Preferred foot: Right
Role: Outside leading small FF/FP/high or low leading HFF
> Very clean hands (as they should be at 174cm) – vacuum cleaner pick ups at pace are a trademark
> Good 2 way work-rate – plays with plenty of enthusiasms and energy - applies effective and tight defensive pressure I50 to keep the ball locked in – presents frequently as a leading target I50 and is willing to work up the flanks and onto the wings too
> Hard hitting effective tackler – can chase players down with very good closing speed
> Explosive power athlete with a reportedly good natural engine – very quick off the mark (excellent breakaway speed on the lead and run and carry speed), good evasive skills (very adept at sidestepping opponents), big vertical leap (very helpful on the lead when you’re only 174cm). Beep test was only average at 2008 SS (however coming off an off-season holiday) – reportedly has run in the 14-15s previously, but unconfirmed
> Strong, thick and powerful build – will need refining though – very strong through the core (frequently stands up in and breaks through tackles)
> Strong aerial ability for his height due to his vertical leap – reads and judges the flight well and clean one grabber – but generally needs front position to be in the contest
> Opportunistic, but consistent goal kicker as a leading small forward – creates chances and goals from not much – excellent 1-1 against a defender (doesn’t engage in wrestling, but good subtle use of the body when needed) - average radar overall (better in general play than from set shots – tends to run in on a bit of an arch) – played as the main target and with space in the forward line - will need to in order to be most effective (ala Phil Matera) – can push forward very effectively from the flanks - will feature in a lot of highlight reels
> Highly credentialed – excellent 2008 form and accolades – 2008 WA state rep, 2008 WAFL TOTY FP, R/U 2008 Footballer of the year, 2nd leading goal kicker, 2008 Sandover medallist and 2008 Peel B&F.
> Sub 175cm
> Style (more query than weakness) – can he adapt his style to not being the no. 1 target at AFL and play under the key forwards feet more often
> Decent use by foot – closed off action, awkward/squeezed ball drop, but an effective kick with good penetration with time and space – good accuracy and radar over a short distance medium-highish trajectory
> Solid user by hand without being spectacular – preference to use by foot
> Decent all-round ball winner that can win it in and out of contests, however more outside than in –not a ball magnet by any stretch
> Best suited positions are outside leading small FF/FP/high or low leading HFF, but could also play wing or midfield potentially – however I see this as being unlikely.
Sub 175cm players will always have a tough time of it, but Ballantyne has a range of attractive attributes and has proven himself at WAFL level this year to be an outstanding player deserved of chance at the next level. Whether he can adapt to a different role and obviously better opponents at AFL will be the big questions. I’d expect him to be taken in the mid rounds of the national draft or possibly in the PSD.