Tag: vic country hub

AFL Draft Watch: Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Geelong Falcons’ Tanner Bruhn, a classy midfielder who remains a first round prospect despite recurring injury bouts. After earning Under 16 All Australian honours as Vic Country’s MVP in 2018, Bruhn broke through for four outings with the Falcons and was primed for a big bottom-age year. A preseason knee injury would momentarily halt his journey, before making a successful return to action in the last two NAB League rounds.

Bruhn may well be a benefactor of the extended lay-off in 2020 given preseason knee surgery would have had him in doubt for the early rounds, and there are plenty who are keen to see him in action. While he remains more of an inside type, Bruhn does not simply rely on strength at the contest, with his agility, smarts, and expert extraction allowing him to rack up big numbers and prove a match winner from the engine room. With an extended run, the Falcons star could well push for top five contention come season’s end given his immense ability.

PLAYER PAGE:

Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

DOB: May 27, 2002

Height: 182cm
Weight: 73kg

Position: Inside Midfielder

Strengths: Contested work, tackling, class, scoreboard impact
Improvements: Durability, size/strength

NAB League stats: 2 games | 17.0 disposals | 1.5 marks | 4.0 tackles | 5.0 clearances | 4.5 inside 50s | 1.5 rebound 50s | 1.5 goals (3)

>> Q&A: Tanner Bruhn

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Did not test.

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

2019 SCOUTING NOTES:

Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Peter Williams

Quiet game in realistically what was his third elite level game since a long-term injury. He showed good strength early to get a handball away whilst being tackled in the middle, and had a shot on goal in the opening term but was run down inside 50 by Sam Collins before he could.

NAB League Wildcard Round vs. Sandringham

By: Michael Alvaro

One of Geelong’s only forms of resistance through a midfield that was soundly beaten, Bruhn continues to show no signs of wear from his long-term injury layoff. The bottom-ager had some promising moments at stoppages, winning the first clear disposals at the opening centre bounces of the first and second terms. His clearance work is already sound and he looked unfazed by Sandringham’s bigger bodies, digging in where he could and zipping away with his first few steps. He also provided good drive forward by foot and chipped in with a goal in the third term from close range. Has a wealth of potential and should lead Geelong’s strong bottom-age core into next year.

NAB League Round 17 vs. Dandenong

By: Peter Williams

Returning from a long-term injury, Bruhn showed all of his class in the forward half, booting a couple of goals and could have had another one early in the game with the set shot that swung to the right from 35 metres out. He snapped a goal off a step in the last minute of the opening term, then kicked an unbelievable goal in the third term, taking a step of two and snapping under pressure from 40m out to put it straight through the middle. He had nice composure and poise with his disposals around the ground. A top-end talent for next year and hopefully can stay injury free.

>> MORE GEELONG FALCONS CONTENT

>> 2020 Vic Country U18s Squad Prediction
>> July 2020 Power Rankings

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Elijah Hollands
Zach Reid
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western

AFL Draft Watch: Zach Reid (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Gippsland Power’s Zach Reid, a mobile key position utility who possesses great skills for a 202cm prospect. Having been tried up either end of the ground and in the ruck over 15 NAB League games last year, Reid looks arguably most comfortable in defence; where he is able to utilise his vertical leap and shrewd reading of the game to make an impact aerially, while also rebounding with aplomb.

The raw, tall draft hopeful could well come into first round contention if he delivers on his potential in 2020, with all the attributes to stand out from the crowd as a key position option. He should again be a mainstay in Gippsland’s side amid the shortened NAB League season, and be a lock for Vic Country’s Under 18 National Championships campaign.

PLAYER PAGE:

Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country

DOB: March 2, 2002

Height: 202cm
Weight: 82kg

Position: Key Position Utility

Strengths: Versatility, overhead/intercept marking, skills, vertical leap
Improvements: Strength, raw

NAB League stats: 15 games | 11.1 disposals | 3.9 marks | 2.0 tackles | 2.4 hitouts | 1.6 rebound 50s | 0.1 goals (1)

>> Q&A: Zach Reid

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Standing Vertical Jump – 62cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 82cm/86cm
Speed (20m) – 3.17 seconds
Agility – 8.69 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo) – 20.6

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

2019 SCOUTING NOTES:

Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Michael Alvaro

While he spent a bit of time in the ruck, Reid’s best work is arguably always done down back and he proved that again here. He was composed with ball in hand and dished off to his runners well, while also kicking capably on the last line. He capped his game with a strong pack mark in the third term and got involved well in Team Brown’s rebounding efforts.

