Leagues: WAFL Colts
Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos
SNAPSHOT: “A prolific tall ball winner who utilises his strength overhead to impact up forward, Erasmus is a prototypical goal kicking midfielder.”
Subiaco and Hale School product Neil Erasmus starred in the 2020 WAFL Colts Grand Final with a four-goal haul to put his name in lights, and hasn’t missed a beat since across multiple competitions. Erasmus finds the footy with ease when playing through the midfield as he balances his inside and outside work superbly, finding ways out of trouble with his evasion and clean hands. To go with this midfield craft, Erasmus is able to play as a target up forward, with his leading patterns and marking two traits which help him hurt the opposition in attack.
After a standout 2020 WAFL Colts Grand Final performance, Erasmus continued to go from strength to strength in 2021, proving arguably the best player in the PSA season for Hale, the side he captained, and being a later inclusion to the AFL Academy squad which took on Geelong VFL. Erasmus was unsurprisingly involved in the WA Under 19 squad and performed well in the practice matches he participated in, before unfortunately missing out on championships proper against South Australia as his year was cut short by a corked quad.
As a midfielder, Erasmus is generally one of the main ball winners on the ground. Whether the target of the tap around a stoppage, winning it in a pack, or timing his run to receive it on the outside, Erasmus knows where to be to win the ball and almost commands it with his presence. A big strength of Erasmus’ once he wins the ball is his use by hand. Even in traffic or under a high amount of pressure, Erasmus generally spots out an option and handballs well, with his ability to keep his hands free in congestion a major part of that. How consistent Erasmus is with that accumulation, and his quality use by hand are impressive across all levels of competition, regularly getting above 30 disposals.
There aren’t many improvements that Erasmus needs to work on heading into the future, being a generally well rounded prospect. His kicking at times can be inconsistent, with his penetration and decision making generally sound but accuracy being something he can struggle with, particularly under pressure or on the run. His goal kicking accuracy had previously been a bit of a concern but is something he’s improved through the year, especially his set shots. Another area of improvement that would advance Erasmus’ all-round game is his explosive speed, which would help him create separation when leading more consistently or get away from opponents in the midfield more easily. At the moment, he is the type of player who covers good ground over time.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 6-12
With his effectiveness in the forward line as a strong marker with good leading patterns, Erasmus is one that should be able to play at AFL level early on for whichever club picks him up, and will be able to rotate through the midfield as he builds to a more permanent role through the guts. His endurance base and consistency bode well alongside his aerial tricks and scoreboard impact, all traits which have him firmly in top 10 contention.