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Draft Prospects: Forwards

October 26, 2016 2:39 PM

U18: Gun forwards kicking goals Watch some of the nation's best underage forwards ahead of Novembers NAB AFL Draft

Ahead of the AFL NAB National Draft on November 25, AFL.com.au highlights this year’s best U18 gun forwards.

Tim English

POS: Ruckman/tall forward, Ht 204cm, Wt 86kg, DOB 10/8/97
From South Fremantle/Western Australia

The 204cm ruckman has genuine upside, which is why he's ranked this highly (and could be drafted even earlier than this point). After some confusion around his eligibility for the draft last year, English burst onto the scene earlier this season and is the most prominent ruckman in the pool. His skill level for ability at ground level are exceptional for a prospect his size, and he can roam around the ground with ease. He played senior football towards the end of the season in Western Australia and handled the step-up smoothly.  

Todd Marshall

POS: Tall forward, Ht 198cm, Wt 87kg, DOB 8/10/98
From Murray Bushrangers/Deniliquin/NSW-ACT

Marshall is here on potential. The lean key forward is the best tall goalkicker in the draft, with an ability to pick the ball off his toes, whip around and snap great goals. He can also mark well on the lead. His lack of physical frame at this stage of his development means he doesn't take heaps of marks in contested situations, and he was quiet in the TAC Cup Grand Final with just two kicks (both were goals). But he has some unique and brilliant attributes for a player his size.  

Josh Battle

POS: Key forward, Ht 192cm, Wt 90kg, DOB 1/9/98
From Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country

A six-goal haul for the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup finals proved Battle to be one of the leading key forwards in this year's pool. His efficiency that day (and throughout the year) was a standout quality, and he finished the season by kicking 24.13 for the Stingrays. Battle is an endurance athlete – he finished in the top-10 at the combine for the 3km time trial with a run of 10:07 – and he could use that more in games. At the next level he's probably going to be a third tall forward rather than the main man.  

Patrick Kerr

POS: Key forward, Ht 194cm, Wt 93kg, DOB 31/7/98
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

Kerr led the under-18 championships for marks on the lead, which indicates how he plays. The Oakleigh Chargers goalkicker is a traditional key forward who enjoys to lead out of the goalsquare, take his marks and go back and slot goals. He's reasonably aggressive, and has a solid body on him that isn't afraid to crash into packs and bring the ball to ground. There is maybe a slight query on his pace but he posted a time of 3.03 seconds for the 20-metre sprint at the combine but his agility was among the lowest. 

Ben Ainsworth

POS: Small forward, Ht 179cm, Wt 74kg, DOB 10/2/98
From Gippsland Power/Vic Country

The exciting small forward finished his season in great form for Gippsland Power, and then set himself for a draft combine that would end his 2016 on a high note. He achieved that, recording personal bests in the sprint (2.90 seconds) and beep test (level 14.4), and he was also top-10 in the repeat sprints, agility and running vertical jump. All of that proved the 2015 All Australian to be a powerful, exciting athlete. Match that with his footy skills and you have a pretty enticing package. He's this high because he's a match-winning type who steps up and plays well when games are up for grabs. 

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