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2017 Draft Guns: Patrick Naish

Callum Twomey, AFL.com.au  November 1, 2017 10:20 AM

2017 Draft Guns: Patrick Naish The classy father-son prospect is likely to cost Richmond a first-round pick.
AFL 2017 U18 Championships - Vic M v Allies

Patrick Naish offers something a little different to this year's group of midfield prospects

When Patrick Naish first started training with Richmond as a potential father-son prospect two years ago, he was overawed by standing next to Dustin Martin and having a kick with Trent Cotchin.

That feeling has slowly worn away, but there is still a spring in his step when he walks through the doors at Punt Road Oval. Soon his presence there could be a permanent thing. 

The Tigers have first call on the midfielder, who is the son of former Richmond forward Chris Naish, who played 143 games with the club between 1990-97 (before 18 games with Port Adelaide). 

As the leading father-son draft candidate this year, Naish pieced together a consistent and exciting under-18 campaign, playing well for the Northern Knights and also winning All Australian honours after an impressive carnival for Vic Metro.

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Naish offers something a little different to this year's group of midfield prospects. He is a run-and-carry midfielder who can break the lines with his dash and long right-foot kicking. He's an attacking player who takes the ball forward: he enjoys arching his back and taking it on. 

That was evident throughout the national championships, when he averaged 22 disposals (at 65 per cent efficiency) in four games for Vic Metro, and highlighted his raking right-foot kicking. He is creative by foot and quite damaging in some space.

One of Naish's best attributes is his goalkicking craft, which came to the fore at all levels he played this year. In eight games for the Knights he booted 13 goals, including five multiple tallies, he kicked a bag of seven goals at school level, and also chipped in with three majors from four games for Vic Metro. If he has to start his career across half-forward, he can do it comfortably.  

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Naish will take a bit of time to put on the necessary weight to his frame before being ready to play at the next level, and with that will probably need to build up his inside game. He predominantly plays as an outside midfielder at this stage of his development – about 80 per cent of his disposals were uncontested at the carnival.

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With his foot skills, turn of pace and knack for a goal, Naish could develop into a player similar to Essendon's David Zaharakis.

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It is always hard to tip where a father-son bid might come, but Naish appears likely to attract one within the first 20 or so selections on draft night. The Tigers are expected to match the bid and make him a Tiger.  

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Naish appears set to be Richmond's first father-son selection since 2003, and he will go there on merit. With dash, run and a good dose of dare, Naish plays with a purpose.

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