AFL Player # 8: Ben Hobbs - Beats Kelly to the no. 8?

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owen87

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Ah, finally. A proper draft profile;

POSITION: Inside Midfielder

SNAPSHOT: “A hard-nosed, hard-working inside midfielder who loves to compete both defensively and in a ball winning sense."

Ben Hobbs is a prototype inside midfielder who thrives on the contested ball and never takes a backwards step. A readymade midfielder who could step straight into a lineup from Round 1, Hobbs has been likened to Collingwood's Taylor Adams for his fierce attack on the ball, and high levels of defensive pressure, ball-winning abilities and consistency across the board. Like Adams, the knock on Hobbs is his outside game and primarily further improving his kicking to be more potent, but as a whole, Hobbs' ability to dominate around the stoppages is rarely matched in this draft crop.

STRENGTHS:
  • Contested work
  • Clean hands
  • Accumulation
  • Consistency
  • Tackling
  • Clearances

IMPROVEMENTS:
  • Outside game
  • Kicking
Hobbs is a player who will never be too far from the contest, racking up plenty of clearances and often being either the first or second disposal from a stoppage. He can throw it on the boot to clear or try and power his way through with strength, and his hands are very clean in dishing off to teammates and picking the right option. Whilst his work outside the contest might need refining, Hobbs has proven he can go forward and hit the scoreboard, with his smarts around stoppages enabling him to read the taps well and then throw it on the boot to apply scoreboard pressure from a forward stoppage.

There is little doubt that Hobbs knows how to find the ball, averaging 25 disposals over six games, including back-to-back huge 34-disposal games against Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons, and finishing off the season with 32 touches against Gippsland Power prior to the most recent Victorian lockdown. Even more remarkably, this includes the game against the Bushrangers back in Round 4, where he was injured and only picked up only four disposals. Not including that match, his average is bolstered to 29.2 disposals per game. His natural accumulation lends itself to his role, with his work on the inside critical to allowing his teammates to shine around him.

In terms of toughness and sheer courage, Hobbs throws himself at every ground ball to win it out, and has little regard for his own safety, desperate to win the pill for his side. He is as consistent as any other player in the competition in that regard, and from an offensive standpoint, his work in close is rivalled by very few in the draft crop. From a defensive standpoint, his tackling - at five per game - is just as fierce, and he shows a desire to win the ball back for his side. Put simply, you know exactly what effort Hobbs will put out for four quarters each and every week.

The knock on him will be his outside game and ability to impact a contest from other positions, but unlike some pigeonholed inside midfielders, Hobbs is still able to impact the game by hitting the scoreboard. Multiple goals in the Rebels' win over the Bushrangers, and then goals in his final two games of the NAB League season showed he has enough smarts and strength to able to capitalise away from the coalface. He certainly could improve the outside aspects of his game, including his kicking, which is a main focus for the GWV Rebels on-baller.

DRAFT RANGE: Top 10

SUMMARY:
Ben Hobbs is the best pure inside midfielder in the draft. Whilst Jason Horne-Francis could be considered a midfielder-forward, Hobbs is as pure as they come on the inside, and he is someone who can slot straight into a midfield, not afraid to take some hits. He has areas to improve on, mainly outside the contest, but from an inside perspective, he will be a consistent ball winner and his effort will never waver. Expect him to land somewhere inside the Top 10 in the AFL Draft and be able to push for selection early in his debut season.


They all keep writing Taylor Adams, but all I see when I read these things is Selwood.

Sounds like the kind of guy who will just try, and try, and try all game long with absolutely zero sense of self preservation.
 

Lore

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They all keep writing Taylor Adams, but all I see when I read these things is Selwood.

Sounds like the kind of guy who will just try, and try, and try all game long with absolutely zero sense of self preservation.
I’d be interested for someone knowledgeable about both to tell me how similar or different Hobbs is from Clayton Oliver. 🤔 I have a mental image of a rabid dog that seems to fit both descriptions…
 

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owen87

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I’d be interested for someone knowledgeable about both to tell me how similar or different Hobbs is from Clayton Oliver. 🤔 I have a mental image of a rabid dog that seems to fit both descriptions…
Oliver is a couple of inches taller, and wasn't a noted two-way player was he? One of the draft watchers will be able to answer it better I'm sure

eDPS that’s your cue. Maybe andleanback or foj1?
eDPS really keeping up hanging here, TELL US WHAT WE SHOULD THINK PLEASE
 

owen87

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I'd take him turning out to be either of them personally
Agreed, Adams is underrated as a player IMO. Just seems like Hobbs has a lot of Selwood in how he's described, a ball winning inside mid with no real outstanding athletic traits who leads by example and seems to thrive when the game needs to be won.
 

