Club Western Australia/East Perth/Trinity College/Mt Lawley-Inglewood JFC
Draft Range Second – Third Round
- Man Child: Has a big enough frame to play AFL from round 1
- Football Royalty: Nephew of Collingwood premiership player Craig Starcevich
- Versatile: Can rest forward and still be a dangerous player
AFL U18 CHAMPIONSHIPS STATISTICS
2017 WAFL COLTS
The nephew of Collingwood’s 1990 premiership player Craig Starcevich, Brandon is a powerful midfield bull.
He first rose to prominence in 2014, when he was named an All-Australian after a stunning carnival for the WA State U15s Schoolboys’ team.
He backed it up the following year, by being named in the WA U16s State Academy alongside fellow East Perth team-mates Christian Ameduri, Sam East, and Casey Phillips.
In 2016, he really started to attract the interest of AFL recruiters. He made his WAFL Colts debut with East Perth in round two against Subiaco (18 possessions, six marks, three inside 50s, two tackles and a goal – but had he kicked straighter he could’ve had a bag of five), and also produced strong performances against West Perth (14 possessions, four inside 50s, and two marks) and Perth (10 possessions and two marks) to be named as a bottom-ager in the WA U18s State Academy.
In three games for the Sandgropers, he showcased his crash-and-bash style of play, against Vic Country (five possessions – three contested – four tackles), Allies (seven possessions – four contested – three tackles) and Vic Metro (six possessions – five contested).
His return to the Royals’ Colts was impressive. In his comeback game against Swan Districts, he was clearly East Perth’s best with 16 possessions, six tackles, two marks, two inside 50s and a goal. He was also dominant the following week against West Perth (15 possessions, two marks, and two tackles).
But it was his finals performances that were the most outstanding. In the Preliminary Final against Perth, he accumulated 16 possessions, took six marks and recorded six inside 50s to lead the Royals to a six-goal victory. He was also one of the best players for East Perth in their devastating Grand Final loss to Claremont with 13 possessions, two marks and two inside 50s.
In 2017, injury setbacks in during pre-season meant Starcevich started the season slowly, with quiet performances against Swan Districts (six possessions & three marks), and Claremont (seven possessions). But a superb performance against Peel (17 possessions, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal) kick-started his year and highlighted why he is so highly rated.
He was again a member of the WA U18s State Academy and he produced masterful performances against South Australia (12 possessions, four inside 50s, and a goal), and Vic Country (22 possessions – 14 contested – eight tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s, and two rebounding 50s), to receive an invitation to the AFL National Combine.
He returned to East Perth’s Colts team and produced outstanding performances against Peel Thunder (16 possessions, five inside 50s and four tackles), Perth (16 possessions, five tackles, five inside 50s and three marks) and Subiaco (16 possessions, five tackles, four marks, two inside 50s and a goal), before a dominant finals campaign.
In the Elimination Final against Peel, he accumulated 19 possessions, grabbed five marks, laid four tackles and kicked two goals to help inspire the Royals to a one-point victory. Against Swan Districts in the First Semi-Final, he recorded 17 possessions, laid eight tackles, recorded eight inside 50s, took seven marks and kicked a goal as the Royals comfortably won by 88 points. And in the Preliminary Final against Claremont, he finished with 19 possessions, four tackles and two inside 50s, despite copping a boot to the head early on in the game.
He was invited to play in the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game, where he shone with 18 possessions (seven contested), four inside 50s, and a goal.
However, a quad injury meant he could not test at the National Combine. But he did test at the WA State Combine, where he produced excellent performances in the 20m sprint (2.87 seconds), the agility test (8.08 seconds) and the running vertical jump (91cm).
WHY PICK HIM?
Starcevich is a powerful contested-ball winning midfielder who could slot into an AFL team’s best 22 from round one next year, due to his mature body.
He wins the ball in tight, before bursting out of congestion and finding a team-mate in the open. He also has the strength to hold off opponents in one-on-one situations, which makes him a dangerous player when he rests forward.
He is courageous and powerful – traits that would make him a much-loved team-mate at his new AFL club.
THE QUESTION MARKS?
Because Starcevich is often in stoppages, trying to rip the ball out, his disposal lacks polish. He can sometimes rush his kicks and can fire out handballs that go astray, but in an AFL environment, this would easily be fixed.
For a midfielder, you’d also want to see him get his hands on the footy a bit more. While explosive and damaging when he has it, he is not a big accumulator given his role.
Any club that is crying out for a contested-ball winning animal, should strongly consider Starcevich. He may not bring polish and class to the team, but his grit and determination will win him respect.