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Stretch a genuine AFL talent: Sheehan

Matt Burgan  September 30, 2014 6:24 PM

Draft Combine Day 1: Kevin Sheehan Interview DeeTv was at Etihad Stadium today for the first day of the Draft Combine. We spoke to National Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan to get his thoughts on what Melbourne may do with it's picks

NATIONAL and international talent manager Kevin Sheehan says potential Melbourne father/son recruit Billy Stretch looms as an exciting AFL player. 

Billy, the son of Steven, who won Melbourne’s best and fairest award in 1987, will learn his club destination on Monday, when the father/son bidding is conducted.

Sheehan said Stretch, who represented the South Australian under-18 side this year, was a genuine AFL talent.

“Billy is the son of one of [Melbourne’s] club champions, Steven Stretch, a best and fairest winner at Melbourne and we remember him as a State of Origin player for South Australia, so he was a terrific player. He showed great run and use of the ball in his day and Billy is a chip off the old block,” he told Dee TV.

“He had a terrific year this year for Glenelg and late in the year was gathering it 25 or 27 times at senior level. He was a fantastic athlete like his father and he was a member of the NAB AFL academy, so we’ve seen this boy unfold in the last 12 months – in amongst the best kids in Australia. He matches up as a real pro.

“I think he’s an AFL player with a big future, supported by his All-Australian selection mid-year. It’ll be interesting. He’s a bid player, so that decision [on his future] will be made next Monday.

Sheehan said Angus Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons) and Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges) were two midfielders right in the mix for Melbourne’s No.2 pick.

“Petracca played five games [in this year’s NAB AFL under 18 championships] and he polled in the best three on the ground on five occasions by the All-Australian selectors,” he said.

“That’s a pretty good performance, given we’ve now got a home and away series and you’re playing against great opposition every week in that championship and he dominated.

“He’s a powerful player who can play as a medium forward. He’s a strong mark overhead and he’s a goalkicker, where he’s got that elite step that gives him that breakaway from the stoppage in the middle of the ground.

“Angus Brayshaw is as smooth as silk and he uses it just as well on his left as he does on his preferred right. The same with the hands – he reads it well off packs and he can also jump up on their backs and take a terrific one on one mark. He had a great championship.”

Sheehan said talls Paddy McCartin (Geelong Falcons) and Peter Wright were also in the mix at No.2.

“The other guys are the two tall forwards – that’s Paddy McCartin and Peter Wright. The bigger of them is Peter Wright, who is 203cm, so he’s six foot eight. He’s a big red head and they call him ‘Two Metre Peter’. Big Pete is going to be a long-term player no doubt,” he said.

“Paddy McCartin is a 193cm or 194cm, six foot four forward, who has got fantastic hands and a vice-like grip. He’s got the big strong shoulders and I think he’s going to make a tremendous target up forward for any club that takes him.

“They’re the four boys that the clubs are talking about and we all see it in a slightly different order and that’s all the fun of it.”

Sheahan said Nakia Cockatoo was a player to watch out for around Melbourne’s No.22 pick.

“We saw a player play for The Allies on Grand Final day at the MCG. That was the 10 o’clock curtain-raiser. They played against the Australian under 17s. A few Melbourne supporters may have been there having a look and they may have recalled No.10 – his name was Nakia Cockatoo, a boy from the Northern Territory,” he said.

“He missed most of the year with an injured foot, but he put on a best on ground display. He looked every bit an AFL player.

“His breakaway ability from the centre of the ground was electrifying.”

Sheahan nominated Daniel Howe as a possible option for Melbourne’s third pick at No.39.

“I like the work of Dan Howe. Maybe there could be another Howe at Melbourne? Like Jeremy [Howe], this guy can mark it and he’s a boy from the Murray Bushrangers,” he said.

“He can play as a key defender, which he did for Vic Country this year.

“He’s originally from Melbourne and he played as a 19-year-old in the TAC Cup. He played for Vic Country as a 19-year-old this year. He improved out of sight and maybe he’ll be around the 38 to 40 mark as a later draftee.”