Tall Defender


Tom McCallum

height: 192cm

weight: 78kg

D.O.B: 15-05-2004

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “An all-round athlete who can play above his height at either end of the ground, blending speed, endurance and aerial ability.”

As far as raw excitement goes, there a few draft prospects who catch the eye like Tom McCallum. The Tasmanian is one of the top talents out of the Apple Isle this year, having proven himself across 13 NAB League games and a full National Championships campaign with the Allies.

The athletic 192cm top-ager came into the Devils’ side last year as a forward, turning out six times for four goals and impressing with his aerial exploits. Given his side’s tall attacking options, he shifted to defence in 2022 and continued to shine with more of the same marking feats, as well as damaging rebound running.


+ Aerial ability
+ Endurance
+ Intercept marking
+ Run-and-carry
+ Speed
+ Versatility


- Consistency
- Kicking

McCallum's top traits fall under the umbrella of athleticism, with his all-round profile proving valuable to his on-field game. Perhaps his most eye-catching attribute is speed, with the 18-year-old capable of taking off in a flash and generating damaging running passages out of defence.

In the a similar vein, McCallum's vertical leap lends to strong aerial prowess. He reads the flow of play nicely and even if he's caught slightly out of position, has enough closing speed and range to at least impact the contest. At his best, he rises for some incredible marks and averaged over five throughout the NAB League season. Even more impressively, he clunked seven in three-consecutive National Championship games.

What sets McCallum apart from many other intercept/rebound defenders is his blend of speed and endurance. His highlight reel would look more like a series of replays at times, such is McCallum's ability to constantly break the lines at speed. That ability to repeatedly work at such a high intensity is something which not many others can do.

It's also a factor which lends to his versatility. Though McCallum has played almost exclusively behind the ball this year, he has the capacity to present as a third tall at the other end of the ground, or even translate his traits to a wing. In each position, his running capacity is complimented well by his control of the airways.

For all the excitement he offers, there are some clear areas of improvement for McCallum. His rawness is obvious, and playing at such a high tempo often impacts the mechanics of his kicking. Playing in bursts, his rushes of blood when carrying through the corridor could be polished with greater composure in his end product.

McCallum is also raw in the sense of his frame. He shapes up as that in-between size (192cm) and perhaps doesn't have the strength to compete as a true key position or contested outlet. What he does have is mobility, and that would make him a valuable third-up option in each third - offering both aerial and running support.

Tightening the screws on some of his erratic tendencies will go a long way to making McCallum a more consistent overall player, and thus a safer draft selection. He produced brilliant high-disposal, high-mark games during both the NAB League and National Championships, but also turned in four games of under 10 touches for Tasmania.

It is hard to deny he is a prospect with enormous upside, though. He performed well in games he was expected to for Tasmania and took his chance in the Allies group, pushing his case as a developable talent with potential to be a genuine utility.



McCallum has enough about him to suggest he’ll be in the conversation for National Draft honours. While not yet the end product, the Tasmanian’s all-round athleticism, ability to hurt the opposition going forward, and potential to play a range of roles makes him a player clubs will likely jump at. He narrowly missed out on Rookie Me Central’s October top 40, but should garner some attention on pure upside.

Aerial ability
Intercept marking

AFL U18 Championships


Coates Talent League Boys

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