GlenelgGlenelgMedium Defender, Outside Midfielder

#20

Lewis Rayson

height: 183cm

weight: 69kg

D.O.B: 14-01-2003

Leagues: SANFL Reserves, SANFL Under 18s

Image Credit: Glenelg FC

POSITION: Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder

SNAPSHOT: “Rayson is a dashing half-back who turns defence into attack through line-breaking run and carry and penetrating kicking. A capable intercept mark, he has also shown promise through the midfield."

Lewis Rayson produced a strong season for Glenelg’s Under 18s and performed admirably for South Australia to solidify himself as one of his state's best half-back prospects. Rayson entered the year having already proven himself at SANFL Under 18 level, finishing eighth in the McCallum-Tomkins Medal count as a bottom-aged talent. The vice-captain of this year's state Under 19 team, Rayson earned the opportunity to lead the side in the second match against Western Australia, with captain Jason Horne-Francis required to represent South Adelaide in the League preliminary final. The Kenilworth product’s strong leadership has been a highlight of his junior career so far, having previously been named a leader of the state Under 16 side in 2019. Regarded for his line-breaking speed and penetrating foot skills, Rayson was a key pillar in the success of the Tigers' Under 18s this season, who claimed the minor premiership before falling to Woodville-West Torrens in the decider. Despite being handed various roles by Bays coach Darren Trevena, including stints on the wing and as an inside midfielder, Rayson displayed remarkable consistency, gathering 20 or more possessions every game. He broke through for two Reserves games, gathering 13 and 21 possessions across rounds 16 and 17. Having finished year 12 at Sacred Heart College last year, Rayson’s availability at Glenelg was vital to the club’s success.

STRENGTHS:

+ Speed
+ Breaking the lines
+ Intercept marking
+ Kick penetration
+ Versatility
+ Leadership

IMPROVEMENTS:

+ Strength
+ Midfield craft

Rayson was a model of consistency for the Bays in 2021, averaging 26.7 disposals, 6.6 marks and 4.7 inside 50s in 14 Under 18 matches. He started the season on fire, gathering 30 or more disposals in four of the opening five games, and continued to finish games with at-least 20 disposals for the remainder of the season. His standout match came in round six against Sturt, where Rayson dominated in the midfield to finish with 35 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and five clearances in the Bays' 79-point victory.

Rayson was also one of Glenelg’s best on grand final day, registering 27 disposals and five tackles. He continued this strong form into the meetings with Western Australia, where Rayson featured among SA’s best players in both matches. His ability to find the ball in various positions will have certainly caught the eye of AFL recruiters. Rayson’s leadership will also be noted, having been included in the state leadership group at both Under 16 and Under 19 level. On the field, he demonstrated strong leadership and a high football IQ, particularly with regard to structural positioning in defence and at stoppages.

The dashing utility’s ability to break opposition lines with speed is perhaps his most noticeable athletic strength, and one which should allow him to play a number of roles at the next level. When stationed down back and on the wing in-particular, Rayson repeatedly looks to take the game on by using his burst to accelerate away from opponents. Alongside line-breaking speed, Rayson also possesses good agility, which is particularly evident when played in an on-ball role where he is capable of spinning his way through traffic. Rayson also has a high vertical leap which allows him to compete in the air with taller opponents.

The 18-year-old played some of his best football at half-back, where his intercept marking was often a feature. He knows when to peel off his direct opponent and help out in the air, proving clean overhead and then using clean skills to help turn defence into attack. Kick penetration is another of Rayson's strengths. A clean, fluent action is paired with good vision and sound decision making. He can hit long-range targets further down the field by foot, when others wouldn't have the skill to execute effectively. Rayson's skills, combined with his strong all-round athletic profile and ability to find the football has allowed him to play a number of roles this season. His versatility is one of several promising traits which will appeal to AFL recruiting staff and provide immediate mid-sized depth to a senior list.

When used in an on-ball capacity, Rayson has shown some good contested ball winning skills, without being overly dominant. Although he would add speed and clean kicking to a midfield rotation, Rayson's skillset and smaller build is perhaps better suited to an outside-leaning role. Like almost all draftees, Rayson will be afforded plenty of time across a number of pre-season's to add some size to his frame, and that may help his midfield craft development. At 183cm, he is a good size but is still slim and will add muscle when involved in an elite level program.

DRAFT PROJECTION: 30-50

SUMMARY: 

Lewis Rayson shapes as one of the leading South Australian prospects ahead of the 2021 National Draft. A strong leader, he has been on the radar of scouts and recruiters since impressing with SA at Under 16 level. A well-rounded prospect with few glaring weaknesses, Rayson boasts line-breaking speed and is a strong intercept mark. His versatility has seen him play as a half-back who can quickly turn defence-into-attack, a wingman who can cut through opposition lines with a penetrating kick and as a dynamic inside midfielder who has provided something different to the on-ball rotation at both club and state level. After a terrific season with Glenelg, the SA Under 19 vice-captain was one of South Australia's best in both of their matches against Western Australia in Perth. Whilst clubs will need to add some size to his frame, Rayson's strong athleticism, neat skills and handy versatility should see him come into consideration during the second round of the national draft.

FURTHER CONTENT:

>> SANFL Player Focus: Lewis Rayson

SANFL Reserves

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2021Glenelg18163470050161029.08.017.03.50.02.50.063.5
Total-18163470050161029.08.017.03.50.02.50.063.5

SANFL Under 18s

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2021Glenelg2561183749200360.031664241418.38.426.76.60.02.60.3103.4
Total-256118374920036031664241412.04.016.04.00.02.01.0103.4
Lewis Rayson Articles
View more