Sixteen West Australians have been invited to the NAB AFL Draft Combine which will be held this week in Melbourne.
Prospects needed to be nominated by at least four clubs to be eligible to head to the national combine.
East Fremantle has the most prospects nominated with six, while Claremont is the next best with three. Perth, Swan Districts and West Perth each have two, while Subiaco has one.
Below is a summary of each West Australian invitee:
LIAM HENRY – CLAREMONT
The Fremantle Next-Generation Academy member is one of the more dynamic players in this year’s draft pool. Likened to Fremantle’s Michael Walters, Henry boasts penetrating skills, has damaging speed and has the agility to weave his way around opponents. He won All-Australian selection at this year’s NAB AFL U18s Championships, after averaging 18 possessions, five marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and finishing equal third in WA’s Leading Goalkicker Award with three goals. His best performances came against Vic Country (26 possessions, five tackles, five rebounding 50s and four inside 50s) and Vic Metro (14 possessions and three goals). In four games for Claremont, Henry has kicked seven goals and is currently averaging 23 possessions, six marks, four tackles and three inside 50s with his best performance coming against East Perth when he was best afield with 24 possessions and four goals.
CALLUM JAMIESON – CLAREMONT
The North Beach junior has shown promising signs as a developing ruckman who can rest up forward. In three games for the Sandgropers, Jamieson kicked two goals and averaged nine possessions, five hit-outs, three marks, three tackles, and two inside 50s. His best game of the Championships came against Vic Country where he finished with 10 possessions, six hit-outs, four marks, three tackles and a goal. In six games for Claremont, Jamieson is averaging 15 possessions, 24 hit-outs, five tackles, four marks and has already kicked three goals. His best performances came against Perth (19 possessions and 38 hit-outs) and Swan Districts (18 possessions and 39 hit-outs). He made his senior debut for Claremont with its Reserves team against Perth in round 16 and showed excellent signs with nine possessions, 13 hit-outs and a goal. At 200 centimetres, Jamieson has raw athleticism, good skills and is a strong mark of the football.
RONIN O’CONNOR – CLAREMONT
The Marist junior has proven himself to be a solid inside midfield prospect in this year’s AFL Draft pool after strong performances for both Western Australia and Claremont. In four games for Western Australia, O’Connor averaged 14 possessions (seven contested), five tackles, three marks, two clearances and two inside 50s with his best performances coming against South Australia (18 possessions – 11 contested - three clearances and three inside 50s) and Vic Country (16 possessions and 11 tackles). He has also been solid for Claremont, averaging 15 possessions, five tackles and two marks with his best outings coming against East Fremantle (20 possessions and nine tackles) and Peel Thunder (15 possessions and 10 tackles). Playing predominantly as a midfielder, O’Connor is powerful around stoppages, wins the contested ball and also boasts penetrating skills.
JAI JACKSON – EAST FREMANTLE
The Chapman Valley product has proven to be one of the best hybrid prospects in this year’s AFL Draft pool, showing that he can be a difficult match-up whether stationed in the forward line or through the midfield. Jackson is strongly built, and isn’t afraid to use his body to crash-and-bash his way through congestion to win the contested ball for his team. He has also proven to be a handful up forward where he uses his strength and overhead marking ability to win one-on-one contests. In three games for WA, Jackson kicked three goals and averaged 14 possessions, five tackles, three marks, two clearances and two inside 50s with his best outing coming against the Allies (15 possessions, five tackles, three clearances and a goal). He has been in solid form for East Fremantle, averaging 19 possessions, eight tackles and three marks across seven games. He produced strong performances against Peel Thunder (23 possessions and a goal), and South Fremantle (24 possessions and 11 tackles).
LUKE JACKSON – EAST FREMANTLE
The former Australian basketballer has proven to be one of the better ruck prospects after some brilliant performances for Western Australia and East Fremantle. He was named the All-Australian ruckman and finished second in the Larke Medal after averaging 15 possessions (11 contested), 37 hit-outs, five clearances, three marks, two tackles, and two inside 50s across four games for the Sandgropers. His best performance for WA came against Vic Country (19 possessions – 11 contested – 37 hit-outs and five clearances). For East Fremantle, Jackson has kicked five goals and is currently averaging 17 possessions, 33 hit-outs, three marks, three tackles and two inside 50s from five games with his best performance coming against Peel Thunder in round 15 (20 possessions and 41 hit-outs). Jackson has been likened to Port Adelaide’s Paddy Ryder due to his raw athleticism, tap work, and ability to cover the ground.
