Player Watch #30: Charlie Comben - selected pick 31 in 2019 ND - Welcome to North Melbourne

giantroo

Bleeding Blue and White
Sep 23, 2005
63,818
115,738
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Arsenal, Chicago Bulls
Welcome Charlie Comben



Player Bio
Tall forward/ruckman who has improved in leaps and bounds this year. Agile and strong overhead, he can provide a great marking target up forward. He excelled for Vic Country in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships in his three matches. With thin slices of his natural talent on display, he averaged 8.7 disposals, 3.7 marks and 16 hit outs. He has also been a key player for Gippsland Power in the NAB League, providing mobility around the ground and a marking target up forward.

Foxsports.com.au: Comben has continued to develop across 2019, improving as the season went on. The 18-year-old had a good showing at the Under 18 Championships as Vic Country’s No. 1 ruckman, while he also showed off his mobility closer to goal. Unlike other talls, he is good below his knees and possesses plenty of upside given his 84kg frame.

 
Last edited:

(Log in to remove this ad.)

giantroo

Bleeding Blue and White
Sep 23, 2005
63,818
115,738
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Arsenal, Chicago Bulls
1574932434317.png


#50 Charlie Comben
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Forward/Ruck
20/07/2001 | 199cm | 84kg


A versatile player who could well end up as a key forward and second ruck, Comben is capable of playing either role to a high standard. His ruck craft itself is good, and his second efforts at ground level such as laying a follow-up tackle or providing a block or shepherd is impressive. He can float forward and lead out of the goalsquare with sticky hands and an ability to crash a pack if needed. He has had his fair share of injuries over the journey so is arguably a tad behind on his development. But the fact he has come such a long way in his top-age year means Comben has plenty of upside for the future and is one who clubs can look to for the long term if they are after a bigger body up forward who can play that second ruck role to a t. Could be the second ruck picked in the AFL Draft, depending on how clubs view his progress against Bryan’s and what they are looking for, but we have him here due to his versatility and greater consistency over the season, as well as impact at the Under-18 National Championships for Vic Country.

CHARLIE COMBEN
Clubs:
Gippsland Power/Vic Country
Position: Ruck
Size: 199cm, 84kg
Bio: Comben has continued to develop across 2019, improving as the season went on. The 18-year-old had a good showing at the Under 18 Championships as Vic Country’s No. 1 ruckman, while he also showed off his mobility closer to goal. Unlike other talls, he is good below his knees and possesses plenty of upside given his 84kg frame.
 
Last edited:

giantroo

Bleeding Blue and White
Sep 23, 2005
63,818
115,738
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Arsenal, Chicago Bulls

Class of 2019: How devastating injuries haven't stopped 'Mr Upside'

Riley Beveridge

Oct 30, 2019 6:00AM



MEET the kid the scouts have started calling 'Mr Upside'.

Charlie Comben hadn't played much footy before this season. That wasn't his choice, it was something forced upon him by a cruel and unavoidable string of unfortunate injuries.


But when the 199cm key forward finally returned to the park earlier this year and began to get some much-needed game time under his belt, his raw talent and sheer athleticism came to the fore.

Charlie Comben takes a big pack mark during the U18 Champs. Picture: AFL Photos




Comben himself admits that he didn't grab every match by the scruff of its neck. Given the interruptions he's been forced to endure over the last three seasons, such inconsistency can be forgiven.

But he did show enough to ensure he caught the eye of recruiters, with his marking and running ability from the forward line sparking the imagination of clubs in terms of what he could one day become.

"I always knew I had it," Comben told AFL.com.au.



"It was just reaching those expectations that I'd put on myself. I probably lay dormant for a little bit, missing a lot of time through injury, so having a good run at it this year has been good.

"I saw a lot of rapid improvement over the first few rounds, then to play well over the Champs was a good experience."

Such is his devastating injury history, the fact Comben even had the willingness to return to the field at all this season is a testament to his courage.

