Senior Jack Billings - Player Advocate: Premium

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Player Advocate 2016: Jackbenimble
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Born: 18/8/1995
Height: 185cm
Weight: 78kg
TAC Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Position: Midfield

Get more information on Jack Billings via the link: http://www.saints.com.au/news/2013-11-21/pick-3-jack-billings



Emma Quayle said:
4. JACK BILLINGS
(Oakleigh Chargers, 185cm, 76kg)
Billings could be the most gifted player in this group. Combine that with his dedication - he had a post-game stretching routine worked out when he was an under-12 - and you have a very promising player to work with. He's slight, but not necessarily small: he throws himself around for marks, can nudge other players out of the way and outsmart them. He thinks a little quicker than most around him, and has the foot skills and goal sense to make his sixth sense count. The question is when - or whether - he'll be able to do it in the midfield.


Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/the-lads-most-likely-20131116-2xo46.html#ixzz2lHdy9fR8
Oakleigh Chargers Region Manager Mark Smart via Inside Footy said:
Jack hasn't had the continuity in his season that he would have liked due to a few injuries that prevented him from showing his natural development from what we saw last year. His games at the back end of the year though were excellent, we ran him through the midfield a bit and even across half back because he's just got those elite kicking skills and he's very good in the air. The other thing is that he's a genuine match-winner and he has proved that on a number of occasions at all levels. He is in that top five bracket and he will be a very good AFL player.
Knightmare said:
Power Rankings for 2013:
*Potential A-graders*
1. Jack Martin (WA - Mid) – Gold Coast via minidraft.
2. Thomas Boyd (VIC - KPF)
3. Jesse Hogan (WA - KPF) – Melbourne via minidraft.
4. Blake Acres (WA – Mid/Util)
5. Luke McDonald (VIC - UTIL – NM F/S)
6. James Aish (SA – Mid/Def)
7. Jack Billings (VIC – Fwd/Mid)


Jack Billings (VIC – Fwd/Mid)
Height: 183cm, Weight: 78kg, DOB: 18/08/1995
Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers
Style: Jimmy Bartel/Nick Dal Santo
Player comparison:
Range: 3-7
Profile: Billings is a very high level footballer already and I’ve been very impressed with his play at a national level, in the TAC and also in APS footy and he just seems a class above at any level he plays at. Jack stands out with his elite footskills and is very duel sided with his preferred left foot in particular excellent and can both finish around goal easily just knowing where the goals are but also has rare playmaking ability with the way he finds those inside 50 targets by foot with his vision and ability to put it to where the forwards want it real features of his game and what he does as well as any. He’s also very damaging whenever there are stoppages or boundary throw-ins inside the forward 50 and has shown that he can shark it and convert for an easy goal if you’re not paying attention to him. Whenever he has ball in hand regardless of pressure he just uses it really well and looks really comfortable out there. I also like how unselfish Billings is up forward at times when he’s in a tight spot inside 50 he has the ability to find that central target in better position for the easy mark. The other major feature of Jack’s game is his overhead marking ability. He’s not tall but for his height his marking is a real highlight marking it at the highest point, but has those genuine sticky hands where he just takes it every time and also has unbelievably strong 1v1 marking ability allowing him to be a big weapon when pushed forward. He’s also excellent at ground level and a superb finisher from anywhere in range and particularly from set shots where he is pretty much automatic. While he’s most dominant forward of centre he’s also excellent through the midfield so while he will most likely start in a forward half for a team he’ll be rotating through a midfield in no time at the next level. He also has the ability to shrug a tackle. Billings has struggled this year with injury which is why we haven’t seen him at his best as often as we would like but having watched him for a number of years now he’s someone who can really take over games with his influence and consistently beat his direct opponent whether it be up forward or through the midfield.


Quigley said:
3 St Kilda
There is some talk of the Saints taking Kolodjashnij here but I do not see it myself. The way I read it they are pretty much a lock to take either Billings or Kelly and I am going with Billings. They need some class through the midfield and the classiest player going around this year is Billings. Kelly I am not nearly as sold on. Billings will start in the forward half but by the time Montagna moves on he will be right for a full time midfield role.


