MORTLAKE footballer Lewis Taylor can enhance his status as a leading 17-year-old draft prospect when he represents Victoria Country tomorrow.
Taylor, a bottom-age player at the under 18 national titles, will play his second match of the campaign when the bush boys take on Western Australia.
The Terang Mortlake teenager had 26 touches in his first match against division two side Queensland last weekend, the third most of any Vic Country player.
Sunday’s match against a division one opponent at Subiaco will be a much sterner test, but it also provides Taylor with his best opportunity to impress AFL club scouts, who are watching the national titles with interest.
Greater Western Sydney — which can prelist two 17-year-old players before they enter their draft year — is almost certainly one club with an eye on Taylor.
Geelong Falcons manager Mick Turner likened Taylor to a quicker Devon Smith, while Vic Country coach Mark Ellis lauded his “work rate, his want to get better”.
Ellis said the Vic Country player should view the national titles matches as 120-minute job interviews and said Taylor would be among the top 17-year-old prospects in Australia.
“He’s certainly one of them,” he said. “His ability to come in at this level and look comfortable just shows that he’s a good player.
“Like a lot of the players, it shows the programs that the TAC Cup clubs are running (are good).”
Ellis said Taylor was sublime getting out of traffic on the field.
“He’s certainly got some tricks about him, which is good,” he said.
“He’s got good change-up speed, he’s unpredictable to the opposition, I guess — he’s predictable to his teammates and unpredictable to the opposition.”
Turner said Taylor had the grunt of the Giants’ Devon Smith and the sidestep of Port Adelaide vice-captain Travis Boak.
“I compare him to Devon Smith. He played for us and is playing for GWS,” he said.
“The advantage he’s got is he’s quicker and more elusive. At this stage you could say he’s a good chance to be drafted to an AFL club.”
Turner said the Giants opting for Falcons players when they held all the cards in last year’s national draft boded well for Taylor.
Kolora-Noorat footballer Nick Bourke and South Warrnambool’s Louis Herbert missed Vic Country selection and will play in the TAC Cup this weekend for Geelong Falcons and North Ballarat Rebels respectively.