Tanner sets himself up for the AFL

Kalkee's Tanner Smith, pictured playing for North Ballarat Rebels. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Kalkee's Tanner Smith, pictured playing for North Ballarat Rebels. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The future is bright for Kalkee footballer Tanner Smith.

Smith, 18, caught the eye of AFL scouts with an impressive display in last week's National Draft Combine in Melbourne, further strengthening his draft prospects.

"To get to the draft combine was a goal I set myself at the start of the year," Smith said.

"I gave it my best shot and I was really happy with the results."

It has been a busy year for the 195cm defender, who was part of the AIS-AFL Academy and the North Ballarat Rebels squad, along with year 12 studies at St Patricks College in Ballarat and a school-based building apprenticeship.

He was also impressive in the AFL Under-18 Championships with Vic Country.

"It has been a big year for myself, but I think all the hard work has really paid off," he said. "I think moving to St Pats has also helped my football and made me more independent.

"When recruiters ask how I'd feel about moving interstate, it's a massive benefit to say that I'm a boarder who has experienced living out of home."

AFL Academies development manager Michael Ablett said Smith recorded some exciting stats during the combine.

"Tanner ran an 8.14-second agility, which put him in the top 22 per cent," Ablett said. "He ran a 2.99-second 20-metre sprint, which is a great effort to run a sub-three-second there.

"He ran a 10:18 in the three kilometre time trial, which was his best event and he finished in the top nine per cent.

"He tested really well, so he was super and his mix of power and endurance was pretty impressive."

AFL Victoria Wimmera region manager Geoff Burdett believes Smith, who he likened to Essendon defender Dustin Fletcher, has all the credentials to get drafted.

Horsham duo Jake Lloyd and Tyler Blake, Minyip-Murtoa's Tim Mackenzie and Stawell ruckman Kyle Hendy also put their best feet forward during the weekend's State and Draftstar combines. Lloyd recorded the second-best beep test result of 15.3.

Blake's best test was the 20-metre sprint where he posted 3.05 seconds.

Hendy had some great times for a big man, including a three-second 20-metre sprint and 26.65 second repeat sprint.

Mackenzie did well in the kicking test with a score of 27 of out 30, and the clean hands test with 25 out of 30.

The news wasn't so good for Michael Close, of Harrow-Balmoral, who is in a race against time to be fit for this weekend's South Australian State Combine.

The AFL National Draft is on November 22.


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