Player Watch #3 Dylan Stephens - Pick 5

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Kennedy Parker

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Jul 9, 2015
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Dylan Stephens
The Sydney Swans used their first pick five since Jarrad McVeigh in 2002 to lock in a talented midfielder from South Australian club Norwood at the 2019 AFL Draft. Dylan Stephens is a prolific ball-winner and creative user of the footy by hand and foot. He played predominantly on a wing in the early matches of the 2019 AFL Under-18 Championships before starring on the inside in the final match, gathering 33 disposals in a best-on-ground performance. A penetrating left-footer, he averaged 23.8 disposals and 4.8 tackles across the 2019 AFL Under-18 Championships and was rewarded with All Australian honours. He also played some excellent football at senior level with Norwood, averaging 18.2 disposals and 4.6 tackles in 12 matches. Stephens enjoyed a breakout season for the Bloods in 2020 with a memorable AFL debut in Round 6 against Richmond alongside fellow debutant, Chad Warner. Stephens finished the campaign with eight appearances, averaging 12.5 disposals and 3.4 marks per game, while also kicking two goals.

Dylan Stephens
DOB: 08 January 2001
DEBUT: 2020
DRAFT: #5, 2019 National Draft
RECRUITED FROM: Red Cliffs (Vic)/Walkerville (SA)/St Peter's College (SA)/Norwood (SANFL)

 

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caesar88

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Only weighs 70kg so I expect he may be toiling in the NEAFL for a while, which should be a smooth transition for him given he was playing, and occasionally starring, at SANFL level.

Looking forward to seeing what he can do. Has class and vision on the inside, speed and gut-running on the outside. Lacked consistency this year, which is to be expected of an under-ager playing against men in the SANFL, but that's why he wasn't expected to go top five, nothing to do with ability.
 

caesar88

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Not too thrilled. Needed an inside mid, got an outside mid who does not find that much of the ball and who "may" be able to play inside, but is not really proven.
The pick does make sense the more I think about it, though I'd still prefer Kemp or Young.

We don't need inside mids as much as we need inside mids to be smarter and start using the players available to them on the outside. Stephens is very good at finding and using space in attacking, creative ways. If we find ways to actually bring him into the game he'll be a massive asset for us.

Stephens' pace and class on the outside will also mean that Florent, who is Extremely Limited, can play on the inside where he's more suited.
 

RUNVS

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The pick does make sense the more I think about it, though I'd still prefer Kemp or Young.

We don't need inside mids as much as we need inside mids to be smarter and start using the players available to them on the outside. Stephens is very good at finding and using space in attacking, creative ways. If we find ways to actually bring him into the game he'll be a massive asset for us.

Stephens' pace and class on the outside will also mean that Florent, who is Extremely Limited, can play on the inside where he's more suited.
My worry though is that Stephens does not find a lot of the ball. He averaged 18 disposals in the championships compared to Robertson who averaged 30. 18 disposals is not great and we have learned from experience players don't usually improve that aspect of their game. Generally their junior numbers are similar to their senior numbers.
 

caesar88

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My worry though is that Stephens does not find a lot of the ball. He averaged 18 disposals in the championships compared to Robertson who averaged 30. 18 disposals is not great and we have learned from experience players don't usually improve that aspect of their game. Generally their junior numbers are similar to their senior numbers.
18 disposals from a player with pace and class can sometimes be worth more than 30 disposals from a player on the inside (not referring to Robertson but just in general)

And as I said, if Stephens presence can mean more inside time for guys like Florent, Rowbottom etc then isn't it a good thing? Then they get closer to becoming the guys getting 30 disposals?
 

RUNVS

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8/1/01
183cm/74kg
South Australia/Norwood
Midfielder

October ranking: 11


Stephens' ability to step up at senior SANFL level and perform in the second half of the season makes him one of the leading midfielders available. He averaged 19 disposals in 13 senior games for Norwood, before dominating the reserves Grand Final with 26 touches. Stephens has the rare mix of high-end speed and endurance: he ran 2.97 seconds in the 20-metre sprint and 6:01 (third overall) in the 2km time trial. Think Andrew Gaff with even a little more acceleration and zip with ball in hand, and he's also crafty on his left side.

Where does he go? Stephens will be the first player drafted from South Australia. Adelaide is a possibility, as are Fremantle, Carlton and Hawthorn. Port would be very keen if he somehow got through to No.12.

 

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Tedeski

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My worry though is that Stephens does not find a lot of the ball. He averaged 18 disposals in the championships compared to Robertson who averaged 30. 18 disposals is not great and we have learned from experience players don't usually improve that aspect of their game. Generally their junior numbers are similar to their senior numbers.
So who took Robertson then?
 

Wolftone

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Feb 1, 2012
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Not too thrilled. Needed an inside mid, got an outside mid who does not find that much of the ball and who "may" be able to play inside, but is not really proven.
No we don't need an inside mid. We needed an inside/outside mid. We can have two inside/outside mids, next year from the Academy. Both versatile and both hit the scoreboard. Gulden and Campbell will be worth waiting for. They are elite top 10 talent. Both lads were Under 17 stars and underage stars. So get ready for the ride to the top in 2021 after they join us.

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Wolftone

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Feb 1, 2012
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My worry though is that Stephens does not find a lot of the ball. He averaged 18 disposals in the championships compared to Robertson who averaged 30. 18 disposals is not great and we have learned from experience players don't usually improve that aspect of their game. Generally their junior numbers are similar to their senior numbers.
Ollie Florent averaged about 18 in junior footy. He averages 25 now.

Luke Parker increased his average by 5.

Joey Kennedy was averaging far less at junior level than the 30 he averages now.

The kid averaged 17.1 for Norwood SANFL team. In his first season that is good. He had a couple of breakout games, but other than that apparently was pretty consistent. I can remember Fearless Fosdyke when he first came to Swannies. He was so skinny if he turned sideways you would miss him. He was so white that if he stood in the sun he disappeared. Yet he should have won a Norm Smith with LRT. He was a, sensational player from the same club as Dillon. Get message this kid is here to stay and will be a gun for us.

He is an elite disposer and add Matty Ling, Jordie Dawson, Nick Blakey, Bud, Ollie and man we have some bloody hit firepower.

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