Published on March 11, 2019 12:00 pm

Cooper Stephens

SEASON PREVIEW: Geelong Falcons boys

Geelong Falcons Talent Manager Michael Turner gives his thoughts on the club’s upcoming NAB League Boys season.

2018 FINISH: 8th (6-12 record)

2018 BEST AND FAIREST: 1. Sam Walsh / 2. Brayden Ham / 3. Oscar Brownless

2018 TEAM OF THE YEAR SELECTIONS: Connor Idun, Sam Walsh

2018 AFL DRAFTEES: Sam Walsh (Carlton), Edward McHenry (Adelaide), Connor Idun (GWS), Brayden Ham (Essendon), Oscar Brownless (Geelong), Blake Schlensog* (Geelong)

OTHER FORMER PLAYERS ON AFL LISTS:

  • Selected in 2001: Luke Hodge (Hawthorn/Brisbane) 305/19 games, Gary Ablett jnr (Geelong/Gold Coast/Geelong) 192/110/19
  • 2004: Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn/Melbourne) 264/43
  • 2005: Shaun Higgins (Western Bulldogs/North Melbourne) 129/74
  • 2006: Travis Boak (Port Adelaide) 243, Will Schofield (West Coast) 176
  • 2007: Lachlan Henderson (Brisbane/Carlton/Geelong) 15/102/48, Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide/Geelong) 154/70, Jack Steven (St Kilda) 176
  • 2009: Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne) 187, Gary Rohan (Sydney/Geelong) 106/0, Jasper Pittard (Port Adelaide/North Melbourne) 126/0, Allen Christensen (Geelong/Brisbane) 65/55
  • 2010: Luke Dahlhaus* (Western Bulldogs/Geelong) 154/0, Josh Walker* (Geelong/Brisbane) 33/41
  • 2011: Taylor Adams (GWS/Collingwood) 31/89, Devon Smith (GWS/Essendon) 109/22, Jed Bews (Geelong) 71
  • 2012: Mason Wood (North Melbourne) 39
  • 2013: Darcy Lang (Geelong/Carlton) 44/11, Darcy Gardiner (Brisbane) 82, Lewis Taylor (Brisbane) 107
  • 2014: Paddy McCartin (St Kilda) 35, Hugh Goddard (St Kilda/Carlton) 10/0, Teia Miles (Hawthorn) 12, Jackson Nelson (West Coast) 42, Zaine Cordy (Western Bulldogs) 48, Lewis Melican* (Sydney) 20
  • 2015: Darcy Parish (Essendon) 55, Charlie Curnow (Carlton) 47, Tom Doedee (Adelaide) 20, Rhys Mathieson (Brisbane) 37
  • 2016: Alex Witherden (Brisbane) 30, Sean Darcy (Fremantle) 15, Jack Henry* (Geelong) 22, Sam Simpson* (Geelong) 6
  • 2017: Matthew Ling (Sydney) 0, Tom McCartin (Sydney) 15, James Worpel (Hawthorn) 11, Gryan Miers (Geelong) 0

2019 AFL ACADEMY:

  • Level 2 (18yo): Jesse Clark, Cooper Stephens
  • Level 1 (17yo): Tanner Bruhn, Noah Gadsby, Henry Walsh

2019 HEAD COACH: Luke Daffy (first season)

2019 SEASON START: vs Bendigo Pioneers @ Central Reserve (Colac), Sunday March 24 (CLICK HERE for full fixture)

 

 

TOP 2019 AFL DRAFT PROSPECTS

Cooper Stephens (local club – Colac): “Cooper played for Vic Country (in the NAB AFL U18 Championships) last year and by the end of the U18 Boys season he was very strong as an inside midfielder. We let him do the inside work while (2018 AFL draftees) Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry were more on the outside. He’s going to be up around the 190cm mark for height and he has good skills and a good attitude.”

Jesse Clark (St Joseph’s): “Jesse played almost every game for us last year. He’s more of a half-back flanker or third tall defender who’s a very good one-on-one player and gives us a lot of rebound off half back. He’s a good decision-maker and he generally uses the ball well. We expect pretty big things of him this year.”

Charlie Sprague (19yo in 2019, Barwon Heads): “Charlie played in our premiership side in 2017 and then injured his hand playing for Geelong College last year. We got him back playing at the end of the season but it was a bit late for him draft-wise. He’s a third tall forward and AFL clubs would want to see him roll through the midfield this year.”

 

POTENTIAL DRAFT SURPRISE PACKET

Lochlan Hocking (19yo, local club TBC): “Lochie started with us recently after coming over from South Australia. He’s a half-back flanker who we hope will develop into a midfielder. If he’s anywhere near as good as his old man (former Geelong AFL player Garry Hocking), we’ll be happy. We hear he’s pretty tough like Garry, so that’s a good thing.”

 

BOTTOM-AGERS TO WATCH

Tanner Bruhn (Newtown & Chilwell): “Tanner is going to miss a fair chunk of the season with a knee injury. He played four games for us at the end of last season and there have only been two other 16-year-olds who have played for the under-18 Falcons: Luke Hodge and Hugh Goddard. He’s an inside midfielder we rate highly.”

Noah Gadsby (Torquay): “Noah is a running machine who’s a very good ball-carrier. He’s a great athlete who does athletics at Geelong Grammar.”

Henry Walsh (St Joseph’s): “Henry is (2018 Carlton AFL draftee) Sam Walsh’s brother but he’s over 200cm (Sam is 184cm). He’s a developing forward/ruck.”

 

LEADERSHIP MATERIAL

Cooper Stephens (see above) and Jesse Clark (see above) are good leaders and they’ll be our captains this year. They talk when they have to, but they’re more in the mould of (2018 Falcons co-captains) Sam Walsh and Oscar Brownless and (2017 co-captain) James Worpel before them – they lead by example and train hard.

Charlie Lazzaro (17yo, St Mary’s), Tanner Bruhn (see above), Charlie Harris (18yo, Newtown & Chilwell), Jay Dahlhaus (18yo, St Mary’s) and Keidan Rayner (18yo, St Mary’s) will also be in the leadership group.”

 

FAMOUS FOOTBALL RELATIONS

Lochlan Hocking (see above): Son of former AFL player Garry Hocking – 274 games for Geelong.

Jay Dahlhaus (see above): Cousin of current AFL player Luke Dahlhaus – 154 AFL games for Western Bulldogs/traded to Geelong for 2019.

William Kilpatrick (17yo, Drysdale): Son of former AFL player Glenn Kilpatrick – 26 games for Essendon/120 for Geelong.

Sam Christensen (19yo, St Mary’s): Son of former AFL player Marty Christensen – 69 games for Geelong/two for North Melbourne.

Sam Witherden (17yo, St Joseph’s): Brother of current AFL player Alex Witherden – 30 games for Brisbane.

Oliver Henry (17yo, St Mary’s): Brother of current AFL player Jack Henry – 22 games for Geelong.

Thomas Richardson (18yo, Ocean Grove): Son of former AFL player Adam Richardson – two games for Adelaide.

Henry Walsh (see above): Brother of 2018 Carlton draftee Sam Walsh.

Sheldon Ham (18yo, Torquay): Brother of 2018 Essendon AFL draftee Brayden Ham.

 

TEAM STRENGTHS

“We’re starting to become a bit like the Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons, with a lot of our boys missing for half the season due to school football commitments at Geelong College, Geelong Grammar and St Joseph’s. When our best side is on the field though, I think we’ll have a pretty strong team. We have a very strong running group and a lot more depth this year than last year.”

 

CLICK HERE for 2019 season previews on other NAB League Boys clubs.

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