West PerthWest PerthMidfielder, Forward

#8

Lochlan Paton

height: 182cm

weight: 76kg

D.O.B: 18-11-2003

Leagues: WAFL Colts, WAFL Reserves

Image credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

POSITION: Forward/Midfielder

SNAPSHOT: "A tough yet clean ball winner who works hard defensively, and has transitioned well into a pressure forward role from his usual midfield post."

Delivering on the representative stage is something which often propels draft prospects, and deliver is exactly what Lochlan Paton did when his moment arose. He capped his top-age season in style with a match-winning goal for Western Australia, two years after his promising Under 16 campaign was disrupted by injury. The West Perth product has transitioned from a tough midfielder to a hard running half-forward in 2021, earning plaudits for the way his defensive appetite and work rate have translated to the new role. He was a key fixture for West Perth across 11 Colts games and even earned a mid-season Reserves berth, notching two outings at the level.

STRENGTHS:

+ Clean hands
+ Work rate
+ Defensive pressure
+ Toughness
+ Versatility

IMPROVEMENTS:

- Consistency
- Kick consistency

It is easy to see why Paton rose the junior ranks as a midfielder, and some of his best traits have proven transferable to newer roles on the wing and up forward. At his core, Paton loves to compete and has a strong work ethic, showing great desire to crack in and win his own ball but also harass and punish the opposition.

That defensive pressure makes him a viable option in attack, one who can help lock the ball in his side's half or disrupt the opposing rebounders. A high work rate lends to that kind of effort, and is something which also helps his cause as a high half-forward. Most often, Paton works his opponent over by searching up the ground before burning them on the way back to goal.

Another of Paton's key assets are his clean hands, which can be observed in his work both in the air and at ground level. He has a handy vertical leap - showcased by a 73cm score at the draft combine - and is gutsy enough to fly when his number is called. In general play, he is quick and clean with his use by hand and proves his ball winning class.

The main area that Paton can improve is his execution by foot. He carries the ball in dangerous positions and averaged 4.8 inside 50s this season, but can polish his end product to further hurt the opposition. That somewhat ties into his consistency, as he is smooth and classy at his best, but can look frustrated and turn the ball over otherwise. Learning a new role may have halted his continuity, and Paton may look to bridge that gap over time.

DRAFT PROJECTION: Late/Rookie

SUMMARY:

Paton is a player who competes well and has some handy footballing traits. While it took some time for him to find his feet, he took on the challenge of diversifying his skillset in terms of his on-field role and ended the season strongly to help his chances of garnering attention either late in the National Draft or as a rookie. With the crop so even in that range, a club which values his work rate and mix of strengths may take the chance.

WAFL Colts

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WAFL Reserves

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