Tag: Jack Henry

Stars to shine bright at the National AFL Draft Combine


FOR the draft crop of 2016, the National AFL Draft Combine is the first sign that their AFL dreams are a step closer to fruition. An invitation to the AFL Draft Combine means that at least five AFL clubs have expressed interest in the player. The AFL Draft Combine is a way for clubs to determine the players’ physical strengths as well as getting one-on-one time through combine interviews.

Draftees take on each other in a series of tests that challenge their speed, endurance, reflexes and skills to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine results are taken into account by clubs when deciding between players and whether they believe they can take the next step into the AFL. A total of 81 players have been invited to the 2016 AFL Draft Combine.

Matt Balmer takes a look at who might be the standouts in the testing which runs from Friday to Sunday.


Players will begin to arrive at Etihad Stadium before a welcome will be held for all 81 players in attendence. Not all players will be able to test due to injuries, but they will sit in on interviews and medicals with clubs early in the combine.

Thursday also sees heights and weight taken, along with all the body sizing and measurements such as skin folds and tricept sizes. My spies have told me Ollie Florent will be a likely winner for the biggest hands at the combine.

The media will also be in attendance on Thursday afternoon with Kevin Sheehan speaking alongside Jonty Scharenberg, Jy Simpkin and Sam Powell-Pepper.


More medicals and interviews for players when they arrive for another day. Friday night from 7pm-9.30pm will be the hand balling, kicking and goal kicking tests.

The Matthew Lloyd clean hands/handpassing test measures how well a player collects the football and is able to dispose of it using a handball. There are three targets set up on both the left and right side at distances of 6m, 8m and 10m. An official will roll out or throw a ball at the player and instruct them where to handball the ball to. This is done six times and a score from 1-5 is allocated to each handball depending on how good it is.

Who could win? Hugh McCluggage‘s hands in stoppages are outstanding, whilst Andrew McGrath has the highest TAC Cup handball efficiency with 93 per cent of his handballs hitting the target.

The Brad Johnson goal kicking test will measure a players accuracy kicking for goal. Four kicking points are designated with players taking five kicks in total; two set shots (35m out in either pocket), two snaps (20m out, one left foot and one right foot) and one kick on the run (40m out directly in front). The player has 70 seconds to complete the test. A score is then worked out from the amount of goals and behinds a player kicks.

Who could win? Vic Country forward Josh Battle has a superb kick on him from short or long range distances in front of goal. Again, Hugh McCluggage has shown he can push forward and hit the scoreboard throughout 2016.

The Nathan Buckley kicking test measures players kicking efficiency over six kicks. Six targets (three on each side) are set out at distances of 20m, 30m and 40m. An official will call out a target at random to the kick, who will then to proceed to hit the target. Each kick is given a score from one to five, with five being a perfect kick.

Who could win? West Australian Josh Rotham is one of the best kicks in the draft pool, his teammate tall ruckman Tim English is another who uses the ball well. Harry Morrison, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Alex Villis and Harry Perryman are others that should perform well in this test.


The biggest day of the carnival will see sprints, agility, jumps and the beep test held on the purpose built floor on Etihad.

Sprints will be held in the morning , whilst the afternoon will conclude with the beep test.

Who could win in the sprints? Exciting WA midfielder Shai Bolton will test extremely well in both the 20m sprint and the agility test. Back in 2014, Bolton ran a sub 3s 20m sprint and under 8s for the agility test, considered elite.

Brandan Parfitt and Cedric Cox are among others who has shown off their speed at times this season while Jordan Gallucci should perform well in the agility test. Vic Country teammates Ben Ainsworth (8.00 seconds) and Jarrod Berry (7.80 seconds) were superb in TAC Cup preseason testing, while Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish was just behind Berry running 7.81 seconds. Queenslander Josh Williams showed a remarkable dash of speed in a division two National Under 18s Championships game earlier in the season.

Murray Bushrangers tall Esava Ratugolea is another who tested well in the past (2.92s) as has South Australian excitement machine Kym Lebois.

The vertical leap test is always an interesting test with vertical jump and running vertical jump (left and right foot) measured.

Who could win in the jumps? South Australian tall utility Brennan Cox was superb in the preseason testing in the SANFL, recording over 90cm off either foot in the running vertical jump. Ruckman Tim English, Esava Ratugolea and Tony Olango could test well above their counterparts, but it was Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish who beat all comers in the TAC Cup preseason testing with a vertical leap of 81cm.

