Leagues: NAB League Boys
POSITION: Balanced Midfielder
SNAPSHOT: “Callaghan is a prototypical athletic tall midfielder, possessing a long penetrative left foot kick and high level evasion skills, he has long been considered a top prospect and looms as one of the earliest selections in the 2021 AFL Draft.”
Finn Callaghan is widely considered to be part of the upper echelon of players in the draft class, with the Sandringham midfielder stepping up through the year and relishing his move to a more inside role at NAB League and State representative level, with injuries to teammates giving him the opportunity. The move led to a sharp rise for Callaghan as he had more opportunity to show off his speed, evasion and composure along with an increase in disposal numbers. Earning comparisons to former Dragon Josh Kelly and Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli, Callaghan is largely viewed as a top four prospect and will be looked at heavily by clubs in that range.
- Disposal Efficiency
- Kick Penetration
- Contested game
Callaghan came into the year behind a pack of Sandringham teammates, before quickly pushing up to be considered the best prospect from his region and one of the best two open draft options, with his play style bringing out the best of his athleticism and ball use. Starting out the season on the flanks, Callaghan’s running capacity and size saw him promptly moved into the midfield with great success, with his breakout game against Dandenong Stingrays earning him a call up to the AFL Academy squad game against Geelong VFL.
Callaghan continued to impress when returning at club level, winning team-high disposal numbers and driving forward with aggressive ball use. Callaghan put on arguably a best on ground performance in his Vic Metro vs. Vic Country trial game but unfortunately missed the Under 19 Challenge Match with a foot injury that kept him out for the remainder of the season.
Callaghan doesn’t have many clear improvement areas heading into the next level, with the biggest one being his contested game when playing an inside role. Callaghan looks to be a receiver or win the ball in space, but could certainly build on his contested work for the times he’s called upon to be that in and under winner. Given his bigger frame and scope to add muscle, it would be expected that after some time in the system he steps up and becomes major ball winner.
Whilst he may need to improve slightly on his contested work, Callaghan's ability to find possession can not be doubted. Whether in the air or on the ground, Callaghan is a reliable winner, able to get out free from pressure with his speed or leap high for a mark and take the ball with one grab. He’s also a hard working target around the ground that teammates want to get the ball to. On the rare occasions that Callaghan doesn't manage to get free from his opponent, his evasion in traffic, aided by his agility, is a strong weapon as he looks to get free from congestion and get rid of the ball.
Callaghan’s kick is impressive, able to kick over 50 meters and maintain his accuracy and penetration, even courageous enough to take on dangerous centring kicks and having them pay off. Callaghan can balance his kicks quite well for his teammates, bulleting the ones he needs to but also able to place them for teammates to run into and take easily. Whilst his kicking is a strength, Callaghan doesn’t put an over reliance on it, balancing well and still handballing when it’s the better of the two options. He is typically clean with his use by hand, even under pressure.
DRAFT RANGE: Top 5
When it comes to what Callaghan is going to offer at AFL level, he has a broad range of traits that will allow him to play in a multitude of roles, starting on either flank or a wing and gradually moving to a more inside role as he builds size and confidence, with his endurance already at a good enough level to get games early in his career, and his ball use looking to be a high standard. He should be in contention to be the second open draft selection made, placing him within the top five picks.
NAB League Boys