North Ballarat Rebels in AFL combine's top-10

SHARP small forward Jake Neade and flashy wingman Dom Barry set the tone for endurance in yesterday’s AFL national combine.

The North Ballarat Rebels duo topped the first two heats in the three-kilometre time trial.

Rebels tall defender Tanner Smith was fourth in heat three of the final physical test in the four-day screening at Etihad Stadium.

All three claimed top-10 rankings in the gruelling finale.

Barry (Alice Springs, NT) ran 10 minutes, nine seconds as the combine’s third fastest.

Sandringham Dragon’s Joshua Kelly was the only one to break the 10-minute barrier with a run of 9:48.

Neade (Elliot, NT) ranked fifth in 10:16 and Smith (Kalkee) was seventh-best in 10:18. Martin Gleeson (Koroit) was also strong.

North Ballarat Rebels manager Phil Partington said all Rebels that lined up ran 3km personal best times, as did North Ballarat Roosters’ wingman Dean Towers, who ran 10:48.

Matt Crouch (Achilles) and Louis Herbert (groin) were rested yesterday and joined injured forward Michael Close on the sidelines.

Rooster Dean Towers was one of the combine’s top performers.

The 22-year-old from Colac broke the 15-year standing vertical jump record on day one with a jump of 85cm, eclipsing Trent Croad’s 1997 draft camp jump of 83cm.

Towers ranked equal fifth in the 20m sprint (2.89 seconds) and third in repeat sprints (24.48 seconds).

Combine continues a massive break-through year for Towers.

The second-year Rooster made his Victorian Football League debut in the 2010 finals series and built strength from that point, representing the VFL in an interstate bout against Tasmania in May and capturing this year’s VFL Fothergill Medal as the league’s best under-23 player.

Barry also had an impressive combine.

Adding to his top-three 3km ranking, Barry was equal ninth in the shuttle run (level 14.2), had a third-best score in the kicking test and was top-10 in the running vertical jump (84cm) and repeat sprints (25.19 seconds).

Rebels captain Daid Morris (Stawell Warriors) and teammate Tim Mackenzie (Minyip-Murtoa) were screened at AFL Victoria’s Draft Star camp yesterday at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

Rebels Tyler Blake (Horsham), Jake Lloyd (Horsham), Tony Lockyer (Sebastopol), Nick Rippon (East Ballarat), Kyle Hendy (Stawell Warriors) and Dean Robertson (Barellan) will be tested in a state combine at Etihad Stadium today.

melanie.whelan@thecourier.com.au

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