AFL hopefuls will be put through their paces this week with scouts on the lookout for the competition’s next big thing.
Three Fremantle-based WAFL players are among the pool of 80 players to feature in the draft combine run this Thursday to Sunday at Docklands in Melbourne.
East Fremantle’s Cameroon Zurhaar and South Fremantle’s Shai Bolton and Tim English will be tested for athleticism, football skills, personality and character.
AFL national and international talent manager Kevin Sheehan said the combine would bring the best young talent to one place for a final round of testing.
“The combine is the final chance many clubs will have to see prospective players up close,” he said.
“Clubs will not only watch the testing but will conduct interviews with players as they count down to the AFL draft in Sydney.”
WA players heading to the combine: Liam Baker and Josh Rotham (West Perth), Cameron Zurhaar (East Fremantle), Shai Bolton and Tim English (South Fremantle), Zac Fisher and Quinton Narkle (Perth), Matt Guelfi, Sam Petrevski-Seton and Jake Waterman (Claremont), Griffin Logue (Swan Districts) and Sam Powell-Pepper (East Perth).
– East Fremantle’s football operations manager Darren Fry on Cameron Zurhaar –
His role this year: “Cam started the year playing as a third tall forward, where his strength was leading at the football as he has excellent hands. Once the State 18’s program finished and he returned back to East Fremantle, he spent more time as an inside midfielder.”
How he earned his place at the draft combine:
“Firstly he deserves his chance because he is a very good player and enough AFL clubs have recognised that and therefore nominated him. Cameron is a competitive beast. He is a strong-bodied player who attacks the ball and the opponent hard. He has an excellent set of hands and has the capacity to take strong contested marks. This season he has shown he has versatility, playing both forward, but also through the midfield.”
His best position:
“I think some clubs see him as potentially that bigger bodies inside midfielder. He showed at times this season he has the ability to win clearances and impact there. He may start as that lead-up forward however until he builds into his AFL career. Clubs like that versatility in a player so longer term he may be that mid who can push forward and impact there too.
His potential as an AFL player:
“I think yes he can carve out a successful career. Cam is very driven to succeed. The way he has already attacked the off-season in the gym and the way he did his rehab after an injury this year suggests he has the attention to detail to give himself the best chance. You need to have a level of competitiveness and Cam has plenty of that. Like all players he will need to have a really good preseason but in a full time AFL environment I think he will thrive.”
– South Fremantle’s colts coach Mark Foster on Tim English –
His role this year: “Tim is predominantly a ruckman however he has played as a key forward at times during the year as well.”
How he earned his place at the draft combine: “Tim has an extremely unique combination of size, athleticism and football skills. For a player around 204cm he is a beautiful kick of the ball and extremely clean bellow his knees. He moves around the ground and gathers possessions like a midfielder and once he develops the ability to take contested marks on a regular basis he will be a very handy addition to any AFL team due to his versatility.”
His best position: “Tim is still lean and will need to add some size to compete against the ruckman at AFL level so he could potentially start as a forward and move into the ruck in two to three years.”
His potential as an AFL player: “He has a really rare mix of talents and is also an extremely good kid with solid character. I see no reason why he won’t succeed at the AFL level and the sky is the limit. He could potentially be a Dean Cox type ruckman who plays as a fourth midfielder.”
– South Fremantle’s colts coach Mark Foster on Shai Bolton –
His role this year: “Shai is a small forward/midfielder. He has played this role predominantly for the colts but was used as a wingman in the State Academy.”
How he earned his place at the draft combine: Simply Shai does things on a football field that I have never seen another player do. He has speed, great goal sense, a very powerful leap and explosive lateral movement which allows him to duck and dodge players with ease. He is a freak around goal but more importantly he is also a competitor and showed in the finals that he has the desire to win
His best position: At the AFL level he will be a small forward who could pinch for short spells on the ball.
His potential as an AFL player: Like Tim, Shai has all the potential in the world to be a terrific player at the next level. He still has some aspects of his game that he really needs to work on such as his kicking but as long as he is dedicated and willing to do the work, with his skill set, he could be one of the most exciting small forwards in the competition. He finished second in the colts goal kicking for the year despite missing a large chunk of the season due to the State Academy program and if he translates that into the AFL he will be a very handy addition to any team.”