Young guns put to the test at AFL Draft Combine

Published on Monday, November 2, 2020

Several of the NFNL’s most talented junior players have taken part in the 2020 AFL Draft Combine.

The Combine provides the country’s most promising young footballers the opportunity to showcase their athletic abilities ahead of the AFL National Draft.

Despite the NAB League season being cancelled this year, 46 of the 94 players invited to the Combines were from Victoria.

The Combines were held separately in each state, with Victoria hosting both a Vic Metro and Vic Country Combine, each held under strict COVID-19 measures.

Four NFNL-listed players were invited to the Victorian combines, including Nikolas Cox (Montmorency), Josh Eyre (Kilmore), Ewan Macpherson (Diamond Creek) and Liam McMahon (Eltham, formerly Greensborough).

Former Diamond Creek junior Bailey Laurie, who now plays with YJFL club Beverley Hills, also earned an invite.

Cox, Macpherson, McMahon and Laurie all featured at the Vic Metro Combine on October 31, while Eyre tested at the Vic Country Combine on October 23.

Cox and Macpherson were named co-captains of the Northern Knights prior to the 2020 NAB League season, which was ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19.

Cox was selected as a member of the NAB AFL Academy program. As part of the program, he was provided the opportunity to train with Carlton last summer.

The versatile tall has elite kicking skills on both sides of his body and has shown great hands both in the air and at ground level. He has also shown great aerobic capacity and recorded the fourth best time in the 2km time trial at the Vic Metro Combine.

Cox featured for Vic Metro in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 National Championships and played for Team Dal Santo in the Futures match on AFL Grand Final Day last year.

He is the son of former Fitzroy, Brisbane Lions and Melbourne utility Darryl Cox, who played 30 VFL games between 1980 and 1987.

Macpherson also hails from fantastic sporting pedigree.

His father Stephen played 188 games for Footscray, while older brother Darcy has played 51 games for Gold Coast Suns since 2016 and finished third in the club’s best and fairest in 2019.

He led Vic Metro at the Under-16 National Championships in 2016 and played 15 NAB League games for the Northern Knights last year.

Macpherson has trained with the Western Bulldogs, where he is eligible as a father-son selection.

McMahon is a key forward who booted 14 goals in 15 NAB League matches as a bottom-age player for the Northern Knights last year.

An NFNL junior representative at both under-14 and under-15 level, he has spent the past three seasons with Eltham after starting his football journey with Greensborough.

Eyre was a standout at the Vic Country Combine, where the 197cm forward finished second in both the 2km time trial and 20-metre sprint, as well as runner-up in the running and standing vertical jumps tests.

He played eight games for the Calder Cannons during the 2019 NAB League season and is a member of Essendon’s Next Generation Academy, meaning the Bombers have priority access to him under the NGA rules.

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