TRENT RIVERS – EAST FREMANTLE
The East Fremantle Captain has drawn attention to himself as one of the better leaders within this year’s AFL draft pool after inspiring performance for both Western Australia and East Fremantle. Rivers won All-Australian selection on the interchange bench after a strong carnival for WA averaging 22 possessions, five marks, three tackles and three rebounding 50s, rotating between the midfield and the half-back line. His best game for the Sandgropers came against Vic Metro (22 possessions and one goal). For East Fremantle, he is currently averaging 26 possessions, five marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and has kicked five goals across six games. He is currently seventh in the WAFL Colts Coaches Award with 14 votes after near-best afield performances against Subiaco (29 possessions and six tackles), Swan Districts (26 possessions and three goals) and Peel Thunder (25 possessions and seven tackles)
TREY RUSCOE – EAST FREMANTLE
The Booragoon junior has had his year cut short by a shoulder injury sustained in WA’s last game against Vic Country, but he has done enough to attract interest from at least four AFL clubs. Across four games for the Sandgropers, Ruscoe averaged 15 possessions, five marks, four tackles and two rebounding 50s playing primarily as a key defender. His best performances came against Vic Metro (19 possessions, seven marks and three rebounding 50s), and the Allies (15 possessions and four marks). In three games for East Fremantle, he averaged 20 possessions, six inside 50s, four tackles, three marks and kicked four goals across three games, showing off his versatility – playing in defence, midfield and up forward. His best outing for the Sharks came against Subiaco where he finished with 23 possessions, six inside 50s and two goals.
JEREMY SHARP – EAST FREMANTLE
The dual All-Australian is seen as one of the better outside midfielders/half-back flankers in this year’s AFL Draft pool. As an outside midfielder, Sharp has the ability to break through the opposition’s defensive zones with his damaging skills, composed decision-making, and his speed and endurance. For Western Australia, Sharp averaged 21 possessions, six marks, and two clearances and kicked he three goals to win All-Australian selection on the interchange bench. His best performance came against the Allies where he finished with 22 possessions, four marks, three clearances and a goal. In three games for East Fremantle’s League team, Sharp is averaging 16 possessions, five marks, two tackles and two inside 50s.
CHAD WARNER – EAST FREMANTLE
The Willetton junior is one of the stronger midfield midfield prospects in this year’s draft pool. Likened to West Coast’s Jack Redden, Warner is strongly-built, is tenacious around the stoppages, thrives on the contested side of the game, is defensively sound, has good skills and is seen as a leader. Across four games for WA, Warner averaged 18 possessions (nine contested), seven tackles, three marks and three clearances, with his most notable performance coming against Vic Country (25 possessions, six inside 50s, five tackles and four clearances). For East Fremantle, he is currently averaging 26 possessions, eight tackles, three inside 50s and two marks, with his best performance coming against Swan Districts (31 possessions, 13 tackles and a goal).
DEVEN ROBERTSON – PERTH
The nephew of West Coast great Darren Glass, Robertson firmly announced himself as one of WA’s best prospects with a stunning AFL U18s Championships. He captained Western Australia to glory, averaging 30 possessions (12 contested), seven tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounding 50s and four marks to claim the Larke Medal, WA’s MVP Award and to be named the captain of the AFL U18s All-Australian team. For the Demons, he is currently averaging 30 possessions, seven marks, six tackles and two inside 50s. He was named best afield in the Demons’ victory over Claremont in round five where he finished with 37 possessions, eight marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and a goal. He has been compared to Melbourne stalwart Nathan Jones due to his leadership qualities, his ferocious attack on the ball and man, his stoppage craft and his two-way running.
ELIJAH TAYLOR – PERTH
A family relative of Tim Kelly, the Kickett brothers (Dale and Derek), Paddy Ryder and Nicky Winmar, Elijah Taylor is one of the more exciting prospects in this year’s AFL Draft pool. He won All-Australian selection after winning WA’s Leading Goalkicker Award with six goals and averaged 12 possessions, three marks, and two inside 50s across four games. His best outing came against the Allies when booted three goals from 12 possessions. For Perth, Taylor is averaging 18 possessions, four marks, three tackles and three inside 50s across four games. As a medium-sized hybrid forward, Taylor has the ability to rip a game apart – he is a good mark overhead, has a natural leap, has good agility, raw speed and is dangerous around goal.
