10 Peter Jackson VFL players have been invited to one of two Victorian combines in October.
There will be two separate Victorian combines in 2017 due to constraints on the number of players able to be catered for at the traditional combine venue of Etihad Stadium. While five VFL players will still attend the Victorian State Combine at the Docklands venue on Friday October 6, five other players will attend the Rookie Me Combine on Saturday October 7 at a venue to be confirmed.
Essendon has produced the most invitees to the Victorian combines with four, followed by Williamstown with two, and the Box Hill Hawks, Casey Demons, Collingwood and Richmond with one each.
Five of six VFL players invited to last year’s State Combine were subsequently added to AFL lists in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft or Rookie Draft – Robbie Fox (Coburg), Declan Keilty (Casey), Rowan Marshall (North Ballarat), Oscar McInerney (Casey) and Tom Stewart (Geelong VFL) – while Ben Long (Footscray) and Luke Ryan (Coburg) were drafted after attending the national NAB AFL Draft Combine.
Read more about this year’s Victorian combine VFL invitees below:
VICTORIAN STATE COMBINE
Brett Bewley (Williamstown)
22-year-old 187cm versatile on-baller averaging 23 disposals at 63 per cent efficiency, 11 contested possessions, four tackles and four inside-50s per game in 14 matches this year. Capable as both an inside and outside midfielder, Bewley has played 45 senior VFL games after graduating from the Western Jets in 2013. Named Williamstown’s best player for 34 disposals in a 91-point defeat of North Ballarat in Round 5.
Alex Boyse (Essendon)
23-year-old 190cm mobile forward who has booted 26 goals in 13 matches this year while averaging 13 disposals at 68 per cent efficiency, six marks and three tackles per game. The St Bernards (VAFA) product has enjoyed a break-out campaign after playing only three games in his first VFL season in 2016. Kicked a season-high five goals from 13 disposals and 10 marks in Essendon’s 17-point loss to Richmond in Round 7.
Bayley Fritsch (Casey Demons)
20-year-old 186cm forward who has broken into Casey’s senior team for 14 games this year after previously playing only three senior matches in 2015, his first season in the VFL system out of Coldstream (Eastern FL). Averaging 13 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency and five marks per game as well as booting 28 goals, Fritsch starred with three majors from 17 disposals in the Demons’ 15-point victory over Essendon in Round 14.
Nick Hind (Essendon)
22-year-old 180cm play-maker who was a mid-season signing for the Bombers in 2016 after a career playing in the Ballarat FL and Central Highlands FL. Averaging 19 disposals at 68 per cent efficiency, four clearances and four inside-50s per game running from half back and through the midfield, Hind recorded 21 disposals, five tackles and one goal in his best performance – Essendon’s 14-point win against Collingwood in Round 15.
Derek Smith (Richmond)
19-year-old 186cm running defender from Wentworth (Sunraysia FNL) and the Bendigo Pioneers who is part of Richmond’s Next Generation Academy as an indigenous draft prospect. Averaging 13 disposals at 84 per cent efficiency and four marks per game in four VFL matches this year.
ROOKIE ME COMBINE
James Ferry (Essendon)
22-year-old 191cm key defender who has overcome significant injury troubles at the Bombers and previously the Calder Cannons to play 37 VFL games since 2015. Averaging 16 disposals at 72 per cent efficiency, six marks and four rebound-50s per game in 11 matches this year while locking down on one of the opposition’s most dangerous tall forwards.
Marty Hore (Collingwood)
21-year-old 189cm versatile defender averaging 22 disposals at 76 per cent efficiency, eight marks and four rebound-50s per game in 11 matches this year. Hore played nine games for the Magpies in 2016 after graduating from the Bendigo Pioneers. Named Collingwood’s best player in a 60-point loss to Williamstown in Round 13 (20 disposals, six marks) and a 14-point loss to Essendon in Round 15 (27 disposals, eight marks).
Josh Newman (Williamstown)
22-year-old 182cm attacking defender who has excelled in his first season at Williamstown after 52 senior VFL games at Frankston from 2013-16, winning the club’s best-and-fairest award last year. The Dandenong Stingrays product – and younger brother of Sydney AFL backman Nic Newman – is averaging 18 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency and four marks per game in 14 matches this year.
Kieran Strachan (Essendon)
21-year-old 202cm ruckman called into Essendon’s team for two games mid-season following a career playing in the Bendigo FL and Loddon Valley FL. The South Bendigo product was named in the Bombers’ best players for 15 disposals, eight marks (five contested), 18 hitouts and five tackles on debut in a 54-point defeat of the Northern Blues in Round 12 before playing one more match the following week.
Sam Switkowski (Box Hill Hawks)
20-year-old 178cm forward who has continued his form from 10 games last season after breaking into Box Hill’s senior team. Despite a mid-season bout of glandular fever, the Northern Knights product has kicked 18 goals in 10 matches this year while averaging 13 disposals at 77 per cent efficiency and five tackles per game, and starred with five majors from 16 disposals in the Hawks’ Round 7 draw with Port Melbourne.