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19 days to the draft: Meet gun prospect Ben Lennon

Draft insider: Meet Ben Lennon Get up close and personal with draft prospect Ben Lennon
LONG regarded as a talent, Lennon had a consistent, strong season in 2013. After getting a taste of the under-18 system last year as a bottom-aged player for Vic Metro, the half-forward worked to make this year his best. 

It started well, with a standout performance on the MCG against Collingwood's VFL team. There he had 16 possessions, took six marks and competed well against senior opponents. An ankle injury just before the mid-year carnival threatened to ruin Lennon's campaign but he battled through and was named an All Australian forward. The AIS-AFL Academy graduate's standout game was a four-goal haul against Western Australia at Patersons Stadium. 

Returning to the TAC Cup later in the season, Lennon showed his smarts as a midfielder and averaged 28 disposals over a five-week period for the Northern Knights. He finished with a season average of 25 touches for the Knights. 

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Firstly, it's his foot skills. Over any distance Lennon is a terrific right-foot kick, pinpointing passes and directing the play with his ball use. Around goal that's a bonus, because he converts shots from any angle and loves to snap around his body. His marking is at the same level. Although not a key position size (189cm), Lennon marks and leads like a tall. Sometimes it looks like he has run too hard at a marking contest, but he slows down at last moment, protects the space in front and sticks the mark. Circumstances prevented him from spending more time in the midfield but towards the end of the season he found the opportunity and excelled. He's combative (60 per cent of his possessions at the carnival were contested), he has spring in his legs, demands the ball and wants to be a part of the action. 

The question on Lennon was whether he could be a full-time midfielder at AFL level. He hasn't had huge chances to show his stuff in that area of the ground, but made the most of it in that patch from July through to September for the Knights. He can still work on his endurance and his defensive running. 

His attributes and ability to play most positions make him a different type of player. In that similar mould is Brendon Goddard, particularly given Lennon's overhead marking and accurate kicking. 

A top-10 pick, and if he isn't, a club will get a bargain. 

Lennon wants the ball in his hands at the big moments, a characteristic of all the best players. Kicks goals, takes some risks and understands the game. One of the top prospects available. 

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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs