Local to listed in 12 months.
When Stephen Wells heads to the draft I get aroused. The master recruiter or “the Cat burglar” as I like to refer to him as, is well known for plucking guns from anywhere in the draft.
Wells rarely bothers with first round picks. He’s had the Cats so successful for so long he doesn’t get many high picks anyway. It matters little. He has an eye for talent like few have & grabs rippers in the back half of the draft. The good news for us is the blokes he picks are never expensive. There all basement price. This year is no exception.
Because of the blokes he brought in at the end of 2015 Danger, Henderson, Less Nutrient Selwood & Zac Smith, Wells didn’t enter the draft till pick 59. But that doesn’t bother the Cat burglar, he struck gold again with selection 66 (Sam Menegola).
He lost some incredible talent in Enright & Bartel from his list at the end of 2016. So the Cat burglar went on a shopping spree for new stock. Wells was obviously a fan of the depth & talent in this draft. He made a surprisingly high 6 selections with a clear mix of youth & mature age experience.
The first mature aged selection was Tom Stewart who he plucked from his VFL side with pick 40. Incredibly he was the first of 3 he nabbed from his VFL side.
Tom Stewart was a local footy player at South Barwon in 2015. At the end of the season he was encouraged by his mentor (Matthew Scarlett) to try out for the Cats VFL side. He impressed & won a spot on the list.
That was the beginning of his meteoric rise. He finished the 2016 season in the VFL team of the year & came second in the best & fairest. Such a significant rise that he went from local footballer to AFL listed in 12 months. Matthew Scarlett would be a pretty good mentor to have. It is well known at the Cattery that Scarlett has taught Tom Stewart to play footy the Geelong way. Significant!
|2017 Position:||DEF only|
|2016 VFL SC AVG:||83|
|2016 VFL Stat Averages:||11.3 kicks, 5.6 handballs, 16.9 disposals, 6.4 marks (1 contested), 2.3 tackles, no hitouts, 2.1 inside 50s, 2.8 rebound 50s, 0.6 FF, 0.6 FA|
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“Stewart had a stellar 2016 season for the VFL Cats, showcasing a rare ability to know the perfect balance between defence and attack. Week in, week out he would play on the opposition’s best forward as an under-sized defender and limit their influence, all while roaming up the ground to become an offensive weapon himself”.
That sounds pretty good to me.
Stewart is a versatile defender with the ability to play small or tall. His best position is a 3rd defender, but he manages to still collect plenty of the pill as you can see by his season stats. 17 disposals & 6.5 grabs a game is pretty good for a big bloke.
Stewart became well known for his attack on the ball & his power. He’s also a great kick either side of his body. And he possesses a great set of clunking hands.
Stewart at times played forward & showed he knew were the big sticks were. So he would give the Cats some versatility if they needed him up forward. In his 18 games he also kicked 5 goals. But he certainly played a majority of the season as a defender.
It must be mentioned that he had a shoulder reconstruction at the conclusion of last season so he’s not going to have a full preseason.
— Jock Reynolds (@jock_reynolds) January 23, 2017
Like Luke Ryan if he does make the Round 1 Cats team he is a genuine on field rookie option. Don’t expect an 83 Av but if he can give us 65-70 at D6 then I’d take that. I’ve read quite a few times from Cats fans that know the VFL & AFL team that they think he’s way better than Ruggles.
Coming off a shoulder reconstruction is far from ideal. Do the Cats have enough defenders that he serves as a backup?
- Mature Age
- Good hands
- Great spoiler – he really can kill the pill
- Very good kick (both sides)
- Reads the play well
- Pretty quick & excellent closing speed
- Couldn’t catch Motlop in a training drill. But he didn’t get burnt by him either
- Um. I’ve got nothing else
If I could ask the Cat burglar any question it would be why did you pick this man over Luke Ryan. I’m sure it would be a fascinating response. Perhaps Ryan was gone before he had his chance. No doubt this is yet another needs based selection. But is it best 22 or back up.
For me I thought the Cats forward line was lacking a second gorilla to help Hawkins. It didn’t work out with Mitch Clarke. So does the inclusion of this man allow for say a Henderson or Taylor to go forward? Intriguing. We really need to keep an eye on Tom Stewart in the preseason. I’d suggest he’s a huge chance for game time in 2017. The question is when?
Right at the pointy end of the Watchlist!
|This article has been penned as part of the Jock Reynolds Community Series, where anyone from within our proud community can have their say in front of their peers. These men and women have displayed the spirit of togetherness, positivity and community that we value significantly.|
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