Leagues: SANFL Under 18s, Under 18s Championships
SNAPSHOT: “An athletic, highly-skilled ruck/forward prospect who has plenty of X-factor.”
There’s not a lot of things on a football field that Isaac Keeler can’t do. The mercurial forward/ruck continues to flash the x-factor and match-winning ability that brings fans to games. Keeler has put together patches of brilliance throughout the year, most recently in the SANFL U18 Semi Final against Norwood. Keeler’s start to the second half set the tone for his side and his dominance through the middle and around the ground helped turn a quarter time deficit into a comfortable victory.
Spending large periods through the ruck for North Adelaide this season, Keeler does his best work as an extra midfielder in that part of the ground. His ability to read the opposing ruckman’s tap and win his own clearance helps shake up the midfield mix for his side. A capable leaper too, Keeler can rise above the opposition ruck and get first hand to the football. Averaging a touch under 18 disposals a game this season is a testament to his ability to win possession around the ground. Keeler is equally dangerous inside 50 where he’s a threat on the lead, in the air and below his knees.
+ Clearance work
+ Goal sense
- Contested marking
Isaac Keeler looks to have one of the highest ceilings of any prospect in this year's draft pool. The 198cm talent from Port Augusta teases a rare combination of athleticism, mobility and skill for a player his size.
A tough cover on the lead due to his range and speed, Keeler comfortably gets separation from his opponent, with few defenders in the SANFL Under 18 competition able to stay with him. Poor entries inside 50 won't take him out of the contest, with his ability to collect the ball cleanly below his knees and finish around his body, Keeler has the skillset of a small forward in a key forward's body.
Technically gifted, Keeler is a capable set shot goalkicker who can easily cover the distance from beyond the 50 metre arc. This natural ability to use the football also extends to his field kicking, where his ball use around the ground is of a quality rarely seen in a player his size.
Keeler's exploits in the ruck have been somewhat of a mixed bag at this stage. While he has a big enough leap to compete for the hitouts, he hasn't yet embraced the physical nature of the ruck battle, leading to some varied results for him in that part of the ground. Where he looks most comfortable in that role is in his ability to read the opposing ruckman's hit-outs and contribute as an extra midfield option.
Keeler's size and athleticism are again a major advantage for him and he's more than capable of winning clearances and kicking his side into attack. Outside of the ruck contest, Keeler has demonstrated his ability to accumulate the football around the ground, where his teammates trust him with ball in hand.
Whilst his size and athleticism is a strength, adding more physicality to his game will help Keeler take his football to the next level. At times he can be too easily moved out of a marking contest and when denied a clean run and jump at the football, Keeler struggles to bring the ball to ground.
Improving his physicality would likely see further development in his ruck craft and if he can become a consistent contested marking threat, Keeler would be well on his way to reaching his ceiling as a footballer. Although he may be a few years away from being AFL-ready, the upside with Keeler makes him one of the more intriguing prospects in this year's crop.
DRAFT RANGE: 20-40
If Keeler can put it all together, he might represent some of the best value in this year’s draft. His combination of skill and athleticism are rarely seen in a player his size, and thus, he may attract interest as early as the first round on draft night. The Crows will be disappointed to most likely miss out on their NGA prospect, though it won’t come as a surprise given Keeler’s talent being highly rated for some time.
SANFL Under 18s
Under 18s Championships