MITCHELL GEORGIADES – SUBIACO
The son of former Footscray and Subiaco forward John Georgiades, Mitchell has been sidelined in 2019 with a quad injury. However, Georgiades did enough in 2018 to show recruiters his potential. In four games for Western Australia he averaged 10 possessions, four marks, two tackles and kicked three goals with his best performance coming against the Allies (13 possessions and two goals). He was also instrumental in Subiaco’s Colts’ premiership triumph, averaging 13 possessions, six marks, two inside 50s, and two tackles as well as kicking eight goals across six games. As a key forward, Georgiades is strong in the air, competes strongly, reads the play well and rarely wastes a possession.
RILEY GARCIA – SWAN DISTRICTS
Unfortunately an ACL injury will sideline Garcia for the rest of the season, but he did enough for both Western Australia and Swan Districts to attract the interest of several AFL clubs. He was one of Western Australia’s consistent players in the Championships, averaging 24 possessions (11 contested), four tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s in the three game before he went down with the knee injury in the game against Vic Country. He best performance came against South Australia (28 possessions – 15 contested – eight clearances, six inside 50s and a goal). Garcia also showed promising signs for Swan Districts’ League team with solid performances against East Perth (16 possessions and three inside 50s) and Perth (13 possessions and two marks). He was also best afield in his only Colts’ game of the year against Subiaco (26 possessions, four tackles, and three inside 50s). Despite being a smaller midfielder, Garcia is tough in the stoppages, boasts dazzling skills, is a sound-decision maker and always competes strongly.
JAKE PASINI – SWAN DISTRICTS
The Caversham junior has established himself as a solid key defensive prospect after strong performances for Western Australia and Swan Districts. In four games for the Sandgropers, Pasini averaged 10 possessions, three marks, two tackles and two inside 50s with his best games coming against Vic Metro (10 possessions, six marks and three rebounding 50s) and Vic Country (seven possessions and two marks). For Swan Districts he is currently averaging 18 possessions, four marks, two tackles with his best performance coming against Subiaco in round five (22 possessions and five marks). Pasini made his senior debut for Swan Districts with their Reserves team in their clash with South Fremantle and looked strong with 13 possessions, six marks and four tackles. Similar to Adelaide’s Daniel Talia, Pasini is a key defender who not only shuts down his direct opponent, but also provides adequate support for his team-mates. He is solid overhead, and also has an excellent kick on him
BEN JOHNSON – WEST PERTH
The Whitfords junior has established himself as a strong small/medium defensive prospect in this year’s AFL Draft Pool. In four games for Western Australia, Johnson averaged 14 possessions, three marks and three rebounding 50s with excellent performances against Vic Metro (11 possessions and two goals), South Australia (11 possessions, two marks and two rebounding 50s) and the Allies (23 possessions, eight marks, five rebounding 50s and four inside 50s). He has also been solid for West Perth with six goals and is currently averaging 19 possessions, three marks, three tackles and three rebounding 50s across five games. His best performances have come against Claremont (27 possessions, seven marks and a goal) and East Fremantle (20 possessions, six tackles and a goal). Johnson is cool and calm under pressure, boasts a long penetrating kick, provides excellent rebound and has the capacity to lock his direct opponent out of the game.
JAXON PRIOR – WEST PERTH
The son of former East Perth premiership player Michael Prior, Jaxon has proven to be a very good medium defensive prospect. Similar to Fremantle’s Luke Ryan, Prior reads the play very well, is strong overhead, has damaging skills and provides excellent rebound for his team. Prior performed strongly for Western Australia at the AFL U18s Championships, averaging 16 possessions, four marks, and four rebounding 50s, with his best game coming against the Allies (18 possessions and six rebounding 50s). He has also been one of West Perth’s best players averaging 27 possessions, six marks, three tackles and has kicked three goals from five games. He has produced best afield performances against Claremont (34 possessions and eight marks), and South Fremantle (28 possessions and two goals). He is currently sixth in the WAFL Colts Coaches Award with 16 votes.