NAB League Round 12 vs. Geelong

By: Peter Williams

The unlikeliest of heroes found himself kicking the winning goal from 25m out in the dying moments of the match. The consistent full-back went forward late in the game to be a point of difference, and he was certainly that, taking a terrific one-on-one grab straight in front, out-bodying his opponent. He slotted it and teammates came from everywhere to celebrate. In the first three quarters he was his usual unflappable self in defence, using good hands and composure when in the back 50, laying some strong tackles, including one goal-saving one on Oliver Henry in the back pocket.

NAB League Round 8 vs. GWV

By: Peter Williams

Used the ball well in defence and was strong overhead. He seemed to move well around the ground but at times was a tad slow to react and was tackled a couple of times, forcing him to rush his disposal. Reid showed off a nice long, technically sound kick and showed good body work on his opponent one-on-one deep in defence.

>> MORE GIPPSLAND POWER CONTENT

>> 2020 Vic Country U18s Squad Prediction

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Elijah Hollands
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western

Marquee Matchups: Eddie Ford vs. Oliver Henry

DESPITE remaining in the unknown of football’s temporary absence, Draft Central is set to ramp up its draft analysis with another new prospect-focussed series, Marquee Matchups. We take a look at some of the high-end head-to-head battles which look likely to take place should the class of 2020 take the field, comparing pairs of draft hopefuls to help preview who may come out on top.

The pair next under the microscope – Western Jets’ Eddie Ford and Geelong Falcons’ Oliver Henry – are two high-flying prospects who have already lined up on opposing sides at NAB League level, as well as in last year’s Under 17 Futures All Star showcase fixture. While neither player was able to break through for a representative Under 18 berth in 2019, both ran out for Under 17 digs in the ‘Big V’ after also representing their regions in the 2018 Under 16 National Championships.

Western’s Ford is a forward/midfielder with plenty of x-factor, able to break games open with his scoreboard impact and knack for taking big marks. Henry is similarly gifted in the air, but is more of a swingman having rotated from end-to-end for the Falcons last year. He is likely to spend a touch more time up forward in 2020, and will be a key part of Geelong’s talented squad after 15 NAB League outings last year. Ford managed one more appearance for the Jets as a bottom-ager, and will be a focal point as he looks to develop his midfield craft.

Without further ado, get up to speed with how the two match up in terms of their form to date, strengths, improvements, and what has already been said about their performances in our scouting notes.

PLAYER PAGES

Eddie Ford
Western Jets/Vic Metro

DOB: June 21, 2002

Height: 188cm
Weight: 79kg

Position: General forward/midfielder

Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

DOB: June 29, 2002

Height: 187cm
Weight: 77kg

Position: General forward/defender

ATHLETIC PROFILES

There is no recent testing data to feed off from either player due to precautionary preseason management; with Ford sitting out testing on account of a persistent knee niggle, while Henry took the safe route with his tight left hamstring.

However, it only really takes a couple of glimpses of both prospects on-field to recognise their athletic values. Both possess terrific vertical leaps, helping Henry to play above his size up either end, and allowing Ford to take eye-catching hangers in full flight. Ford is perhaps a touch quicker off the mark, and both players are quite agile in general play given their relatively lean builds. Endurance is an area which remains to be seen on either side, especially given their interrupted preseasons and the extended break.

>> PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

20m Sprint
Agility Test
Yo-yo Test
Jumps

ON-FIELD PROFILES

2019 NAB LEAGUE STATISTICS

Ford:

16 games
14.1 disposals
3.7 marks
1.4 tackles
1.5 clearances
1.9 inside 50s
0.4 goals (7)

Henry:

15 games
10.0 disposals
4.4 marks
1.1 tackles
1.5 inside 50s
0.8 rebound 50s
1.2 goals (18)

The closeness in this pair’s 2019 statistics is quite satisfying, each running out for a virtually identical amount of games and returning very similar numbers. The small differences can also be attributed to their respective roles; as Ford was able to run through midfield and pump forward some clearances while adding to those inside 50 numbers, while Henry penetrated both arcs in his swingman duties and provided slightly better marking numbers due to his intercept marking ability in defence. His role as somewhat of a third leading tall up forward also contributed to that, allowing the Geelong product to hit the scoreboard more often with over a goal per game. Ford booted goals in six seperate games, including two with multiples, while Henry managed multiples in five of his seven scoring games.

