Another Hill to climb
Western Australian Brad Hill produced a stunning feat of endurance on day three of the NAB AFL Draft Combine to set a new record with his score of 16.1 in the 20m shuttle run.
The dreaded beep test, as it is commonly known, was eagerly watched by a crowd of AFL recruiters who saw Sydney Swan Jarrad McVeigh’s 2002 mark of 15.5 equalled or bettered by four players at Etihad Stadium.
The Western Jets’ Will Hoskin-Elliott was next with 15.12 followed by the Calder Cannons’ Tom Sheridan (15.7) and Bendigo Pioneer Sam Kerridge.
Hill, who is the brother of Fremantle speed machine Stephen, gave his chances of being selected at the NAB AFL Draft a shot in the arm with the impressive run.
“Stephen Hill holds the record for the agility test and Brad has now smashed the beep test record with a magnificent 16.1,” AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan said.
“We also had 10 other boys run in the 15s, which is unprecedented. The presentation of the athletes has been outstanding and that’s been proven by their performances in this test of their endurance.
“It’s an indication of how well prepared they are and it’s a credit to all of them.
“Many of them have been in great form late in the season like Will Hoskin-Elliott, who just improved again on a reputation that has quickly developed this year. To back up some of his run and carry through the championships with an elite level 15.12 beep test is outstanding.
“Two of the All Australians in the top 10 in Brandon Ellis and Clay Smith had great ball-winning ability through the championships, but we wanted to see something athletically to see if they had an edge there and both have had outstanding testing right across the board.”
The Matthew Lloyd clean hands test and the Nathan Buckley kicking test also produced some telling results.
Hoskin-Elliott’s teammate at the Jets, Elliott Kavanagh, topped the clean hands test with a score of 28 out of 30. Josh Caddy and Dyson Heppell, drafted by Gold Coast and Essendon respectively, were top of last year’s class with the same score.
The test devised by the Essendon champion sees him roll and kick six footballs at a player who must then hit one of six targets, called out at random, with a handball.
Oakleigh’s Jake Hammond and Port Melbourne’s Callum Sinclair rounded out the top three with scores of 27.
The Buckley kicking test was overseen by former Western Bulldogs champion Brad Johnson this year with Buckley, who devised the drill, looking on from the stands in his new role as coach of Collingwood.
West Perth’s Shane Nelson neared perfection in scoring 29 out of 30 in the test, which the Sydney Swans’ Jed Lamb took out last year with the same score.
Northern Bullants small forward Ahmed Saad has been one of the stories of the combine. Saad, who turns 22 at the weekend, ranked first in both the 20m sprint and the 30m repeat sprint tests.
He put his best foot forward in front of recruiters with a 23.64s time in the repeat and 2.86s in the 20m – equal with Claremont youngster Shannon Taylor.