AFL hopefuls begin intense screening this week as part of the AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne.
Seven North Ballarat Rebels will begin the process from 9.30 this morning and will be constantly monitored and tested until Friday at Etihad Stadium.
Today’s program includes measuring height, weight, armlength, skinfolds and handspan, and psychomotor tests will be administered, where reaction time, and decision making and peripheral awareness will be assessed.
Six more Rebels plus North Ballarat Rooster Dean Towers will undertake a scaled down program in the state combine on Saturday.
Rebels regional manager Phil Partington said Rebels had the most boys participating out of all the clubs in Australia.
“There will a lot of nervous energy, but that’s a good thing. I’ll be disappointed if they’re not nervous, they have to just turn that nervous energy into a positive outcome,” Partington said.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of the boys over the weekend, and I’ll speak to them as the screening starts, to check in.”
Partington said the club had worked closely with candidates to prepare them for the combine. This included trial fitness testing at Maribrynong Secondary College last week.
“We’ve been preparing for six to seven weeks, so the boys are prepared for the testing. None of them had done anything like it before.”
The boys participating in the national combine have been nominated by four or more AFL clubs.
“We’ve got a really good group going through. We’re not thinking about stand outs,” Partington said.
“There are always records broken at the draft combine – I’m not looking for them though. I just want all the boys to perform at their best.”
The week will test the boys physically and mentally, with watching AFL staff outnumbering the 220 boys screened at the national and state combines.
“Around 400 AFL staff will be there watching the boys, so that puts a lot of pressure on them,” Partington said.
“They can walk into a meeting with a club and Kevin Sheedy will be there and six or so other people from the club. It can be very stressful for the boys, but we’ve prepared them as best that we can.”
Tanne Smith (Kalkee); Michael Close (Harrow-Balmoral); Loius Herbert (South Warrnambool); Martin Gleeson (Koroit); Matt Crouch (Beaufort); Jake Neade (Elliott, Northern Territory); Dom Barry (Alice Springs, Northern Territory).
Tyler Blake (Horsham Demons); Jake Lloyd (Horsham Demons); Nick Rippon (East Ballarat); Kyle Hendy (Stawell Warriors); Tony Lockyer (Sebastopol); Dean Robinson (Redan/Barellan); Dean Towers, North Ballarat Roosters (Colac).