AFL Draft | The prospects with cult hero potential
THE EXCITEMENT of fresh faces entering the fold at AFL level trickles into the hearts and minds of footy fans each year, and there are a bunch of draft prospect up for grabs who they will likely warm to early in the piece.
While top level athletes are often incredibly well trained when it comes to their media duties, some offer insights into their true selves both on an off the field, with hints of flair and personality which lift their profile. We highlight 10 budding draftees with cult hero potential.
CULT HERO CANDIDATES
Aaron Cadman – The pick one favourite is a laid-back Country kid often sighted wearing a smile, and his football makes fans do the same. He has been lucky enough to lean on Geelong goalkicker Jeremy Cameron for advice this year, a player he is often compared to on-field. His clutch, big moment capabilities will also endear him to fans, and off-field Cadman works hard as a tradesman.
Harry Sheezel – One of the few things fans love more than mercurial goals is players who kick them. Sheezel is one such player, capable of pulling match-winning feats out of the bag within attacking 50. He snared 36 for Sandringham this year, and plenty for the highlight reel at that, presenting as a specialist forward who has all the makings of a star goalkicker.
Lachlan Cowan – Bright boots, a flowing mullet and one of the longest kicks in the draft. That’s what Cowan brings to the table, with substance complimenting his obvious flair. The Tasmanian skipper is fun to watch with his line-breaking style and the consistency with which he performs. Along with fellow North-West product Seth Campbell, he’s a popular teammate to boot.
Brayden George – You’ve seen what fellow Murray Bushrangers talent Josh Rachele can do, now it’s time for George to hit the bigtime. He’ll likely sit out his first season at the top level with an ACL tear, but has all the traits to become a top line medium forward. He’s excellent in the air, is powerful, and can kick goals from just about anywhere. Watch out.
Charlie Clarke – There are few players who like to celebrate more than Clarke, perhaps the player best equipped to become a cult hero from this year’s draft class. He already comes with a cavalry of fans and will inevitably attract many more with his knack for instinctive feats in front of goal, with the raw emotion which follows ensuring all eyes are fixed on him.
Jacob Konstanty – There’s a bit of a theme forming here, and Konstanty continues the trend of goalkickers to feature on this list. The diminutive forward is crafty as they come and does all things at 100 per cent – be it harassing the opposition or manufacturing a way forward. That mix of endeavour and skill means he’ll be a fan favourite for whatever team he turns out for.
Darcy Jones – We all love a pocket rocket, but how about one who also gets around in a helmet? Jones fits the bill, sporting a similar look to Caleb Daniel at 174cm. He was the smallest player to attend the National Draft Combine but packs a punch, breaking the game open with daring dash and weaving runs through opposition lines. He’s hard to miss on the field, despite his size.
Jakob Ryan – Mullets are nothing new, but Ryan’s flowing locks make him an instant standout. The Glenelg product is also somewhat of a utility in his ability to play tall or small at either end of the ground. That factor will potentially set him apart as both a coach and fan favourite, and he’s certainly one who catches the eye with his style.
Max Gruzewski – There’s nothing felonius nor despicable about this Gru, who looms as one of the bolters of this year’s crop. He caught the eye upon his Vic Metro call-up with a big mark and two early goals against Country, showcasing the aerial ability which has him pegged as a developable tall talent. For name and excitement factor, he’s right up there.
Jason Gillbee – Anyone who has come across Gillbee can attest to his character, and he’s the type of player who you want on your team. A hard worker from the town of Balranald, Gillbee can play in just about any position and will endear fans with that ability, as well as his nature off the field.
Anthony Munkara – Potentially the most naturally talented player in the draft crop, Munkara has the potential to set games alight. Wonderfully athletic and instinctually brilliant, the Essendon NGA candidate plays with great flair – displayed in his high marks, running forays, and shrewd finishes on goal. Has serious star factor.
REMEMBER THE NAMES…
It would be remiss to overlook some of the draft crop’s more quirky names, and some players have the character or on-field uniqueness to match. Steely Green has serious competition from Shadeau Brain for the best name of the bunch, and Olivier Northam is another with his hat in the ring. For potential to pick up from where Shane Mumford left off, hulking Giants Academy ruck Nick Madden also warrants a mention.