Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys
SNAPSHOT: “A ferociously competitive ball winner who runs hard and makes his presence felt going both ways.”
There are few harder and more physical competitors among this year’s crop of midfielders than Hugh Bond, a talented multi-sport athlete out of the Greater Western Victoria Rebels region.
A rower at the national level, Bond has put his focus into footy of late, and overcame seperate injuries both last year and in preseason to produce a solid top-age campaign. He turned out 12 times for the Rebels this season, earning Vic Country selection and stepping up in big games.
Bond’s move to defence while donning representative colours only boosted his stocks, with the on-baller’s desire to hunt both the opposition and ball translating well to his role behind the ball. With his strong physique and running capacity, there is plenty to like.
+ Contested work
Much of Bond's value extends from his contested game, with the hardened ball winner capable of impacting going both ways. He takes the ball cleanly at stoppages and has a sharp step to power out, but isn't afraid to wear contact in doing so. On the flip-side, his tackles have buried many an opponent, with Bond's physicality setting a great tone at the source.
Those attributes served him perfectly for a shift to defence with Vic Country, where Bond's competitiveness in one-on-one situations saw him become a capable lockdown option. It will be interesting to note where clubs see his best footy being played, given his stoppage craft and endurance base suit the midfield, but his defensive acumen helped him rise in stocks behind the ball.
There were times where the Rebels needed a lift this season, and Bond was able to provide it on-ball. Though his method of driving the ball into attack could do with some polish, his intensity can never be faulted and Bond's average of nine tackles per NAB League outing absolutely attests to that.
Going forward, finding a greater inside-outside balance may help his hurt factor. Bond has said himself that kicking is an area for improvement, and while neat by hand, being able to break to the outside himself, lower the eyes, and find targets forward of the ball is a more surefire way to make his possessions count.
DRAFT RANGE: 40-60
As far as well-developed ball winners go, Bond is up there in the readymade category given his running ability and appetite for the contest. He thrives on being able to hurt the opposition, but can look to do so more with ball in hand, rather than on the defensive end. Speaking of, his versatility to roll back and become a lockdown option will boost his chances towards the middle and back-end of the draft, with his AFL traits evident – especially in a work rate sense.
AFL U18 Championships
Coates Talent League Boys