Ambrosia

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Seems like a safe pick given the hunger and competitiveness he has. With Shiel in the twilight of his career a good quality midfielder is a good choice.
Realistically you always needs mids coming through. I mean Parish really only hit his straps this year and he was drafted in 2015.

In 5 years when Hobbs is in his prime who knows what our midfield will look like.
 

Mercurial89

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Do we know what his running ability is like?
I'd assume since most of the reports say that he is constantly in the contest that he has no issues covering the field but I'd be interested what type of tank he has as that probably dictates how much he plays early.
 

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Lore

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Club journo got out there and interviewed him too.

Apparently we interviewed him mid year and hadn't spoken to him much after that until the day before. Wasn't expecting to land at Essendon. Models his game on Boak.

Few clips of him getting his jumper, which does indeed have a number 8 on the back. Pity the jumper isn't the 150 years edition, although his media shirt has the anniversary logo.

 

owen87

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Since eDPS has abandoned us, I've searched his thread on the D&T board for his comments on Hobbs;

Hobbs is a contested beast inside midfielder, offers plenty of grunt and tackling pressure
Hobbs was the standout for me in the other game as he hits his straps at a good time, just a workhorse around the ground and will be a high volume accumulator at the next level.
Ben Hobbs, Connor MacDonald and Mitch Knevitt where the clear best midfielders for Country. Hobbs still has some issues with his kicking but he is just a real bull, a workhorse and a smart player.
Ben Hobbs who could be a high level midfielder for over 10 years
Some notes I did back in 2019 at some under 16 trials, a few players have progressed since then and a few reminders as to why some where so highly rated

Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels | 181/75)

Hobbs was the clear best player for Country in Game 2, winning plenty of the ball through the midfield and also hitting the scoreboard which he did twice with one goal from a 50m penalty in the second quarter and kicking a lovely set shot goal in the last quarter. Hobbs was clinical through the midfield, winning the ball well not just in the contest, but also on the outside winning the ball all over the ground. He wanted the ball so bad in the last quarter he even knocked over this own player to get to it.
Both are fairly different actually. Matt Johnson is a composed and smooth moving taller midfielder. Roberts a high capacity runner with good bodywork and smarts around goal. Both are lacking in speed however which is why I have them both outside my top 15 and both can win a contested ball but they aren’t as manic as the likes of Hobbs and JHF.
 

FlyingV

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Do we know what his running ability is like?
I'd assume since most of the reports say that he is constantly in the contest that he has no issues covering the field but I'd be interested what type of tank he has as that probably dictates how much he plays early.
From what I have dug up, he ran a 6.32 2km
And has a 80cm running vertical.
So not as non-athletic as some have made him out to be.
 

owen87

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From what I have dug up, he ran a 6.32 2km
And has a 80cm running vertical.
So not as non-athletic as some have made him out to be.
From the way he's written up it just seems like he won't be a guy that's going to burst away from stoppages like Dangerfield, or cover ground like a Scully or Gaff, but he's got the required ability and work rate to be an AFL standard midfielder
 

FlyingV

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From the way he's written up it just seems like he won't be a guy that's going to burst away from stoppages like Dangerfield, or cover ground like a Scully or Gaff, but he's got the required ability and work rate to be an AFL standard midfielder
Yeah, I think it’s the burst of speed he lacks in particular. 6.30 2km is a very good result so he’ll be able to run all day. He did also have a ankle injury at some point last year (I think) so that may have hampered him a bit. The point is he shouldn’t be a Will Brodie and need 5 years to build his tank up.
 

Red Black and Blue

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They all keep writing Taylor Adams, but all I see when I read these things is Selwood.

Sounds like the kind of guy who will just try, and try, and try all game long with absolutely zero sense of self preservation.
They are pretty much the same player. Just landed at different clubs at vastly different times.
 

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