#23

Elijah Tsatas

height: 186cm

weight: 79kg

D.O.B: 18-10-2004

Leagues: Under 18s Championships, NAB League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “One of the most attacking midfielders in the draft Tsatas uses his speed and smarts to win plenty of the ball on the inside and outside”

Elijah Tsatas has been a highly rated prospect for a while now with selection in SSA squads and some strong performances in Under 16s pre-season games, Vic Metro Under 17s and even a debut as a 16-year-old for Oakleigh’s Under 19 side last year. Tsatas has spent a lot of his time either as a stoppage midfielder or running wingman, and has excelled at both roles.

Tsatas started the year in ripping form with some strong results in the preseason testing and some big games for Oakleigh before APS started. A 42 disposal game against Eastern Ranges was the highlight, but a foot fracture during his game against Collingwood VFL for the AFL Academy ruled him out for three months, missing a large chunk of the National Championships. He would make a strong return through APS team Wesley College with a three-goal game followed by a 37-disposal and 10-clearance game.

Tsatas’s return to NAB League could not have been better with a dominant display against eventual premiers Sandringham with a stacked midfield including Will Ashcroft, Cam Mackenzie and Olli Hotton finishing with 38 disposals and 13 inside 50s. He would back that up with a 34 disposal game against Bendigo in Oakleigh’s last game as the Oakleigh vice-captain gave his all in a losing effort.

The natural ball winner would finally get to play for Vic Metro and would end the game with 29 disposals and five clearances and was only two possessions off Will Ashcroft, who was the highest ball winner for the game. Tsatas was not able to back up his strong pre-season testing at the National Combine, but was impressive in interviews with the well spoken Charger embracing the pressure and how he may have to play interstate at the next level.

STRENGTHS:

+ Speed
+ Agility
+ Vision
+ Clean Hands
+ Consistency
+ Production

IMPROVEMENTS:

- Strength
- Defensive pressure

There is no player in the draft who can spread from a stoppage quite like Elijah Tsatas can; Tsatas uses his elite speed often to escape congestion usually after pouncing on the ground ball. The Oakleigh midfielder is hard to stop when he hits a stoppage at pace and takes the ball cleanly so if a ruckman can tap it to his advantage you can almost bank on Tsatas getting to the ball first and then sending the ball inside 50.

Tsatas' speed has been used to great effect whether on the inside or outside and formed a great partnership with teammate George Wardlaw on a few occasions this year with Wardlaw doing the grunt work, and Tsatas capitalising on the outside. That speed and agility combo will always bring attention to Tsatas so there is certainly no shortage of pressure whenever he goes for the ball because if you give him an inch, he will take a mile as he also does not fumble the ball.

Tsatas has been Oakleigh’s top possession winner in every game he has played and beaten by the opposition top ball winner only twice, so it is safe to say Tsatas has no problem winning the ball. Whether its winning his own ball when he goes to stoppages, leading to space around the ground or sweeping on the loose ball, he has many avenues to winning the ball using his football smarts and natural ability despite having a rather low endurance base compared to others in this years crop.

Of course being Oakleigh's top possession winner every game Tsatas has been very consistent this year averaging 33.8 disposals and not far behind Will Ashcroft who averaged 34.5 disposals. Ashcroft wins more contested ball as a more permanent midfielder, and though Tsatas plays a more outside role he is not just a receiver and will not hesitate to attack a loose ball at speed, but his lighter frame makes it harder for him to play a more contested style to enhance his best attributes when playing in the centre.

Skills wise Tsatas certainly hits more targets than he misses, and by hand he can be very clean and weight them well, and to teammates advantage and this is what could see him have a great career as a more inside player especially with his speed and clean hands at stoppages. His kicking on the other hand could use some improvement with a lack of penetration at times and he tends to kick out one step after marks which can loop up and put his teammates under pressure, but kicking inside 50 he often kicks to advantage and makes the right decisions so there is certainly no big concern but overall could be better.

The one big area for Tsatas to improve at the next level is his defensive running and tackling only averaging 1.3 tackles a game which is rather poor for a midfielder, but not uncommon for a pure winger. It is certainly an area to improve with pressure becoming more important with each year. Tsatas will use his speed with ball in hand but does not push as hard to put pressure on and it may come down to that lower endurance base compared to the likes of Ashcroft but you could argue Tsatas would be a more well rounded player winning five disposals less but averaging three more tackles per game.

DRAFT RANGE: 1-5

SUMMARY:

Despite missing three months of football in an important period, Tsatas remains a big chance to be one of the first selected in this years draft. Standing at 186cm and possessing elite speed and a good leap, coupled with his natural football ability and production, it is hard to ignore Tsatas in the top 5 picks in this years draft. There is also some upside with Tsatas as he is the least readymade out of the top mids and with an interrupted year who knows how much better he could have gone.

Strengths
Athleticism
Clean hands
Composure
Kicking
Run-and-carry
Speed
Improvements
Strength
Tackling

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2021Oakleigh Chargers561120000011015.06.011.02.00.00.00.036
2022Oakleigh Chargers11984203430080049132619.814.033.87.20.01.30.3130
Total-12490214450080050142717.712.930.66.40.01.10.3166

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2022Vic Metro000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000
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