Jack Billings
DOB 18/8/95 Ht 185 Wt 77

Billings is one whose season has been interrupted by knee issues. He has had quite a bit of swelling over the year and had knee surgery in late August or early Sept. The knee problems has meant we have not seen as much of him nor as high a standard of play as we did last year. He played only three TAC games (one at the beginning of the year and the last two games of the season) this year after injury, school and other commitments kept him otherwise occupied. Still his timing was excellent when he played very good games at the Champs in the two televised games and this got him AA selection for the second year running.

Generally when I am writing these up I am usually a tougher marker with the Metro guys than many others. I think it is not necessarily that I am tougher on them it is more that I don't give them the extra marks for being Victorian that others seem to. That is especially the case this year where Metro in particular has been the weakest it has been for quite a long time. With Billings though I have no trouble slotting him in high in this draft. The kid is class and has shown over the last two years that he is going to be a fine AFL player and more than likely much better than that.

His knee issues has resulted in him not playing much through the midfield this year but I have no doubt that he will be a midfielder after a year or two playing on the HFF for whichever teams picks him up. I am also not expecting him to be a purely outside player. If you watched him closely at the Champs this year you would have seen him win his fair share of clearances from stoppages in the forward 50. He reads the ball off the rucks hands really nicely and slides through traffic exceptionally well for a player who has played mostly up forward. With some time on ball I see him becoming a very good all around midfielder. Whilst this is my expectation I do concede that it is not a certainty and that there is a real risk he will not make it as a midfielder. If that happens whoever drafts him will just have to console themselves with having the best small forward prospect in this draft.

What Billings does better than anyone else in this draft is deliver the ball inside 50. Billings is a superb at identifying the open forward and then getting them the ball in a place which gives the forward the best chance to mark it. He leads his forwards and weights his kicks exceptionally well. Overall he is a very good decision maker and his kicking off either foot is particularly strong. He is a natural left footer but sometimes you might not realise that.

Up forward he is regularly described as a very strong mark of the ball for his size. Whilst I think he is a good mark I am not quite sure it is as good as advertised. What he does do with almost ridiculous ease is get separation and this allows him to take a lot of marks with little pressure on him. He works his man over with multiple leads, changes of direction, physical plays and running good routes. He has a great feel for where and when to run and reads the ball very well in the air. If the ball is going over the back he reads it early and gets a body on his man to give him time to run onto it. In short he is one very smart forward and is very difficult to match up on. The gap in class between he and his defender is going to be less at AFL than it was as a junior but he has Milne like smarts up forward and that is going to translate to goals early in his career. He has good goal sense and is solid set shot.

Up the field he reads the play really well and is someone who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He reacts quickly and his reading of the player makes him a player who is one step ahead of everyone else around him. His endurance does not seem great but he gets to the dangerous space well and provides an option for his teammates. He reads the lines really well both in the forward half and through the midfield. He didn't test at Combine given he was still recovering from his surgery but it is worth noting that he was in the bottom 10% in both handspan and arm length. If I am going to guess on his athletic ability I would suggest he would be around the 3.00 mark for the 20m sprint, 8.20 for agility and in the 13s for the beep. In short he needs to work on his endurance but there is plenty to work with from an athletic perspective.

Overall I think Billings is an excellent prospect. As far as player comparisons go a lot of people have compared him to Stevie J and there is a fair few similarities there. I personally see him as being a pretty similar prospect as Sam Mayes was last year and it is possible that he could develop much like Gary Ablett. His ceiling is that high in my opinion.

Footy Tragic said:
#5 – JACK BILLINGS
Height: 185cm, Weight: 77kg, DOB: 18/8/1995
Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers


Jack Billings is probably the silkiest player in this draft. He’s played mostly as a half-forward but I see no reason to believe why he won’t become a midfielder in time once he gets over his knee issues.

He was first noticed at the U/16 National Carnival where he played three games as a forward averaging 14 disposals, 6 marks and 2 goals. In 2012 he played a fair bit of school footy, but he also played some games for the Chargers through the midfield where he began to build his endurance. He averaged 19 disposals and 7 marks from his ten matches. He then played four games at the U/18 National Champs as a 16 year old where he played mostly up forward. He averaged 15 disposals and 6 marks per game, but he kicked 5 goals against South Australia in a performance that really put his name up in lights.

