Leagues: Under 18s Championships, NAB League Boys
SNAPSHOT: “A well balanced and poised midfielder, Mackenzie successfully took on a full-time midfield role in 2022, showing off his keen decision making and stoppage craft throughout.”
Sandringham Dragons midfielder Cameron Mackenzie is one of the more reliable ball winners in this year’s draft crop, producing a remarkable level of consistency across multiple levels to establish himself as a top 10 candidate.
Playing as a defender and midfielder in his Under 17 representative games, Mackenzie made the permanent move on-ball for Sandringham and Vic Metro in 2022, rocketing himself up draft boards with his movement around stoppages and decision making in congestion.
The St Kilda NGA prospect has steadily improved as the season has gone on and taken his opportunities to impress in both the NAB League and Under 18 National Championships, playing a pivotal role for Sandringham and Vic Metro respectively.
+ Clean hands
+ Decision making
+ Disposal efficiency
+ Stoppage craft
- Outside game
- Quarter-to-quarter consistency
It has been a successful year both individually and team-wise for Mackenzie, who was a core part of a premiership winning Sandringham Dragons side and championship winning Vic Metro outfit. Averaging a touch over 24 disposals in the NAB League, with a 35-disposal and one-goal game in Round 10 a particular highlight, Mackenzie has been one who has shown he’s far more likely to look for dangerous options rather than try and do too much himself, with his team orientated approach being pivotal to a few wins over the course of the year.
Mackenzie’s decision making under pressure is particularly key to this aspect of his game, allowing him to quickly assess options through congestion and fire a quick handball to a runner, regularly keeping his hands high to avoid being pinned in a tackle. Whilst the hands in close are impressive, Mackenzie’s ability to weight his kicks well from packs is arguably the most unique part of his game, rarely putting too much penetration on a kick to allow his teammates to run onto it without breaking stride.
Mackenzie boasts an impressive athletic base which gives him the tools to create separation at stoppages and around the ground, complimenting his natural craft well. Whilst not always the main target around stoppages, Mackenzie is a natural when the ball is thrown up, timing his runs well and reading the ball off the rucks hands to take it at close to full flight. Mackenzie also plays the role of receiver naturally around stoppages, using that same speed to get separation on his direct opponent and spread from the congestion well, getting out in space in a position easy for his teammates to give the ball out to.
Offensively, Mackenzie is very good value for his disposals, with the damage he causes with ball in hand already mentioned, his work off the ball is also admirable, as one of the better two way runners in the crop, Mackenzie works hard to help aid his side in defence, whether it’s laying tackles or applying heavy pressure on an oppositions disposal.
Whilst Mackenzie has been consistent in terms of stats and impact game-to-game, there is still some way to go with his consistency between quarters, sometimes fading out of games when there are less stoppages or the game opens up in general. This ties into Mackenzie perhaps needing to work on his ability to impact in open play, admittedly an area that improved through the season, but still occasionally looking rushed when disposing the ball on the outside.
DRAFT RANGE: Top 10
Mackenzie has plenty of traits which, as a pure midfielder, make him a relatively easy sell to recruiters. At a good size but with ample athleticism, his inside craft is sound and he can hurt the opposition with slick foot skills going inside 50. His ties to St Kilda’s NGA mean little given he will come into consideration within the top 10 picks, though the Saints could snap him up with their pick nine to keep him in red, white and black.
NAB League Boys
Under 18s Championships