Welcome to Hawthorn, Jack Saunders - Pick #4 2020 rookie draft

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Strapping Young Lad

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Write-up from the U18s semi-finals

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders backed up his best-on-ground performance last weekend with another standout showing in Norwood’s big semi-final victory over Sturt at Thebarton Oval. He spent some time off half-back early on, where he was able to use his speed and booming right-foot kick to turn defence into attack. However, he was most effective when moved onto the ball. Saunders provided an instant spark and became the most damaging player on the ground. He attacked every contest at high-speed and ran hard both ways to link up the play between the arcs. He was very clean and precise by foot and backed-himself to hit a couple of difficult targets through the middle of the ground. Saunders will have accumulated an abundance of metres-gained in what was another fantastic performance from the dynamic, hard-running midfielder. He finished with 25 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

And another U18 game

Jack Saunders
Norwood | Midfielder
11/02/2002 | 178cm | 71kg

Stats:
29 disposals (20 kicks), 8 marks, 7 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 5 goals, 2 behinds

Our scouts said: “Saunders was the clear best-on-ground in Norwood’s comprehensive triumph. He started in the middle and impressed with his breakaway pace. Although his foot skills have been questioned by some throughout the course of the season, his kicking was precise for much of the contest against West Adelaide. His tackling pressure remained high for the entirety of the contest and Saunders was able to break the game open with his burst running and intensity around the ball. He used his strength well one-on-one while up forward and harassed the ball carrier relentlessly, but his impact on the scoreboard was what separated his game from the rest.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Saunders’ senior experience has clearly done his confidence and form a world of good, taking his game to another level as he dropped back down into the Under 18s setup. The hard-running midfielder put on a show for Norwood and will likely make them a finals force in the coming weeks, with some terrific class on the inside allowing him to run the show on the outer. As are scouts suggested, Saunders did it all, but it was his five goals which truly set his game apart. He would have been a smoky for South Australia’s state squad, and is a reliable player with good qualities at SANFL level.

Looks like he had some decent games at SANFL level before dropping down to U18s level, too.

Quick, small endurance on-baller that has been played off half back and can kick a goal up forward.
 

Scrads

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Posted this in the draft thread but will drop it here too:

In 2020 played 10 x U18 games for Norwood (4 'times in bests') and 6 x Reserves games (also 4 'times in bests'). Kicked a 5-goal haul in one of his U18 games.


Unfortunately we didn't capture stats for Reserves (and U16) games this year in the SANFL comps because of budget cuts.
 

Blackhawk42

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Is maybe an outside / wing option longer term as has the speed and tank?
At his size and skill level could be more a Zach Merrett or Dayne Zorko type I'd say. Mid/fwd who plays bigger than his height suggests.
 

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TazHawk15

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A gut running mid who had 29 disposals, 7 tackles and kicked 5 goals....and he’s taken in the rookie draft. 👀
How the silly Crows did not bid on him instead of JUH, has me perplexed.

BTW this is for Roby................. Relax dude it was a joke, I am not having a go at Strapping Young Lad.
 
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Omega

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We shouldnt expect too although looks like he has some positive attributes. If he can add some weight and improve kicking could eventually play some senior games. Good option as a rookie. I wish him all the best along with all of our other rookies.
 

toomanysquibs

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That's a fair highlights package, the lower level notwithstanding.

To quote the NAB draft crew, kicks goals from all phases of the game.

Strong for his size. If that is translatable into him developing an AFL hardened physique over the pre-season we might see him before too long.
 
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