CLUB: Eastern Ranges / VIC Metro
POSITION: Complete Midfielder
PICK RANGE: 3-8
- Modern Midfielder
– Balanced inside and outside game and can impact around the ground.
– Ultra classy on the ball, a smooth mover who creates time and space.
– Great vision and technique, makes good decisions and reads the play well.
In terms of prospects for the 2017 Draft, Adam Cerra is about as Blue Chip as they come. The Eastern Ranges star has made the Vic Metro U16 and U18 squads, both as a bottom and top ager, and would probably be the main player that we will look back on as a glaring omission from the AFL Academy. A knee injury that saw him miss the majority of 2016 could well have been the main contributor, however.
Indeed his bottom age year is what saw him enter the 2017 season with little fanfare. After being one of Metro’s best performers at the U16 National Championships, Cerra only made two TAC Cup performances at the end of the 2016 season after suffering a meniscal tear. At the start of the 2017 season, however, it was clear from the get go that he had used his time ‘off’ for the betterment of his game. Having played predominantly as an outside midfielder, Cerra had built his frame over the off-season in clear preparation to develop his inside game.
Over the first three rounds Cerra was averaging 27 disposals and 15 contested possessions, along with six marks, four tackles and seven clearances. He carried this form with him into the U18 Championships and was a standout in Metro’s victory over WA, where is dominance at the contest saw him finish with 24 disposals, six tackles, five clearances and a goal.
WHY PICK HIM?
With the development of his inside game, Cerra has transformed into that elite balanced modern midfielder that AFL clubs desire. He has very clean hands in congestion, and is that ‘one-touch’ kind of player that can grab the ball in traffic before feeding a team-mate. When on the ball, he just oozes class and has the poise of an AFL veteran. His vision and technique allow him to hit up teammates with smart measured kicking, often lowering his eyes to hit a low trajectory pass inside 50.
He is a solid mark and has demonstrated a talent in both arcs – in particular when resting forward this year. He is a smart reader of the play, and is able to time his leads well to create options inside 50. Playing predominantly forward in round 13 of the TAC Cup this year, he finished with 24 touches, 10 marks and kicked 3.5 in a standout display. Behind the ball, his clean kicking and decision making really come to the fore.
THE QUESTION MARKS?
The only potential point of concern would be that of his injury history. After missing last year with a knee, Cerra also missed the end of this season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. Starting a career with issues, especially in those areas, will always be a red flag, although there is nothing to suggest that either injury is a long term concern.
In terms of on the field, Cerra’s main question mark would probably come down to his acceleration. He’s not slow, but he’s not the most naturally gifted in terms of ‘burst’ speed, therefore he wouldn’t fit the needs of a team looking to add an explosive element to a midfield unit. His smooth movement and ability in close traffic easily negate this issue on a holistic level, however.
On a talent and physical level, Adam Cerra looks ready to have an immediate impact at AFL level. Calm, composed and ultra classy, there’s no wonder that those close to him at the Eastern Ranges have him pegged as a 200+ game AFL A-grader. The main concern for clubs will be his history of injury, but if his body holds up to the rigours of AFL footy he will be an elite level performer for years to come.