The shuttle run/beep test or multistage fitness test depending on where you’re from is another that is closely watched by clubs. Most are looking for kids to push out one last level on the test, rather than take the easy option and drop out early. Sometimes the dedication and commitment from players can lead to them ‘spewing’ up their lunch- but an effect that some clubs might put down as a big tick in their notebook.

Who could win in the beep test? Tim Taranto will be an early front runner, having run a 15.9 in the preseason. His Sandringham Dragons team mate Ollie Florent is another who might perform well. If Jack Graham tests, he could be South Australia’s best.


The final day of the combine will see the 3km time trial run in groups of 10-15. The 3km time trial is one of the most strutinised tests, players pushing themselves to the limit deserve a pat on the back- while those that cruse through without little effect might come under the eyes of recruiters when they pour over all their data.

The 3km time trial has gotten faster every season, with the record being broken for three years running.

Who could win the 3km time trial? Possible number one draft pick Andrew McGrath should run well, but will his heavy work load over the last few months affect him? Again Tim Taranto will be another who could perform well.


Small Defenders/Midfielders/Forwards

Ben Ainsworth- Vic Country
Liam Baker- Western Australia
Shai Bolton- Western Australia
Callum Brown- Vic Metro
Cedric Cox- Vic Country
Joshua Daicos- Vic Metro
Zac Fisher- Western Australia
Ben Jarman- South Australia
Kym Lebois- South Australia
Andrew McGrath- Vic Metro
Brandan Parfitt- Northern Territory
Tyson Stengle- South Australia

Medium Defenders 

Jarrod Berry- Vic Country
Isaac Cumming- NSW/ACT
Taylin Duman- Vic Metro
Ben Long- NT
Bailey Morrish- Vic Country
Harry Morrison- Vic Country
Harry Perryman- NSW/ACT
Sam Walker- South Australia
Tom Williamson- Vic Country
Alex Witherden- Vic Country
Alex Villis- South Australia

Tall Defenders

Brennan Cox- South Australia
Ryan Garthwaite- NSW/ACT
Elliot Himmelberg- Queensland
Griffin Logue- Western Australia
Harrison Macreadie- NSW/ACT
Jack Maibaum- Vic Metro
Sam McLarty- Vic Metro
Jordan Ridley- Vic Metro
Joshua Rotham- Western Australia
Jack Scrimshaw- Vic Metro
Declan Watson- Queensland

Medium Midfielders

Jacob Allison- Queensland
Joseph Atley- Vic Country
Hamish Brayshaw- Vic Metro
Will Brodie- Vic Country
Jack Bowes- Queensland
Dylan Clarke- Vic Metro
Willem Drew- Vic Country
Judah Dundon- Vic Metro
Jordan Gallucci- Vic Metro
Jack Graham- South Australia
Matt Guelfi- Western Australia
Oscar Junker- Vic Metro
Hugh McCluggage- Vic Country
Kobe Mutch- NSW/ACT
Sam Petrevski-Seton- Western Australia
Myles Poholke- Vic Country
Sam Powell-Pepper- Western Australia
Luke Ryan- VFL
Jonty Scharenberg- South Australia
Will Setterfield- NSW/ACT
Daniel Venables- Vic Metro
Josh Williams- Queensland

Medium Forwards

Joshua Begley- Vic Metro
Benjamin Davis- NSW/ACT
Sam Fisher- NSW/ACT
Oliver Florent- Vic Metro
Will Hayward- South Australia
Mitchell Hinge- South Australia
Patrick Lipinski- Vic Metro
Quinton Narkle- Western Australia
Mark O’Connor- International
Brad Scheer- Queensland
Jy Simpkin- Vic Country
Tim Taranto- Vic Metro
Cameron Zurhaar- Western Australia

Tall Forwards/Rucks

Josh Battle- Vic Country
Sean Darcy- Vic Country
Timothy English- Western Australia
Jack Henry- Vic Country
Patrick Kerr- Vic Metro
Max Lynch- NSW/ACT
Todd Marshall- NSW/ACT
Mitchell McCarthy- Vic Country
Tony Olango- NT
Esava Ratugolea- Vic Country
Zachary Sproule- NSW/ACT
Jake Waterman- Western Australia

By the states:

International (1):
NSW/ACT (11):
Northern Territory (3):
Queensland (6):
South Australia (10):
Vic Country (18):
VFL (1):
Vic Metro (19):
Western Australia (12):

Finals preview: Saturday’s games

CC - Tyson Lever

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Calder Cannons

FANS will not have to wait long to find out the first team to be eliminated from the 2016 TAC Cup finals series, with no coming back for the loser of Oakleigh and Calder. The teams will take to the field from 11.30am on Saturday, with a number of top-age and bottom age prospects to watch for.

