Plenty of WA talent headed to combine testing in Melbourne
WA football talent manager Adam Jones is confident the state’s production line is in good order, despite another lower-than-usual number of Sandgroper draftees being forecast.
10 WA talents have been invited to this weekend’s national testing combine in Melbourne and a further 12 will participate in the state combine next weekend, but this year’s total is expected to figure similarly to last year’s nine, lower than totals in the high teens in previous years.
Jones told Sports Breakfast the WA crop would be further hampered by the expectation that the overall number of players drafted will again be low.
“We were disappointed with our (carnival) result this year, no doubt about it, but we still think we’ll have a pretty good draft hand over the next couple of years,” Jones said.
“We had three go to the AFL futures game, which is down on numbers on previous years, we would normally get eight to ten players playing in that game, which is an indication of the talent coming through for next year.
“Our state 16’s performed really well, they won two out of three games and we really like the talent they’ve got coming through, and the 15’s just about won the championship.
“Next year might be a little bit lighter, but we hope some players will come on … and then the years after that we’ll be back better.”
The state’s hottest draft prospect Daniel Curtin will not participate in testing due to a hamstring injury, but Jones said the issue was not serious.
“It happened in the latter stages of the (WAFL colts) grand final,” he said.
“He was able to play out the game, so it’s not a terrible hamstring, I suspect if we were still playing it’d probably be a one-to-two-week injury.
“Given his standing, it’s not really worth potentially making it worse this weekend.”
Ahead of the combines, where players undergo assessments such as a 2km time trial and the vertical jump test, Jones said the feedback from clubs had been that the importance of athleticism was growing in draft decisions.
“That speed and power is just so important these days,” he said.
“You certainly can afford to have some players without it, but the majority of players on a list now, if you don’t have that athletic ability, it’s very hard to make it. The guys that don't have that, they need to have some top-quality traits.
“We’ve definitely seen it trending in that direction.”
The 2023 AFL draft is scheduled for the 20th and 21st of November, with West Coast currently in possession of the coveted number one pick.
IMAGE: AFL Photos