Teens put it all on the line at AFL combine

KOROIT teenager Martin Gleeson will turn his attention to pre-season training after testing at the AFL draft combine in Melbourne.

Gleeson, 18, spent four days under the watchful eyes of recruiters alongside South Warrnambool’s Louis Herbert and Colac’s Dean Towers, as they tried to increase their chances of being picked up in the AFL national draft in November.

The south-west trio were among 120 footballers invited to the combine at Docklands, which finished yesterday with a three-kilometre time-trial.

Gleeson, a consistent medium-sized defender for TAC Cup side North Ballarat Rebels, said the camp fuelled his AFL dream.

“I will keep fit and probably start pre-season training with North Ballarat Roosters in November and at home with Koroit before the draft and see what happens,” he said.

“There are a lot of good kids going around and you see them doing the testing and they’re names you’ve heard through the media. You’ve just got to keep working hard to get better.”

Gleeson rated his test results “about average”.

“I went OK. I got a 12.6 beep test but they reckon everyone was below their best because of the heat and the floor was a bit slippery,” he said.

“I got 14.4 at the start of the year.”

Gleeson, who spoke to four AFL clubs, said the skills tests were his best.

He scored 24 out of 30 in the Matthew Lloyd clean hands test and kicked 3.1  from five shots in the Brad Johnson goal-kicking test.

The lightly-framed teenager said the most difficult part was the waiting.

“It was evenly spaced out so a lot of the time you weren’t doing much,” Gleeson said.

“I was pretty nervous because you have recruiters watching you and some clubs have 12 people there and other players are there too, so it’s pretty nerve-racking.

“But once you get going, you don’t notice it too much.”

Herbert, 18, performed well in the Nathan Buckley kicking test, with 27 out of 30.

It placed him equal third. No player received a perfect score.

Gleeson said Herbert, a team-mate at the Rebels, had a strong week. 

Towers boosted his draft chances with top results.

The North Ballarat Roosters midfielder posted a record 85 centimetres in a standing vertical leap, breaking former Hawthorn and Fremantle defender Trent Croad’s 1997 effort of 83cm.

Towers, 22, further showcased his athletic ability, placing in the top six in the 20-metre sprints with 2.89 seconds and third in the repeat sprints with 24.48.

Camperdown forward Sam Gordon, a Geelong Falcons player, will test at the AFL state combine at Docklands today.

The Roosters’ best and fairest count is tonight. The Rebels will reveal their best tomorrow.


 Louis Herbert attended the combine.

Louis Herbert attended the combine.


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