BEST GAME

Ford:

2019 NAB League Round 7 vs. Dandenong

20 disposals
10 marks
1 tackle
2 clearances
1 inside 50
2 goals

Henry:

2019 NAB League Round 3 vs. Dandenong

11 disposals (10 kicks)
7 marks
1 inside 50
5 goals
3 behinds

Our selections make it seem as if Dandenong were whipping boys in 2019, but it is purely a coincidence that both players performed well against the Stingrays. Ford found the ideal balance between his midfield and forward craft, shifting through the engine room at times while spreading well around the ground and making his impact felt when forward of centre. His efforts were in vein given Western’s big loss, as were Henry’s in Geelong’s draw with the Stingrays. The Falcon’s seven marks as a forward target showcased that ability to play above his size, with eight of his 11 disposals also ending in scores. Henry did have higher disposal games, primarily in the backline, but we feel this performance better exemplifies the role he can play at the next level.

PREVIOUS MEETING

2019 NAB League Round 8
Western Jets 7.8 (50) def. Geelong Falcons 2.10 (22)

Ford:

12 disposals
4 marks
1 tackle
2 clearances
1 inside 50

Henry:

8 disposals (7 kicks)
6 marks
3 tackles
2 inside 50s

In what was hardly a memorable early-season clash between Geelong and Western, these two bottom-aged guns were kept relatively quiet. Still, they were able to show flashes of their best form, with Ford nearing his overall disposal average and finding space on the outer, while Henry was a viable marking option for the Falcons. Neither player was able to find the big sticks, and it is quiet understandable as Geelong managed just two majors to Western’s seven.

STRENGTHS

Ford:

Vertical leap
Clean hands
Overhead marking
X-factor
Impact

Henry:

Marking on the lead
Intercepting
Vertical leap
Versatility
Composure

If you weren’t already aware, both of these players are terrific markers of the ball. While vertical leap is a listed strength on either side, Ford and Henry use it in slightly different ways. While Ford can pull off those explosive pack marks, Henry uses his leap to intercept while sitting in the defensive hole, or to get extension on the lead as a forward. Henry’s dual-purpose marking ability makes him an ultimate utility, which is exactly why versatility is also listed as one of his assets. Ford’s knack for hauling in those mercurial grabs gives him a touch of x-factor, which is also seen in his ability to impact the scoreboard and break games open in quick time. Another string to Henry’s bow is his composure, usually a sure disposer by foot who fared well while the Falcons were under enormous pressure in 2019. Both players only need a few touches to truly damage the opposition, with their combination of athleticism and freakish skills setting them apart.

IMPROVEMENTS

Ford:

Consistency/accumulation

Henry:

Playing to size

Pin-pointing improvements for such high-level players is often an exercise in splitting hairs, but we continue to give it a crack. Neither of the listed areas are necessarily knocks on the players, but more so little adjustments which could be made along the path to becoming more complete prospects.

With Ford eying off more time in the midfield, he will need to up his accumulative value and become a more consistent figure in games. While stats aren’t everything and his ability to tear games apart in small bursts works up forward, imagine what impact he could have with more of the ball.

For Henry, while quashing his versatility would be silly, having him lock down or show greater strength in one specific role sometimes makes a prospect easier to recruit, as you know exactly what kind of player to mould at the next level. Given he can play like a key position outlet at just 187cm among juniors, he can perhaps work on better playing to his size in harnessing that ground ball game to excel in the AFL system.

KEY SCOUTING NOTES

Ford:

2019 Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Peter Williams

Started the game with a bang, picking up eight touches and booting two goals in an eye-opening first term. He had his hands on it early leading outside 50, then kick a great running goal on the right from 40m out. His second goal came when Ford read the tap perfectly, pushed off his opponent in Errol Gulden and chucked it on his boot for it to sail through.

It showed his high-level footy IQ and goal sense all in one play. He was still very busy throughout the game with some nice touches, though his first term was his standout. Had a shot from 45m on the run in the third term but it sprayed to the left. His best is very good.

Henry:

2019 Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Ed Pascoe

The talented Geelong Falcon who is the younger brother of rising Cats’ defender Jack Henry showed plenty of his talent in what was a hard day for the Team Dal Santo forwards. He was still able to catch the eye; he hit the scoreboard in the last quarter with a quality intercept mark in the goal square showing his speed and quick decision making.

