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21 days to the draft: Meet Connor Blakely

Draft trumps: Connor Blakely The West Australian is a contested ball machine who can also win it on the outside

AT THE start of this year, Connor Blakely relocated from Bunbury to Perth and brought with him a desire to do everything possible to be drafted. 

Blakely hasn't always been a big, bash-and-crash midfielder who barges through packs and wins the ball. He used to be a flanker, playing half-back and half-forward, but couldn't really find his niche. 

He got it this year, and against senior company. Blakely played all season in the Swan Districts' senior WAFL team, and averaged 18 disposals in 14 games. 

The experience has been good for him. He's played against AFL-listed opponents and outclassed them, and when they have got the better of him, he's learned from it. 

That much was clear during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships against players his own age, when Blakely was a standout. He averaged 21 disposals and seven clearances a game and was named an All-Australian


With ball winning at a premium in the AFL, Blakely's ability to generate possessions out of clearances and get things going should appeal to a number of clubs. 

More than half of Blakely's disposals this year were won in contested situations, a tick for his preparedness to put his head over the ball and get his hands dirty. 

Blakely is also one of the better big-bodied midfielders available, and at his size (186cm, 81kg) is someone who can walk into a club and be expected to have an early impact. 

His endurance is good and he runs all day, but the stoppages are where he has the biggest influence. He keeps his feet, thinks through situations with composure and then goes and does it again 


Blakely doesn't have the breakaway pace that other midfielders possess, and he runs a 3.19 second 20-metre sprint. His kicking is fine without being a huge strength, but he gets around that by knowing where to go and where to be to get the footy in his hands. 

The 18-year-old a similar frame, running gait and attributes as star Fremantle midfielder David Mundy, a player who has shown the benefits of being a tough and tall on-baller. Of course, Blakely isn't at his level yet but he plays in a similar style. 


Fits in some clubs' plans as a first-round pick. Likely to sit somewhere in the top 25 selections such has been his consistency and development during the season.


Blakely has done all that's been asked of him in 2014, and is ready for the next step. There are players who finish things and there are those who enjoy starting them, the ones who like putting teammates in space with a quick handball, the ones who don't need the flair to be effective. Blakely is that type of prospect.