You’re really drafting Billings on what he did last season because we only got to see him six times this season; three times in the TAC Cup and three times in the National Champs. His TAC form was really encouraging despite playing through injury and he showed some elite ball-winning ability that we hadn’t really seen yet. He’s had knee problems throughout the season and only had surgery on it in the last few months.

Billings has made his name as a creative half-forward with the ability to kick inside 50 accurately and effectively. He has excellent running patterns when leading up the flanks and just always bobs up in space and you’re figuring out ‘how’. I think it’s that he reads the play exceptionally well and he’s just a very clever player who knows where to run and where the ball will be. He is a silky left-foot kick and one of the best in the draft in my opinion. Sometimes he can try and be a bit too fancy but he backs himself and often his kicks have a very high difficulty rating. Kicking inside 50 is his trademark. He kicks exceptionally well to the lead (which is one of my favourite skills). Billings is also very good on his opposite foot, a trait many don’t accustom to left-footers.

For a guy his size he takes a lot of marks. As I mentioned, it’s his running patterns and his ability to lose his opponent that allows him to get so much space. For a guy his size and slightness, he is a really nice overhead mark and surprisingly strong in the contest.

The question that hangs over Billings’ head is if he can play midfield. Are you spending a top five draft pick on a small forward? I say no you’re not. Billings will start his career as a forward, but I think he will make the transition eventually. He severely needs to bulk up if he wants to achieve that. I don’t think he’s limited to being an outside midfielder either. He’s shown he’s more than capable of getting his hands dirty. He’ll need to work on his endurance as it is probably still below par, but with his injury it would be hard to build much of a base.

Overall, Billings is just class. You can never have enough clever players, and he’s the cleverest of them all. I’ve heard the Nathan Brown comparison and I like it.
Offsider said:
Pick 5: Gold Coast Suns – Jack Billings
Height: 183cm, Weight: 78kg, DOB: 18/08/1995
Club: Oakleigh Chargers (Vic Metro)

Gold Coast pick up the next best player on my list in Jack Billings who is a versatile utility, who is probably best as a half-forward who can have stints in the midfield. Billings is one of the most dangerous players in this years draft as he is a goal kicker and sets up a lot of goals with his elite disposal. He is a real x-factor type player who can create something out of nothing and can do the impossible, although not a massive clearance winner, his one on one work is excellent. He was reasonably good at the U18 champs this year, and showed off his class making most disposals really count, I did think though that he played better last year, although he did struggle this year with injuries.

Strengths
  • Disposal – Billings has a sublime, silky kick, very similar to Nick Dal Santo in that he just continues to hit targets with precision. His kicking for goal whether on the run or by set shot is also very good. Basically he is that typical smooth left foot kick.
  • Decision Making – Jack makes excellent decisions with the ball when he has it and rarely wastes a possession. His vision is particularly excellent and he just sees things that others don’t. He also reads the play very well and finds space nicely
  • Marking – Billings is excellent overhead and has great hands for a player is size. He reads the ball in the air well, and positions himself nicely. He is also great at leading up to the ball and finds space well.
  • Hurt factor – as Billings plays forward of center a fair bit he has great hurt factor with his disposal and is very damaging. He kicks goals, he creates opportunities and he delivers the ball into forward 50 exceptionally.
  • Forward ability – As a forward, Billing’s is very good and has quite a nicely rounded game as a medium marking forward. He is great at leading up to the ball, is a very good mark for a medium sized player and is good at leading up to the ball. He is also good when the ball is on the ground and is very clever and smart with his ball use and positioning. He is excellent at finding space where there is none, which is important for a forward. He is capable of crumbing the ball, although this area could use some improvement imo.
  • X-factor – Billings has a ton of x-factor, he can kick the difficult games, make the hard look easy and turn games with just a quick 10 minute burst.
  • Athleticism – Billings has pretty good athletic ability although I would say he is not elite. His speed looks above average, he creates separation on the lead easily, he runs with the ball well. Another strength of Billing’s is his agility as he is super slippery able to turn opponents inside out well and has a neat side step. His endurance looks to be quite good, although this will need to improve somewhat if he can run through the midfield.

