Werribee excitement machine Bior Malual backed up his remarkable athleticism with consistency of performance throughout the 2019 Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL season.
The 23-year-old of Sudanese heritage was this year listed by the Tigers at 188cm and only 66kg, but Malual boasts strong endurance-running ability in combination with agility and good decision-making – traits that have put him on the radar of clubs ahead of November 27-28’s NAB AFL Draft.
Better still, Werribee benefited from those traits in 19 of the semi-finalist’s 20 outings in 2019, as Malual averaged 12 disposals, four marks and three tackles per game as well as kicking 19 goals.
He formed part of one of the VFL’s most promising and dynamic forward lines alongside 2019 Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal winner Jake Riccardi (38 goals for the season), Matt Munro (25), Jack Henderson (23) and Kye Declase (20).
Malual had previously played much of his football as a running wingman, and taking on a role closer to goal initially lowered his expectations for what he could achieve in his first senior-level VFL campaign.
“I was just trying to play seven or more games this year, but it turned out I played all but one game, which really surprised me,” Malual said at the recent Victorian State Combine, where he recorded the best results of all participants in the endurance-based Yo-Yo Test and the agility test.
— #VFL / #VFLW (@VFL) October 5, 2019
“A lot of the boys on Werribee’s list had a lot of experience in the AFL – like (ex-Fremantle and Gold Coast midfielder) Michael Barlow – so I tried to learn as much as I could from them.
“‘Choco’ (senior coach and ex-Port Adelaide AFL premiership mentor Mark Williams) was awesome too. I learnt heaps from him. He just knows what he’s talking about and kept it really simple for the boys.
“We weren’t too sure how he’d go for the first five weeks, but after that we just really jelled. He includes everybody – whether it’s cooking staff or medical staff – and it’s just about being one whole club.”
Malual played only one NAB League match for the Western Jets in his draft year of 2014 before joining one of his junior clubs in Werribee Districts (Western Region FL) for his first season of senior football in 2015.
He then played 20 Development League games for the Northern Blues across 2016-17 and last year starred in Airport West’s Division 1 Essendon District FL premiership campaign.
Malual was named best-on-ground in the team’s memorable 2018 Grand Final triumph and soon began turning heads again with his athletic efforts while trialling for a spot on the Tigers’ list.
One unexpectedly consistent VFL season later and Malual is in the frame to complete a rapid rise to AFL ranks – but if that doesn’t happen, he still sees plenty of upside in being at Avalon Airport Oval for 2020.
“I really enjoyed this season and I thought we could have gone further than we did, but we can still go far with the list we’ve got,” Malual said.
“Me, Jake Riccardi and Louis Pinnuck are the three boys here (at the Combine) from Werribee and we were really surprised to receive invites, but we just came here to do what we could and everything else will control itself.
“My goal is obviously to get on an AFL list, but I’ll just try to do what I can do and be myself in what I’m doing.”
"I'd love for younger kids to look up to me and see they could be doing what I'm doing."
Bior Malual's story is incredible.
And he's just getting started 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Q6uhQVVBUA
— 7VFL (@7VFL) September 8, 2019
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