For Oakleigh, its strength is in its forward line, with Patrick Kerr, Toby Wooller, Nick Larkey, Jack Higgins and Dion Johnstone all capable of kicking a bag on their day. While their midfield might not have the silky clash of past years, they have a number of players that can find the ball and get it forward, which is all they need to do with the firepower forward of centre.

Their defence has a few talented players likely to end up on AFL lists, starting with Taylin Duman, a composed user of the ball, as well as the athletic and versatile Jordan Ridley. The Chargers have good depth in their 23, with their 23rd player still able to provide a role on the day.

For Calder, their strength lies at either end. In their defence is Hayden Blythe, Lachlan Bramble and Zac Guthrie all on clubs radars and will be keen to impress. In the forward line, Karl Brown is the league’s leading goal kicker, while Muhammed Saad booted seven goals in a game, with Mitch Lewis and Noah Balta (bottom ager) another two forwards to keep an eye on. Their midfield like Oakleigh’s, is not as strong as in past years, but the likes of Tyson Lever, Ben Ronke and Jackson McDonald are more than capable of winning their own ball. Ovie Magbegor is likely to have a fascinating duel in the ruck with Ned Reeves, with Magbegor a potential rookie selection.

What is the key to winning the match?

Ball movement will be a huge factor in the difference between winning and losing, with both teams willing to take risks through the centre corridor and kicking long down the line.

Who could be the difference for each side?

Jack Higgins (Oakleigh) is a natural ball winner and just finds plenty of space. More importantly, he can kick multiple goals in a short space of time and really turn a game on its head.

Zac Guthrie (Calder) will have one of the most important roles on Saturday, not only needing to likely nullify Nick Larkey, but also provide run out of defence. He loves to run, but can often rush his kicks, something he cannot afford to do in a final.

What do Oakleigh need to do to win?

The midfield battle is important to win, but their defence uses it well and they have plenty targets up forward that are not only strong overhead, but mobile as well. If the ball hits the ground, you can back the Chargers’ crumbers to make the most of their opportunities.

What do Calder need to do to win?

Simply, they must win the midfield battle. It is the one area they can top Oakleigh, and might even win the clearance count with an abundance of inside midfielders. Magbegor should win the hitouts and give the midfielders first touch, but they need to make the most of it. If Brown and Saad can get off the chain, then they are half a chance, but they cannot afford to engage in a shoot-out because it will not end well.

Who will win?

For mine it’s hard to go past Oakleigh. I respect Calder for what they have been able to do without an elite talent, but the cream rises to the top in finals, and Oakleigh has that cream.

Tip: Oakleigh by 35 points.

Geelong Falcons vs. North Ballarat Rebels

The second Saturday match is the qualifying final between the Geelong Falcons and North Ballarat Rebels. The Falcons held top spot for most of the season and had a massive win over Calder in the second last round before surrendering the minor premiership to Dandenong in the final round.

North Ballarat is on a huge high following a strong second half showing to snatch third after looking destined to finish fifth for most of the season. This game could be a low scoring game with both sides’ forward lines the lowest of the finals teams in my opinion.

While the Falcons have Brett Blair and Zachary Zdybel, Zdybel often rotates through the ruck with Sean Darcy, while Hayden Elliot also floats through both positions. Aside from those two key forwards, a lot of their goals come from midfielders, which is great because of the unpredictability, but it also means if you are losing the midfield battle, chances are you will lose the match.

The Rebels have a very solid defence with Jarrod Korewha, Clay Bilney and Hunter Dawborn able to match up on the taller players, while Tom Williamson and Callan Wellings provide movement from half-back and through the midfield.

North Ballarat Rebels’ midfield is the best in the competition, with Hugh McCluggage, Willem Drew, Jarrod Berry and Cedric Cox all to be drafted in November, and quite possibly in the first 40 picks.

It will be a tough ask for Geelong, with top prospect Jack Henry (probably a later National Draft selection) and James Worpel (bottom ager) as they provide the class, while the likes of Max Augerinos and Lockey McCartney provide the inside grunt. Sean Darcy is a monster in the ruck, but the Falcons will need to overcome a lack of star power across the field to win.

