Toby Nankervis could be one of the first ruckmen taken at the NAB AFL Draft
A NUMBER of quality ruckmen will push for places on AFL lists after being invited to October's NAB AFL Draft Combine.
Under-18 All Australian ruckman Toby Nankervis, Victorians Michael Apeness and Jack Leslie, and West Australian big man Darcy Cameron head the group of 13 players set to test at Etihad Stadium in two weeks.
Another six ruckmen have been awarded state screening invitations. The group comprises players between 198-207cm.
Having missed out on being drafted last year, Nankervis starred for his state during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, improving his marking and having more of an impact around the ground.
Apeness' season has gradually gathered speed, and he will play an important role in the Eastern Ranges' premiership tilt in their TAC Cup Grand Final on Sunday.
Ben Brown looms as an interesting prospect after a standout year at VFL level for Werribee. Brown is 199cm but plays mainly as a key forward, where he is a strong contested mark.
American pair Mark Cisco and Jason Holmes will also test as members of the ruck group at the combine, which runs from October 1-4.
2013 NAB AFL Draft Combine – National
Club: Eastern Ranges
Aggressive and super competitive ruckman/tall forward that consistently gets his hand to the ball providing his midfielders with first use. Has very strong hands overhead and can also be dangerous playing as a tall forward. Comes from a rugby background. Averaged 10 disposals and 19 hit-outs at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
Club: Northern Knights
Ruckman/tall forward with fantastic athleticism. Possesses an excellent leap which allows him to give his midfielders first use through his tap work as well as providing a jumping/leading target up forward where he’s a threat in the air. An agile player who is always looking to be involved in the contest, he missed the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships due to injury. An AIS-AFL Academy graduate.
Club: Gippsland Power
A ruckman who is a fierce competitor and also capable of playing as a tall defender using his natural spring and strong marking to advantage. Averaged 10 disposals and 16 hit-outs in five matches for Victoria Country in 2013.
Ruckman/tall forward in his first year of VFL football at Werribee. Former Tasmanian under-18 and senior representative with terrific aerobic capacity and contested marking ability who also competes ferociously at ground level. Kicked 25 goals in the VFL during season 2013, his most impressive game of the year coming against Port Melbourne where he gathered 20 possessions, nine hit-outs, eight marks and booted two goals.
Ruckman who is very athletic and uses the ball well by hand and foot. Has progressed from the under-18s playing 12 games at reserves level at Glenelg with his best game in round 21 against North Adelaide, gathering 13 disposals and 29 hit-outs.
Mobile ruckman with the ability to distribute effectively by both hand and foot. An agile player who provides a very good marking target around the ground and is capable both in the air and at ground level. Averaged 11 disposals and 19 hit-outs at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
Club: Swan Districts
Developing athletic ruckman who can take contested marks and is also competent at ground level for his size. Distributes the ball well to his midfielders. Comes from a basketball background and shows deft touch in his ruck work. Has developed the ability to push forward and present an imposing target. Played the last nine matches at senior level, with his 18 disposals, seven marks and 28 hit-outs against East Fremantle his most impressive.
Club: East Perth
Ruckman with good athletic ability and has a real physical presence. Had an injury-interrupted year, breaking his tibia in round one after representing Western Australia at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships in 2012. Returned to play at Colts level for the last six games of the year. Plenty of upside but has the physical size to compete at senior level. An AIS-AFL Academy Graduate.
Club: North Launceston
Dominant and athletic ruckman who provides an excellent strong target around the ground. Can be very dangerous in the air when pushing forward and possesses a thumping left foot kick. Rarely misses from set shots. Joint winner of the division two Harrison Medal as well as earning All Australian honours. Averaged 21 disposals and eight marks during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
Club: Mt Gravatt
Exciting and athletic ruckman who comes from a basketball background. Has an impressive vertical leap that often allows him to jump over his opponents and get first hands on the ball. A strong competitor who thrives in the physicality of the contest both in the air and at ground level. Had 25 hit-outs against NSW/ACT at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
Mobile ruckman/key forward who is strong overhead and reads the game well. Has strong work ethic and is extremely competitive by nature. Produced his best in representative game - NEAFL v SANFL at under-22 level - with a best-on-ground performance having 20 disposals, taking 12 marks and kicking two goals.
Club: Moreland State University
Potential key position player/ruckman from Moreland State University in Kentucky with a multiple sports background in basketball, soccer, American football, baseball and golf. Was introduced to AFL at the USA Combine in April 2013, where his vertical jump scores (standing vertical jump - 78cm, running vertical jump - 91cm) were impressive. Left-footer who looked very natural with the ball by hand and foot.
Club: Columbia University
Potential ruckman from Columbia University with a basketball and American football background. An imposing athlete who has great appetite for the competition. Has a natural leap - (SVJ - 70cm, RVJ - 85cm) both impressive together with his absolute reach for a potential ruckman at 207cm. Has a double degree in political science and psychology.
2013 NAB AFL Draft Combine – State
Club: Werribee (Vic)
Club: South Launceston (Tas)
Club: Calder Cannons (Vic)
Club: Oakleigh Chargers (Vic)
Club: Glenelg (SA)
Club: South Adelaide (SA)