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Footyology’s draft rankings – No. 14: Patrick Naish


Patrick Naish breaks clear for Northern Knights against Murray Bushrangers in round four of this season’s TAC Cup. Photo: AFL MEDIA

Footyology’s draft rankings – No. 14: Patrick Naish

Bede Briscomb    

No. 14 – PATRICK NAISH
Victoria (Northern Knights)
Running defender/midfielder

Born: 15/1/1999
Height: 180cm
Weight: 69kg

TAC CUP STATS
Disposals: 19
Kicks: 10.3
Handballs: 8.8
Handball efficiency: 72%
Kicking efficiency: 57%
Marks: 3.9
Tackles: 2.6
Goals: 1.6
One elite attribute: Kicking. A potent outside runner who regularly hits the scoreboard but needs to put on size if he wants to win consistent contested possessions.
Best-case comparison: Zac Williams

WHAT HE’S GOT

Decision-making: Was used as a rebounding half-back in 2017 and often trusted with kick-in duties. Has a penetrating kick and takes plenty of risks with it.
Pace and lateral movement: He’s not going to overpower anyone, but he has no problem creating space with a slick side-step and burst from stoppages.

Disposal efficiency: He’s not just elite by hand and foot; he’s a deadeye dick around goals.

WHAT HE LACKS

Size and strength: Very light through the shoulders, which will hurt his ability to have any kind of defensive presence at the next level. Any AFL player that backs himself in will brush past Naish in a one-on-one.

Ball-winning: Had only one game over 21 touches in the TAC Cup and went missing a few times. With his vision and precision kicking, you want him to get it more.

BEDE BRISCOMB CHATS WITH PATRICK NAISH

Naish in action for the Knights in round one this season. Photo: AFL Media

The Richmond father-son prospect is a quick and classy defender/midfielder who is likely to be a metres-gained specialist in the AFL. Footyology had a quick chat with Naish about his views on football, his season to date, and what it’s been like training with Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin.

What do like most about football?

Well, I’ve played it my whole life and Dad obviously did as well, so it’s given me something to look up to. AFL is always something I wanted to do as my job.

What do like least about football?

Early mornings during pre-season aren’t too good.

What do you think is the hardest position to play in footy and why?

Well I’m not the best defender ever, so being one-out in the square wouldn’t be too crash hot.

It’s quite common for AFL coaches to play young guys off half-back. Can you see yourself playing that role?

Yeah, 100 per cent. I can use my strengths of run and drive off half-back.

How do you assess your own performance after a game? Do you look at the stat sheet and have set KPIs you want to hit, or is it something else?

Going into the game, I set goals for myself so I can get a gauge on how I’ve been performing, but also if the team wins or loses is pretty important.

What kind of goals do you set?

Tackles and score involvements.

What grade would you give your 2017 season?

I haven’t thought about it; probably a B-plus. During the national championships I played well, but after that I probably got a bit tired and didn’t perform as well for the [Northern] Knights.

What pro footballer do you look at now and say to yourself: “That’s the player I want to be when I’m at my absolute best.”?

Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly. Just their outside and inside run. I watched them in the preliminary final and just their running patterns and work rate both offensively and defensively are great.

What specifically do you need to do to fulfil your potential and become as good as those guys?

Hard work and dedication.

In which position would you like to start your AFL career?

Wing/half back sort of role. As I said, I like to use my drive and speed.

You’ve had a few pre-seasons with the Tigers. What was it like training with Rance, Martin and Cotchin? What did you learn?

The first time I got to train with Deledio, who was my hero, I was pretty hyped. Obviously, he wasn’t there the most recent pre-season, but training with those blokes is just amazing. This pre-season just gone was better because I already knew them and I saw them as teammates, whereas in the past I was viewing them as superstars. The stuff you learn is just how hard they work, the intensity they train at and their consistency day-to-day. They don’t drop off.

Do you think growing up with someone who has been in the AFL and knows what it takes to get there is an advantage, or can it be a disadvantage with all the added expectation?

It’s been an advantage. Having Dad go through the system himself and having someone to talk to about off-field and on-field how to mentally prepare yourself for a game has been good. And how to balance school with footy.

What’s the one criticism about your game that you keep hearing from scouts and the media?

To start out with, it was my contested footy and tackling, but this year I think I’ve really chipped away at that and increased my numbers in those areas, which is really satisfying.

Let’s say you’re playing AFL and you start to hear some negative things toward you from social media trolls or at the game, how do you think you’ll react?

Probably use it as motivation and try to prove them wrong.

Say it goes the other way and you have a season like Clayton Oliver just had, and everyone is saying you’re a star and worth a massive contract, how would you react to that?

It would be satisfying. I would feel good knowing I can get to that level, but then I’d try to build on it, use it in the next pre-season as a base and continue to work from that.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve had this year?

Just to enjoy the journey. The draft night can be one of the happiest nights of your life, so just enjoy it.

Do you think you could contribute in an AFL grand final as the player you are today?

I’m not sure. I’d love to, but yeah, I’m not sure.

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