As a 15-year-old, he played eight games before breaking his wrist. He returned, only to break his collarbone later in the season.
The very next year he describes as "his worst year". He severely broke two parts of his inner cheekbone playing for the Gippsland Power, forcing him to spend more than half the season on the sidelines after having surgery.

He eventually returned in May 2018, but not for long. Playing basketball at school, Comben landed awkwardly in an incident that left him with a broken tibia, a fractured knee cap and a dislocation of his knee cap.






Repeated dislocations upon return resulted in yet more surgery and yet more time out of action.

"It's been a long road back, but it's made me a better footballer," Comben said.

"You do get a little bit nervous in those first few games coming back, but once you're out there the atmosphere takes over and you tend to forget about those type of things."

In among the seemingly endless stints of rehab, the idea of simply letting go of his football dream flooded Comben's thoughts. But never for long.

"Giving up does cross your mind," he said.

"I found last year in particular very frustrating, not being able to do exactly what I want to do or play footy at any level. It was quite frustrating, but I kept that mindset of having a clear goal to get back to footy and I was able to work towards that.

"It does cross your mind, but giving up was never something I genuinely considered."

Comben sees himself as a key-forward at the next level, but able to pinch-hit through the ruck. However, he admits that he may have to rely more on his athleticism in a ruck role, rather than test his still slender 82kg frame to go up against the bigger bodies.


At NAB League level, he's shown he can play both positions effectively. He demonstrated his forward craft with a three-goal game against Tasmania in July, while a performance against the Calder Cannons in May yielded 18 disposals and 22 hitouts from the ruck.

However, it's not necessarily the numbers that have defined Comben's year. Rather, it's been the moments. Those moments were perhaps best delivered for Vic Country throughout the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

Comben clunks the ball at the highest point during the U18 Champs



Indeed, Comben therefore credits his Vic Country coach Leigh Brown – who himself reinvented and then perfected the ruck-forward role at AFL level – as a driver behind his improvement.

Brown, in turn, thinks Comben can now replicate that success in the AFL from season 2020 and beyond.

"He had a growth spurt and he's got elite hands, which means he can mark the footy," Brown told AFL.com.au.



"He can play forward, he can play through the ruck. At the next level, he'll probably pinch-hit through the ruck. You can see him playing that Esava Ratugolea role, where he'll play mainly forward but with a little bit of time in the ruck.

"He's athletic for a tall guy and he's got plenty of upside, given he's really raw."
 
Last edited:

giantroo

Bleeding Blue and White
Sep 23, 2005
63,818
115,738
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Arsenal, Chicago Bulls

With very few elite big men in this year’s draft crop, and fewer with his mindset, Charlie Comben is looming as a major steal in the 2019 AFL Draft.




At an age younger than most, Comben was keen to get the Sherrin in his hands.


“I started playing as a four-year-old in Auskick, I went in a year early, and I was pretty keen,” he said.


“My brother was playing Auskick, mum was able to pull a few strings and I was able to get in early.”


Standing at a reasonable height for quite some time, Comben recently grew a considerable amount, currently standing at 199 centimetres – but with rapid growth spurts often comes the difficult challenge of maintaining the frame fit for the height, and the injuries that come with the growth.


“It (my height) has been kind of gradual in the last few years, I was always average height, a key position height, and then in the last two years I have shot up to a ruck key forward height in the AFL,” he said.


“Through bottom age under-16s I was quite skinny and I started to shoot up and I had various impact injuries.


“Through bottom age ’16s up until last year I have had multiple injuries.


“I haven’t played much footy until this year, (having had) multiple bone breaks.


“Early that season, I broke my wrist, then later in the season representing Gippy at the V/Line Cup I broke my collarbone.


“It was probably 20 seconds into the game, I was on a wing and got taken down in a tackle, landed on my shoulder and all the impact went through there and snapped my collarbone, it put me out of the preseason of ’16/17.


“It was early on so footy was still more so a dream at that point in time.


“The aim was just to get back into the under-16s squad, which I was lucky enough to get into.