In defence there are a few underrated players in Jack Blood and Mitch Diamond, while Sam Simpson and Pat Dowling can kick a few goals on their day up forward. Overall, it will be a case of whether Geelong’s working class midfield can upstage the polish of North Ballarat’s midfield.

What is the key to winning the match?

The key in my opinion is converting opportunities. Both forward lines might not have big names in there, but have shown to still kick big scores on occasions with midfielders rotating through.

Who could be the difference for each side?

James Worpel (Geelong) is a star and still 12 months away from being drafted. The inside midfield beast can go forward and kick goals, and I think he will get to go head-to-head with another contested beast in Willem Drew.

It is hard to go past Hugh McCluggage for the Rebels, with the likely number one draft pick all class and seemingly unstoppable in the second half of the season. McCluggage does it all from finding space, moving through traffic and kicking goals, of which he kicks an absurd amount for a midfielder.

What do Geelong need to do to win?

Geelong will have to play a possession style game and nullify North Ballarat’s better ball users in McCluggage and Cox. If Geelong can win the football at the coal face and try and reduce the amount of pain the Rebels can cause them on the outside, then they are certainly in with a chance. On paper they lack the class, but a blue collar side are not afraid to get down and dirty and if it’s a tight game, they are the ones that often close out matches.

What do North Ballarat need to do to win?

Simply, put it in the hands of their better ball users in McCluggage and Cox. Exactly the opposite to Geelong – give it to them and let them work their magic. If both have days out, then the Rebels will win. They also have more run around the ground than the Falcons, so they can afford to take the game on with big kicks Korewha and Berry able to clear zones. They will need to be smart going forward as their most dangerous targets are small to medium types, whereas Geelong is good at getting across and spoiling.

Who will win?

I’m tipping North Ballarat as I believe they can go all the way and win the flag. But in saying that, Geelong are in with a shot if they can win the inside battle and get it to their big forwards. If North Ballarat can open the game up, then they will really apply pressure on their opponents, and much like the Oakleigh/Calder game, class rises to the top.

Tip: North Ballarat by four points.

Final hurdle for finals-bound clubs

DS - Sam Fowler
Dandenong Stingrays small Sam Fowler against NSW/ACT in the 2016 TAC Cup.

FIVE of the six TAC Cup games remaining in the home and away season will have bearing on the finals order.

As it stands the four country teams will earn the double chance and the four metropolitan teams will face off in the elimination rounds.

But, that can change with a couple of results, as could the actual fixtures.

The top five teams are locked into those top five positions, while the sixth to eighth teams will definitely play an elimination final in the first week.

The first game on Saturday takes place at RAMS Arena with the finals-bound Cannons looking to capitalise against the Western Jets.

The Cannons’ percentage is well below that of the Ranges or Chargers, so victory is needed to have any chance of leapfrogging those teams into sixth.

However should one or both of those teams cause upsets, then the Cannons would remain in eighth and a match-up against the Rebels or Dragons would loom.

For the Cannons, they rely on their group as a collective with less top-end talent than other sides, they have a hard working midfield that digs deep defensively and tries to undo the opposition with their ball movement.

With Hayden Blythe, Jackson McDonald and Zach Guthrie among the names to watch, the Cannons might not be a premiership contender, but they have the capability to cause an upset on their day.

For Western Jets, they have had a shaky end to the season, but almost all was forgotten with a sterling win over the Bendigo Pioneers last weekend.

The Jets are missing their star Daniel Venables, while Brodie Romensky and Oscar Junker are a couple of players that would be on recruiters lists.


The Saturday game likely to shape the eight the most will be the North Ballarat Rebels versus Eastern Ranges.

If the Rebels win, then the top four is sealed regardless of Sundays results, however if the Ranges get up, then the door is left ajar for the Sandringham Dragons who are hot favourites to knock off the Bendigo Pioneers.

North Ballarat has a host of talented players, led by Hugh McCluggage, Cedric Cox, Jarrod Berry and Willem Drew in the midfield.

North Ballarat Rebels midfielder Hugh McCluggage in action against Calder Cannons in the 2016 TAC Cup.
North Ballarat Rebels midfielder Hugh McCluggage in action against Calder Cannons in the 2016 TAC Cup.

