Aiden O’Driscoll is one 2023 draft prospect who put himself on the map at October’s testing combine, pushing through soreness to prove himself among the versatile of his class.
O’Driscoll, the younger brother of Fremantle duo Nathan and Emma, starred for Perth in the WAFL Colts this year and also played in all four games for Western Australia.
Like his brother, Nathan features on the wing and over a quarter of his disposals went inside 50 throughout the national carnival, it’s been reported.
His runs on the board had him in the frame to get drafted and the 18-year-old’s draft combine has only strengthened his case.
But veteran talent manager Kevin Sheehan revealed it almost didn’t happen.
“A kid called O’Driscoll was very good (at the combine), his brother is at Freo, Nathan,” Sheehan began on SEN SA’s The Run Home.
“His sister Emma is there too, so a very well-known family over that way.
“Young Aiden… this is against the trend of a few others, he reported to the doctor he had a little bit of a back issue and could have been rueld out from the testing but was mad keen to do it… ‘I’ll overcome that, it’s a niggle’.
“He has then blown them away in speed and endurance to be elite in both categories and that (will make clubs think) ‘let’s have a good hard look at this boy for sure’.
“That’s how elite his speed and endurance was.”
O’Driscoll recorded the 6th fastest time of his class in two-kilometre time trial and then was first across the line in the 20-metre sprint.
No other prospect from the top 10 of the 2km time trial finished in the top 10 of the 20m sprint.
Remarkably, O’Driscoll also finished in the top 10 of all three of the agility test, standing vertical jump and running vertical jump to post arguably the best athletic profile of any player set to be drafted in 2023.
While the Western Australian did receive a minor injury in the process, Sheehan was impressed by the perseverance on show.
“He’s gone back home… he’s actually got a stress fracture in the back so will have a month or so off,” Sheehan continued.
“You have a few that are probably ruled out being very conservative but you admire this kid, he took his opportunity, he showed what he can do and it just pitches him as a bit of a chance to get drafted now through that brilliant performance.”
O’Driscoll has now done enough to guarantee himself a spot on an AFL list, according to WAFC talent boss Adam Jones.
“I think Aiden will be a second-round onwards type pick, sort of that 20 to 50 range but given his excellent weekend it might push him up a couple of more spots,” Jones told The West Australian earlier this month.
“Not often that kids who have that endurance and speed is their work ethic at a similar level, but his work ethic is at the top end.
“There were a couple of games throughout the year where you were just blown away with how hard he works.
“He’s got good goal sense, able to impact on the scoreboard and utilise his speed as a dangerous crumbling small forward.”