Henry was strong overhead and clean at ground level but he also did the what was required defensively as well with some good tackles and smothers, he looks to be one of the most dangerous forward prospects in the 2020 draft.

AFL Draft Watch: Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central  takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Murray Bushrangers’ Elijah Hollands, an exciting forward/midfield prospect who remains right in the top 10 discussions, despite the fact he is sitting out 2020 after tearing his ACL during preseason. Having previously afforded most of his seasons to school football with Caulfield Grammar, Hollands was set for a full-time dig in the NAB League with Murray upon the completion of his Year 12 studies in 2019.

The 188cm Wodonga native has a knack for the mercurial, able to break games open with bursts of brilliance in the form of opportunist goals, bursting runs, or high-flying marks. Hollands was one of the rare bottom-agers to play all four national carnival games as a bottom-ager in 2019, and further proved his status as a high-end prospect with an eye-catching performance in the Under 17 Futures All Stars fixture.

While he spent most of his time as a forward or on the outside at the Under 18 level, the Murray product had eyes on moving into the midfield in his top-age season. His value over time in the engine room remains to be seen, but one thing for certain is that Hollands is a rare talent and one of the absolute best of his cohort.

PLAYER PAGE:

Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country

DOB: April 25, 2002

Height: 188cm
Weight: 80kg

Position: Forward/midfielder

Strengths: Overhead marking, scoreboard impact, athleticism, versatility
Improvements: Consistency/accumulation, post-injury durability

2019 Statistics:

NAB League: 4 games | 17.0 disposals | 5.5 marks | 3.8 tackles | 1.5 clearances | 2.5 inside 50s | 1.0 goals (4)
Under 18 National Championships: 4 games | 13.5 disposals | 2.3 marks | 5.5 tackles | 1.0 clearances | 5.3 inside 50s | 0.5 goals (2)

>> Feature: Elijah Hollands

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Did not test.

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

2019 SCOUTING NOTES:

Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Michael Alvaro

It was a near-complete performance from the Team Brown captain, who booted two classy goals in his time between the midfield and forward line. His work rate in the engine room was top notch, digging in to win the ball himself and tackling hard going the other way with the opposition breaking.

Hollands also impacted the centre bounces from his starting position on the wing early on, proving clean and composed when the footy was hot. His first goal was a typical one, propping after he collected the loose ball and snapping home. The second was a show-stopper, slamming the ball through the big sticks from 55m out off a couple of steps. Is one of the leading prospects at this early stage, and narrowly missed out on best afield honours.

NAB League Round 14 vs. Northern

By: Scott Dougan

Hollands played through the Bushrangers’ midfield, as well as up forward where he was a regular target. Hollands had a big impact early on when he spoiled a marking contest after a poor kick-in from the Knights, resulting in Murray’s first goal of the game.

He had an electric 10 or so minutes in the first term, where he provided spark and x-factor around the contest. Hollands’ forward craft is one of his best attributes and it was evident during the match, with the talented bottom-ager finding plenty of space across half-forward.

Under 18 National Championships vs. Vic Country

By: Peter Williams

Is so exciting and not only does he have the offensive capabilities, but works hard defensively as well, laying a number of huge tackles in the forward half. Hollands has lightning hands in congestion and is able to win the hard ball and quickly dish off to a teammate before being dispossessed.

He had a huge highlight in the second term with an unbelievable goal out of nothing from a forward stoppage, roving Charlie Comben and booting the goal from just inside 50 close to the boundary line.

Under 18 Victorian Trials vs. Vic Metro

By: Ed Pascoe

Hollands was seriously impressive up forward, he was a constant threat and was often minded by one of 2019’s top prospects, Dylan Williams. He kicked his first goal in the first quarter running into open goal and he set up others with his kicking inside 50, all class.

One of his standout features was his ability to keep strong in the contest and get his arms up, and his second goal came from a classy snap goal 40 metres out in the third quarter. His best bit of play also came in the third quarter where he worked hard to keep the ball in play on a wing and used the ball well with a long handball to a running teammate inboard.

NAB League Round 3 vs. GWV

By: Peter Williams

A classy forward who just has that knack of finding the goals, he was disappointed in himself missing a few early chances, before kicking two for the game, including a natural instinct shot off the left to win the game for the Bushrangers. Hollands also shows good second efforts, giving off a quick handball before following up with a tackle immediately after.