Throw in capable key position players and crafty smaller players, the Rebels should go in favourites, especially at home.

But at full strength, Eastern will certainly consider themselves a chance given their long list of All-Australians, including Dylan Clarke, Jack Maibaum, Callum Brown and Sam Hayes who are likely to have a say on how far the Ranges go in September.

Another benefit for the Ranges if they win is they will not have to face the Dragons or in fact Rebels in the elimination final, rather taking on either the Calder Cannons or Oakleigh Charges.

The game that impacts both the top four and bottom four of the eight is Oakleigh Chargers versus Murray Bushrangers.

Murray has enough percentage on Sandringham to ensure a top four place regardless of the result, however could slip to fourth if North Ballarat defeats Eastern.

For the Bushrangers, there is no shortage of stars with Todd Marshall, Will Brodie, Zachary Sproule and Ryan Garthwaite among a host of draftable players, and the league’s most northern side has achieved a double chance without the injured Jy Simpkin.

Murray Bushrangers tall Todd Marshall in action for Allies in the Under 18 Championships.
Murray Bushrangers tall Todd Marshall in action for Allies in the Under 18 Championships.

Oakleigh is gunning for its third consecutive flag and fourth in five years when it enters the finals series this year.

It won the 2015 premiership from sixth and is still in with a chance to finish there again.

Should they win, the Chargers will not finish lower than seventh and could well steal sixth if the Ranges lose.

The Chargers have a lot of tall prospects worth keeping an eye on including Patrick KerrJordan Ridley and Nick Larkey, while Sam McLarty is still out injured. Other players such as Taylin Duman and Lachlan Walker have also attracted interest from recruiters.

While eyes will be on most of the games this round, the one game that is unlikely to have any bearing other than pride is the Northern Knights hosting the Gippsland Power.

Both teams have improved as the season has progressed, but neither side will challenge for finals.

The winner is likely to avoid the wooden spoon, while the loser could collect it depending on other results.

Northern have a number of players that have caught the eye this season including Matthew Signorello, Luke Bunker, Lachlan Murphy and Patrick Lipinski.

For the Power, Ben Ainsworth is the leading hope and likely first round prospect, while Sean Masterson is another that earned a state combine invitation.

The first game on the card for Sunday will be the Sandringham Dragons taking on the Bendigo Pioneers.

Both sides had poor losses last week and the Pioneers will be keen to turn it around in their final home and away game.

The Dragons have more on the line however and will need victory for a top four spot.

Sandringham has the advantage of knowing its equation heading into the match with the Rebels and Ranges facing off the day before.

The only other way the Dragons could secure a top four spot is with a 14 per cent differential with the Bushrangers, meaning that not only would Sandringham need a thumping win, but Murray would need to be belted by the Chargers for the Bushrangers to drop out of the four.

Sandringham is the slickest of all teams with Andrew McGrath, Tim Taranto and Oliver Florent among the smoothest movers in the draft crop, while Jack Scrimshaw has attracted a lot of interest from recruiters after missing most of the year through injury.

For the Pioneers, Joe Atley will be the key player to watch, while Kobe Mutch yet again misses as does Kayle Kirby who is playing Richmond VFL.

Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Joe Atley in action for Vic Country in the 2016 Under 18 Championships.
Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Joe Atley in action for Vic Country in the 2016 Under 18 Championships.

It is hard to see the Pioneers really challenging the Dragons given the Dragons’ top-end talent, but they have the power to cause an upset if they are on their game.

The final match of the round is more about determining top spot with Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays facing off at Simonds Stadium.

Both will finish first and second, it will be a simple equation with the winner claiming the minor premiership.

One side will take on Murray, while the other will meet either the North Ballarat or Sandringham.

The Falcons belted Calder last week and hit the form they are capable of ahead of finals.

Missing Alex Witherden, at least for now, the Falcons have relied on the likes of Jack Henry, Jack Blood, Max Augerinos and Paddy Dowling among others to keep their season running smoothly.

For Dandenong Stingrays, it has a wide variety of draftable players, with Josh Battle, Reece Piper, Sam Fowler and Myles Poholke just to name a few.

If the Stingrays get on top and all their players fire, they are right up there in contention for the flag.

With a round to play, there is still plenty on the line for the TAC Cup clubs.

For the finalists, there will be a week off before finals with the four bottom teams playing at Ikon Park on August 27.

