Dockers cast eye over young tall forwards
Fremantle will cast its eye over tall running machine and self-proclaimed West Coast fan Sam Menagola, after the youngster was given permission to train with the club by the AFL.
Menagola starred for the East Fremantle colts premiership-winning team this year, kicking 46 goals for the Sharks.
The 188cm, 79kg tall forward hit the headlines at a recent state screening session in Perth leading up to the national draft, when he recorded a score of 15.6 in the beep test to show off his incredible endurance. The level fell just short of the national record.
Menagola feels he most resembles St Kilda midfielder Lenny Hayes and says his biggest strength is his running ability.
“I am constructive with the ball by hand and foot,” he told the AFL website. “I am a good mark both on the lead and contested or pack marking. I consider myself to be a smart footballer who is very coachable and dedicated.”
The teenager however, has a few aspects that he needs to work on.
“I want to improve on my pace so I can lift my work rate in games and continue to work on defensive pressure,” he said.
Along with Menagola, other players that have just been given the green light to train with Fremantle include former Collingwood-listed player Jarrad Blight, Claremont’s Michael Evans and South Australian duo Matthew Rankine and Gavin Roberts.
The Dockers are already looking at former Collingwood key player John Anthony, delisted Dockers trio Ben Bucovaz, Tim Ruffles and Brock O’Brien and East Fremantle’s Justin Monaco.
Fremantle has agreed to terms with Anthony and will look to snare him in the pre-season draft next month, while some of the other hopefuls could be picked up in the rookie draft.
Roberts, 19, from SANFL club Norwood, is another tall forward who did not disappoint at the draft combine. Scouts say he has “outstanding speed, power and agility while his skills are also first-class”.
However the lightly-built 188cm, 80kg player may need to spend some time in the weights room to lift his strength.
Rankine, 18, who along with Roberts played for SA in the under-18 championships team this year, is a fast and agile player who can dash off the half forward flank.
According to AFL draft guru Kevin Sheehan, the 179cm, 71kg forward can win the contested ball and is capable of taking the overhead mark due to his natural leap.
Evans is a medium-sized midfielder with a decent turn of speed and has plenty in the tank while 19-year-old Blight – who was recruited from Swan Districts in the 2008 national draft – featured in 18 VFL matches for the Magpies in 2009.
The 188cm, 73kg former Midvale junior was being groomed as a running defender at the Magpies but also has the potential to carve out a midfield role.