DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Zippy half forward flanker who has been a huge improver in 2017”
Leagues: NAB League Boys
Six months ago many did not expect Will Walker to have the season that he did. The athletic half forward flanker had played more football with the round ball rather than the oval one – but continued to work on his game in 2017 showing constant improvement throughout the season. Walker averaged 20 disposals, four marks and four tackles this season in the 2017 TAC Cup and he was able impact the game, often using his speed and agility through the midfield.
- Clearance work
Walker plays with speed and agility when he is in the contest and at the stoppages. His movement is very good and he is able to win clearances and zip out of the pack and get the ball moving forward. Walker’s time of 3.05 seconds was better than the average at October’s National AFL Draft Combine, but during the preseason his testing numbers were also impressive.
Despite winning majority of his possessions in uncontested situations (41.3 contested possession percentage), Walker averaged over three clearances per game. Mostly around the ground, he was able to get into the right positions to win the ball and get it moving forward. Walker is still a raw player with plenty of upside, having come from soccer and his football brain will continue to evolve throughout the season.
- Contested ball winning
Walker’s kicking at times can be hot and cold. Throughout 2017 in the TAC Cup, Walker kicked at 53 per cent. At times he often blazed away out of stoppages and was unable to hit the pinpoint pass. While he does possess a long right foot kick, at times he did just bang it forward and long without lowering the eyes. If he can improve on this, especially as an outside player – it would help him progress to the next level.
Walker’s clearance and tackling numbers are pretty good suggesting he has the capabilities of playing in the contest. However, in the TAC Cup Walker had 41.3 contested possession percentage, indicating that he did most of his work on the outside. With some of his key traits making him a tough opponent in the midfield, if he can work on winner more of the contested ball, he will transform into an attacking midfielder.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 25-45
Walker is a raw footballer who has plenty of developing to do. If he can improve his kicking and win some more contested football, he may develop into an effective midfielder rather than a sixth forward at the next level. He plays with zip around the ground and has shown coming from a soccer background, that he can find the football and get to the right positions to win the clearances. Expect Walker to be drafted by a club somewhere in the second to third rounds.