Eight NAB League Boys players are among the third positional grouping announced for October’s 2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine: Medium Defenders.
The AFL Draft Combine will be held in Melbourne from Tuesday October 1 to Friday October 4, with the 12 total Medium Defenders to undergo various tests in front of AFL clubs alongside several other positional groupings among the 79 overall invitees.
* CLICK HERE to see the NAB League Boys players named among the previous positional grouping: Medium Forwards.
“The modern-day Medium Defenders now play their role as part of team defence, also becoming playmakers with their line-breaking speed, intercept marking and precision kicking as they rebound from the back half,” AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan said.
“The 2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine will see AFL clubs search for their future stars to fill the crucial position, following in the footsteps of those such as West Coast Eagles’ Shannon Hurn, Richmond’s Bachar Houli, Geelong’s Tom Stewart and Hawthorn’s James Sicily.”
See Kevin Sheehan’s comments on the NAB League Boys players named in the Medium Defenders grouping for the 2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine below.
LACHLAN ASH (Murray Bushrangers)
Medium defender with line-breaking speed who reads the ball coming into defence exceptionally well. Can intercept marks and link up with his team to outnumber the opposition and provide rebounds. As co-captain of Vic Country, he starred in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 23 disposals (16.5 contested) and winning NAB AFL Under-18 All Australian honours. He also played 10 NAB League matches for the Murray Bushrangers, often moving up through the midfield, and again averaged 23 disposals to cap off an impressive season.
LOUIS BUTLER (Sandringham Dragons)
Medium defender who displays excellent use of the ball and decision-making out of defence. He has good speed and impressed while representing Vic Metro in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. He averaged 18 disposals in all four matches and was prolific with the Sandringham Dragons in the NAB League, averaging 20.6 disposals in eight matches.
DARCY CASSAR (Western Jets)
Medium defender who shows great speed from the back half and uses his vision and awareness to set up the play with excellent ball use. Prolific ball-winner in the NAB League, averaging 20.7 disposals and 5.3 rebound-50s in 10 matches with the Western Jets. He also represented Vic Metro in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships in three matches, averaging 16 disposals.
JESSE CLARK (Geelong Falcons)
Composed medium defender who reads the play exceptionally well, is good one-on-one and has strong rebound skills. He has been eye-catching all year for the Geelong Falcons in the NAB League, averaging 20.9 disposals, four marks and 5.9 rebound-50s in 11 matches. He was also a strong performer in Vic Country’s four matches across the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
OSCAR LEWIS (Sandringham Dragons)
Medium defender who reads the play exceptionally well in the back half. He intercepts well and has a powerful left foot. He represented Vic Metro in two matches in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships averaging 12.5 disposals and mixed his football between Brighton Grammar and Sandringham Dragons, where he averaged 13.8 disposals in eight NAB League matches. Very athletic type who can match up on smaller or taller opponents.
BROCK SMITH (Gippsland Power)
Medium defender with a great appetite for the contest and very strong overhead. He is tough and shows good use of the ball. He was solid in defence for Vic Country in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 13.7 disposals. He has had an outstanding year as captain of Gippsland Power in the NAB League, averaging 20.9 disposals at 76 per cent efficiency and 5.9 marks. A very good player one-on-one and courageous in his attack on the ball.
RYAN STURGESS (Northern Knights)
Composed medium defender with an excellent intercept mark. He is courageous in taking on the game and his kicking is a key feature of his play. He played all four games for Vic Metro in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 14.8 disposals. Starred for the Northern Knights in the NAB League, averaging 18.8 disposals at 80.4 per cent efficiency and also has the ability to move up to the forward line, kicking nine goals in 13 matches.
HAYDEN YOUNG (Dandenong Stingrays)
An outstanding aerialist with intercept marking a key feature of his game. He is a strong decision-maker who uses the ball in a neat manner on his left foot. He averaged 22 disposals (79.5 per cent efficiency), 5.2 marks and 4.5 rebound-50s in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and was named in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 All Australian Team. A consistent performer in a variety of roles with the Dandenong Stingrays, he averaged 22.3 disposals across 12 NAB League matches. His brother Lachie debuted at the Western Bulldogs this year. He joined the likes of Jaidyn Stephenson and Sam Walsh as the 2018 winner of the AFL Life Members Scholarship.