Preuss just the man to ease Max’s load
AFL Queensland Academy and high performance coach Adrian Fletcher believes Townsville junior Braydon Preuss can help alleviate the huge pressure on star Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn after his move to Melbourne was made official yesterday.
The 23- year- old, taken at pick 15 in the 2015 rookie draft, will be a Demon until at least the end of 2021 after playing just eight AFL games, all of them in 2017, in four years with North Melbourne.
The Hermit Park junior’s decision to be Gawn’s understudy has raised some eyebrows, but Fletcher insists the 206cm ruckman will help Gawn be even more dominant. “It might just help their balance. In the modern game, the ruckmen get worn out so there will be times when they may give Gawn a rest and just play Preussy,” Fletcher said.
“They’re not recruiting him to just fill up their list, they’re recruiting him because they need him.
“The midfielders love him, he puts it down their throat and he’s aggressive, and he’s got his endurance up now.
“At Melbourne Gawn can go to full forward and look very dangerous, and Preuss can play in the ruck or go forward and kick two or three goals.”
Fletcher said the chance to learn the tricks of the rucking trade from arguably the best in the game would fast track Preuss’s development.
“He’ll learn a heap. It’s Max’s work rate that gets him in the game,” Fletcher said.
“He works really hard and covers ground and helps his defence. He also goes forward and tests his opposition ruckman out, and follows up around stoppages. I think Braydon is ready to play his best footy.”
A number of Townsville juniors are a chance to join Preuss in the AFL through this year’s draft, mainly through the city’s association with the Gold Coast Suns Academy.
Tall defender Dirk Koenen was one of four Queenslanders invited to the AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne earlier this month, and fellow Suns NEAFL defender Ryan Gilmore has impressed this year.
Ruck- forward Matt Conroy was invited to an AFL ‘ talls camp’ in April, while Emmanuel Baru is another highly rated youngster.
“Dirk’s definitely a chance with his mobility as a tall, he’s got really good agility,” Fletcher said. “He’s not quick but he’s not slow either and has got a big engine. He can cover ground and that suits the modern game.
“Ryan can play as a tall and small in defence, has good speed and is a strong body. He’s very disciplined and gives the team good run out of defence.
“Matt and Emmanuel have massive upside and could be a chance in the rookie draft.’’
The national draft will be held from November 22 to 23, with the pre- season and rookie drafts also on November 23.
THE MIDFIELDERS LOVE HIM, HE PUTS IT DOWN THEIR THROAT AND HE’S AGGRESSIVE, AND HE’S GOT HIS ENDURANCE UP NOW. ADRIAN FLETCHER
AGGRESSIVE: Townsville’s Braydon Preuss ( right) battles Magpies’ Brodie Grundy while playing for the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium.