On the Up: Victorian draft prospects boosting their stocks

VICTORIA’S top prospects have knocked over the opening month of Talent League football and are now past the trial stage, as representative honours begin to emerge over the horizon. After Country and Metro talent hubs were announced last year, there are plenty of players fighting their way into contention to don the Big V at this year’s Under 18 National Championships.

We take a look at three prospects from either side of the Victorian ledger who have emerged as representative candidates from outside the respective hubs. Note, only top-age (2005-born) players were considered, with relevant over-agers set for exposure via the midseason draft. Inevitably, there are a few more in contention from outside this short list too.

Tom Anastasopoulos (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
176cm | 65kg | 31/05/2005 | Small Forward

The crafty Geelong Falcons prospect has certainly made an impression in his four Talent League outings this season. He booted 12 goals (and just one behind) across the first month, including five against Oakleigh in Round 2 to earn Player of the Week honours. With speed, a sharp step, and smarts around goal, Anastasopoulos has worked away at his improvement areas while allowing the aforementioned strengths to shine. He’ll more than likely slot straight into the Vic Country forward line, with potential to pinch-hit further afield.

Billy Wilson (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
182cm | 71kg | 16/06/2005 | Defender

A player identified by his Talent League coach as one who could push for representative honours from outside the initial hub, Wilson has justified such faith. The classy rebounding defender averaged 22 disposals, four marks and five rebound 50s across the first month of the season, looking particularly ominous over the last three weeks after a steady start in Round 1. Wilson’s kicking is a real weapon in transition, and he looks a type who Country can plug and play across half-back with no issue.

Wil Dawson (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
200cm | 86kg | 20/12/2005 | Ruck/Key Forward

Country selected a strong group of talls in its initial talent hub, but Dawson is certainly pushing to the front of the queue. He caught the eye in Round 1 with 19 disposals and as many hitouts in a win against Murray, before going on to average 13 touches, four marks, six tackles and 18 hitouts per his three Talent League games. The 200cm prospect also impressed with three goals in last week’s trials, looking a developable type capable of producing strong moments over the course of four quarters.

Miles Enders (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
188cm | 86kg | 20/07/2005 | Forward

As always, there are plenty of draftables running around for the Sandringham Dragons, and Enders is one who has burst onto the scene this year. The medium forward is a high-marking type, capable of reeling in tricky overhead grabs either on the lead or in packs, averaging five across his four Talent League appearances. Most importantly, he also scores with frequency and has not yet failed to boot multiple goals at the level. Another top marking display in the trials means he is a great chance to slot right into Metro’s dynamic forward line.

Harvey Johnston (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
184cm | 76kg | 18/08/2005 | Forward/Midfielder

Another top find among Sandringham’s impressive new wave of prospects, Johnston shows many hallmarks of an exciting medium forward. He has a good bag of tricks and is super evasive with ball in hand, twisting, turning, and burning ways into attack from half-forward. He is also capable of running through midfield and averages over 18 disposals per his four Talent League games to date, providing yet another potential option for Metro’s front six and on-ball setups. 

Charlie Naish (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
187cm | 79kg | 04/05/2005 | Utility

Naish will be familiar to keen Richmond supporters given his ties to the club as a father-son candidate. He has been one of Northern’s best in the opening stages of the season, averaging 18 disposals, seven marks and nearly a goal per game. His marking ability, footy IQ and running capacity are among the traits he is lauded for internally, with each of them applicable to a range of roles. Having played mostly forward for Northern, Naish was used on a wing and off half-back during the trials in perhaps a sign of things to come, should he make the cut for Metro.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments