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Midfielder shows near-perfect kicking skills at combine

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James Tsitas of Vic Country in action during the 2013 NAB AFL U18 Championship match between Vic Country and Vic Metro at Etihad Stadium on July 3, 2013. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
James Tsitas has shown great foot skills at the NAB Draft Combine
PROLIFIC midfielder James Tsitas showed his ability with the ball on Thursday as testing continued at the NAB AFL Draft Combine.  

The 18-year-old was the winner of the kicking test under the roof at Etihad Stadium, by scoring a near perfect 29 out of a possible 30 points.

The test saw each player take six kicks – three on his left foot and three on his right – at short, medium and long distance. Each is rated out of five, with Tsitas only dropping a point on his long left-foot kick, which was judged as a four-pointer.

Six players scored 28 in the test, which was devised by Nathan Buckley in 2009. Another 11 scored 27, highlighting their skill level on both sides of their body.

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Three players tied to win the goalkicking test, with Chris Cain, Jarred Ellis and Michael Apeness converting each of their five shots on goal to record perfect scores.

Of the five kicks, three are set shots and the other two are snaps, with the test designed to showcase goalkicking ability under pressure. 17 players kicked four goals.

At 26, Cain is the oldest player at the combine, having enjoyed a strong season with Port Melbourne at VFL level.

As well as his proficiency in the kicking tests, Cain was one of three players to lead the pack in the clean hands test.

Cain, alongside Ben Lennon and Luke Reynolds, scored 24 points of a possible 30. The handball test, run by Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd, sees players make six handballs over three distances using their left and right hands.

Three players – Richard Bourne, Kade Kolodjashnij and Dallas Willsmore – scored 23 points, and another four players were among the top performers with 22 points.

Twitter: @AFL_CalTwomey