Dandenong StingraysDandenong StingraysInside Midfielder

#2

Mitch Szybkowski

height: 186cm

weight: 86kg

D.O.B: 09-01-2004

Leagues: Under 18s Championships, NAB League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT “A big bodied inside ball winner, Mitch Szybkowski is not afraid to use his frame to push opponents around to give himself the best position around stoppages, following up with clean distribution to outside runners.”

Impressing enough as an Under 17 Vic Country representative to earn AFL Academy Selection, Mitch Szybkowski has had a consistent year at all levels as an inside midfielder, using his frame and positioning to devastating effect around stoppages to be a prime first possession winner. Szybkowski has been an increasingly important player the higher level he’s played, being rewarded for his efforts in feeding the ball out from the inside to the likes of Oliver Hollands and Jhye Clark at National Championships level. Representing Dandenong Stingrays and leading the side to the 2022 NAB League Grand Final, the onballer has consistently been among the most productive players in the Victorian competition, and able to adapt to the next level for Vic Country.

STRENGTHS:

+ Contested work
+ Clean hands
+ Decision making
+ Stoppage craft
+ Work rate

IMPROVEMENTS:

- Kicking consistency
- Speed

An important part of all three of his teams; Dandenong Stingrays, Caulfield Grammar and Vic Country, Mitch Szybkowski has played his role as a bigger bodied midfielder superbly all year. Not the flashiest of ball winners himself, Szybkowski is very much ‘what you see is what you get’ with his current game, using his frame and positioning around stoppages to get to the fall of the ball and win first possession, then handball off to an outside runner well. In saying that, Szybkowski’s outside craft is an area that has seen some rapid development through the season as well, accumulating more and more away from stoppages as the year has gone on, working especially hard to be a handball receiver from teammates who had taken a mark or earned a free kick.

That work rate is a trait that is present in all phases of the game, working hard to accumulate around the ground in offence, but also showing off his defensive accountability with tackles from stoppages, rarely having an opponent shake him off when he had got a hand to them. Szybkowski is one of the better players in the draft for spreading from the contest, or getting to spots that give his defenders an easy option up the ground, often getting free from opposition and moving the ball on quickly.

Complimenting all of this is Szybkowski’s decision making with ball in hand, with his ability to quickly assess his options even under pressure making him a generally damaging player despite winning so much of the ball at the coalface, with his hands in close a standout feature in his game, seemingly knowing where his options are going to be even before he’s fully won control of the ball, often finding options through traffic to fully release his teammates. When in open play and allowed more time to assess options, Szybkowski maintains a good balance between his kicking and handballing, as one that prefers a more precise option he rarely takes the easy kick down the line option when many other players would.

As mentioned, Szybkowski does the bulk of his work on the inside of the contest, with his contested game and stoppage craft two areas he excels at, using his size to his advantage but more than capable of matching it with bigger bodies, as showcased in the AFL Academy game against the Collingwood VFL where he was one of the more reliable midfielders on the day.

Looking towards the future, there are still some areas of Szybkowski’s game that could do with some improvement. His kicking, whilst generally good, has been inconsistent at times, especially when he’s moving at top speed, and if improved will round his game really well. Szybkowski has also flagged his speed and acceleration as an area he wants to improve on to allow him more separation around stoppages and when up forward. Given the strides he has taken in terms of outside running, adding versatility with scoreboard impact and more damaging overall ball use will lift his profile - only adding to his great strengths.

DRAFT RANGE: 20-40

SUMMARY:

Mitch Szybkowski might not be the flashiest of players, but few are more consistent playing that onball role, and are able to distribute cleanly by hand consistently. A natural leader, the midfielder is capable of influencing the match around the stoppages, and while he still has other areas to improve on outside the contest, has a role at AFL level with his best attributes. Expect the midfielder to be taken in the first half of the draft, most likely in the second round.

Strengths
Clean hands
Consistency
Decision making
Inside game
Work rate
Improvements
Kicking consistency [reference to execution]
Speed

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2022Dandenong Stingrays7092162170028003082710.013.123.12.40.04.00.375
Total-7092162170028003082710.013.123.12.40.04.00.375

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2022Vic Country425294203165150111480410.513.023.55.00.03.80.090
Total-425294203165150111480410.513.023.55.00.03.80.090
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