OK, I have a HUGE q for the draft watchers.
What are the key differences between what a kid does at u18 level vs what you think they will do at AFL level? How do you project talent?
I tend to be an output-focused guy. If a player's main job is to get the ball, then I look for the guys that can get the ball. I don't care if a guy can run like the wind and do the extra-ordinary. Coz unless he's actually doing it on a regular basis, then who cares? Someone like Gary Rohan looks amazing on paper, but (injuries aside) has not been very effective at AFL level in my eyes. Because of my biases, I tend to overvalue guys that end up vanilla (not Sam Walsh style) at AFL level.
Deven Robertson is a great example. Ok, his kicking is a bit messy and he lacks x-factor. But if it was that bad, how was he voted the best kid at the champs? Sam Philp is the opposite, he didn't even make the champs, but he's blistering quick. And he got picked earlier. This is not about drafting Philp vs Robertson, but these two are almost the perfect example of differing output vs characteristics prospects. I am only using these guys for illustrative purposes.
I get a few things like
I guess some kids get the ball 20 times a match at u18 but end up getting 30 at AFL level. Or vice versa. I mean Pat Kerr was u18 AA FF, was drafted late and is now delisted. Harry kicked a couple of goals here and there at junior level but was tall, athletic and could mark. He was drafted early and is looking like a serious AFL player in the making.
- A ball butcher will probably always be a ball butcher
- Sometimes a short guy is good at underage level, but just won't make it against taller, stronger opposition
- Lack of fitness/endurance can be fixed - but having said that the junior elite runners end up as the AFL's elite runners
- A skinny guy can get stronger
- Some kids are still growing
- A late convert to footy will likely have more development
- You may draft a kid to play a different position (therefore you look at attributes more than output)
- Leadership, off-field and interviews also impact on where a kid gets drafted and how he fares at AFL level
I mostly look at stats and highlights, so I can't really get a true feel for a what a player will/can become. Please tell me, how do you assess draft prospects and work out which ones will make it at AFL level and which ones won't?
It's all in the judgement Ferris. Either a recruiter has good judgement or he doesn't. What goes into that judgement is a million pieces of data, but what the computer(brain) spits out after the data is Judgement.
There are good judges and bad judges.
SOS is a good judge in 2 areas of life.
Conversely, Shane Rogers and Geoff Edelsten respectively are poor judges in those two areas.