Published on March 14, 2019 12:00 pm

Emerson Jeka (right)

SEASON PREVIEW: Western Jets boys

Western Jets Football Operations Coordinator Matthew Dervan gives his thoughts on the club’s upcoming NAB League Boys season.

2018 FINISH: 6th (10-8 record)

2018 BEST AND FAIREST: 1. Connor Thar / 2. Xavier O’Halloran / 3. Jack Watkins

2018 TEAM OF THE YEAR SELECTIONS: Buku Khamis, Xavier O’Halloran

2018 AFL DRAFTEES: Zak Butters (Port Adelaide), Xavier O’Halloran (GWS), Buku Khamis* (Western Bulldogs)

OTHER FORMER PLAYERS ON AFL LISTS:

  • Selected in 2003: Michael Rischitelli (Brisbane/Gold Coast) 111/125 games
  • 2006: Bachar Houli (Essendon/Richmond) 26/159
  • 2007: Callan Ward (Western Bulldogs/GWS) 60/156
  • 2009: Trent McKenzie (Gold Coast/Port Adelaide) 106/1, Majak Daw* (North Melbourne) 50
  • 2011: Will Hoskin-Elliott (GWS/Collingwood) 52/48, Adam Kennedy (GWS) 92
  • 2012: Lachlan Hunter (Western Bulldogs) 105
  • 2013: James Sicily (Hawthorn) 60
  • 2014: Liam Duggan (West Coast) 70, Corey Ellis (Richmond/Gold Coast) 27/0, Jayden Laverde (Essendon) 30, Connor Menadue (Richmond) 33
  • 2016: Daniel Venables (West Coast) 15
  • 2017: Cameron Rayner (Brisbane) 22, Lachlan Fogarty (Geelong) 15, Tristan Xerri (North Melbourne) 0

2019 AFL ACADEMY:

  • Level 2 (18yo): Darcy Cassar, Josh Honey, Emerson Jeka
  • Level 1 (17yo): Eddie Ford

2019 HEAD COACH: Ryan O’Keefe (first season)

2019 SEASON START: vs Northern Knights @ IKON Park, Sunday March 24 (CLICK HERE for full fixture)

 

 

TOP 2019 AFL DRAFT PROSPECTS

Emerson Jeka (local club – Altona Juniors): “Emerson is a 198cm key-position player who made the Vic Metro squad last year but didn’t play in the (NAB AFL) U18 Championships because of injury. He’s a lead-up forward who will give us significant impact in one-on-one contests in the air and on the ground. He kicks really well on both feet and is a really good decision-maker.”

Darcy Cassar (Keilor): “Darcy showed last year that he has the potential to play in any position on the ground. He’s a smart player and is able to win the ball in quantity and make a significant impact when he has it. We’re looking for him to hit the scoreboard while starting the season playing as a midfielder.”

Josh Honey (Keilor): “Josh really made an impact as a bottom-ager last year. He’s not the tallest player but he’s really well built with great speed and power. Like Darcy, we hope to see Josh develop into an elite midfielder who also makes an impact going forward. He’s a really nice user of the ball on his right foot.”

 

POTENTIAL DRAFT SURPRISE PACKET

Saad El-Hawli (Altona Juniors): “Saad is a member of the Western Bulldogs’ Next Generation Academy who has come into the squad this year. He’ll play off half forward and he knows where the goals are. He has elite football smarts and really good agility and speed.”

 

BOTTOM-AGERS TO WATCH

Eddie Ford (Yarraville Seddon Eagles): “Eddie really impressed at the (AFL) U16 Championships last year. He knows how find his own ball and make an impact with it. He’s a really nice user of the ball by hand and foot and is a strong competitor on the ground and in the air. He’ll have the chance to develop his skills playing in multiple positions in 2019.”

Harrison White (Werribee Districts): “Harrison missed out on last year’s U16 Championships through injury. He has immense talent and his aerobic endurance, speed and agility have seen him produce some of the best testing results in club history. He’ll play mainly on the wing where he has the freedom to run and carry, which he does so well.”

 

LEADERSHIP MATERIAL

Spencer Johnson (18yo in 2019, Altona Juniors) and Lucas Rocci (18yo, Aberfeldie) both really invested themselves in our program last year and really pushed themselves in leadership aspects as bottom-agers. They’re both genuine people that care for not only the people around them but the Western Jets region as a whole. They have high expectations of themselves on the field too.”

 

FAMOUS FOOTBALL RELATIONS

Archi Manton (18yo, Williamstown CYMS): Son of former AFL player Glenn Manton – 21 games for Essendon/157 for Carlton.

Josh Kellett (18yo, Williamstown CYMS): Son of former AFL player Nigel Kellett – 101 games for Western Bulldogs.

Other famous sporting relations:

Josh Honey (see above): Son of former pole vaulter Neil Honey – bronze medal at 1986 Commonwealth Games – and nephew of former long jumper Gary Honey – silver medal at 1984 Olympic Games and gold medals at 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games.

 

TEAM STRENGTHS

“The big focus in our pre-season has been on competitiveness and effort around the contest, so I’d look for our boys to set the tone early in the season by creating immense pressure around the ball in order to win the territory battle.

“Hopefully we can also use our speed on the outside to generate scoreboard impact, and we’re hoping the mix of experienced talls and smalls in our forward line – as well as our midfielders’ ability to impact the scoreboard – will see us right in the mix at the business end of the season.”

 

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

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