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Tomorrow's Heroes: The classy mid with a beautiful kick

Tomorrow's Heroes: Adam Cerra The classy midfielder has drawn comparisons with Collingwood star Scott Pendlebury

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A KNEE injury ruled Adam Cerra out of most of his 2016 season and shoulder surgery cut short his 2017 campaign. But in between the midfielder pushed himself to the top of his class.

Cerra underwent surgery for a meniscus problem in his knee last year, which robbed him of the chance to impress as a bottom-ager. However, he started this season strongly and was a valuable member of Vic Metro's winning side at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

He has also played across half-forward and as a rebounding defender, but Cerra's season was ended prematurely in August when he underwent shoulder surgery. That ruled him out of the Eastern Ranges' finals series in the TAC Cup and meant he couldn't test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in October.

How much do you value a classy midfielder who kicks the ball as well as anyone in the pool? If the answer is 'a lot', then Cerra will appeal. The 18-year-old is one of the better users of the ball by foot in the crop, and is the guy forwards will want to lead to because he can direct them where to be with his damaging kicking.

Cerra is a regular ball winner – he averaged 26 disposals and six clearances in four games at TAC Cup level – but he's also unflinchingly tough and will put his head into contests to get his hands on the ball. Later in the season he also showed an ability to push forward, when he kicked 3.5 from 24 disposals in the Ranges' win over Gippsland.

Cerra won't ever be the type of midfielder to burst out of a stoppage with a brilliant turn of pace. He doesn't have the same speed or explosiveness that perhaps some of the other top-end players have, but that is being picky. 

In his smooth-moving, slow-the-play-down style, Cerra has a few Scott Pendlebury-like tendencies. Both aren't exceptionally quick, either, but manage to find their way out of strife.

Looks a top-10 pick. The clubs right at the top of the order, including Fremantle (picks two and five), Carlton (pick three), North Melbourne (pick four) and Collingwood (pick six) will consider.

Cerra brings a genuine layer of polish to the crop this year. It's not hard to see him stand up at the next level when a game is hot. Cerra is a very sure bet.