Leagues: NAB League Boys
POSITION: Medium Defender/Midfielder
SNAPSHOT: "A strong-bodied prospect who flies for intercept marks in defence, but can also roll through midfield and launch attacks with his long kicking."
One of the leading Queensland prospects in 2021, Bodhi Uwland took out Gold Coast's academy player of the year award this season after a terrific campaign across multiple levels. He represented the SUNS Academy in the NAB League and also featured seven times at VFL level, while turning out for QAFL club Broadbeach in the Reserves and Seniors when possible. His campaign was cut short by stress fractures in his back, ridding Uwland of one last chance at state representative honours, but the powerful defender/midfielder showed plenty across the several games he managed. A high-flying marker, hard tackler, and booming kicker, the 18-year-old does things which catch the eye.
Uwland has a range of traits which allow him to impact in multiple facets of the game. He looks arguably most comfortable in defence, where two of his strongest assets - vertical leap and intercept marking - come to the fore. The two go hand-in-hand, with a springy leap lending well to getting up for big marks across the backline. Tending to read the play well, Uwland positions himself in dangerous spots behind the ball and is not afraid to go when his number is called.
The intercept marking trait is combined with strong kick penetration and aggressive forward running to help Uwland feature as quite an attacking defender at times. Whether it be from the kick-ins or when launching goals from over 50 metres out, Uwland has showcased his ability to gain serious meterage by foot. Arguably his standout game for the year came against Dandenong Stingrays in the NAB League, where he slotted two goals from beyond the arc and notched seven marks and seven inside 50s among his 29 touches.
While Uwland can certainly cause a bit of damage with his kicking, finding his range more consistently is an area he can work on. He looks great when those punchy driving kicks come off, but can sometimes invite pressure on shorter passes by putting too much air on them. As he continues to climb the grades, making good decisions under pressure will also factor into his ability to be an effective kick.
A tendency to blaze away is often compounded in midfield, and that is one area of overall midfield craft that Uwland can also further develop. He showed hints of versatility with success pinch-hitting at centre bounces, but will likely look to enhance his running and impact away from the contest to be a more consistent ball winner.
It makes sense that a player of Uwland's build and style would look to gain more midfield minutes, though. The Queenslander is a tough customer who looks to bustle out of congestion with strength and he may be caught on occasion, but is not afraid to take on opponents. While sometimes selective in his defensive acts, Uwland also loves a tackle and lays them with intent, adding another vital facet to his contested game.
DRAFT RANGE: Late - Rookie
You can assume with relative safety that Gold Coast will commit genuine interest in its academy player of the year, and at this point it seems the SUNS will definitely take Uwland as a rookie should he slip through the National Draft. Other clubs may be tempted to place a bid given his range of traits and scope to improve, especially given how even the mid-to-late range of the draft is this year.
NAB League Boys