Tag: robbie gray

Draft Central All-Star Team: Oakleigh Chargers

OAKLEIGH Chargers have a wealth of current and recently retired players in their All-Star Team of the AFL Draft era. Over the past decade, a heap of new players have really come to the fore, with not many 1990s representatives, but have bolstered their draft numbers since the turn of the century.

THE TEAM

The Chargers have plenty to like about their side, with a strong midfield, and lots of damaging smalls and medium types. Their key position line is a little short, with their most damaging players being sub-195cm. However they also have some great versatility across the field and would be really difficult to match up on most days.

DEFENCE

The defence has an old-school feel to it, with just one current player in the back six. That player being Collingwood key position utility Darcy Moore, who holds down centre half-back with just 71 games – to start the year – to his name, the least of any player in the side. He joins Carlton 189-gamer and reliable full-back Bret Thornton there as holding down the key posts, whilst two-time best and fairest winner and one-time All-Australian Josh Gibson can operate as the third tall and loose man.

The talls will have some freedom given the three other players have the capability of locking down on their respective opponents. Nick Smith sits in a back pocket after 211 games and an All-Australian nod and premiership with the Swans. On the flanks, Hawthorn and Gold Coast’s Campbell Brown and Carlton’s Andrew Carrazzo round out the defensive line. The versatile David Mackay is also coming off the bench which could help with rotations in that back six.

MIDFIELD

The midfield is simply elite, and hard to squeeze just five midfielders around Todd Goldstein as the standout ruck. Goldstein is a best and fairest winner and All-Australian with almost 250 games to his name. He will ruck to Carlton captain Marc Murphy – who has two best and fairests and an All-Australian – and Jack Macrae – one All-Australian – onball.

The centre line is three-time All-Australian Dan Hannebery in the middle, flanked by Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey on the wings. The West Coast duo have played 400 games between them, and also combined for three best and fairests, two All-Australians and four All-Australian 40-player squad nominations.

With versatility being the strength of the side, 300-gamer and Chargers’ club games record holder at AFL level, Luke Power is able to play off half-forward – his All-Australian came in a forward pocket – whilst the nearly all of the forward six could play through the middle. Throw in Heath Black, Jack Viney, Tom Phillips and Daniel Jackson off the bench, as well as Mackay, and the Chargers have a wealth of midfield options at their disposal.

FORWARD

Whilst not tall, the front six has plenty of X-factor and an ability to do some serious damage there. Adam Tomlinson is the major key position player, but could rotate with Moore in defence, or have Moore thrown forward for extra size. The only other key position tall is Ashley Hansen off the bench, but the lack of height is not an issue considering the smalls running around in there.

Although not all of the players are ‘smalls’ as such, with the almost-key position height of Jordan De Goey chosen at full-forward, flanked by equally damaging talents in Toby Greene and Jack Billings. All three have the capability of winning games off their own boot. The same could be said for Power at half-forward, alongside Robbie Gray on the other flank. Gray may well be the most accoladed player of the lot, with four All-Australians and three best and fairests, putting his claim in as one of the best Port Adelaide players of the modern era.

DEPTH

Whilst the 24 players that made the squad deserve it, there are a lot of unlucky players missing out. Many of whom were strong role players over the journey, such as Jamie MacMillan (157 games), Sam Gibson (135), Ryan Lester (126) and Sam Power (123). Also just missing out on the side were other 100-gamers in Robin Nahas, Stephen Gilham and Dom Tyson, whilst the likes of Luke McDonald, Jack Sinclair, Darcy Byrne-Jones, Toby McLean and Jake Kelly are among current players who could force their way into the side over the next few years.

Oakleigh Chargers Player of the AFL Era: Vote for yours via our Instagram

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS are up next in our Player of the AFL Era series which will be run through our Instagram channel starting at 12.30pm today. The Norwood Redlegs All-Star voting was completed yesterday with Tom Harley announced as the winner and captain of the Redlegs’ All-Star side.

