Nearly four months since the state’s last AFL game, Western Australia will reopen its doors to football being played with two matches this weekend.
I have mentioned a couple of times that this year’s AFL draft is expected to be quite shallow – but if you are willing to look hard enough then you will find some hidden gems.
And you want to know whose those hidden gems are, don’t you?
So here are the hidden gems for the 2015 draft – the players not expected to go in the first or even second round. In my opinion these guys are the six biggest hidden gems that I could find for the 2015 draft;
Gach Nyuon – Dandenong Stingrays (Ruckman 202cm/83kgs)
The big man received All Australian honours and is already likened to West Coast Eagles star Nic Naitanui.
Expected to be picked up late Round 3, maybe even in Round 4, but I’m telling you this kid would be a bargain at pick 30. Tested fantastically at the combine having a 362cm absolute vertical jump, and a 94cm vertical jump.
Mabior Chol – Yeronga/Brisbane academy (Forward 198cm/79kgs)
Although in the Brisbane academy, if someone went for him at pick 30-35 then I don’t expect Brisbane to match the offer. Athletic Sudanese forward who is a bit of a work in progress. A left footer who can take some really strong marks. He is another of those diamonds in the rough. Will probably end up at Brisbane though.
Stephen Tahana – North Adelaide (Half back/Midfield 183cm/78kgs)
Has already played SANFL and is a great rebound player who reads the play and puts his body on the line. Good clean pair of hands and has speed. Can also play in the midfield.
Has been rumoured to go in the region of Pick 40. If someone picks him up at pick 40 then that would be a huge bargain. Was inconsistent at the championships but when he was on he was a line-breaking gun. Jumps 86cm, and boasted both speed and agility at the combine.
Mitchell Hibberd – Clarence (Half back 191cm/85kgs)
Has been compared to the Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli. Boasts skill, endurance and poise. He has had a wretched run with injuries first with a knee reconstruction, then a shoulder reconstruction. Can play on the wing and could be another hidden gem. Missed out on getting drafted last year but has come back from two surgeries better than ever. Ran the second best beep test at the combine in a 15.8.
Daniel Rioli – North Ballarat Rebels (Half Forward/Half Back 175cm/76kgs)
So you want to know if he’s related to Cyril? Yes! Cyril is Daniel’s uncle, and their game styles are very very similar. The kid is very raw, loves to take the game on and loves kicking goals – more suited playing half forward, but can play in all three zones of the ground like he did in the U18 championships.
A genuinely smart footballer who can turn a game on its head. Tested fantastically at the combine with a 2.89secs 20m sprint and a 24.15secs repeat sprints being the second and first fastest respectively.
Oleg Markov – South Australia (Forward/Key Forward 190cm/85kgs)
Oleg Markov was born in Belarus and is the son of a world champion pole vaulter. He is a beautiful athlete and missed out on being drafted last year but I think that this year he will be picked up by a club. Came seventh in the agility run which is extraordinary for someone that is 190cm.
Also kicked a perfect 30 in the goal kicking test – only one of four to do so and also ran a massive 14.8 in the beep test. An athletic beast.
Who have I missed Roarers?