ACRES is a big, strong and athletic midfielder who can play across half-back as well as push forward; traits which make him a likely early draft pick. He hasn't had the same sort of spotlight shared by many of the other probable top selections, simply because he hasn't played too much footy.

The West Australian played 20 games for West Perth at colts level last year but won more and more attention early this season with a brilliant run of form. Playing as an inside midfielder, he averaged 27 disposals a game for the colts side. But his season took a turn when he dislocated his shoulder before the national carnival. He had about five weeks out and returned for the final two games of Western Australia's under-18 campaign. The shoulder again dislocated, and he had season-ending arthroscopic surgery in July.

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Before this season, Acres was best suited to the half-back flank, where he could see the ground in front of him and run with the ball. His versatility had also seen him kick a few goals when shifting forward, too. That vision has been implemented into his game as a midfielder, when he digs in to find the ball, drags it out and then makes the next move. Acres is an aware player: he knows what's happening around him, knows when he can fly for marks, when to stay down, and when to run. Because of his size (190cm, 87kg), Acres backs himself in the air and create a forward target. And when he's running with the ball, he likes to fend off and keep going.    

Acres has a booming kick, and is generally pretty accurate, but occasionally it can hang high and be a bit loopy. That's a minor point. Because he spent so long on the sidelines this year he didn't get the chance to boost his endurance, but off that minor preparation he tested adequately at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. With more training he can build it up.  

When he plays through the midfield, Acres does have the look of Sydney Swan Josh Kennedy. He's even slightly taller than Kennedy, but has clean hands, is good overhead and wins the ball inside and outside.

Set to be taken inside the first 20 selections on draft night.


Acres adds some mystery to the draft, just because he hasn't played a lot of footy this year. But those with a gauge on him rate him as a modern, mobile midfielder who can hold down a few positions.  

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Twitter: @AFL_CalTwomey