Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys
SNAPSHOT: “A well-rounded athlete and defender capable of intercepting, rebounding, and locking down a variety of opponents.”
Josh Weddle is a prospect who falls into the bolter category this year, having enjoyed a steep rise up draft boards. Turning out for the Oakleigh Chargers and Carey Grammar, he quickly showcased the blend of athleticism and versatility he offers down back to earn selection in the Vic Metro squad.
Playing all four National Championship games, he took on the task of manning some of the best tall forwards of the draft crop, playing above his size with sound defensive craft, while also looking dangerous on the rebound.
The 18-year-old’s exploits this year saw him named at full back in the All Australian side, and at centre half-back in the NAB League team of the year, before deservedly being invited to the National Draft Combine in October.
+ Intercept marking
+ Rebound run
- In-between size
It is easy to see the upside in Weddle, whose athletic profile is both enviable and essential. Not only does he possess a strong frame, springy leap and explosive speed, but his endurance base saw him rank 10th in the NAB League during preseason testing, with a 21.7 yo-yo test score.
On-field, Weddle's aerial prowess and rebound running are the most applicable examples of his athletic value. He holds his own against key position players both in wrestles and off the mark, but can also corral smaller opponents. In possession, he sets off with aggressive rebound run and is hard to stop with a full head of steam.
His ability to lock down on both tall and small opponents has been terrific. From Harry Lemmey and Aaron Cadman to Harry Sheezel, Weddle's defensive versatility has been proven. He is also versatile in his balance of offence and defence, possessing weapons to hurt the opposition once he successfully turns the ball over.
Another tick for that versatility, though not showcased much at representative or NAB League level, is his ability to swing forward. Weddle hit the scoreboard with relative regularity for Carey Grammar and certainly has the tools to be a clean marking target inside 50. He also played in midfield as a junior, before making use of his growth spurt.
At this point in time, Weddle's defensive game is arguably more sound that his offence. Though damaging in his instincts, he could benefit from working on his composure and consistency of kicks when streaming forward, which fall into the category of decision making. His 63 per cent kick efficiency is evidence of that.
While not particularly an improvement as such, Weddle also presents a level of intrigue with his size. He arguably falls below key position height and while capable of competing against talls in his current age group, that will become a lot harder at the next level. Thus, he seems to fit the third tall mould a touch more, with potential to roll up to a wing.
DRAFT RANGE: 20-30
With an outstanding athletic profile, a blend of offensive and defensive traits, and high levels of versatility, it is easy to see why recruiters quickly jotted down Weddle’s name this year. He has plenty of required traits which will help his transition to the top level, likely in the second round of the draft. Though, given his upside and the lack of high-end tall options, he could feature even earlier.
AFL U18 Championships
Coates Talent League Boys