Swan DistrictsSwan DistrictsTall Defender, Tall Forward

#1

Rhett Bazzo

height: 195cm

weight: 81kg

D.O.B: 10-10-2003

Leagues: WAFL Colts

Image Credit: WAFL

POSITION: Tall Defender/Forward

SNAPSHOT: "A promising swingman who thrives aerially, Bazzo looks most comfortable down back where he can read the play, intercept, and distribute by foot."

One of the premier tall prospects heading into the year, Rhett Bazzo could well prove a value selection come draft time. The Swan Districts swingman shot to prominence in 2019 after earning All Australian honours at the Under 16 National Championships, before going on to don state colours at Under 18 and 19 level in consecutive years. The son of late WAFL champion, Steve, Bazzo proudly wore the Swans' number one guernsey in their recent Colts premiership triumph and was also a key figure for Guildford Grammar in the PSA competition. Able to play at both ends of the ground, the 195cm talent stands up in big games and is a terrific aerial feature.

STRENGTHS:

+ Reading the play
+ Intercept marking
+ Distribution
+ Composure
+ Versatility

IMPROVEMENTS:

- Consistency
- Repeat defensive effort

Arguably the most effective area of Bazzo's game is his aerial nous, especially when stationed behind the ball. It takes very little watching to realise how well he reads the play, able to zone off his direct opponent and intercept time after time. His clean intercept marking is what has him earmarked as a more effective defender, and it's the role in which he has played his best footy over the last few years.

Speaking of, while Bazzo is quite a prominent intercept marker down back, he has also shown an aptitude up forward. A four-goal haul in preseason had him primed for more time in attack, doing so for his opening two Colts games and at times for Guildford Grammar, before reverting back to his defensive post for Swan Districts, the AFL Academy, and West Australian Under 19 side.

With his ability to play at either end, suffice to say Bazzo is versatile. That trait also translates to his ability to fulfil different roles in defence - both as a loose interceptor or lockdown type. He would be an effective third-up tall at the next level, but proved his worth in the latter role when occupying Jacob van Rooyen in the Colts Grand Final. During said game, van Rooyen kicked three goals in the opening term, but managed just one thereafter as Bazzo was moved onto him.

Still, Bazzo would have to refine a few areas of his profile to play such a role at the next level. He will slowly be filling out his 81kg frame and is hardly one to engage in wrestles when competing for marks, much more happy to take the back shoulder and get a run at the ball from behind. With such positioning, he is sometimes slow to react if unable to impact aerially, and can be caught out if his opponent changes tact to charge out the back.

With plenty to make of Bazzo's work without the ball, it is important to remember how good he is with it. At 195cm, he is an extremely sound distributor by foot across the last line, able to go long or set up rebounds with lateral passes. He went by foot 71 per cent of the time during the Colts season and teammates clear trust him to make composed decisions in tight spots.

There are plenty of nice pieces to Bazzo's puzzle, but putting them together more consistently is another key to his development. Should he look to play that loose intercept style, he will need to increase his production from the 10.6 disposals and 3.9 marks he averaged this year. Further to that, he is capable of outstanding games - like his first Under 19 championships performance against South Australia - but can also have quiet outings.

DRAFT PROJECTION: Second-Third Round

SUMMARY:

Bazzo is a player who comes from good pedigree and has been able to test himself against high level opposition throughout his junior career. He stood up on the big stage this year and has some handy tools as a key defender, with the added bonus of being able to swing forward when required. With his aerial ability, versatility, and skills on the ball, clubs may consider him later in the second round and back themselves to extract his promising traits more consistently at the next level.

WAFL Colts

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