JAKE Hinds is hopeful his AFL chance will come through November’s draft, but if it doesn’t Launceston coach Sam Lonergan says it’s only a “matter of when and how”.
The Beauty Point 18-year-old has had a breakout year with the Tassie Mariners and Allies team – learning more about the game and his ability than ever before.
“He’s a 6’1” genuine midfielder, his kicking is elite so it’s fantastic to see that he’s come into his own at senior level,” Lonergan said.
“Because of his size he becomes one of those players that an AFL clubs would more than likely play around with. He could be a midfielder, play off a half-back flank or on the wing.
“He has certainly got a big opportunity this year and if it doesn’t happen this year then I certainly think he can get there, it’s just a matter of when and how.”
Hinds has starred in the midfield since rejoining the Blues after testing himself against the best young talent in the under-18 academy series and division 1 national championships, where he played off half-back.
“It opened my mind to how the professionals go about it… it’s not just about football, there are a whole heap of different other things you’ve got to take into account,” the former Exeter High and Launceston College student said. “I think my game’s gone to another level after testing it with the best.
“I’ve enjoyed my first experience down back as it’s helped me read the game and pick up on things that I didn’t think I could do.”
Hinds said Lonergan’s influence and guidance about AFL life has been immeasurable. Lonergan played 81 games with Essendon and Richmond after being drafted with pick 50 in 2005.
“It’s great to have Sam at the club having been at the level I want to get to,” Hinds said.
“You take in every little thing he tells you because it will only help you out.”
Hinds will travel to Melbourne in October to participate in state combine testing.