David Handley

height: 182.6cm

weight: 78.6kg

D.O.B: 01-09-1999

DRAFT ANALYSIS: "David Handley is an uncompromising midfielder who ticks all the defensive boxes. He has room for improvement with his kicking and is not the fastest player out there, but has a high work rate."

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys


David Handley is another Geelong Falcon who enjoyed a strong year in the premiership team. He started off as a half-forward but become a permanent midfielder towards the end of the season. One of Handley's greatest strengths is his work rate and ability to be both offensively and defensively dangerous. He can hit the scoreboard himself or assist others, but also chases and lays the bone-crunching tackles too. His versatility is another tick, with areas of improvement including his speed and kicking, with nine out of 10 kicks shorter rather than long.


  • Scoreboard impact
  • Versatility
  • Tackling
  • Work rate

Handley is a fierce competitor who is really balanced in his attack on the football. He can play inside or outside and be given roles with offensive or defensive targets to meet. The biggest thing for me watching him is his ability to hit the scoreboard, even when playing predominantly midfield. In 2017, he booted 28.28, which of course meant he missed a number of opportunities, but was constantly in the action. Furthermore, he had 21 score assists, which means he had 77 score involvements, which is an average of five per game. The reason he hits the scoreboard so often is his hard running and ability to win the ball himself then push forward and also be the beneficiary too. Handley loves tackling which was reflected in his stats with an average of 5.6 per game. For a midfielder/forward, he has the trait of locking the ball inside 50, or extracting the ball from a contest into the forward 50. From the times I saw him he is often underrated as he does not win as much ball as others, but is sensible with what he does and how he plays - within his own limitations. Naturally there are some improvements for him, but I can see in an era where forward pressure and two-way running is vital to success, why clubs would be interested in him.


  • Speed
  • Impact by foot

The two aspects of Handley's game which could improve are his kicking and his speed. As mentioned above, he finished the season with just 58 per cent by foot. For a balanced midfielder that is not too bad, particularly considering behinds are ineffective kicks. But the aspect of kicking I would highlight is his tendency to kick short. He opted to kick long just 12 per cent of the time, which ranked him in the bottom five. This could be another way of knowing his limitations and opting for short kicks, but for me if you are going to develop into a full-time AFL midfielder with hurt factor, long kicks from the middle to the dangerous areas are the way to go. Secondly, his speed is another factor of his game which is below average. For an inside midfielder speed is not as important as outside ones, which is why he is likely to develop on the inside to ensure his limited speed is not a liability. I think his high work rate and gut running will help him overcome his lack of speed because he will stand up in the last quarter when everyone else is slowing down. Nonetheless it's an area which can be improved over time with players, even if it is just a marginal increase.

DRAFT PROJECTION: Third round onwards


David Handley presents a point of difference to many other draftees. He has the really good balance between offense and defence, and if he can fine tune his deficiencies a little more, then he could be an underrated player. Mentally he has all the tools to make it at the elite level with his work ethic and willingness to get his hands dirty. Handley is the definition of a two-way runner and that will impress many clubs, knowing they could play him down forward or through the midfield and know he will stick to the task at hand. It is hard to know which club will pounce first and where, but I anticipate he is a chance from the third round onwards.

AFL U18 Championships

2016Vic Country000000000000000000000
2017Vic Country272754152433130593346.86.813.

Coates Talent League Boys

2016Geelong Falcons102030800150000333.36.710.
2017Geelong Falcons16073233649513484019355281510.74.915.
David Handley Articles
View All