Club Western Australia/Swan Districts/Guildford Grammar/Upper Swan JFC
Position Key Defender
Draft Range Second Round
- Ready-Made: Already played WAFL League football
- Footy Smart: Reads the play well to take intercept marks
- All-Australian: One of four WA players to be named All-Australian
AFL U18 CHAMPIONSHIPS STATISTICS
2017 WAFL LEAGUE
2017 WAFL COLTS
In the past two seasons, Sam Taylor has established himself as one of the leading West Australian draft prospects for 2017.
He made his debut for Swan Districts Colts in 2016, against Peel Thunder in round three, where he gathered 13 possessions and took four marks to be named amongst the best.
In the next three games against Claremont (10 possessions & five marks), Subiaco (14 possessions, three tackles & two marks), and West Perth (17 possessions & seven marks), he showcased his enormous potential and was one of six bottom-age players to be selected in the WA U18s Academy – the others being Jaxon Cahill, Aaron Naughton, Jake Patmore, Brandon Starcevich, and Matthew Young.
For West Australia, he only played the two games against Vic Country (five possessions & three marks) and Vic Metro (10 possessions & four marks), but his potential was too good to ignore, and he was added to AFL Academy along with Noah Balta, Paddy Dow, Hayden McLean and Cameron Rayner.
Going into season 2017, there were high expectations for Taylor as he was considered one of the best West Australians prospects. And his early form highlighted why he was so highly rated – by round ten, he was averaging 19 possessions, six marks and three tackles.
He took his excellent form with him into the National U18 Championships. With starring performances against South Australia, Vic Metro, Allies and Vic Country he was named in the All-Australian team in the back pocket.
When he returned to Swan Districts, he was immediately thrust into the senior squad and made his WAFL League debut in round 19 against Peel Thunder.
He played a further six games for the League team, and week by week his prospects soared, especially against East Fremantle in round 23, when he gathered 27 possessions, took eight marks and laid three tackles.
However, it was his finals series that would have wowed recruiters. Against West Perth in the Elimination Final, he held Tyler Keitel goalless while he finished with 18 possessions, four marks and two inside 50s, with the Swans winning by 15 points. Then in the First Semi-Final, he held former Port Adelaide player Mason Shaw goalless, while he tried hard with 14 possessions, four marks and three tackles, vainly trying to stem the 80-point thrashing.
WHY PICK HIM?
Taylor is an elite intercept marking defender, and has already drawn comparisons to Essendon legend Dustin Fletcher and Richmond star Alex Rance.
He reads the flight of the ball exceptionally well in defence, and his marking ability is elite.
THE QUESTION MARKS?
Taylor is still pretty light for a key defender, and as such he may need to take a bit more time than others to play. However according to former Swan Districts League Coach, Greg Harding, “once an AFL club gets hold of him and puts a couple of pre-seasons into him, he’s going to develop into a really nice size and shape.”
His kicking could also improve, but once he is in an AFL system, it would easily be fixed.
Sam Taylor is one of the best key defenders in this year’s draft pool. Despite being lightly framed, Taylor’s reading of the play and marking ability make him a gun prospect in this year’s Draft.
With clubs such as Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, and the Western Bulldogs, all crying out for a key defender, Taylor is their man.