NAB League Round 2 vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Scott Dougan

Hollands was consistent over four quarters and never seemed to fade out of the contest. He was a solid target up forward for the Bushrangers, specifically in the final term when he had a couple of shots on goal that only failed to register a score because of the tough weather conditions. Hollands also displayed his athletic ability, footy smarts, and foot skills throughout the game.

NAB League Round 1 vs, Gippsland

By: Peter Williams

The bottom-age talent showed his class early inside 50, winning a number of possessions on the outside and using his long kicking ability and was one of the top ball winners in the first half. He missed a few opportunities to capitalise from set shots, finishing the game with 1.3, but he timed his leads well, protecting the drop zone with his timing. He was quieter in the second half, but his first half showed the potential he has not only as a forward, but further up the ground as well.

>> MORE MURRAY BUSHRANGERS CONTENT

>> Marquee Matchup: Hollands vs. O’Driscoll
>> 2020 Vic Country U18s Squad Prediction

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western

Q&A: Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Geelong Falcons’ Henry Walsh at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

The brother of Carlton midfielder and 2018 number one draft pick, Sam, cuts a much different figure to his elder sibling as a loping 202cm ruckman, and remains quite raw in terms of his development. While he thrives in his ruck craft having averaged 27.3 hitouts across 13 NAB League games as a bottom-ager, Walsh is constantly working on his impact around the ground as he expands his endurance base. The St Joseph’s junior represented Vic Country at Under 16 level and already cracked the Under 18 side in 2019, capping off his year with an appearance in the Under 17 All Star clash on AFL Grand Final day.

He is quite the unique character and is seldom shy to have a crack. Read up on what Walsh had to say during preseason about his development, opportunities afforded to him through the AFL Academy, and the year ahead with the Falcons.

>> CATCH UP ON OUR FEATURES

Q&A:


MA: Henry, how has the day been for you?

HW: “Today’s been pretty good.”

 

Which of the tests are you looking to excel in or improve on at the moment?

“The vertical jump for sure, love that.”

 

Pretty important in the ruck?

“Yeah.”

 

How has the preseason been so far?

“It’s been real good, thank you.”

 

On-field, how do you think your game’s coming along?

“It’s developing each game which is real good.”

 

Obviously he plays a much different role, but has your brother (Sam) helped that at all over the past few years?

“Yeah, especially through my running and positioning around the ground. It’s been real good.”

 

I’m sure you tapped a few down to him at preseason training with Carlton as well, it must’ve been good to get down there?

“It was. It was real good, a great experience.”

 

How has being part of the Vic Country hub been for you?

“It’s been real good, seeing how all the other boys from different areas for Vic Country have been.”

 

You’re part of a talented group at the Falcons too, you’ve played a lot together already. Are you looking to bounce back after a bit of a down year?

“Oh yeah bloody oath. Hopefully (we) get a few more wins.”

Q&A: Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Murray Bushrangers’ Josh Rachele at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

The electric midfielder/forward was a standout at last year’s Under 16 National Championships, captaining Vic Country en route to earning the Kevin Sheehan Medal as Division 1 MVP. His form warranted a call-up to the Bushrangers’ NAB League side, where Rachele booted eight goals in four games in the back-end of the season. With a full athletic package and freaking skills to boot, the 178cm prospect is set to hit the ground running again in 2020, representing Murray and his new school, Caulfield Grammar once football resumes.

>> CATCH UP ON OUR FEATURES

Q&A:


MA: Josh, have you had a good day so far with the testing?

JR: “Yes, so far it’s been pretty good, a good experience. I hit a couple of PB’s (personal bests) which is alright but overall the Murray boys have been doing pretty (well) which is good.”

 

Coming off a MVP-winning Under 16 campaign as captain, what has it been like moving into the Murray Under 18s program?

“Obviously there were a lot of high hopes for this season so the main goal is to just play well early. I’ve had a pretty good preseason so far, the first couple of goals will be to get into the Vic Country squad and hopefully play a game. But really, just to develop my game as well.”

 

Where do you see your best position being, having played through the midfield and up forward thus far?

“I’d probably say at the moment probably that fifth/sixth role, that forward-flanker who gets up the ground, then goes deep. Next year I’ll hopefully get a few more minutes in the midfield but this season, hopefully just through the forward line.”

 

Who are some of the Murray-listed players you’re looking forward to playing alongside?

