Leagues: NAB League Boys
POSITION: Small Defender
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Ham is a superb athlete with clean skills on top of being a capable transition runner." - Peter Williams
Charlie Ham is one of a number of Geelong Falcons to be nominated for the AFL Draft Combine this year and is seen as a player with high upside. Much like his brother Brayden at Essendon, Ham has some serious power and athleticism in the way he moves on the football field. He is not a high accumulator, nor does he have a big frame, but he makes the most of his touches, which are often used in transition playing off half-back in the NAB League.
- Clean hands
- Transition running
With a disposal average of 7.2 per his nine NAB League matches as a bottom-ager, Ham's figures might not jump out off the stats sheet. Particularly factoring in his average of 1.4 marks, 1.3 tackles and and 1.8 rebounds. He is not built to be a player racking up 20 touches every game, but instead one who has the athletic capabilities and smart ball use to have an impact with each touch. His disposal efficiency of 75.4 per cent is very good, but it is his clean hands - running at an elite 90.9 per cent efficiency - that stands out, even though most of them have come when he is not standing still. Ham is a runner and he has the evasion and endurance to make him a tricky prospect going forward.
At the NAB League preseason testing, Ham showed he had added four kilograms to his frame from his bottom-age year, moving up to 74kg on the books. No doubt over the summer he has aimed to add a few more to that, and the intrigue around the small defender is his ball use as much as his athleticism. At that testing, Ham recorded an 8.10-second agility test and 21.1 yo-yo test, both rated elite measurements. Throw in a highly impressive 79cm running vertical jump, and a solid 3.08-second 20m sprint, and Ham has an assortment of weapons when it comes to his athletic profile. As already mentioned, he does need to build greater strength to compete with bigger bodies, but he has the nous to win ground balls from less athletic types.
On-field, Ham is still very raw in terms of his ability, and as we saw with Brayden, it took until his over-age year to really catch the eye. But given his brother's late development and Ham showing similar athletic traits, it is reason enough to suggest he could too be in for a big couple of years. He can take the game on and use the ball well in one-two situations which is why he is so well suited as a small defender. With his speed and vertical jump, Ham can play a defensive role on an opposition forward. Maintaining accountability, Ham can run off and provide extra drive for his side, and his two-way running is what stands out about his attributes. He might still be a while away from reaching his peak, but he has the tools to build upon.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late/Rookie
The intriguing aspect about Ham and getting a Draft Combine invitation is, he did not automatically get one like some. With many of those having represented Australia at Under 17s level against New Zealand or playing in the All-Stars Futures match on AFL Grand Final day, Ham does not fit into that category. The positive in that means the Falcons youngster - who does not turn 18 until November 11 - is that it means at least four clubs requested he earn a combine invitation which shows there is interest out there. In saying that, being a raw prospect with plenty of little areas to work on, expect him to be more of a late/rookie selection.