CLUB: Sandringham Dragons/ Haileybury/ VIC Metro
PICK RANGE: 2-10
The latest and youngest of the Brayshaw clan, Andrew has rocketed into top five calculations after a brilliant top age season that was capped off with outstanding endurance results at the draft combine.
The brother of Angus and Hamish, Andrew was always seen as a draft relevant prospect, but has shot up the draft rankings due to consistently good performances. The well rounded midfielder is slightly smaller than his siblings, but possesses greater athletic traits that he utilises on the field.
He started 2017 in outstanding fashion, averaging 26 disposals over the first three weeks for Sandringham, although an early season quad injury threatened his availability for Vic Metro. He missed six weeks of football, but managed to return for the final two games of the Championships. He didn’t take long to get back to his early season ball winning ways, collecting 20 and 22 touches respectively to have a late impact in Metro’s successful campaign.
The consistently outstanding performances would continue for Haileybury, where he would dominate the APS scene, before gathering 31 disposals as captain of the competition rep side against an AGSV combined team. A return to Sandringham would see the high standards rise further, with a superb TAC Cup finals series giving recruiters more confidence that he had all the tools to succeed in high pressure games. He would average 25 disposals over 10 games for the Dragons and not drop below the 20 disposal mark all season. He genuinely didn’t even come close to producing a poor performance.
His Draft Combine results were the icing on a near perfect season, topping the newly introduced Yo-Yo Test with a level of 22.4, before running a 6 minute, 14 second 2km Time Trial. A nicely balanced attribute mix of inside, outside, endurance and speed means he is now regarded to be in the top echelon of midfielders available.
WHY PICK HIM?
As a midfielder, there really isn’t much Brayshaw doesn’t do. He is just as prominent in contested situations as in space and while the endurance results have grabbed most of the headlines, he has a turn of speed that can catch his opponents off guard. He has a high football IQ and seems to instinctively know when to make offensive or defensive decisions. He gets to the offensive side of a stoppage whenever possible, but isn’t a one way runner. He will block, protect and run frantically to lay a tackle when the opportunity presents.
Brayshaw is also an extremely underrated kick, operating at high efficiency levels despite the contested nature of his disposals. While it was only a two game sample, his 14 kicks at the Championships all hit the target and his percentages at TAC Cup level were well above competition averages. It isn’t immediately obvious that he is a great user of the ball in terms of style, but it soon becomes apparent that the ball continually ends up in a better position due to playing the percentages and eliminating unnecessary risks. He can also be a high metres gained footballer with his positioning and carry, becoming an even more dangerous proposition when delivering the ball inside 50. You want the ball in his hands in the forward half as he is unselfish and has a happy knack of being involved in scoring chains. He is a player that looks to complete the basics and it has become a great strength.
THE QUESTION MARKS?
For a player that does so many things right, it becomes a difficult task searching for anything even remotely negative. It is, after all, a key criterion as to why he is so highly regarded. So it becomes a question as to why other prospects might be selected ahead of him.
Firstly, is he as flexible to play in different positions and specifically have a scoreboard impact when resting forward as the likes of Davies-Uniacke, Dow, Rayner or Cerra do? Probably not, but he did prove during his bottom age year that he can play in other areas of the ground. He also doesn’t quite possess the x-factor, size or contested marking ability of those four, but he makes up for that with an excellent attitude, commitment and leadership skills. There is also the theory that he doesn’t have the same scope or potential ceiling as the top tier group, but there is still plenty of room for development all the same.
An outstanding season on the field means that Andrew Brayshaw is now an almost certain top ten prospect, but he has admirers even higher than that. Brisbane and Fremantle have certainly discussed what he offers their clubs, but the star qualities of Davies-Uniacke, Dow, Rayner or Cerra may end up being too difficult to ignore. The clubs know what they are going to get with him though. They know that they would be bringing in an outstanding character that will set standards and potentially be ready to go Round 1. They know that the inclusion of Brayshaw will make the club a better place and that there is a lesser risk of him not making the grade compared to other available players. He is the safe bet that all clubs are looking for with a single digit draft pick.