Leagues: NAB League Boys
POSITION: Medium Utility
SNAPSHOT: "Arguably the most impressive 19th-year player out of Victoria, Preston uses the ball cleanly in all thirds of the ground and makes good decisions to get his teammates involved in the game."
Having earned a surprise draft combine invite in 2020 despite the absence of a regular NAB League season, Preston came back in 2021 and showed people exactly why he was given that opportunity with such limited exposure. Representing Vic Metro, Eastern Ranges and Footscray VFL in 2021, Preston has shown off his versatility and clean kicking skills at all levels of competition, proving capable of kicking goals up forward or being a damaging rebounder out of the backline.
+ Decision making
- Contested game
Playing in plenty of different competitions over the course of 2021, Preston was one who stood up and showed he could handle the jump up between all of them, having played in the NAB League, VFL and at state representative level. Preston started the year as a small forward, before moving into the midfield and onto the wing, then finishing off the year playing as a defender where he surprisingly produced some of his best form.
The versatility that he displayed over the season is one of the traits that will most excite AFL clubs, improving week by week when taking on a new role. Consistency is something that Preston developed as the season went on and he started to play more and more in the backline, however, Preston did at times struggle for consistency up forward, especially with his scoreboard conversion where he seemed to be a confidence player. When running through the midfield, Preston can struggle with winning contested ball, looking more confident when playing as a receiver on the outside where he can utilise his positioning and ball use to really hurt his opposition.
Arguably Preston’s biggest strength is said ball use, and his decision making with ball in hand. Possessing a penetrative kick, he utilises his kicking skills fantastically well, often looking to take on aggressive kicks from the backline or midfield heading forward. His athleticism allows him to get free of opponents to buy him time to fully assess his options, or get out of congestion and make pick the right option ahead of the ball. With the ability to catch the eye and hurt the opposition, Preston is a player with just something about him.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late/Rookie
Having proven unlucky not to be afforded the opportunity to prove his worth last year, Preston has come back in 2021 and justified the attention he received. He is rated highly internally by the Eastern Ranges and has the qualities to be an effective player in multiple roles at the next level. The extra year of experience has treated Preston well and as one of the better performed 2002-born players in Victoria, he stands a chance of tempting a club late in this year's intake.
NAB League Boys