2022 NAB League Boys Player of the Week: Round 7
EASTERN Ranges defender Lewis Hayes is our NAB League Player of the Week for Round 7. The raw and rangy tall had plenty to do in his side’s 24-point road win over the Sandringham Dragons on Sunday, proving incredibly dexterous and reliably resolute to finish with top numbers of 26 disposals, 11 marks, and nine rebound 50s.
The top-ager is in strong contention to play a part in Vic Metro’s Under 18 National Championships campaign, having strung together a promising season thus far. Across five games, the key back has averaged 20.4 disposals, 5.6 marks, and 4.4 rebound 50s, with his performance this past weekend producing career-best tallies in each category.
At 197cm, Hayes has some filling out to do but can play on talls, while taking the look of a much smaller player when in possession. His composure and skill are a couple of traits defiant of his height, and ones which set the 17-year-old apart as one of the many key position talents available in this year’s draft crop.
According to Eastern Ranges coach Travis Cloke, Hayes has had a “great reference” along his elite pathway journey in big brother Sam, who is currently a ruck at Port Adelaide. The pair are both athletically gifted, and at the same age, showed scope for significant improvement at the elite level.
Hayes is the first Eastern product to earn a Player of the Week nod this year, but becomes the fourth Metro prospect and fifth top-ager to do so. He joins quite the esteemed list, with top pick contenders Will Ashcroft and Elijah Tsatas, and mid-season draft candidate Jai Culley among the past recipients in 2022.
Having built a 2-3 record so far this season, Hayes and his Ranges next face another away trip, this time down to Tasmania to take on the Devils at UTAS Stadium on Saturday. Having bounced back strongly after nearly a month without NAB League action, the region will look to carry its momentum into the middle and back half of the season.
2022 ROOKIE ME CENTRAL NAB LEAGUE BOYS PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Round 1: Jai Culley (Dandenong Stingrays)
Round 2: Will Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons)
Round 3: Elijah Tsatas (Oakleigh Chargers)
Round 4: Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons)
Round 5: Seth Campbell (Tasmania Devils)
Round 7: LEWIS HAYES (Eastern Ranges)