CLUB: Sandringham Dragons/ Haileybury College / VIC Metro
POSITION: Inside Midfielder/Defender/High Half Forward
PICK RANGE: 5-15
- Prototype Mid – Tall, modern sized midfielder that can impact at either end
- Smart – Positions his body well at stoppages, and reads the ball quickly
- Decisions – Uses the ball well to advantage, finds team-mates with precision
TAC Cup (Incomplete Data)
Charlie Constable started the season as a lesser known prospect, but quickly had people talking with some prominent football in the opening rounds. He began mixing his time between the midfield and defence early, winning plenty of ball whether it was at the stoppages or controlling play behind the ball.
Although he would make his true mark at the Championships, where he would earn All Australian selection and become a genuine top 10 contender. Despite being overlooked for Vic Metro’s first game, he made up for lost time with a brilliant 31 disposal performance against Vic Country at Punt Rd Oval where he spent time as a high half forward with rotations through the midfield. He racked up another 23 disposals against South Australia, before starting in defence against the Allies to prove further flexibility.
He followed up the outstanding Vic Metro form with his most dominant TAC Cup game of the year in Round 13, collecting 29 disposals, 14 contested possessions, 11 clearances and three goals against an answerless Bendigo outfit, before returning to Haileybury where he won huge possession tallies.
Constable continued his consistent season into the TAC Cup finals where he had an influential Elimination Final, although a groin complaint ended his day early in the Preliminary Final against Oakleigh. On entering the TAC Cup Grand Final week in serious doubt, he showed heart by spending more time forward and kicking two goals. It wasn’t enough to get the Dragon’s over the line in the thriller, but was a clear indication that he has the mental strength to perform through adversity.
WHY PICK HIM?
He is that tall, modern size that all recruiters are looking for in a midfielder, although he probably hasn’t been given enough credit for the versatility he has proven over the season.
As an inside midfielder there are many traits that you can easily compare to Patrick Cripps, an opinion that most draft watchers share. He is strong at the stoppages, but also extremely smart in the method that he wins first possession. It isn’t all strength and bullocking, he knows where to position himself and reads the ball quickly in tight. He does use his body to protect the ball, but is calm in traffic and makes outstanding releasing decisions to players on the spread, often by hand.
Behind the ball he appears comfortable and looks to get in ball winning positions so he can take control. He is capable defensively, but looks his best in the defensive arc as the extra man, where his footy smarts help read the incoming entrances quickly to intercept or find dangerous space going the other way. He has shown good signs overhead too, a skill that is now seen as a necessity in that position with turnovers becoming such a factor at the highest level.
In the front half, he plays that awkward high half forward role to perfection and as proven in the Grand Final, is capable of having an impact deeper inside 50. He is a really reliable set shot kick, which perhaps doesn’t get discussed as much as it should. I have no doubt that Constable could spend time forward in between midfield rotations in his first couple of seasons and produce solid results.
THE QUESTION MARKS?
Constable didn’t test at the Draft Combine due to injury and there are questions as to what he offers athletically. He certainly isn’t the most graceful mover visually and while you wouldn’t describe him as slow, he rarely seems to hit full pace and can be beaten to the ball in space. Thankfully a solid footy IQ makes this less of a worry, but it as an area he’ll look to improve on once in an elite performance environment.
Some also have concerns for his scope or whether he can produce what he does at U18 level against senior players. I find this theory unfair. Yes, he is a bigger bodied player, but there is enough evidence to suggest that there is more to the way he wins the ball than by bullying smaller players.
I’m fascinated by where clubs rate this kid, as his decision making and calm appearance at a contest stand out to me. He is likely to be developed as an extracting, large framed inside midfielder, but I just feel there is a bit more to him than that. I have him clearly inside the top ten, but there is every chance he slides to double figure territory come draft day. If that does occur, Charlie Constable could be the steal of 2017.