This Friday’s National Draft holds significance for all AFL Clubs across the country as many a favourite son of the local clubs in the burbs or bush will have many well-wishers looking on in excitement, all wanting to see where and/or if the boy that grew into a man will get his chance to live out his long-held dream.
Hampton Rovers are a club that holds its breath in anticipation as they could have as many as 5 players taken in the draft or placed on an AFL club’s rookie list.
The class of 2015-14 that went back to back at Rovers in the Under 15 and Under 16 Premierships will see names that have been outstanding at APS School level and represented Sandringham Dragons brilliantly in 2017 playing off in the TAC Grand Final.
Andrew Brayshaw captained Haileybury College to the Premiership and backed up his back end of the season with Sandy Dragons that showed what real desire can achieve. Andrew has worked on his craft and fitness leaving no stone unturned. His season was outstanding; his ability to push beyond the pain threshold is amazing and he let everyone at the Draft Combine see his level of commitment topping out in the Yo-yo test and finish in the top half dozen in all testing.
Andrew is looking strong for a top 5 draft spot, his natural leadership may even see him go #1, what a great reward that would be for a wonderful young guy.
Like Andrew, Sebastian Williams captained the reigning Premiers within the APS system at Brighton Grammar. Seb played in the 2015-2016 premierships at BGS and went back to back with Andy in the APS team of the year as a year 11 and 12 player, voted BOG in the annual APS V AGS game this year. Seb had a huge back end to the year with Dragons and his finals series was outstanding. Several AFL clubs are looking at what Seb may bring to their list. Elite speed and endurance, Seb breaks lines and impacts inside and out, he hits the scoreboard and will add class to any AFL list.
Will Walker joined Rovers in 2015 and had a huge hand in the team winning the premiership in the final seconds of the game against East Malvern. Will is highly athletic and has great awareness around the packs to come away with the Sherrin in tight situations. Will has great X factor and had a huge season for the Dragons playing well in all three finals. Will can play a variety of roles on a wing, inside, forward/back – he will impact in any game.
The mighty Hamish Brayshaw led the Dragons to glory in 2016 but struggled through the year on 6 cylinders out of 8 due to a foot injury. Hamish was overlooked in the draft but instead of dropping his head he committed his mind and body to reload and crack in all over again. Hamish won the SMJFL Under 15 B&F in 2014, hugely popular around any club due to his infectious personality. His season has been huge for both Dragons and Sandy VFL, an inside mid if ever there was one, Hamish’s story will be grand when his name is read out Friday.
One of the most gifted players to have played at Hampton Rovers was Alfie Jarnestrom. Alf has many elite traits, his lateral vision, space awareness and choice execution via hand or foot are uncanny. Alf had a huge APS season taking on many touted top end draft picks and leaving them in his wake. His return to Dragons in the back half of the season saw Alf light up the park and play his role in the Dragons march towards back to back potential flags. Alfie can play a variety of roles, he is guilty of finding space forward and kicking a clutch goal and can work well in the back half or in the mid. Alf is no risk and will reward any club that gives him a chance.
Lachie Harris seen above wearing the #1 jumper with Alfie #2 Seb #3 and Andrew #10 in their Vic Metro Under 16 jumpers prior to Nationals in 2015.
Lachie was pivotal in the Rovers going back to back in 2014-15 in winning the D1 SMJFL flags, he had a great season playing APS footy for Caulfield Grammar this year before returning to Dragons to play his role in title defence. Lachie is as hard a cat’s head and has brilliant skills and speed to burn, a wonderful young man. His father, Leon Harris, played many games for Fitzroy and we would all love to see Lachie called up to the Lions under the father son rule.
Hampton Rovers are proud of all these young men and look forward to hearing their names read out this Friday night at the National Draft. All the best lads, the Rovers Community is right behind you.