Oakleigh has a great core of players across the ground, with some accolade-riddled CVs from 300-game premiership player Luke Power to the modern day talents of Robbie Gray, Todd Goldstein and Marc Murphy.

The voting will run over the next four days starting today, with the winner to be decided by Friday night (unless extra time and the full 24 hours is needed in the final vote). The next club involved in the voting process is Peel Thunder starting on Wednesday. All eligible players were selected thanks to the Draft Guru site.

2014 Draft Profile: Jack Steele

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Jack Steele (Belconnen)

Height: 186 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Position: Midfielder/forward
Strengths: Accumulation, work below the knees, decision making
Areas of improvement: Straight line speed, body strength
Player comparison: Robbie Gray (pre-2014)

Jack Steele is an overaged mid/forward tied to Greater Western Sydney via the academy system. Having missed seven months in 2013 with a knee injury, he was overlooked in 2013 but was allowed to play in the championships again this season. It was during the championships that Steele rocketed into draft calculations, averaging 22 disposals, six marks and two goals a game on his way to All-Australian honours. His round one game was a particular highlight, amassing 32 disposals, 10 marks, seven clearances, six inside 50s, four goal assists and three goals in a truly dominant display. While Steele may be an overaged player, with a mid-December birth he is only three weeks older than Christian Petracca, so he still has plenty of development left, with his age closer to most 2014 prospects than 2013 prospects.

Steele is one of those players that just does nearly everything right. As a result he’s able to play a variety of roles and gives a side options. His hands are very clean, with his handball receives always one grab, irrelevant of direction. At ground level he’s exceptional at picking up the ball without fumbling, and overhead his hands are sticky. What Steele also does well is convert that clean first possession into a quick and effective disposal. Upon gathering or picking up the ball, Steele already knows what he plans to do with the ball and his movement and positioning is exceptional. Despite only being 186cm, Steele is a marking option around the ground. While he’s not incredibly strong, his read of the ball in flight allows him to be a great one on one mark. His superior read of the play also allows him to be a great lead up forward, with his leads timed and directed well. He also works very hard to find space up the wings and provide an uncontested option.

With a great read of the play and uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, Steele is able to accumulate the ball at a high level through the middle, while his clean hands and great reading of the play allow him to be a natural clearance winner. By foot he’s solid without being spectacular. He often picks the right targets and has good vision but occasionally his execution lets him down. However he’s just as acceptable when under pressure with his natural composure a highlight. While he’s got only average straight line speed and a laconic running style, his evasive movement in traffic is exceptional as is his ability to create space when there isn’t any. His ability to stand up in tackles and still distribute effectively is great, and his defensive work rate is reasonable.

Steele shares a lot of similarities with Robbie Gray. Both are medium-sized midfielder/forwards. Neither are particularly quick, but they have excellent evasion and great core strength, with both rarely getting pinned in a tackle. Both have incredibly clean hands, with their work below the knees a particular highlight and both are far better one on one marks than their heights suggest. Steele when forward is a lot like Gray, with his scoring opportunities coming not through electrifying athleticism and speed but football smarts and the ability to create opportunities out of nothing. Both Gray and Steele are also very capable clearance winners despite not being traditional inside midfielders, and both accumulate far more contested possessions than one would think from watching them, such is their ability to convert a contested possession into an unpressured disposal. Steele is also able to play as a high half forward, with his work rate and ability to take uncontested marks in volume not dissimilar to Mitch Duncan.

In the NEAFL Jack Steele has been nothing short of exceptional. Though he is still only 18, since the championships he had a 25 disposal, seven tackle game against the Swans reserves, following that up with a 39 disposal, seven mark and eight tackle game and a 30 disposal, six mark and 12 tackle game. Since the championships he has averaged 31 disposals, five marks and nine tackles a game, some incredible numbers for an 18-year-old in a state league. If drafted, expect Steele to have an immediate impact in 2015, starting on a forward flank playing a linkup role before eventually moving into the midfield later in his career – not dissimilar to how Robbie Gray’s career has progressed.