Weaknesses/ Areas of Improvement
  • Will he ever transition into a midfielder? He has the talent to be a very good outside/inside mid, but at the moment he plays best as a forward. I think that he will start forward and have stints in the midfield.
  • Hardness/defensive game – Imo I have seen Billings on a number of occasions skirt around the edge of packs waiting for a handball out rather than going in and getting it, it seems to be his style (more of a receiver). He could also do with improving his defensive game, and laying more tackles.
  • Frontrunner – Billings is a little bit of a front runner imo and relies on others to do the hardwork and win the contested ball. He often plays well when his team do well and can go missing when his team is playing poorly, this is partly due to his role as a forward though.

#3 St Kilda
Jack Billings - Oakleigh Chargers / 183cm / 78kg / ‘95
Watched for a while now and one of my real favorite players in the pool. Kid has everything and will be a rolled gold star. Burst onto the scene last year where he showed enormous x factor. Clever footballer, loads of class, very composed, strong mark for his size, reads the play as well as anyone and has an elite kick on him. Will be recruited as an x factor fwd and have no issues that he can slot into a midfield rotation in time given some of his performances later in the year. Reminds a lot of the former Dog & Tiger Nathan Brown. Tends to pop up at important moments and do special things which I rate very highly. Needs to fill out but he will.

Chris25 said:
14. GWS - Jack Billings (183cm, 78kg midfielder - Oakleigh)

I really don't know what I think about Jack Billings. I know some people rate him in the top four of this draft, with some recruiters liking him more than the South Australian pair at the top of my draft. But I just can't get as excited about him. He has everything you'd want from a player - versatility, football smarts, excellent disposal and strong athletically. He has put up some very impressive games at TAC Cup level and as an underaged player last season in the U18 Championships. But, I can just see inconsistency being a major issue for him. He struggled to have an impact this year for Vic Metro, barely averaging over 12 disposals a game. And I'm just not sure he becomes a genuine midfielder. I liken him to Shaun Higgins, both in terms of strengths and weaknesses. I suppose the good thing he doesn't need a lot of disposals to have an impact, which means he could drastically improve his game if he starts finding the ball more. So far he has made his name more as a medium forward, although I'd be tempted to develop him into a half back. He reads the play very well and can be damaging with his disposal - think he'd do better with the game unfolding infront of him, and being able to play as a loose man too.
 

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Squizz

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#7
http://www.afl.com.au/news/2013-10-24/28-days-to-the-draft-meet-jack-billings

STRENGTHS
With his sticky overhead marking and elite skills on both feet, Billings has a couple of strong weapons that separate him from his peers. As a forward he can take a pack mark as easily as crumb a contest, and through the midfield it's not unusual to see him gather the ball, break away from a stoppage and then deliver the pass. Because his skills are so good, Billings looks like a finisher. But he is more than that: good in traffic, can feed the ball out with quick hands, and seems to always find space. At TAC Cup level, he came back from injury and played strong games, and although under duress with his knee, picked up 26 possessions then followed it with 32.

WEAKNESSES
The 18-year-old will need to build his aerobic base before he becomes a permanent midfielder. It isn't at a bad level but will have to improve to be able to play more consistently around the ball instead of across half-forward. Some may see him as an outside player at this stage of his development but his statistics at the championships – 19 contested possessions, 20 uncontested – show him to be pretty rounded in that area.

PLAYS LIKE
Think Nathan Brown when he was in his prime for the Western Bulldogs and Richmond. Billings is of a similar shape and prowess, and likes to snap goals, push into the midfield, and light games up. Port Adelaide drafted Chad Wingard as a half-forward two years ago at pick No.6 and Billings is equally as strong overhead when the ball is up for grabs.

BOTTOM LINE
Billings is a match-winner, a prospect who saves his best for the big moments. With his marking and kicking, he might be the most dynamic player available.
 

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