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28 days to the draft: Meet the jet-powered, high-flying Callum Ah Chee

Callum Twomey  October 27, 2015 6:57 AM

Draft Trumps: Callum Ah Chee The high-flying West Australian is a classy forward with a nose for a goal

• Draft order: Your club's provisional picks
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IN HIS first game for South Fremantle's WAFL team, Callum Ah Chee kicked two late goals, took a hanger and played a pivotal role in the Bulldogs' win.

In a single game, Ah Chee produced enough exciting moments to underline his skill and ability. It was the type of display recruiters had been waiting for him to piece together.

Ah Chee, widely seen as Western Australia's leading NAB AFL Draft hopeful, didn't have the sort of under-18 carnival he had hoped for. He was shifted between a few positions and couldn't quite have the impact he wanted until his match-turning final quarter against Vic Metro in round five.

But the younger brother of Port Adelaide's Brendon Ah Chee turned around his fortunes in the back half of the season with some solid form at senior level for South Fremantle.

The classy half-forward/wingman strung together impressive form, which reminded many scouts why they had him pegged as a possible top-five pick at the start of the year. 

Ah Chee is among the most skillful players in the draft, boasting brilliant use by foot. He can pinpoint short passes on both sides of his body, kicks accurately at goal and can make space for teammates by clever passing.  

The 18-year-old separates himself from some of his fellow draft hopefuls with his aerial exploits. Despite being only 182cm, Ah Chee has a big leap on him that gives him another way to get into the game. That was evident earlier in the year at the MCG, with his huge mark in the goalsquare playing for the NAB AFL Academy.

Ah Chee's performance that day was his best of the season – he gathered 22 disposals, kicked two goals and won the medal as the best player on the ground. It was also the first sign, before his run of form for South Fremantle's senior team, that Ah Chee lifts when the standard does.

His speed (he has run a 2.88-second 20m sprint) and agility are right at the top end, and as he builds up his body he should be able to influence games on a more consistent basis. Ah Chee is also a humble professional who some clubs rate as one of the best characters in the draft. 

The question on Ah Chee – and he has been asked it plenty by clubs throughout the year – is around why he wasn't able to produce consistent form this season. He averaged 14 disposals in the under-18 championships, and there were a handful of games where he couldn't get involved at all.

His endurance will need to lift at the next level, but a full AFL pre-season should go a long way to improving his aerobic base.

It should be remembered Ah Chee had a serious ankle injury last year that ruled him out for more than six months and took a long time to get right. With some extra time in the gym he will also be able to add to his frame and win more of the inside ball. 

Because of his marking strength for a player his size, Ah Chee shares some likeness to Jack Billings. Both are excellent overhead and dangerous near goal, and Ah Chee will probably have to follow a similar path to Billings, who has needed to build up his running before shifting from half-forward into the Saints' midfield.

Ah Chee looks to be a first-round pick at next month's draft, but where exactly is hard to pinpoint. The pick 12-25 range seems about where he will fit in. There aren't too many half-forwards in the top rungs of this year's pool.

An inconsistent season shouldn't cloud Ah Chee's talent. He is a player who makes things look easy and teammates look better, and will rarely appear rushed. Ah Chee might take a little while to be ready to play at senior level but is among the most prodigiously talented prospects.