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Tomorrow's Heroes: Workhorse rises to challenge

Tomorrow's Heroes: Oscar Allen The West Australian forward has a strong pair of hands and is a straight kick for goal

IT HAS been a year of achievements for Oscar Allen, who has exceeded some early-season expectations to push himself into first-round draft calculations. 

The West Australian forward was named the best player of the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships after a consistent carnival that saw him average 16 disposals, six marks and nearly three goals a game for his state. 

After winning the Larke Medal, Allen went on to play at senior WAFL level for West Perth and then starred on AFL Grand Final morning in the NAB All Stars curtain-raiser game.

He again showed his marking ability and goal sense that day, finishing his impressive and consistent season with two goals from 18 disposals and seven marks.  

Allen is a workhorse. In his role as a roaming tall forward, he continually presses up the field to present an option. And if he doesn't get it, he doubles back and goes again for another lead until he has the ball in his hands.

He booted 11 goals over four games in the championships. He's a steady shot for goal and can be relied upon to take his chances (he scored 25 out of a possible 30 points at the NAB AFL Draft Combine's kicking test). The 18-year-old has excellent endurance and also tests solidly for pace at 3.07 seconds over 20 metres.

Is he tall enough to be a key forward at the next level? That is the question clubs will be wondering as they weigh up where Allen fits on their draft boards. He measured in at 191cm at the Combine, which means he will probably fit as a third tall at AFL level, rather than a dominant marking option.

He's not as tall as North Melbourne goalkicker Ben Brown, but Allen is a little similar to him in his hard-leading approach at the ball and contest and his long reach when the mark is there to win.

Allen divides recruiters a touch, but he has done enough to be a first-round selection. There's a chance he fits in around pick No.10, but that would likely be as early as possible.

You can't argue with Allen's season. He has put his name up there as one of the best forwards in the crop and shown a willingness to continue to get better and better.