“Probably the first two or three games it plays on your mind a bit, more so last year when I came back from a knee injury, it was playing on my mind.


“You get kind of hesitant going into a contest, especially in those first one or two games, but after that you forget about it and the game takes over your concentration.


“It is more a gradual thing; the more you play the less you focus on your injury.”


At the national championships, Comben burst on to the scene with one of the more impressive carnivals – not only demonstrating his talent against highly-touted West Australian ruckman Luke Jackson, but performing in the Victorian derby at the home of football.


For Comben, his composure and eagerness to play his role is epitomised by the way he treats playing in one of the most iconic stadiums in the world.


“It is massive; it is overwhelming when you first get out there,” he said of the MCG.


“When you get out in the middle you look around and it can be overwhelming – you get a massive adrenalin rush from it.


“Leigh Brown, our coach said ‘soak it in for the first five minutes when you are out there and then when the ball is bounced switch on’, which kind of takes care of itself.


“But when the ball is thrown up in the air, it is no different to playing at Morwell.”


In recent times, the National Draft hasn’t been all that kind to ruckman, often being sent to VFL level or NAB League level for a 19th year to develop their bodies for one more year – but Comben is unique, having the capabilities to play in more than one position.


“I am able to play dual position as a forward/ruck,” he said.


“I love watching Esava Ratugolea, he has made the dual forward ruck role his own really.


“He starts up forward and is able to pinch hit in the ruck, which is what I want to do – it is like what Leigh Brown did.


“Obviously I am sure there would be some work put into my frame when I get into a club this preseason if all goes to plan.”


The National Draft will commence on 28 November for the first round, which is continued the following day with the remaining rounds and rookie draft.
 
Last edited:

(Log in to remove this ad.)

andana

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 1, 2008
6,504
7,017
Thailand
AFL Club
North Melbourne
PICK 35: ESSENDON – CHARLIE COMBEN
Clubs:
Gippsland Power/Vic Country
Position: Ruck
Size: 199cm, 84kg
Bio: Comben has continued to develop across 2019, improving as the season went on. The 18-year-old had a good showing at the Under 18 Championships as Vic Country’s No. 1 ruckman, while he also showed off his mobility closer to goal. Unlike other talls, he is good below his knees and possesses plenty of upside given his 84kg frame.
 

tiltraise

Club Legend
Feb 12, 2008
2,606
3,280
arden street
AFL Club
North Melbourne

#50 Charlie Comben
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Forward/Ruck
20/07/2001 | 199cm | 84kg


A versatile player who could well end up as a key forward and second ruck, Comben is capable of playing either role to a high standard. His ruck craft itself is good, and his second efforts at ground level such as laying a follow-up tackle or providing a block or shepherd is impressive. He can float forward and lead out of the goalsquare with sticky hands and an ability to crash a pack if needed. He has had his fair share of injuries over the journey so is arguably a tad behind on his development. But the fact he has come such a long way in his top-age year means Comben has plenty of upside for the future and is one who clubs can look to for the long term if they are after a bigger body up forward who can play that second ruck role to a t. Could be the second ruck picked in the AFL Draft, depending on how clubs view his progress against Bryan’s and what they are looking for, but we have him here due to his versatility and greater consistency over the season, as well as impact at the Under-18 National Championships for Vic Country.
 

The Filth Wizard

These Meats Are Spoiled
Jul 26, 2007
64,423
79,114
The Throne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Arsenal, Gold City Royals
A logical pick for us in our haul, shouldn't be judged more harshly that he was our first, this kid was probably one of the first locked in on our wishlist. Goldstein is on his last deal, we aren't using our picks next year on a ruck. Forget what this means for Xerri, we've now got both of them to work towards 2021-2022.
 

hellas_johnny

Club Legend
May 26, 2008
1,309
634
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
South Melbourne Hellas
the only thing, is he actually a proper ruckmen? as hes known more as a fwd. have a feeling this will mean xerri is gone next year as i cant see him getting game time and we have this guy now on the books
 

Top Bottom