AFL Draft | Five bolters climbing draft boards

WHILE some AFL Draft prospects are nailed on draftees from a long way out, others leave their runs late. There’s a name for the latter type, albeit a cliché by now – ‘bolters’. We’ve identified five players who fit the bill in this year’s crop.

>> Rolling Rankings: The Top 40 AFL Draft prospects

Charlie Edwards (Sandringham Dragons)
Midfielder | 190cm | 82kg | 18/05/2005

This list is in alphabetical order, but Edwards would arguably have been the first cab off the rank regardless given he is somewhat of a poster boy for bolters this year. The 190cm midfielder, who is also a talented cricketer, started his top-aged campaign slowly at half-back and missed out on Vic Metro representation, but has starred in Sandringham’s run to the Talent League Grand Final. Edwards has size, a clean set of hands, and good speed off the mark – all of which have helped him old his own in the back end of the year. He’ll be at the Victorian draft combine and in the top 25 conversation.

Tew Jiath (Gippsland Power)
Defender | 187cm | 71kg | 02/03/2005

There may well be ‘Tew’ Jiath boys in the AFL system next year, with the brother of Hawthorn’s Changkuoth storming into draft calculations this year. Tew has recently been approved as a Hawks NGA candidate, but is becoming increasingly likely to be bid on before pick 40. He’s an athletic defender who helps set up play from the back, proving equal parts spring-heeled and shrewd on the intercept, while also having the nous to distribute the ball creatively. Jiath remains a raw type but has developed quickly since coming into Gippsland’s side in Round 9. He’s been integral since.

James Leake (Tasmania Devils)
Utility | 188cm | 74kg | 10/02/2005

Recruiters love versatile players and Leake is the epitome of that. He has gone from sneaking into the Allies side to first round contention after a breakout campaign where he played across all three lines. Defence is perhaps his most frequent post, but he also bagged 15 goals in his last five Talent League games and did some nice things as a pinch-hitting midfielder throughout. He has the capacity to play on talls and smalls; beating bigger opponents once the ball hits the deck, but also dominating smaller ones in the air. Leake’s athleticism and competitiveness are a couple more weapons at his disposal.

James Leake celebrates a goal | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Luke Lloyd (Sandringham Dragons)
Forward | 193cm | 87kg | 08/08/2005

In a draft lacking depth of talent, Lloyd’s natural ability is set to carry him far. The dynamic marking forward is another Dragon who missed out on representative honours this year, but he showed enough in a string of strong mid-season performances to put his name on the National Draft Combine list. Lloyd also broke through for a VFL berth with Frankston and garnered attention with his 19-goal haul while playing school footy in May. His clean set of hands and overall aerial game forms the crux of what he can do, which is aided by the ability to work up the ground and link play in attacking phases.

Caleb Windsor (Eastern Ranges)
Wing | 184cm | 74kg | 09/06/2005

Windsor is a prospect who was perhaps hovering around the top 25 mark for much of the year, but has gone on to well and truly breach it. Consistency and perhaps his kicking efficiency were a couple of question marks which have since been exonerated, with the outside midfielder’s speed and agility making him an eye-catching talent. Windsor has been lauded by his Eastern coach as being the best wingman in the country and certainly has claims on that mantle after a terrific end to the year, and will likely feature around the first round mark come draft time.

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