AS the NAB League season finals approach, we take a look at the sides that are no longer in contention for the title, checking out their draft prospects, Best and Fairest (BnF) chances, 2020 Draft Crop and a final word on their season. The next side we look at is the Murray Bushrangers.
Points For: 1087 (Ranked #4)
Points Against: 1101 (Ranked eq. #13)
Top draft prospects:
The top 10 draft prospect has enjoyed an absolutely outstanding year, and pushed himself up into top five calculations. He showed he can play anywhere on the field, possessing an elite kick and elite leadership abilities having co-captained both Murray and Vic Country this year. While he was the only Murray player to receive a National Draft Combine invite, no-one expects to wait too long to hear his name read out in November’s National AFL Draft. A top-end prospect with great upside who could slot into a side fairly early in his career.
While Ash was the only national invite, Boyer was one of eight other players to receive a state or Rookie Me combine invitation. He started as a running defender who could also play wing, then moved to full-forward to display what he is capable of inside 50. He is strong one-on-one and crafty at ground level, he can kick goals on the lead or in general play. A late-rookie prospect like many state combine invitees.
Other in the mix:
The seven other players who received combine invitations are all in the draft mix as late-rookies include overage talls Ben Kelly and Will Christie, midfielders Sam Durham, Jye Chalcraft and Cam Wild, and utilities Will Chandler and Liam Fiore.
Like many teams there will be a fair few in the running for this award, but the top two names from our perspective are Chalcraft and Boyer, both of whom have put in outstanding seasons. Durham and Charlie Byrne played all the games, while co-captain Cam Wilson, Dylan Clarke and Wild were named among the best for most of the season.
2020 Draft Crop:
Next year looms as a good year for the Bushrangers, with both top-age and bottom-age prospects coming through. Elijah Hollands is a genuine top five chance if he continues the form he has produced in his bottom-age year, while Byrne and Kade Chalcraft played every game this season and provide options up either end, while Dominic Bedendo finished the year really strongly. Ethan Baxter is a key position defender who continues to develop, while Zavier Maher is another one who has shown nice signs through the middle. Josh Rachele is two years away but is already one of top few prospects for the 2021 draft and it will be exciting to see what he offers next year.
It was a strange year for Murray Bushrangers, but not just because they missed out on finals. They are traditionally a team that wins in low-scoring encounters, or is defensively minded with hard, uncompromising midfielders and not always an array of scoring options up forward. In 2019, it was more of the opposite with plenty of firepower inside 50, ranked in the top four for points this year, but leaked high scores too often, conceding the most points of any side in the competition. With a number of bottom-age and 16-year-old prospects coming through though, expect the Bushrangers to be in September next year.