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WA defender Nathan Broad headlines mature-age draft prospects

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 17: Nathan Broad poses for a photograph during the 2015 NAB AFL Draft Combine Headshot session on October 17, 2015. (Photo by AFL Media)
Nathan Broad impressed at the WA state combine

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WEST Australian defender Nathan Broad could be one of the first mature-agers selected at this month's NAB AFL Draft, as clubs search for prospects who can provide an immediate impact.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a strong season at WAFL level, averaging 20 disposals in 20 games for the Swans.

Five clubs have interviewed the 191cm running backman across the season, and recruiters believe he could be among the handful of senior prospects to get an opportunity as scouts search for players in a shallow under-18 WA crop.

Swan Districts coach Greg Harding said Broad's athleticism, speed and hardness, combined with his improved kicking skills, have enhanced his draft stocks.

"The biggest thing is that his decision making, especially by foot, has gone to another level," Harding said.

"There'd been concern over that area, and even from within our club it was seen as the one area he needed to work on the most based on the fact he's already an elite runner.

"It's hard to put a percentage on how much he's improved in that [ball use] area, but it really is significant. And because of that significance, we've had most of the AFL clubs asking questions about him based on his athletic traits."

Broad was a standout at the West Australian state screening last month, running 24.04 seconds in the repeat sprint (better than any player in the national combine) and third-best beep test (level 14.1).

Clubs believe fellow WAFL prospects Marcus Adams and Sam Menegola are also strong chances to win AFL spots after impressive seasons. 

West Australian Blaine Boekhorst was the first mature-ager to be picked at last year's draft, joining Carlton at selection No.19.

Former Cat Mitch Brown is one of the candidates this season, with Essendon among the clubs interested in the 25-year-old.

Brown, who starred for Sandringham at VFL level this year, has been linked to the Bombers' second-round picks (No. 24 and 25) but may also be available at their next selection (No.57).

SANFL pair Patrick Levicki and Chris Jansen are considered two of the leading hopefuls out of that competition.

The 20-year-old Jansen relocated from Canberra to Central District and enjoyed a consistent year before a knee injury later in the season.

Norwood football manager Mark Ross said key defender Levicki's long-kicking had caught the eye of recruiters across the season.

"He's 196cm and has great athleticism, and he plays as a key defender for us but takes on the game with great run and carry," Ross said.

"He's a beautiful long kick and the defensive side of his game has become a strength this season. His agility to move around the ground makes the AFL clubs take notice."