Dolphins looking to the big time
The season is over but a number of Dolphins players are now looking to impress at AFL draft camps or improve weaknesses identified by AFL clubs and Dolphins coaches.
Coach Simon Goosey spoke to PK about what lies ahead and the progress of some local youngsters this season.
PK: How often are you contacted by AFL clubs wanting information about Dolphins players?
SG: Every second week from about June onwards I am getting calls from a number of clubs. There is about eight players’ names that consistently get brought up.
In total eight VFL players were invited to AFL Draft screening and four are Dolphins, which is pretty remarkable, tell us about that quartet.
Leigh Osborne walked in off the street, played state football and made the VFL team of the year. He's one of the quickest in the VFL and has a great chance to get drafted
Kyle Martin wins his own ball and has an AFL kick on him. Like Oz he stepped up from local footy, made the state team and VFL team of the year and should get drafted.
Khan Haretuku has come so far from when he arrived three years ago, it’s a credit to him how hard he has worked. Khan was a standout tall forward in the competition and also did the state team/team of the year double.
Leigh Kitchin is a good story about opportunity. After playing only 14 games at Box Hill in three years he came to us and averaged 24 possessions in the midfield. He's also been a great leader and clubman, and now he’s an AFL prospect.
Tyabb's Corey Buchan acquitted himself very well in his first year, what does he have to work on to get drafted?
He had a tremendous first year. Corey's got work to do putting on weight and getting stronger through the strength program so he can compete at that next level. He has the ability and is maybe one or two years off getting drafted.
How about Jarrod Irving from Seaford, he had a good debut year too. Are his one-on-one skills something that will attract AFL clubs?
To play full back in your first year is a mighty effort, his one-on-one play is very impressive. He's just got to tidy up his skills and he'll go from good to great.
How do you go about replacing the guys who do get picked up this year?
With Hibbo and Baggas getting drafted and four guys going to the combines the club’s not a hard sell like it was three years ago. A lot of players have already made contact and want to be part of the club.
What about some of the local youngsters who played senior football this year? Riley Heddles, Brad Sykes and Dale Sutton all made a good impression late.
Riley really came on after a terrible run with injuries. It’s great to see the hard work paying off. Dale came in as the 23rd man and certainly had an impact. He showed he can be a future VFL player with his pace. Brad can be a senior player if he's prepared to work hard, he has the skill he just needs to continue to work.
Finally, how pleasing is it to see local guys like Luke Potts, Mitch Bosward and Shane Hockey leading the way after a few years of doing 'hard yards'?
These players have not only become good VFL players but have also developed into good leaders. We've asked a lot of them very quickly and they've only just played over 50 games each, so the future is bright.