Leagues: Under 18s Championships, WAFL League, WAFL Colts
SNAPSHOT: “The leading key defender in the pool, Jedd Busslinger stands as one of the few prospects to have played senior State League football this season, looking comfortable with the higher intensity and bigger bodies”
As the standout tall defender amongst the draft crop, Jedd Busslinger has performed well at every level he has played over the last two years, playing as a bottom-ager in the WA Under 19s side last season, and then making the step up to WAFL League in 2022. Busslinger’s quality is obvious for those that watch him and he makes his games count, highlighted with Under 18s All-Australian selection despite playing just two Under 18s Championships games. Unfortunately having his season cut short due to mid year shoulder surgery, Busslinger has done everything he possibly could to ensure he gets selected in November’s National Draft.
+ Intercept game
+ Disposal efficiency
+ Decision making
+ Footy IQ
- Ground balls
The leading tall defender heading into the season, Busslinger has maintained his status despite missing the second half of the year due to shoulder surgery. A top-end draft prospect due to his body of work over the last two seasons, even earning selection in the Under 18 All-Australian squad despite playing just two national championships games. Busslinger has rightfully gained this reputation with his reliability on-field and ability to accumulate from the defensive 50, complimenting this ability with his aggressive runs on the rebound. Busslinger is one of few tall prospects this season that was able to show his wares against more mature opponents, appearing in the AFL Academy game against Collingwood’s VFL side, and managing three appearances for East Perth at WAFL League level prior to his abrupt end to the year.
With intercepting becoming an increasingly important facet of the game at the next level, Busslinger looks likely to step into the role with relative ease for whoever picks him up, with his read of the ball in flight and strong hands making him a real threat in this area. Busslinger plays with a lot of freedom in the defensive 50, allowing him to roam off his direct opponent to drift in front of contests and take marks, or push further afield with the ball and act as an intercepting threat higher up the ground, quickly sending it back inside 50 when the opposition aren’t precise with their own rebound attempts.
Matching his ability to accumulate in the back half, and complementing his intercepting prowess, Busslinger is one that makes good decisions with ball in hand. Rarely rushed with his disposal, Busslinger assesses his options well and goes for realistic targets rather than trying to create a highlight every time he moves on the ball, happy to take safer options in good spots to ensure the ball does not get turned over.
With such a composed approach, and the decision making skills to compliment, it is no surprise that Busslinger is generally a good user of the footy. Not one that wins a lot of the footy in congestion, Busslinger generally does not have much immediate pressure when he has it, allowing him to make the most of his touches as he weights both kicks and handballs well for teammates on the move.
With Busslinger projecting so well as an interceptor and ball mover, there is some work still to do on his speed to allow him to continue to play with the same freedom, with improvement in this area ensuring he can get back to his opponent should they be looked at as an option heading forward. Along with this, Busslinger will need to bulk up a bit to match it physically with some of the games top forwards, as he occasionally got moved off the ball or out bodied in marking contests too easily this year.
DRAFT RANGE: 5-15
Jedd Busslinger is the premier key defender in this year’s AFL Draft. He provides the perfect combination of intercept making and ball use by hand or particularly foot. Though he does need to improve his strength and is not the quickest player, Busslinger has shown enough that he could be that loose intercept tall who is able to provide rebound, then develop into a player who can tackle the more athletic forwards over time.
Under 18s Championships