Vics bolt out of the blue and into the combine

2106 Cedric Cox Rebels debut
Cedric Cox, one of 10 Victorian bolters nominated for the AFL National Combine.

The AFL Draft National Combine list was announced on Monday, with 80 prospects nominated to strut their stuff at Etihad Stadium in October.

From the list of 80, you wouldn’t be blamed for asking- who is that guy?


Our AFL Draft Central scouts have put their heads together to give you 10 Victorian prospects who have bolted into AFL Draft calculations.

Want to know more about the draft pool? Hit us up on Twitter @AFLDraftCentral

Joshua Begley (Duncan Robertson)
Medium Forward/Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
03/07/1998 | 187cm | 87kg

After not even making the initial cut of the Eastern Ranges squad, Joshua Begley went back to Upper Ferntree Gully in the third division EFL and forced his way into the TAC Cup frame, kicking 13 goals in the first two games.

On debut against Tasmania the goals kept flowing, a bag of six majors has cemented Begley in the team ever since. In the 10 games that have followed since explosive debut, the 187cm powerhouse has kicked a further 17 goals – only going goalless three times – despite his role alternating between undersized key forward and powerful midfielder.

As a forward, Begley’s powerful frame, strong kick and sure hands mitigate his relative lack of height, and his surprising pace makes him a handful for his key defensive opponents. When he moves into the middle, his agility and strength allow him to burst into and out of packs and his bustling work around the stoppages is drawing the eye.

At AFL level, I think he will likely start at half forward, where he will present a matchup nightmare for small and medium defenders in the Martin/Stringer vein, but it is in the middle that his future beckons, once he builds a greater aerobic capacity, something his desire to work at has drawn great praise from his coaches at the Ranges.

Cedric Cox (Peter Williams)
Medium Defender (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
19/08/1997 | 184cm | 70kg

Cedric Cox is the epitome of draft bolter. The silky speedster from Western Australia only arrived in Victoria in March, signing up with local Hampden league club Camperdown.

The dashing defender who has pinch hit in the middle and up forward, has caught the eye of recruiters with his movement through traffic and high-level skill.

Rarely missing a target, Cox has great vision and glides around the ground, backing himself with plenty of run and carry.

While he does not find a heap of the ball, he is one of those players that only needs a dozen disposals to impact a contest.

Judah Dundon (Peter Williams)
Outside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/04/1998 | 186cm | 77kg

Judah Dundon is a player who has flown under the radar at the Western Jets. An outside midfielder, Dundon does not find as much of the ball as other midfielders, averaging 19 disposals, but he works hard defensively and is a good medium size. Dundon is versatile in the sense he has played both behind and forward of the ball.

Dundon is one of the better users in the draft and can be damaging on his day. His ability to move the ball in transition and get it forward is telling, which is why clubs are considering him in this year’s draft despite not making the Vic Metro cut.

The outside midfielder has recovered well from a delayed start to the season – where he had stress fractures – and has been able to string matches together for the Jets. Unfortunately for Dundon, he has a stress fracture in his leg and it will be a race against time to get him fit for testing at the National Combine.

Jack Henry (Peter Williams)
Utility (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
28/08/1997 | 191cm | 83kg

Jack Henry is a tall midfielder who can play around the ground, Henry is strong and able to stand up in a tackle.

He wins ball on the inside and outside with a big frame that he uses to win the ball at ground level or in the air.

Despite being a long kick, Henry could sharpen up his disposal a little, but overall he possesses plenty of attributes that would attract clubs.

Most importantly, he is not afraid to take the game on and backs himself when clear in space.

A high leap and reliable set shot, Henry is a point of difference in this draft crop.

Patrick Lipinski (Michael Alvaro)
Medium Forward (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
17/07/1998 | 188cm | 79kg

Patrick Lipinski is a bolter in every sense of the word. The Knights took a chance on the athletically gifted youngster, knowing well of his prowess in the game of basketball. As expected, Lipinski has great hands as a result of his sporting background.

The Eltham Panthers product works most effectively as a half forward who, at 188cm, can not only clunk a decent grab, but also pose a threat in front of goal, with just under two goals per TAC Cup match this year. He has also added a ball-winning dimension to his game, averaging 27 disposals in his last three TAC Cup games, with two best on ground performances. Expect him to excel at the combine with his eye-catching spring.

Mitchell McCarthy (Sam Mills & Peter Williams)
Ruckman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
10/10/1997 | 196cm | 87kg

Mitchell McCarthy is one of those modern ruckman who moves well around the ground, and what he lacks in height, he makes up for in athleticism.

