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Growth spurt helps propel Charger up draft order

Riley Collier-Dawkins is almost certainly a top-20 selection

THE DRAFT stocks of Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Riley Collier-Dawkins have shot up along with his height over the past 12 months.

The onballer has grown eight centimetres to 192cm and has drawn comparisons to AFL midfield tall timber like Patrick Cripps and Marcus Bontempelli.

The growth spurt has given him the size to play a key role up forward and has elevated him into first-round deliberations.

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“I have grown a fair bit and I’ve had to make adaptations in my game,” Collier-Dawkins said.

“I’ve gone from that medium-type mid to a tall midfielder, almost key position size, so there have been a few things to learn there.

“I do see myself as my own player but I do look at other (similarly-sized) players and what they’re good at.

“Like (Nat) Fyfe’s really good in the air and (Cripps) is really clean and (Bontempelli’s) disposal and versatility is something that I try to mirror in my game.”

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Such an intense period of growth has presented challenges as a player and in everyday life for Collier-Dawkins, who joked he’s had to refresh his wardrobe a few times.

What it also does is increase his upside in the eyes of AFL clubs hoping to snag the next Fyfe, Cripps or Bontempelli.

“Those boys (who have a late growth spurt) can end up great below their knees because they’ve spent most of their career picking the ball up at ground level,” AFL talent chief Kevin Sheehan said.

“So I think it adds to their skill set … it’s a massive plus.

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“And I would suggest Riley is still growing … he looks like he’s still got a couple of centimetres left in him.

“He stamped himself as a player early in the year … his acceleration away from stoppage for a boy of that size is pretty special.”

The first round of the draft will take place on Thursday evening at Marvel Stadium, with the remaining rounds and the rookie draft to be held the next day.

Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS