back himself to use his agility to get around players.

#9 Lochie O’Brien – O’Brien finished the year with a bang – with one of his best games of the season with 24 disposals and seven marks. O’Brien was able to link up more in the attacking half of the ground and get the ball moving forward. Whilst he had a few ineffective kicks by foot – he was mostly clean and able to hit targets on his left foot. Possess a great burst of speed.

#22 Brandon Starcevich – One of the more impressive non-Victorian players in Saturday’s game, working through the midfield and getting it inside 50. Kicked a nice goal in the opening quarter, running around and snapping from a mark. An inside 50 kick in the second quarter was elite and he also possesses a long right foot kick. A player worth to go back and re-watch again throughout the Under 18 Championships.

#23 Jaidyn Stephenson – Stephenson’s second half of the season has been very good, transitioning from a third tall to an outside midfielder. Stephenson was adjudged best player on the ground, with 22 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and four goals. Unlike some of his other games this year, Stephenson was largely effective by foot and there’s no doubt he’ll come into the thoughts of clubs such as North Melbourne and St Kilda.

#27 Aiden Bonar – Bonar was another exciting player who would’ve caught the eye of those watching. Bonar finished the year with his best performance, winning 20 disposals (11 contested) and five clearances. He was willing to throw his body around at the contest and was largely effective by hand – when he was tackled, often staying strong and was hard to be brought to ground.


4 P.Naish 7 14 21 4 4 17 1 2 3
24 J.Worpel 10 11 21 4 13 9 4 7 3
7 B.Ainsworth 5 15 20 3 10 11 5 7 2 1
22 H.Clark 12 7 19 3 10 9 3 2 4 2 1
23 N.Shipley 8 11 19 4 5 13 3 2 2
27 O.Allen 11 7 18 7 10 9 2 2 2 3
1 D.Moore 9 8 17 5 8 10 3 2 3 1 1
8 A.Brayshaw 5 11 16 3 4 13 5 1 3 1
26 N.Coffield 12 3 15 5 3 13 1 1 5
2 L.Fogarty 9 5 14 3 3 11 5 7 1 1
6 M.McGannon 6 8 14 4 4 10 2 2 2 1
32 S.Hayes 8 6 14 4 7 7 1 3 1 1 1 2
28 M.Podhajski 6 7 13 3 3 10 1 1
30 N.Balta 6 6 12 2 3 9 2 1 2 1
31 H.Petty 4 8 12 3 4 8 1
9 J.Petruccelle 7 4 11 4 4 7 3 2 1 1
34 L.Meek 4 7 11 1 8 3 8 14 3 1 1
5 M.Ling 5 5 10 2 10 2 2
10 J.Garner 7 3 10 1 4 5 2 2 1
35 N.Reeves 1 6 7 3 3 4 6 17 1
29 J.Butts 3 3 6 1 2 4 1
33 S.Taylor 3 3 6 1 3 2 2
21 J.Houlahan 4 1 5 3 1 4 1 1 3
–    Enright18 152 159 311 73 116 198 64 34 30 39 26 8 7
–    Harvey18 163 169 332 66 110 222 39 29 24 43 30 17 8
9 L.O’Brien 16 8 24 7 7 17 1 2 3 2 1 1
10 L.Davies-Uniacke 14 9 23 6 7 16 2 2 4 1 1 2
1 B.Daniels 10 13 23 8 15 2 3 2 1 1
23 J.Stephenson 13 9 22 8 4 18 5 2 4 3 4
3 B.Paton 10 11 21 2 6 13 1 1 1 4
27 A.Bonar 5 15 20 2 11 9 3 5 2 1
22 B.Starcevich 11 7 18 1 7 11 2 2 4 1
5 Z.Bailey 8 10 18 4 7 11 1 2 2 3 1
4 A.Martini 5 11 16 1 4 12 3 1 2
11 B.Henderson 8 6 14 5 3 11 2 1 4 1
34 B.Crossley 6 8 14 4 6 8 5 15 1 3 1 1 1
21 M.Day 3 10 13 2 3 10 1 1
6 R.Stoddart 8 5 13 3 2 11 1 1 4
30 H.McLean 9 3 12 6 3 9 1 5 2 1 4
24 J.Ross 7 5 12 5 3 9 1 1 3 1 1
29 J.Brander 5 7 12 2 4 8 3
8 E.Richards 2 8 10 4 6 4 1
32 H.Dixon 6 4 10 1 4 6 1 1 1
31 C.Ballard 4 4 8 3 3 5 2 4
35 C.Ballenden 4 4 8 2 3 5 2 1
26 N.Murphy 6 6 2 4 1 1 1 1 1
28 O.Clavarino 2 4 6 1 4 3 1
33 B.Miller 1 5 6 1 3 4 6 1 1