Leagues: Under 18s Championships
Image Credit: AFL Photos
SNAPSHOT: “A widely skilled forward with immense talent and athleticism, capable of delivering X-factor in spades.”
One of the most prolifically talented prospects in this year’s draft pool is Anthony Munkara. The Tiwi Islands native plays with freedom and enjoyment, which rubs off on onlookers as he sets games alight with instinctual skill and a deep bag of tricks.
With senior NTFL experience under his belt, Munkara has most often been sighted tearing up South Australian college football with Westminster, but also linked up with West Adelaide for a couple SANFL Under 18 outings this year.
The leading Northern Territory talent and Essendon Next Generation Academy member also donned Australian colours as part of this year’s AFL Academy, and continued his representative experience with the Allies.
While he may not have the same amount of high-level exposure or experience as other players in his range, there is little doubting Munkara’s ability as one of the crop’s most promising forwards.
+ Aerial ability
+ Goal sense
- Limited exposure
The sample size may be relatively small, but there is little doubting the extent of Munkara's talent. At his best, he can win games off his own boot with dynamic work inside forward 50, leaning on a wide range of skills and his athleticism to produce highlight reel plays.
He earned his SANFL Under 18s berth this season with a pair of games in the first two rounds, shaking off early nerves to boot four goals from 14 touches on debut. Between those outings, and his exciting showing for the AFL Academy, Munkara looked every bit a top-end prospect.
Among the traits on display were his speed and goal sense, as well as the ability to pull off a range of kicks off both feet from all angles and distances, and the strength to fend off opponents while being tackled - just ask Collingwood's Arlo Draper. Nearing the 190cm mark, he fares well aerially too.
Even while warming up, there's a sense of excitement around what Munkara can do. He seems like a genuine entertainer who thrives on showing off to the crowd just what he's capable of.
The 17-year-old looks at home up forward, but also played in the ruck for Westminster College, such is his explosive athletic ability. On the odd play he would take the ball from the ruck, land like a cat, and take off with running bounces and one-two chains before setting his sights on goal.
Though there is plenty to like about his game, there are also a range of question marks left to answer. Since his five-disposal, three-mark outing for the Allies, Munkara did not return to the representative or SANFL scene for the rest of the season, leaving a gap in his top-age development.
In terms of improvement to be made, building an endurance base and lifting his consistency levels are two which can be worked on in elite environments. His limited exposure at high levels leaves him as a raw prospect who has an enormous skillset, but will have to figure out how to best utilise it in a more restrictive AFL system.
DRAFT RANGE: 25-40
There will be plenty of intrigue surrounding Munkara and the relative unknowns he presents, especially for Essendon fans and recruiters alike. On pure talent, there is no way he falls outside the top 40, but he could well sneak into that range come draft night and become available to the Bombers. Though his talent speaks for itself, there are surer options among the second and third rounds of the draft – it will take a club which backs its development practices to bring in Munkara and nurture what gifts he offers.
Under 18s Championships