“Number one would have to have been Elijah Hollands, but it’s unfortunate with his ACL (injury). But just to learn off him this year, he’s going to do a bit of coaching at Vic Country and the Bushrangers so he’s going to have eyes, just watching me and I’ll ask for advice, especially with the resilience he’s going to have to build.

“Also Zavier Maher, he’s probably going to be in the leadership group at Caulfield Grammar this year. He’s been a big part of my Caulfield journey so far and I’ve been doing a lot of extras with him.”

 

What has the transition to Caulfield been like?

“I think there was about four or five Murray Bushrangers guys already there so that made my move pretty easy. I knew a few day-schoolers already but that main connection with the Bushrangers boys helped me move in pretty smoothly.”

 

It must be great also having a connection with your Under 16 teammates, moving into this year and your top-age season in 2021?

“Yes, next year will probably be one of the biggest years of my life. A lot of high expectations really, but (I’ll look to) have another good preseason and start early. No major goals, just to get into the Vic Country squad again and move from there.”

 

Are there any other little goals you’re looking to tick off?

“We have the Australia (Under 17) game coming up in April, so that will be a goal just to play well there and get a win with the boys which would be an unreal experience. Then to play the Under 17s game on Grand Final day, that’s it really.”

Q&A: Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Bendigo Pioneers’ Seamus Mitchell at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

The crafty small forward impressed towards the back-end of last year’s NAB League season, getting on the park five times for the Pioneers to return a haul of six goals. Mitchell possesses great speed and goal sense, which has put him right in contention for more representative action having already run out for Vic Country at Under 17 level, and earned a spot in the 2020 AFL Academy hub. The 180cm prospect battled a knee injury during preseason, which meant he was touch-and-go for a Round 1 return at the time.

>> CATCH UP ON OUR FEATURES

Q&A:

 

MA: How’s the day been so far, Seamus?

SM: “It’s been pretty good, enjoying it. I’m not doing much… (I’ve got) a knee injury but it’ll come good pretty soon.”

 

Other than that, has the preseason been okay and will you be ready for Round 1?

“Yes, all good… (and) possibly, we don’t know yet. We’ll see.”

 

Coming off a promising bottom-age year, what do you think were some of the strengths you were able to showcase?

“Probably my speed and a little bit of athleticism. I don’t really think about it too much.”

 

Where do you like playing most, are you looking to still lock down a forward role?

“Yes, half-forward or maybe even the wing role throughout the year.”

 

What kind of things are you working on as a top-ager?

“Probably my cleanliness with ground balls and that sort of stuff.”

 

How is being around the Vic Country hub developing your game?

“Heaps. Even outside of footy as well, I probably need to be more confident and that sort of thing so it’s helped.”

>> MORE BENDIGO PIONEERS CONTENT

Q&A: Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Dandenong Stingrays’ Will Bravo at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

The 181cm prospect was lauded for his leadership and form during preseason despite a knee niggle late in the piece, and will be looking to back up his solid bottom-age season as one of two Vic Country Academy hub members from the Dandenong program.

Bravo was expected to start the NAB League season through midfield, but has shown his ability to have an impact off flanks at either end of the ground. The speedy customer averaged 10.9 disposals and a goal every other game across his 14 outings for the Stingrays in 2019, enough to earn him a spot in the Vic Country Under 17s side. Should a carnival go ahead, he is poised to feature in the Under 18 setup for 2020 as well.

>> CATCH UP ON OUR FEATURES

Q&A:

 

MA: Will, how’s the day been so far?

WB: “It’s been pretty good. “I haven’t actually been testing due to an injury in my knee but it’s been a good day to get around the boys, push them on and watch them get some good scores.”

 

Have there been some decent results?

“Yes, we’ve got a pretty quick group. “I think we had about three boys who got sub-three seconds (20m sprint) so that’s pretty good.”

 

Coming off a solid 2019, how’d you rate your bottom-age year?

“It was a pretty good year. “I sort of came on a bit better at the end of the year, at the start of the year I was a bit nervous.

“But I just built into it and all the boys get around you and once you get involved, your confidence levels obviously rise and you start to play your game, do your thing. “It was a really good year with the boys and definitely a good experience.”

 

You showed good speed and a killer instinct as a mid-forward last season, are you hoping to continue in a similar role?

“I actually hadn’t played too much forward until last year and I think towards the end of the year I did play a bit in the midfield.

“This year we’ve been talking about with my pace, being able to run off half-back and to have a bit of a run through the midfield. “But whenever they need me obviously I can go down forward as well so I think it’ll be good for me to play in all different positions.”