McCarthy didn’t play a game as an underage player on the Stingrays list in 2014 before taking up a high school basketball scholarship offer in the USA for 2015 only returning to Australia in December. At 196cm, he has been playing predominantly in the ruck this season, using his elite leap to combat taller opponents.

McCarthy has strong hands, which combined with his jump makes him a valuable aerial presence around the ground. He covers the ground well for a player his size and given his basketball success and athletics traits, there is no surprise he was nominated.

Injury cruelled his year as the mobile ruck began to impress in a number of games, working his opponent over around the ground and it is hopeful that McCarthy can take some part in the testing.

While he has not been exposed to much time up forward or back, it could be something clubs may explore if he is drafted.

Bailey Morrish (Matt Balmer)
Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
18/05/1998 | 186cm | 76kg

There is a real possibility that Bailey Morrish wins a few of the tests at the Draft Combine in October. At the TAC Cup testing at the beginning of the season, Morrish placed first in the vertical jump, second in the agility and ran a sub three second 20m sprint.

Morrish carries these traits over onto the field, where he has had some eye catching moments coming from the defensive half of the ground. However, he isn’t a big disposal winner, averaging 14 disposals in the TAC Cup this year.

Morrish does have the ability to push up the ground onto a wing, but his good rebound ability means he’s best suited to play across half back.

Harry Morrison (Matt Balmer)
Medium Defender (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
12/11/1998 | 182cm | 73kg

Injuries have plagued Harry Morrison over the last two seasons, but he looks to be over those concerns with a solid patch of football over the past month.

Morrison recovered from an ACL injury late last season, playing the final seven matches for the Bushrangers before an ankle issue kept him out for a month at the beginning of the season. Morrison returned, but suffered a back issue which kept him out for two months.

Despite missing the Under 18 Championships for Vic Country, Morrison has showed good signs in 2016 playing mostly across half back. In the last few weeks, Morrison has pushed further up the ground onto a wing where he’ll likely spend most of his time at the Bushrangers for the remaining half of the season.

Morrison is one of the most agile players at the Bushrangers and his work in traffic is great. Morrison makes good decisions with his strong skill set but clubs will question the injuries he has suffered over the last 24 months.

Esava Ratugolea (Matt Balmer)
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
24/07/1998 | 194cm | 95kg

A injury related start to the season saw Esava Ratugolea miss preseason and the opening seven rounds of the year for the Bushrangers. That didn’t hold Ratugolea back however, when a bag of eight goals against Bendigo saw him rushed into the Vic Country squad for the final two games of the carnival.

The Fijian tall has kicked 15 goals in five TAC Cup games and has been the Bushrangers back up ruckman averaging 11 hitouts a game.

Ratugolea is very raw, but his athletic ability which saw him run an elite 2.92 second 20m sprint at the testing earlier in the season is superb.

Ratugolea showed promise in his two games for Vic Country, crashing packs and showing off his great vertical jump. Expect Ratugolea to be one of the better testing talls at the National Combine.


Luke Ryan (Josh Poulter)
Medium Defender (Coburg/VFL)
06/02/1998 | 185cm | 87kg

Luke Ryan is a rebounding defender who reads the play exceptionally well. Ryan is the only state league player who made the National Combine and has been touted as high as a Top 20 selection come November.

Ryan signed on late for Coburg in 2016 after missing the Essendon VFL cut. He spent time last season as a 19-year old at the Calder Cannons playing four games and averaging seven marks per game, but was undrafted.

Ryan made his debut in Round 3 for Coburg in the VFL against Box Hill, where he was adjudged best-on-ground, winning the Gibbs-Lines medal with a 30 disposals, 12 marks and 10 rebound-50 performance. Ryan us clean with possession around the ground and has great decision making skills. In one-on-one contests, Ryan is rarely beaten even when out of position.

So far this season, Ryan is averaging 21 disposals and seven marks at VFL level.

Ryan’s ability to read the play will excite clubs where he’s expected to be the first mature-aged recruit called out in 2016.


80 players invited to the 2016 AFL Draft Combine

Oliver Florent- scored one of 19 Vic Metro national combine invites.
Oliver Florent- scored one of 19 Vic Metro national combine invites.

