Club: Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro/St Kevin’s College
Position: Key Position Forward
– One of the highest rated tall forwards in the draft
– Very strong overhead.
– Leads hard and is deceivingly quick.
– Physical presence inside 50.
– Is prone to the yips despite being a technically correct kick with set shots.
TAC CUP STATS
U18 CHAMPS STATS
The Oakleigh Chargers have become one of the most prominent feeder clubs to the AFL system in the last decade and 2016 looks to be no different. The consecutive TAC Cup reigning premier has five players invited to the upcoming National Combine and a further seven to the State Combine, with the tally of 12 being the equal-most nominated from one club in Australia. While all 12 footballers are showing potential elite qualities, it is tall forward Patrick Kerr who is generating the most interest for the Chargers.
Patrick Kerr is the grandson of Carlton Hall of Fame member Laurie Kerr, a fast centreman and wingman who played 149 games during the 1950s. Kerr is a different player to his famous grandfather, but looks to have inherited his football genes and athletic capabilities. His uncle Peter also played 49 games for Carlton, but as his father Stephen only played for their Under-19 side, Patrick isn’t available under the father-son rule.
After representing Vic Metro in the U16 Championships, Patrick Kerr was looking to have an early 2015 impact as a bottom ager in the TAC Cup and potentially push for the U18 Metro squad. Unfortunately, Kerr injured his shoulder during an inter-club match before the start of the season, resulting in the star goal kicker requiring reconstructive surgery. It meant a change of goals, a rigorous rehabilitation program and no guarantee that he was going to get back on the field before the end of the season. To Kerr’s credit, he saw the off-field time as an opportunity to prove his professional standards, going the extra mile to ensure he got the most out of the rehab. His disciplined efforts were rewarded with a Round 17 return and he had an immediate impact, kicking four goals to be named best afield for Oakleigh. He went on to be a part of the Chargers premiership team, but would have felt underwhelmed with a four disposal performance on the day.
The Glen Iris product started 2016 in outstanding fashion, taking three contested marks and kicking four goals for Oakleigh in Round 1, before taking that form to his school St Kevin’s College in the APS competition. Kerr then made a real name for himself in the U18 National Championships, kicking nine goals and averaging 2.3 contested marks for Vic Metro. His All-Australian performances were highlighted by a four goal final quarter against South Australia, inspiring a come from behind victory after a 35 point three quarter time deficit. It was ultimately a Division 1 title defining result and has seen Kerr rise up the draft rankings. The key-position forward has mostly represented his school since the Championships and kicked many goals, but hasn’t had the impact he would have liked in two games for the Chargers.
Kerr is a key-position forward that has a real presence on the field. Like most tall targets, his marking and powerful kicking are major assets, but there is a bit more to Kerr than the obvious. Kerr is a lot more athletic than he appears on first impression. He is near impossible to stop when leading into space, as his acceleration off the mark creates a gap that few defenders can make up. He is also a viable option when kicking long to a contested situation, as smart positioning and soft hands often see him finish with a strong one-touch mark. When not in a preferred marking position, Kerr will look to hit the pack hard and get the ball to ground for the crumbers. He likes to have a physical presence inside the forward 50, but does so by rarely giving away free kicks to his opponents. At 194cm, he is tall enough to hold down a key position post at AFL level and become a genuine target.
As much as Kerr’s strengths are exciting, there are parts of his game that would be of some concern to recruiters. The St Kevin’s captain has a technically correct set shot action, but is prone to losing confidence and leaning on his kicks. When on he doesn’t look like missing, but one missed conversion can lead to the yips taking over his mindset. There are question marks on his defensive pressure when the opposition gains control of the ball. From eight combined Vic Metro and Oakleigh matches in 2016, he is averaging just one tackle per game. You become a liability with low numbers like that at AFL level, but he possesses the required pace and improved lateral movement to suggest it is an area with scope. It would also be preferable to see Kerr develop alternative methods of finding the ball. 72% of his disposals at the National Championships came from marks, while that percentage still hovers at an unacceptable 54% during the TAC Cup in 2016. He did prove to be capable when the ball hits the ground against Western Australia at Simonds Stadium, kicking two spectacularly snapped goals. One dimensional players get found out quickly at the highest standard and I’m sure Kerr is getting advice on how he can become more involved.
The 2016 draft is lacking key position talent at the top end, which makes Patrick Kerr a very interesting prospect. The only probable tall forward ahead of the Oakleigh Charger’s vice-captain is Todd Marshall, which could mean Kerr rises toward the top 10 if a club is desperate enough to fill a required need. A prominent TAC Cup finals series would see Kerr bolt even further, especially if he can lift the Chargers to a three-peat from sixth on the ladder. Despite the fact that recruiters have a love affair with forwards around the 200cm mark in recent times, Kerr possesses the required tools to be developed into a tall I50 option who can succeed at the next level.
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