Main content

Jake Lever, Sam Durdin headline tall defenders picked to test at NAB AFL Draft Combine

Jake Lever in action during an AIS-AFL Academy training session at Aegis Park, Melbourne, on 3 April, 2014. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Jake Lever has missed all of the 2014 season after undergoing a knee reconstruction in December last year
LIKELY first-round draft picks Jake Lever, Sam Durdin and Caleb Marchbank lead the group of tall defenders selected to attend the NAB AFL Draft Combine. 

Despite Lever's absence this season after undergoing a knee reconstruction in December last year, the Calder Cannon is seen as a possible top-10 pick at November's NAB AFL Draft. 

He is expected to be fit to test at the combine as he continues to excel in his rehabilitation. 

The AFL has released the names of the 13 tall defenders nominated to attend the four-day testing at Etihad Stadium in the week following the Grand Final. 

Hugh Goddard, Ed Vickers-Willis and Kyle Langford are also members of the group, with all in contention to be top-20 selections. 

Western Bulldogs' father-son prospect Zaine Cordy, the son of former Bulldog Brian and younger brother of ruckman Ayce, will also test in the tall defenders group at the combine. 

Another nine draft hopefuls have been invited to test at state combines. 

NATIONAL NAB AFL DRAFT COMBINE – TALL DEFENDERS

NSW/ACT
Logan Austin Belconnen
8.7.1995 Height: 194cm Weight: 86kg
Developing player who has recently transitioned to centre-half back after starting as a forward and pinch-hitting ruckman. Has excellent closing speed and backs himself regularly to take the mark and win the ball back for his team. Is a good kick of the footy and generally selects the right option when rebounding from defence. Took nine marks in two games for NSW/ACT at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
 
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Keenan Ramsey Port Adelaide
23.8.1996 Height: 192cm Weight: 86kg
Tall defender with ability to shut down his opponent while also providing good rebound. Uses the ball well by foot and wins it well in the air and at ground level. Played all six matches in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships averaging 10 disposals as South Australia's No.1 tall defender, rarely having his colours lowered.
 
Sam Durdin West Adelaide
6.6.1996 Height: 197cm Weight: 87kg
Tall defender/ ruckman who is strong overhead and good below his knees. Aggressive in the contest and strong one-on-one while displaying very good leadership traits. Played important role for South Australia in winning the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, playing all six matches averaging 10 possessions, 3.3 marks and 11 hit-outs. Member of NAB AFL Academy and won AFL Life Members' Scholarship in 2013.
 
QUEENSLAND
Nick Jackson Aspley
16.12.1995 Height: 195cm Weight: 86kg
Strong marking tall defender who reads the play well coming off his man for intercept marks. Team-orientated player who rebounds well from defence. Has shown the ability to also play forward and kick bags of goals. Injury resulted in playing only one game in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. 
 
VICTORIA
Hugh Goddard Geelong Falcons/Geelong Amateurs
24.8.1996 Height: 196cm Weight: 94kg
Versatile tall defender/forward who is strong overhead and an accurate left-foot kick. Has good game sense and was a solid performer for Vic Country in six matches at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 10.2 disposals and four marks. Member of NAB AFL Academy and won Cameron Ling Medal in 2013.
 
Dan Howe Murray Bushrangers/Rennie
4.12.1995        Height: 191cm Weight: 84kg
Mobile tall defender with his X-factor being his overhead marking. Takes the game on and shows initiative with his play and impressed as a 19-year-old in four matches for Vic Country at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 16.5 disposals and four marks. Covers the ground with ease and can push forward when required.
 
Daniel Nielson Eastern Ranges/Vermont
9.5.1996 Height: 193cm Weight: 90kg
Strong-bodied defender who is rarely beaten one-on-one. Has shown he has the ability to play at both ends of the ground. At his best when he keeps things simple. His athleticism and competitiveness are his greatest strengths. He was often given the task of playing on the opposition’s most dangerous tall forward throughout his four games in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. Has averaged 11.7 disposals and 3.4 marks for the Eastern Ranges.
 
Kyle Langford Northern Knights/Ivanhoe Grammar
1.12.1996 Height: 190cm Weight: 73kg
Athletic tall defender/forward who has excelled at both ends this year. Reads the play exceptionally well in the air and has clean hands. Provides run from defence with 14.2 disposals at 76 per cent efficiency in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, while also having kicked multiple bags of goals at TAC Cup level.
 
Christian Bukx-Smith Gippsland Power/Traralgon
27.3.1996 Height: 193cm Weight: 82kg
Athletic tall defender with an excellent mix of speed (2.99 seconds for the 20-metre sprint) and endurance (13.06 beep test). His strong work ethic along with his competitive instincts makes him very difficult to beat one-on-one. Provides excellent stability as a shutdown defender. Was diagnosed early in the year with stress fractures in his back and has missed the majority of the season.
 
Ed Vickers-Willis Sandringham Dragons/Melbourne Grammar
28.3.1996 Height: 190cm Weight: 82kg
Tall defender with excellent athleticism enabling him to play on the taller forwards. Makes good decisions defensively when spoiling and marking, as well as setting up the play from the back half. Had very consistent NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 16 disposals at 81.2 per cent efficiency, 4.2 marks and 3.4 rebound-50s on his way to winning All Australian under-18 honours.
 
Jake Lever Calder Cannons/Romsey
5.3.1996 Height: 193cm Weight: 84kg
Competitive and aggressive tall defender who can shut down opponents while also providing good rebound. Missed entire 2014 after suffering ACL injury but on the way to a full recovery. His leadership is excellent as is his work rate and feel for the game. Member of NAB AFL Academy.
 
Caleb Marchbank Murray Bushrangers
7.12.1996 Height: 193cm Weight: 85kg
Very competitive tall defender with excellent mobility and repeat efforts. Anticipates well in coming off his man to support his defence and is strong overhead. Can also push forward and provide a marking target for his team. Averaged 13.5 disposals, four marks and three tackles on his way to All Australian under-18 honours at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
 
Zaine Cordy Geelong Falcons/Ocean Grove
27.10.1996 Height: 192cm Weight: 80kg
Tall defender who excels one-on-one and has good combination of natural speed and endurance. Uses the ball smartly by hand and foot. Played four matches in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships averaging 10.5 disposals. Eligible father-son to Western Bulldogs, where his father Brian played and brother Ayce has played 19 games. 

STATE NAB AFL DRAFT COMBINE – TALL DEFENDERS
 
Hugh Beasley              
Oakleigh Chargers/Victoria
12.11.1995 Height: 190cm Weight: 86kg
 
Michael Hartley          
Coburg/Victoria
7.6.1993 Height: 198cm 
 
Jordan Bailey
Northern Knights/Victoria
9.4.1996 Height: 193cm Weight 88kg
 
Oscar McDonald         
North Ballarat Rebels/Victoria
18.3.1996 Height: 196cm Weight: 84kg
 
Sean McLaren             
Sandringham Dragons/Victoria
10.1.1996 Height: 197cm Weight: 92cm
 
Ryan Tester                 
Northern Knights/Victoria
2.10.1995 Height: 198cm Weight: 83kg
 
Josh Watts                   
Glenorchy/Tasmania
6.3.1996 Height: 194cm Weight: 75kg
 
Adam Creeper             
Subiaco/Western Australia
19.10.1996 Height: 194cm Weight: 87kg
 
Alex Howard              
Swan Districts/Western Australia
20.6.1993 Height: 190cm Weight: 86kg