FOR the draft crop of 2016, the AFL Draft Combine is the first sign that their AFL dreams are a step closer to fruition. An invitation to the AFL Draft Combine means that at least five AFL clubs have expressed interest in the player. The AFL Draft Combine is a way for clubs to determine the players’ physical strengths as well as getting one-on-one time through combine interviews.

Draftees take on each other in a series of tests that challenge their speed, endurance, reflexes and skills to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine results are taken into account by clubs when deciding between players and whether they believe they can take the next step into the AFL. A total of 80 players have been invited to the 2016 AFL Draft Combine.

Vic Metro lead the other Under 18 sides with 19 players selected to take part in October’s National Combine.

Metro went through the Division One carnival as the only side to go undefeated, winning their first title since 2012.

Their rivals Vic Country themselves weren’t far behind with 18 nominations despite a winless carnival, down on their 22 nominations from 2015.

Coburg’s Luke Ryan is the sole representative from the state leagues across Australia, with strong performances at VFL level averaging 21 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound 50s (to Round 15 of the VFL).

Father Son prospects Ben Jarman (Adelaide/Hawthorn), Callum Brown (Collingwood), Joshua Daicos (Collingwood) and Jake Waterman (West Coast) have all made the list and have caught recruiters eyes throughout the season.

Murray Bushranger tall Esava Ratugolea has made the cut and will be a name to keep an eye on throughout the Bushrangers final series.


Vic Country injured trio Alex Witherden, Jy Simpkin and Mitchell McCarthy have made the cut and will be hoping to take part in some form of testing at the combine.

North Ballarat Rebels excitement machine Cedric Cox has been nominated and will be one to keep an eye on in the second half of the season. Cox is the cousin of possible top five draft selection Sam Petrevski-Seton, while his older brother Daniel is currently on the Fox 8 TV Show ‘The Recruit.’

Eastern Ranges forward Joshua Begley continues to rise in season 2016. After missing the original cut for the Ranges squad, 187cm Begley forced his way into the side and has kicked 23 goals in 11 games this season.

NSW-ACT led the way for the division two teams with 11 player picked, with only Todd Marshall and Benjamin Davis not eligible for academy selection. Queensland have six players nominated, while Northern Territory have three prospects nominated. Tasmania had no players nominated for the national combine.

Coburg’s Luke Ryan is the sole representative from the state leagues.

Clubs will now again nominate players for the state combine, which is for players that have at least two but up to four clubs that are interested in them. Similar tests are conducted at the state combine.

The National Combine will begin on Thursday, October 6 and go through to Sunday, October 9 and will again be held at Etihad Stadium.


NSW/ACT (11):
Isaac Cumming
Benjamin Davis
Sam Fisher
Ryan Garthwaite
Max Lynch
Harrison Macreadie
Todd Marshall
Kobe Mutch
Harry Perryman
Will Setterfield
Zachary Sproule

Northern Territory (3):
Ben Long
Tony Olango
Brandan Parfitt

Queensland (6):
Jacob Allison
Jack Bowes
Elliot Himmelberg
Brad Scheer
Declan Watson
Josh Williams

South Australia (10):
Brennan Cox
Jack Graham
Will Hayward
Mitchell Hinge
Ben Jarman
Kym Lebois
Jonty Scharenberg
Tyson Stengle
Alex Villis
Sam Walker

Vic Country (18):
Ben Ainsworth
Joseph Atley
Josh Battle
Jarrod Berry
Will Brodie
Cedric Cox
Sean Darcy
Willem Drew
Jack Henry
Bailey Morrish
Harry Morrison
Hugh McCluggage
Mitchell McCarthy
Myles Poholke
Esava Ratugolea
Jy Simpkin
Tom Williamson
Alex Witherden

VFL (1):
Luke Ryan

Vic Metro (19):
Joshua Begley
Hamish Brayshaw
Callum Brown
Dylan Clarke
Joshua Daicos
Taylin Duman
Judah Dundon
Oliver Florent
Jordan Gallucci
Oscar Junker
Patrick Kerr
Patrick Lipinski
Andrew McGrath
Jack Maibaum
Sam McLarty
Jordan Ridley
Jack Scrimshaw
Tim Taranto
Daniel Venables

Western Australia (12):
Liam Baker
Shai Bolton
Timothy English
Zac Fisher
Matt Guelfi
Griffin Logue
Quinton Narkle
Sam Petrevski-Seton
Sam Powell-Pepper
Joshua Rotham
Jake Waterman
Cameron Zurhaar