 

What are some of the things you’re looking to develop to fit into those roles comfortably?

“Just understanding the (defensive) structure, how they like to move the ball and their defence. “Obviously a big motto we have is always defence first so I think just working with them and understanding everything they like to do would be good to have a big year.”

 

You’ve got a decent bottom-age crop and top-agers like yourself and Clayton Gay in the Academy, how do you think the Dandenong squad stacks up?

“I think this year already we’ve been doing pretty well. Considering we’ve all got a pretty good bond, I think that really helps. “Everyone always gets around each other, obviously the boys are pretty skilful and we’re pretty versatile with our skills around all three (thirds) of the field. “Our forwards, mids, and backs, we’ve got some strong players throughout them.”

 

Who are some of those boys you’re looking forward to playing alongside?

“Definitely Clayton Gay, obviously us two have been going through Vic Country together which is pretty cool. Bayleigh Welsh through the midfield and James Thomas off the backline.

“We’ve got a new player who has never played at this level, Declan Cole. “He’ll probably play a bit through the midfield so that’s pretty exciting. “We’ve obviously got a lot of boys who haven’t played in this kind of environment before but I think they’ve all bonded to it really well and it’s going to be an exciting year.”

 

How was the step-up being around the Vic Country hub?

“It’s been really good. “Obviously to be able to go to that next level and see what it’s all about, how quick it is.

“You make a lot of mates out of it, all the boys out of Vic Country are really good blokes, they’re all really warm and inviting so I think that’s really good. “Going into NAB League as well from Vic Country I think it’ll help a lot.”

 

What are some of the goals you’re looking to tick off in 2020?

“Just to be the best player and person I can be, to help everyone in my team that needs help and in Vic Country as well, just to always be there.

“To bring some bottom-agers under my wing and help them out when they’re finding it hard, just like how last year I was pretty nervous and wasn’t playing my game so I know a few of the boys this year might be the same.”

Q&A: Cooper Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Bendigo Pioneers’ Cooper Hamilton at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

Hamilton made his NAB League debut last year alongside twin brother, Hugh after earning All Australian honours at the Under 16 National Championships, representing Vic Country. The hard-at-it defender is also a very capable endurance runner, proving as much with his 21.3 score in the 2020 preseason yo-yo test. He is now also part of the Vic Country Academy hub, looking to earn a spot in the Under 18 side while turning out for the Pioneers across the next two seasons.

>> CATCH UP ON OUR FEATURES

Q&A:

 

MA: Cooper, how’s the day been for you?

CH: “It’s been pretty good. There’s a couple of tests that get on my nerves but other than that, it’s fine.”

 

Which are the ones that get on your nerves?

“Probably the agility. I knocked over a pole so it wasn’t great.”

 

Are you looking to improve in that kind of area?

“Definitely. Just speed, I really want to improve on that.”

 

Are there any tests which better showcase your skills?

“Probably the yo-yo. I’m more of an endurance (runner) rather than a sprinter so hopefully I do alright in that.”

 

Coming off an All Australian Under 16 campaign, it must’ve been a pretty fun week up in Queensland?

“I loved it. It was so much fun with all the boys together, just unreal.”

 

It must’ve also helped having your twin brother (Hugh) up there as well?

“Yes, it was really good.”

 

What sets you two apart, what are the differences in your game?

“I’m more of a backman and he’s more a mid/forward. He’s a lot stockier than I am, but I’ll hopefully grow a little taller than him.”

 

Who came first?

“He did, by about a minute.”

 

So he beat you there, but you’re going to be taller?

“Hopefully, fingers crossed.”

 

In terms of the Bendigo boys, are you excited to run out with the pretty talented group you have?

“I can’t wait, especially Round 1 against Geelong. It’ll be a hard contest but I reckon we’re pretty set for it.”

 

Are there any guys you’re looking up to or feeding off at the moment?

Josh Treacy definitely. He’s a big boy, unreal. And probably Jack Ginnivan, Sam Conforti, Seamus Mitchell, those boys – they just go about it really well.”

 

How has being around the Vic Country hub been for your development as a bottom-ager?

“It’s been really good. Everyone’s so welcoming, it’s unreal.”

