Western Jets 2017 review

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

Western Jets

Finished: 10th
Wins: 6
Losses: 12
Draws: 0
Points: 24

Players Drafted: (3)

  • Cameron Rayner (Brisbane)
  • Lachlan Fogarty (Geelong)
  • Tristan Xerri (North Melbourne)

2017 Review:

The Western Jets achieved their own piece of history this year with Cameron Rayner becoming the first Jets player to be a number on pick since the competition began. Rayner was picked up by Brisbane and despite some rumours that best mate Lachlan Fogarty would join him, Fogarty slid to the Cats in the second round, while developing tall Tristan Xerri was picked up by North Melbourne late.

On the field, the Jets did not have a great season, finishing tenth overall and despite some promising signs at times, they did struggle without Rayner and Fogarty for most of the season. The season did see a number of bottom-age Jets players stand up and push for permanent midfield time in 2018, which should see the Jets bounce back and potentially play finals next season.

The Jets seem to have some good quality depth, particularly through the midfield and if they can kick large enough scores each week, they could be a dangerous proposition for most sides next year.


2018 Preview:

Western Jets have a number of really strong prospects heading into the 2018 season, backing up their 2017 year which saw their first ever number one draft pick. They have the midfield and defence covered, and will just look for their forwards to develop, including bottom-age Emerson Jeka who is shaping as a top 10 pick in 2019. Of those eligible this year the Jets have four stand outs including Zac Butters, Buku Khamis, Xavier O’Halloran and Connor Thar.

Zac Butters (Western Jets) 177cm | 66kg | Balanced Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (17) 17.8 disposals| 3.9 marks | 2.4 tackles | 3.2 inside 50s | 53% KE | 62% DE | 41% CP

Butters managed 17 games in his bottom-age year and took almost four marks per game, spreading well across the field. His kicking needs a bit of work, but his ability to move well in transition was impressive. He had no trouble finding the ball and will be one to watch in 2018.

Buku Khamis (Western Jets) 188cm | 81kg | General Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (16) 11.6 disposals | 5.6 marks | 2.4 tackles | 0.4 rebounds | 64% KE | 71% DE | 47% CP

Playing primarily as a lock-down defender, Khamis was good one-on-one, taking 5.6 marks per game and still winning his fair share of the football. He has the size to play key position and could play on tall or small opponents. His kicking was impressive in his bottom-age year and perhaps the next step is a focus on his attacking game, such as rebounding, because his defensive game was very impressive.

Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets) 185cm | 81kg | Inside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (18) 17.3 disposals | 2.3 marks | 2.8 tackles | 3.4 clearances | 3.9 inside 50s | 53% KE | 56% DE | 54% CP

O’Halloran is a big ball winner who loves the contested work. He buries himself under packs and is really strong in close, often having to step up in the absence of the Jets’ ball winners. He did a good job as a bottom-age player and could be one of those ready-made inside midfielders in 12 months time.

Connor Thar (Western Jets) 174cm | 65kg | Balanced Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (17) 18.9 disposals | 3.8 marks | 3.6 tackles | 2.8 clearances | 51% KE | 60% DE | 42% CP

A classy player who just needs a bit more consistency in his kicking, Thar has the sidestep and awareness to be a valuable midfielder in 2018, once he can put everything together for four quarters. He wins the ball, lays tackles and gets it clear from the stoppages, and can play inside or out. If he can iron out his kicking then he could be one of the first Jets picked.

Others to keep an eye on:

Oskar Manton (Western Jets) 181cm | 68kg | Small Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (4) 8.8 disposals | 2 marks | 1.2 tackles | 2 rebounds | 70% KE | 74% DE | 39% CP

Jaden Rice (Western Jets) 186cm | 82kg | Inside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (16) 16.4 disposals | 1.4 marks | 5.1 tackles | 4.4 clearances | 51% KE | 69% DE | 70% CP



Western Jets have a really strong foundation for propelling themselves back into the top eight next season. Their midfield is strong on paper and has good depth, while their defence has a number of talented players. With some emerging talls in the team, the Jets are a team on the rise and one to watch in 2018.

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