Another day, another monster game from Will Ashcroft, who has now firmly established himself as the best player in this year’s draft class ahead of future calls on his feet.
Ashcroft’s best on-field display in Vic Metro’s emphatic 73-point win over South Australia at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday finished with 38 disposals, 12 contested possessions, 10 clearances, 10 inside-50s, 10 mark involvements and five tackles. .
His best highlight came in the final quarter when he nailed a running goal from 50 yards out from 40 yards out.
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A Brisbane father and son are in the running for this year’s Lark Medal – the National AFL Under-18 Championship’s award of the year. Recent honorees include Stephen Coniglio, Lachie Whitfield, Dom Sheed, Jack Graham and Sam Walsh – the latter of whom, Ashcroft has been compared to for his ability and leadership on the field as well as his professionalism off the field. .
Ashcroft’s performance against SA has been stellar at every level in what has been an excellent 2022 campaign, whether that’s been done against men his age or men with more experience.
“He’s been in absolutely amazing form – you can’t describe it any other way,” AFL National Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan told Fox Footy on Sunday. “He’s dominated the three (Carnival) games so far – and that’s his dominance at every level he’s played, which includes the VFL against the Brisbane Lions.
“He is an absolute professional in the way he prepares. He plays well in all situations and plays well both inside and outside. He’s very composed on the pitch, doesn’t panic, and sets the game up for his teammates – that’s his creativity.
“If he ends up in Brisbane, he’ll be an instant star for them.”
A mercenary said. foxfooty.com.au “He can play AFL this week,” Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft is the son of triple premiership Lion and 318-game player Marcus Ashcroft, which qualifies him to enter Brisbane under the father-son regime. But for the Lions to have official rights to Ashcroft, he must be named as his preferred destination ahead of the AFL National Draft later this year.
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“I’m still not sure,” Ashcroft told Fox Footy on Sunday when asked if he was leaning towards the Lions or the open draft. It’s a big decision, so I’ll wait, talk to the right people and make sure I have the information I need to make the right decision.
“I’m going through the process right now and we’ll see what happens.”
While Ashcroft remains uncertain about his decision, at least publicly, the sentiment among club recruiters and draft followers is that Ashcroft will appoint the Lions.
Brisbane is a strong club with a well-proven roster in the premiership window, which has already brought Ashcroft into the job. He trained on the AFL list last summer and then played two games with the club’s VFL team in early May. He averaged 28 disposals, eight tackles, six inside 50s and five clearances in the two matches for the Lions against Sydney and Cobourg.
Ashcroft spent many of his childhood years in Queensland and eventually became a product of Queensland Football Development. He also has a younger brother, Levi, who is just as highly rated – he starred for Vic Metro at under-16 level this year – in the Class of 2024, so the chance to play alongside him at the same AFL club their father played for would be romantic. .
However, Ashcroft is still hopeful that he will be a candidate for the draft, which is open to 17 other clubs, as he has not yet nominated Brisbane and moved to Melbourne with his family a few years ago and completed his studies at Brighton Grammar last year. .
Ashcroft’s main challenger for the Pick 1 mantle appears to be George Wardlaw – a powerful, competitive and aggressive inside-midfielder who will shape his game against Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver.
However, the Oakley Chargers on-bowler failed to boost his chances at the recent national championships, with a hamstring problem keeping him out of Vic Metro’s first three games. But Wardlaw is expected to return from injury in the coming weeks and if he stays healthy he will have another chance to shine on the national stage when VC Metro and Vic Country meet in the Champions League final in the AFL Grand Final weekend.
But as the Nick Dykos-Collingwood situation proved in 2021, being a father-and-son prospect in a year when many observers believe you’re the top prospect in the draft doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be taken with the No. 1 pick.
Collingwood didn’t have to match last year’s bid for the Daicos until pick 4. North Melbourne selected Jason Horne-Francis at pick 1 – as the Kangaroos named the South Australian the best player in the draft, rival recruiters believe they must. Horne-Francis convinced the latter he was ‘their guy’ before making the latter feel a bit better – before the Giants bid on Bulldogs father and son Sam Darcy at pick 2 – suggesting the Giants were initially interested. Drafting a key position player with their first pick – then using pick 3 to select Finn Callaghan – the midfielder was a big fan of former coach Leon Cameron.
Complicating matters positively for the Lions is another father-and-son prospect in the first-round reckoning with Jaspa Fletcher – son of Adrian Fletcher, who played 231 games for four clubs, including 107 for Brisbane – up for the draft. The boards followed an impressive three carnival games for Alliance.
“Fletcher is a special player in midfield,” Sheehan said. “He can play outside on the wing, he can play inside and he’s a fantastic natural footballer.”
That means much of the Lions’ focus during the AFL trade will be to secure enough picks and points to match early rival bids on their two father-son guns.
In the year As for the humble Ashcroft, who played football for Morningside in 2020 without the chance to play for Victoria, he is now focused on the next game.
“I think I’m playing really good football and I’m happy with how I’m going, but there’s always ways to improve,” he said.
“I’m happy to hit the scoreboard today, so I’m going to keep trying to make that week-in and week-out.”