>> READ UP ON THE BENDIGO PIONEERS

Q&A’s: 
Sam Conforti
Jack Ginnivan
Josh Treacy

AFL Draft Watch:
Jack Ginnivan

AFL Draft Watch: Sam Berry (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at the NAB League Preseason Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft Watch is Gippsland Power’s Sam Berry, a powerful inside midfielder who can run all day. Hailing from Maffra in the Power’s region, Berry has grown accustomed to the elite standard not only through his local program, but also as part of the APS Football system at Melbourne Grammar. Having represented Vic Country at the Under 16 and 17 levels, Berry was also a mainstay in the talent-rich Gippsland side last year in between his school footballing commitments.

The 180cm prospect is well poised to become an integral part of Vic Country’s midfield should the National Championships go ahead, able to put into actions the learnings passed down by the likes of 2019 Gippsland graduates Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders. Berry thrives in the contest and is not afraid to get his hands dirty, able to consistently win his own ball and power his way through congestion.

PLAYER PAGE:

Sam Berry

DOB: February 12, 2002

Height: 180.6cm
Weight: 81.4kg

Position: Inside midfielder

2019 NAB LEAGUE STATS: 10 games | 17.7 disposals (53% contested) | 2.7 marks | 6.5 tackles | 7.3 clearances | 3.8 inside 50s | 1.3 rebound 50s | 0.6 goals (6)

Strengths: Endurance, two-way work rate, contested ball, strength
Improvements: Speed

>> MARQUEE MATCHUP: Sam Berry vs. Zavier Maher

PRESEASON TESTING HIGHLIGHTS:

Vertical Jump: 65cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L): 80cm/89cm
Speed (20m): 3.19 seconds
Agility: 8.24 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo): 21.7

2019 SCOUTING NOTES:

2019 NAB League Round 17 vs. Bendigo

By: Peter Williams

The bottom-age midfielder provided a number of highlights in the game, able to gain separation from his opponents in midfield and hit targets forward of centre. He created a goal for Riley Baldi, kicking well inside 50, and then showed off his lovely left foot again – playing on to hit-up another target later in the game inside 50. He ran hard throughout and took a courageous mark back with the flight early in the third term.

2019 Under 17 Futures vs. NSW/ACT

By: Ed Pascoe

Berry was his team’s standout player with his grunt work in the middle setting the tone for the day. His work rate with and without the ball was impressive and that carried on for the four quarters. He would also hit the scoreboard with his goal coming from reading the play to mark 40 metres out to slot the nice goal.

His clearance work was great but it was also his skill with ball in hand that stood out, and despite looking like the type to just win the hard ball and bomb it, he actually took the time to hit his targets on both feet. His only real blemish was an ambitious kick in the corridor on his opposite foot. Berry finished the game with 23 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and a goal in a complete performance through the midfield.

2019 NAB League Round 13 vs. Northern

By: Craig Byrnes

A typically tough, in and under day for the bottom-age midfielder. Starting at the centre bounces, Berry got involved inside 50 during the first term with a nice goal assist to Tom Fitzpatrick by hand. He got busier through the midfield in the second quarter, somehow stealing a clearance seemingly straight out of the hands of an opponent before sending the ball forward.

His possessions were heavy, which occasionally lead to him rushing the ball forward and producing some messy disposals. He fought hard though and was one of Gippsland better players, collecting 21 disposals and laying five tackles.

2019 NAB League Round 12 vs. Geelong

By: Peter Williams

A match-winning effort by the small midfielder who put together a terrific four quarter performance. He showed great thinking under pressure with quick hands and was able to balance well between offensive and defensive work.

He laid a massive amount of tackles, and booted three goals – all of which came from tackles. His first goal came in the second quarter, nailing the set shot with a Ben Brown-like run-up from 55m, while the last two came back-to-back at a crucial time in the last quarter, converting set shots from 40m and 30m out respectively. His last quarter was special and he is so strong one-on-one for his size.

2019 NAB League Round 11 vs. Oakleigh

By: Craig Byrnes

The in-and-under bottom-ager was one of many relevant players returning to the Gippsland fold and he continued on from where he left off earlier in the season. He is a competitor who does the heavy work on the inside with determination, often getting first hands on the footy cleanly and extracting to advantage.

Berry has a physical presence defensively and ensures his opponent doesn’t get an easy touch. I loved his overhead work on Saturday too, taking a great contested mark in the corridor under pressure and backing that up with a leaping effort at half back in the last. One of the better players on the ground finishing with 26 disposals and five tackles.

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Archie Perkins

Vic Country:
Jack Ginnivan
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll

Allies:
Braeden Campbell